Emptiness in a Crowded Place

I haven't really blogged much lately and what I have written about, I've tried to keep topical and with an air of positivity. The reality is that there is so much more going on and it is hitting me from so many different angles and so many different areas in life that it is beginning to become too much for me to handle. This is isn't anything anyone else can resolve and it's not anything that therapy is going to help. This isn't anything that is going to be easier in making a choice and no easier if I do not.

I don't even know where to start with any of this. So much of this started long before and so much has just been added to the pile of minutia which in totality has become a burden left for me alone and for some and other aspects for both of us to bear.

The other day, I was out to do some Christmas shopping. Driving through the mountains along the nearly empty interstate highway that evening, some thoughts came to mind. I felt very comfortable and started to think to myself that the whole concept of anxiety associated with my diagnosed gender dysphoria was ludicrous. I was just so very comfortable with my sense of self that evening that the whole idea that I was suffering from GID was just non-existent. I glanced at that moment in the rear view mirror and realized there was a woman smiling back at me.... and there was a total "Oh Shit" moment.

It's all just too comfortable. Everything is just so amazingly in place socializing in the world as a woman. My persona as a male was always forced and practiced. I used to practice the talk and demeanor and dress of a male for decades. It looked to everyone like I was happy and content and comfortable, but the stress of knowing I was playing the acting role of my life was taking its toll year after year and incessantly building stress and anxiety and pain inside. The whole concept of being with women was more as a friend and wanting to have a girlfriend. The concept of having male parts was never an issue unless I needed to use those parts and immediately I felt ill at ease.

That was an entirely different issue and a serious one. I avoided the gender dysphoria and the expectations of being male by avoiding sex. At first I thought I was simply asexual and not interested in sex in general. I know I was and still am not attracted to men either. But, I do know that I always felt my maleness was an appendage which just did not belong. It's impossible to explain this to anyone not experiencing GID but it is, I understand, quite common as I learn more of the condition. Seriously, I've had to be totally plastered drunk before I could manage to be involved intimately with a woman and the total count in my life has been so few that I am averse to even share the number with anyone. Avoidance is not a long term solution and coming to terms with what I have been given as a male has not worked either. Fortunately, what I have been given is quite meager by medical standards and easy to hide as a woman. I wish the issue of my dysphoria would hide itself again too or just go away.

Getting out in the world and socializing as female has only exemplified what has been wrong with my whole life as male. By experiencing life an as a female to the greater degree I have in the years now that I have, it all just feels right. People treat me as they would any other woman, for the majority never realize that I was ever born as anyone other than a woman. I am treated as a woman, I am told by many truthfully how natural I am. Not relying on anyone elses input though but my own though, I just find my fit into society is just where it should have been all my life. It's like coming home to a familiar place after being away for a very long, long time. It's just a sense of place and well being that is relief for the weary who have struggled with an emotionally and internally fought battle their entire life.

Here-in lies the problem in the fact that it is all so comfortable. My greater levels of comfort create the increased levels of stress for my spouse as she loses that balance I have been trying to hold onto for so long. How difficult it is to play the lie when the truth is known. It should be easy, and even if not easy, it should be something I should and must be able to do to uphold the commitment I made to her. Yet still, I am the shell of the person I could be without being true to my own sense of self. I find myself withdrawing from the world one piece at a time. My forays out are planned and careful in male mode.

The anxieties which were without known understanding of cause or reason when I was in high school.... the panic attacks.... are back now. Only now, 30 years later the face of the daemon and the reality of the truth have materialized and made itself known. Looking back on those years in high school, it was all the same. I avoided the social mixing because to do so would cause me panic attacks to the point that I would lose feeling in my left arm, drop to the floor and pass out. I know and understand now what it was. It was the anxiety of my body growing into the man I did not feel I was. It was the social expectation of having to live and be that man and to live up to the expectations to not disappoint my parents... shame them. It was knowing that this was the box I had to live in and would have to live in the rest of my life.

I coped by avoiding. I avoided crowds and lunch rooms and restaurants. I sat at the back of the class so that others would not have to see me, lest I have a panic attack, turn red, freeze solid and pass out. Fear drove the panic and the panic fed on the dichotomy of the body I was developing as a male. The panic attacks subsided but the avoidance of certain social situations... crowded conference rooms or lunchrooms would cause me to relapse. This continued into my 20's, 30's and 40's. I hid it well and learned how to hide it from my spouse. She never knew when I had those internalized panic attacks that would cause a twitch or a shudder or my body to feel paralyzed. I had learned how to create a rearranged world where I could successfully complete my life and still avoid that which caused me so much distress.I had a learned how to create boxes and how to live within the safety of them.  When the box I thought was steel would turn to paper and dissolve into shreds, I would create another box and run to hide within it.  I am out of ways to compartmentalize my life any longer and I am out of ways to try to hide the disparate facets and pieces of my life from others for the sake of others.

"To thine own self be true"..... How can I honor this and honor the commitments I have made. I refuse to fail. It is not in my vocabulary. My own life will have to expire before I choose either, and if my life expires because of the paradoxical quagmire I am in, then I will have failed for this reason as well.

I have a problem which no therapist and no friend and no one can tell me what to do to resolve all of this. I have found my place in a crowded world, only again to find that I am all alone and in the dark.
Could any lyrics be truer than these....

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