Preferred name: Simon
Age at Interview: 54
Age at diagnosis: Mid-40s
Background: Simon is single and lives alone in a regional town. He has two daughters and six grandchildren. He was born in Australia and identifies as having an Australian Aboriginal/Irish background.
Simon was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, schizoaffective disorder, major depression, and gender identity disorder in his mid-40s, but did not learn about these diagnoses until he was 54. At 23 he was diagnosed with postnatal depression. He has spent time in hospital twice, been on a CTO, and been on a variety of medications. Simon sees a GP, treating clinician, and is currently prescribed an antipsychotic medication and an antidepressant.
Clips from Simon's Interview
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More about Simon
Simon is currently living alone with his cat and is working part-time in sales while volunteering for a charity. He identifies as transgender and began transitioning from female to male in his 40s after having 'always felt totally out of odds' with his body.
Simon described first experiencing symptoms of anxiety in his adolescence when he felt as though he wanted to 'get away from life'. He experienced symptoms of depression in his 20s and 30s, including after the birth of each of his children, and began hearing voices in his 40s. Simon attributed these symptoms to being abused during childhood by several family members, as well as by a medical practitioner in his early teens.
When Simon was 14, he said his GP put him on a small dose of a benzodiazepine to 'calm [him] down'. However, he was not given a mental health diagnosis until a few years later when his mother, who was 'intermittently unwell,' 'got [him] diagnosed' with borderline personality disorder, by telling doctors he was 'evil' and 'erratic.' Simon said he went to a GP for depression in his early 20s and was given antidepressants, but did not receive a diagnosis. In his 30s he was diagnosed with postnatal depression after his second child was born and prescribed antidepressants.
Simon explained that he first went to a mental health unit in his mid-40s for six weeks and again two years later, though then for only a few days. He described his first hospitalisation as an 'absolute nightmare,' as staff refused to 'treat [him] as a male.' The doctor who treated him in hospital 'would not listen to [his] saying anything about gender,' he was taken off hormone treatments, and staff 'refused to use [his] name.' Simon said he was put on a community treatment order (CTO) after his initial hospitalisation, but that he appealed and 'the board threw it out.'
In addition to not having his transgender status recognised in hospital, Simon also said he was not told of the multiple diagnoses given at his initial hospitalisation, including borderline personality disorder, schizoaffective disorder, major depression, and gender identity disorder. He explained he only learned this recently when he received notes from his second hospitalisation, under the Freedom of Information Act. Simon said he is now 'backtracking to find out who did what' in regards to his diagnoses.
Simon is currently prescribed an antipsychotic medication and an antidepressant. He explained that he 'insisted on having a say' in his antipsychotic dosage as previously it had made him feel 'like a zombie'. He now takes smaller doses more often. Simon described negative experiences with medication side effects in the past, as well as a number of poor relationships with psychiatrists and psychologists throughout periods of being mentally unwell.
More recently, Simon has established positive relationships with a GP and a treating clinician. He feels his volunteer work is instrumental in his recovery and 'also plays a part in other people's recovery.' He cites his friends as a positive influence as they help him 'look after [himself]'which he feels is very important.