Saturday, 8 February 2014

Succcess Is Irrelevant

The past weeks have seen a number of improvements, many of which I have written about before, whether longingly or not. I'm officially registered as living in Germany, got a German bank account and tax ID. I have health insurance via the Krankenkasse. I also managed to get a decent apartment (though it needs some fixing, including half the radiators...) in Karlsruhe itself which I moved into earlier this week. And yet it all doesn't matter.

That's not an entirely true statement, of course, as I do like my creature comforts. Not having proper heating or a kitchen right now in my apartment is making me a lot unhappier than I should be, made worse by people dismissing this with stories of many months they did without a kitchen, a fridge, etc. Yet even once all the issues with heating, electricity and missing kitchen, furniture and appliances gets fixed, I still won't be happy.

I noticed this again in a very distressing way yesterday while I was at the local hackerspace (Entropia). Even a few hours before I went there I was already feeling very alone and unhappy, with everyone leaving to their own warm homes and me not knowing where to go or what to do. That's where the hackerspace is a bit of an outcome to me, I guess, as it's both safe and warm, plus it has decent internet, unlike at my apartment where I'm still using a sluggish 3G connection for a while longer.

Anyway, I know that I'm not doing well emotionally when the one central sensation I'm feeling is one aimed at self-termination, with this bland, painful feeling driving home the point that my existence is useless, pointless and that I'll forever be alone with a massive distance between me and real humans. It's a horrible feeling, as it makes you completely unmotivated to keep living, while your usual sense of self-preservation is hitting the emergency brakes. It wasn't until I began to talk about it with a friend that I was able to explore the source of this pain a bit.

While I won't claim that I fully understand why I'm feeling so depressed and suicidal, I do know that it's not due to a single or even less than a handful of factors. It's a complex amalgamation of factors, most deriving from my youth, high-school period and the horrifically traumatic experiences with the Dutch medical system. I can name a number of these factors and they're all horrible on their own, yet I can feel that it's just a little piece of the puzzle. The central feeling is one of despair, frustration, agony, exemplified by the chapters of my autobiography which I have finished or am still working on.

Through writing this autobiography and finally really recalling my youth and high school period many illusions I had are being shattered. There was no happy, carefree youth. There was just me being excluded, bullied and beaten for being 'different' and knowing lots of things. It's good to finally confront this truth at long last, even if it hurts like hell. I wish I had a way to figure out and deal with all the other things which are currently bothering me, though.

My traumas regarding the past decade of mental and physical torture by Dutch physicians and psychologists are really becoming apparent now that I'm no longer in that country. It's a textbook example of the development of traumas as documented among war veterans, in fact. At first they seem fine when they get home after serving a tour in a war zone, yet after a few weeks or months things begin to change as they slowly slip back into the hell they were supposed to have left. I went through a lot of nightmares the past weeks and many situations during daily life make me relive parts of certain traumatic events while I'm struggling to keep a feeble grip on reality.

I'm not even sure how much of this so-called reality I can accept or even deal with, though. Things like sexuality, gender and relationships have been a bad point for me, essentially starting the moment I got raped. Together with the agony I had to go through as I figured out what I truly was and had to catch up emotionally from the level of a pre-teen, it made me look just too much at reality. Human sexuality and relationships in general are so ugly and so violent, it's just horrible. Yet, as I mentioned a while ago, every human being needs love and attention. This makes the former two items easy things to long for, yet I have become convinced that I should not be looking at either of them for happiness or even comfort.

A relationship I could deal with if it found me and it worked out well, but at this point I'm not going in search of it and I'm also incredibly paranoid about such things. Yet it still hurts so much to see couples together, with an exchanged kiss as painful to me as a dagger into the chest. In the end this all comes down to feeling like a failure. Not intellectually, of course, as that's one area where I have always made sure that I'm doing fine or more than fine. There is a reason why I got asked to write a highly technical reference book for the AndEngine Android-based game engine after all, and why I am working as a software developer at Synyx.

I guess what it comes down to is that due to how I grew up combined with the horrible way in which my life was stolen from me for a decade has left me in a state where due to hiding away in some kind of intellectual hole I'm okay in that area, but which caused me to miss out on social contact. I feel like an alien in this world. When something factual, preferably scientific and/or technological is being discussed I can understand and comprehend it, but anything else is just gibberish to me. This also makes me extremely awkward in society in general, with me often feeling attacked or ridiculed.

One thing I have come to loathe lately is the forceful attitude some people here seem to have about forcing me to learn German. It's completely putting me off Germany in general. First of all I didn't migrate to Germany because of the culture or language, but to escape persecution in the Netherlands. Second of all I haven't spoken German since the second to last year of HS, by now about 13 years ago. Third, whenever I'm pressured into anything I just completely become blocked on it. I am trying to feel welcome and comfortable here in Germany, not persecuted, ridiculed and out of place.

In the end it's just not one thing in particular which is causing me to feel so terrible. They're not regular, every day things, though I have those problems too and people can help me with those to lighten my load some. The real, fundamental issues which are bothering me are things which go beyond the comprehension of the average person. Who can understand the traumas I had to experience when I figured out that my entire life had been a lie when I found out that I wasn't an awkward, ugly boy but a pretty girl? Who can understand what and how much this last surgery I desire means to me? Who can honestly grasp the entirety of the pain I have to live with simply thanks to having been born with a body which differs from what is 'regular'?

Some days I feel cursed for not only having been born a hermaphrodite, but also for being gifted. Either by itself would have made my life into a living hell already, but together it makes for something unbearable, thanks to today's archaic-minded society. Somehow I will have to figure out how to deal with this. Getting my creature comforts sorted is essential, as is getting that surgery scheduled and performed. For that I may need another surgeon, as those who have been following me are probably aware.

Anyway, I'll leave it at this for now. It's freezing in this room of my apartment so I think I'll be heading off to the hackerspace for some warmth and human company. I don't do too well just by myself lately. This all isn't just something I can leave behind me, as the conflict takes place inside your head and stays there. You can not ignore it just like you can't ignore a broken leg. Both can be mended with the proper care and time, though.



Patrick Horgan said...

I've been going through what I call a crisis the last several months, with much mental anguish and suicidal thoughts, and I also when things get bad scratch my arm. Although it hurts to do that normally, when the mental pain is unbearable, it's really quite soothing. With me it's post-traumatic stress from childhood abuse and abandonment issues. I'm somewhat better right now, but it's too soon to say really better. This is all just to say that I hear your pain. I don't know you, really, but you matter to me. You are so brave. For me, just the thought that at times I feel more like a woman than a man is terrifying. Through reading what you write, I've found the first edges of self-acceptance. You make a difference.

bill bowen said...

Hi Maya,
Yes, I'm very "successful" and it is irrelevant.
I came to your blog via your helpful tips on Qt threads. Thanks for that.
But then I got drawn into your story by your shirtsleeve writing style. It connects on many levels. It connects to feelings I had growing up(not that I am a hermaphrodite but more universal feelings) and to my daughters plight through her own difficult social and medical woes here in California.
At any rate, thanks for sharing and I believe you have the capacity to thrive in this world as you navigate the capricious nature of life.