Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Alternate Realities, Alternate Personalities

The past few days I have once again noticed how I keep shifting between two extreme types of personality. First, like I noticed on Sunday and yesterday, there is the outrageously easy-going, easy-talking, extremely sociable and possibly very likeable personality. Usually I'm far more reserved than that, though it may be that my real personality is closer to this one and that I'm just insecure most of the time.

Second, there is the 'we're all going to die, the universe is going to implode, why should I bother with living' personality. Now, everyone may have some of those moods when things may seem a little bleak or pointless, but this goes much further than that. It's like I can see and feel everything I have done so far and will ever do, combined with all interactions with others and the intense futility and pointlessness of it all. It's really hard to put it into words when I'm not in such a mood. I can only remember fragments of the full terror I feel during such moments. Or the person who isn't really me feels at such times, maybe.

I will admit that there is the element of stress which reinforces such extremes which generally already exist in each person. In my case I have experienced a severe increase in stress with the uncertainty surrounding a possibly upcoming appearance on national TV ('Netwerk', for those who play for the home team) which could be crucial to my immediate future, as well as with the incredible mess which my relation with the UMCG hospital is.

In the case of the former I will hear this week whether they want to do a news item with me or not, in the case of the latter it's a matter of pure anger and frustration. At this point they have indicated that they want to have me talk to a psychologist and that if I'm a good little transsexual that they'll help me. Maybe. I finally got an email response out of them on Monday after I sent another message to Weijmar Schultz. Supposedly the psychologist of the team there was to have contacted me on the 19th of February, but clearly neglected to do this. And nobody looked after it or gave a damn.

When this psychologist contacts me I'll make it clear what my position is, however. I have been talking with doctors and psychologists for five and a half years now and no one has ever really listened to me. Put me in a room with another psychologist and I'll be the only one who will leave still alive. I came to the VUMC, Erasmus MC, AMC and UMCG hospitals to ask for help, to learn how my body is put together so that I can determine for myself how I'll want to deal with it, what my choices are and what I'll pick. Nobody has ever understood me at any point. Same with the UMCG. I know their radiologist is either dumber than he is claimed to be, or downright evil, as even I can tell that his analysis of the MRI images is wrong.

I won't even say how much trust I put into their genetic testing results, or their willingless to actually help or listen to me. They have kept me busy for nearly another year now, and I have nothing to show for it, except that apparently the hospitals here in this very unpleasant country feel the need to keep lying and trying to deceive me. The VUMC did it, the AMC did it, the Erasmus MC and now the UMCG. With each hospital there are big, blatant issues one can point at as being fundamentally wrong. Nowhere did they listen to me or take me seriously. Maybe it's they who need to undergo psychiatric treatment.

Now I suffer from PTSD. Frequent flashbacks, sudden episodes where I basically withdraw into myself, the feeling that there is nowhere for me to turn, and irrational anger when confronted with anything psychological or medical. Talking about it doesn't help, seeking escape in my work and rational pursuits does to some extent. I regularly wonder whether there is a future for me and how in heaven's name things ended up like this. Was I so wrong in my asking for answers? Should I have pretended I was a guy instead, like how virtually every intersexual person who is like me tries to cover everything up, often even for their own family.

A tiny glimmer of hope is something like which happened yesterday when I was at the local health center for something unrelated. One of the assistants there recognized me from the article in Vrouw, asked me to confirm it and then we ended up talking for at least ten minutes. It was really pleasant to have things out in the open like that, to talk with someone I don't know about something most people do not even know about.

Since the publication of the Vrouw article I have had the impression that more people do recognize me. I call it the 'I know you'-smile, versus the 'You're a complete stranger'-smile. People at the supermarket, swimming pool and such will look at me, and smile in a way which is far more open than they would with a stranger. It's something I find quite interesting and definitely worthy of encouragement.

In other news, today I accomplished something for the first time, namely reassembling a laptop and having it still work afterwards. It's the laptop I had promised to a friend to fix a while ago. Today the new replacement fans finally came in from the USA so I set to work putting the thing back together. The assembly was absolutely no trouble, the real shocker came when I turned the system on: the lower part of the screen was a mess of vertical lines. After an intense troubleshooting session and disassembly of the display part I figured that if there was anything wrong with it, it'd have to be in the LCD panel itself.

Then while I was running the system I held the LCD panel in my hands and all of a sudden the problem fixed itself. Perfect picture. After some careful prodding the picture stayed fine, so I reassembled the laptop, at each stage testing for changes. Only after I had the bezel back on and the system was idling in Windows did the screen suddenly revert back to the vertical lines. Exasperated, I resorted to the troubleshooter's best friend, namely whacking the offending part, in this case the back of the display. After the first tap the screen popped back to its normal, fully working state.

It was only after Pieter had returned home and I was discussing this issue with him that he told me that this friend had been having this LCD issue for a while already with the laptop. Great, could have told me sooner instead of sending me into near-shock at the realization that I probably messed up the LCD panel. Maybe I should demand a list of existing issues before I set to work on a system, like they do at computer stores. Or something.

I finished watching a Mass Effect video walkthrough today. I like watching the gameplay of other games as it gives me a good idea of what I do and don't like in the games we are making or will soon be making. Mass Effect for example has a pretty involved story, a fair bit of freedom in its storyline, yet is pretty much devoid of any real emotional interaction. Another game I just started watching the walkthrough of, Fable 2, has the most awful character animation and timing of spoken dialogue. While the person playing the game didn't seem like the most patient one, it nevertheless how easy it is to ruin a decent game by not keeping in mind the 'impatient' gamers.

For our current game, Even Cats Dream, there's still a pile of work to be done. I hope to finish the new site this week and begin testing it. There's still heaps of work to be done in creating the 3D objects, sounds, maps and other resources and frankly I feel we're still in way over our heads in this. I fear we won't get it done in another half a year at the current rate. We need some real help, and with that I don't mean those volunteers who offered their services, did some half-hearted work and then vanished without a trace again. This game may make or break the company, and this company is the future of both me and my dear friend Trevor. If it were to fail we would have a really big problem.

Failure simply is not an option, and even the prospect of a possible failure is almost more than I can bear already.


1 comment:

a_g said...

wanna talk about your troubles?