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INTERVIEWER: So you went to a Roman Catholic Primary School, is that right?

Yep.

INTERVIEWER: So it was even like at school that you were getting a lot of that.

Yeah, and the thing is, a lot of the kids I got along with, but it was the parents. Like, I remember, one of my best friends, must have been about 8. Just sometimes, she’d give me this look.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

You know, because everyone knew that I was different. Because it was always being pointed out. There was always like, something wrong with me as well. Always like ‘there’s something wrong with him’. And I remember having to go for all these tests, for kind of like learning difficulties and things like that. It’s because I kind of shut down after a while, because I wasn’t really understanding things. There was an incident when I was 8, when I was… I used to hang out with all the girls. I didn’t hang out with the boys. And I used to have a few male friends, but the rest of were female. And you know, they were always like ‘you need to play football’. And I hate football. And I just can’t relate to it. I was always with the girls making houses. And then, when I was 8, I was in class and I got really frustrated one day and I just wrote in the back of my book ‘I wish I was a girl’. But I didn’t actually at the time understand what I had just done. The teacher found it, and I was marched to the headmaster’s office. And my mum was called in, and I remember being in the headmaster’s office… and I think if this happened nowadays, there’d be some serious questioning, and the teacher threw the book on the table when my mum came in and was like ‘look what he’s done in his book’. And it was kind of… I didn’t understand what I’d done, but it reinforced this kind of insecurity within my head, that I’ve obviously not understood, or felt like I’d done anything wrong, but obviously I’ve been taken to the headmaster’s office, my mum’s been called in. So it was kind of, it really kind of pushed it back.

INTERVIEWER: What was your mum’s reaction to that?

The thing is, when I got home it wasn’t really spoken about after that. And that’s what my family do a lot, they kind of brush it under the carpet, forgot it, let’s move on, kind of situation. And that was the last thing. But I didn’t want to mention it. I didn’t want to… because by that point I knew that I was feeling completely different. But I didn’t know that anything existed like that, I didn’t know there was… so it was pretty hard, because I felt quite alone. So I just kept it inside and didn’t talk about it, until later on.

INTERVIEWER: Okay.

BPD I was diagnosed when I was 15, but then by that point, when I was 24, I was diagnosed with bipolar. So I had, so I was being treated for both of those. And then, it took me a long time to recover from being in the psychiatric unit. When I came out, it took me another eight months before I could even go back in to work. Because my head was just all over the place. But then, yeah, so my twenties… and the thing is, I had told a few people as well. When I was 21, one of my best friends, I only saw her the other day as well, Kelly. She came over and she was just like ‘oh, I remember you talking about this’, and breaking down in her garden and, you know. Because there must have been about three people that knew, and they were all really close. There were nights when we’d been together and kind of really, you know, just been getting deep in to each other’s lives and stuff. And things came out. I didn’t just… I wouldn’t have just told anybody at the time, because I thought to myself ‘it’s not something that can happen’, because of my family and my upbringing. And kind of like, outside influences. And then, yeah. It wasn’t until kind of like my late-twenties that I kind of started feeling a bit more confident about who I was. I did… when I kind of got back in to work, in my late-twenties, I did start partying a lot. And I started kind of trying to escape. So I was doing quite a lot of drink and substances as well, just to kind of escape. But then, towards my late-twenties as well, I kind of got in to this headframe that I need to kind of make myself feel comfortable in my body. So I wasn’t doing all these destructive things to myself. So I kind of started losing the kind of gender-bender kind of look. Nail varnish. I still had a full face of make-up on, but I completely changed it. I kind of thickened up my eyebrows, I would just wear mascara and base. But it looked like, very kind of like more natural. And I started growing a beard, and I’d never… and facial hair was always something that I completely despised. But I just kept thinking to myself ‘look, I need to kind of forget about this and I just need to be happy in the body that I’m in’. Which was the worst thing that I could have done, because it made me even more ill. Because I kind of changed me whole look, my clothes, grew facial hair. And it really just kind of started destroying me. But I thought ‘oh, maybe I should just go down this route’, you know, see if it helps, try and make myself feel comfortable with the body that I’m in. You know.

But even then… because I always say to people, I say ‘it doesn’t matter what part of my life I’ve been through, every time I’ve looked in a reflection, I’ve always seen I’ve always seen…’ Even before I had a name, I always saw a female in the reflection. Doesn’t matter what I was walking past. Sometimes you walk past a shop and you see your reflection. I always saw, you know, a female. I always saw someone… and that’s why I was trying to make myself fell comfortable in my body, because I thought, you know, maybe things will just work out a little bit more. Which they didn’t, it kind of spiralled out of control. Again, just to try and make myself feel comfortable. And I think that I did it a bit more for society as well. Which I don’t even know why I did. And then I just had another really bad experience, and then my friends… because I ended up in hospital again. And I’m still having treatment for it, because I screwed up my liver, because I took a really heavy overdose when I was about twenty-… no, 31. And I ended up in intensive care, because nobody found me. Well, for like 17 hours. And it was… my best friend Danny at the time, I’d already spoken to her about being trans. She was there for the whole time, and she knew that this was related to that. And she was one of the kind of forces behind me transitioning, because she’s like, ‘you know, you can’t keep doing this to yourself’. And she was the very first kind of like, kind of words of reason I’d ever heard. And she was like ‘you can’t keep doing this to yourself, you just need to live, you know, be you. Because I don’t want to see you do this to yourself again’. Because it was scary for everyone, I think. I don’t know what I was doing at the time, I just kind of did it and didn’t really think about the people who loved me. And that made me feel very selfish afterwards. And I was like ‘I need to just do something that’s going to help me’.

So I did… and that’s when I started looking in to it. And went to my doctor. And you know, finally did something about it. And I wouldn’t look back. This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I just feel so much more confident in myself. And I just feel a lot more relaxed, I’m not as uptight as I was. And the amount of medications I’ve come off since transitioning, like anti-depressants. I’m no longer on any anti-depressants. I’ve replaced it… because they cut me right down and I was like ‘I don’t want to be on it at all’ and they’re like ‘well with your bipolar and this, that and the other’ and I was like, ‘no, I want to do it herbally’. So I now take other things, like CBD oil. I’m on an anti-psychotic which I have to take, but I have to take that because of the bipolar, because obviously, I need to slow down my brain. Because otherwise, I would literally just be going a thousand miles an hour. But yeah, it’s just made me realise how many positives… the most positives that have ever come out have been since I transitioned. And the more comfortable I’ve ever felt in my life, so…