I’m an 18-year-old transgender guy and now, after my time at the clinic, I’m learning to love myself again. I look towards the future with excitement and hope, which are things I didn’t think were possible before I went to Yes We Can Youth Clinics.
My problems with body image and self-esteem started around the age of 13. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin and started to feel worthless. I developed problems with food and started self-harming. Eventually, I began to believe that others also thought I was worthless and that is when my life really spiralled out of control. I went from psychologist to psychologist and refused to accept any help. I became depressed and was convinced that no one understood me or could help me, not even those who cared the most and who wanted to help.
I had a lot of mood swings and anxiety that I expressed though increasingly dangerous self-harming and suicide attempts. In the months leading up to my stay at Yes We Can Youth Clinics, I felt completely hopeless. I was being sent from one psychiatric unit to the next and didn’t see a future for myself anymore.
My family couldn’t cope with my extreme behaviour and it looked like all hope was lost. But then we were introduced to Yes We Can Youth Clinics. The moment I arrived at the clinic, I knew it was different from anything I had experienced before. Everyone saw me as a person as opposed to a patient and I felt like I was finally being taken seriously by the healthcare system.
The weeks I spent at Yes We Can Youth Clinics are, and will continue to be, some of the most memorable in my life. At times, it was very challenging and confrontational, but those hard times are what helped me the most. There were also many pleasant times. The structured outings and daily activities with all the fellows helped to lift me out of my depression and made me feel like I was a part of something. I had no friends before going to the clinic but now I have many. I will never forget the people I got to know there and everything we went through together.
I remember reading a brochure before going to the clinic and feeling sceptical: ‘10 weeks can’t make such a big difference! I’ve been to plenty of psychologists and psychiatric units, I would know’. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but I had faith, and I gave it my all and I’m very grateful that I did. It was a scary decision but it was also the best one I’ve ever made.