Friday, 28 April 2017

Don't call me a liar

The past months have given me ample time to think and reflect on things, including the specific reasons why the eviction case I'm dealing with upsets me so much. It being baseless and an aggressive attack to shut down tenant's rights is pretty bad already, but there's something more. Something far more fundamental. Something about me being a liar.

What's the central theme about the past twelve years that I have struggled to find recognition and help for my intersex condition? Being called a liar. About making up being intersex, having female genitals. Lying about having a period and monthly pains. Lying about worsening chronic pains. Even as the physical evidence kept mounting, the accusations kept coming.

The eviction case is similar: I have identified a problem to the best of my abilities, followed all the rules and then get assaulted regardless, called a liar and a thief, and have my integrity as a person cast into doubt again.

Clearly following the rules is meaningless. Being a nice person only helps others.

The only truth which matters is the one which those who are more powerful can force upon those who are weaker.

Ergo, I'm a liar and deserve all the misery which comes my way.


Maya

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The meaning of life when on death row

Imagine: there are two worlds, two realities. One is accessed via the internet-connected laptop you have, offering you contact with millions of people, access to a near-infinite amount of information and glimpses of a hope-filled and bright future. The other reality is the one you find yourself in whenever you aren't engrossed in the former world inside your laptop.

The former world fills you with hope and joy. The latter is the bleak reality of death row.


For years now I have had recurrent dreams in which I am walking through a crowd of people, all apparently gathered for a party or similar. They are busily talking with each other, all engrossed in whichever topic they're talking about. I do not talk with anyone, or even try to talk with anyone. Throughout this, I know with absolute certainty that come tomorrow, I will be executed, ergo why would I bother?

In these dreams, every time that I begin to feel interested in something around me, the feeling is immediately crushed by the bitterness of the futility of it all. Tomorrow I will die. None of what I do right now matters. Yet nobody around me can even begin to understand what I am going through. If they were interested at all, which none of them appear to be. I feel like I'm already dead and just wandering through the world of the living as a ghost.


I think that for me it all started around the time that I finished high school and before my parents divorced. That was the point where I began to fully lose any concept of 'self', or more specifically of what it meant to have a body. After being forced to move out of the house in which I had grown up, I fell back into myself, neglecting my body beyond the most basic needs to feed and clean it.

During the last year of high school I had finally found out one reason why I wasn't like the people around me, when a giftedness study at a Dutch university showed me to be both a 100% visual learner and highly gifted individual. Unfortunately this knowledge didn't come with associated help with how to deal with it, nor did it tell me what I needed know about what my body is.


For some reason it feels as though back when I still thought that I had a male body I had more freedom. Ever since I found out about my body being hermaphroditic have things gone from bad to worse. Yet I had to find out. I had to know. I did not expect to be punished for this. I did not expect that it would result in me suffering horrible psychological trauma, rape, beatings and getting locked up for crimes I did not commit.

That day in early 2005 when I first travelled to the gender team at the VUmc hospital in Amsterdam feels like the day when I got arrested and locked up for the crime of having been born like this. Over the course of the following years I went through countless appeals and medical examinations, all in the hope to overturn these charges of being transgender, crazy, etc.

Yet none of it seems to have changed anything. None of it matters. The medical evidence is still deemed contradictory, despite my body clearly not being male, what with a primarily female phenotype and natural female hormone levels and even a monthly cycle. It's all irrelevant. I'm still not getting help, nor will I ever be released from death row.


Dealing with the current eviction court case and the bleak prospects of finding a home only serve to reinforce what I already knew years ago: innocent or not, I will be executed. Soon the extra time I had for appeals and help will run out and I will cease to exist.

As a result I also know that none of what I might want matters, nor do any of my plans and hope for the future matter. Why would I work on any projects, or be really invested in work or getting money back from taxes, or feel remotely interested in pointless things like vacations, relationships and the like?

It all feels exactly like those dreams. The world around me goes on, but before long my existence will be snuffed out.

And none of this will matter.


Maya

Saturday, 15 April 2017

When you no longer care whether you live or die

Last week's eviction hearing was as hateful as expected, with the opposing side feeling eager to see me vanish and self-congratulating on doing such a good job at being absolutely miserable examples of human beings. In this I am up against one of the biggest real-estate companies in the area. They maintain their claim that the rent reduction was only for three months (not true), and that there are currently no remaining issues in the apartment. Which is also a blatant lie.

Naturally I got offered the chance to accept a humiliating surrender, pay up thousands of Euros, including the costs for their and my own lawyer. I will keep fighting, however, if only for the small chance on justice being served. I did absolutely nothing wrong, after all, and being forced to move will likely cause me to die.


Before the whole eviction thing started, my condition could be described as 'stable bad'. With thoughts of suicide being quite rare and still easy to contain. At this point my condition is not stable at all and my thoughts keep dipping into dark, suicidal thoughts every few minutes or so. Even just writing this, and having to accept this truth just caused me to lose self-control, scratch at my neck with my fingernails and hurt this body for being the cause of it all. Then start crying for everything about life just hurting.

Even though I have my psychotherapist backing me in that I cannot possibly be forced to leave the premises, the stress is still there, along with the realisation that I'm once again confronted by 'people' who couldn't care less or would even rejoice if I were to commit suicide. So long as I vanish out of their miserable lives. It's no different from those countless doctors and psychologists I faced over the past years.

The previous weekend I was away with my colleagues on a company-sponsored trip to the nearby Schwarzwald. On the way to the hotel with the bus I couldn't help but stare sadly out of the window, seeing countless houses, realising that everyone is apparently living in an apartment, with each house split up. Realising that apparently I'm so broken that I cannot be like others here and just accept living together in a shared house with others, ignoring noise, stress and frustrations.

It's why I know that Germany is the wrong country for me.

All I need at this point is for me to lose the eviction case to convince me that there's no point for me to continue living. I have spent the years since my last suicide attempt in 2011 trying to convince myself that life can be worth living, but this situation and the hatred which I must suffer from doctors, psychologists, landlords and others for merely existing is just too much.

I tried. I did my best. It's okay for me to just give up now. It's not my fault that there's no place for me in this world.

I want to believe it's not all my fault.

Is it?


The next months will find me dealing with neurologists, for the worsening loss of sensation in the right side of my body, travelling to another clinic for an appointment with another specialist and probably start more intensive psychotherapy from a second mental health professional. This is already far too much to deal with. I honestly cannot deal with anything more.

I'll have to survive somehow. Because others feel I must not die.

I no longer feel that way.


Maya

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The eviction hearing, or: Let's try this 'justice' thing again

Tomorrow just after noon the eviction hearing against me will start. The case in summary is that there were many larger and smaller issues with the apartment right from the beginning. A rent reduction was agreed upon. Not all of the original issues have been fixed: of the noisy heating the conclusion was that it 'would be too expensive too fix'. For the rusty water I would just have to run the water more often. The holes around the windows have been largely ignored.

This should be the easiest eviction hearing ever, with everything so clear-cut. Yet I have had to struggle through months of suicidal thoughts, the certainty that everything was going to end on this day, that I was basically being led to my execution. Even now I can feel the tenseness in my shoulders and tinges of sharp pain in my neck warning me that I'm one wrong move away from another pinched nerve and hours of agony.

Perhaps one reason is that my experience with 'justice' has been rather disappointing so far. From a case against the doctors who falsely diagnosed me originally as being transgender yet refused to do any examinations, even after the first German MRI report showing me to be intersex, to a claim against my insurance company for refusing to cover certain expenses because I am intersex and not transgender, even if the impact is sometimes the exact same.

And basically so on and on. Not very confidence inspiring, all together.


What do I hope for? That I won't have to pay a cent extra and get all the time and maybe help which I need to find a better place to move into. What do I expect I get? A short deadline to leave the premises of mere months and having to pay thousands of Euros. Why the latter when it is such a clear-cut case? Because justice is dead. That's why.

Tomorrow I should see the first signs of which way it will move towards. If the outstanding issues have to be examined it would still take months before a decision has been reached. I hope it'll be over soon, even if I will just have to accept whatever gets decided for me. I just hope that it won't be so negative that it will trigger more suicidal depressions. I still don't want to die, but justice is blind, after all.


Maya

Sciatica, or: welcome to another personal hell

Today while at work I had my right leg suddenly go numb again. It's the same thing as the previous times, basically: the leg turning wooden, being unable to move it voluntarily and only being able to wobble around on said leg as if it's a prosthetic limb, pretty much. Sensation is reduced to a numbness, with occasional sharp pains and tingling.

Earlier someone on Twitter recognised the symptoms as I described them and asked me whether it could be sciatica [1]. Unsurprisingly it's a good match. Essentially it occurs when the root of the lower lumbar and/or lumbosacral spine become irritated. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including pregnancy [2].

This diagnosis also gives an explanation for the pain in my hips, which is how this all started, about 5 years ago now. Back then it was mostly the pain in my hip, with occasional pain in my right leg. Over time this has become worse, to the point where there are now days when I simply cannot walk properly, and am in pain the entire time.

Another constant which I have noticed over the past months is that whenever I have these sciatica symptoms, I also experience pain in the lower abdominal and vaginal area, including the at times excruciating pain during a toilet visit. This is all indicative of there being something in the lower abdomen which is irritated, swollen, inflamed, or a combination thereof.

I have already contacted my GP about this and hope that I can get some kind of diagnosis now of the underlying cause for these symptoms. Most likely it's due to my period, the associated hormonal changes and my unique physiology as a hermaphrodite. Most worrying about it is that the symptoms are becoming more severe, which warrants immediate medical attention. Hopefully that will work out for once, and I won't be still writing about it in ten years, while crippled and bed-bound, or something.

Can my life please get boring yet? :(


Maya


[1] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/basics/definition/con-20026478
[2] http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/sciatica-symptoms

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Just a terrified child

Just a few days until the eviction hearing. I'd be a liar if I said that it hadn't been the thing that's been most on my mind for the past months. I'd be an even worse liar if I insisted that it doesn't make me feel depressed, suicidal and want to cry and curl up in absolute misery.

I don't know what this 'adult' thing is that others keep talking about. At times like these I realise that it has nothing to do with me. I'm just a child, who just wants to play all day: learning more languages, playing games, soldering and programming projects and exploring the universe. Everything that is fun.

I don't know what these Adults want from me, with their Adult things. They're just big, scary, looming dark figures who keep yelling at me, demanding that I do things, or not do things, yet I never really understand why it's all such a big deal to them. They should learn to have fun instead.

Hopefully they'll leave me alone again soon.

There's still so much fun to be had.


Maya

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Living in terror of being killed

The past months at work have been absolutely great and fun. With a bit of a slowdown in projects for customers, I have had plenty of opportunity to work with a couple of colleagues on an internal 'Internet of Targets' (IoT) project originally aimed at measuring temperature and humidity using basic sensors and ESP8266 WiFi-enabled micro-controller boards.

Meanwhile the project has grown a bit, from the initial setup to a system of nodes which communicate via the MQTT protocol, receive firmware updates via Over-the-Air (OTA) updates and obtain their configuration and settings from a central command and control (C&C) server. In addition we stuck a couple of nodes on the coffee machines in the office in order to read out coffee use statistics.

The coming time we'll be refining this system. The past days I have mostly spent on building out the C&C side, making the server more configurable and full-featured and adding a GUI to monitor and control nodes. There are also plans to further automate and control the coffee machines and LED lighting. Last week I wrote a blog post about it on the company blog [1].

I like how this project gives me every chance and motivation to further develop my embedded C++ skills, as well as my electronics and soldering skills. There at the office is the perfect environment for me to develop myself further as I feel comfortable, safe and motivated. Quite in contrast with what's supposed to be my home.


I have let over two weeks worth of paid vacation days from last year lapse this month, simply because I did not want to be stuck at 'home'. I much preferred it to be at work, doing something I like and from which I can learn, to show off at a big event for one of our customers. Every day I loathe or feel terrified of having to head 'home'.

The noises, the rundown parts and the terrible memories make the apartment a place where I go to because it's where my belongings are and have not found anything else yet. I'm terrified of checking the mailbox because it may contain more horrible letters. I had to turn off the speaker on the doorbell because having the delivery guy spam all apartments would freak me out each time.

Meanwhile the hearing in the eviction case draws near. Just a few days to go. Then I have to face the accusation of withholding rent without cause, despite it having been agreed upon right from the beginning without any reason provided why it would have changed. Yet it likely means having to face the accusation of not doing enough to find something better.

If I hate this apartment so much, then why am I still living in it? Cue flashbacks of me spending an entire weekend crying, trying to distract myself with a video and games and cooking while resisting the urge to just use the knife to cut up this worthless body of mine and get it all over with because it hurts so incredibly much inside. Basically how I respond to a disappointing viewing of a new place. Happened twice in the last few months so far. I'm not eager to try that again.

A lot depends on whether the court can understand and accept that a) I did do nothing wrong, and b) I'm not staying in this place because it's in any way a voluntary choice, but for the stupid reality of finding something else being practically impossible.

Talking to others about either renting or buying a place - be it an apartment or house - the response is invariably that it's the wrong choice and even if I picked the 'right' choice, it's still going to be incredibly hard and I just have to keep trying and trying and trying until I get lucky.

Did I mention yet the effect searching for a home has on me, especially the disappointments? 'Stable bad' is what I called my current condition.


Add to this that for the past weeks the normal monthly pains have been ramped up with a severe pain in my right leg as if the bone has been fractured (pretty sure it's not) and a general sensation of pain and numbness in the entire right side of my body. Probably psychosomatic. Oh, and I'll soon be dealing with that new intersex specialist, I think, which would mean digging through my entire medical file, confront many traumas and likely having to undergo multiple medical examinations, whilst travelling around Germany.

It's easy to just think that the entire problem with my life is this body, as it's being stupid, all intersex and such, and it makes me require finding a home, which doesn't exist, just like how there is no medical help to be found for this stupid intersex body. It makes one think that punishing this body, even killing it is an acceptable way to solve the problem, or at least take out my frustration in the form of punching, cutting and otherwise hurting it.

It also makes me hate and distrust people around me. All people want is to hurt me. Ignore me. Abuse me. Profit off me. And whatever the hell it is that doctors want from me. To die, maybe. It feels like some kind of sick psychological experiment that I was born into.


I wish that I could have an actual home. Being a place I'd love to return to without feeling as if I'm headed towards my own execution. I want to feel safe. Not persecuted, hunted and scorned. Yet the past months I have had to honestly question whether such a thing is realistic; whether it's at all possible to get something better than this rundown place within the next years. Part of me just wants to give up on Germany. Move to a place that's less densely populated, somewhere where I may find a home more easily. Somewhere where people aren't making me feel as if I have to die.

Another part of me realises that things cannot possibly that bad, that it's quite unlikely that people are actively trying to kill me. Not directly at all. Ignore my PTSD and push me until something snaps again and I attempt to commit suicide again, sure. I guess that's my main fear with next week's hearing.


I do love it when people seem certain about things. Over the past twelve years I have learned that nothing is certain. I never was a boy despite it supposedly having been a 'fact'. Doctors rarely help people, despite what I learned about them. And so on. What are life's certainties? Just science and technology. The moment you add people to the mix is where things get ugly and unpredictable.

I don't know what I can do with my life to make me feel better. I feel as if I'm completely dependent on others with the medical stuff. Ditto with finding a home. Yet also that both are basically pointless as things simply won't get any better. And I don't know why.


Maybe this is all that I deserve? I really did try for the past twelve years to make things work, but it just didn't.


Just watch me being forced to find a new place within half a year or so or get kicked out of this horrible apartment to live my days out on the streets. That'd really be a fitting ending to a completely screwed up life which exemplifies why it doesn't pay to 'do things the right way'.

Just... meh.


Maya


[1] https://blog.synyx.de/2017/03/visualising-sensors-and-coffee-machines-with-esp8266-mqtt-influxdb-and-grafana/

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Trauma is meaningless in real life

The first person I knew who had suffered a traumatic event of which I was aware was a cousin. She was about one year older than me, but she has been dead for quite a few years now. It wasn't the fact that she decided to take her own life which angers my mother, myself and a few others. It was the attitude of those around her and that of the (justice) system which disgusted and angered us to no end.

This cousin, first as a young girl, was repeatedly sexually abused by her uncle and grandfather. Not just her alone, but also many other girls became their victims. Her mother, as well as other family members were basically aware of what was going on, or had strong suspicions. When it all came to light, the family as a whole covered for this uncle and grandfather.

Fast-forward a few years, and my cousin was still trying to cope with all of these horrible experiences, even as her own family treated her as an outcast and her mother refused to support her in the matter. Although it went through the Dutch justice system as a criminal case, the prosecution ended up making a few technical errors which resulted in the case getting thrown out. This left my cousin and all of the other girls who had become a victim without legal recourse.

I do not know what happened to any of the other girls, due to privacy regulations pertaining criminal cases, yet it makes one wonder how many more of them found themselves without proper support in dealing with this horrible violation which they suffered as a child. How many of them decided that, just like my cousin, life was not worth living any more. Not with such memories and such a complete lack of trust in society and fellow human beings.


My own mother was physically abused as a child, by her older brother. Her parents and older sister never interfered. Ultimately she was taken out of her home by the child protection service and raised by family. To this day she deals with the traumatic impact this left on her. To learn to trust and forgive. To not expect the worst from one's fellow human beings. She has had to learn about just how deeply hidden this traumatic impact can be.


Over the past years I have encountered many people who suffered such traumatic events. From rape, to being locked up and used as a sex slave, to physical and psychological abuse. To the horrible violations of one's bodily integrity suffered by intersex individuals. Each of them are events which essentially destroy something inside one's psyche which simply cannot be replaced or restored. Call it simple naivety or innocence. Call it trust or faith in others.

I may have suffered some kind of abuse as a child as well, though at this point I only have the observations of others and my own curious changes in behaviour as a child to go on there. I definitely did suffer rape, physical and psychological abuse at a later age, however. I still do not trust any other person to put their hands on me without my explicit permission, and I expect others by default to be unreliable and only capable of betrayal. It's impossible to think otherwise.


What I have sadly noticed by others and myself is that regardless of the traumas we have suffered, society couldn't care less. In general we are still expected to carry on as if nothing has happened. My cousin never got acceptance or help, but was expected to go on with her life, even as the court case dragged on and was ultimately thrown out. My mother tried to ignore what had happened to herself and put on a brave, friendly face to the outside world, until it all came back to her when my father betrayed her with another woman and divorced her.

Every time the same story for everyone I meet with such a story. It's one reason why I do not like talking with intersex and transgender people, because there's too much trauma and pain in their lives. Worst is when they cannot see it themselves yet, yet suffer the consequences all the same.


Currently, this insistence by one's environment to conveniently ignore and misunderstand trauma and its impact is a major topic for me again. Not just by being forced to keep asking uncooperative and ignorant doctors for help with my intersex condition - because the only alternative is suicide - but also by ignoring my inability to do anything but to strive for emotional stability.

Even as I try to make it clear that no, I cannot do things like 'searching for a new place to live', for the very simple reason that it makes me feel suicidally depressed and makes me want to hurt and ultimately murder myself. Yet even when I bluntly say this, others will just smile and inform me that I'll 'just have to keep trying'. I guess I can try walking again on a broken leg if others insist it can carry the weight. It's so frustrating and depressing.

To a traumatised person there's nothing worse than for people to ignore their pain and worse. If 'doing the very thing that carries a high risk of suicide' is regarded as acceptable, then it's society that's simply Hell itself for people like us. It's why I still do not blame my cousin for taking her own life. She is free of the pain and of this Hell called 'humanity' which'll never provide a home to people like us. In a sense I envy her because she succeeded where I so far failed.


I am well aware of the fact that most people do not actively wish me to die. Yet it's their ignorance and wrongful expectations and assumptions which are likely to drive me to suicide in the end, just as it did for my cousin and many others. Just like it does for far too many every single day.

Maybe it's just a kind of Darwinism. Us traumatised individuals are the weak links in society after all. Maybe that's why the rest are so unforgiving. Just like the weak individuals in a herd, it's better to cast off these weak, sacrificing them to the predators to make the herd stronger.

To be human is supposed to be about love and empathy, but that's more of a dream. Humans are despite everything still mostly beasts at heart, after all. It's kill or be killed. Those who get traumatised are merely the walking dead, because they failed to get properly killed in the first place.

Humans are disgusting and despicable.

Most of them.

It would be easier if one knew which ones to trust.


Maya

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Amnesia, false memories and a horrible secret

For the past weeks I have been experiencing flashbacks of past events, places and similar more and more frequently. As noted in earlier posts, it seems that whichever memory blocks existed before seem to be fading. So far the memories I have regained access to are centred around my teenage years, as well as the last years of the pre-teen years.

These flashbacks are pretty intense, causing me to briefly blank out, as a flood of primarily strong visual impressions threaten to overwhelm me.

Earlier today more than just a few memories came flooding back. This time it took me straight into some of my earliest memories, yet also back to a point with the strongest block. The impressions I can recall from that part of my youth are vague and fragmented, but carry a strong sense of... wrongness.

Yet as I try to push further into these memories, I find myself unable to. I can feel that there's something more there, but I cannot get a hold on these memories. All it leaves me with is a sense of pain, of tragedy and suffering. From talking with my mother I know that she isn't aware of anything that may have happened, but she did ask me whether something did happen to me as a child. Maybe someone knows. Maybe I do know, but just cannot recall it yet.


What's treacherous about amnesia is that your mind keeps making up memories based on shreds of information. Now that I'm remembering more and more coherent memories these false memories are becoming very apparent. Some are even in third-person perspective, which is frankly absurd. The sensation is the difference between looking at a stack of photographs, some burned almost to ash and others mostly intact or just charred. One gets the general impression of what is in the photograph, but it's a far cry from actually having those memories.

After such a massive number of memories surging back to me, I find myself quite disoriented. It will take time to reintegrate these memories, I guess. I'm also feeling somewhat afraid of what I may discover when - or if - these still blocked memories of my early childhood come back to me. Whether it's truly something traumatic that I experienced. Maybe related to the sexual abuse which my cousin suffered for years at the hands of her uncle and grandfather. Maybe something else. I don't know.


All that I remember at this point is that there's something horrible waiting for me. Something which made me feel upset and turned me quiet when I was only about six years old. Something which has affected me as an individual for most of my life now, even if I did not consciously realise it.

Maybe I do not want to ever remember it.


Maya

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Absolute terror and looking for an escape

Last Monday I was sitting at the a table in the local hackerspace, just having fetched and consumed dinner along with a couple of others. Suddenly I felt a tingling sensation in my right leg which rapidly got worse. Within minutes the leg had gone fully numb except for occasional surges of pain in the appendage. For the next hours I had to wait and hope that I'd get the sensation back in the leg before I could cycle home.

Last night I got woken up because my right arm was tingling and hurting. After a couple of minutes the pain lessened and I was able to fall asleep again. For the past days I can feel a numbness and mild discomfort in both my right leg and arm. To say that this is disconcerting would be an understatement.


For the past twelve years, it's been made very clear to me that do not know what I am talking about. All pains I merely imagine. Everything that I think my body is, is false.

It hasn't just been with medical things, either. Working my last job in the Netherlands was unpleasant and traumatising, along with the horror that was sharing an apartment with someone who did absolutely not have my well-being in mind and which ultimately led to me losing all of my belongings. It's not been easy to keep believing that things could get better.

Meanwhile I have a good job at a great employer, yet to get there hasn't been easy, either. Medically some progress has been made, but it looks like I still have many years - if not decades - ahead of me to get anything like a resolution. Anything beyond this... just no. Forget it.


Whenever I try to think of my future, or merely try thinking of heading to the run-down apartment I currently live in, my mind practically blanks out in fear. When thinking of contacting a real-estate agent to get started on finding that house to buy, there's about 1-3% of my mind which feels up to it, with the rest again blanking out in complete terror.

Most of my days are filled with the struggle against that general sensation of terror, accompanied by brief or longer periods where I find myself thinking about suicide.


When people then tell me to think about how great it would be to have a house of my own, and that I should look at real-estate websites for homes for sale, they are completely missing the point. Such things are guaranteed to make me feel that terror because of all the uncertainties and crushing disappointments which come naturally with such things. It's a sensation which I can resist for a short while (minutes, maybe), but beyond that it will invoke a suicidal depression because of it having drained my energy and with it the resistance against such thoughts.

In short, I can't do this.


I can maybe work up the energy to contact a real-estate agent and pray that this will suffice. I would also have to get a loan together, which would also be very emotionally taxing, but very likely less so than dealing with landlords and kin. Being confronted with my actual monetary worth (or lack thereof), is depressing, but at least I wouldn't be judged by anyone as a person.

Yet none of this will be easy. I'm not sure anyone here comes even close to understanding any of this. How would I even be able to explain any of this to someone else? Between being intersex, gifted, hyper-sensitive, ambidextrous and severely traumatised, I don't really feel like I am inhabiting the same universe as others. It would definitely explain why others keep expecting me to be able to do all the things which they can do.


I have a traumatic disorder. I cannot function in daily life the way others easily can. My traumatic experiences colour the world around me in a bleak and horrifying way most of the time. I cannot bring myself to trust people. Not yet. Not at this point. Not after everything that they have done to me. It frustrates me so incredibly that people will listen to me talk about all of this, then smile, nod and just tell me 'good luck', as if none of what I experienced and suffered was relevant, or real.

The chronic pains I suffer are real. The traumatic disorders are real. I can choose to ignore both, but doing so will not help me in any way. Other people ignoring both is not helpful, or right. Both have to be acknowledged and handled appropriately. Anything else will just increase my suffering.


Maybe I'm just misunderstanding this all, though. After all these years of not knowing what my body is, or who or what I am, and having multiple psychologists and kin judge me as being delusional, it could be me who is the problem.

I just want an escape out of this literal madness that I still find myself trapped in. Something has to make sense at some point. Probably. I hope so.


I have no clue who or what I am. Whether up is up or actually down. Maybe left is right and right left. The sky is blood-red, not blue. Everything can be true. It's all relative. Maybe everyone is wrong. Maybe this is all just in my mind. Maybe this is what it feels like to go crazy. Just an endless nightmare.


Maya

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Amnesia and chronic pain

Since the sudden flashback last week of an event out of my childhood, I have found myself remembering more and more things this week of both my childhood and time as teenager. Things which I was unable to remember before, no matter how much I tried.

It's really quite amazing how memory works, that before I would strain to try and remember something - anything - from those periods of my life, but was unable to. Yet now it's just a constant series of recollections that come flooding back.

From my mother remarking to me as a child how nice it was to be home again, to walking in line with other children during my preschool or primary school time, and the lunch hours during high school. Suddenly I can recall such things with absolute clarity again, down to the texture and colour of things in the scene.

It's both extremely nice to have access to these memories again, while also saddening that I had forgotten about them for so long. They are largely pleasant memories.


This sudden change in what is likely stress-induced amnesia comes against a background of worsening chronic pain. Today I found myself barely able to get out of bed, feeling sick and in pain.

Basically this entire day I have been suffering from a numbness in my right leg, strong pains in my lower back and an excruciating pain in the vaginal area. Essentially the usual chronic pains during this part of the month, only much worse than usual.

Despite sleeping a full seven hours with lots of periods of deep sleep according to the sensor which I wear around my wrist, I woke up feeling exhausted and dizzy. Part of me simply waits for the moment when suddenly something goes wrong and I'll collapse.

To me these pains are very worrying. Doctors have told me that they do not believe that when I menstruate any fluids are being produced. They don't believe I have endometriosis. Basically I shouldn't have these pains. Yet they're there. And I'm suffering.


Maybe the pain is nothing. Maybe it's a symptom that something is horribly wrong. Maybe not acting now is the worst thing that could happen. Maybe I'll horribly regret not pushing doctors even more to help me.

I think I did everything humanly possible and beyond during the past twelve years to get medical help, however. Dutch doctors merely told me to take painkillers for the pain. So far it's been a slow and frustrating process in Germany as well. Generally me having a monthly cycle has been denied over and over, along with continuing uncertainty about which female reproductive organs I actually have, even as a female hormonal cycle cannot be denied any more.

Yet I'm definitely not imagining this pain.


The past definitely was better. I am glad that I at least have these memories again. I just wish the future had worked out better. I hope things will improve. I do not want to fight any more. I just want to go back to living. Like I used to.


Maya

Sunday, 5 March 2017

On happiness and not being like everyone else

Life could probably have been so much easier for me if I had been more... like everybody else. If I hadn't been born with an intersex body. If I hadn't been gifted. If I was actually able to filter out sounds, motion and smells like everyone else seems capable of. If I didn't feel so much empathy for others and even inanimate objects.

The giftedness and inability to filter out sensory input are probably linked, with a genetic cause, as my mother is much the same. I just seem to have it even worse. My mother would always tell us to stop swinging our legs and making other constant noises because it'd make her feel 'sick'. As a child I did not understand this. Now I do.


For the past months I have made the interesting observation that when someone at the office has a persistent cough for months on end, it does not seem to bother my colleagues. Me? It drives me insane. First cough gets my attention. Second, it's getting annoying. Third, it's getting to me. Fourth, I must do something.

It's the same with the ticking from the central heating at this rundown apartment where I now live. Each ticking noise goes straight into my brain, no matter how much I try to ignore it, until ultimately I must drown it out with music on my headphones. I must absolutely sleep with earplugs in every night, because otherwise the noise from the heating, other pipes, people in the hallway and neighbours walking around and using the toilet would prevent me from sleeping or wake me up.


Motion. Sound. Smells. All of it are things which I need to have control over. I must be able to regulate it, or something just overloads inside my brain. Since the cause appears to be genetic, there is little I can do about it, other than to find a quiet place where I can live and sleep. This is why I will have to find a house to buy in the countryside, away from people. Anything else is just a terrible compromise which will only add to my stress.

I grew up on a farm, in a small village in the Netherlands. Aside from an incident with the roosters of two neighbours having a contest each morning for a few weeks it was always quiet. Over the past months I have come to realise more and more that this is what I need. What I must get back. Anything else will just slowly drive me mad.


I am not like others. Yet I can become happy as well. It does however require others to also accept these differences, that what works for almost everybody else does not and will not ever work for me.

In the genetic lottery I seem to have lucked out, receiving all the genetic combinations and developmental upgrades which would make me a hermaphrodite, grant me giftedness, ambidextrous skills and a hyper-active nervous system. I also got an upgraded version of my mother's intolerance to meat and fish, this hypersensitivity to sensory stimulation and the bonus of a serious dislike of coffee.


Having had a chance a few days ago to feel again what must have been memories and impressions from me as a child, reflecting on this has made it so incredibly clear what the way forward is for me to become happy, as well as what the only acceptable choice is for a home.

How I will accomplish all of this I do not know. I will need to contact a real-estate agent to search for this home for me. I hope that the new intersex specialist can finally give me the resolution to my medical conundrum. Beyond this it's all more a general feeling, a craving for peace, quiet and no longer having to ignore stress, pain and discomfort to fit in with general society.

I hope by all that's holy that I'll make it.

Please let me be happy again.


Maya

Saturday, 4 March 2017

It's all in your head, they said

Transgender. Autoparagynaecophilia. Transsexual. Just a couple of the terms which doctors and psychologists have thrown at me over the past twelve years in order to convince me that my body is that of a guy and that I'm just a bit funny in the head.


The past days I have been dealing with the same painful symptoms as I have for years now. Sharp pains in what would be the vaginal area, followed by painful urination and defecation, as if something is inflamed in the area where I also feel the sharp pains and putting any kind of pressure on it causes a flare-up of pain. Pressing on the skin in that area is also exceedingly painful. Suffice it to say that it makes really uncomfortable for a few days each month.

These symptoms always come at the end of what can only be described as a monthly cycle. The symptoms of which became most prominent after the surgery in 2011 which saw both the vaginal area temporarily opened and the testicles removed. After this, probably due to the decrease in produced testosterone and associated breakdown products, my ovaries were able to become far more productive, causing them to produce normal female levels of estradiol. In summary, I have a regular and pretty darn painful menstruation cycle.


"Well, don't you just totally look like a guy."

It's one of the things which I'll regularly say to myself as I look in the mirror, at the curves of my hips, narrow waist and further feminine curves. Usually it's meant as a joke, yet it's still a massive point of frustration and anger for me that someone with a body like mine could be put away as being 'male', when it so clearly is not.

The past twelve years have been a struggle to learn to see my body as it truly is, with many facts only slowly becoming clear. Many facts about my body were discovered purely by accident, such as the fact that I have functioning ovaries which is the reason why I no longer have to take artificial estradiol or other hormones.

Me being able to see myself as being female (primarily) has taken me more than a decade and it's an ongoing process. The resistance I get from doctors and kin even today is not particularly helpful in this.


When I feel these pains every month, with the mentioned stabbing pains, a numb leg and painful or numb arm, I feel worried that there are things which I still do not know about this body of mine. Things which will cause me endless grief and pain if they don't get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

This reality I live in with this body is all too real for me. Yet it's a reality which doctors and psychologists along with others seem to have a great deal of trouble accepting let alone understand. I have been accused of making things up almost constantly, including by the last surgeon.


Maybe it's just that my case is too unique and unknown, that it scares doctors and psychologists because they feel that they are running into the limits of their own knowledge and refuse to admit to this. A small number have admitted to these limits towards me, yet still felt qualified to make unfounded statements about my body regardless.

The worst part of all this is probably that this utter lack of interest by doctors and society as a whole into my situation makes me feel that there's no reason to have any interest from my side into them, either. If they don't acknowledge and accept my existence, I may as well pretend that they're not real either.

Of course, only a medical professional can quite deny reality in such a manner.


Maya

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Peaceful

For a short while today I managed to experience what I think it feels like to feel relaxed and comfortable. While getting a neck massage from a friend at the hackerspace earlier I think I managed to let go of some things like I haven't in years. It was amazing and scary at the same time.

It brought back instant memories of my early childhood, which was probably the last time when I was still able to feel that way. Great, peaceful memories. Yet terrifying because I could suddenly feel just how many layers of intense stress and terror lie between my normal self and that state.

It's both a reminder of how far I still have to go and how wonderful life can be. I hope I can reach that state again some day in a more permanent fashion. I pray that I won't be forced to commit suicide by those people for whom my existence and health is of absolutely no concern.


I want to feel human again so badly...


Maya

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

A future in which I do not have to die

Today was a pretty terrible day, with my thoughts dominated by a feeling of certain doom and suicide. In short, a suicidal depression. Occasionally I can see glimpses of a future in which my intersex condition does get resolved and where I manage to find that great house. These glimpses do however not last, because the past decades have proven overwhelmingly to me that no matter what I attempt or dream of, it's all hopeless.

Last week's surgeon appointment proved once again to me that there won't be a resolution to my intersex case. There won't be any answers, surgery or anything else. Just an eternity of uncertainty, pain and worries about complications.

Having to attend another court case for something where I did nothing wrong and expecting that I will get the blame regardless. Realising that an eviction will likely be just what I need to push me into that same state as when I first tried to commit suicide. That feeling of absolute certainty which does not pass, even after a good night's sleep.


I'm terrified.


I do not wish to die.


Yet I do not know what people want from me.


Or what I should do.


Do I have to die?


Please just tell me.


It's okay.


Maya

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Questionable intersexuality

I just found a letter in my mailbox from the surgeon who I visited in Munich last Thursday, containing a summary of his 'findings'. Forgive my French, but despite my rather more mild views of last week as I wrote them last Sunday, I find myself now thinking that this particular surgeon is a pretty impressive a*****e.

Despite not bothering to look at any of the documents sent to him over the past months and not interesting himself in my case beyond a casual glance during the half hour that I was there at the MRI scans and a singular fax with a basic summary, he still found it fit to conclude that my intersex diagnosis is 'questionable', that there's no evidence of endometriosis (suggesting that I just made it up) and concludes that when I am 'emotionally stable' I can come to him for 'normalisation surgery'.

In other words, he simultaneously denies me having an intersex condition, but still feels that he can 'correct' said intersex condition through surgical means. He also denies that I have any serious monthly symptoms.


Basically he thinks that I'm a liar and essentially crazy.


Despite me having a body with a definite female phenotype, a natural female hormone balance, a monthly hormonal cycle and basically not a single hint of me being even partially male beyond having a penis and XY chromosomes in some tissues, that all doesn't suffice. During the appointment he also insisted that because of the use of estradiol testosterone levels drop (untrue), which would explain why I only used a quarter of the testosterone blocker a male to female transsexual would use.

Basically this surgeon is just like every other DSD-supporting, genocidal, anti-intersex 'doctor' I have encountered over the years.


I can only hope that this new specialist isn't like that. Otherwise it's a dead end. At this point I feel more dissociated of my body than I have in a couple of years. I don't know what this stupid body is. I hate that I don't know it. It hurts to not know it. Feeling pain and numbness without knowing why terrifies me. All of it makes me want to hurt it out of fear and frustration.

I guess I must continue living. I guess. I don't know why. Not when it hurts. Not when people keep hurting me like this and denying me the right to even exist.

I'd still really like to die, though. Life isn't worth it. Not for me. Not like this. Not without any perspective on a future.


Maya

Sunday, 26 February 2017

When doctors aren't certain you're even human

Last Thursday was the appointment with the surgeon in Munich. Not many words have to be dedicated to describing the experience. Essentially I arrived after a three-hour journey, talked with the surgeon who - along with the assistant - was not aware of the (previously acknowledged) collection of documents, MRI scans, faxes, etc. previously sent to them by me, my doctors and my psychotherapist.

After this initial 'who are you and why are you here' moment of utter chaos, it then quickly turned into an awkward situation where the surgeon asked me why I had even come to him, as he could do nothing for me, since it wasn't at all clear what the composition of my body is, let alone which specific surgical procedure could be applied.


On the bright side, he did give me the name of a supposed intersex specialist, and that at a cost of only sixty Euro to me for the consultation. I will now have to contact this person, starting essentially from scratch on the whole research and diagnostics thing. With this new specialist the past twelve years of diagnostics, symptoms, surgeries, MRI scans, blood tests, chromosome testing, etc. etc. will have to be reviewed to determine how a conclusive diagnosis can be reached.

In short, I'm more or less at the exact same point now as I was nearly ten years ago, shortly after the first MRI scan was made.


While I'd love nothing more than to just say 'screw this' and give up on this whole useless 'intersex' thing, I'm also painfully aware of the fact that I have no choice but to continue on this course. I cannot ignore the PTSD which I suffered as a result of the traumatic past decades of my life, nor can I ignore the monthly cyclic pains and the potentially harmful issues they may be a symptom of.

I do not wish to live the rest of my life in such absolute uncertainty and fear.


With about a week I'll meet up with the doctors who are handling my case here, in order to discuss the next steps. I am hopeful that they can at least handle some of the communications with this new specialist. After that it's waiting to see which tests and examinations I'll have to undergo. Biopsies are likely, as is genetic testing and more detailed MRI scans.

Along with all of that, I wish that I had already moved into that house in the countryside, to at least have that peaceful home to feel safe and relax at. With the eviction court case against me next month, it appears that there's going to be nothing easy or relaxing about this year either.


Maya

Sunday, 19 February 2017

To combine feeling both happy and suicidal

The worst feeling in the world is that of feeling hope.

My expectation for the coming weeks is that the new surgeon will not work out either and I'll be no closer to a medical resolution for my intersex condition than I was twelve years ago, and that the court will rule not in my favour in the eviction case against me, forcing me to move into another place - any place - within a month or two.

The hope of course is that the new surgeon will work out and I will finally get that resolution for my intersex condition after twelve years, and that the court will reject the eviction demand, allowing me to find that house without the added stress of an eviction deadline.

Balancing expectation and hope against each other when they're so far removed from each other is practically torture, also because if either or both of these expectations turns out to be true, it risks triggering the suicidal urges. These past weeks I'm struggling with depression, and through bouts of suicidal thoughts. At moments like earlier today I find myself questioning the wisdom of cooking dinner while upset and crying, as I have to keep myself from really considering plunging a sharp knife into my body.


I'm managing to stay stable so far because I mostly manage to ignore what's about to happen, and otherwise try to delude myself into believing that things will turn out fine. There are also the other things in my life which do make me happy, particularly at work.

This week at work I spent working on an embedded hardware (IoT) project, developing the software for it and working out the integration of the hardware. I also disassembled the Commodore 64 we have at the office and installed some heatsinks on its main chips (SID, PLA, CPU) so that they don't run so hot any more. I'm also working on a variety of other electronics projects.

These are all happy things, which help me to hang on to sanity as everything else in my life seems to be in a rather dreadful state. As I said in an earlier blog post, I would love to just destroy that part of myself: the part which has to struggle to find a home, the part which has an intersex body. The parts which are suffering so incredibly much.


Survival through ignoring reality and using happiness as a drug to escape harsh reality. I guess that's what it comes down to, still. According to the lawyer of the apartment's owner it's however all nonsense that I have PTSD, or that I am intersex and facing surgery this year. Maybe that's true. Maybe I really did not try to find a better place to live. Didn't try to find that home. Maybe I am crazy, like some Dutch psychologists told me.

I'm pretty sure at this point that I'm not crazy. That I'm a good person and do not deserve any of this which is happening to me. Also that I truly only wish the best for everyone. Yet I'm not sure that is enough. Maybe it's where I went wrong. Maybe this world is all about being mean, vicious and taking advantage of others. Maybe that's what I'm doing wrong.

Yet I'd rather be dead than turn into such a... person. My worst fear is that in the end those are my only two options. I'd much rather find that house outside of the city to move into, and get the surgery as hoped. Away from other people and finally back in my body.


I guess I'm pretty much just rambling at this point. I haven't slept properly in weeks and had countless, barely remembered nightmares. Even the stress during the day from worrying about all that I can expect is taking its toll on me. I pretty much hate having emotions and feelings at this point. I hate that people have so much power to hurt me and gleefully do so regardless of whether I have done anything to deserve it.

I only want to find that safe place, where people will finally leave me alone. Where I can do things which are actually interesting and useful. Not just survive in a dysfunctional human society.


Maya

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

A stable bad condition

All too often it feels to me as if having psychological and mental traumas and problems does not count in 'the real world'. As if none of it is actually real, or relevant. It makes me feel both frustrated and like a big crybaby when I have to do something others have no problems with, but which to me feels as fun as volunteering to be gang-raped.

It's for such reasons that it heartens me to get some kind of acknowledgement that I am not just imagining all of this and don't just try to guilt-trip other people into doing things for me. Still, when I read the official diagnosis my psychotherapist sent to my lawyer for the upcoming eviction court case, it's at the same time also horribly depressing.

Severe depression with latent suicidal tendencies. Post-traumatic disorder with flashbacks, nightmares and other severe symptoms. Also an intersex condition, which is of course linked into all of the previous. The hope of a reconstructive surgery after over a decade of working towards finding proper medical help and ending a quest which has taken up most of my life so far.


During my psychotherapy sessions I still have the same problems with really saying what I feel and think, the same as in daily life. I'm not supposed to make people aware of the fact that I'm not like them, that I have suffered traumas. That I have seen, lived through and barely survived things most people will never experience. No worries, I'm just a normal human, just like everybody else. Just look at my plastic smile :)

With the latest session I managed to finally channel some of the real, raw feelings that keep churning inside of my psyche. Primarily the disbelief, frustration and anger I feel at what happened back in 2005 and continued afterwards, when the gender team at the VUmc hospital in Amsterdam claimed that my blood contained normal male levels of testosterone, with their gynaecologist insisting that he had found no traces of me being intersex, and finally the head of the team - part of an international group of so-called intersex experts who drew up some protocols on handling intersex cases - concluding that I could not possibly be intersex.

It took just over a year after that last conclusion to get the German MRI results proving that I'm a hermaphrodite. The biopsy in 2011 proved that I could not ever have had normal male testosterone levels on account of having undeveloped testicles. Despite this the insistence by mostly Dutch doctors and psychologists that I was merely confused, crazy, delusional and/or transsexual.


I still cannot understand what they wanted from me. What they still want from me. To give into their fantasies and delusions and pretend to be transsexual? To follow their demands? To agree to be locked into a comfy, white, padded room? To die? Just what? I will never understand why they did what they did, and it hurts me so much. It made me realise just how little I mean, or my opinion. That truth is irrelevant and that there's no point in persisting.

Losing a place to live and facing homelessness was then the final trigger which made me decide to commit suicide. I'm still trying to come to terms with not succeeding at what seemed and at times still seems like the perfect solution. Being at a point where a hateful landlady tries to make me homeless at the same time when I'm struggling to stay hopeful about an impending surgeon appointment puts me practically in the exact same place where I was back then when I was on the verge of committing suicide.

It's hard to say what it'll take. The surgeon appointment being disappointing. A lack of cooperation. The court case working out poorly and me having to settle for whatever alternative place I can find on short notice, or something else negative. It's not that I want to die, or that I savour the thought of committing suicide. It terrifies me. Yet at the same time I know all too well that when such negative things happen, the pain will get so bad that I cannot simply suffer through it, or so it feels.


That last time I had access to sleeping pills, which in hindsight were a great choice as committing suicide with those is pretty hard and are unlikely to cause permanent damage. Without access to those I might opt for something more dramatic, like a knife. If I succeed, it'll be horribly painful and messy. If not, I might end up crippled in some fashion, which would feed my depression and latent suicidal tendencies even further.

At this point I'm more or less stable, in the same sense that one can balance oneself on a tightrope positioned over a canyon. That's not to say that this is a good or healthy place to be. I'd want nothing more than to continue on to the other side of said canyon, to solid ground and safety, yet whether that works out is down to what other people will decide over the coming weeks and months.


It's also depressing to consider that all which triggered this mess was me being born intersex and asking questions.


Well done, world. Well done.


Maya

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Why I'll never take anti-depressants again

Two weeks of intense, near-constant headaches, followed by a complete flattening of emotions. That was my experience with the anti-depressant (citalopram) which I was on for a while, a number of years ago. If I have to detail why I decided to stop using it after about two months, I'd say that it was because it made everything in the world seem grey, dull and somewhat out of focus. It basically made me not care about anything.

When I say 'not care', I mean it exactly in that way: no ups or downs in one's mood, just a neutral 'meh' with as base point a definite 'whatever'. It was reminiscent of a dissociative state, where an emotional shock numbs one's emotional side for a while, with one's fight or flight mechanism kicking in. Incidentally that's also a highly unpleasant state to be in.


Recently the matter has come up again of whether it wouldn't be better for me if I was on anti-depressants, just so that I will not end up harming/killing myself, and not suffer so much emotionally and psychologically. To be quite frank, I think that's fully the wrong approach.

As I described earlier, being on SSRI anti-depressants is anything but pleasant for me. While on it I cannot feel anything, especially not positive feelings. When looking at what causes me to feel depressed, it's also clear that there are direct causes which can be fixed without a lot of effort. I just need a little bit of help.

The two main issues at this point are the medical help, including the surgery. Within two weeks I should have proper help there from a surgeon, which would hugely relieve the stress there.

The other issue is that of living in a run-down apartment and being sued by its owner for having the nerve to complain about this. Hopefully the court will soon rule that I'm in the right and give me the time I need to find something better. Here I am strongly considering looking to buy a house somewhere outside the city.

My main issues at this point are all caused and resolvable by other humans. Having to deal less with other humans and taking control back into my own hands should help a lot. I'm not convinced that deadening my feelings and emotions is useful here, and not simply a friendlier alternative to taking up a drugs or alcohol habit.


Yes, the coming months and maybe years will still cause me incredible emotional and psychological pain and suffering, but I will suffer through them somehow. As long as there's something positive which I can find joy in and which gives me that ray of hope and sunshine to get up again and give it all another shot. That's something which I feel I cannot do when stuffing those chemicals down my throat.

To me the solution is found in people simply being decent, responsible adults towards each other, with maybe a dash of childish fun thrown in for good measure. If people stop hurting me, I'll stop hurting, basically.

Life can be so incredibly simple.


Maya

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Endometriosis and coming to terms with being a woman

For the past few days I have been suffering through the same chronic pain and related issues as basically every month. This mostly involves a bloated abdomen, lower back pains, stabbing pains in my side and abdomen, very painful hips and a loss of sensation in my right leg and arm. Of these symptoms, some (including a short temper) can at least be partially attributed to a regular period. The rest, especially the pain and numbness in the arm is most probably due to endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a condition whereby the cells which normally line the inside of the uterus end up elsewhere in the abdomen, attach to the diaphragm, or even travel through one's arteries to other parts of the body. There they still respond to the changes in hormone levels, growing and shedding material as usual. This can create pressure on other tissues, negatively affecting their functioning and causing pain and numbness by pressing on nerves.

Pain on one's chest, as well as pain and numbness in limbs are all possible symptoms. Treatment can consist out of hormone and other therapies, as well as surgery in order to remove the patches of tissue. It appears that this will be the next step for me after the upcoming reconstructive surgery.


At this point there's absolutely zero doubt remaining that I am a hermaphrodite and a woman. Yet my troubles are absolutely not over with just yet. Even assuming that the reconstructive surgery takes place and is successful, that still leaves me to deal with the diagnosis and treatment of the suspected endometriosis. Even as I type this, my right arm and leg feel numb, with a tingling sensation in the arm, along with painfully sensitive skin in some areas. Waking up with an arm which hurts like hell and which cannot be moved without severe effort is terrifying. Obviously I cannot just let this be.

I guess all of this wasn't quite what I had in mind, all those years ago, when I thought of my future. Yet what I feel most strongly at this point is a bitterness and anger towards all of those doctors and psychologists who just had to pretend to know better than me, and deny me the medical help which I so clearly need at this point. All of this should have been resolved a decade ago already.


Some day I'd like to just be done with this all, not having to keep begging doctors to please take me seriously for just once. For now all I can do is pray that the upcoming appointment with the new surgeon goes well, that he is interested and can help me with the surgery. Once that's over with, doing the endometriosis testing will suddenly become so much easier. That's the one small hope I have at this point.

Here's to a future without chronic pain.


Maya

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Would you like to die?

Ever since I attempted to commit suicide in early 2011 and failed, that's the question which I have learned to ask myself to assess my state of mind. Sometimes the response to this question is a definite sense of revulsion, sometimes one of indifference. Sometimes of painful longing. Sometimes mixed.

Today I can feel the heavy feeling again, this sensation of weariness and exhaustion far beyond what the average person will ever feel in their entire life, or what can be captured using mere words. It's a weariness that's simply a weariness of life, when even one's primal sense of survival can no longer be felt. It's the acceptance of death when one is still physically healthy.


It's not a feeling I care for in the slightest. Six years ago I was able to find a way out through an overdose, or so I thought. This year I'm hoping to find a way out by finding a home and by closing the medical chapter on my body after a few decades of suffering. I hope that this attempt will be more successful than me trying to take my own life.

I guess the worst feeling that accompanies this quiet longing for the cessation of one's existence is that of being a failure, of having failed as a human being, as an individual and something even more fundamental.

It's not that one wants to die. It's merely the acceptance that for some people even merely existing is simply no longer an option.


Yes, I would want to cease existing right now. No, I do not want to die. I just want the pain of existing to cease.


Then I would want to resume doing all the fun things in life. All the things which do not hurt.


To continue living in a world where people do not hurt each other.


The world which I failed to find.


Maya

Monday, 30 January 2017

Next month's fight to win a body and home, or lose it all

Rare are the days that I do not find myself upset and crying, or close to fainting due to hyperventilating despite my best attempts to counteract it. Today's occasion was courtesy of learning the court date for the legal case against me by the apartment owner. I think that's what it's about, because I could not make out half of what the letter said due to it being in a type of German which I cannot comprehend at this stage of my German language skills. I hope my lawyer has more luck with it.

What's typical is that this date has been set exactly the day before I am supposed to travel to the other side of Germany for the appointment with my new surgeon. Now I have two things to slowly live towards for the coming weeks, dreading every second and losing too much sleep over it. I'm not that hopeful considering how I found myself sobbing for an hour straight earlier, preceded by feelings of dissociation, and accompanied by hyperventilating with me losing sensation in my extremities despite trying to force myself to breathe slowly and deeply.

Maybe it'll go fine. I didn't do anything bad. I followed the law when it came to this apartment and reduced the rent as mutually agreed upon. It should go fine. Yet my experience with justice systems (or just the Dutch one, I guess) has been a negative one. Why should I expect justice to be served instead of just getting punished for being the weaker side again?

Similarly with the surgeon appointment. Yes, I am intersex, my body is essentially that of a woman, yet after twelve years of dealing with ignorant/evil/blind physicians and kin, I do not make assumptions any more. I could appear in front of them naked as a hermaphrodite with both sides fully developed and fertile and they'd still manage to somehow doublethink me into a little box labelled 'male' or 'transsexual'.


Long story short, if I was religious I'd be praying fervently for the coming weeks for things to finally go my way and to see some kind of reward for trying to be a gentle, caring, law-abiding person.

Not that this is easy when you see how despotic tyrants are rewarded every day for their behaviour. Some are even made president, or get to bring a country to a ruinous brink by destroying its economy. This against a background of talk in the EU and other countries about a universal base income. Such plans give me the warm fuzzies.

I dream of a society where no one has to fight to simply have a home and healthy food. A society where people can just be who and what they are without having to judge others.

Individuals who are screeching happily about the destruction of unions, nations and groups of people are pretty much the root of evil in societies. They show how insignificant their thoughts are by being limited to thinking in such basic concepts, painting entire parts of society with the same brush. The damage such a collapse would cause can hardly be estimated, especially not in the cost of human lives in the short and long term.


I crave for a world which is happier and more carefree. Where children can grow up playing on the green grass in the warm sunshine, safe in the knowledge that once they grow up they will never have to worry about becoming homeless, going bankrupt or being forced to commit suicide because they can no longer pay their bills, or worse.

At this point in my life I can almost begin to believe again that I am an actual person of flesh and blood. That this world around me is real and not just an illusion dreamed up by my mind. Occasionally it almost feels like I'm an adult human in a real world. Those flashes are wonderful, but also terrifying. I don't like this world adults have created.

It's a dark world of property, taxes, lawsuits, pollution, debt, hatred, discrimination, intolerance, ignorance and worse. It's not a world I care one bit for. I think we should all strive to be simply children again: innocent, curious and inquisitive, but also honest to the bone. I know that's all I'll ever strive to be, or remain.


Despite everything that's terrible for me and the world at this point, things can become better. It's hard for me to believe. It may never come to pass. Yet the potential is there. Like with everything in life it simply requires a little cooperation and kindness.


Maya

Friday, 27 January 2017

On giving up and forced hope

I remember well the time that I got prescribed an anti-depressant. This was done by my Dutch GP at the time. She suggested it and I thought that I'd give it a try. This resulted in me trying Citalopram [1] for about two months before me quitting cold-turkey. The side-effects simply were too terrible to continue, in particular the emotional flattening and the disregard I felt for myself and my life as a result.

During my psychotherapy appointment earlier this week, my psychotherapist once again said that she would like me to maybe try it again. The reason being my obvious psychological suffering. Even if the search for an actual home and the resolution of my medical situation turns into a success this year, there's no telling how much I would suffer in the meantime. Or worse.

I understand the reasoning behind giving me that small edge to help me survive, but I both recall the revulsion I had back then at the thought of using anti-depressants, as well as the negative experience I had when using them. I'm also too familiar with SSRIs (and the older MAOIs) anti-depressants and how their effectiveness differs hugely per individual. As a result I'm not so naive as to expect miracles. It'd mostly help to kill off my feelings and emotions for a while.


Another point raised was to give up on trying to find a home to rent and instead focus on buying a house, as it would place me in a very different position. Less subservient and dependent on the good graces of some owner. Of course I would love to live in a (detached) home again, without having to share the place with other people (strangers). Yet even that road seems needlessly complex and filled with potential risks which can trigger my PTSD in the worst possible ways.

Last year's experiences with trying to find a new place to rent merely resulted in me suffering horrible emotional breakdowns, self-mutilation and more thoughts of once again trying to commit suicide, including points where I was very nearly ready to plunge a sharp knife into my abdomen or slice through my wrist.

I do not care to repeat such moments again. I have no death wish.


So there I am. Faced with some of the most stressful events in my life between finding a home and surgery preparations. People prescribing what should give me hope when it mostly makes me feel terror. The lure and likely false hope of more chemical experiments.

All that over a house and surgery.


Things which should be easy enough. Things which aren't worth dying over. Yet to me dealing with either topic is to flirt with Death itself, inviting it to take another swing at me.

People with boring lives are so incredibly lucky.


Maya


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citalopram

Monday, 23 January 2017

Analysing a shattered psyche

I am not well. I am not fine, or even 'okay'. In fact, I am only capable of functioning in society in a limited manner.

This may seem surprising to many who'll just see a person who is physically and mentally healthy, capable of carrying out a full-time job as a software developer with a healthy interest in other subjects and no obvious handicaps or limitations. So what's the problem?


Much as I have been saying for the past months, I am not capable of finding a new place for myself. Nor am I capable of handling medical contacts and communications myself any more. In the lawsuit against me, by the current owner of the apartment which I currently rent, this has become painfully obvious as well and forms the basis for my lawyer seeking to provide me with all the time I need to find a better place to move into.

It's not just sources of stress either. I cannot trust people. I struggle with feelings of being inadequate, of not being capable of dealing with life, and worst of all frequent thoughts of death and dying. It feels as though at times I can still kind of gather myself together and feel almost normal and happy, only to fall apart again soon after.

Tomorrow I'll be talking with my psychotherapist again about this, as we put together the formal documentation needed by the court. It helps me that I am not alone in this, that I have a supportive lawyer and psychotherapist who I think at least somewhat understand my plight. That I'm not just making things up because I'm a lazy, unreliable bastard. Or something.


The past time more and more memories are returning. Memories of events and things which I had forgotten about, because they aren't pleasant to think about. I guess the memory block which had formed over the past decades keeps dissolving, allowing me to recall increasingly more of my past. I guess this is both a positive and negative thing. Maybe I'll remember something of this person who I supposedly first met in high school and who later contacted me again. Maybe I'll remember what happened to me when I was not even six years old which led to me suddenly turning quiet and reclusive.

When I observe myself breaking apart emotionally over the past months any time I'm confronted with a source of stress it's not hard to miss the obvious fractures in my psyche. It's easy to point to the parts over the past decade where I suffered physical, sexual and psychological abuse and the impact this had. It's also easy to suggest that maybe I suffered sexual abuse as a child, just like my one year older cousin who ultimately couldn't go on with living. Yet the damage to my psyche is deeper and more severe than just those simple and distinct points.

I feel betrayed and violated by humanity and my environment in ways I cannot even begin to comprehend or understand, let alone communicate with others. Even as a teenager I had this deep-rooted feeling that something was amiss, then when I tried to find help with my giftedness and later my intersex condition things got unimaginably worse.

If I were to start with summarising what I think is all right in this world and with me, I think it'd be just anything to do with science, technology and reason. Anything to do with emotion, feelings and related - such as sexuality - is just this pulsating black mass of pure evil. Humans are mostly evil. Humans frighten and terrify me.


My online personality is that of a fluffy, innocent kitten. Who also happens to be interested in science and technology. I wish to flee into this world of innocence and hope. A world without negativity and where I do not have to be confronted with the parts of my psyche which I feel are at this point irreparably fractured. I can never heal to the point where I can be a functional adult human. Heck, I never was a functional human child.

I need an escape. Somewhere safe and quiet to rest and recuperate where I can focus on just these positive things in the world as I contemplate the rest. Maybe I can still heal. Maybe things can work out.

Maybe I can learn to trust humans again.


Maya

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Emotion Sickness

Today I first saw the new place the local hackerspace will be moving into next month. It left me with mixed feelings. I have known the current rooms for nearly four years now, ever since I first visited Karlsruhe for work in early 2013. It's a very comfortable and quiet attic area, with a lot of good memories for me and many others.

There's the hope that the new place will be equally as good if not better, but looking at the construction area that's the new place it's hard to imagine. One's mind keeps comparing the two and part of oneself insists that it'll be the end of something good. That it's a mistake. It's a very similar feeling to what I go through when I look at a new place to live in.

For me this hackerspace is somewhat of a home, much like the office where I work at. They're places where I feel at home, where I like to be.


I do not like the negativity around seeking a new place and a new home. I do not like hearing people talk about lawyers, taxes and regulations. I want life to be simple and fun. I want people to be happy and joyful. I want people to be nice and friendly with each other.

I am so sick of the darkness and bleakness in the world. I do not wish to be reminded of death and mortality. I want to feel that life is worth living, yet there's so much which reminds me that it's pretty much all futile anyway. Just a futile struggle to find that home that does not exist. To find a place where one is happy only to have mortality take it all away again.

I want to feel like I am doing all of this for a reason, but I don't know what reason that may be.


All that I feel is this incredible pain inside as I convince myself to continue for just a little bit longer until it feels okay again. Until the next time that the world feels distorted and bleak again.


I hope that I can make it through this year somewhat okay, yet at times like these I very much doubt I will.


*physically hurts self again in order to just feel something*


Maya

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Trauma and our blurred perception of the world

Perception is what shapes the world for each of us. It's our interpretation and assigning of value to parts of the world around us. Just how we perceive the world is coloured by our experiences and thus also any traumatic experiences we have gone through.

As I'm typing this I know that I'm trapped, doomed to a horrible death of which only the details are missing, yet it's a death which will be drawn out and horrific.

I also know that nothing of that is true. Not at this point in my life at least. I know it to be just a collection of feelings, flashbacks and sensation of terror originating in my post-traumatic stress disorder. Having been there in that situation once. Having experienced those terrors for real have made it into reality.

Yet I am trapped in this prison cell. It has a small television built into the wall with a few channels on it, showing pictures of a world I can only dream of. A world in which people live their lives, have fun, fall in love, making friends, get to feel relaxed and bored, and enjoy themselves. I have a small shelf with a few books and other knick-knacks which I treasure and which keep me somewhat from going insane.

I occasionally get taken out of this cell for more beatings and interrogations, even if I do not know or understand why they keep doing this. I don't know anything. I just want to escape. Live a life like I have seen on TV.


I remember living a life like that, many years ago as a child. But that was a different life and a different person. Now a room and an apartment isn't a home, but just another prison cell. Moving apartments is just being relocated to a different cell block.

Freedom is one of those things people like to use a lot. Happiness, too. I barely even know what these words mean any more. At the very least my own association with them is what one feels when one manages to ignore the daily beatings and pain. A temporary, blissful moment of ignorance.

Even though I am often aware of the way my PTSD distorts and colours the world around me, I do have to admit to there also being very good reasons both for me thinking this way and for me being traumatised. Human society is one of the most cruel and unforgiving environments humanity has created for itself, outperforming its world wars and making nature look like a petting zoo.


I guess I have to keep living like this. Because I have to. Because.


Why again?


Maya

Friday, 6 January 2017

Thoughts on Brave New World

'Brave New World' by Aldous Huxley is one of those classics, must-have-read type of books, along with Fahrenheit 451, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm, Catch-22 and others. They're books which portray a world which is a dystopian version of our own world, taking elements from it and showing us a world which 'could also be'.

I first read Brave New World many years ago, and the story didn't really stick with me. So after working my way through those other classics last year, I decided to refresh my knowledge of Brave New World by reading it again. In conclusion, while not a bad story by any means, it nevertheless fails to reach the depths required to make the world it describes as tangible or realistic. This is a shame.


The book portrays a 'utopian dystopian' world, a world in which nobody has to ever feel sad, distraught or bad about anything any more. Through the means of careful genetic selection and the growing of humans specifically bred for a specific purpose and copious amounts of entertainment - not in the least through the use of 'soma', a type of recreational drug which erases all worries - as well as the elimination of sex for procreation, conflict is eliminated.

This carefully balanced world is upset when an individual from one of the Savage Reservations - where people still live according to the rules of the old world - is introduced to this seemingly utopian society. Chaos ensues, leading up to a confrontation where the reasoning behind the whole system is revealed. In essence it's the only way humanity could live in harmony, ergo it's for the good of the people.


What somewhat annoys me is that when one is used to a book like Animal Farm, or Nineteen Eighty-Four - both by George Orwell - the world of Brave New World does never truly feel alive. In Nineteen Eighty-Four one can almost feel the world and experience it. It's a grimy, gritty experience, easily visualised and imagined. There are no real gaps left in the story-telling and the end result is that of a crushing sense of defeatism and acceptance of the inevitable in the final scene.

No such thing with Brave New World. The concept could have worked, but it's all too light, too fleeting and distant. More of a glimpse at this world, but not enough time to truly explore and understand it. This sadly leads to an underwhelming experience.


That said, I do agree with the general premise of the book and it's utopian dystopian view of the world is spot-on when looking at today's world. Even if not implemented as described in the book, the end result is fairly similar. Recreational drug use is everywhere, as is casual sexuality. Everywhere is cheap entertainment and there is never any necessity to contemplate the world if one does not want to.

That is, unless one falls outside of this system. Those who cannot accept the status quo. Those who wish to bring freedom and justice to themselves and others. Those who cannot just accept society the way it is.

In that sense we live in a similar dystopia as in Brave New World. Yet it's also like the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Both stories - both worlds - are essentially the same, with some differences in how order and peace is accomplished, yet order and peace are there and will remain. No matter the cost.


Are they terrible worlds? The people in them are generally happy and there are few things to worry about, except on the battle lines between the three countries that remain in Nineteen Eighty-Four. If only one can accept the world the way it is.

The way I see it, both books are not about what people generally perceive them to be: commentaries on the threats of mass-entertainment, mass-surveillance, genetic engineering, etc. Instead they provide us with a mirror of the human mind in all its self-absorbed, easily entertained and distracted glory. They are more of a reminder that how easily subverted the human mind is to accept something is ultimately harmful to themselves and the rest of society.

They also provide a chilling reminder of what happens when one dares to go in against popular opinion, or the opinion of those in charge. It's a look back - and forward - on totalitarian regimes, who whisked opponents away to 'colonies' or labour camps, to be an outcast, re-educated or simply be worked to death.


In that sense Nineteen Eighty-Four did what Brave New World somewhat failed to do, even though the latter did something the former did not: provide a glimpse of a world in which one might actually want to live. None but members of the Party would truly want to live in the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four, whereas the world of Brave New World would be an easy match for many members of today's society for whom it'd be only the slightest of changes.

Maybe that's why in the end Brave New World has the more chilling world, as it's one we as a society would be all too eager to slip into, not realising the consequences as we surrender every last trace of what ultimately makes us human, or simply not caring about such trivial matters before embracing the warm comfort of ignorance.


Maya

First dream about being a hermaphrodite

Last night I had the first dream in which I knew that I was a hermaphrodite. That may sound weird considering that I have known that I am intersex for nearly twelve years now, and a hermaphrodite since the first MRI scan in late 2007. The only dream (or rather nightmare) that somewhat came close was one in which I was lying on a surgery table, unable to move at first, while doctors talked about how they'd 'fix me'.

Last night's dream was different. I remember walking through a hallway, up some stairs and coming across this group of people who I apparently knew. I felt pretty much the way I feel when awake, only far more relaxed and self-assured. While talking with this group of people I suddenly clutched my abdomen in pain, doubling over. A woman in the group then told me whilst smiling that that was also part of being a hermaphrodite. They were just menstruation pains, after all.

This dream felt good. Relaxed. Comfortable.

That it took so long to have a dream like that in which I could just be myself is probably because society still doesn't allow people like me to be ourselves. We intersex people do not exist, officially. None of us are registered as such when we're born, but instead we have to live fake lives with fake identities. I may finally get medical help this year, or maybe not, again.

I really hope that this dream can become reality some day for me, and others like me.

It would be nice to not have to escape into our dreams for it.


Maya

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Too terrified to feel anything

Two days ago I was led to believe that I could maybe rent this apartment in the city, providing an easy way out of my current situation of living in a run-down apartment from which the owner actively tries to evict me. On Monday I received the notification from the local court that it's now an official legal case against me.

Today I learned that getting this new apartment is anything but a certainty, as it'll have to be decided by a real-estate agent, making it impossible for the current tenant to just put me forward as the next tenant. Naturally this was rather disappointing.

The sensation I feel throughout all of this is one of terror. When pushing myself to figure things out and find a solution the terror is accompanied by nausea, ultimately resulting in a migraine, an intense feeling of dissociation and strong depressive (suicidal) thoughts.

There's nothing about any of this which invites me to feel anything. It's better to not feel anything. To not care. Nothing good comes from allowing my emotional side to have a say in anything. All I must focus on is survival, for which emotions and feelings are a liability.

After more than a decade of moving around the world, not having a home or place to settle down, of dealing with physical, psychological and sexual abuse, domestic violence and losing all my money and possessions, of losing any sense of self and interest in my own body, it's now all reaching a point where I feel as if I can no longer compensate any more.

I'm used to suppressing anything bad in my life, of looking on the bright side. That's how I got through the past decades. I'd always ignore anything bad which happened to me. From getting bullied in primary school through high school, from having my very existence and sanity questioned by doctors and psychologists, to the questioning of whether there is a place for me in this world.

At this point I'm left to wonder whether I have any true friends left who can help me. Whether anyone will, or even can help me. Rationally I know it all won't be that bad, with me not having done anything wrong with my current apartment, making an actual eviction very unlikely, but that's the rational side of the story.

After more than a decade of feeling like an outcast, of feeling actively hated, of having stalkers haunt my every move, of having to justify my existence against 'specialists, and so on, I just keep expecting the next bad thing to suddenly reach me.

Maybe it's a sudden letter in my mailbox, or an email, or a phone call. Who knows. I spend every day fighting off waves of irrational terror, trying to reason myself through it by assuring myself that things aren't that bleak and reminding myself of what I think will be the more likely course of events.

It's all just an assumption and best guess, of course. Rarely does anything for which I hope also occur. Dealing with severe disappointments and crawling out of very deep emotional throughs is basically all that I have done these past years.

Not that I want to, of course. Lately the memory block seems to be dissolving somewhat, causing me to more and more strongly and clearly remember things of my teenage years and youth, even as I can feel that many memories are still blocked.

Among those memories are many of a youth which, despite the problems back then, was quite peaceful and happy. Mostly thanks to my mother who allowed me to do things my way, even when my dad was far less understanding.

Compared to those memories this world I live in today seems rather hostile and hateful in comparison. I don't want any of this. I want a world in which everybody is happy and nobody has an ugly thing to say about anyone else.

Maybe it's because I have seen so many horrible and disgusting things over the past decades that I am so tired of seeing the same terrible acts and negativity repeated over and over again. It just seems that humanity makes life unnecessarily hostile for itself.

When people cannot find a place to live. Cannot find a job, or proper healthcare. When they are not respected or tolerated as a person, or never taught to respect themselves. All of those are terrible things. I am painfully aware that it's not just me who is dealing with such things, and that saddens me even more.

If so many others are also suffering despite doing their utmost to improve their situation, then what point is there to me trying to improve mine? Is there anything which I can do? Is there a way that I can ever feel happy, or just optimistic again?

I do not want to believe that this world, this society is just a collection of desperately unhappy individuals with plastic smiles, who are ruled over by rich, uncaring and ultimately also unhappy people. Yet that's what I am seeing: humanity as a tragicomedy.

Maybe this year will be when I can regain at least something of what I felt as a child and teenager. Maybe it's lost forever.

Regardless of what happens, the innocence and naive optimism which I felt back then will not ever return. That in itself is perhaps the real tragedy here.


Maya