Today is day 18 post-op. Day 11 of mope-fest. I thought I would feel different. I thought I would be just thrilled and bursting with joy of being rid of my tits. By now, I thought I would be happier. Please don’t misread that: I never thought surgery would be a salve for all my emotional problems, and I did in fact know surgery would likely bring up some issues. But I also thought there would be some blanket of relief, some fireworks. I am waiting for a sense of relief; I am looking for the sense of myself that I thought would come with finally seeing a part of my body reflect the way I always wanted it to.
And now I see that I am judging my emotions based on other people’s responses, and that is making me more depressed. That is, in the moment of the big reveal, I was not as happy as this kid, at two weeks I don’t have thrilling moments in the mirror like Maddox. And so that is a problem, too: I have to stop comparing my process to the process of others because that shit is only making me feel worse.
But I am not unhappy with the results–the results are great, and I like how I look in a t-shirt now. I am a little nervous about going outside. I get anxious when I am going to see friends for the first time since surgery. I think people on the street will think differently of me now that I don’t have tits. Like they will see me and immediately think “tranny.” Ha! For God’s sake, I wasn’t exactly flaunting my tits before. I look mostly the same to the average person on the street and since when do I care what strangers think–what the hell is this really about? I don’t know.
I went to work yesterday to drop off my doctor’s letter and it actually felt really good to be there. No one treated me any differently (that I could tell) and some folks were genuinely happy to see me. I’m not close to the people that I work with, and some of them can be quite difficult, so I was very relieved, and somehow reassured, by the responses I got from my co-workers. I actually missed work. And that’s when I realized that this melancholia is probably more to do with a lack of a regular routine and little to no daily social interactions outside my house than to do with some hidden realization that I am not trans, or didn’t want the surgery, or some other ridiculous and unfounded fear.
So I think I am sad not so much because of the surgery, but more because I am sitting on my ass for most of the day, alone, watching Netflix, wondering why I am not as happy as everyone else who has had top surgery. I think this is a social isolation/internet-induced sadness now, and actually might have more to do with feeling useless without work and lonely for 10+ hours at a stretch. I have to get the hell out of my house, is what I am saying.
But still, I hate the goddamn bandages and am tired of the ointments. Most of the trouble is behind me, the discomfort, the surgical binder, the drains. I’m at the point in recovery where I’m mostly mended, but just so tired of not being well, of not being my standard healthy self.
Oh yeah, and there is some added anxiety because I am going to see my family for the first time post-op in two days…think that has something to do with my feelings of nervousness and sadness? Suppose I should have mentioned that earlier…
To those of you who have had this surgery: how did you deal with it, with seeing your friends and family post-op? Were you at all a bit self conscious about it? Am I alone in this post-op sense of deflation?
Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli