Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Processing trauma: knowing versus feeling

I can't really point to any particular moment when I began to so vividly remember all of these things from my past. Before it would be just the occasional glimpse, a bad dream or horrible feeling. For the past weeks at least I have extremely intense dreams, often involving scenes related to traumatic things from my past. During the day I'll regularly recall traumatic and less traumatic memories from the past decades with a level of detail which I am completely not used to.

I think I'm beginning to process my traumas.

It's been over a year since I left the Netherlands and with it the primary factor in all of my traumatic events in my life. While it's not been easy getting settled in Germany, it's not been traumatic, and that's the important distinction. Whereas in the Netherlands I was fighting and surviving every day again, even before those horrible physicians and other so-called specialists got their hands on me, here in Germany there's none of that. With the mental pressure and with it the emotional blockades fading, all that's been put away for so long now comes flowing back.

I never forgot anything of what had happened to me, from the horrible sexual assaults and rape, to the physical and psychological humiliation, to the always present feeling of not belonging in this world, of not having a place. It was always there, the basic knowledge of these facts. With my media appearances I could easily recall all of it. Yet one thing was almost completely absent from this all: emotions.

Not that I wish to claim that I have been devoid of emotion in my communications the past years, but as far as my recollections go of these countless traumatic events, I never really felt the associated emotions and related that go with them. I saw the visuals and realized that it was bad, but the associated feelings were missing. Now these are back, and it's in many ways horrible.

I could never describe the full extent of all these traumas, of how it felt, how it ripped away one piece of my soul after another. To face one more humiliation by Dutch physicians after another and another. To see no exit, but only the endless road ahead of me as I trudged on, chasing one false hope after another.

The extent to which I curse having been born with this body, and to which this horrible, impossibly cruel society has reduced me to what I am today. And with it all not knowing why. Why did it have to be like this, why me, why did everyone have to go out of their way to deny me my own body? Was it me? Did I offend someone by not being part of the gender binary? Are people truly this evil? How long do I have to continue to suffer like this?

Processing traumas is not the same as giving them a place and closing the chapter. For me it means that right now I have a bit of a quiet moment after more than a decade of not having the time to just sit down and think about what has happened so far. Maybe I'll feel a little bit less upset about some things which have happened to me, and maybe I'll even be able to reduce my full-blown hatred of sexuality to a mere loathing. In the end, however, I'm just catching up with the thinking and categorizing my brain didn't have the time for until now.

There are no miracles.

Taking a shower and going to bed/waking up are still among the hardest things in my life. I cannot see or feel my own body without being assaulted with painful recollections. Not thinking about it too much is usually the best approach. Don't think about this body of mine. What is is, what it isn't, what I'll never know or understand. What those pains are. Why I have a penis when everything else about my body looks like that of a girl. Why every month the area where I'm supposed to have the entrance of my vagina starts hurting like hell and sitting, walking and lying down is painful at best.

I don't know anything and nobody wants to tell me.

Maybe it's more accurate to say that my emotions in general are returning. Yet with it also comes an amount of emotional pain and agony which appears to be without bounds. I'm becoming more mature in the span of weeks, yet at what cost?

I still want to destroy this body for being so... stupid and weird. Having such strong emotions and feelings again isn't helping with that.

In the end there's just this brick wall I cannot avoid labelled 'medical help' which is insurmountable. I won't 'process' my way past that one, just like how being locked up in a cellar and being sexually abused on a daily basis can't be 'processed' away. Active, continuing traumatic events are a direct threat to one's emotional stability. I am still suffering the same trauma. All the other traumatic events are secondary to it. Great that I can process them now, but once they become less relevant, there's still the Big One.

It's this body, or perhaps more succinctly society itself which is the most traumatic to me.

Is there a fix for that? Over a decade of trying to find one says that there isn't one.

Am I truly deadlocked on this issue?

Am I just talking in rhetorical questions?


No comments: