Getting Somewhere… Sort Of

WARNING: BIG-ASS RANT COMING UP.  TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND RUN AWAY.

OK, so some kind of progress has been made re: blood test.  The phone call has been made (not by me), and of course, everything’s much more complicated than it should be.  The five-page report sent by Dr Lorimer at Gender Care to my GP over a month ago is apparently “not amongst my notes”.  So, requesting a blood test with that in mind turned out to be less-than-simple (although I was reassured that it would be), because they don’t know whether this particular kind of blood test is a Fasting One or not.

The somewhat-reluctant (to be at all helpful, that is) phone-answery-person apparently said that the “easiest” way forward was to have someone call me and give me the details.  Which is problematic for several reasons.

Firstly, and most importantly BECAUSE THEY KNOW THIS ALREADY, I don’t answer the phone.  When referred to Adult Mental Health Services for my social anxiety, I received countless messages from someone there who repeatedly insisted that I “call her back”.  Which was clever.  And naturally, it worked really well; I ended up neither calling back nor making an appearance for an already-scheduled appointment.

Secondly, they’re likely to be calling at a point when there will be a notable absence of anyone who does answer the phone.  Of course, I’ve already had the usual reactions from people who should know better… but who can’t seem to resist making their points anyway: “it’s not difficult, you know, all you have to do is: lift the receiver, press a button, and say “hello?”… you know… without vomiting.”  Yes, well, thank you for that.  (These are people who have witnessed my weirdness first hand, repeatedly, for at least 8 years now, and so have little excuse to try and trivialise it, please note… but I won’t get started on that one.)

Thirdly, there’s The Inevitable Voice thing again.  Shudder.  That is all.

Fourthly (and lastly, you’ll be pleased to hear read), this could all have been avoided if they’d used just a little common sense.  Any doctor could have answered such a simple question, if given the chance.  And if they’d filed everything in the right bleeping place the first time round, they wouldn’t have needed to ask anyway.

So it’s not the situation itself that’s getting on my nerves as much as the knowledge that it’s unnecessary.  And while I’m sure there are rules that make things harder, and blah blah blah, I still don’t see why it’s so bleeping difficult to acknowledge that someone who doesn’t answer phones might need an alternative option when others’ incompetence causes a problem.

I.  Am.  Calm.

Not-So-Quick Fix?
Admittedly, my social anxiety has a way of “fixing” itelf, little by little; in that I may be pedantic and irritating, but I find ways round things like no one else alive… in other words, I may not do exactly what I’m supposed to, but I’ll do something similar-but-less-painful-for-me-although-possibly-creating-more-work-for-you, but to a much higher standard.  So there.

When the time comes that avoiding (or finding ways around) Something Specific is causing more of a problem than actually doing it, then that’s the point when I’ll start doing it.  Logical, is it not?

Example: my self harm started to sort of go away by itself when consciously trying to avoid hospital became near-impossible, and infections were causing more disruption than the things that caused them.  OK, so the gender issues being dealt with was also a help, but social anxiety came in quite handy here.

And it works for social anxiety too, so I’ve observed.

And I’ve been getting more and more of that recently.  I had the misfortune of being selected for a (necessary) survey not that long ago; the call came just as I was about to eat, as they always do.  I was rendered almost catatonic, and the few limbs with sensation left were intensely painful, with what I can only assume was something akin to psychosomatic screaming.  Not just that, but the person on the other end had no idea What I Was Like, and had only my age along with my (incorrect-but-legal) name and gender to go on.  Which didn’t help.

People who know they’re talking to a teenager on the phone seem to have this reflexive intolerance which they wouldn’t usually display.  They snap and sulk, almost mirroring the behaviour they expect from you, and are rude without reason.  Which really isn’t appreciated when you’re Like Me (which, in this case, means “social phobic” and “a teenager only in body-years, not in brain-years”, if that makes sense).  Even discounting that, the survery itself was for the Police, and all the questions seemed to start with “when out and about in your neighbourhood…”, which kind of nullified any answer I could otherwise have given.

By the time the call was over, I was not only dead inside (not to put it melodramatically at all), but my food was cold, and my mind was churning.  And not just with the perceived social errors I’d inevitably made along the way.  It reminded me that even though I avoid phones like the plague at least partly not to have to deal with such things, I’m still on the electoral register, and even if I don’t answer the phone, they can still find me.  Which, I realise now, sounds probably more paranoid than I mean it to… but they’re still coming for me.  Help.

And after a mass of panicked thinking, as usual, the conversation in my head started to change…

Please note: normally, both voices below feed each other, creating a Panic Spiral, as I like to call it.  Because it’s panicky, and I like the word “spiral”.  So there.

So, they’re likely to phone on Monday and I’ll have no choice but to answer. But what if it’s not them and it’s someone cold-caller-like who I have to be rude to and slam the phone down on?  What if it’s someone who’s voice I don’t recognise when I SHOULD recognise it and they get insulted?  What if I get misgendered?  Calm down.  No, YOU calm down, stupid fucking subconscious goody-goody twatface.  I haven’t answered a communal phone since I was 12, so I’m allowed to react HOWEVER I FUCKING WANT TO.  Well, think about it; how many people your age (not friends of course, just the twats who don’t like you) have you heard on the phone, with no self-consciousness whatsoever, and yet are completely useless at it?  No matter how many times they are asked “who’s calling please?” do they realise that it might be a good idea to announce themselves in the first place?  Wannabe adults who talk like five-year-olds on the phone, even when asking for work experience in high-powered places?  Why should we be especially bothered, when they don’t even notice… you know… how fucking STUPID they sound?  Well, because… erm… it’s not THEM in our heads, it’s US… and with our stupid memory, the stupid words will never go away.  And… erm… because… you know… panic is just WHAT WE DO.  Obviously.  Yes, well, it seems like it’s what YOU’RE doing, but I’M not, so logically, it’s NOT what WE do.  In fact, all it is that WE do is TALK USING LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS.  Erm, OK then, so that’s all well and good, but… wait for it… I’M STILL PANICKED.  What do I FUCKING DO ABOUT THAT THEN?  Well, ANSWERING THE FUCKING TELEPHONE would be a start.  You want to get on T, don’t you?   Yeeees…  Oh good, FINALLY we fucking well agree about something; so do I.  Aaaand…?  See, it’s INCENTIVE, moron.  Erm, OK.  Geddit now?  Oh, just shut the fuck up for once in your know-it-all life, will you?  Jeeeezus. [Crackly silence]

And… end scene.

So we’ll see how it goes.

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About JC

I'm a no-longer-nameless trans asexual autistic, chemistry undergraduate at a London university, pronoun enthusiast, amateur photographer and budding proofreader. Son of Optimus. Join me and be amazed. Or just join me. The sense of awe and wonder is optional.
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3 Responses to Getting Somewhere… Sort Of

  1. Eli says:

    J.C. I don’t know how you feel but I do know what overwhelming social anxiety feels like: like a shit stone in your stomach that is going to definitely murder you in front of strangers. It sucks, and you have my sincerest condolences.

    Your description of this dread is so spot-on it makes me laugh out loud…at myself.

    I think I have sent you over to this comic before, but just in case I haven’t, it’s important for you to see it: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2011/10/adventures-in-depression.html

    You are going to get your T. You are going to make this life work for you, because you already are. And know I’m here for ya, kid, even if only in your computer. 😉

    -Eli

    • J.C. Prime says:

      That’s it. Exactly it. A shit stone – love the wording 🙂
      It does suck… but I’m getting there. I think.

      Ah, yes, you did link to it before (and I’m glad you did, both now and then).

      I am. I will. And I do indeed know you’re there for me (right back at you too!); rest assured I’m always grateful for it. Computer friends can be the best kind, as far as I’m concerned – similarities in life experience or interests being the reason for friendships to develop… as opposed to proximity-type things: “I’m in this place every day, and so are these people, so let’s just, you know, exist nearby and make eye contact sometimes…”, as are inevitable at school. Or am I just being too much of a pessimist…?

      Nevertheless, I always appreciate the brilliance of cyberfriends 🙂
      -JC

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