Voting Stuff, and Nonsense

There’s a big and meaningful election taking place in the UK later this week. One of the controversies has been the difficulty trans people have had registering to vote. Basically, in order to register to vote, the local electoral register bunch have to be able to trace your records, and ideally attach you to a National Insurance Number. BUT, if you are a trans person who has changed their gender on their lists, you’re usually put on a separate system by the national insurance people – in theory, this is good, because this separate department means that you won’t be outed to your employer or anyone as trans, and means when you phone up, you usually don’t have to deal with a pig ignorant wankstain. However, it means that the electoral register people can’t check you properly via that method, so they end up assuming you’re imaginary or a sneaky fraudulent bastard, and usually ask you to send extra pieces of ID to prove you exist and aren’t an evil plot created by an unusually lazy criminal. This, however, throws up problems too – passports are incredibly expensive. Well, they’re about £80, which for some people perhaps isn’t a prohibitively huge amount, but in a community that still has rather high unemployment rates, it really is. And if you’re not someone who can afford to go abroad anyway, then you’re basically having to pay £80 to vote. Which is utterly fucking absurd. Whilst getting a replacement driving license is cheaper, it’s still a lot of money, especially if you’re living on Jobseekers. A provisional license is cheaper again, but not something you can get if you’ve already passed your test, and not something one should have to purchase in order to be permitted to vote; requiring a certain income to vote is not true democracy. There was a statement released saying that local election office-folks around the country would be spoken to, and encouraged to accept deed polls accompanied by old ID etc., but giving trans people an extra heap of bureaucratic crap to deal with on top of the existing file-cabinet of bollocks we have to lug around if we want to see a GP, or re-name exam certificates etc, it builds up and just discourages people who often already feel on the peripheries from taking part in the democratic process.

I’m quite fortunate that I was able to register, since I have a provisional license, so I just sent along a copy of that, which was fine in the end. But getting a somewhat terse letter asking for proof of your existence, and reminders of what the penalties for pretending to exist when you’re imaginary are is hardly an encouraging and inclusive response to not being able to check someone’s records.

Anyway, in personal news, I’ve been put on different medication now. It’s early days still – but currently my head feels like a cardboard box full of sponges, and I can barely sleep, and I’m getting the weird background nausea again. I’m absolutely exhausted, but my brain just won’t switch off. In better news, I finally saw that person I’ve long held complicated feelings for. It was a pretty wonderful day, to be honest. I hope they remain unaware of my uncomfortable feelings – they seem to be. It was the brightest I’ve felt in a long while, just hanging out in the garden and taking the piss out of one another. I really wish I could stop these feelings, though, as they’re damned inconvenient and the stress of them finding out and it ruining our friendship is tough to manage, at times. It’s strange, I usually pride myself on being able to subdue and suppress feelings, but for some reason this absurd human being makes me beam like a twat, and feel kind of….completely relaxed but excitably thrilled at the same time. It’s probably just chummy friendship mixed with tiredness and the weird weather lately, that’s all.

Hopefully the election all goes well, and hopefully at some point I SLEEP FOR MORE THAN THREE HOURS AT A TIME. Good luck in your respective realms!

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Filed under admin, bastards, failing, feelings, government, mental health, transgender

And so on

I went to see the psych, who doubled my medication. So far, I’ve been getting the forecast nausea, a few headaches, and even more dilated pupils. I feel like…I can only describe it as a helium-inflated jellyfish on a string. That is, fairly precarious, somewhat detached, and a little floaty, and strangers who interact with me look slightly unnerved. I wouldn’t say it’s a happy floaty, more of an indifferent floaty. It’s harder to formulate coherent thoughts, too. I think I’m even more inside my own head than I was. Less colossal dips, but more empty-headedness. I suppose it’s a necessary inconvenience, however, since it’s cloud-brain or monsoon-brain. The psych mostly just confirmed my suspicions, and was more helpful than previous experience of the NHS mental health system lead me to hope.

One thing that did irk me slightly, however, was that the letter about me sent to my doctor opened with the fact that I’m trans. I don’t know why they always lead with that; much of my life trauma has been unrelated to that, and it didn’t seem at all relevant to the rest of the letter. In fact, as many of you will know, being trans has often just meant having increased difficulty in accessing adequate mental health care. I suppose I just wonder what they write at the top of cis peoples’ psychiatric letters; “George is a male-assigned man who has lived as a man for forty years”, “Susan is a cisgendered woman who wears womens’ clothing”, “Mike is biologically male, and frequently watches football matches; he has a heterosexual life-partner.”?  It’s bizarre that transness is still treated as a psychiatric quirk or issue, even in comparatively progressive corners.

But the good news is, I’ve been doing arts and crafts crap, and getting out the house more, despite my perpetual mound of work. It’s Easter in about a month, and I plan to stuff my face full of chocolate and sit around achieving bugger all.

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Filed under education, health, mental health, rants, transgender

All is not lost

I recently had a very brief window of time off from my course, and went along to a non-binary night in a different city. I was kind of surprised by how much these things boosted my mental health. I don’t think I realised how much my course, or rather, certain aspects of it was getting to me, and how alienated I really was feeling here. I haven’t got many months to go, fortunately, and now I know that there’s somewhere not too far away that has people I can actually relate to and hold a conversation with, the world doesn’t seem quite so hopeless as it did. It was a good evening; I didn’t speak to many people, but the few I did speak to were nice, and interesting, and not up-their-arses. It was also nice to be somewhere where my pronouns and identity weren’t assumed based solely on what I was wearing that day, and I was told there might be a group closer to me who are open to people who are more flexible in their presentation. I guess the upside of being in a comparatively small country is that getting to different cities in the space of a day isn’t impossible by public transport. It was surprising how different the other city was though, and how I felt like I could breathe again since I wasn’t surrounded by people from a particularly sheltered and privileged background. I have nothing against people who are, but it can be incredibly alienating knowing that you can never really talk about your life, or the struggles therein and be understood in any meaningful way. It was just really validating having an ordinary conversation without being looked at like some sort of freak, or being met with polite but heavy silence. It was just what I needed. Hope for the future is an incredibly powerful thing, and something you tend not to notice the absence of until it suddenly resurfaces. Which is probably a good thing. Anyway. I’ve got an endless pile of work to be doing, so I just thought I’d fly in, and tell you the world hasn’t ended just yet, and that I hope your futures are looking bright, radiantly queer, and full of promise!

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Filed under education, failing, future, loneliness, mental health, transgender

Rollercoasters

As the title suggests, things have been incredibly mixed lately, and particularly so the other day. I got my feedback for an assignment I did, (my grade was pretty decent, which is good), but it became clear that the lecturers here see all my work solely through the lens of “the trans one did this”. And it’s hit me really hard. I kind of thought previously that for all the shitness this place has, at least I was finally accepted as a fully-rounded human being. It turns out, I’m more of a performing monkey so they can jerk off about how tolerant they are. It’s really made me question the path I’ve chosen, and what the point of the sacrifices I’ve made have been for if all I can ever be, even in a more progressive place, is “the gender kid”. I’m feeling hugely down about it all. I suppose the bright side is, I know I definitely don’t want to stick around here after the course is done. I’d rather be somewhere where I’m openly stared at, than somewhere where I’m patronised and pitied and required to limit myself to being the personification of some tosser’s ticked box.

I also got a call recently from someone I’ve had complicated feelings for since forever, which was awesome. What was less awesome was that it was the first time we’ve spoken properly in a long while, and one of the things they talked about was how serious things are getting between them and their partner. The thing is, every time I get to a point of feeling sure all the feelings are gone, they contact me and suddenly everything comes flooding back. I really don’t know how to cure myself of this nonsense. I think I’m good at hiding it – but then, I think perhaps I’m not that good, otherwise their partner wouldn’t insist on telling me in great detail about their sex life, and showing me their romantic interactions any time we speak, despite the fact that the conversations clearly make me uncomfortable, and I can’t think why else the partner would want to show these things to someone he barely knows.

In better news, I’ve had messages and letters from people I hugely care about lately, and I should finally be getting a haircut next week if all goes well. I’ve also been getting on alright with my medication, and been making plans to see more of my friends this year. Plus, 2016 is over, which I am hugely relieved by.

I very much hope your lives are going well, and that they’re not plagued by cis ignorance / complicated feelings / mediocre readymeals!

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Making it to Xmas

Well, I’ve endured my first term. I’ve no idea if I’ve passed it, though – I probably haven’t, given that the staff here are drastically unhelpful in terms of providing actual information about what assignments are due, and how they like them to be presented. My predication is, I’ve made a couple of massive errors in my work which will either give me a failing grade, or a massively reduced grade. At least I attempted the ones I knew about though, which is something. Suffice to stay, I’m still massively underwhelmed by this place, and by most of the people in it. One or two have got slightly friendlier though, and I hope our acquaintance-ship will make the next part of the journey (if I get to it!) more bearable. I’ve also found one staff member I kind of click with, who’s good at making me think, even if he does sound incredibly rude in his feedback sometimes. In that respect, he reminds me a bit of me – I tend to accidentally say completely the wrong thing, or be unaware of how I’m coming across, and he too finds it a bit grey here. So, that’s one person here I vaguely gel with – which isn’t particularly impressive, but for me, that’s a fair universe better than nobody at all, and feeling slightly less solitary has got me through the last few weeks.

Also, I’ve been taking the anti-depressants. I think it was for the best, especially given how next year’s shaping up. They do make me feel a bit spaced out, and I think they’ve dilated my pupils a bit, which has made some interactions a bit awkward. They’re weird, I still have days where I can’t get out of bed, but rather than sobbing randomly or feeling an overwhelmingly painful misery, I feel more…nothing-y. It’s hard to describe, it’s like, the sluggishness and restless sleep and whatever still happens, but now it’s with a permanent sense of indifference rather than a crashing low. And I feel slightly less self-conscious. It’s like a hangover without the headache.

I’m also still feeling irked by how everyone’s reading me as female. I’m thinking of asking them to use neutral pronouns and my legal name (which is masculine) next term, but I don’t think they’d get it. I do like clothing which is usually seen as feminine, but I don’t feel comfortable at all being read like that. Which makes life kind of difficult, because in the cis world, you have to go miles out of way to, in their eyes, look ‘correct’ and therefore worthy of whatever pronouns etc you’re comfortable with. I mean, masculine pronouns are fine enough with me, but explaining to multiple classes and blank faces that identity and presentation aren’t necessarily matched, and the fact that if a cis man dressed like I do they’d let him be camp in peace when I’m only here until summer just feels like I’d be draining myself unnecessarily, and would probably achieve nothing. But then I feel like if I don’t waste hours explaining I’m being dishonest somehow, even though cis people don’t (on the whole) have to do this shit.

In better news, I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix, and I recently visited some friends. It was surprisingly emotional. One of them wants me to move in with her when my course is done. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Part of me thinks it’d be beneficial for both of us, but another part thinks I’d be going backwards rather than forwards. But then I think, I know I’m not happy here, and this isn’t somewhere I’d ever love, whereas, there’s people back there that I definitely do love even if it’s a crap place to live. We wouldn’t have to live there forever, just until her current stuff there is done, which would be a year or two. I have a massive amount to think about at the moment, as ever. I think 2016’s been a pretty absurd roller coaster, and I feel like 2017 is going to be something of a defining year in my life.

Happy holidays – may your medications be helpful, and your social life be verdant!

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Filed under confusion, education, failing, friends, grumbling, mental health, transgender

Medication Station

Since my last post, I’ve been put back on anti-depressants. It’s been a long time since I was on them, and when I stopped taking the previous lot, it was against my GP’s advice. I’m really not sure I want to be on them again. Although I was on a different type last time, I’m still very suspicious of the side-effects, plus there’s always that terrible period of bodily adjustment to them, and possible (worsened) insomnia, and these ones even threaten bowel trouble, which sounds like the terrifyingly gross icing on the manky cake. It also means I can’t drink, which at this time of year, when I’m soon to be visiting family and friends (although the reasons for wanting to drink with both of those groups are very different…) is far from ideal. I haven’t taken any of them yet – I’m thinking it might be best to wait until the weekend if they’re going to make me a weepy incontinent for the first few days! It also means I have to go to the pharmacy once a week to get them, in a bid to prevent overdosing. I veer between thinking they’re not a terrible idea (given how my mental health has been lately, and given that next term is going to be even more isolated and difficult to get through than this one, medical intervention is probably necessary if I’m going to get through it) and wanting to bin them all rather than deal with the crap that comes with them, as well as the dependency and hassle of dealing with pharmacies and prescriptions and other endless bullshit.

I’m still having great difficulty seeing a future, and seeing a way forward. I mean, I have qualifications, but my mental health has been so shit for so long that holding a steady job, or doing extra-curriculars has been impossible, and since everyone has qualifications these days, the only thing employers are looking for is experience (and not being ‘visibly queer’, as it were). So when this course is over, I’ll be back to living in a small town where everyone stares at me and nobody will employ me. I feel like something needs to significantly change, but as it stands, I don’t know if these pills are going to give me a much-needed kick up the arse, or a thoroughly unwelcome disruption that makes the shit hit the fan even more (literally AND metaphorically, if the leaflet is to be believed…).

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Filed under health, mental health, overthinking, transgender

The faeces-splattered fan

Content note: mental health, stress, isolation etc.

This has been a god awful few weeks. Really, pretty damn terrible. The sort of stretch where, I don’t know if everything’s shit because of my mental health, or if everything being shit is what’s causing the hugely bollocks mental health. There’s still no word on whether my family member has a terminal disease, but since she called me weirdly early in the morning the other day and sounded like she had been crying, and the fact she hasn’t mentioned any of the tests she had, I’m not feeling altogether positive. Not only that, but I’m really struggling with uni work but they said they can only be helpful if I get a GP letter (but those are expensive, and my money is…very very low, which is another reason everything is terrible). One of the reasons my money is low is because my laptop broke, and according to the guy who looked at it, the hardrive is absolutely dead. Completely dead. He checked his special machine – there is nothing on it that can be salvaged. So, already behind on my work, I’m even further behind, and I have lost so many precious memories and helpful documents that kept life ticking on by. I’ve already missed one assignment, and I can’t even find out what that assignment is because that module is run by someone who gets irritated by questions and has sent me all round the houses trying to find the person who he thinks should be doing his job for him. None of this is helped by the fact that I still don’t have a single friend here. Not one. And due to my brain being a useless sack of crap, I can’t seem to stop crying. I even cried in front of one of my instructors yesterday, because she started asking a million questions and she even asked if being trans was part of my feeling shit, and it was just like, the world is crumbling around me, and even here, where it’s meant to be 2016 and I tried to go neutrally so that I wouldn’t just be “The Trans One Who Transes All The Time”, that’s still all I’m seen as, and probably all I’ll ever be seen as. I feel hugely hopeless at the moment. I’m trying to see a way out, but when I’ve felt this close to the edge so often before, it’s getting harder and harder to convince myself that “it gets better”. When? When does it get better, and how long am I meant to wait? The trouble is, what little mental health support that exists is all about preventing suicide in the immediate moment. I mean, that is hugely important, and I sure all hell back that because it’s vital as hell. But…couldn’t there also be more long-term focused stuff? There’s only so many times you can put all your pills in the bin and lock up any sharp objects and lengths of rope. If there isn’t something beyond the immediate, in-the-moment suicide avoidance, nothing’s going to change, it’s just going to be postponed. Last time I felt like this, the NHS advice line told me to go to A&E, and I did. After an hour of waiting, one conversation with a nurse who inevitably asked about my genitals, and a psychiatrist who gave me a leaflet about wanting to die than told me to phone a number in a week (which I did, and they offered me an appointment in a small town that wasn’t accessible by public transport or one that was happening on a day I couldn’t make, then told me it was one or the other or I’d be removed from the system), I gave up. I mean, yes, I suppose the admin and travel involved kept me from slitting my wrists that particular day, but in the long-term, it just…killed my faith in the NHS, making me infinitely less likely to contact them in crisis times, and therefore, really only making me more likely in future to go through with plans without bothering to reach out first. Which, ironically, would cost them more to treat if a failed attempt was made than if the government stopped scrimping on mental health services in general and also invested in training medical staff that not every psychiatric problem is genital-based.

I realize these problems are hugely insignificant compared to what many people are going through right now, and especially what many trans people elsewhere put up with. But the logical aspect of my brain seems to have rather short-circuited, and so currently I feel like I’m on a tiny wooden raft being battered to shittery by life, the universe and everything. I very much hope your times and brains are healthier than mine right now.

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Filed under bastards, education, failing, family, grumbling, health, loneliness, mental health, Rant, transgender