"My mental health issues were diagnosed in 2013 after a breakdown and assaulting my ex wife. After seeing a counsellor, I finally came out about how I felt. Since the age of four or five, I knew I was different. It was not till I was nine when I first tried on girls clothes that I felt happy and it felt right.
But it was the 70's. I didn't know anything about cross-dressing or transgender people. It was a subject that was kept secret. Through my school years I would dress in girls clothes when I could. Borrowing, buying, and I'm sad to say stealing. Usually just odd items of clothing and underwear from female family members, friends' sisters, girlfriends and occasionally buying bits as I got older. After a few weeks I'd feel guilty and dispose of it all and say to myself I wouldn't do it again. But I did it again and again.
To try and stop the feeling I would do all the things expected of being a male. This led to me feeling isolated and I'd lock myself away as I got older. I would avoid going out with friends when things got tough. I did have relationships with girls and even experimented with boys so I thought 'Ok, I'm bi that's fine'. But the urge to be female never went away.
I ran away when my girlfriend was pregnant because I felt bad. By then I knew more about what being transgender and I knew that I was transgender. I wasn't sure I could deal with the secret feelings I had and being a parent, Eventually I got back with her and we married after having a second son. We then had a third son.
I continued to hide my dressing and thought that would be enough. At the age of 46 I began to become more and more depressed by how my body was, but I continued to fight it. I accused my ex of having affairs and cheating on me in the hope that she'd throw me out or leave me. She didn't, but the paranoia was growing and I became obsessed that she was leaving. Finally I snapped and tried to strangle her,
After, I left the house and drove around. I attempted to hang myself but was stopped by a couple with a new born walking toward me. I then turned myself in to the police who charged me with assault and I received a caution which cost me my job.
Shortly after I started to live part time as a woman. In September 2014 I was made homeless and I lived in my car for 6 months. During this time I lived as a man because of the difficulties of shaving and storing clothes. Eventually I got a place and began the process of living full time as a woman.
Living as a woman has helped me cope with depression, which has affected me on and off most of my life. Sadly I have had to make choices which have worsened my depression, such as not being able to see my grandchildren because my eldest son wants nothing to do with me. None of my sons do partly because of what I did to their mother when I had my breakdown in June 2013 and then coming out as transgender and living full time shortly afterwards.
Since beginning to live full time I have found a new confidence in myself. I am able to make friends and enjoy some sort of social life when I am not struggling with my low moods. In the beginning, one of the hardest things I had to deal with was feeling I was failing to be convincing as a woman. This would be compacted by the odd unkind remark or sniggering I heard. The worst time was when I had stopped at services to use the toilets. Of course, I used the ones appropriate to the gender I was presenting as. As I left I was abused by a woman who called me perverted, a disgrace to the human race and that told me that I should have been killed at birth. This was a real knock to my confidence and I stood and cried as a security guard removed her from the services.
Over the next 20 or so months since then I have learned to ignore these occurrences. I even found a guy who treated me as the woman I wanted to be accepted as. We got engaged and I began to have less and less low moods. I felt better about life but as I became more and more confident and began to develop as Debra-Anne, I realised that I still preferred women. Although I am bi, I find the male genitalia disgusting. It reminds me of my past and the body I grew up in for so long. I realised I didn't want to be with my fiancée any more. He'd given up so much to move down to be with me, from Scotland to a place where he had no family or friends. The guilt ate away at me and led to me becoming very depressed and taking an overdose.
These feelings have caused my depression to go from moderate to severe on occasions. Although I am seeing a therapist at the gender clinic, I am not moving forward with actually starting to change my body with hormones and surgery. I feel this is taking away what time I have left in a body that matches the person I am living as. The time being accepted by my friends and by the people in the town where I live.
To me it is all a façade. Fake. Not true. When I go to the bathroom or get undressed, even try on clothes when shopping, I see the tell tale sign I'm still physically male. This messes with my mind. Although I try to tell my self it is going to change and it's not so bad, the thoughts build up leading to bouts of low moods where I can't deal with life and shut myself in my flat and ignore the world outside me."