Chaos in Transland II

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As previous micro-dosages had obviously been too high, the next time I used, I took half of what I´d previously used. This time, there were no hallucinogenic effects. I did not notice much of anything at all, to be honest. I felt “meh” at best, and the breakdown, again, was quite intense. Not as much anxiety as before, but still quite exhausting.

Microdosing is usually done over a longer period of time, but after these three times, continuing seems like a bad idea. It is possible that the substance has some good influence on my mental and emotional configuration, like being able to notice my own tendency to over-analyze everything, and perhaps trying to quit that and just exist.

Another difference is one I noticed only after these tree micro-dosages; in the middle of the most horrible panic attack, where again I was having suicidal thoughts, I felt the roaring anger within rear its furious head and scream at the suicidal thoughts: “Go f*ck yourself, I want to live!” with an intensity I never experienced before.

I find myself, still, in the middle of a tug of war between the desire to rest (permanently) and the desire to live. The main difference is that I do not want to live while trapped in my body, while I do want to break free, and with the help of surgery I will be able to do so. However surgery still seems far away, five months is a long, long time, for me.

As long as every day is longer than the last one, and every day I´m thinking “this could be my last day”, those five months seem like an eternity. I know it isn´t, and I know that when I make it (not if) I will be eternally glad that I did not end my life when I had so much life and potential ahead of me. Dear God, just help me get myself to that point.

Chaos in Transland I

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In the first part of my post, I told you about my hard times with dysphoria, and my rather desperate attempt to find anything that could help mellow me out besides my regular medication. In any experimentation with drugs, I´m always very careful not to mix the wrong substances, and very conscious of the dosage and use.

Microdosing is not very well known in mainstream society. What it means is that you take a minute amount of drugs, a fraction of what you would need to trip, and then repeat this for a certain duration, with a certain amount of days in between. The first two times I dosed, the amount was too high, resulting in a mild trip.

The first trip was very pleasant. It did what I wanted it to do: disconnect me from my top dysphoria and put me in a perspective where I could analyze my feelings from a calm, rational point of view. In this tranquil state of mind, I not only accepted myself but also felt happier with life in general. It did not give me a “crash” or hangover.

When three days had passed, I took a smaller amount and went for a walk in the forest. Mistake, it turned out. It was still strong enough to “enhance” everything around me: I could feel the life in the plants and trees around me, and details, like water trickling down from the tree bark, were amazing. I spent a couple of hours there.

While I´d felt good in the forest, microdosing also kicked my thinking in overdrive. And by thinking, I mean this vaguely conscious and incessant over-analysis of everything I see, everything I feel, and everything I think. In a brain that is always looking for meaning, even when there needn´t be any, this is not necessarily good.

I did not have any dysphoria during the trip, but when I came down, I sure did. The protective barrier that usually filters input between stimuli and the brain, was gone. Completely gone. This ensured that I felt dysphoria more strongly, but also everything around. Any street noise, any small noise at all in the house. So I went to sleep.

Running & Scissors

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It´s been a while since I last wrote. I feel like quite a lot of things have happened. For one, I cut myself with a pair of scissors during last bout of PMDD. It went more than halfway through – brace yourself – the palm of my hand. I was already dizzy with anxiety, the sudden gash in my skin made me dissociate some more.

While outside the festivities of the four day marches buzzed, I held onto my bike with one hand, crying, and pedaled to the GP´s offices. I had a tetanus shot and was prescribed an antibiotics treatment. It was one of those days that I was really grateful for modern medicine. What would´ve happened if I had gotten an infection?

Five days have passed and the wound has mostly closed. The palm of my hand feels rigid and still painful, it has been a bit difficult to clean up around me, make food. My mind is still a mess. Way too much anxiety, mostly top dysphoria, some hormonal. My day-night cycle is completely messed up. Yesterday night, I went running.

I did not think I could run so fast. I ran faster than I´ve ever done. I held on to the anger that had injured my hand and released it, with vengeance, on the asphalt. After one block I was out of breath, nauseous and ready to puke. Yet on I went again. I ran for about an hour. In the morning, I collapsed on my bed and fell asleep.

When I woke up, I felt sick. My stomach feels messed up. I decided to do nothing for yet another day – try to cope and nothing more. No injuring myself, no judging myself, just rest until me and my hand feel somewhat normal again. Every day that passes is one less until top surgery and one less of this strange mess.

Blast from the Past

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Connoisseurs will know when they see it. Dirt dance floors, mandalas, fractals and hippies. Lots and lots of hippies. Sweat, sun, rain and, in many cases, drugs. These parties were once a big part of my life. They were a way for me to escape. At these parties, I could see myself as a part of something: as a particle of a breathing organism.

The people I went with went for the same reason. To escape the constrictions of a nine to five life, and go crazy. We went to many different festivals in many different places, and yet, at each one we would find the same world and the same audience. This space allowed us to search for the difference we wanted to find in our lives.

I last went to one of these parties weeks before I came out. The experience bummed me out. I discovered that the flip side of magic is illusion, and I felt as though many people there were living a lie, temporary or not so temporary. I wanted out. Thinking about it now, I think I was done looking for escape. I had already escaped my own illusion.

I turned inwards and to myself to look for the answers, and I did not go to any of these parties for a long time. When I started testosterone, I became way more level-headed. Talk of spiritual enlightenment, and somewhat extraterrestrial voyages amused me a bit. And yet, I made many friends there, and had many really, really good times.

I´m returning to that world. This month, I will camp at a week at a festival, with friends, and re-discover what the world of psychedelic trance means to me. The thought is strange and exciting at the same time – I hope that I will fit in, that I can ground myself amid a world of strangers looking to find themselves in this common dream.

With any luck, I can find out what parts of my old self resonate with my new self. See whether some of it still fits, or whether I can give new meaning to it. If anything, I will see lots of art, and lots of really spaced out people. If anything, it will give me a chance to let go of my dysphoria and enjoy the moment. We´ll see.

A Tale of Grief and Relief

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I can´t describe what it feels like to finally be approved for top surgery. Previously, I was told that it could not be done, that I needed this permission and such approval, but I did it. I hung on like a desperate pit-bull and would not let go, even nearing utter emotional exhaustion. My stubbornness serves me well.

I fought for testosterone and I fought for this, every step of the way a battle between personal freedoms and institutional restrictions. I´m not done, considering that getting a hysterectomy is the next step in my endeavor, and considering that I have medical conditions which potentially make me a candidate for earlier hysterectomy.

The emotional roller-coasters and unrelenting perseverance that I needed to accomplish top surgery, however, have left me exhausted. The whole experience, coupled with two years of bad gender therapy experience, messed with me quite a bit. Thankfully, I now seem to have a “normal” gender therapist, who respects my boundaries.

Things are looking up and I have renewed hope that this thing might turn out okay after all. I can make it through this. At the same time, there is so much grief about the fact that I harmed myself, about nearing suicide several times, about the fact that the process was so devastating in its ability to make me re-live the powerlessness I did as a kid.

It´s become blindingly clear to me that this entire ordeal was about coming clean with my own past and learning to cast aside destructive dependencies on other people. Learning that I am my own man, that I need to go my own way, and forget about people who bring up the worst in me, no matter what the cost.

I was scared that going my own way would alienate me, and I was scared that I would end up losing, but here I am. The abused self that I carried around, along with many destructive habits, disintegrates with every victory – making way for a compassionate man, one who understands the sacrifices that she made for me.

 

The Dysphoria Trap III

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It´s been really warm today. I´ve spent most of it inside, waiting until the temperature drops, so I can escape my room and get some groceries. Since I don´t have a lot more to do and there are no more episodes of Last Week Tonight, I figured I might as well write the third part to the dysphoria trilogy.

In my first post, I explained how it´s possible to deal with dysphoria by distancing yourself from any mental associations your brain may create. Sort of observing yourself without judgement. This method requires that you either have or create a lot of mental fortitude, for example though meditation or working on your general awareness.

Testosterone lessened the dysphoria for me, before coming back with a vengeance and making it unbearable. With my body looking gradually more masculine, the zen-master approach no longer worked for me. The chesticles and genitals were a sore reminder of the fact that I was not born the way that I wanted to.

When the surgeon first declined my referral for top surgery, I flipped out and hurt myself quite a lot, wearing the KT tape way too long and also intentionally damaging those areas. Neither mindfulness nor being active, nor taking calming medication was helping anymore, so I resorted to the last option I had; going to the coffeeshop.

The coffeeshop here is a place where you can get not just coffee, but an array of weed and hashish. To any outsider it may seem strange that you can just wander around the block and buy some drugs, although in my opinion it is no different (even more benign) than buying alcohol or getting a prescription for antidepressant drugs.

I am not advocating that everybody with dysphoria just go to the dealer and buy soft drugs. After all everybody is different, and marijuana may or may not help you with anxiety. For some people, it makes anxiety worse. I personally am glad that I tried this last resort. It was the only thing that helped ease the extreme stress I was in.

Taking to the Sky

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I haven´t told you much about flying lately. That mostly because well, I haven´t flown much at all. I was completely drowned by stress; whenever I tried to focus on flying, I either could not concentrate or would space out. The situation was dangerous both for me and for my instructors; a fatal mistake could be the end of both of us.

After discussing it with my instructors, I decided to downgrade my membership. Paying a fortune not to fly at all would be a sour waste of money. Better to stay on the ground and fly once in a while – I would not learn much or be able to expand my skills, but at least I would stay involved in the club, and retain my place among the others.

I´ve missed not just the physical act of flying, but the emotional clarity and the freedom of mind needed to engage in it at all. Most of all, I felt like a big rock. Unable to move. Unable to go anywhere. It wasn´t just planning surgery, or moving around due to construction work, or news that my grandmother has come down with cancer.

It seemed to all rain down on me at once. As life does. No small bits, nothing bite size, but all at once in an avalanche of unbearable memories and anxiety. There was no place left for anything. Most of the time I either wanted to sleep or temporarily die, which perhaps is sort of the same thing.

After the quicksand, as last year, things seem to be speeding up. I have a new gender therapist who says she will respect my boundaries, I´m on injections, I think shark week has stopped, and I´m on the waiting list for surgery. Things are looking a bit brighter than they did two weeks ago.

Most significantly, I dreamed about flying a week ago, and as of right now, I have the sensation that I am airborne. Usually this means that things are headed in a better direction, and perhaps it also means that I am ready to get in the cockpit again. I will try one of these days and see how it goes.