Starting Counseling and The Road to Recovery

Starting counselling - the journey to recovery

Dear Readers,

I’m honored to share the words below from Cynthia, one our your Crossdresser Heaven Ambassadors. Her words are open and will touch your heart.

I had never been much of a believer in counseling until just a few years ago.  I have never been one for sharing my thoughts and feelings easily so I didn’t see what good it would do.  But then life started throwing some curveballs. Not the kind where any one thing is overwhelmingly tragic or life threatening and certainly many others have much more horrific things happen to them or their loved ones.

Transgender Heaven - Gender Journey

For me it started when my dad passed away in 2004.  He was 75 and had been married to my mom for 50 years.  He was the finest man I ever knew-a man like the one Rudyard Kipling described in his epic poem “IF”.  I know it is the normal course of events that each of us must eventually lose our parents but for me that was my first close family member to die when I was old enough to remember it (I was 39 at the time).  My family and I had just moved earlier that year and then that summer was when my wife decided she couldn’t stay married to me-not exclusively because of my cross-dressing (which had continued despite my best efforts at stopping as I had promised her) but that was the main reason.  She told me that I had never loved her-totally untrue in my opinion though she was the one and only person I had ever dated and been intimate with so maybe I just didn’t know what love was? In any case I had always been hopelessly devoted to her but couldn’t deny the need to express my feminine side (at least partially) by occasionally dressing.  I never even looked at other women (or men in case anyone wondered) because I couldn’t even conceive of cheating on the one I loved.  So in the space of nine months, I experienced three of the seven most stressful events people go through in life-

  1. Buying or selling a house –  January 2004
  2. A relationship break-up or divorce – Summer 2004
  3. Getting laid off.
  4. A death in the family – April 2004-Dad  passed away
  5. Getting fired – October 1992, one month before daughter born
  6. Being in debt – 1992-1999
  7. Starting a new job – March 1993
  8. Becoming a parent for the first time – November 1992
  9. Planning a wedding.
  10. Going broke or bankrupt – 1994

As you can see 3 of the top four in that year 2004 and hit five of the other 7 in themed 90’s when I lost my job with ZERO notice one month before our first child was born.  So I am certainly no stranger to stress !

After a messy separation and divorce(where my cross-dressing was brought out in court as something that made me unsuitable to be a parent(made it sound like I was a danger to my kids though thank goodness they never heard it), I moved into my elderly mother’s house due to financial reasons (high child support).  This worked out well as she had been alone since my dad passed and my being there kept her company and allowed me to not starve in trying to pay for two completed households(mine and my ex’s).  During the years there I admitted (first in a letter then face to face) to my mom and one of my sisters about my cross-dressing.  They didn’t make fun of me or criticize but neither wanted any part of seeing me dressed either so I was confined to my bedroom if I wanted to dress in private.

…And boy (or girl ☺ ) did I !  My feminine wardrobe quickly exploded first from furtive trips to Goodwill then eventually from online shopping and Kohls and Walmart (thank you self checkout for helping avoid those awkward questions/comments—“You know these AREN’T pierced earrings, sir?” and (jokingly I think) “That shade of lip gloss will look good on you” –BOTH of those actual comments I got ☺ .My closets filled up and then the series of events that led me to counseling began in 2010-11.

My mom had a stroke in late 2010 and in treating her, the doctors discovered she had terminal cancer with 6 months to a year to live.  Heartbroken, our family rallied together and helped her through the last days ‘til she was mercifully taken home in April 2011.  My parent’s assets were in a trust and the administration of that trust that should have taken less than a year ended up taking over three years due to my youngest sister being a total bitch(sorry there was no better other word for it)I bought the house in early 2012 and am still living there.  The issues were further compounded by two more tragic events less than a year later.  First my 2nd older brother died of alcohol induced liver failure in March 2012 then just two months later, my other (eldest) brother died of surgical complications(he was a quadriplegic from age 16 but that’s a whole other story I may share another time. ). Triple whammy to the family in just over a year’s time.

But life couldn’t be satisfied with just that curveball so it decided to toss some more dynamite into the mix.  My son (age 17 at the time and living with his mom) had gotten involved with drugs and quit school.  Mind affected by the drugs and his own personal demons/worries, he put his hand through a plate glass window and cut his arm down to the muscle and would have bled to death if his stepdad hadn’t been able to stop the bleeding by pressing a towel against it til the ambulance got there. THEN while I was at the ER with him waiting for the hand surgeon to treat him, I got a phone call from my daughter who had nearly died when she totaled her car in an accident.  Turned out she ended up with air bag and seat belt bruises and was OK but it was close!  Then a few weeks later, the EX almost died of a ruptured ovarian cyst-causing my kids a huge amount of grief and worry.  And Michael continued having drug issues over the next several years-eventually living with me and fighting me in trying to get him help with those issues.  He spent sixty days in jail and all of the issues with him caused issues with our parent’s trust resolution as well.

All this was causing me huge stress at work-making me unproductive as I worried about all that was going on at home with all of the family while I was at work.  Finally my boss came to me and said “you NEED to call the EAP (Employee Assistance Program)”—not maybe you should but you NEED to.  Reluctantly I agreed and did so later that week from home.

That first call to the crisis center was life-changing (and has its own funny story).  First the serious part-I called the toll-free # and an intake counselor answered and I let it all out-everything that was happening-the multiple deaths in the family, the problems with my son’s drug use and behavioral issues and ,-oh yeah- my “little other issue”” of being a crossdresser and the stress from that!  The lady was very nice and comforted me and helped setup an appointment with a local counselor who I have seen ever since then (three years or so)..  The funny part of the story is this-when dialing form work, we have to dial  a “9” to reach an outside line then you dial the number.  Even though I was calling from home, by force of habit I hit “9”  then began dialing the 1-800 #.  After hitting the “1” I  realized my mistake and hung up (OR SO I THOUGHT!!!) and then redialed “1-800…”. Yes you guessed it-I did NOT actually hang up so the combination of my two dialing efforts ended up calling 911 !!  While I was pouring my guts to the EAP people I heard the beep for call waiting but since I was on an important call I ignored it (tell me if you see what happens next☺ ).  A few minutes later, I hear a knock at the front door which startled me. It took me a moment til I went over to the door and when I opened it no one was there but  a police car was out front nit eh street.  I walked outside and called but no one answered so I walked around the back of the house where to m y shock and fear I saw TWO policemen peering through the back windows. Turned out they had dialed me back after I hung up on the 911 call(since I didn’t know ?I had made it) and when I didn’t answer they were dispatched to check on my safety..  Sure I look back and laugh now but at the time I almost had a heart attack!

The first appointment with the counselor I was hesitant to open up but figured I might as well as she got the notes from my call to the EAP folks.  The entire first session was me going through the list of events above while she took notes.  At the second session she told me that she had reviewed her notes and that she thought it was a miracle that I was still even functional given all that had occurred to me in such a relatively short time!  I see her every two weeks now and she helped me get through the family issues which are MAINLY resolved now-at least they are not in crisis anymore.  She has also been helping and continues helping me today to work through my gender issues forcing me to explore my own thoughts and feelings to come to grips with my cross-dressing and whether there is more to it than just the dressing.  I am not certain where my path will lead but have come to accept that this is who I am and that I am OK with that!

Well this went WAY longer than I intended it too but it helps explain why my feelings toward  the value of counseling and the willingness to open up that has helped me make progress and feel that one day I will figure out my destination and in the meantime to enjoy the ride.

Love all you ladies and if you have any questions or comments about this post or anything else I’ve posted, you can leave them here or PM me if you prefer to keep it private.

Cynthia

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*skippy1965(Cynthia)

The Original Cyn, or OC for short. Cynthia is from Richmond Virginia, she crossdresses every day (lucky gal!) and has a knack for tracking down niggling technical issues so we can fix them. She is also on a journey of self-examination to figure out where her feminine journey will lead her, and is always willing to talk with others about their feelings and questions or her own.

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JaneS
Guest
JaneS

Cynthia your post is a great testament to the resilience of the human spirit. As your counselloe says, after just a few of those events it would be understandable for you have have totally withdrawn or crumbled under the load. Counselling can take many forms. Formal counselling sessions with a trained professional are invaluable and I have had many such sessions with a number of counsellors over the years. As I have alsso found out though, sometimes good counselling can come from just having the ear of someone who understands where we’re coming from, either through their own experience or… Read more »

Evelyn Satterfield
Member

Im glad you went to counseling. Im in counseling now and its really helpful, although I have not told my therapist about my feminine desires. I suppose one day I will find the courage to tell her. I cant keep this in forever. Looking at your story makes me want to tell my therapist, but my lack of courage might prevent me.

Lori
Guest
Lori

I can’t relate with crossdressers as I am a transsexual. But, even before I came out publicly, I have never been asked questions at the checkout counter. They would just scan the items and that was it. My problem is, I get ignored. Even now that I have transitioned and live as a female all the time, no one talks to me. I mean sure, if I ask a question to a sales person, they will answser but no one comes up to me to initiate a conversation. Even at a club. I have gone to gay clubs many times… Read more »

Rosaliy
Guest
Rosaliy

Gee Lori. I don’t have an answer for you on that one. I can’t think why no one would talk to you or even approach you. Oh well. When it comes to being friendly and being a friend, nothing is relevant except the friendship and learning about each other. I relate to people, a lot better now than I did as HIM, not to gender or label issues. I give the same respect I expect and that works for me. As for counselors, I learned some hard lessons at very early ages. Your peers could not be trusted and adults… Read more »

Maxine Doos
Baroness

Hi Cyn,
What can I say? An amazing story.
Kudos to you girl for your resilient spirit and your wonderful persona on here.
You truly are an exemplary Ambassador.
As Jane mentioned, not all counseling comes from “qualified sources. Never underestimate the value of your sunny disposition and the trust that it engenders.
You make me proud to be your friend.
Hugs,
Maxine.

Emily
Lady

I agree with Cynthia whole-heartedly, you HAVE to be able to tell your counselor everything. EVERYTHING. You pay them to help you. They can’t do their job if you don’t give them all of the information. I know it’s SO hard to say things out loud. Admitting some of these things out loud makes them too real sometimes, and goes against our desire to deny them. But once you truly start owning your thoughts and feelings, the world becomes an easier place to live in…I promise you. I had so many wasted sessions with my counselor where we didn’t get… Read more »

Jodi
Lady

Wow ! I couldn’t even begin to relate . I will say though I am proud to be your friend . I really admire your strength and ability to keep on keeping on . I think I would have crumbled under those circumstances happening so close together in so short a time .
Head and chin up . You’re an inspiration . I mean that with all my heart . x
Love Jodi

Lesley
Guest
Lesley

What an inspiring story Cyn and thank-you for sharing your heartfelt experience. So much do I feel for you and much more do I wish you to grow and feel loved even more. I have just come out to my closest friends about my crossdressing and one of the topics raised during the discussion was counselling. One of my friends is receiving counselling due to her turbulent past, with her mother committing suicide from a broken marriage and difficult relationship issues and social isolation it was suggested that this possibility could be an option that I might choose given the… Read more »

Jesse Nicole(Smokey)
Ambassador

I read this again this Morning CYN..I know some people that need to read this and know that it IS possible to be strong after the storm. Thank you for being here. It is an honor to call you my friend.

VickieJ
Lady

My god Cyn, after reading your artical, I believe I will refrain from ever feeling sorry for myself again.

You are a very strong person.

Jaimelynn
Guest
Jaimelynn

Hi Cynthia, You definitely have a gift of empathy…from your personal experiences in the real world. As you noted from a deacon in your old church…you never know who may be watching you…and the influence you may have. I would add when ‘God is in the equation’ as well…KJV version… II Cor 1.4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. And a very difficult verse to that cannot be understood except having gone thru the difficult experiences… Read more »

Maria Young
Lady

Hi Cynthia honey I loved your story it so closely resmbles my own although I think my story is one of those more horrific ones but I’ll have to talk about that later it’s a long one goodness girlfriend it sucked sorry but its the truth life has been one long slow curve ball OMG I married at 19 the girl next door ok LoL there but it was her grandma’s house and she was visiting often anyway things were great at first til she found out about my crossdressing we worked it out but I couldn’t dress and you… Read more »

Belle
Ambassador

This is amazing – and my goodness!!! You’ve had such a rocky road getting here! I’m so glad you are though *big hugs* I’m a big big supporter of counseling and therapy. Even if I didn’t have depression or my other issues – just “getting the oil changed” works out pretty well every few months – just to make sure I’m taking care of myself. I applaud you for sharing so much and I’m so proud of you!!! *big hugs x2!!*

Belle

Christine
Guest
Christine

Thank you so much for sharing your story. Like your counselor, I’m amazed you were able to do as well as you seem to have done with all of that going on in your life.
God bless you hon,
Christine

Christine
Guest
Christine

Thank you so much for sharing your story. Like your counselor, I’m amazed you were able to do as well as you seem to have done with all of that going on in your life.
God bless you hon,
Christine

Lady Veronica Graunwolf
Guest
Lady Veronica Graunwolf

Cynthia, hello sweetie and a big bear hug. You are so strong to withstand what has happened in your life. The Councilor and time will help you with these issues but, like myself, you will be scarred. You have many friends here to talk with and who love you very much. With Gods help to be strong….you will come thru these issues. Lord knows I survived Vietnam and the loss of many loved ones. It is hard…Cynthia, at times you want to pick up the pistol and end it…….I pray for God to give you strength and mental toughness to… Read more »

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