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Thread: Some observations and questions going into therapy

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    Member Star01's Avatar
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    Some observations and questions going into therapy

    I have commented on a few other threads since the Holidays but haven't updated on my situation as promised. For those who didn't catch my earlier posts I have been dressing, thinking about and struggling with the fog and gender issues since I was a child and I'm a retired senior citizen now so the confusion goes back approximately sixty years. My wife and I are dadt but our agreement was made in a different time and under different circumstances. Though her going through the change and physical problems ended our sex life she knows that I shave all over and her views have always been liberal. She watches movies and shows that deal with gay, lesbian and transsexual issues and has been very supportive of one of our daughters coming out as lesbian. She is in full support of my upcoming therapy and she is aware of my past gender issues so I am confident that her thinking, and mine for that matter, have evolved.

    I'm starting therapy in a little over a week and the therapist I will be seeing does work with gender issues. I don't have much experience with therapy so I'm not sure what to do on my first visit, go in there and start the conversation with my gender issues or develop a rapport for a visit or two and work up to it. Around fifteen years ago I had grown my hair long, got my ears pierced and was dressing a lot. I got to the ledge so to speak as I became obsessed with looking at my body in the mirror contemplating having the body of a woman. Around that time I ended up getting t-boned when someone ran a stop sign and jostled me around and aggravated the aches and pains from previous injuries. I think there was some low grade depression involved as well because I purged and began binge eating gaining around 40# before it was all over. I identified as a crossdresser and wallowed in self pity as I lost control of my weight gain and thought my dressing was over for good. In 2012 I started dressing again in spite of thinking that I looked terrible due to my weight gain and thinning hair on top of my head. To look at me with my short hair I look like I have a full head of hair but when I try to grow it out the weight of the long hair makes the thinning too obvious on top. I would look ok for the "old hippie" look but the thinning precludes coloring and growing my hair long like I used to do.

    I stayed in that state of mind for several years not having much in the way of clothing but the thoughts and feelings kept amplifying until I reached a crescendo a few months ago. It briefly subsided during the holidays but is now steadily taking over my thoughts again. So with all that in mind I am not sure how to approach therapy and I was restricted in my choices by my insurance. There were two options open to me who deal with gender issues, a man and a woman therapist. I tried to book with the woman and she is not taking on new patients so I looked around at other options but it kept coming back to me being impressed with the male therapists qualifications. Consequently, I decided to give him a try and see if we can develop a rapport that will allow me to open up fully.

    I'm posting this in the crossdressing section of this forum as it appears after browsing both sections back to their first posts that transgender members of this forum move between the two sections. I'm certain that many started out by identifying as crossdressers and have or are in the process of transitioning. It's too early for me to make plans about how I would handle it if I fall into that category but I think that will be something that comes out of my therapy sessions. I don't know what this makes me but as much as I love to dress my circumstances limit what I can wear and I accept that and cope as best I can with my grooming to emulate women.

    If there is such a thing as someone approaching 70 not knowing their true gender and even going so far as to question their sexual preference at this age that would be me. I welcome suggestions and will post occasional updates as things progress.
    Last edited by Star01; 01-15-2020 at 12:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Weirdest woman ever! docrobbysherry's Avatar
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    Star, therapists r there to help people with their problems. I'm not sure u know why you're seeing a therapist? If it's to get permission to be who u feel u r? He can help u with that. Because that permission and acceptance must come from u!

    He probably can't help u with your weight and wife issues. Unless u bring her in with u to get her permission, too? Otherwise, you'll have to deal with her and your unhealthy weight yourself.

    But, I can solve your hair issue in a second. Buy a wig!
    U can't keep doing the same things over and over and expect to enjoy life to the max. When u try new things, even if they r out of your comfort zone, u may experience new excitement and growth that u never expected.

    Challenge yourself and pursue your passions! When your life clock runs out, you'll have few or NO REGRETS!

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Teresa's Avatar
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    Star,
    The first point is they are professionals and they have heard it all before , so nothing is going to shock them . It's also important to remember they aren't mind readers , they can only work with the imformation you give them , so be open and honest with them .

    I was also in a DADT situation and counselling to my wife suggested a cure , I was the broken one that needed mending . Well we know how misguided that is , most of us were born with this trait , there is no cure because it's not an illness, all we can do is come to terms with it and live as comfortably as possible with it's needs .

    The therapist will guide you but be prepared to make some difficult decisions if you take on board the help they offer .

    I have no regrets about counselling , to me it was a life saver , the down side is it came at a price but aside from my TG issues would my marriage have ended anyway ? Whatever the outcome and scary it feels at the time the World does not end , I have lost very little and gained so much , I'm happier now than I've been in a long time .

    Therapy may be different things to different people but to me the bottom line is I found myself , age is unimportant when it comes to answering gender questions , I do wonder how much hormones and/or transition would change my life on a daily basis so please be open minded about those issues .
    The real me ,no going back.

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    Member Star01's Avatar
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    I believe that my weight gain is tied to my gender issues and ties into drinking (I gave it up) as a way of coping with the purge and we all know what that does to us. As far as my wife goes I want to get through a few sessions and try to determine where I am at before talking to her about anything. My life is way more complex than I could ever attempt to convey in a post and I have many more experiences related to dressing over the years than I have posted about on this board so I suspect that gender lies at the root all or part of my problems. Nevertheless, I can only speculate at this point and that is why I'm going to therapy and my main areas of concern are my crossdressing and gender issues. I'm sure that he will have a broader perspective with his experience and will draw things out of me so that I can make sense out of everything.

    Posting online requires leaving out many details and probably because I just dropped onto this forum seemingly out of nowhere the assumptions will surely lean towards me being wrong. All I can say is that I'm well read and did a ton of research on these subjects after some "ah ha" moments. Obviously I could be all wrong and end up dealing with some other underlying issues but I really feel like I'm barking up the right tree by focusing on my crossdressing and gender obsessions. We shall see and I will gove am update regardless of the outcome.
    Last edited by Star01; 01-15-2020 at 01:38 PM.

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    Aspiring Member NancyJ's Avatar
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    Star, Don’t overplan. That first appt. is a unique experience for you, but those first sessions are something an experienced therapist does 2-3 times a week. Usually they lead with an open-ended question like what brings you to see me, or how are you hoping I can help you. You’ll just start talking and he’ll ask clarifying questions. The time will go fast, you will be surprised. You will reveal your story as you are ready. Within three sessions you will know if it is the right match with this particular therapist. It will probably feel like a huge relief to simply share with another human being. Good for you! Nancy
    Last edited by NancyJ; 01-15-2020 at 01:51 PM.

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    Yeah Ok like whatever Tracii G's Avatar
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    I would suggest to just be honest with your therapist and tell them how you feel.
    They can't help if you don't open up completely.
    Hair is the least of your worries they make wigs. I have long hair myself and still wear a wig sometimes because my 67 year old old hippy hair looks like 67 year old hippy hair.
    I went thru the worrying about weight issues too but I learned women come in all shapes and sizes so being heavy is not the end of the world and its not stopped me from dressing.
    I buy clothes that fit my body and honestly womens clothes are a better fit for me than guy clothes are because they aren't all loose and baggy.Dresses and skirts can be very forgiving if you are a bit on the chunky side you just have to find the style that works for you.
    You are 70 so expecting to have the sexy female body of a 30 year old is a bit much.
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    Member Star01's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies and suggestions. I'm actually 68 but just rounded it off but two years doesn't make much difference at this age, we are old no matter how we describe it.

    I have been watching videos about how to get the most benefit from therapy so again, my post is an overview and doesn't describe my situation or the research and preparation I have done. As a former office worker in finance I'm thorough almost to a fault.

    I am well aware of women of a certain age coming in all shapes and sizes. All I have to do is look across the room at my wife sitting in her recliner. And not to worry, I wont tell her that.

    I'm in tune with all of the suggestions so far and will give all that and more careful consideration. My thinking being in line with the replies to my post help me to confirm that I'm approaching this in the best way possible. This forum and the advice all of you give are a valuable resource with a wealth of experience to back it up.

    [SIZE=1]- - - Updated - - -[/SIZE]

    As far as weight goes I mention that because we can always improve but I pulled myself out of the last purge in spite of my curves. I'm just saying that I looked a lot better at 145# than 185# and am trying to lose. I'm still in decent health for my age and need some goals in retirement so why not exercise more and try to lose? I'm not obsessed with it and it's a lot harder than it used to be but I have no excuses for not giving it my best effort.

  8. #8
    Aspiring Member Angela1954's Avatar
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    I am starting therapy in a few months. At almost 66 I finally decided I needed a trained professional to help me understand my desires. My wife is fully supportive. I'm not going to transition at this age but the opportunity to spend with someone at arms length and who understands gender issues will be enlightening.

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    Senior Member Laura912's Avatar
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    Simply tell your therapist what you wrote at the beginning of the thread. In fact, print out a copy and take it with you. Skip all the dancing around getting to know you visits and save a few dollars.

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    Yeah Ok like whatever Tracii G's Avatar
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    Great idea Laura
    I would just print out what you typed here and give it to the therapist.
    Last edited by Tracii G; 01-15-2020 at 06:52 PM.
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    Senior Member Jean 103's Avatar
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    What do you want or how do you want to live the rest of your life?

    Forget about all the stuff in your life, and what everyone else wants from you. This is just what you want. Not what you can do or have but just want. This is the first question you need to answer. After that everything else is a compromise.

    I wouldn't worry about what box you fit in. It's more about what makes you happy, opposed to what you can live with.

    So talking to someone might help.

  12. #12
    Member Star01's Avatar
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    I'm thinking the same way as Angela1954 at this point in my life. My approach initially is to come to learn about myself both my dressing/gender feelings and some personal things about behavior patterns and past trauma. I need a bit of help finding some strategies to stay comfortable in my skin and how to approach things. I don't want to blow up everything in my life over this but the feelings have intensified to the level where it would be nice to get some feedback.

    Regarding questions about my goals for the future. I suppose at this age waking up the next morning is always our top priority but since retiring I have traveled to northern Europe, done some remodeling and spent more time enjoying my hobbies. I have managed my life successfully for decades until this fog thickened after teasing me for decades. The therapy comes out of a desire to better understand and manage as best I can. There isn't an instruction book for everything we'll encounter in life and some things require some extra help to sort out.

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    Silver Member Devi SM's Avatar
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    Star, as you are almost to do I did some years ago. I had so many expectations on that first session but it was mostly yo answer her questions after I briefly explain my reasons and feelings. So, I didn't get answers and actually more questions than me but it was good. I felt a huge release to talk with someone openly.
    She was a family therapist with some experience on crossdressers, which I was one in those days but she helped me to build and strategy with wife to save my marriage (we still together and loving each other more)
    After a while I reach the point to transition and, luckily I see now a gender therapist as well transexual.
    I'm so far almost 2 years in HRT and believe me, I was loosing hair in the crown of my head but hormones amake miracles.
    I won't extend in all the changes here but I'm living a happy life as a transexual and I can't tell you, is very difficult for a male to live as a woman without the level of hormones of a female. Hormones make more than just grow your boobs or your body hair thinner, they make huge changes in your mind and without experiencing it is impossible to understand it.
    I see you and I see myself some years ago, btw, there's a girl that started some months ago in HRT too, Lana Mae, I think that she will be more than happy to chat with you because I think is your age too.
    My best wishes and count with a friend on me.
    PM if is needed.

    Devi
    Last edited by Devi SM; 01-15-2020 at 09:04 PM.
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    Weirdest woman ever! docrobbysherry's Avatar
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    Star, thank u for elucidating! Your counselor may well be able to help u with your other, unnamed, issues. However, mine asked me if my dressing was causing me any problems? When I said, "No", we moved rite on to my real issues! Your's may do the same. Because he can't tell u what's in your heart and mind!

    If u want to lose weight via excersize? There's only one that works consistently. Sit down at your dining room table. Put your hands on the table edge. Then, push yourself away from the table!
    Last edited by docrobbysherry; 01-16-2020 at 12:36 PM.
    U can't keep doing the same things over and over and expect to enjoy life to the max. When u try new things, even if they r out of your comfort zone, u may experience new excitement and growth that u never expected.

    Challenge yourself and pursue your passions! When your life clock runs out, you'll have few or NO REGRETS!

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    Member Star01's Avatar
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    Thank you for your words of encouragement Devi SM. I am feeling my way one small step at a time. At this point I'm just so unfamiliar these feelings being so strong that I need some help sorting it all out. I'd like to put it aside and walk away from it but I have reached a point where I had to admit to myself that it's part of who I am and try to sort it all out. I am not familiar with all the names on this forum but I believe Lana Mae and I have participated in the same threads. She may have even responded to some of my posts so I need to pay closer attention to everyone's names and try to remember them.

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    Silver Member Aunt Kelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Star01 View Post
    If there is such a thing as someone approaching 70 not knowing their true gender and even going so far as to question their sexual preference at this age that would be me. I welcome suggestions and will post occasional updates as things progress.
    Started therapy at 61, and the best thing I did was to commit to myself to being as honest and forthcoming as I could. I had no agenda beyond wanting to feel better. Progress was dramatic, and according to my therapist, this was because of my willingness to share everything.
    My diagnosis is not the point, so I won't mention it here. The point is that the decision to pursue therapy, and to pursue it with the commitment I did, was one of the best things I have ever done.

    Good luck on your quest, Star.
    "Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it will always get you the right ones."
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    Aspiring Member GretchenM's Avatar
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    Star,

    Holy cow, you have rewritten some of my own story. Very similar. But then that is true of many of us. Sounds to me you are ready to discuss your situation with an expert. Great choice. The number one rule of doing therapy is to never hold anything back from the therapist. Two reasons. If they don't have the whole story and only have a broken story with gaps that they may only recognize are there, their benefit will be limited to you. Second never make up anything. Be totally honest and open. What you say isn't going anywhere beyond your therapist. They engage in their trade under very strict rules and licensing requirements. Relax and be open.

    My youngest daughter is a therapist. Quite frankly, many therapists seem to have a sixth sense. Like Santa Claus, they know when you are being bad (leaving things out or telling lies). It is an amazing talent and it is apparently inherent rather than learned. Training just develops their natural ability to read people in amazing ways - my daughter was doing an undeveloped version of that when she was 4 and 5. It just got stronger.

    Good luck. Great choice to go. It isn't going to be easy, but it will be worth every minute. Back in 2001 I was in therapy for 2 1/2 years dealing with severe, chronic depression. If I hadn't done that I would probably be long dead by now. I was that bad off. And I wasn't a believer until I did it. Now? Little depression and only the normal kind and one huge pile of contentment.

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    Member Star01's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your experiences GretchenM. I am not feeling depressed in the usual sense of the word but have felt an underlying angst my entire adult life. It's hard to describe but it's as if it's harder than it should be to be and I go through the motions comfortably numb if that makes sense. It's not debilitating or at least it hasn't been to date but it's always there. There are a lot of little clues that go all the way back to childhood regarding gender but I have done all the usual things on the guy side as well. There are a lot of things to look into, that's for sure.

    I think my biggest challenge will be to open up so that is the part of everyone's advice I need to take to heart and apply. Dressing and grooming like a woman in stealth for decades isn't an activity that is conducive to opening up to others. Many of us have lived in secrecy and I suspect for some of us that has become our default mode. Perhaps noting things that I want to focus on and forcing myself to make one or two new reveals on each visit would be a good start. I feel like I hide things behind a wall so this will be a bit of a challenge.

  19. #19
    Yeah Ok like whatever Tracii G's Avatar
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    I know a lot of people need therapy or see a benefit with it but once I learned it was OK to feel the way I did I didn't see the need to get therapy.
    A trans group helped me to interact with others like me and that was a huge help.
    Self acceptance of who and what you are is where you need to start.
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    Member Star01's Avatar
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    Tracii_G, I am thrifty to a fault so I wont drag it out indefinitely. The groups are likely in the cities,.a place I try to avoid so I hope there is something closer. They'll probably offer some suggestions but then I'm up against dadt and revisiting the talk. I am hoping that I can remove some of those obstacles.

  21. #21
    Silver Member Devi SM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracii G View Post
    I know a lot of people need therapy or see a benefit with it but once I learned it was OK to feel the way I did I didn't see the need to get therapy.
    A trans group helped me to interact with others like me and that was a huge help.
    Self acceptance of who and what you are is where you need to start.

    Tracii, I'm sorry but I completely disagree with your comment and recommendation on what star needs or dont need.
    One is to be a crossdresser and something very different is to be trans and decide to get into HRT.
    I was a crossdresser for many years but wasn't enough for me. There's something called gender dysphoria that must be treated and support groups eill.just only yo see a therapists
    I do not what is good for Star but a therapist will help her to find her way, ours are just opinions and no prescriptions or either directions.

    Mho.

    Devi
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    Platinum Member Teresa's Avatar
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    Star,
    That is a tough call ! I was in a DADT situation , my counselling was a fix according to my wife the problem was she wouldn't talk about the sessions , it was like banging my head against a brick wall , all my counsellors asked if my wife could possibly attend at some point , she totally refused . Some people have called me for saying this but I had to find ways to work round her , it wasn't easy she was still making me lie and be deceitful . The bottom line was counselling was trying to help me move on but my hands and feet were still tied . It all came to a head when I said the monthly social meetings weren't enough , at that point we agreed to call it a day , she admitted she couldn't live with it and I couldn't live without it .

    To a point I'm inclined to agree with Tracii , once I was free to be me I found a balance , counselling and social groups helped me reach that point so they do have some value but again as Tracii comments self acceptance , belief in yourself is where you need to be . I know there maybe some tough decisions to make at the end of the day you need to think about you at some point .
    The real me ,no going back.

  23. #23
    Member Star01's Avatar
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    It's difficult to think in terms of doing something for myself after haven "taken one for the team" by suppressing this part of myself for so long. One the one hand there is the need to be happy, on the other is the uncertainty and fear of the unknown. It's like an inner battle between two personas with only one getting their needs met. Meanwhile the hiding and deception we do to make ourselves happy when in dadt puts the ones we love in the position of gatekeeper holding us back. Just the very nature of us being willing to deal with all that speaks about how real and all consuming if a force this is in our lives.

  24. #24
    Platinum Member Teresa's Avatar
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    Star,
    That's a very good point , I've always said it must be one heck of a driving force that takes us down that road .

    On the point of suppression my gender counsellor beacame a little heated over the suppression I'd lived with , she couldn't take on board how I'd managed to survive it , I'm afraid it's par for the couse for some of us , we don't have a choice but it can't go on indefinitely , eventually I ceased to function .
    The real me ,no going back.

  25. #25
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    One of the things that happens with retirement is too much time on one's hands. When working and raising kids the mind is consumed with those goals and issues. Much of the conflict a person may have is suppressed. Retire and all of a sudden you do not have those distractions. You start reflecting on the past and unintended denial of major issues. If I am going to make some conjectures I did you are still not comfortable with who you are and how to express yourself.

    My personal situation was somewhat accelerated. Decades ago I sought out support groups. None were to be found in the 1980's. My wife and I are DADT. She knows, but, takes the ostrich effect. Stick head in the ground and all will go away....NOT! I talked to a counselor on the telephone back then, but, I was too chicken and embarrassed to followup. Was it a mistake? Yes. Was my cross dressing the real issue? No. I finally came to terms with myself. I looked at what I had accomplished when it came to being husband and father and then grandfather. All is well. My real issue exploded after I retired. In some respects cross dressing was my savoir from my real issues which are deep seated in combat as an infantryman in Nam. Stephanie shielded me from tackling those issues until I retired and did not have those distractions. So, now. I do not need a support group to deal with cross dressing. I see a counsel one on one every two weeks and attend a weekly support group of men with the same issues related to combat.

    As relates to my cross dressing I resolved that through my own self assessment. Society patted me on the back for doing things I would never have done on my own, and, condemns me for wearing women's clothing. WTF is wrong with wearing women's clothing when I NEED to.

    Be sure to open up any issues of inner conflict you may have. t could be wearing women's clothing is not the issue.

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