For close to 2 years, morning after morning, I dragged myself to a job I hated. A job where I didn't like what I did, where I didn't like the people I was around and where I felt like I had to stay in the closet in order to protect the safety of my job. A job for a small company whose business, online auctions, was extremely volatile to changing market conditions... And as such a job at which everyone constantly felt scared, and everything was always high-pressure and there was constantly lots of backstabbing and company politics. A job at which taking a sick day, even an unpaid sick day, left you with a number of people angry at you when you got back.
For over 2 years, I was in a relationship that I constantly felt very insecure about. My ex girlfriend, whom I'm still having trouble letting go of emotionally, grew up in a house where people handled emotional conflicts by disconnecting themselves and waiting for the conflict to pass. I grew up in a house where people handled emotional conflicts by yelling at each other. Yelling a lot.
So every time we had any sort of fight, I'd raise my voice a bit and my girlfriend would immediately cut herself off from me and talk to whichever one of her friends happened to be online instead... About how much of a temper problem I had.
With the result that I constantly felt like pretty much all her friends disapproved of me. With the result that I constantly felt like I had to spend energy on trying to prove to her friends that I wasn't a completely awful person. That I loved my girlfriend. That most of what I did for her was loving and supportive. That I wasn't someone they needed to worry about protecting her from. And also with the result that I always felt anxious when she spent time around her friends without me. I felt anxious that they'd be trying to convince her that I was a bad choice and that she should leave me... And that she wouldn't really come to my defense.
For about 3 years, I've been in the process of trying to get a sex change. This is a process that's demanding on a number of levels. It meant taking pills on a daily basis to reduce testosterone levels. That's one prescription that needed to be maintained and refilled. As a side effect of these pills, I needed to pee much more often... Which meant having to spend an awful lot of time in bathrooms that did not match my internal sense of gender, feeling awkward. It meant having an injection of estrogen once a week. Which was two prescriptions that needed to be maintained and refilled (for needles and syringes), a Sharps container which needed to be maintained and periodically replaced (for disposing of used needles), and a vial that I needed to purchase from my doctor's office about once every 4 months. Purchasing the vials was always problematic. First, I was apparently being charged more than 3 times the normally accepted amount for them. Secondly, my doctor's office did not have any standard procedure for reordering medications that were being purchased directly from them... So I frequently got transferred back and forth between various people who didn't really know what they were doing. Thirdly, my doctor's office insisted on maintaining my patient records under the name on my insurance card... Which meant that I had to choose between identifying myself by my male name and trying to explain to each person I got transferred to why I'm trying to purchase a vial of estrogen, or identifying by my female name and having every single person I got transferred to have trouble finding my patient records. And lastly, once I had my job I got to experience the joy of dealing with having a UPS signature-required shipment (of a vial of estrogen) mailed to me at my female name redirected to my workplace, at which I was not out, and get signed for by the receptionist.
Last but not least, there were the doctor's appointments themselves. Which were supposed to be simple. Every 6 months, I was supposed to have a few blood tests done and then I was supposed to make an appointment to review them with my doctor. There was a little bit of awkwardness surrounding the fact that my doctor's office insisted on maintaining my patient file under the name on my insurance card, which meant the day before the appointment I'd always get a phone call reminding me of the appointment during which I was addressed by my male name... Which always made me nervous that they might do so when I was actually there, in front of other patients, too. But that was supposed to be it.
It wasn't, though. Almost every single time I was there, my doctor found some reason to order more tests. I'd have to go back to the blood lab and give more blood, or a urine sample. I think on one occasion I was actually asked to poo in a box. It was never explained to me how any of these additional tests related to my hormone therapy. I was never told which of these additional procedures were required if I wanted to stay on my hormones. I was just told to go and do them, and then to make more appointments during which I could feel awkward about the name confusion.
Which became even more of a problem once I had my job, when these additional appointments meant missing more work time. More work time at the job high-pressure job where taking an unpaid sick day meant a bunch of people were going to be angry at you when you got back.
And to add to this... The insurance plan I initially had didn't cover my doctor's appointments. So at some point my girlfriend sat down and looked up what insurance plan I should get in order to get the best coverage with my doctor for me. It was a plan with Aetna. We gave this information to my father... Who transferred me to Aetna. But not to the plan my girlfriend had found. Instead, to a different plan that had "guaranteed coverage." My father basically picked out my insurance plan on the basis of the fact that they would be unlikely to deny me coverage in the future if I were to undergo a second psychiatric hospitalization due to a second attempt to kill myself. Unfortunately, this new plan actually had considerably higher co-payments for prescriptions (which I now had four of... One for my testosterone reducing pills, one for my syringes, one for my needles and one for a drug whose purpose my doctor never properly explained to me, and that I was never told if I was required to stay on or not in order to continue my hormones.) And, even worse... This new insurance plan usually level me with a co-payment of several hundred dollars every single time I had to have blood tests, whereas my previous insurance plan usually left me with a co-payment of only a few dollars every time.
And, as I said previously, my doctor had a way of ordering additional tests more or less as if they were free.
And here's the really funny part. The first time I was supposed to have an appointment with my doctor after having switched to this new Aetna insurance plan... It turned out my doctor had been fired from her previous medical group and had taken a job with a new medical group... And that this new medical group would have accepted my initial insurance plan with no problem whatsoever.
So the whole switch... Which involved a heck of a lot of arguing with my father... And which raised my co-payments on my prescriptions and dramatically raised my co-payments on my lab tests... Actually had absolutely no positive effects.
And on top of this, there was the fact that when my girlfriend and I first became a couple, she was too much of a wuss to tell her parents why she was out of the house so much... So what ended up happening was that her sister, who only found out she was bisexual because she'd listed her sexual orientation on her myspace profile, ended up asking her for permission to calm their mother down by telling her what was going on... And as such the first time my girlfriend's mother heard about me was from my girlfriend's sister, who I'm fairly sure told her something like "your daughter is bisexual, and she's dating a transsexual and spending all her time with him."
Which meant I then had to spend 2 years or so feeling immensely anxious about what my girlfriend's mother thought of me, and what unearthly preconceptions and prejudices could possibly be running through the mind of a middle-aged, fairly seriously Christian woman about what transsexuals are like and the multitude of ways in which I'm damning her daughter to the fiery depths of Hell... And about all the possible ways in which this woman could be expressing her disapproval of me and just how effective they would be...
And of course during this entire time I had to deal with my own parents, too... Who were, and still are, in the midst of a very angry divorce that's about to enter its fourth year... And who as such had pretty much no patience or willingness to be sensitive to anything I was going through. Heck, for most of that time, my mother's been assuming that I'm my father's "best friend," that I'm spying on her for him and that I'm actively helping him in his effort to push her completely out of his life and leave her with as little money as possible... And my father's largely been telling me that I shouldn't expect any serious help from him on anything until "After the divorce is over."
After a great deal of exhausting explaining and arguing and cajoling, I got my father to actually call me "Kate." Though he still uses masculine pronouns to refer to me almost 100% of the time... And usually refers to me as his "child" rather than his "daughter." My mother, despite a similarly exhausting expenditure of energy, still calls me by my male name 100% of the time... Still asks me to do more than my fair share of any heavy lifting... (despite the fact that, after 2 years of hormones, my muscles are probably in about the same shape as hers...) Still asks me to help her with car trouble that I'm utterly clueless about... Still calls me by my male name and uses 100% of the time... Still claims she has no clue what I'm talking about when I tell her she's hurting my feelings by doing so, even though I've talked to her about it endlessly... And tries to act innocent about it... And goes right on hurting my feelings.
And somewhere along the lines, the few friends I had before I started dating my girlfriend all started dropping out, or moving away. Many of them complained that between my job, and my girlfriend, and my transition drama, and my parental drama... It felt to them like I was never available to them anymore. Like I wasn't really much of a friend. Like I only called them when I wanted them to listen to my drama, and was never available to reciprocate. They were probably right. Some of them just complained that I was depressing or overly emotional or a drama queen, and not fun to be around. They were probably right too. But regardless... I lost a bunch of friends... And I wasn't winning over very many of my girlfriend's friends, who largely thought of me as a crazy person with a temper problem.
Sometime around the beginning of this year, I finally ran out of energy.
It was probably Christmas that wore me out. This was the first time in my entire life that I ever really got to participate in Christmas. I had one person on my Christmas list -- my girlfriend. And I really tried my best to get her good gifts, and to keep them a surprise. My girlfriend had something like 20 different people on her list. She has a very big and complicated extended family. I tried my best to participate as much as I could in her shopping effort, and to pay for an even share of the gifts, and help with the wrapping.
It seemed like a never-ending effort. Long trips to crowded malls with no available parking, packages constantly arriving at our apartment... Unpacking, repacking, wrapping... I did most of the cleaning up, and most of the removal of the trash to the apartment complex's dumpsters. I was also the one who ended up packing everything into large cardboard boxes a few days before Christmas, tracking down a post office that opened before we had to be at work and organizing shipments to three of four different destinations at which the aforementioned complex extended family would be gathering.
We had a Christmas tree at our apartment. It stayed there until early February, I'm fairly sure, because our apartment complex had no clear policies as to the proper way to dispose of Christmas trees. We had it in our dining room, and had pushed our small dining table aside in order to fit it in. Which meant that for 2 months or so, whenever my boss called me at home with some sort of emergency problem with the company website, I had to address it either from my girlfriend's computer or while sitting on our bed with my laptop. We finally got rid of the tree by driving it to a neighbor's city's dump, and then for a month or so our card's innards were filled with dried pine needles that had fallen off of it.
And then in mid-January was my birthday... The highlight of which was a Planned Parenthood appointment... But my birthdays are kindda cursed -- they always turn out shitty.
And then in early February was her birthday... Which we went to Disneyland for... And which I actually managed to challenge myself to go on several roller-coasters during, just to please her... And was very proud of myself for the accomplishment... And I was also very proud of myself because I got her some genuinely sweet gifts. It was her 21st birthday, and I got her three beer mugs custom printed with three different bits of her own artwork. (She's an amazingly talented artist.) But it didn't last very long, my feeling good about myself... Because that very same evening we went to dinner with her parents and she got something like 10-15 different ridiculously expensive gifts from them. We came home with me feeling like I might as well just toss my gifts in the trash. And with her drunk off her ass and pretty much immediately ready to fall asleep.
And after that I pretty much gave up.
I was scheduled to have my next blood test and doctor's appointment later that month. I didn't bother. I didn't get my blood tests done, I didn't make an appointment. I stopped taking my hormones. I initially figured I'd start on them again once things had calmed down. It's been more than four months since then. Right now it looks like it won't ever happen.
A month after that, my girlfriend was complaining about how much she hated her job and I just didn't have the energy to listen to it anymore. So I told her to go ahead and quit. I told her if she was okay with scrimping and saving, we should be able to live on just my salary, and that I was okay with supporting her if she thought it would make her happier. So she quit.
And almost immediately my boss started badmouthing her.
And a week later I basically got fired while standing up for her.
My girlfriend and I came up with the idea of moving in with a friend of hers who had a two-bedroom apartment and needed someone to take the second bedroom, so we could lower our rent expenditure and have more time to relax and regain our energies before we needed to get new jobs. I got fired on March 19th. We had to give 30 days' notice on our apartment before vacating. So our move took place at the end of April.
She dumped me in the middle of the move, essentially leaving me not only alone but also homeless. If she'd dumped me a week or two earlier, I could have kept our previous apartment. As it was, being unemployed makes it considerably more difficult to find a new apartment. And she almost immediately started fucking someone else. Someone who had been crafty enough to have actually had me thinking of them as a friend. And almost immediately made a point of bragging about it to me, too.
Now it looks like I'm going to be forced to move in with my mother this weekend. My mother, who'll call me by my male name and use male pronouns for me consistently, and who'll act all innocent when I tell her she's hurting my feelings. My mother, who'll offer me no end of opportunities to work on her car and do heavy lifting for her in order to "help me improve my self image" and give me a sense of accomplishment... My mother who, when I break out crying, will "comfort" me by calling me by my male name over and over again, and will look very very concerned as my crying gets more and more intense... And who will eventually offer me anxiety drugs and alcohol to calm me back down.
Kate might as well be dead.
I don't exist anymore.
I guess I really gave up back in February. That's when I stopped dealing with all the nightmares that have been exhausting me for 2-3 years. And ever since then it's been like I've just sat back and watched every single aspect of my life shut down. Every single aspect of my life get fucked up. Lost the hormones, lost the job, lost the nice apartment, lost the girlfriend... And now it looks like I'm going to just go back to living as a guy and being agoraphobic... Which is what I'm generally like without my hormones.
I'd love comments from people who would care to suggest ways for me to cope with everything that's going wrong.
I'd love comments from anyone who has a couch that I could possibly crash on for a while instead of moving in with my mother, at least until I get back enough energy to pull myself out of this depression. If anyone can offer me this, I can definitely pay for my own food and can very likely pay some minimal amount of rent, as well.
I'd prefer not to get comments from people who just want to tell me I'm weak and pathetic and Emo and should shut the heck up. I already largely feel that way, thank you.