Moving to a war zone was better than living with what was in my head

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Eddie Ayres has a lifetime of musical experience but much of it was as Emma Ayres, and much of it was overshadowed by depression. In this book extract he explains how his path to salvation was teaching music in Afghanistan

I had a dream job, presenting classical music radio [for ABC Classic FM]. Easy. Don’t be late for work, sit in a studio, chat, press the right buttons, go to concerts, chat some more. And that’s what I did for nearly a decade. The job of a radio presenter, at least the way I see it, is to be calm, kind, entertaining. A friend to all. Being light and easy is fine if you feel like that, but if you don’t feel light and easy, what then?

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Magical events would happen when people called me a boy. I would thrill at these little exchanges.

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My relationship had split up, my career, my home, everything had gone. But I saw that this was as it needed to be

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