Looking back, it’s been about two months since anyone has heard from me or seen a post from me. I’m truly sorry for that, it’s a bit out of character for me; certainly not something I’m prone to. It sort of started with the cruise I had mentioned in an earlier post. The day we had set aside for my evening as Caden arrived and we had a lovely day on the private island. We started with a lovely breakfast at the ships buffet, then disembarked the ship, heading towards the adult only area of the island. I had never been to the adult’s only area, and we had seriously been enjoying ourselves at the adult’s only pool for the past several days. We arrived at the adult’s only area by tram, found two hammocks no one had claimed, which were right in the boundary line of the adult’s only area. This equated to really no one to our right, and certainly no one on our left. We were sort of nestled between some small sand dunes, had morning shade, and the bar was not a far walk. If we listened carefully, we could hear Jimmy Cliff or Buffet playing. But we had our own music.
We snorkeled in the lagoon for a bit, came back and napped on the hammocks, then we went to lunch, which was simply divine. Then back to the water and then the hammocks for a nap. We got a tiny bit crispy, but not too bad. We then went to the family area so I could show Miss Girlfriend some of the snorkeling attractions in that lagoon. We had a good time there, and then made our way back to the dock in order to board before the mad dash. That’s one huge benefit of a Disney Cruise; they can dock at their private island, no tendering by boat. We returned to our stateroom, and I began prepping.
When I was eventually ready, we made our way to dinner fashionably late by about ten minutes. I could tell Miss Girlfriend was a bit anxious, but she usually is when I dress. She had napped during my prep time, so this was the first manifestation of her anxiety. The maître d’hôtel seated is as usual, however he appeared non-plussed. He eventually returned to our table to ascertain who I was. He was mildly surprised, or at least that was how he had appeared. Our actual waiter was completely professional, however out drink server was initially silent and obviously distracted. However he soon changed gears, and returned to his usual charming self. At one point, I thought I caught a “gentleman” attempting to snap an unwanted photo, but he may simply have been photographing someone else or the restaurant.
Overall, both of our anxiety levels were higher than we had anticipated. We also determined in our “post trip debrief” that the added pressure and luggage for Caden had overall detracted from the cruise, and put added pressure where none was needed. I secretly wonder if undertaking an entire cruise as Caden would somehow lessen the angst and anxiety. Anyhow, we returned home and a few days later I had the opportunity to meet up with a sister from Charleston for a night on the town. We had previously attempted a similar night, however schedules conflicted. This was my first time out with another CD, and I was happy to have the opportunity. We met up at her hotel where we both got ready, and then we headed to dinner to a local tapas restaurant I frequent when dressed. My friend looked lovely. However I quickly discovered she had forsaken or eschewed a lot of female mannerisms and characteristics. Some of her table manners concerning makeup application and primping had a lot to be desired. I was also visually assaulted by the masculine manner in which she applied her lipstick. But I tried not to let that waver me, and went back to enjoying the evening.
We then went to a local Gay Bar named Club One. It was mid-week and just after St. Patrick’s day, so the bar was slow and not very entertaining. Being the only two crossdressers there, we soon drew the attention of the few GG’s who were there. They were intrigued by us and we generally had fun answering questions and I even had to deflect a few flirtations; to their surprise, because they simply could not fathom I crossdressed AND had a knowing and supportive GF back at home. My friend however, also very married, made no such efforts. Let us just say she was like a Pied Piper of women. She tended to draw women in from all over the bar, and then began to act a bit… lecherous. Slutty even. She seemingly had no filter in the things she said to the women in our entourage. And they ate it up. Still do not understand that.
As the night went on, her lechery persisted and worsened. It was almost stomach turning to me, and I hated to be associated with it. I found I was beginning to distance myself from her and the entourage she had formed around us. A few of the women splintered off from her group and sat with me when we went to a dueling piano bar, which made for a much more civil evening. Eventually the bar closed and I went home after putting Caden “back in the bag.” That was the first time in a long time that I did not feel the pangs of regret for having to change back over to my male self. I had recently been worried about my usage of Caden as a method of dealing and coping with my PTSD. I worried that a dependency to that mechanism, which might create a more permanent dependency on Caden’s presence in my day to day life.
Do not get me wrong, I’d simply love to be Caden day in day out, to always experience life and all of its nuances as her. Life seemingly has more flavor and color as her. But it’s an unrealistic dream for me. Well, because of my recent rough experience with stress on the cruise, the really rough outing with the other CD, and that worry about the dependency on Caden; I began to subconsciously suppress Caden and most thoughts concerning her. I did not become aware of it until I planned an outing with Rachel. The most minor and trivial of inconveniences popped up, and I told Rachel I could not make it. Completely out of character for me. It was then I knew something was amiss. However my mind and body were not done with me yet.
I entered into what I refer to as a PTSD cycle. For me, a PTSD cycle consists of a period of time, mostly on average a week or so, where I suffer my extreme PTSD nightmares. The nightmares consist of events and sensory perceptions of events which I took part in and observed as a police officer and investigator. However this time, my nightmares persisted. They’ve persisted for almost a month now. This has caused me a great deal of angst and anxiety, added stress and lack of sleep. It strained my relationships.
I spoke at length with my psychologist, and she told me to start writing my dreams down, document them and then speak about them. But she also told me I needed to stop blaming myself for my perceived failures, but also not to blame myself for the things I could not stop or help. This felt better to me, but there was a side effect I wasn’t exactly prepared for. My Doctor also told me I needed to stop suppressing Caden. It’s not fair to punish “her” for what some other crossdressers did. I had come to the conclusion about Caden being used as a coping mechanism after my visit, so my doctor is not privy to that yet. But she advised me that I need to be able to vent and relax in a way that worked for me.
I began to feel angry, a lot after talking to my Doctor. I was angry at the people who had put me in the situations which created my triggers. I was angry at the selfish people who had created those situations. I was angry at the system which had essentially threw me to the wolves to fend for myself, and NEVER offered a psyche debrief. Sometimes I was angry at specific people or things, other times I was simply just angry. It stressed and strained my relationship with Miss Girlfriend and even put me to the point where I messaged my Psychologist and told her I almost felt like I was at a crisis point. A crisis point very similar to when I was diagnosed with PTSD.
So I began wearing Caden things again. Then I began sleeping as Caden. And each new step helped lessen my anxiety and stress, and even reduced my nightmares potency. Then I decided I needed to fully dress and go out. So I made plans with Rachel and Miss Girlfriend for the three of us to go out to a rooftop bar for cocktails and then dinner. We met, and had a wonderful evening, spent a vast amount of time talking, and all agreed we should do it again soon. That night, my stress and anxiety upon waking was all but gone, and my nightmares had very little power over me. But they were still present. I also had a significant amount of Caden related dreams. Unfortunately, last night I failed to wear anything to bed as Caden, and things flared back up. So that my friends is where I have been and what I’ve been coping with. I hope all of you are well, and I look forward to catching back up on all of your blogs. Take care ladies!
Ever & Always, Caden Lane