Where it all started
I was about 13 when I stared to feel like something wasn’t right. I was feeling like things just didn’t 'fit together' the way I thought they should, I felt different. I thought it was because I grew up without a dad, but I just couldn’t really figure it out.
I told some of my friends that I was feeling low and they told the counsellor at school, so I started getting some counselling which kind of helped.
But I still felt depressed and after a while my friends felt like I was 'too much for them' and they stopped hanging out with me. Then things really went downhill for me.
After a suicide attempt I had a stay in hospital and ended being referred to Orygen.
Getting help, and a diagnosis
I talked with case managers and doctors about what I was thinking and feeling and they were able to tell me that I had major depression and traits of borderline personality disorder.
I saw my Orygen case manager regularly and we did lots of talking therapy. I learned a lot about my personality and why I reacted to things in a certain way, and how I could manage those reactions. I learned good coping skills and how to manage my anger positively, like channelling it into exercise.
My case manager and I built a good, trusting relationship so I talked about experiencing sexual abuse when I was about 6, which I’d never talked about before. It felt like a huge relief to get it off my chest and let someone know how it affected me.
Feeling better and finding out more about myself...
As time went seeing my case manager on I felt better and better. I felt calmer and less depressed and learned a lot about myself.
After I finished up with Orygen I went to see a psychologist. In one of my sessions I bought up how I was feeling stuck in the middle of being sort of male and sort of female. On the inside I knew I felt like a guy, but I had a woman’s body on the outside! It made me feel so frustrated and confused.
We talked about this a lot and eventually I was diagnosed with a gender identity disorder around the age of 18. I felt so relieved to know that what I was going through had a name, and it was a real thing.
As I got a bit older I started to explore how I felt about myself and what my identity was. I felt like I could be an individual and make my own choices about how I wanted to live. I decided that I wanted to live as a man, and not a woman.
So I started having hormone therapy of testosterone and taking steps to change my appearance on the outside to reflect how I feet on the inside.
Life is good!
I feel so great! I feel free and I feel like things finally fit together for me.
I’m now studying at uni and am a facilitator at a gender diversity group.
I’ll be getting surgery next year to keep moving toward being who I really am, and I look forward to joining a footy team and completing studies so I can work in the mental health field.