Saturday, 4 November 2017

Adding 'losing my job' to my list of problems

It's been nearly four years since I moved to Germany, after taking on an invitation from the employer for whom I had been working remotely for months as a freelancer. They would offer to help me find a place to rent and eventually I got a permanent contract with them. Although the medical drama surrounding my intersex condition followed me from the Netherlands - worsening in the process - and I no longer believe that there's a home for me to be found in Germany even ignoring the current eviction case, I figured that at least I had a stable job. Until this week, that is.

I was originally hired as an iOS (mobile) developer, programming apps in Objective-C, and later doing Java-based programming for Android and servers, followed by a few years of doing an embedded C++ project. Throughout these years, the diversity of incoming projects from customers dwindled. First we stopped doing mobile apps, then the Java aspect vanished, leaving only the embedded JavaScript apps which one of our customers seems to prefer. Whether it's simply that being a JavaScript developer isn't my thing, or that the team communication didn't work out, fact of the matter is that I got told that they no longer see a future for me at the company.

I have been told to finish up the internal project that I headed involving IoT and the automating of room monitoring, controlling of AC units and the like, documenting it to a state where others can work with it. They will however help me find a new place to live, considering the impossibility of me staying much longer at my current apartment, even if I do win the eviction case. I'm expected to find alternative employment in the meantime.

While updating my resume, it somewhat pleases me that I have a lot of items to add to it. From the two books that I have written and which got published since 2014, to the designing of a custom PCB (printed circuit board) for a custom room monitoring and AC controller device [1] of which one is currently installed at the office and in active use. There's also my extensive embedded C/C++ experience with the ESP8266 SoC system and the MQTT protocol along with TLS encryption that I picked up along the way.

My resume says that I'm a capable person, with great interest in a wide variety of fields. Someone who is able to learn and acquire new skills rapidly and successfully execute complex projects that mix hardware and software design. That's all good, for sure. That's not the aspect which worries me.

Psychologically I'm not in a good place, currently. The weekly psychotherapist sessions which I have had for the past months have helped in some ways, but as uncovering those traumatic memories from my early childhood are also part of those sessions, it is also doing me absolutely no service at this point. As I dig through what feels like years of repressed memories, of people hurting and abusing me, it's very hard to not see it in context with today's events. Basically the whole 'trusting people' thing when one's earliest memories are of such utter betrayal by adults. It's not a step which I can take, yet.

Meanwhile there's the issue of my physical health. For years my intersex condition seemed to be something which was just relevant to my sense of self and as a somewhat academic pursuit for answers. Since 2014 it's now primarily about my deteriorating health, with severe abdominal pain, numbness and pain in my right appendages and other issues, yet so far without answers on why this is happening, or how it will develop the coming years, aside from becoming increasingly more agonising. So far medical help is still practically absent, despite thirteen years of searching. Having less stress is essential here at least.

As mentioned, the current apartment where I live is not a good place. Nor can I stay here much longer. What people usually do not understand here is that searching for a new place to live makes me feel suicidal. Has done so for more than five years now, probably due to a number of underlying traumas. I cannot do anything to help myself here. Not without risking killing myself, weird as it may sound. Likely the negative impact it has on my already low sense of self-worth is what kills it for me, if you'll excuse the pun.

I do however need to find an actual home. Because I cannot stay here regardless of the outcome of the eviction case (you try to talk reason with a landlord after they failed to evict you on false charges). Also because this place is not healthy for me. I'm one of those unlucky souls who seem to have all their senses cranked up to 11, which makes us hyper-sensitive to noise, movement, smells, touch, etc. From tags in clothes, to hearing everything from upstairs neighbours, to a noisy clock or heating system, or watching someone make repeated movements such as dangling a leg, there are some things which we cannot ignore.

Most people can ignore those noises, the sharp edges of clothing tags, people dangling their leg or similar, or strong smells, but for us that's not an option. It's like the noise or smell is inside your very head as a physical object, causing pain and discomfort. The only way to deal with it is to move away from the source. Or in the case of noise opt for headphones and earplugs. Which kind of work, within limits. I can still hear the ticking of the heating system here while wearing headphones when the music or video's audio is a bit quiet. It disturbs me.

Finally, there is the dawning realisation that I'm not just dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but likely also with something akin to a dissociative identity disorder (DID, formerly known as a multiple personality disorder [2]). There are those weird moments of amnesia which have plagued me since I was a child, including when I was supposed to have beaten up this one bully, of which I cannot remember a single thing. Current feedback from others also lead me to believe that I'm still suffering from DID-induced amnesia. Likely removing most of the stress from my life should help considerably with this, however.

What is abundantly clear to me is that I have reached a point where many things will have to change, fast. Also that I am highly dependent on the help from others. To find a home, a job, and a life which brings me peace. A life in which I can be that skilled developer and engineer which my resume promises that I will be.

One thing which I arranged yesterday was an appointment at the Dutch embassy in Bern, Switzerland to have my passport renewed. What I have realised is that I would absolutely not be opposed to taking on an offer of employment in another country if it was accompanied by support for relocation. To enable this option having a valid passport is essential. This is something which I can do. Something which I have control over.

I will be updating the resume on my personal site [3] this weekend. I hope that this suffices for others to help me. To give me that chance at a real life.

Thank you.



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