Sunday, May 26, 2019

Written Sunday, May 26, 2019

Editorial note: published retroactively July 6, 2020, with minor edits for accuracy.


I don't really know if there is a point I want to make tonight, even subconsciously. I think I mainly just want to explore some thoughts and see where things go - but it's going to be a dark and rough trip I suspect.

This year has been hard. It opened up with a horrific series of weeks that culminated in me giving up my dog for re-adoption - a loose end I still have not had the heart to follow up on, meaning I have no idea what happened to him.

And then there was a terrifying sequence of emotional crises. I don't even remember a fraction of what happened. But I know I had flashback issues and tons of repressed trauma and pain just came surging back, over and over.

Then I went through the moment of wondering if my career was about to be altered permanently - and, worse, the pain of watching that sudden and horrific change inflict its misery on dozens of people I cared about. And then the process, still ongoing months later, of trying to rebuild for those who were left.

Under that strain, I nearly broke entirely, and made a frail plea to my [abusive partner] to help me get better psychiatric care. He succeeded; and as I confronted the unraveling knot of lies and stupidity he had been building in our relationship, I wound up breaking up with him the day after he helped me schedule a new intake appointment.

In the aftermath I have gained a lot of clarity on those months. I've found a degree of explanation for what I did and even a measure of ability to forgive myself for much of it.

[Editoral interjection: none of it was actually my fault, but that's a separate story.]

I knew I was trans, before we broke up. He was the first person I actually told. He acted so supportive and even excited... it just feels important for me to make sure people know that we didn't split up over my gender. Far from it.

And I think that's kind of the theme of my mood tonight. None of this shit had anything to do with my gender.

The wrestling match with ADHD and the process of stabilizing my treatment have deeply marked the past couple of months, for sure. I've had to face a set of goodbyes - an experience I have found painful for a long time, and one that always stirs up a lot of old baggage. I've coached my best friend through some struggles and family turbulence. I've struggled with my own feelings about my family and how to handle those relationships.

I've watched with terror as a very dear friend ran headlong into some very difficult times and made multiple attempts on her own life. I'm still struggling to come to terms with how to handle that situation. For as much as I want to be able to do something - fucking anything - there is an emerging pattern here, one that echoes back to the earlier days of our relationship. At some point I will put myself in considerable danger trying to help her. And I can't risk that. It's an infuriating conflict in my heart - I want to help, I'm prepared to do something genuinely stupid to try to help, and somewhere at the root of it all I know that I simply can't take that risk. I can't get myself killed. Put your own mask on first. Can't save anyone when you're dead.

I've lost feeling in parts of my left hand and down my left foot. Presumably some kind of nerve injury or some shit. I have persistent sinus irritation and eyes that are so raw there are angry, floppy bags under them. Seems allergy-related but the repeated use of antihistamines has worse effects so I don't bother. My sleep oscillates between brief, restful, and refreshing - and then practically meaningless, where I don't even wake up or dream about the alarms going off anymore, just drift to a grumpy and profanity-laden awakening around noon.

It's all tough, and trying, and exhausting, and somehow I just can't manage to feel like it's that much of a deal. I've been through far worse emotional pain. Far longer episodes of despair and emptiness. It's like my scale is totally broken. I know shit could be so much worse, so I just can't really acknowledge that this is even that bad.

Even still... even when I can grant myself the compassion to admit this is a hard thing to do... it isn't because of my gender.

I don't really know why that is sticking in my mind. I vaguely worry that it might seem, from the outside, like I'm having a tough time because I'm trans, or something. But... if anything, it's the opposite.

The things I have learned and realized in the process of understanding who I am... there's a feedback cycle. I've survived 2019 because of those skills and that understanding and that strength. And 2019 has, in turn, pushed me to learn and realize and appreciate even more. It's all just a giant spiral.

I look at the things I've had to face in the past five months, and all I can see is that I'm doing better than I ever could have before. It's still hard. It's still painful, and scary, and exhausting. But I keep catching myself, in the middle of a complaint or a lament, and realize that most of what I'm saying is habit. I don't actually feel that tired, that hurt, that scared, that uncertain.

My reaction is usually guilt - some strange, reflexive instinct to scramble for a reason for why I'm wrong and should feel bad. But I'm getting better at intercepting those, too.

I don't know. I want it to be OK that I hurt and I'm tired. And I want to be proud that I'm strong.