Saturday, 17 December 2016

The fine line between trauma and simple laziness

How does one deal with something which is intangible yet part of oneself or another person?

This is the question which has plagued anyone affected with mental health issues, who were forced into poverty through forces beyond their control, or otherwise suffer because of the spectre of normalcy.

It's very easy to end up in a situation in one's life where one cannot proceed any further without help from others. Yet to ask help is still a taboo in today's society. Everyone is expected to fight for themselves, and if you cannot keep up it's your own darn fault. Homeless? Just get a job already and rent a place. Jobless? Plenty of jobs around. Feeling depressed? Just cheer up. Feeling suicidal? There's still so much to live for, so stop being silly.

One perception is that people who cannot extract themselves from such a hopeless situation are simply lazy, unmotivated or worse.

I mean, just look at how easy it is to get a job: apply at twenty places, get rejected at 19, get the lowest-paying job out of the lot in the end. Or to find a new place to live in: spend a year or two looking at dozens of places, run into unscrupulous owners, dodgy real-estate agents, hidden fees and defects and see ever place you really wanted go to someone else instead.

And that's for people without mental health issues.

I was and still am incredibly lucky that I came across my current employer who saw the potential in me and supported me far beyond what they were legally required to do. They allowed me get my professional career back on track and gave me a safe space in which I could develop myself as a person and software developer.

Could I have managed something on my own otherwise? I went through about a dozen job interviews in a few months time back in the Netherlands, before landing a job as a backend developer. It wasn't something I wanted to do, and the environment was horribly restrictive. Yet I had to because I needed the money. It was a demotivating experience which left me so traumatised that during the first year that I worked in Germany for my current employer I felt the same sense of terror and forced respect as I had for my bosses at my previous job.

I don't think I would have made it without this help.

Now that I am dealing with the current crisis surrounding my current apartment, having to get a lawyer again and dealing with another potential legal case, I can only feel dread as I think about this place, and the need to find a new place. Not that I didn't try to find alternative places to live the past years among too much time spend on medical issues. They all were given to other people, though, or the owner could not be trusted.

And that's when I hit the limit of compromising.

Last weekend, after looking at yet another place, I fell apart emotionally and mentally in a way which I had never experienced before. This was the point for me when I realised that not only had others basically not grasped what it means to search for a new home for a person with my level of severe traumatic experiences, neither had I.

Talking about it with my psychotherapist a few days ago, the term it came down to was 'compromise'. How my life has been just an endless series of compromises, renewed hope and crushed expectations for year after year after year, in a seemingly endless repetition. As I wrote before, there's no real difference between a doctor and landlord. Both are people you need, people who preside over your happiness and joy in life and who can crush both without a care in the world.

I cannot deal mentally, emotionally or even physically any more with the stress of finding medical help for my intersex condition. I am completely reliant on the help of others at this point, in particular my psychotherapist, my endocrinologist and gynaecologist.

Finding a new home taps into the same drained energy reserves. Finding a new home is something which has many traumatic memories for me, including eviction, suicide, domestic violence and abuse, etc. To look for a new place is to open myself to reliving those traumas, suffering new ones and worst of all slipping into suicidal depressions like last weekend.

I really wish that I could put better into words what I am trying to say here, but words fail me.

My point is basically that even if you cannot see it on the outside of a person, they can still be injured inside. You'd not force a person with a broken leg to walk. Similarly you wouldn't force someone with severe mental trauma to repeat the same experience again. It just won't end well.

What I have to come to terms with is that I need a new home, but I cannot look for it myself, or risk harming myself horribly due to the emotional destabilisation that would cause. This means that I have to rely 100% on others.

I wish I was just being lazy. I could use a horribly dull and boring life. It would be awesome.


1 comment:

Al Errington said...

Maya, you should not be afraid of delegating something that is difficult for you to someone else as long as it is someone who has the experience to do it well. To put it in perspective, I can muddle around a bit in programming, if I need something serious done I find someone like you. You have and have had a challenging life. Make it easier where you can.
I would think there should be real estate professionals who can help you. There would probably be a fee involved but it should take a substantial stress off you, the trick is delagating with clear expectations and accountably.
I did a bit of thinking about how to approach delegation in a stress decreasing way, you have a lot of stress about this. The best I could think of is treating delegation like programming. When you write software you don't just start coding. You define the results and expectations of the software first. To delegate effectively, before even looking for someone to delegate to, first define results to be achieved.

Result to be achieved: comfortable, relaxing home to live in.

Refine expectations of result to be achieved by defining expectations

Positive outcomes to be achieved:
- safety
Warm and comfortable
- transportation access to work, shopping etc
- ?
Negative outcomes to be avoided
- budget
- High and surprise expenses
- ?

Once you have results and expectations defined, find someone who has the skills and experience to do the job. A professional with good references would be best unless you have a friend who is good at this.

Now the most important thing, accountability. Apply accountability to the results you have defined. Accountability is not personal, the same as software development is not personal, you need a result achieved. You may have to be open to refining your positive and negative outcomes, but you should never compromise the end result, a home you can be happy in.

Hope this helps a bit. You don't have to post this, just thought this perspective might help. Wishing you well in a challenging life. Al Errington