A very good post, thank you Stephanie. I can identify with almost everything you have said.
But someone needs to point out the other side of the coin.
Cross-dressing for many has been/is a great No 1 bringer of stress caused by shame, guilt, secrecy , lack of dressing opportunity, and anguish, that has affected their physical and mental health for years, sometimes decades.
There are a lucky few with accepting SO’s, or live on their own, that can revel in the positive aspects of dressing, including the health benefits. But I fear they are overshadowed by a majority who are feeling stress on a daily basis because they are still in the closet or struggling emotionally. Who can say what negative effects this has had on their well being? Fore very one of you that can indulge themselves there are probably 10 – 20 or more who cannot.
Most of the responders to this post will be in the “lucky” minority. Many will dip in and think “Its not me they are talking about – I don’t get the opportunity to dress frequently or at all.”
I am somewhere in the middle. I can’t be myself openly at home unless my wife is out. This is stressful. When I am dressed it is a stress reliever – temporarily. I am only truly relaxed (except for the stress of the risk of being caught) when I am out walking our dog en-femme – a few precious hours a week! Yet I feel I am one of the lucky ones, because I have accepted the status-quo and learned how to manage it.
It should be noted that participating in CDH is one of the best resources for relieving stress and enhancing our mental health and emotional well being, as much as dressing is, perhaps even more so. For some it may be the only outlet they currently have.
Reflectively, Stephanie P