Adventure Ho!

adventureho

In light of my last post, Ethernet Wars, I´m not sure how much time I have to write any post, but I´m going to go out on a limb and hope it lasts a bit. Keep in mind my connection troubles could come back, rendering me useless to WordPress, unable to write anything (mobile is too small for me!).

Small cold wars aside, there is another reason I will be absent in the coming weeks, and the reason is: summer camp! Realizing scouting is not for me, but I still want to help kids play outside and have a good time, I took my leave there. I was introduced to a different organization.

This organization plans camps for kids, some big (like summer camp: several weeks of camp for several different groups of kids) and some small (week-ends and evenings). The camps usually have some sort of theme and various games/adventures planned by volunteers such as myself.

I am very excited, partly because the other volunteers seem to be “my kinda people”. Scattered across different ages, ranging from the utterly normal to the fairly eccentric, interested in working with kids for a variety of reasons. It bodes well for our relationship during camp.

The situation is also unnerving because very few, if any, are aware of the extent my PTSD and anxiety issues go. I for one know that in any social situation, there is a chance of (mental) breakdown. If I have one, I will obviously not burden the kids with it and withdraw.

Nevertheless it is scary, because I haven´t been involved in such social situations for years. The problem is I can never know what I am capable of, and even if my PTSD is getting better, if I don´t give it a chance. This is what I love doing, so I am giving it a chance – here goes.

I will not have access to, or very limited, connectivity during camp (most likely, I will not have time for any type of social media). Naturally I will come back and give you an update as soon as I can (hoping that the Ethernet Wars subside within the coming month).

 

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Cavity Time III

innocence

In my last two posts, I wrote about the dentist and how my visit there triggered old defensive mechanisms. An attempt by the dentist to stick a rubber expander in my mouth, contrary to my wishes, offset an alarm in my head, in turn startling the dentist, who felt threatened by my reaction.

In my own experience it all makes perfect sense. If I say “no“, it means I don´t want something to happen. In my experience dentists – and some other medical professionals – tend to work their own routine – thus having learned to ignore “no” and just going ahead. Not cool.

I left the dentists´ office in a hurry and found a comforting place among a bunch of bushes in a park. My nervous system struggled to make sense of the incident, attempting to understand why she´d purposefully crossed my boundaries, making me feel like I´d been violated.

I could not find it in myself to find any love for me – having been made to feel as vulnerable and worthless as I felt as a child – not worthy of being heard and respected. I knew that if I did not seek out a friendly face, I would self-harm. I texted a friend in the area.

My friend wasn´t home, but having lunch at a place nearby, so I went there. My friend – unknowingly – pulled me out of the instinct to self-harm and brought me back into a world of regular activities, work and leisure. We had lunch there and afterwards I chilled in the cemetery for a bit.*

Back home, I still experienced some kickback from my episode, but thankfully not too much, and I have recovered relatively unscathed (which is surprising considering similar past events). With one cavity left to go, I am on the lookout for a practitioner who respects me, rare animals though they might be.

*Strange as it may seem, cemeteries are surprisingly relaxing – specially if the cemetery in question is covered by a foil of beautiful trees, and host to an array of cool animals like squirrels and birds. 

Cavity Time II

stopboy

In my last post, I wrote how visible tooth decay finally encouraged me back in the dentists´chair. I had not been in two years, and if it hadn´t been for impending root canal decay, I wouldn´t have returned at all.  Halfway the appointment, the dentist grabbed a rubber expander, waving it inches from my face.

“I´m going to insert this in your mouth now”, she said. I replied I would rather not. Last time a dentist made me wear one of those, I went completely crazy and suffered suicidal thoughts for a week. “Just wear it“, she said, and tried to shove it into my mouth, now firmly shut.

My internal alarms went off instantly and I brought my hands up to my face to swat hers away. In an instant all my senses were roaring, sweating, my heart drumming away and my nervous system ready to fend off any further attack. She backed off, and despite protest, I sat up in the chair.

Dissociation set in, and unable to process the experience, a thick blanket of fog entered my brain. I asked for permission to wash my face. “You cannot go home, we aren´t done“, she replied. In the middle of my fog, I barely understood what she was saying. I requested permission again.

Finally she let me go. Thankfully for me, the bathroom was downstairs. I sprinted down there and jumped up and down in the bathroom, trying to regain clarity, splashing my face with water. As the fog receded, I went back up, and the dentist finished her work.

When she was done, she looked at me and asked me how it went. I was about to explain to her why I´d reacted the way I did, but she was having none of it. She interrupted me instead and told me how violated she felt, having me as a patient. She said she didn´t feel safe.

Read on for the conclusion!

Photo credit: predragphoto77 / Freepik

Cavity Time I

dentistfromhell

The last year and a half, I displayed classic dentist avoidance: if your experience with them blows, just don´t go. Until of course I checked my teeth in the mirror and discovered a big black hole. I had a choice: wait until that thing grows (probably taking my root in the process) or clench my butt-cheeks and go back.

Where there are visible caries there are usually more, so of course I had three – two on the same tooth and one on another, all in advanced stages – if I waited some more, I would probably be boasting a set of false teeth (although to be perfectly honest, it´s something I dream of – imagine having teeth that don´t rot out…).

Perhaps I´m just being stupid and having false teeth is not as great as I imagine it to be. Anyway. Back I went, sweating, of course, hoping that this time I could actually help the dentist understand my case of PTSD – which makes me not afraid of pain, but afraid of people touching me, specially people I don´t particularly care for.

There I was, a bit late, the dentist angered with me because losing six minutes of time is the worst that can happen to a dentist (or so it seems), I think they felt disrespected. Despite having taken diazepam (valium), I felt very nervous and finicky, so I tried and focus on my breath going in-and-out of my lungs.

The dentist kept on chatting in my ear, which although well-intended, sucked me out of my concentration and into a state of panic – and so I asked her if she wouldn´t mind just being silent, so I could focus on breathing. She understood but kept on talking anyway, so I had to ask again, and then again.

I was sort of managing, feeling like I would escape unscathed, until the dentist told me she was going to put this rubber expander in my mouth, used to facilitate their job. I know these things, they´re a PTSD nightmare, and so I said no. She then tried to shove it in there anyway.

Read on more about this thrilling experience in Part II.

 

Adult Tantrum, II

fragile

In the first part of this post, I talked briefly about low-key institutionalized discrimination from the VUMC. However, my post wasn´t about them at all. Instead, I use the opportunity to explore my need to demand respect from others, even if it is in a forcible and compulsory way.

In the post I briefly touch on my need to defend myself from transgressions, and the unshakable belief that I am ultimately accountable for everything that happens to me, from random events to severe beatings. This belief makes me obsessively fight to protect myself, sometimes in vain.

Back when I was about to go into top surgery, this was the same exact mindset I had. Yet back then, there was no way that I would be able to defend my own principles (respect me, don´t touch me, don´t activate any traumatic memories), and when I tried to be heard, nobody heard.

I came out of top surgery in severe psychological turmoil, from which I am beginning to recover only now. The state in which I was – too tired for a fight – meant that I could not enforce any of the demands which usually I would have put in place. It also meant several people walked all over me.

Which means, ultimately, that the structures in my brain (created to safeguard me) failed. Which has in turn triggered the slow, but steady realization: my tactics are outdated. Not only have they never served to protect me; they did nothing for me when I needed them the most.

Usually when I realize something does not serve me at all, it implies an abrupt rupture – and that´s what I think happened. Basically since the mechanics of my brain weren´t working anymore, I ditched them. The VUMC can fling all the shit at me they want. On some level it doesn´t matter anymore.

On some level, I´ve become a nihilist – I do not believe in my own tactics, but I believe that things work themselves out, sooner or later. It really doesn´t matter if I get emotionally involved or not, so I might as well save my emotions for something more rewarding, and use rational thought for what remains.

 

Adult Tantrum I

screaming1

After the VUMC blatantly rejected my referral for hysterectomy, I´ve been debating the issue with several people, among them several proponents of transgender rights, one lawyer, and transgender patient organization Transvisie. Seven weeks have passed since the referral.

In normal circumstances I would feel very invalidated right now. After all, this is transgender discrimination in its purest, institutionalized form. If only I felt sabotaged and humiliated, I would feel justified in bombarding them with rotting eggs, and demand some type of justice from them.

But even if they listened (they probably would not), my exasperated indignation would only serve to draw me further in, drowning me in a quicksand of unanswered demands. Eventually, the seething resentment I so often experience from these situations would explode.

To be honest, my whole adult life I have felt as though I owe it to myself to demand proper treatment. By demand I mean manipulate people in such way that they have no other choice than to listen. If they do not listen, there are consequences – and those usually hurt me.

Perhaps you are at a complete loss now, wondering what I mean. As an abused kid, I have learned that people do not respect you unless you force them to, meaning that I am ultimately accountable for every disrespectful word that is uttered. I am the responsible one.

In order for me to be unaccountable (and reclaim my lost innocence), I had to try really hard to make known I wasn´t okay with abuse. As a kid I was not allowed to have tantrums, cry, or scream… so I could not express it. As an adult, I can make up for that lost opportunity.

So I had, and continue to have, adult tantrums. These are awful. You need to know that there is no conscious decision to have a tantrum – they are wholly based on a compulsive need to protect myself and only occur within the framework of complex PTSD.

Part II is under way.

 

The Inner Adult

monkey

I´m not having a meltdown, but the way I have been “dealing” hasn´t been ideal. Half-finished posts on the blog, half finished furniture scattered across the floor, about fifteen open tabs on my browser – the chimp “drives” home the point quite well: I´m in a state of chaos.

Faulty hormones could be, and are, possibly at play. My batch of “trusty” hormones ran out a while ago and I have been using some shady multi-dose vial I bought off some site. Intelligent? No. I bought gel there before, way back. The gel was in sealed packets, the type that are used by pharmacies.

Not as easy to mess with as the yellowish liquid I am supposed to believe is purely sustanon and nothing else. Considering I have been feeling weird ever since I started injecting with it, chances are it isn´t pure, and it is possible some other shady stuff has been mixed in with it.

The good news is I have an appointment with the endocrinologist on the 23rd of this month, finally. Legal hormones for the first time in two years! Hurray for me. In the meantime though I am still stuck with weird mood changes, and a truckload of anxiety for every occasion. I get upset about everything.

Not trusting people is normal for me, but I´ve been scared of sticky things, wet things, things that smell, things that drip, and loud noises. Yeah… try living in the world that way. I´ve been getting by with a mixture of valium, breathing exercises, and forcing myself to be mindful.

It´s challenging for me, not to be this total hardass – try to rely on that “inner adult” to guide that frightened inner child. Keep cool in times of irrationality, set an example, and more of such things. It´s been exhausting though. It´s a crash course in parenting if I ever had one.