I was once asked what might have helped me cope with all of this in earlier years. The truth of the matter is the “coping” went on for almost 50 years. I guess it was the structure of my life that allowed me to cope. I was and am a husband. Love that role. I was and am a father. Now in the role of supporting our children. Then actively involved in helping raise and provide for them. Occupying my mind was critical with my ability to manage the urges. Being a man, doing things men do, certainly helped. I played football in high school. I did things with my friends. I competed in various activities, whether it was golf or softball. The kids’ activities. I have worked out all of my life, now I am a runner. I watch sports, rooted for my teams, was and am a man. But we all know now, there was more than a guy hiding in there.
Between my then professional career and the activities the kids were involved in, my mind was generally occupied. I’ve talked before about my triggers: stress, opportunity and an idle mind. There is always some stress in raising a family, opportunities were rare (being home alone or on the road) and with everything going on, my mind remained focused on what I needed to do each day.
It probably helped me cope as well never admitting to myself that I was a crossdresser. To me, it was an urge that I would beat, a problem that would go away. I never faced the reality of the situation until October 2014 (see the “About” section of the blog).
Now, I would argue I didn’t cope well. Intense stress, stress like you cannot imagine (outside of the stress associated with a health issue), fueled a CD fire like you cannot believe. Now looking back, with the gift of perspective, I know I was not personally happy. By that I mean I was not happy with myself. I was happy being Dad, my wife’s husband, a friend, etc., but I was never happy with myself. I can see that clear as day now. Had that cheesy mustache, gone now (certainly by necessity, but I don’t miss it). Hated having my picture taken (do so all the time now). Never smiled, smile constantly now. Loved my wife but rarely told her so, do so now daily, frequently.
Coped? I guess I did since I made it through the other end. Coped well? Maybe not.