This is another excerpt from my book, it is about the experience of insane treatment, my compliance to dogma while waiting for surgery, hoping that I would get there, never knowing anything, never being told anything, never being able to make any difference whatsoever on what was happening. It is the current path to treatment - if we survive it that is...:
|It’s pointless to say that this time
was rather frustrating. There was nothing to be done at counselling.
There was nothing to be done medically. My social life was crumbling
under the weight of the needless waiting and senseless uncertainty. My
emotional life was strictly downhill, from functional socially
integrated active and dynamic woman full of life to disconnected, pain
stricken, unproductive and, in the end, suicidal transsexual. What an
achievement and credit to psychiatric insight and treatment I was…
True, it wasn’t as if ever anybody expected anything to come out of this except a suicide. Sorry, I’ll rephrase: Except proof of how compliant a human-being can be. I full well realized that I could not sustain such a life indefinitely, that this would end in some way and probably rather sooner than later. Tensions grew in my private life too, I became increasingly incapable of social exchange, of dealing with problems, any kind of problems, even the smallest. Mine as well as others.
I didn’t think of this as being in any way unexpected, irrational or even as being proof of an “over-reaction” or “emotional instability” of sorts. Apart from de-humanizing treatment, exploitation and abuse this was in fact the part of treatment I feared the most - because I knew that this would happen, I pretty much anticipated that I would eventually react like this - and I actually felt that this seemed rather normal...
I had lived physically wrong, socially wrong, emotionally wrong and sexually wrong for my entire life. This I could cope with, sort of. And apparently, at least compared to other people with the same affliction, I even did a rather good job at it. Now they had added to all this complete social alienation, a total legal limbo, a nightmare of medical concerns, a mental fixation on the impossible, meaningless but nevertheless (or precisely because of this) very painful mental treatment, a life without any prospects whatsoever while deliberately withholding a timeline for the one way out! This, according to dogma, would be the rest of my life! Unless somebody finally found that doing this to me, treating any human being like this just might be wrong!
Because this is - as per dogma - said to be good for me? Because surviving this - as per psychiatric insight - is the condition set onto me to remain alive? Because this is - as to the brilliance of our dogmatists - going to show them if I merit to be a woman or not? Because this experience is - as per understanding in mental-health circles - going to make me a more whole, emotionally more rounded and mentally healthy individual? Because THIS is - in their opinion - the best and most sophisticated treatment possible!
At the same time this is done to us just about every transsexual in treatment is also expected to master life under the microscope of mental-health, maintain a normal level of productivity and most certainly should not fall into any severe emotional distress or, for heaven’s sake, depression! Honestly, I would like to question if this is actually possible! It most certainly wasn’t for me. This was all but a pre-programmed downward-spiral into a dark seemingly bottomless pit and the one thing I hoped for was that they would allow me to get treatment before I would shatter on the all but inevitable invisible bottom. I didn’t really pretend anymore at this time, but by then they didn’t even bother to see me at mental-health anymore. Presumably they had figured out that I was self-compliant to the extreme anyway, to a degree which would guarantee self-destruction.
They had done what they set out to do, had destroyed my old life. They hadn’t given me a new one for it of course, this they can’t do. At the same time they still put all their efforts into preventing me from helping myself! They can take life, it isn’t difficult. They do it every day, sometimes they even plan for it, do this deliberately, are willing to put a huge effort into this. Only when it comes to giving life they aren’t actually as good, for some reason it does appear to be somewhat more difficult to give life than it is to take it. That too seems to be a lesson they have diligently learned but not yet understood…
As to my medical progress? At this point I started to be really glad that I had this daily cocktail of steroids and steroid-suppressants at something between liberal and insane doses. Because by now I needed this desperately so I would not go out and kill myself right then and there…
Now I don’t want to sound overly cynical here but if you have ever put a question-mark behind how your tax-dollars get spent or might have gotten the idea that somebody, for example a politician, helped his own interest or got a lavish lifestyle paid for out of your pocket you might want to consider that all mental treatment I have ever received, along with hundreds of thousands or millions of transsexuals, was very kindly paid for (or at least heavily subsidized) by your most generous donation to either the government or your healthcare-plan. Honestly, I do see some room for improvement here… But just in case you might not want to save your money? May I suggest spending it on the advancement of that lavish lifestyle of the politician of your choice rather than on the destruction of my life?
A couple of months into hormonal treatment I had figured out how to adjust the dosage so I would feel good (and consequently “look good”) on any particular day, say when I had some kind of a medical/mental appointment coming my way. I figured out how to be a drug junkie really quickly because this is what made me look how I should and this in turn made me get somewhere. Of course “fabricating the good days” also meant getting the bad ones in between as every biological woman can attest to, I just had my own period ‘engineered’. Well, I am an engineer, finding practical solutions to absurd problems is my job. (Whereas I often felt that finding absurd solutions to practical problems was what mental-health was all about). Under pressure people comply, under extreme pressure they comply irrationally, under ongoing excessive pressure they eventually break. It’s normal, it’s what’s to be expected. No mental-health degree required to understand this, really.
I too complied. Like so many others before me. And I too came closer to being broken than most people ever will in their lifetime.
In the end, yes, I wanted to go to surgery, nothing but! I had a life with no other consideration in mind, no other social contacts except my immediate family (and that was at times difficult enough) and the handful of people I saw for healthcare reasons, no links to reality and no prospect to ever get any connection to reality back the way I was.
So, finally: Yes! I wanted that surgery! And I wanted it like never before! But not because I felt ill or somehow wrong or transsexual or even myself or not myself. Not because I needed it. Not anymore. These certainly were the initial motivators but over time these faded into oblivion, in the end I no longer cared at all. Not about myself and not about anybody or anything! What remained was that I wanted it because to survive I needed the witch-hunt to end! All the rest I didn’t care anymore. Because I too couldn’t live without a life forever. Because I too was and am incapable to live under such oppressive conditions endlessly. I was ready for the pyre. Not because I felt to be but because nothing mattered anymore. Nothing.
Is this what psychiatrists mean when they speak of readiness, mental health and sanity?
No, there was nothing crazy about me or my behaviour. If anything was crazy then it was the framework I was forced into. I find my reaction was the most normal I could possibly have had, my behaviour the most predictable anybody could possibly expect!
A few days later I had, somehow, made it to that faraway place where I had booked the start of my life. Fortunately I didn’t have to travel alone, but I really don’t remember much of getting there. I was just there and that was that.
First accommodation outside the Hospital, then admission. A mountain of documents to sign: Declarations, releases, legal statements. I sign. Whatever they give me. I sign it. Who cares? They only want my signature and maybe my money and promise to help me for it, all these other people wanted my life and my soul and offered only ignorance, pain and suffering in return. I sign. Everything. Because this is now the only way to be alive in 24 hours.
Of all the documents I only remember the beginning of one. After I had spent so many months on how I could possibly get myself certified crazy I was asked to sign the following:
“I, the undersigned, being of perfectly sound mind, make the following declaration…”.
Next morning, a few minutes before surgery, I was being prepped. Waiting. My surgeon came in. “Any last questions, concerns?”. My first thought: If for any reason this doesn’t work as advertised there’s no need to wake me up on the other side. Of course I knew no surgeon would do this, so I just said “no, and thank you”. I had bitten my tongue one last time… He: “Don’t worry, you’ll have another opportunity to thank me…”. “I would not be here if I would worry”. ”Good! Then let’s go inside!”.
The anaesthetist started the drip. So this was finally happening! I was only some 14,000 days late, how inconsiderate of me!
Maybe another minute later, already on the operating table: “Is she gone?”. “No, she’s still smiling…”.