Falling Upwards

Falling Upwards

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update, but to be honest, I haven’t had a lot to say and with work and the ongoing health issues I have just been really too tired to put pen to metapphorical paper.

However, I now have something that I need to share. Some of you may know that I have been working on my book for a number of years, and finally I have secured a publishing deal with Unbound. I approached Unbound because their pioneering publishing model means I can write exactly the book I want to write. But of course, first, the book needs to be funded. With Unbound, readers choose which books get written and published by pledging support. If we reach the funding target, then production can begin and the book will appear a few months later. In return for supporting this book, you’ll get different levels of reward, from your name in the back of the book to signed copies, a lovely poster-sized copy of the cover artwork. You can even if you want you can get a visit in person from me for your group or club.

There will also be regular updates on the Unbound website about my progress editing it, and about the whole production process.

To back the project visit Unbound here https://unbound.com/books/falling-upwards/


This is not your typical trans woman transition story, this is the story of someone who spent the first 27 years of their life struggling to come to terms with childhood grief, served with a side salad of parental abuse, with a topping of school bullying.

An initial glimmer of hope in the form of non gender typical activities such as ballet, then crushed following an outburst to a child phycologist that things would be better if I was a girl.

In the mid 80s pre section 28 era this was too much and my parents (who were a non out same sex couple) were encouraged to make a man of me. This meant an increase of discipline at home, which went much further than necessary, social isolation and enrolment in a quasi military cadet force to toughen me up. Suffering from suicidal thoughts and depression throughout teenage years.

Due to bullying and issues at school, I never excelled academically and upon leaving school at 16, I drifted through several jobs with no clear aim. Finally ending as a University technician.

Moving out into my own flat, the continuation of the depression and over use of alcohol to numb the pain, the sudden suicide of a close friend. Fallout of death lead to me getting into a relationship, which over time became abusive, and controlling.

The start of cross-dressing and the beginning of the examination of my gender.

Death of first my grandmother and then my Mother lead to a disintegration of relationship and the loss of virtually everything I had, girlfriend, kids, house everything.

Then coming out as transgender, and starting transition, issues with employment being suspended over announcement and facing a disciplinary panel.

Finding love and a new family, then suffering a series of physical attacks against the house and car, which lead to partner taking overdose, having to deal with that while also keeping a lid on my own emotions.

After a couple of disastrous job moves, finally finding a place where I could be open and happy and respected in the offices of The Daily Telegraph.

Being present in the newspaper offices and having a first hand account of some of the key events that shaped the start of the 21st Century like 9/11.

Regime change at the paper and the impact on my partner who then ended up having another breakdown, eventually both of us accepting redundancy and taking that money and using it to move to Spain.

Early life in Spain, career break teaching English the toll on my self confidence, restarting the tech career and the realisation that I had slipped into a serious state of depression due to the self imposed exile. The gradual coming out of my shell and conscious decisions to pull myself back in the light of public life. Founding of the company and resuming of trans rights activism.

Then just as I start to write the book, learn about the death of my sister leading to a reunification with family after 20 years.

It was the best of times, it was the worse of times – Review of 2019

As the famous opening line to the book goes “It was the best of times, it was the worse of times” and that pretty much sums up this year. I have had some fantastic experiences this year, but also so disappointments, and struggles as well.
It started off good enough with my first visit to the specialist endocrinologist in Tenerife finally getting back on to hormones in late March, lucky I seem to have escaped any serious damage from my years without hormones, just some slight loss of bone density.
I also undertook a top-secret undercover mission, wherein total secrecy I smuggled myself back into the UK under a total social media blackout so that I could surprise my niece Mandy on the opening day of her new cafe.
This also gave me a chance to run around the country like a crazed thing making flying visits to friends across the country, many of which I had only known previously as names on screens.
Then it was the 1st big event of the summer, our daughter Sarah and Billys wedding which came in two parts. The first a fairly standard affair in Leeds town hall, with the normal traditional stuff. Then came the second part, as the following morning bleary-eyed we all boarded the flight for Reykjavik in Iceland, where we had the second Viking wedding, surrounded by earth mounds next to a fjord.
The summer was then filled with Pride celebrations first the second pride in the island, bigger and better than the previous years, then quite literally I travelled from than and the following weekend I was at Trans Pride Brighton which was an overwhelming experience, and another chance to catch up with friends and make new ones.
After that, it was like someone flicked a switch and things started to go the other way, firstly my depression and anxiety started to get bad to the point where I seriously considered self-harm at times.
To add on top of that we finally had to say to goodbye to our beloved cat Meep due to cancer. I finally had to admit that I had issues, and see the doctor about it, by the time I got around to doing so another problem had emerged.
Since the summer my resting heart rate had been slowly slipping slower and slower until it had reached around an average of 40 beats per minute. So when I spoke to the doctor about getting something to help with the anxiety and depression I also brought up the issues with my heart rate, which by this time was making me tired and sometimes a little breathless.
While the medication for the depression has helped and I’m now more able to cope on a day to day basis. But with the heart issue, it’s still not resolved, I’ve had several ECG’s and tests and medication changes, at this point I’m awaiting in January to go to the hospital where I will be wired up to a recorder that will track my heart for 24 hours. Then what will happen I don’t know yet, I know there is no structural problem with my heart, and I don’t have a thyroid issue, so the treatment options are becoming limited, and one of the only things left on the table is the fitting of a pacemaker.
So the last few months have been pretty frustrating and I don’t know what the new year will bring, apart from plenty of upheaval and changes, so I can only take one step at a time, each day as it comes.



I’m heartbroken, not in the sense that I have a relationship that has failed, but the fact that I have a heart that is broken.

It started not long after I returned from the UK, I started to feel very tired and lacking in energy, I have a Fitbit that I have been wearing for a number of years, so I was able to notice in the app a worrying trend, my resting heart rate was heading downwards. Now if I was an elite athlete this wouldn’t be a problem but being an overweight 48 year-old woman it obviously isn’t a normal situation.

The fact that I was suffering at the same time from crippling anxiety, my heart rate should not have been doing what it was, so finally I decided to bring it up with the doctors, the anxiety was easy to deal with and now have some SSRIs that are dealing with the anxiety perfectly, the solution to the heart rate issue, however, has been a little more difficult.

Because of different GPs at times I have been subjected to multiple blood tests, ECGs and various other examinations. I have completely dropped the medication that I have been on for high blood pressure as this was now normal and in fact at times quite low. But whatever they tried the Bradycardia remained.

This hasn’t helped that at the same time work has got a bit hectic again with multiple projects all competing for time and resources, coupled with a general lack of energy has made this very difficult sometimes just to get through the week, and most of the time I have spent the Friday working from bed and all weekend just resting. Most evenings, I haven’t been able to do much either, this had meant that some of the household chores have fallen to Helen. This has meant that work on any personal projects has stopped, this is the first bit of writing that I have been able to do in months, and I’m doing this laid in bed on a Sunday morning flat on my back.

One household chore that we’ve been able to sort out for both of us is keeping the floor clean, thanks to the newest edition to our family, Marvin the Roomba, so at least we have clean floors.

Sadly we have also lost one from our family, Meep our white cat sadly her cancer came back and started to attack her face and when we took her to the vet there was noting that they really could do so we had to make the painful decision to put her to sleep.

So that’s all up to date, now I am awaiting an appointment with the cardiologist at the end of November if they can’t find a cause of the bradycardia that can be treated with medication, and I’ve had tests for most of those already then it may be that sometime in the near future I’ll have to have a pacemaker fitted, and that worries me a great deal right now.