Inward-bound

*** TRIGGER WARNING ***

 Even when I’m not feeling depressed, I would still choose to die over anything else.  The only difference is that on the non-bad days, I manage to push suicidal ideation far enough to the back of my mind where it’s not quite so intrusive.

Yesterday was one of those non-bad days.  My friend came and picked me up and took me to see another room being rented out.  He brought the dog with him and it was nice to see them both.  He also took me grocery shopping and to a few thrift stores to look for a dresser for me, but we couldn’t find anything suitable.  I did buy a purse though, to replace the one that was broken by either the police or the hospital staff during my brief but frightening stint in the psychiatric emergency department last Sunday.

When I got back, I was sufficiently burned out to be content with just recharging in my apartment and I managed to keep myself somewhat distracted by watching Netflix and listening to music.  I didn’t sleep well last night, mostly because the bed here is extremely uncomfortable and my mind started racing.  I had at least 2 PTSD-induced nightmares, the latter of which has left me with a lingering but dull feeling of nausea and dread.  Life doesn’t stop tormenting me, even when I’m asleep and wishing that I could be dreaming of something else, rather than having nightmares that are warped versions of past experiences and present fears.

My mood has come crashing down back to reality today, as I find myself trapped inside my mind again, subjected to an endless cycle of negative and self-destructive thoughts that I cannot distract myself from.  I feel so utterly hopeless about everything, from my transition to my chances of ever getting better and experiencing some semblance of a normal life which includes a few of the things that normal people seem to just take for granted.

I’m sure that everyone wishes there was something about themselves that they could change or fix, but in my case, there’s simply too much that needs ‘fixing’ before I’d even feel comfortable in my own skin or feel able to face life and deal with living life.  On my non–bad days, I have all these grandiose ideas about going to school, working again, moving back to the UK and even (*gasp*) the possibility of finding love, but those things are so far beyond what I’ll ever be able to achieve, given my limitations.  While I don’t struggle to get out of bed like many people who suffer from depression, I struggle to go out and even doing the bare minimum leaves me feeling burned out.  Going out and being surrounded by a bunch of normal people just reminds me of what I will never have and who I’ll never be.  I can no longer manage my dysphoria, because of the multiple instances where my gender identity has been attacked or subjected to intentional or (worse) unintentional misgendering.

I didn’t exactly fit in before transition, but I was lucky enough to have a partner and at least a friend or two, plus I was invisible to people who didn’t matter to me in the outside world.  Transition has caused me to become marginalized and socially isolated, more so than ever before.  I not only see my own ugliness in the mirror, but being on the outside and looking in, I see the ugliness of the human race too.  I just want the pain to end and I want to be gone forever.  If there was a pill that I could take right now to end my life quickly and painlessly, I would take it without hesitation.  I’m not afraid of death, but I am afraid of the pain of dying.

I’m not thinking beyond spending 2 weeks with my mother back in the country that I once called “home”.   I can’t even look forward to it, because I’m terrified of being misgendered or harassed on the journey and I’m just not mentally able to deal with that.  Beyond my trip and spending time with my mother, I see no logical reason to continue existing.

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RANT: Why I don’t like being called “cute”

It was validating, at least at first.  While I’m always grateful when people gender me correctly, it’s started to really bother me when men call me “cute” or “adorable” or any word usually used to describe a child or a pet.  I have also been described as “the girl next door” and since transition, I’ve noticed that many people no longer treat me as an adult with a mind of my own.  I am very appreciative when people are sincere and see something about me (or just plain lie) when they call me “beautiful” or just “a woman”.

I feel like I’m giving people the wrong impression of me and of the kind of woman that I am, but I am torn between wanting to dress ‘young’ because I missed out on so many years and still wishing to be treated as the 30-something grown-ass woman that I am..  My personality isn’t actually that girly and I’m not overly feminine (I’d probably present less femme if I weren’t transgender and could get away with it).

I just find it demeaning and borderline creepy when men call me cute, especially much older men.  If you can’t treat me as an adult and as an equal, fuck off.  It is a form of patriarchy and I hate it.

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Moving again, sleep deprivation

This is my fifth night back at my supportive housing apartment and I’m starting to really feel the negative effects of sleep deprivation again.  I’m back to averaging just 3-4 hours sleep, just as I was before.   This is clearly unhealthy – but at least I know that I need a safe, quiet and comfortable place to sleep, rather than pills.

The good news is that the 2 women I met last Sunday renting a room in their house want me to move in after all.  One of them was worried that there’d be a conflict of interest, as she works for the nonprofit organization that runs my supportive housing program, but as she hadn’t worked with me personally and is on a different program, it isn’t an issue.  Based on first impressions, I liked both of them.  Obviously, I don’t know much about them, but I know enough to feel more comfortable sharing a house with them than with most people.  What I do know is that one of them works in the mental health field and the other is a feminist.  Even though my friend was there for support the day that I met them both, I was able to talk to them freely.  They also have 2 cats.  The house itself is in a much safer, quieter neighborhood, but close enough to what I need, so it will be ideal in many respects.

This does make the idea of staying in Rochester a lot more appealing and I will almost certainly be returning here now.  I suppose i have nothing to lose for giving it a few more months to see if the new living situation works out, because I can honestly say that I safe and stable home environment makes an enormous difference as far as my mental health is concerned, based on the first week of living with my friend, when I was blissfully oblivious that there was anything wrong at the time.

But it’s still looming in my mind that if I go back to the UK permanently, I still have a place at the Gender Identity Clinic and will get the surgery that I’ve always wanted.  But if I stay here, I’ll get speech therapy through my insurance and help with getting back into full time employment and school, which I most likely wouldn’t get in the UK.   While I want SRS and have a lot of dysphoria when it comes to that part of my body, I also want to feminize my voice and finish electrolysis.  Without anywhere to go in the UK beyond AirBnB, I would be taking a massive risk and would lose everything that I have here.  It isn’t as if my family will support me much and I wouldn’t ask them to, especially as my parents are both getting older.  I have no more friends there than I do here and truth be told, I’ve been going out during daylight hours 3 days in a row and nothing bad has happened to me (yet).

Should I just take my UK trip as a respite and a chance to spend time with my mother, rather than look to stay there permanently?  The UK isn’t the same country that I left behind in early 2004 and each time I’ve gone back, I’ve had to deal with culture shock.  I wish this were an easier decision to make and I wish I had a crystal ball so that I could know for sure where I’d be better off.

Of course, if Trump does anything crazy to affect my healthcare, that decision could be taken out of my hands and I could be forced to leave, but that hasn’t happened yet and may never ultimately happen.

My friend is picking me up a little later this morning to go and see another room and take me grocery shopping, but I’m not sure it’s even worth seeing that room now, but I do still need to buy a few things to last me for the rest of the week before I leave and I need to deposit some more cash into my PayPal account so that I can transfer some more money into my UK bank account to use there (saves money on getting currency changed at the airport and saves me from having to carry cash).

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Things just got even more complicated

Electrolysis was painful again today, although only towards the end of the 2 hour session and my face still feels like it’s been stung by a thousand miniature bees.  The bus ride to and from there was stressful as always, yet uneventful.  There seem to be fewer people out now that the weather has turned much colder and the cold weather means less risk of hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating) caused by anxiety.

I’d been exchanging emails with my mother earlier, mostly regarding the upcoming trip to the UK.  She said that some mail had arrived for me, so I told her she might as well open it, as I’m not expecting anything to be delivered to me there as I have not lived at that address since July 2016.  The letter was from the Gender Identity Clinic, in London, asking if I would like another appointment, after I didn’t attend the one that I would have had (had I been living in the UK) on April 11th, 2017.  She did tell me about that appointment too, but as I had no way of getting back to the UK, I had no choice but to give up on it.  For those who don’t know, the GIC (Gender Identity Clinic) is the organization I was waiting to hear from while I lived in the UK for a few months, but I gave up because I thought they lost my referral from my doctor.  This is the procedure to eventually go through SRS (sex reassignment surgery) and would be done for free under the British National Health Service, if I were to live there.

I thought that my chance had gone, but clearly they still have me in the system and are offering another opportunity.  It would be a long process and a long wait, but SRS is one of the main goals of my transition and I just don’t see how it’ll ever be possible here in the US, unless I were to move to California.  The problem is that I don’t live in the UK anymore and all I could do is be honest with them and write back to say that I am hoping to move back, but I currently have nowhere to stay and no one to stay with there long-term.

I almost wish that she hadn’t told me, just like I wish she hadn’t told me last time, when I was distraught over the fact that I was going to lose that opportunity forever.  I honestly don’t know what to do now, but this has tipped the scales significantly in favor of moving back to the UK permanently.  If I knew that I wouldn’t end up homeless and destitute, I would choose to go back permanently, but it’s a huge gamble and what happens if I get there to find that people treat me the same as they do here?  If I go back, I’ll lose the care management and therapy aspect, but if I’m not as afraid of people and if I’m back in a safer and more familiar place, will I even need it.

I know that she won’t help me in any way and I don’t expect her to, but I don’t think she understands how important my transition is to me and how it literally saved my life, even though it may all prove to be futile.  I don’t have anyone else there that I could ask either.  If I go, I’d be even more “on my own” than I am here.  I honestly don’t know where I’d be more likely to get better, if that’s even possible.  Where would I have a better chance of making decent friends, finding love and fitting in somewhere?

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Fighting anxiety and agoraphobic tendencies

I decided to go out again earlier, because I wanted to try depositing cash into my PayPal account at CVS again, after I failed to do it last time and had an anxiety attack in the process.  I went to a different CVS, which involved a 2 mile walk, but through the extremely safe Park Avenue district of Rochester.  To my surprise, it actually worked this time, even though I couldn’t hide my anxiety or my dyspraxia when I had to deal with the cashier.  I struggled to talk and I dropped my debit card and drivers license and even left my license behind, so I had to go back for it and looked like even more of a fool.  I bought concealer and 24 hour “super stay” lipstick, which I figured would be useful for my trip next week.

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Although it was pretty cold, the walk was good and even though I only had a hoodie and no coat, I really didn’t feel the cold once I started power walking.   Besides, I prefer to exercise when it is cooler, because excessive sweating isn’t a problem.   Fanny packs are not good for people with dyspraxia, that’s for sure.  I didn’t want to bring my purse though because it’s easier to walk without it.   As I was already out and not feeling overly anxious, I was tempted to try one of the many coffee shops along Park Avenue, but then I realized I’d already had my caffeine quota for the day at home and I wanted to get back before the scary school kids descend on my immediate neighborhood during lunch.  I think I walked just over 3 miles in total.  As I have to go out again tomorrow to my electrolysis appointment, that will be 3 days in a row that I’ve made it out during daylight hours, which is a first in many, many months.

I’ve been able to go out more largely because of the general numbness that I feel right now, which has also numbed some of my anxiety because I just don’t seem to give a shit about anything anymore.  Because I am leaving for the UK next week, I cannot afford to allow agoraphobia to take hold of me again, especially as I no longer have my friend to depend on or anyone else for t hat matter.  And while I’m feeling this numb, I may as well make use of it.

On another note, the only good news I’ve had this month is that Stone Temple Pilots have finally found a new vocalist to replace Chester Bennington and Scott Weiland.  His name is Jeff Gutt and I’d honestly never heard of him, but it seems like they’ve picked the right person and I really like the new song “Meadow”:

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I’ve only been back here for 26 hours and already I’m feeling extremely socially isolated and lonely again, almost as if I never left.  As scared as I am of the outside world, the world inside my head is an awfully dark place to be.  I cannot relax or distract myself from any of this and I’ve got too much restless energy.

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Numb

I’ve been back at my apartment since yesterday evening when my friend dropped me off, along with all of my belongings (mostly clothes, shoes, toiletries, electronics).  He was very helpful yesterday and he even spoke to my therapist and my care manager on my behalf, to explain the situation.  Also, it seemed like the residents here were friendlier than usual, perhaps because he was with me, but I’m not going to complain or question it.

I met with one of the staff to discuss a revised care plan, which has changed from pushing independent living on me to helping me join a program to help me get back to work and to navigate the education system.  I still don’t know what I’ll be able to handle, but I wish I had a job and a car.  And as I mentioned, I saw my therapist and care manager yesterday too and hopefully they have a better awareness of what my needs are.  

I’ve been feeling nothing but numb since I got back here, although sometimes the sadness will creep up on me when I find myself missing my friend and wishing that things hadn’t gone so horribly wrong.  I’ve been trying to keep myself busy and I even managed to go out earlier.  I had to send a letter registered mail to the New York Division of Human Rights to try to reschedule the pre-settlement hearing telephone conference, because I will be in the UK on the day they have set it for.  I managed to deal with the post office and went to Wegmans (supermarket) while I was in that area, before getting the bus back.  It’s pretty cold and grey outside, but I didn’t really feel it.  My anxiety wasn’t as bad as usual, mainly because I’m so out of it at the moment and more oblivious to the outside world than usual.

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I did some unpacking this morning, but I still have a lot left to do.  I’m trying to keep my mind focused on the fact that I leave for the UK a week on Friday, so there isn’t much time left and I’m already shitting myself about the journey and the many problems that could arise, just by virtue of being a transgender traveler with severe anxiety.  I am dreading having to travel across New York City and then having to deal with JFK International Airport, especially after what happened last time.  I/m dreading the flight itself, because I’m going to have to spend almost 7 hours on a plane stuck next to a complete stranger.

It feels weird being back in this apartment.  Loneliness hasn’t hit me yet, but the asshole next door is still playing his / her bass constantly, but not loud enough for any complain to be taken seriously.  Aside from the bass from next door, it’s noisy as ever here and I am missing the comfortable double bed that I had and the quiet, comfortable basement bedroom in the house in the suburbs.   I’ve been keeping my headphones on all the time since I’ve been back, to try to drown out the intrusive external noise.

More than that, I miss my friend and the dog of his that I bonded with and didn’t want to leave behind.  But even though he wasn’t forcing me to leave, I had to because his wife was staying away because of me and because of my ‘episode’ on Sunday, which has left me feeling embarrassed, ashamed and extremely guilty.  But there’s more than that….something else that complicated it further still, but I don’t feel comfortable discussing it, at least not right now.  But let’s just say that my friend’s wife is an extremely lucky woman to have a wonderful husband like that and I hope that she changes her ways, for his sake.  I keep thinking how I’d have a chance of finding someone like that, if I weren’t ugly and if I were a normal woman.  This is one of the many reasons why I say that being different actually isn’t a good thing.

I still don’t know whether I should even come back to Rochester or the United States in general when I leave for the UK   There’s really nothing for me here and bad things keep happening to me and I’m extremely lonely.  

I know that it’s all going to hit me at some point, although I hope that it doesn’t.  It scares me when I feel this numb and empty, because it’s often a prelude to a major depressive spell.  I’d better get back to unpacking anyway before I start thinking…..because my mind is a very dark place.

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