Mental Health And Minority Populations

It is no huge surprise that the majority of the US population suffers form some kind of mental illness.  This ranges from minor depression and anxiety (not downplaying the seriousness of these BTW) to that of full-blown psychoses.  If you walk through your local shopping center, grocery store or bookshop, you can bet that every single person that you see either has or is connected to someone who has some form of mental illness.  Hell, if you are reading this blog and think that you do not, sorry my dear reader you are wrong.

I have not been shy about making the fact that I have a mental illness about as secret as the sky does about being blue or the sun does about being hot.  While for those of the population that are Cis, the fact of mental illness is often no more then just a small part of who they are, those of us who are in many minority populations it can become a very large focus.  It is for this reason that many of us keep it very quite.  The reason for this is because it can, and far to often is, used as a weapon against us. It is used to dismiss us as people. It is use to “explain” why we are how we are. “Oh you are trans and have a mental illness?  Oh course you do.  That is why you are trans.” “You have a mental illness and you are queer, well duh! If we just ‘fix’ you mental issues then you will be ‘normal’ again.”  “You kinky?  No shit you have mental health problems.  No one with a ‘right mind’ would be into that.  It is ok because you are ‘sick’ but you can get better!”  The fact of mental illness becomes yet another in the long list of things that can be use to “other” us.

I want to set the record here and be very clear.  These two thing, being trans, queer, kinky, etc and have a mental illness are not the same thing.  They are not mutually exclusive.  You can be one and have the other.  The fact that I am trans does not make me mentally ill.  The fact that I have a mental illness is the thing that makes me a mentally ill person.  The fact that I am trans is a whole different thing.  The fact that I am queer does not make me mentally ill.  That too is just a coincidence.

Where I see this fact that people are so quick to condemn a person who is belongs to minority populations for mental illness is having the biggest issue though it this behavior is keeping these people from seeking the help that they so desperately need.  They are afraid that the very people who they are going to for this help will condemn and attempt to “fix” them to get them to stop being trans, queer, kinky, etc. I wish that this were not the case.

The stories of parents bringing their trans and queer kids to these “professionals” to “fix” them are far to numerous to count.  These kinds of places are not helping the kids but only making them repress their feelings even deeper and causing even more mental trauma.  Many of these kids will do whatever it takes to just survive these seasons to get them over with.  It is no less then torcher.  They say and do whatever the person running the thing wants just to make it end.   After all is said and done, all that really happened was that the people being “helped” are traumatized even worse and not have a, well earned, distrust of mental health providers.  So when they are old enough, if they live that long, to seek help on their own, they will have such a fear and distrust of them the no help will be sought out.

What can be done? This thing clearly this is a thing that NEEDS to change!  I think that is has to start with the individual.  There needs to be someone that is willing to stand up and say that Here I am, I am (insert minority here) and I have a mental illness. My mental illness is not the cause of my (minority status) but just another part of whom I am. It is completely on its own and has nothing to do with my being  (insert whatever here).

That is great, now to find that person.  Looking for volunteers.  Anyone? Just raise your hand or signal however you’re able.  Anybody? Hello?  Nope ok.  So I guess I know what that means.

I knew that by living openly as a trans woman, writing this blog and just being I would be very visible. I am over 6 foot tall and weight…none of the business to be completely so lets just say enough that I take up my fair share of space.  It is hard for me to hide in plain sight.  I have seldom run for a challenge when faced with it so why should I start now? If I am the one to be one of the first then maybe others will see that it can be done and still be left standing. So here is goes.

Hello, I am Karissa. I am a queer trans woman and I have a mental illness. My mental illness is not that I am trans or that I am queer. My mental illness has nothing to do with who I am any more then my eye color, my hair color or anything like that. I would still be trans if I did not have a mental illness.  I would still be queer if I did not have a mental illness.  I am me, and many days it is a struggle to just get by because of my mental illness.  I will not allow others to say that I am who I am because of this illness because it does not define who I am!

 

As always thanks you all and I love you all for taking the time to read this.

Cheers

KJD!

pgp: she/her/hers

Genetic Soup

On my to study for just another Saturday morning in my local coffee place, I was listening to a podcast (as I am tend to do) about transgender topics, news, science, etc. On this podcast they reported that they, the world of geneticists and other since kind of people, found genetic marks that show that being transgender is as genetically linked as being red haired or tall or short.  My first reaction was “Wow! That is great!  I can prove once and for all that I am really who I am!”  This was quickly followed by a few other thoughts that were not as joyous.  The first was me wonder who these people were that I felt that I needed to prove myself and my identity too.  The second was even worse.  What if I get my genetics tested and found that these newly discovered markers are absent? What would that mean?  Would that mean that I am not really trans?  Would that mean that I am just so dude in a dress that much of the Cis world see me and my other trans siblings as already? What if I am just trying to hide for something so that is why I have decided that this is the path that I am to walk?  (Oh hello existential dread!  WELCOME and come sit by me!)

Well Shit!  Now that I have opened this Pandora’s box of shit, lets at least try to unpack it a bit.  So, what is “being trans” really?  Is it something that we choose or something that we have chose for us through genetics?  Is it something that can me over come or something that just needs to be processed and accepted by those who experience it?    If there is a genetic component to it all, is this something that can be screened for at an early age or even in the womb?  If so what dose that mean for those who “pop positive” for being trans? Will this open up a whole new world of bioengineering and gene manipulation to “correct the problem?” Is it enough to just say that you are trans because the infinite reasons you fell it without the accompany science that may now come with it?

Deep breathe in, and out! I am going to jump around a bit for this part.  I will go slowly in order to not loose anyone.  There is a think that is called imposter syndrome.  If you have ever been in a new job, with new people or in a new situation that felt that would have no idea what is going on and if anyone else finds our how you actually are clueless at what the heck is going on, they will see you as the fraud that you feel that you are.  This is a very simple explanation of the Imposter syndrome. These feeling will usually pass as you become more comfortable and accustomed to the new situations that you are in.  These feelings are very common in the trans community.  I know that I deal with them on not a daily basis but hourly, and often, even minuet by minute.

It is because of these feelings that the idea of being able to test our genetics for being trans both excites and terrifies me.  I am constantly rattled with thoughts that I am just a fraud and not even trans (or trans enough) so much that it is often like the hum of distant highways. Anywhere in our country, save a VERY few places, there is no place you can be without hearing a high way or road. Try it sometime.  Go to a place that you feel is secluded and extremely far out and jus listen.  You will hear the road.

As for the screening portion of the question rant, I know that with science, it can be either used for good or evil.  No matter what is done to prevent it, people will use the science to back whatever position they have.  All we, as people, can do is try to work to see that the most people are protected.

So, now let us look at the biggest question of the group.  What is it to be trans?  What does it mean to be trans?  I am sorry, my dear reader, I can not (and will not) answer that question.  I know it kind of feels like a bullshit answer or response.  The thing is that it is the most honest one that I can give.  If you ask 100 trans people what it means to be trans you will get 101 different answers.  I can tell you what it means TO ME to me trans but I will not be able to tell you what it means for a very close trans sister of mine to me trans.  Sure there may be a few very roughly linked themes but never 100% the same.  For me, it is finally being able to feel that I am right in my own head.  It is feeling that I am coming into my own as the person I should have been and should be, even when I did not know that person even existed for the better part of 30 years.  I am not the kind of trans person that knew for sure when they were 3 years old that they were trans.  I just knew that I never felt that I really fit.  It was not until my late teens and early 20’s that I would even think that being trans MIGHT be a thing.  Back then I came across a MtF IRC (internet relay chat) channel that I started talking in and thought, “I can not be this because I am to large and would not be real woman.”  So I pushed it out of my head.  That is where I first got the idea that there were words that might explain these feeling I felt.

Even this response opens up other question and “truths” Like, Why should I feel like I need to fit the Western standers of (unrealistic) beauty? I could not have to. I should not have to be seen as a cis female to feel valid.  I should not have to wear an hours worth of makeup to be seen as the person I know I am. I should not have to get surgery to been viewed as the person I know that I am.  I should not be missgendered worse when I wear my jeans then I do when I dress high fem.  Of course I should not have to do any of those things, but here in this world I kind of do. Yes is not fair.  Yes it is wrong.  Yes I know that I should not “have” to pass to be valid, but I know that I do.  In this world we all have to live with those things that we should have to do but still do until there is a paradigm shift. People of Color should not have to worry that they will be gunned down for speeding, but they do.  Woman should not have to worry that the person behind her on her walk home might attack her and killer her or worse, but she does.  A child should not have to worry that they might not get to eat during a weekend because they only get food from the free lunch program at school during the week, but some still do.  I am just a realist.  I know that the world should change and that it is changing, albeit slowly.

So, That was 1200 words of random thought.  Thank you, my amazing reader, for making it this far.  On to more light hearted topics.  I am going to be restarting my go-fund-me in the next few weeks.  This will be open-ended and no real upper limit or goal in mind.  I will be using the funds raised by it to help with costs of transition that are not covered by my medical insurance.  These will include cosmetic procedures link FFS (Facial Feminization Surgery) Breast Augmentation, Body Contouring and possibly Vocal Reconstruction Surgery.  I will be setting up a Google Doc that will show how every penny is spent so that you will know that I am not just taking your hard earned $$ and running. Please do not feel forced into donating if you are not able to.  That is not my goal.  If you are not able to help with $$$, please tell people about this blog.  The more readers I have, the more people can read my ramblings and maybe feel the call to help out with their $$.

So I will say THANK YOU ALL FOR ALL THAT YOU HAVE DONE BY READING THESE POSTS!!!  I love you all and will keep trying to post more often.

Cheers!!!

KJD

Cleaning and Anxiety

Cleaning the house with anxiety can be a great and horrible thing at the same time. Anxiety is not always cowering in terror. It is your mind going so fast that you can’t even catch 1/3 of your thoughts. You see all that needs to be done and you start one thing then your mind yells at you should really be working on this other thing instead and it won’t stop yelling until you work on it. Now lather, rinse and repeat until you and a million things that are started but nothing is finished. At this point you feel so overwhelmed that all you can do is sit down and cry.

I know that people will tell me to take it one thing at a time but that is not how my mind works. I try to make lists then I end of of having a physical record of things that I have started and not finished. Yep that help. #sarcasm it is at this point that I want to either just toss everything out and go back to completely nothing or box everything up and donate it. But that turns into “ well I might need that…” I promise I am not a full blown hoarder.

So then I sit down to quick do a Facebook post and it turns into a full blown blog post. So this, if you have not noticed, is not the normal blog post where I talk about school or transitioning. Let’s be honest now, there is really no “normal” for this blog. I am ok with this fact. Surprise dear reader! I am more than those two things. Ok now that I have done this mind dump and was able to get it out of my scattered mind. Thank you all for sticking out these odd posts. I love you all!

Cheers!

Karissa

Asking For Help: Strength not Weakness

Growing up I was socialized as a male.  I do not blame anyone for this.  It was a different time.  I know that I sound like some old woman saying that. “Back in my day…” It was this socialization that instilled many of the traits that allowed to make me the person I was, and if I am being completely honest still very much am. The good, bad and the ugly.  Many of the traits that I still fall back on are helpful.  These include the love of family, the willingness to sacrifice for those who you love and the servant’s heart.  These traits I see as non-gendered as they are seen as good traits regardless if you are AMAB or AFAB.  (For those who do not know, AMAB means assigned male at birth and AFAB means assigned female at birth.)   The only difference I can see in those traits is how we are taught to manifest them. In AMAB folks, these are to been shown with stoic and almost cold silence.  In those who were AFAB, these are to be expressed with warmth and caring.  Even as I write this I am seeing how this indoctrination affects the langue that I have using.  Like how when I describe AMAB I use a word like “manifests” that feels more as a clinical diagnoses then a way of feeling, and with AFAB I used “warmth are caring” which feels softer and more gentle.

There were other traits that I was taught as well.  These were not as beneficial to me I am finding out.  In the world and society that we live in AMAB people are taught at a very young that they are to be strong, resilient and unfeeling. Yes I know I am speaking in very broad generalizations here and not all AMAB’s are taught this (#notallAMAB).  I was taught that I was to go my way and repress my feeling because feeling were “for the women and the weak” and “a man was hard and unbreakable.”  This also meant that I was expected that I should be able to everything that I set out to and on my own as much, and often more then as much, then I could.  To ask for help was left for those who were failures and incompetent.  Both of those things were seen as detestable and unacceptable. I was to be the one that helps all while need no one.

As I transition I am seeing just how wrong I was.  Well more to the point, how wrong this message was and still is. I see how so many of my darkest moments could have been so much easier if I had reached out and asked for a hand up. If I am going to be honest with you, and myself I still struggle with this.  Asking for help when you need it is not a sign of weakness but one of ultimate strength and humility.  We are all finite people, regardless how you were assigned at birth.  There are times that we have where it is not only difficult to go alone but that you really should not go alone.  It is not wise or safe.

It is no secret that I suffer from depression, and anxiety.  I think that I have been very open about it here and in my real life.  Some days it ranges from a wispier on the wind to soul crushing and debilitating.  For almost 40 years I have turned into my own head when things got to it worst. This has caused me to shutout and/or pushes away those who have cared about me most.  I was so worried that I would become a burden to them that I felt that it was better for me to silently suffer.  All this was often done with a smile and the best attempt to have a smile in my voice.  When it got to the point that I could not fake it anymore I would just tell people that it was because I was tired and/or was worried about someone else.  I felt that it was of to be showing concern for others publicly but not myself.  I was not lying to everyone out of malice or the like.  Well not deliberately but a lie of omission is still a lie.  So to everyone I know and have dealt with in real life I want to say, for these sins, I am sorry.

So, good reader, why am I writing this rambling post, other than putting off studying for a final?  It is because I have been blessed with some very good friends that have pushed me and almost unrelentingly been working on me to be open and honestly seek help from them when I need it.  I have been told and educated that I am not a burden or a bother.  I have been so strong for so long that I need to allow others to be strong for me.  To these people in my life I cannot thank you enough.  I know that it has not been easy to be my friend at many of times, so thanks you for sticking with me.

I am not there yet, my amazing readers.  I am still working on it.  I know that four decades of programing cannot be wiped out overnight by some mythical personality magnet to the hard drive of my history.  I will get there.  I have faith not necessarily in who I am not but who I will become.  I know she is waiting for me on the other side and she is cheering me on.  My message to her is this.  Thank you love,  I will not let you down.

Cheers!

Karissa

Facing the Person in the Mirror

There are times where you look at the mirror and think, “Who the fuck is that looking back at me?” No, this is not going to be one of those dysphonia posts.  It is more about who we, ok I, are/am kind of posts.  While we all go through times of not knowing who we are or where we fit into this crazy world, some of those times are easier and shorter then others.

I am just finishing up the last weeks of the second to last term of nursing school.  This is the time that we, as students, have worked for so hard. The light at the end of this tunnel is now clearly in view and we know that there is an end to this hell.  With this joy comes this icy cold dagger of truth. That is, “Holy fuck!  I am about to be done and that means that I will be a real nurse!  What the fuck was I thinking?”  It is these stark realizations that can be more terrifying then anything that we have come face to face with before in our lives.  It is with good reason that we are feeling this way.  This job, no carrier, no calling comes with some great responsibilities.  It is very likely that our choices that we make could and can LITTERALY kills someone. We are going to be in charge of the lives and safety of some of the sickest and fragile people we will have even have met in a few short month.  If you are not at least a little scared then you are in the wrong line of work and PLEASE get out now.

It is this fear, no terror that keeps up sharp.  I am big believer in the idea that this is what will keep up wanting to learn the newest techniques, the newest medications, the newest treatments and the newest methods.  It is these feelings that will keep up pushing and driving us to be better, be more efficient and more compassionate.

I have worked in my ED for over 7 years now and I am the first to admit that burnout is real and that I am not immune.  I will also admit that there are day that I am not on top of my game.  I have been lucky to have work friends and family that have been there to help me through these times.  To those people I am eternally grateful.

So now that we can name and own these feelings where are we to do with them?  I say run with it.  We have made it this far and we are not going to give up now.  My people, at this point the only way out is through.  You are strong, knowledgeable and capable.  You are going to not only be nurses but you are going to be great nurses.  I do not care if you are going to work in long term care, clinic or in a hospital. I do not care if you are going to work med-surg, ICU, PACU or ED.  I do not care it you are going to work TCU or in a school.  I do not care if your stay an RN or go one to get your MD.  I want you to know that I believe in you.  I want you to know that I know that you can do this! I want you to know that you are more then your fears and more then your worries.  You are amazing and you are brilliant!  You got this!

So when you find yourself looking in the mirror asking yourself, “Who the fuck is that looking back at me?” you can say with confidence and with our any doubt, “A fucking amazing nurse, that’s who!”

Longtime coming

There are many things that I cannot get my head around.  Some of these are how my mind is working now.  I am sitting in a coffee shop in a suburb of Minneapolis and listing to Any DiFranco, dressed in a frilly top and cute black lacy maxi skirt and I have never felt more me and still like a tourist in this body all at once.  The reason that I chose this music is because of some pretentious thought that it is artsy and rough enough for me to be a “real writer” and the sad/funny/stupid thing about it is that I actually believe that shit. I find it funny the things we do to make ourselves feel valid.

Validity has been at the forefront of my mind for a while now for many reasons.  This is one of those things that always seem to come into the conciseness of every person that is struggling with their identity.  As a trans woman I kindly and fully fit into this group of people.  For many of those who maybe reading this will not know what I am talking about.  This is because you who fit into that camp have found that the places that their lives and circumstances have placed themselves in fits.  I want to tell you folks that I am not going to slam or shame you for this fact.  I will be honest and say that I am often envious of you all.  What I am going to do though is try to give you a glimpse of what is like on the other side of the looking glass that they world calls life.

I have a family that is supportive and loving.  I have friends that are supportive and loving.  I am lucky.  I am privileged and I own that fact.  I feel that I need to get that addressed from the onset.  I know many of my siblings in the alphabet who do not have that and I am going to attempt to check that privilege as much as I can, as often as I can.  I am very lucky.  This fact though does not invalidate my feelings or experience. See there is that word again, validity, so into it.

Many will ask people in my place “What is it that you see when you look into the mirror?”  I think this question is not the right question to be asking.  If you ask me that I will tell you that I see someone who is not where she needs to be. I will tell you that I still see parts of the gender that I attempted to be for almost 40 years.  I will tell you that I see more that is wrong then that is right.  I will tell you that I see something, not someone, who is more broken then whole. What I will not tell you is that I see me.  The better question it ask is, “Who do you see when you close your eyes?”  I asked this exact question to a very strong and brave young person what is very close to me that has been struggling with their gender and how they fit into their world.  The reason I like this question so much more is because it give me at much better idea how the person I am talking to not only wants to see themselves but also how they want to be seen.  This shows me what their goals and where their shortcomings are as well. The funny thing is that they may not even know that they are telling me these things.

For me when I close my eyes I see a mother.  I see a strong woman who is willing to do whatever is needed to see that the people she loves are provided for.  I see a woman who is broken but is doing her fuck all best to hold it together and not be a burden.  I see not the ‘me’ I am but the me I could be.  The ‘me’ I will be.  I see a woman who will never know the joy and fear and pain and the love of having a child of her own.  I see a woman who is stuck in a place that she does not know how to move forward from and at the same time does not know if she wants to.  Most of all I see a woman.  I see me as I truly am.  It is this reason that I am not a fan of the mirror question.  I see almost none of that in the mirror.  So what keeps me looking in the mirror everyday?  It is because every so often I catch a glimpse of that woman I see in my mind looking back at me.  She smiles back at me whispering, “Keep going, you are getting closer.  I am here and can’t wait to meet you in person.” So I do.  She is an amazing woman that I can not wait to meet and each day I get that much closer.

So dear reader, let me ask you this to you.  What do you see when you close your eyes?

Cheers!

Karissa

Xmas Double Feature

So I do not post for weeks on end and now I post twice in the same day!  WTF is up with that?  If must be an Xmas mericle!

Today is the 25th.  Last night I worked and thankfully it was not bad.  No real tramas to speak of but just a lot of sick kids.  There is the standard winter plague going around and with people traveling, things spread like wildfire.  I had some time to think about what this holiday truly means to me.  As many of you might already know I am an Atheist, but I was raised ELCA lutheran.  This means that I can still walk into any ELCA church, on any random Sunday and do the worship without opening the LBW (Lutheran Book of Worship).  Even now just thinking about that fact, my mind started the service and confession of sins on autopilot.  This also means I can remember the countless Christmas Eve services that we attended and holiday programs we did.  There are times that I miss the tradition and music.  There was something beautiful about being in my old church, the only light in the sanctuary was that of the hundred or so candles and the sounds of the congregation singing silent night.   

For me, Xmas has never been a big favorite of mine.  I have always found the time to me more stress then joy.  Part of this, ok a big part of this, came from my mild to moderate social anxiety and the rest was because of all the stuff I felt/feel I need/ed to do.  This changed ever so slightly with the birth of my kids.  I still do not like this time of year but I like to do stuff for the family so I suck it up and get through it with as gracefully as I can.  

As I said in my last post I know there are people out there, maybe even you my dear readers, that find this time of year to be almost to much to bear.  I am not going to talk down to you and tell you that is till be ok or that it will get better or to just hang in there. I will say that I understand.  If you are close to your family, please go to them and let them help.  If you are not close to your family, go to your chosen family (friends, partners and such) and let them in so they can help you through this.  If you do not feel that you have anyone and things get bad please reachout!  I will post some numbers that you can call at the end of this post.  Mental health issues are not something that takes a holiday break.  I am not going to put a bunch of cliche phrases here to try to prove anything.  I promise.     

I will close this short post with this.  No matter what you celebrate, no matter who you do or do not pray to, no matter what you call yourself, no matter how you identify or who you love, I hope this season brings you love, peace and joy.  Cling to each other however you can.  We are all in this together in the end and no one makes it out of ride alive. Drink deep, fight hard and love strongly in this thing called life.  Now is what we have and all that we are given.  Grasp it with all your might and do not let go until you are without any strength left…and maybe a few moment more.  You are loved, you are powerful and you are valid.  These three things have been, are now and will always be true no matter when you or others may tell you.  

With love and Cheers!

Karissa RN-S

Trans Lifeline (877) 565-8860

Trevor Lifeline 866-488-7386

GLBT National Help Center 1-888-843-4564

Youth Talkline 1-800-246-7743

Fenway Health Helpline 888-340-4528

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Finals, Holidays and a Bit More.

NOTE: So I have written this over a few day as I was able to make time.  If this seems disjointed I am sorry.  I am posting this on Xmas 2017.  I will have my holiday thought in full at the end.  In the meantime, enjoy!

 

Hello my patient and amazing readers.  Once again I have been slacking with my posting duties.  With finals and the holidays life, once again, got away from me.  So enough with the prostrating myself to the masses :).  

The school term ended with a bang.  Finals all went well and I walked out with all B’s.  I will take it.  I was also able to get one of the two mandatory tests that I needed to redo knocked out.  This means that I just need to brush up on my Pharm and I should be good.  I think that I should be ready for that one near the end of the first week of the new term.  I am now only 22 weeks from Pinning and a few more from the NCLEX.  Holy shit I am actually doing this!!!  Sorry.  It still doesn’t feel real sometimes.  I know that there are alot of you that are reading this that have told me that I am going to be good at this whole nursing thing but I am still scared out of my mind.  I think that is normal because of the responsibility and risk that comes with that kind of work.  I know in my heart of hearts that I will do fine.  I feel that a bit of fear is a good thing.  I think that it will keep me sharp and ever vigilant.   A complacent nurse is a dangerous nurse!

Onto the transition front.  I have been on estrogen for just over six weeks as of writing this.  So far it has been a good ride.  There were some moment of suck but they were soon gone.  As I have said in previous posts, I have been dealing with mental health issues in my life.  I knew coming into this that transition nor HRT would not solve all my issues.  What I have found is that it has been able to remove one layer of these issues and give me the biochemical tools to deal with them in such a better way.  With the reduction of the testosterone has reduced my rage to almost nil (unless truly called for) and the estrogen has made me feel more like a whole and real person.  There was a real low point in the last sex weeks but I was able to get out of it within about a day.  This is huge for me.  Normally,  something like that would knock me out for over a week.  This is kind of my bench mark to tell me that this is whole thing is working.

As far a changes to my physical body are concerned, I am starting to see some different progress.  I am starting to get the curves that I have always wanted.  I am starting to fill out where I should and taper where I should.  I know that it is still early but I am liking what I see.   I have had others tell me that they are noticing as well so I know that it is not just in my head.  WOOHOO!!  

Lastly, the holidays.  This is the time of year that people get together with family and enjoy time with their family.  Ok that is bullshit for the most part.  This is the season of stress, spending too much money and dealing with crowds.  On and spending time with family…for better or worse, they our blood.  For many of us they are our support systems while there are still many others that they are their greatest sources of pain.  Whichever type of person you are, I hope that you are able to spend time people that love you and make you feel worthy and loved and valid.  

Cheers!

Karissa RN(student…for 22 more weeks)

P.S.:

If you like what you are reading and want to help keep this going and help with the expenses not covered for my transitions Please feel free to go to my gofundme page (links on the sidebar).  Please follow me on twitter so you can hear about my post as I get them out.  I promise to be better at doing them more often.  I will have my blog’s facebook page up soon (I hope).  Once I get that up I will add the link and blast it out. If you have any question that you would like me to answer here please either tweet me or email me at mammabear8486@gmail.com and use “Blog question” in the subject line.  I am not processing that I will be able to answer all the questions but I will do my best to do so (within reason).   

Something Simple!

Hello my forgiving readers. Once again my life got away form me.   Life here goes on much like everything else. School is almost done for the quarter. IT IS ROUGH! There is nothing new there but that is nursing school right? As usual, with the end of the term is filled with tests, projects and anxiety. No matter how well you do during the previous weeks you always worry if there is enough points to pass. I know that I am doing fine but that I am still freaking out. I know, I know, I know! I just need to take a deep breath and just stay the course.

So enough of school, onto the trans stuff. So I have been on estrogen for a month now. There are some good and rough spots but more good then rough. Some of the best things that I have found are that my skin is so much softer even now. I had one of my girlfriends said she could see a glow. Insert schoolgirl laughter here. My mind is a bit calmer (ok a lot calmer). The only issues that I seem to have at the moment is that there seems to be a wall between my and emotion release. NOW GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE GUTTER!! I am not talking about sex. I seem to get to the point where I can almost cry but just not crest that ridge. I have been told that it will get better. OMFG that dose sound a lot like sex.

That is my life is a nutshell. Again, thank you all for reading this little slice of my insanity. If you want to follow me on twitter you can find me at @transkarissarn.

Cheers!

SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTSSHOTSSHOTS, SHOTS.

Hello my faithful readers. Another week has passed and here we are. I am glad that you are still reading after my past post. I am not going to apologize for what I said because it was a truthful as I could be. I feel that if I apologized for that then I would be somehow invalidating how I was feeling. As I said when I started this blog I was going to be brutally honest with my readers and with myself. I stand by those word now and for the foreseeable future. This means that at times it is going to get raw and bumpy. Sometimes it will be sunshine and unicorns pooping rainbows at times too though. This is a blog about real life, real transition and a real person. Shit gets messy.

To quote Monty Python, “Now for something completely different!” This week has been one of exciting starts and a few minor setbacks. I still have trouble wrapping my mind around the idea that things can happen to make you question your base faith in humanity and resort it within tens of hours of each other. But more on that later. First let us talk nursing school. This is just over the half way mark in my term and I am still sitting at a solid B in both of my classes. After the exam that happened at the beginning of the week I though I was going to be lucky if I passes at all. All through the test I KNEW I was going to fail. It was so bad that around question 30 of 50 I had already started doing the math in my head about what I would have to get on the two remaining tests to even achieve the 78% test average needed to pass the class. So when I got to question 50 and hit the submit button I took a deep breath and refreshed my grade book screen. There it was. I refreshed again. Nope it was still there. I thought I was looking in the wrong spot so I refreshed yet again. Still there. I had scored an 84%. I know that there are some of you out there who see that and think, “Come one now, 84% is OK at best. Why are you getting so excited about and 84%” Here is why. There is a running joke in nursing school that C’s are the new A’s. It is funny because it is true. This is why I was excited. Yes there are those students in nursing school who will never score bellow a 97%. This are often younger students who do not have families, jobs, live at home with their parents and nothing but time to devote to studying. Then there are the rest of us. We are the parents, who work (either at a job or in the home and YES THAT IS WORK! But that is another topic for another time), and have responsibilities outside of school. For these people, my people, we only have one goal. TO PASS!!!

In the realm of transition, this was a huge week. I STARTED ESTROGEN!!!! This has been a long time coming for me. So from now to when ever the doc decides to stop my HRT for something better, I will be giving myself injection of estrogen every Thursday. So yes I give them to myself. No it is not as bad as most people think. It is a bit of a mind-fuck the first time you give yourself injections but that is easily over come. I know I stick people with needles every day at work but it is still odd when you do it to yourself. I have been asked if I can notice any changes yet. The honest answer is…I do not know. It is not like some magic serum that with I good to be Thursday night and POOOFFF wake up Friday morning a Cis Woman (or even a Trans Woman with a great rack J ). This transition thing takes time. For those who know in IRL, know that this is my biggest hurdle that I am working to overcome.   I like stuff to happen NOW and in a hurry. I guess this is the universe’s way of making me slow down and not force things to happen. What I have noticed is some very small and subtle changes. To be fair, I do not know if these are being caused my the estrogen or are psychosomatic. The biggest thing is that my mind seems quieter. I have been on T-blockers for almost over two months and I have noticed that I am less prone to outbursts. So by adding the estrogen, it may have smoothed out things even more. Like I said though, I am not sure where to attribute it too but I will still count it as a win.

Unfortunately that was some shittyness this week too. This was the week some of my patients decided to take offence at me being trans. I knew this was going to happen. For the most part it seemed to affect my coworkers more then me. After one particularly vile person decided to ask, “Are you a man or a woman or something in-between,” I had a coworker ask me is I was good. I thought that he was asking if I need help with that patient or some other stuff in my assignment. I said I had the assignment squared but thanks. What he said next almost brought a tear to my eye. He said, “No, are YOU good?” I am tearing up a bit even now. If you were to look at this guy out on the street you would think that he might just be another stupid cis-het male. The truth is that he is a great man and has supported me for years. First when I came out as gay and not when I came out as trans. For this fact alone I love the guy. Thank you E.

The next time was a few nights later. This one I kind of laughed at. Sure this patient made it well known that he did not like me but at least he use the right works (“are transgender or something?) and my correct pronouns (“I don’t like her! She ain’t my deal” sorry sweetie, neither are you). When we got him settled down one of my nurses apologized for his comments. I told her though it was kind of her to say, it was not her apology that was warranted. I laughed and told her, “he may hate my but respected me enough not to miss-gender me.” Some days even that can be called a win.

I have said this a million times already, I knew that there were going to be bad reaction when I decided to come out as openly and be as visible as I am. I take it in stride. I have chosen to use the privilege that I have been given and use it to be an example to people that Trans people are just people. There are so few differences that it is almost difficult to name. Some has told me that I have been an inspiration. I am not sure how to take that. I am not trying to be anyone’s inspiration or the like. I am just trying to be me. Some days I can’t seem to even get that right. All I can do is just keep trying and see what happens. I know that I will get there someday. The road will not always be smooth as glass but it will never be boring.

Cheers

~Karissa~

 

 

  1. So as you may know, transition can and is very expensive. There are things that insurance just will not cover. This is not including the cost of legal name change and all the other stuff that goes with that. For this reason I have set up a GoFundMe. I hate to ask for help but if you are able to donate I ask you please do. Let me say this HERE and NOW, TransKarissaRN.com will ALWAYS be a free site. I will never turn this into a subscription site like others have. I would rather burn it to the ground and dance on its ashes before I do that. You can find the link on the edge of the page. Like I said, I am not here to pressure you to give ANYTHING at all. Also I do not want to cause anyone any hardship if they do give. If you can and do, GREAT THANK YOU SO MUCH! If you cant or don’t, GREAT THANKS FOR READING THE BLOGG!

Cheers again

~Karissa~