Trigger warning: bipolar disorder, mania, depression, self-harm
“I’m tired of feeling sad.” He says it as you are both eating breakfast, his expression drained of life. It has been three days of this, and you know, despite what you may be hoping, that it is far from over. It started a couple weeks ago, not with sadness, but what a psychologist calls, “hypomania.”
Fifteen years ago, my mom and I had an interesting discussion about the repercussions of being out. I came out the year before, just before graduating high school, and in the intervening time, had come out to my brother, my grandparents, my co-workers, my friends. Mom and I had danced around the topic a lot, but after my initial coming-out conversations with her, we'd essentially swept it under the rug. When things finally came to a head, I asked her why. Why, of all people, could I not talk to her about this topic?
"Because there are mean people in this world. There are people who will want to hurt you because of who you are, and who you love, and that scares me."
I took a minute to digest this information. "You work at a bank. If someone robs that bank tomorrow, and decides you're not moving fast enough for them, they could shoot and kill you, and it wouldn't matter to them that you are married, or that you have two sons at home. I could be afraid of what …
Just over a year ago, I met someone. Pros: vibrant personality, intelligent, witty, attractive. Cons: sketchy living situation, somewhat checkered past, ten and a half years my junior. Mom was going to have a field day with that last one. We talked online, texted for a couple days, met for coffee, kept texting, and things went from there.
And, he's transgender. He was assigned female at birth and is transitioning to male. He started hormone replacement therapy in February of 2013, and as of this writing has had no surgeries. To say that I was nervous would be an understatement. I didn't know what to expect, and to be honest, I had no clue about the vast majority of the "process" of transition. He was open about this fact from the onset, and was (mostly) patient with questions I asked, though he also coached me to do some research on my own. So I read, and I researched. Wikipedia articles, ftmguide.org, YouTube videos, you name it.