Psychosexual therapist & transitioning
I was referred to Principal Psychosexual Therapist Martin J Riley in October 2005 by my GP, after having counselling with RELATE Wrecsam. Back then, his office was at the Grove Road NHS Clinic. Earlier this year, many NHS clinic were moved to the Wrecsam Maelor Hospital campus, and now, he is based within Tŷ Deryn.
I remember feeling very anxious about talking through my emotions, feelings and the need to change gender with a man. I thought it would be easier talking through how I was feeling with a woman, after all, I saw myself as a woman. I was expecting to see an older man with a beard but not quite. He was grey haired and no beard and tall and very kind, thoughtful, understanding. Within 5 minutes, I was at ease I broke down in tears as I began to tell him about why I was there and why i needed help, and he handed me a box of tissues. I wasn’t telling him anything he had not heard before from other in my situation but, this was my story; my inner most feelings and desire I was spilling. It was not like I could lie to get what I wanted was it, after all; he would be able to tell if I was. Plus, what would be the point in doing so? I was there for his help, to guide me along the path I could no longer turn away from. I was scared …. shit scared in all honesty. Who wouldn’t be?I explained that if I didn’t seek help now, I would preobably end up being sectioned. I was losing the plot big time – rocking back and fro with my legs up to my chest, banging my head against the wall and talking to myself and losing track of who and where I was and of time too. I have very little memory of how I was back then. I try to fill in the gaps, unsuccessfully mind. Basically, it was now or never to seek help, I had told myself.
I had tried many times in my twenties (24), to seek help and I had actually sought an hour’s counselling with RELATE Deeside who, at the end of the session, had given me a number to phone in Wrecsam, that number was either for RELATE in Wrecsam or the Clinic on Grove Road, but I do not recall. I wish I had not cancelled the several appointments I had made. If I hadn’t, I would have gotten the help I so truly needed that much sooner – a good 10 years sooner. I was so scared and kept cancelling the phone call just before I dialled the last digit. Seems so silly now. I guess I just was not ready despite wanting desperately to change my gender.
For the first few years, I went to see him in my old gender and worked through my feelings, my doubts, talked about family, friends, work place and free time. As well as my childhood, when did I first start to wear clothes of the opposite gender etc. My frame of mind was in a real dark place and I had little to no confidence in myself whatsoever. This is why it took me a couple of years to finally accept who I am. During 2008, I had made my decision – I was going to transition from male to female. I had been wearing female clothes out and about for a few year – women’s trainers, jeans, tees, jumpers but looking androgynous. At my next appointment, I turned up head to toe as a woman much to Martin’s surprise! I had not forwarned him that I was going to do this and; I had not made the decision until the night before. I wore a brown leather jacket, jeans, striped tee and slip on shoes and padded out my chest. I felt like ME. From then on, I turned up for my counselling as Cerys whilst in my home and work life, I worked up towards coming out and going full-time, which did not commence until April 2009. I had to build up to telling my family, friends and work place, as well as applying for my name change via Deed Poll.
A Deed Poll allows you to back date your change of name (can’t remember how far back you can) and I didn’t. I applied in the April of 2009 and therefore, I have officially been Cerys for 4 years 4 months although I began using my new name since 2006 when I started using Yahoo, and chose it a few years previous after going through different names – Bronwen, Morgana, Blodwyn, Mair amongst those I contemplated. Why Cerys? Besides being a Welsh name, when I looked in the mirror, the name felt right. Cerys is a derivative of Carys which in turn is a derivative of Cariad (love), in turn stems from Calon meaning heart.
Shortly after my name change, my frame of mind took a severe nose dive for several months, taking me into 2010. For some reason, I had lost all confidence in myself and my transition to womanhood. Now, I have suffered with bouts of depression for years. My weight was affected each time – losing weight to 8st 10/9st 2 to gaining weight and ballooning to 11st / 11st 7Ibs. Wearing a size 14 jeans, be it for a months, freaked me out so much that I lost what I gained and got back down to 9st 6Ibs before putting weight on again. I remained at around 10st /11st mark for 18 months on and off, and only since May 2013, have I got myself back to 9st 4Ibs. By late spring of 2010, my mood rose and I was in a happy place which gained momentum when endocrinologist Dr Wong at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, prescribed me female hormones and testosterone blockers. Finally, I was on my way to becoming the woman I knew I am. So, besides the normal ups and downs, a few med changes along the way, hormones are working nicely.
October 2012, I got a letter from WLMHT (West London Mental Health Trust), part of Charing Cross hospital, that an appointment had been made to see Dr Stuart Lorimer on Friday 21st December at 1.15pm but, I was not able to attend. I had to send a letter to rearrange the appointment for the new year. Within a few weeks, a letter arrived with the date of my new appointment – Friday, 28th February at 09.15. This was no good because I require an afternoon appointment, what with me having to travel to London from North Wales. I rang WLMHT and after the receptionist looked at the calendar, Friday, 1st March 2013 1.15pm. The appointment lasted for 1 hour 30 minutes or so and Dr Lorimer gave me the green light to go for surgery pending what Dr Penny Lenihan said at my second appointment Thursday, 18th July 2013 and she too, gave me the all clear to go for surgery. Now waiting for a letter from the surgeons to arrange an appointment with them, hopefully before Christmas.
Coming back to the now, Thursday, 8th August was my last ever appointment with Martin Riley due to his retirement in October. I will miss going to Wrecsam every couple fo months to chat about how everything is going for me especially as I am so near to the end of my transition journey. He is happy with how I have got myself out and about and meeting new people – Facebook groups Rustic Rainbow and Rainbow 25, two groups whereby I gained many new wonderful friends (you know who you are), for whom I am ever so grateful to know. I told him how I am just waiting for Dr Midence (Ysbyty Bangor) to complete part 1 of my GRC (Gender Recognition Certificate) and post back to me, and will be 4 weeks come Friday. Normally, Martin would chase this matter up but, this time, it is down to me to do so if I do not receive the form by end of the week. After a handshake, a wish me look for the future, that was it, my final ta ra to Martin Riley after almost 8 years of counselling sessions.
It is going to be so weird not going to Ysbyty Maelor to see Martin Riley, definitely going to miss my appointments, especially for follow ups after surgery. From hereonin, my follow ups from Charing Cross will be with my GP Dr Elizabeth Shaheir. A brilliant doctor with whom I end up having a good laugh and a natter with each and very time I have gone to see her. Here is to the future …. may it bring me love, company and happiness.
(( Cwtch ))