I’m still alive. Apparently.
OK, so I’ve been off in my own little world for some time now, which isn’t unusual, especially around this time of year (when my brain unfailingly decides to mutiny). I’ve been rethinking lots of things for lots of reasons, mainly the Big Important Futurey Things, and have unsurprisingly self-inflicted a lot of anxiety.
I’m still in something of a panic about restarting university, and whether or not my brain is up to the challenge is yet to be determined. But I’m finally being more proactive – which isn’t easy with the whole lethargic indifference that typically accompanies my August And Apparently Also September Brain – and trying to make things better rather than wallowing. The plan is to go into Halls to avoid the exhaustion of commuting 3 hours a day, hopefully be successful in the whole responsible independence thing (even when surrounded by non-adult-brained students), handle the workload of a UCL chemistry student (be thankful if you don’t know quite what that means) and simultaneously make clear progress with the ol’ social phobia. Oh, and deal with the trans stuff successfully as well.
I received an email a month (ish) ago, warning me of the imminent opening of the re-enrolment service. After hearing nothing from them for a fair while, I checked up on it all, to find that it had indeed opened, and they’d failed to mention it (which they said they would)… and then I enrolled. Fairly simple logic there, yes? You know… The enrolment service opens, and you have to enrol to continue your course for the next year, so you enrol. The steps kind of follow on well, right?
Yep. Well, it made sense to me too. Until I received a letter, several weeks after the original enrolment email, from the Chemistry Department. And it instructed us not to enrol until after term had started, because we were expected to discuss our options with the staff and assumedly have it approved before we could actually get on with things. But it had apparently not occurred to them to, you know, mention that fact before the generic enrolment emails had been going round. So now, I have to try and find a way to un-enrol and then re-enrol later. And so far, I’ve been failing miserably. Clearly much more logical than the enrolment-service-opens-so-you-enrol progression above. Clearly.
And I’ve emailed my Personal Tutor to keep him updated and to set up some kind of let’s-calm-the-ol’-nerves-type meeting where we essentially discuss how to keep me from losing my marbles any more than I already have. He was on holiday, and now he’s back, I’m still waiting for a reply.
So, I guess all I can say about uni is watch this space. Followed by an internal sigh.
OK, I suppose the most logical follow-on point is about my mental health in general… or indeed, my lack thereof. I’ve already mentioned the whole Brain Mutiny thing, but because I’m strange and probably repressed in some way, I’m not all that good with clinical words so I never explain it very well. So now I’m going to try and do better. Usually, around this time of year, I have a major depressive episode; it’s usually caused – at least in part – by having too much time on my hands, leading to introspection and inevitably overanalysing in every possible way, coupled with a lack of human contact (which is only partly my fault; I can hardly blame social phobia for the fact that no one wants to see me).
And this year’s one was right on time. Except this time, there was no wavering, fluctuatey period at the beginning before The Crash (the August ones often have bouncy, let’s-decorate-the-house-with-tuna-and-shampoo-type starts to them); it just led in quietly. So quietly, in fact, that I didn’t notice any warning signs until it was too late and I was floundering.
I’ve had largely no help from those around me, not that there’s much that could be done anyway. My parents don’t know what to do, and are so used to my low moods now that they are noticeably freaked out when a good mood comes along. In fact, by their reckoning, during Good Moods I’m too loud, do things too quickly, “hyperactive” and generally an exaggerated version of what they’re used to. But it seems rather unfair to judge someone to be “hyperactive” when all they do otherwise is sit around, typing or staring at a screen somewhere. Moving on.
So I’ve been doing a lot of reading. Nothing heavy, just escapist alternative-universey fiction. I don’t have the brain- or willpower to do Deep Analyses right now, so I keep myself distracted from even Deeply Analysing myself. It’s working better than I’d expected, so I’m trying to keep it up.
The only problem so far: I was enjoying a series, recommended by my mum and borrowed from the local library. All was well. I got through the first three books in the right order (although my mum originally got hooked on Book Three without realising that it was a sequel, then read B1 and B2 in order). The fourth one was nowhere to be found, and is due to reappear in the library after I’ve gone into Halls. Which kind of defeats the object. And there are two more books to be read after that one and one just published, but I refuse to read it in a weird order; my mum, however, does not. She’s now read them like this: 3, 1, 2, 5, 6. And I’m considering buying the book I need just so that I can keep my sanity levels within a tolerable range.
But at least I’ve found something to help. That’s progress, right?
Next up… transition. I’m now on T, and have been for two months (and two days).
- My voice has deepened, although it’s far from broken yet (it still squeaks when I least expect it).
- I’m hungry all the time.
- I’ve not gained as much weight as I’d expected to, but my muscles are less smooth and more, erm, liney is how I usually describe it, although I think “defined” makes more sense outside of my brain.
- I’ve yet to notice much in the way of body hair, but I’ve been told I should be expecting it around now.
- My chin is getting fuzzier – this is a reported change, and not one that I’d noticed. Facial hair is apparently the last change to arrive, so I’m not getting my hopes up, but after it had been pointed out, I noticed it: just a higher density of peach fuzz on my chin, and some darker hairs above my upper lip. It was rather comforting, even if deluded, so I’m counting it.
- I’ve stopped menstruating. I’ve been period-free for seven weeks now, and apparently that was to be expected, so all is well (and extra hassle-free).
The pain from the injections was the same for the first two injections; three days of not being able to straighten my leg or walk without making lots of strange faces and jumping around. Third time around, the pain didn’t extend to my knee at all, and remained localised in my thigh, so walking was much easier, and I barely notice it now.
I can also now self-inject without supervision. I was shown how to do it the first time, then instructed and supervised while I did it myself (although I could have put it off if I was still apprehensive; luckily I wasn’t, because one of the few things I’m not phobic about is needles) the second time, and then I was left to get on with it the third time, but I was still with the nurse so I could have asked if I needed help. Just one more paid visit to go (plus blood tests, peak and trough testosterone and liver and things), and then I’m set for life. Mwah ha ha.
Unless I change to nebido, that is. But I don’t understand how most of it works, so I’ll try and take it as it comes. There’s also the possibility of switching to gel if the supply of sustanon and enanthate is still going funny by the time I’ve finished my five month supply. It was hell on earth trying to get hold of any at all, and pure luck that we managed to fill the prescription. So I’m crossing my fingers now because I’d really rather not go on gel, because of sensory issues mainly.
And that’s about it on the transition front. I’ve typed more details and things as they came up, along with voice updates, on my transition-related Tumblr, which can be found here if anyone’s interested.
Finally, social things. None to speak of. I recently went to the cinema with my oldest friend (from before school), her sister (and also my friend) and our respective families; we saw Brave and made plans to watch a few others as they came out, although nothing’s come of that yet.
Other than that, I’ve not done anything social since April. Which is no great surprise, really. There’s only so much hope one can have for making progress with social anxiety when one has little reason to socialise, other than the self-motivation-y ones. And self-motivation’s been somewhat lacking, for the exact same reason: feeling like even tolerable company can be hard when there’s no supporting evidence. But there’ve been Bigger Thoughts on this whole “being tolerated” thing, and I’m working on my responses to it, hopefully for the better.
I’ve not done much editing of this, because I’ve put off posting for long enough. I apologise if I’m not coherent, but I wanted to do something other than panic, so type is what I did.
More to come. Thanks for reading, and for not giving up. I’m still alive.