Saturday, 18 June 2016

Defending having a mental disorder

I am one of those people who are 'gifted' with photographic memory, meaning that we can remember (too) many details of anything we see and observe. I am used to zip between scenes in my mind, playing them back in near-perfect visual clarity, details blending together in an almost seamless manner. That is also exactly why that one event, about five years ago now, frightens me so much, as it is essentially a gap in my memories.

I do remember nothing more than just some streaked blurs of the event: my hand grabbing the side of a glass panel, me sitting on the floor with blood dripping from my hand onto the floor, me walking outside (seeing only the ground), people bashing my head into a solid object, ripping my clothes off my body, feeling them sitting on top of me while metal handcuffs cut deeply into my wrists. Also the incredible, agonising pain.

Then the perfect clarity returning as I am lying there, practically naked, in this police cell. The realisation of what probably happened between me entering that GP's office together with my mother and my current situation. Then the police office and my assigned lawyer filling in the blanks. The bitter confrontation with the fact that my body has done something terrible while I was not able to stop it from doing those things.

Five years of legal hearings and fruitless appeals followed. All charges were dropped and no official punishment assigned, yet with me still being forced to pay for the damage to a local artist's uninsured statues to 'provide a deterrent for doing it again'. Their psychiatrist concluded after briefly seeing me that I was still partially responsible for my actions, something which my own psychotherapist fully disagreed with.

I have severe post-traumatic stress disorder. At the time of this event, five years ago, it had been six years already during which I had tried to and failed to find help with my intersex condition. I had suffered brainwashing as doctors and psychologists had tried incessantly to make me believe that I had to be a regular boy or transsexual, despite conclusive evidence from German clinics in 2007 and again in 2008.

Every time I suffered the same series of denials, suggestions of me being crazy, the undressing and subsequent fondling by physicians including penetrations. The constant lies, deceptions, delays and redirecting. In between all of that there was also me getting raped and suffering sexual, physical and psychological abuse. I don't know how I did bear all of that. I'm not sure I ever really did.

What I have is a mental disorder. PTSD alters the way the brain works in response to certain triggers, so that one doesn't have any conscious control over it. As my psychotherapist explained it to me - as well as to the court - what I suffered during that incident was a so-called blackout. Likely originating in my PTSD, but also with characteristics of a dissociative identity disorder (DID).

Basically, I literally wasn't myself at that point, which explains why I have virtually no memories of the event in question. I could not have been expected to be able to control my actions after that GP assistant made that one derogatory remark about me, which according to my mother was what ultimately made me 'snap'. She described how my entire behaviour after that suddenly completely changed.

Late last year when I first got the notice from my last lawyer in this case that the final appeal had been rejected with the financial punishment still being in place, I decided to try seeing how many people would wish to support me financially. This would allow me to pay the fine of thousands of Euro without me having to sacrifice my meagre savings for what I could only perceive as complete injustice.

As I feared, among the plentiful support, there were also many of those who called me horrible things, suggesting that I was just pretending in order to not have to pay the fine myself. That is perhaps the worst thing of this all, that after years of judges gleefully punishing me for something I could not have prevented no matter how much I might have wanted to, many others would dismiss my traumas, PTSD and blackout episode as a 'fantasy'.

I have a mental disorder. One cannot see it from the outside, but I can feel it most of the time. Sitting perched there in my brain like an ominous shadow. It changes how I experience and live my life. I know it will never go away. But that is okay. It's still part of myself, and I know how it works now. More or less.

What I cannot deal with are those who ignore this part of me. Who dismiss the traumatic events I have been through over the past twelve years. I cannot convince them. I cannot defend against those people. How would I? It's all just literally inside my head, no matter how real it is. One just has to dismiss my past experiences and all that remains is just me as a snivelling... something, asking others to pay for her misdeeds as an aggressive, impulsive, violent, manipulative criminal.

Am I the victim here? Or the perpetrator? It depends on who you ask, apparently.


P.S.: yesterday I wrote a post about the letter detailing the fine, with a link to the fundraising campaign, if anyone is interested:

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