Sunday, 26 March 2017

Trauma is meaningless in real life

The first person I knew who had suffered a traumatic event of which I was aware was a cousin. She was about one year older than me, but she has been dead for quite a few years now. It wasn't the fact that she decided to take her own life which angers my mother, myself and a few others. It was the attitude of those around her and that of the (justice) system which disgusted and angered us to no end.

This cousin, first as a young girl, was repeatedly sexually abused by her uncle and grandfather. Not just her alone, but also many other girls became their victims. Her mother, as well as other family members were basically aware of what was going on, or had strong suspicions. When it all came to light, the family as a whole covered for this uncle and grandfather.

Fast-forward a few years, and my cousin was still trying to cope with all of these horrible experiences, even as her own family treated her as an outcast and her mother refused to support her in the matter. Although it went through the Dutch justice system as a criminal case, the prosecution ended up making a few technical errors which resulted in the case getting thrown out. This left my cousin and all of the other girls who had become a victim without legal recourse.

I do not know what happened to any of the other girls, due to privacy regulations pertaining criminal cases, yet it makes one wonder how many more of them found themselves without proper support in dealing with this horrible violation which they suffered as a child. How many of them decided that, just like my cousin, life was not worth living any more. Not with such memories and such a complete lack of trust in society and fellow human beings.


My own mother was physically abused as a child, by her older brother. Her parents and older sister never interfered. Ultimately she was taken out of her home by the child protection service and raised by family. To this day she deals with the traumatic impact this left on her. To learn to trust and forgive. To not expect the worst from one's fellow human beings. She has had to learn about just how deeply hidden this traumatic impact can be.


Over the past years I have encountered many people who suffered such traumatic events. From rape, to being locked up and used as a sex slave, to physical and psychological abuse. To the horrible violations of one's bodily integrity suffered by intersex individuals. Each of them are events which essentially destroy something inside one's psyche which simply cannot be replaced or restored. Call it simple naivety or innocence. Call it trust or faith in others.

I may have suffered some kind of abuse as a child as well, though at this point I only have the observations of others and my own curious changes in behaviour as a child to go on there. I definitely did suffer rape, physical and psychological abuse at a later age, however. I still do not trust any other person to put their hands on me without my explicit permission, and I expect others by default to be unreliable and only capable of betrayal. It's impossible to think otherwise.


What I have sadly noticed by others and myself is that regardless of the traumas we have suffered, society couldn't care less. In general we are still expected to carry on as if nothing has happened. My cousin never got acceptance or help, but was expected to go on with her life, even as the court case dragged on and was ultimately thrown out. My mother tried to ignore what had happened to herself and put on a brave, friendly face to the outside world, until it all came back to her when my father betrayed her with another woman and divorced her.

Every time the same story for everyone I meet with such a story. It's one reason why I do not like talking with intersex and transgender people, because there's too much trauma and pain in their lives. Worst is when they cannot see it themselves yet, yet suffer the consequences all the same.


Currently, this insistence by one's environment to conveniently ignore and misunderstand trauma and its impact is a major topic for me again. Not just by being forced to keep asking uncooperative and ignorant doctors for help with my intersex condition - because the only alternative is suicide - but also by ignoring my inability to do anything but to strive for emotional stability.

Even as I try to make it clear that no, I cannot do things like 'searching for a new place to live', for the very simple reason that it makes me feel suicidally depressed and makes me want to hurt and ultimately murder myself. Yet even when I bluntly say this, others will just smile and inform me that I'll 'just have to keep trying'. I guess I can try walking again on a broken leg if others insist it can carry the weight. It's so frustrating and depressing.

To a traumatised person there's nothing worse than for people to ignore their pain and worse. If 'doing the very thing that carries a high risk of suicide' is regarded as acceptable, then it's society that's simply Hell itself for people like us. It's why I still do not blame my cousin for taking her own life. She is free of the pain and of this Hell called 'humanity' which'll never provide a home to people like us. In a sense I envy her because she succeeded where I so far failed.


I am well aware of the fact that most people do not actively wish me to die. Yet it's their ignorance and wrongful expectations and assumptions which are likely to drive me to suicide in the end, just as it did for my cousin and many others. Just like it does for far too many every single day.

Maybe it's just a kind of Darwinism. Us traumatised individuals are the weak links in society after all. Maybe that's why the rest are so unforgiving. Just like the weak individuals in a herd, it's better to cast off these weak, sacrificing them to the predators to make the herd stronger.

To be human is supposed to be about love and empathy, but that's more of a dream. Humans are despite everything still mostly beasts at heart, after all. It's kill or be killed. Those who get traumatised are merely the walking dead, because they failed to get properly killed in the first place.

Humans are disgusting and despicable.

Most of them.

It would be easier if one knew which ones to trust.


Maya

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Amnesia, false memories and a horrible secret

For the past weeks I have been experiencing flashbacks of past events, places and similar more and more frequently. As noted in earlier posts, it seems that whichever memory blocks existed before seem to be fading. So far the memories I have regained access to are centred around my teenage years, as well as the last years of the pre-teen years.

These flashbacks are pretty intense, causing me to briefly blank out, as a flood of primarily strong visual impressions threaten to overwhelm me.

Earlier today more than just a few memories came flooding back. This time it took me straight into some of my earliest memories, yet also back to a point with the strongest block. The impressions I can recall from that part of my youth are vague and fragmented, but carry a strong sense of... wrongness.

Yet as I try to push further into these memories, I find myself unable to. I can feel that there's something more there, but I cannot get a hold on these memories. All it leaves me with is a sense of pain, of tragedy and suffering. From talking with my mother I know that she isn't aware of anything that may have happened, but she did ask me whether something did happen to me as a child. Maybe someone knows. Maybe I do know, but just cannot recall it yet.


What's treacherous about amnesia is that your mind keeps making up memories based on shreds of information. Now that I'm remembering more and more coherent memories these false memories are becoming very apparent. Some are even in third-person perspective, which is frankly absurd. The sensation is the difference between looking at a stack of photographs, some burned almost to ash and others mostly intact or just charred. One gets the general impression of what is in the photograph, but it's a far cry from actually having those memories.

After such a massive number of memories surging back to me, I find myself quite disoriented. It will take time to reintegrate these memories, I guess. I'm also feeling somewhat afraid of what I may discover when - or if - these still blocked memories of my early childhood come back to me. Whether it's truly something traumatic that I experienced. Maybe related to the sexual abuse which my cousin suffered for years at the hands of her uncle and grandfather. Maybe something else. I don't know.


All that I remember at this point is that there's something horrible waiting for me. Something which made me feel upset and turned me quiet when I was only about six years old. Something which has affected me as an individual for most of my life now, even if I did not consciously realise it.

Maybe I do not want to ever remember it.


Maya

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Absolute terror and looking for an escape

Last Monday I was sitting at the a table in the local hackerspace, just having fetched and consumed dinner along with a couple of others. Suddenly I felt a tingling sensation in my right leg which rapidly got worse. Within minutes the leg had gone fully numb except for occasional surges of pain in the appendage. For the next hours I had to wait and hope that I'd get the sensation back in the leg before I could cycle home.

Last night I got woken up because my right arm was tingling and hurting. After a couple of minutes the pain lessened and I was able to fall asleep again. For the past days I can feel a numbness and mild discomfort in both my right leg and arm. To say that this is disconcerting would be an understatement.


For the past twelve years, it's been made very clear to me that do not know what I am talking about. All pains I merely imagine. Everything that I think my body is, is false.

It hasn't just been with medical things, either. Working my last job in the Netherlands was unpleasant and traumatising, along with the horror that was sharing an apartment with someone who did absolutely not have my well-being in mind and which ultimately led to me losing all of my belongings. It's not been easy to keep believing that things could get better.

Meanwhile I have a good job at a great employer, yet to get there hasn't been easy, either. Medically some progress has been made, but it looks like I still have many years - if not decades - ahead of me to get anything like a resolution. Anything beyond this... just no. Forget it.


Whenever I try to think of my future, or merely try thinking of heading to the run-down apartment I currently live in, my mind practically blanks out in fear. When thinking of contacting a real-estate agent to get started on finding that house to buy, there's about 1-3% of my mind which feels up to it, with the rest again blanking out in complete terror.

Most of my days are filled with the struggle against that general sensation of terror, accompanied by brief or longer periods where I find myself thinking about suicide.


When people then tell me to think about how great it would be to have a house of my own, and that I should look at real-estate websites for homes for sale, they are completely missing the point. Such things are guaranteed to make me feel that terror because of all the uncertainties and crushing disappointments which come naturally with such things. It's a sensation which I can resist for a short while (minutes, maybe), but beyond that it will invoke a suicidal depression because of it having drained my energy and with it the resistance against such thoughts.

In short, I can't do this.


I can maybe work up the energy to contact a real-estate agent and pray that this will suffice. I would also have to get a loan together, which would also be very emotionally taxing, but very likely less so than dealing with landlords and kin. Being confronted with my actual monetary worth (or lack thereof), is depressing, but at least I wouldn't be judged by anyone as a person.

Yet none of this will be easy. I'm not sure anyone here comes even close to understanding any of this. How would I even be able to explain any of this to someone else? Between being intersex, gifted, hyper-sensitive, ambidextrous and severely traumatised, I don't really feel like I am inhabiting the same universe as others. It would definitely explain why others keep expecting me to be able to do all the things which they can do.


I have a traumatic disorder. I cannot function in daily life the way others easily can. My traumatic experiences colour the world around me in a bleak and horrifying way most of the time. I cannot bring myself to trust people. Not yet. Not at this point. Not after everything that they have done to me. It frustrates me so incredibly that people will listen to me talk about all of this, then smile, nod and just tell me 'good luck', as if none of what I experienced and suffered was relevant, or real.

The chronic pains I suffer are real. The traumatic disorders are real. I can choose to ignore both, but doing so will not help me in any way. Other people ignoring both is not helpful, or right. Both have to be acknowledged and handled appropriately. Anything else will just increase my suffering.


Maybe I'm just misunderstanding this all, though. After all these years of not knowing what my body is, or who or what I am, and having multiple psychologists and kin judge me as being delusional, it could be me who is the problem.

I just want an escape out of this literal madness that I still find myself trapped in. Something has to make sense at some point. Probably. I hope so.


I have no clue who or what I am. Whether up is up or actually down. Maybe left is right and right left. The sky is blood-red, not blue. Everything can be true. It's all relative. Maybe everyone is wrong. Maybe this is all just in my mind. Maybe this is what it feels like to go crazy. Just an endless nightmare.


Maya

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Amnesia and chronic pain

Since the sudden flashback last week of an event out of my childhood, I have found myself remembering more and more things this week of both my childhood and time as teenager. Things which I was unable to remember before, no matter how much I tried.

It's really quite amazing how memory works, that before I would strain to try and remember something - anything - from those periods of my life, but was unable to. Yet now it's just a constant series of recollections that come flooding back.

From my mother remarking to me as a child how nice it was to be home again, to walking in line with other children during my preschool or primary school time, and the lunch hours during high school. Suddenly I can recall such things with absolute clarity again, down to the texture and colour of things in the scene.

It's both extremely nice to have access to these memories again, while also saddening that I had forgotten about them for so long. They are largely pleasant memories.


This sudden change in what is likely stress-induced amnesia comes against a background of worsening chronic pain. Today I found myself barely able to get out of bed, feeling sick and in pain.

Basically this entire day I have been suffering from a numbness in my right leg, strong pains in my lower back and an excruciating pain in the vaginal area. Essentially the usual chronic pains during this part of the month, only much worse than usual.

Despite sleeping a full seven hours with lots of periods of deep sleep according to the sensor which I wear around my wrist, I woke up feeling exhausted and dizzy. Part of me simply waits for the moment when suddenly something goes wrong and I'll collapse.

To me these pains are very worrying. Doctors have told me that they do not believe that when I menstruate any fluids are being produced. They don't believe I have endometriosis. Basically I shouldn't have these pains. Yet they're there. And I'm suffering.


Maybe the pain is nothing. Maybe it's a symptom that something is horribly wrong. Maybe not acting now is the worst thing that could happen. Maybe I'll horribly regret not pushing doctors even more to help me.

I think I did everything humanly possible and beyond during the past twelve years to get medical help, however. Dutch doctors merely told me to take painkillers for the pain. So far it's been a slow and frustrating process in Germany as well. Generally me having a monthly cycle has been denied over and over, along with continuing uncertainty about which female reproductive organs I actually have, even as a female hormonal cycle cannot be denied any more.

Yet I'm definitely not imagining this pain.


The past definitely was better. I am glad that I at least have these memories again. I just wish the future had worked out better. I hope things will improve. I do not want to fight any more. I just want to go back to living. Like I used to.


Maya

Sunday, 5 March 2017

On happiness and not being like everyone else

Life could probably have been so much easier for me if I had been more... like everybody else. If I hadn't been born with an intersex body. If I hadn't been gifted. If I was actually able to filter out sounds, motion and smells like everyone else seems capable of. If I didn't feel so much empathy for others and even inanimate objects.

The giftedness and inability to filter out sensory input are probably linked, with a genetic cause, as my mother is much the same. I just seem to have it even worse. My mother would always tell us to stop swinging our legs and making other constant noises because it'd make her feel 'sick'. As a child I did not understand this. Now I do.


For the past months I have made the interesting observation that when someone at the office has a persistent cough for months on end, it does not seem to bother my colleagues. Me? It drives me insane. First cough gets my attention. Second, it's getting annoying. Third, it's getting to me. Fourth, I must do something.

It's the same with the ticking from the central heating at this rundown apartment where I now live. Each ticking noise goes straight into my brain, no matter how much I try to ignore it, until ultimately I must drown it out with music on my headphones. I must absolutely sleep with earplugs in every night, because otherwise the noise from the heating, other pipes, people in the hallway and neighbours walking around and using the toilet would prevent me from sleeping or wake me up.


Motion. Sound. Smells. All of it are things which I need to have control over. I must be able to regulate it, or something just overloads inside my brain. Since the cause appears to be genetic, there is little I can do about it, other than to find a quiet place where I can live and sleep. This is why I will have to find a house to buy in the countryside, away from people. Anything else is just a terrible compromise which will only add to my stress.

I grew up on a farm, in a small village in the Netherlands. Aside from an incident with the roosters of two neighbours having a contest each morning for a few weeks it was always quiet. Over the past months I have come to realise more and more that this is what I need. What I must get back. Anything else will just slowly drive me mad.


I am not like others. Yet I can become happy as well. It does however require others to also accept these differences, that what works for almost everybody else does not and will not ever work for me.

In the genetic lottery I seem to have lucked out, receiving all the genetic combinations and developmental upgrades which would make me a hermaphrodite, grant me giftedness, ambidextrous skills and a hyper-active nervous system. I also got an upgraded version of my mother's intolerance to meat and fish, this hypersensitivity to sensory stimulation and the bonus of a serious dislike of coffee.


Having had a chance a few days ago to feel again what must have been memories and impressions from me as a child, reflecting on this has made it so incredibly clear what the way forward is for me to become happy, as well as what the only acceptable choice is for a home.

How I will accomplish all of this I do not know. I will need to contact a real-estate agent to search for this home for me. I hope that the new intersex specialist can finally give me the resolution to my medical conundrum. Beyond this it's all more a general feeling, a craving for peace, quiet and no longer having to ignore stress, pain and discomfort to fit in with general society.

I hope by all that's holy that I'll make it.

Please let me be happy again.


Maya

Saturday, 4 March 2017

It's all in your head, they said

Transgender. Autoparagynaecophilia. Transsexual. Just a couple of the terms which doctors and psychologists have thrown at me over the past twelve years in order to convince me that my body is that of a guy and that I'm just a bit funny in the head.


The past days I have been dealing with the same painful symptoms as I have for years now. Sharp pains in what would be the vaginal area, followed by painful urination and defecation, as if something is inflamed in the area where I also feel the sharp pains and putting any kind of pressure on it causes a flare-up of pain. Pressing on the skin in that area is also exceedingly painful. Suffice it to say that it makes really uncomfortable for a few days each month.

These symptoms always come at the end of what can only be described as a monthly cycle. The symptoms of which became most prominent after the surgery in 2011 which saw both the vaginal area temporarily opened and the testicles removed. After this, probably due to the decrease in produced testosterone and associated breakdown products, my ovaries were able to become far more productive, causing them to produce normal female levels of estradiol. In summary, I have a regular and pretty darn painful menstruation cycle.


"Well, don't you just totally look like a guy."

It's one of the things which I'll regularly say to myself as I look in the mirror, at the curves of my hips, narrow waist and further feminine curves. Usually it's meant as a joke, yet it's still a massive point of frustration and anger for me that someone with a body like mine could be put away as being 'male', when it so clearly is not.

The past twelve years have been a struggle to learn to see my body as it truly is, with many facts only slowly becoming clear. Many facts about my body were discovered purely by accident, such as the fact that I have functioning ovaries which is the reason why I no longer have to take artificial estradiol or other hormones.

Me being able to see myself as being female (primarily) has taken me more than a decade and it's an ongoing process. The resistance I get from doctors and kin even today is not particularly helpful in this.


When I feel these pains every month, with the mentioned stabbing pains, a numb leg and painful or numb arm, I feel worried that there are things which I still do not know about this body of mine. Things which will cause me endless grief and pain if they don't get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

This reality I live in with this body is all too real for me. Yet it's a reality which doctors and psychologists along with others seem to have a great deal of trouble accepting let alone understand. I have been accused of making things up almost constantly, including by the last surgeon.


Maybe it's just that my case is too unique and unknown, that it scares doctors and psychologists because they feel that they are running into the limits of their own knowledge and refuse to admit to this. A small number have admitted to these limits towards me, yet still felt qualified to make unfounded statements about my body regardless.

The worst part of all this is probably that this utter lack of interest by doctors and society as a whole into my situation makes me feel that there's no reason to have any interest from my side into them, either. If they don't acknowledge and accept my existence, I may as well pretend that they're not real either.

Of course, only a medical professional can quite deny reality in such a manner.


Maya

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Peaceful

For a short while today I managed to experience what I think it feels like to feel relaxed and comfortable. While getting a neck massage from a friend at the hackerspace earlier I think I managed to let go of some things like I haven't in years. It was amazing and scary at the same time.

It brought back instant memories of my early childhood, which was probably the last time when I was still able to feel that way. Great, peaceful memories. Yet terrifying because I could suddenly feel just how many layers of intense stress and terror lie between my normal self and that state.

It's both a reminder of how far I still have to go and how wonderful life can be. I hope I can reach that state again some day in a more permanent fashion. I pray that I won't be forced to commit suicide by those people for whom my existence and health is of absolutely no concern.


I want to feel human again so badly...


Maya