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Saturday, March 3, 2012

The New Normal

I'm beginning to get a sense of the new normal. What has been changed is irrevocable. Something has been lost and much has been gained. It's still all such a shock how this came about that I feel stressed, tired and have really not quite integrated the whole experience of my parent's accidental discovery, though I could not have expected a better outcome.

Partly this has to do also with ongoing work stresses that are mounting as the drive for Obama Care pushes the system of medical economics towards its intended collapse so that the new order of health care can be established. (Please note this is not a political rant, just the experience of a front line health care provider. No political responses please). We are being told to see more patients because reimbursement from the government is being cut and that translates into the need to see more patients to keep operating.

 It slows my bouncing back from the highly emotionally charged experience of coming out to my parents in an unintended manner as the numbers of patients I am expected to see increases dramatically. This week I saw 46 patients in a 40 hour week. I owe this miracle of services rendered to my wonderful relapse prevention group that I look forward to running each week. There is no time for a break in a schedule such as this.
Self care is the most important way to get back into balance. When one is under stress, good sleep hygiene is important, even crucial. If you can't get your sleep right, nothing else will follow. There are a lot of things one can do besides taking medications; one can listen to soothing music, practice meditation and progressive relaxation techniques. It is helpful to turn off the TV, not read, stay away from video games or anything that is stimulating for at least a half hour before bedtime.

Another important aspect of managing extreme stress is to pay careful attention to your nutrition. Be sure you are eating a very healthy diet. Cut down on caffeine. Adding vitamin supplements, especially B complex vitamins and fish oil supplements are really important to reduce or avoid depression, as is vitamin D and it's subclass of D vitamins D1, D2 and D3. The D vitamin complex is fat soluable as is E and A. Do not exceed recommended doses unless instructed to by your physician becaiuse while water soluable vitamins wash out of your body quickly, the A, D and E vitamins accumulate in fatty tissues and can be toxic if overconsumed.

Getting exercise is also important. You don't have to go to the gym and spend hours working out. Taking a brisk walk for 20 to 40 minutes can do wonders. If you have health concerns, again please consult your physician before starting a program of exercise.

For those of you of faith, practicing it actively is very helpful. Those who are not of faith can practice meditation and that  can be equally helpful as well.

If you have practiced these suggestions and after a period of two to three weeks and you feel no improvement, please consider speaking with a therapist or a medical doctor. They can help you with objective feedback and perhaps medication if necessary. Many times medications are not necessary, but they can be very helpful, particularly if you are prone to anxiety and/ or depression.
While I take this time to regather my inner resources, it is also a time of preparing for the final task. Transitioning at work or accepting that this place of long term employment may not be what will work in the future and I am considering alternatives that might require relocating.
One Day at a Time, as a successful self help program advocates is the way to approach difficulties in life.  As I regroup, I am planning to present my intention to transition at work to my employer in the not so distant future. This, to me seems like a much more straightforward proposition. Either they agree and support my plan, or I remain as I am for the short duration in order to secure a position where I can work as who I am. Fortunately, I have some ideas and irons in the fire to handle such a circumstance if it were to arise. While I would much rather stay where I am and continue to build on the successes of the Transgender Health Care program I have created, I am also quite open to a new avenue of exploration of career opportunities, hopefully in the Southeast U.S. where transgender health care resources are more scarce, not that there isn't a great need all over the U.S., it just seems to be more acute in the sunny south. I like the climate and I am at home there.

So in a couple of weeks, I intend to go forward with my plan to present to management. I had hoped to accomplish this by last November, but 3 and a half months off my plan isn't such a bad delay considering that the one thing I dreaded most is done, over and mainly successful, though not perfect.
Contented mature woman
That's more than "good enough" for me.


  1. Sherri, this is very good advise and I notice my overal health suffers when I don't get enough sleep.

    As far as the healthcare situation I have seen it myself with our Fortune 500 Corperaton going to, what we employees have deemed as the, "don't get sick" healthcare plan. Next Pharoah will be asking us to cut our own straw.

  2. Sherri, good advice - I need to heed the exercise portion.

    As for getting to sleep, I find a warm beverage before bedtime to be helpful. Decaf tea, an occasional hot chocolate or low sodium chicken broth are my favorites. Also if you have to work late, or listen to music too late, try playing games like Sudoku or Solitaire. They require concentration which helps clear your mind of the music or other thoughts, but are not worth thinking about when you are done.

    I'm so glad that your unplanned revelation to your parents is working out for you. I'll keep praying that work gets better and that you are able to transition with minimal stress.

    Hugs, dear friend

  3. Traci O'GaraMarch 4, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    Stress in itself is not a bad thing for it can fire up your mind to achieve levels that it might not have touched without it. But to live "on the edge" for extended periods is not a good thing. Like a machine, the pieces of your body will wear down or out and lead to more bad things.
    Also, stress is an enemy to physical transition as well. You use energy to combat the demons within that ought to be used to build up, which taxes your system, which again leads to wearing down and failure. Sooooooo..
    Just as you stated, I have found that walking 4-5 miles per day (I have a puppy who loves the exercise), getting proper rest including a mid-day 15-20 meditation or catnap, and a healthy diet with lots of water has helped keep me on even keel as I wade thru my transition. 15 months on hormones now and a diet of vitamins and minerals and I have not had as much as a sniffle! Estrogen has helped get myself aligned internally and at age 61, I have not felt this good in years!
    You have a lot on your plate continue to find time to care for yourself. The rest will fall into place!
    Best wishes always and for continued good are doing a wonderful thing for our community!
    Traci O'Gara xoxo

    1. Stability = Security / Security = Less "Stress" - Perhaps the time is coming closer to explore a more independant livlihood / To create your own brand dong it your own way and being your own "Boss"
      Transistioning involves every facet of your life - including - the way you survive & make your living / Its all part of the process to achieving a "Quality" life and staying "Happy" as well as being your own person / All the best - Shirley

  4. Such great advice Sherri and I do take a combination of Vitamin B Complexes for the health of my nervous system as well as vitamin D (especially in the winter months) and flaxseed oil (great for the skin and for helping manage healthy cholesterol levels). Exercise is something both endeavor to do to manage stress and keep ourselves healthy (both my spouse and myself).

    I wish you every bit of positive thought in your future prospects and do not hesitate for one moment to believe that you will do well with whatever endeavor you set your mind to.

    I am also confident that, in time, your parents will find solace and contentment in your own happiness and accept you for who you are. Your spouse will help to be the bellwether and buffer in all of this and although it is and can be difficult at times I am sure for her, will nevertheless help to be the cornerstone of your own path forward.

    I wish you both well in all things!