Claire Farrell: Don't be afraid to pamper yourself

Everyone at one time or another struggles with their mental health, but these struggles are heightened when you are trans.  

Growing up I dealt with my struggle by keeping busy and being extremely active physically, all the while learning about who I was. I didn't know at the time I was struggling with my mental health, nobody talked about anything like that and so I got on with it as best I could. Looking back, I figure I unwittingly developed fairly good coping skills which stood me in good stead throughout my life.

Whenever I would be feeling down I would be kind to myself and would go shopping and find something nice like new clothes, lingerie or anything that took my fancy at the time. I still do it to this day - It works! 

Being trans can be a lonely place at times and it's important to be aware of those moments and to do something that we know will give us a lift. Sometimes for me it means taking a walk by the sea or a trip to the mountains.  It always clears the head and allows me continue on my way once again. Having a nice meal with good wine as is evident by my rotund body has always been a favourite pastime of mine - not that I'm suggesting that for everyone!

I guess the message is: don't be afraid to pamper yourself and if you are really low, talk to someone you are comfortable with or seek counselling.  There's help out there: if you need it, use it!

Claire Farrell is Vice Chairperson of TENI. She is 72 years of age and has devoted most of her life to helping other trans people.  She loves travelling and dogs 😊