Another lonely weekend beckons

I managed to go out on my bike today and did the 21 mile round trip to Bottesford, along the Grantham Canal.  I was hoping to find the cat that I made friends with there last time, but after an hour or so waiting near the spot where I found her last time, she was nowhere to be found.

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Cycling back was more strenuous, as I was cycling against a pretty strong wind and it kept blowing my nasty Spanish moss-like hair in my face.  I stopped at one of the benches by the canal on the way back to Grantham and drank my vodka and Lucozade mix and let the time waste away.  I didn’t want to get back to Grantham until after 1:30 pm, when I’d be less likely to encounter kids and teenagers out for lunch.  I still passed a group of them as I cycled through Wyndham Park.  They’re literally everywhere and no time of day or night seems safe.

I’m really dreading this weekend, far more so than I used t dread weekends back in Rochester.  Now that the days are getting long and the clocks have gone forward, it doesn’t get dark until almost 9 pm and that doesn’t give me much of a window of opportunity to risk going out without self-medicating with vodka to numb my anxiety (fear of people, especially kids).

I finally blocked my mum on Whatsapp last night after another bad argument between us.  I give up with her;; all I want to do is move far away again.  She set me off when she seemed to doubt the bad experiences I said I’d had with people in Grantham and the fact that I’ve more chance of winning the lottery than making friends in a place like this.  Her dismissive attitude set me off and I ended up blocking her.  She’s not part of a marginalized minority group, nor is she struggling with loneliness, so she cannot possibly understand what I’m going through.  I do feel guilty for attacking her, but she never changes and I’ll never get the answers that I’ve been seeking since I was a child and wondered why my half brothers benefited from a very different upbringing to the one I endured.

My existence is all about killing (borrowed) time now, waiting for either the shit to hit the fan with Brexit or with me.  My lease is up here at the end of next month and I’m going to be homeless, although not penniless for the time being.  I don’t really know where to go or how I’ll survive, but I have to leave Grantham.

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Cats are better than people

So much for the bike ride I was planning yesterday….I ended up spending the day getting completely drunk in my flat, after a traumatic fight with my mum over text message.  I finally blew a fuse when she asked me why I only respond to her text messages when she talks about the cats.  I sent her this message in response, as it applies to her and to other people who’ve caused me pain:

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It escalated and I lashed out at her in my drunken, angry, depressed state. I told her that I’m leaving Grantham and her response was typical of her, telling me that she hopes she doesn’t get a call from the letting agent asking to remove my belongings from the flat after I leave.  I’m done with her and with everything else.  I can no longer control myself or my drinking.  Not even with all the shit I went through in Rochester did I need to drink like this.

People are just shit and I’m shit too.

 

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Coffee with my uncle and an email from my ex

The Brexit saga goes on and on and on; like me, the United Kingdom is probably on borrowed time right now.  I simply despair.

I saw my uncle earlier today at the Lithuanian coffee shop across the street.  It was an opportunity for me to vent about how unhappy I’ve been in Grantham, especially since Christmas.  I don’t think he’s overly fond of the place either and he told me he’d been kicked out of a writer’s group he was in here for a stupid reason.  We both came to the conclusion that transgender or not, they don’t seem to like outsiders here.  My mum can live here fine, because she’s married and is able to immerse herself in gardening and keeping her allotment.  She’s retired and doesn’t have to ‘fit in’, as she has friends and a husband.  I was also able to talk to him about how badly it’s been affecting me that the half brother I was once close to just stopped talking to me, as if I’m not good enough.  I told my uncle that I’m planning to leave Grantham and he promised to keep it a secret from my mum (his sister).

I received an email from K (my ex-girlfriend from 2016) to say that she needed help de-cluttering and cleaning her house.  She offered to feed me and cover most off the cost of the train tickets to Runcorn, so I agreed to go and spend a few days there on Thursday next week.   I know she probably just wants me there to clean as I’ve done it in the past, but I’m at the point where I’m extremely lonely and will take any opportunity to get out of Grantham and out of my own head.  Besides, I’ll get to see her son again (one of the few kids I’ve been able to get along with) and her cats, one of which is from the same litter as Lily and Madge.  I hope her son doesn’t resent me for leaving when I did almost 3 years ago, but I had to, even though he said he didn’t want me to leave.  This will also give me the opportunity to stop binge drinking, as it’s getting out of control.   Last time I met K in September last year, it didn’t really go to well for me as I ended up with the flu, lost my favorite denim jacket and the whole experience just exacerbated my feelings of loneliness and envy of missing out:

Blog Entry 28-09-18 – Back from a weird 24 hours in Liverpool

I’m planning to go for a very long bike ride tomorrow, probably to the village of Bottesford and back again.  Maybe I’ll be able to see that ginger tabby cat again, if she’s lurking around the same vicinity.

 

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I am a broken mess

TRIGGER WARNING (self-harm, alcoholism)

My head is all over the place.  I’ve been spending my time trying to kill time (and my liver).  I’m going through a bottle of vodka a day now, sometimes more.  I could stop myself, but I don’t want to.  I’ve started cutting again, only to feel something beyond the torment inside my head and chronic back pain from spinal stenosis.

I should stop looking at the news, because Brexit is causing me so much stress and there’s nothing I can do about it anyway.  The UK is now likely to crash out of the European Union without a deal and as with most things in life these days, the bad guys have won.  I don’t even care what happens to me anymore as I’m not going to stay, but Brexit is a disaster and I don’t want to be around in post-Brexit Britain, when things are likely to get really scary.

My mum let me see the cats yesterday while her and her husband went out, so I did.  I know she’s playing a little game to try to get me to cave in and talk to her again, but I’m one step ahead this time and I don’t care anymore.  I don’t hate her or even blame her for the past, but I can’t deal with it.

This is one of the cats, with the many pictures of my mum’s other children and her husband’s children and their fancy weddings on the cabinet behind.  If you went to my mum’s house, you wouldn’t even know that I existed.  My upbringing is the source of a lot of my envy, which has intensified since I returned.

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I’m truly sorry for becoming such an awful person.  I didn’t start out this way.

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“People don’t like that sort of thing in Grantham” (anything non-heteronormtive / cisnormative)

I made the mistake of going out earlier because the weather was nice and I didn’t want to be cooped up in my flat until Monday.  I mixed some vodka and diet coke into a Lucozade bottle and rode one of my bikes to a bench I passed yesterday on the Grantham Canal, about 4 1/2 miles away.  I figured that there wouldn’t be many people there (especially parents and kids) and for the most part, I was right.

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A few people on bikes and people walking passed by as I sat on the bench in the sun, listening to my music and minding my own business.  A couple of people said ‘hello as they passed by, but one of them came back a second time and decided to park hit bike on the other side of the bench and sit next to me.  I was already a little drunk and generally not giving a shit and we started talking.  He said he was from Cambridge originally, but had lived in Grantham for 15 years and moved here because of his wife.  But then he started asking personal questions that even on my buzzed state, were making me uncomfortable.  He asked me if I was a transsexual and if I’d had the full surgery.  I lied and told him I had.  He asked me what brought me to Grantham and I told him I moved here because of my mother and he seemed legitimately baffled by my decision.  I told him I was struggling with loneliness and unable to make friends here and this is how the conversation went:

Guy: “Can I tell you something?”
Me: “Sure, go ahead”
Guy: “You can’t make friends because you’re a transsexual. People don’t like that sort of thing in Grantham”.
Me: “Should I be concerned then? Should I move?”
Guy: “I would if I were you. Try Nottingham instead. There are no gay clubs in Grantham”

I don’t know which of his comments bothered me the most;  the one about there being no gay clubs (I’m a woman, not a gay male) or the comment confirming that people in Grantham are horribly bigoted, validating one of my worst fears about this place.  I started to feel anxious, so I took another couple of swigs of my vodka and diet coke as we continued to talk.  I kept trying to steer the discussion away from my gender identity and my sexuality by talking about nature and how I liked to get away from people, but he kept talking about personal stuff.  He ‘suggested’ that I should find a bisexual man because a bisexual man might find the combination of a female body and a male voice attractive.  Towards the end of the conversation, he tried to hit on me in a way that seemed like he was joking, but he actually wasn’t.  I told him I don’t fool around with married men and that he’s very lucky to have a loving wife that bought him such a nice, expensive bicycle.  He said “I’ll see you around then” (Grantham is a small town and i probably will run into him again) and left, leaving me feeling like a freak rather than a human being and now even more worried about people in Grantham.

Going out for me is difficult enough as it is without strangers approaching me.  The reason I cycled all that distance was to GET AWAY from people and from the noise of people and their children that I hear constantly from my flat, especially now that the weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer.  I thought I’d found a nice little spot to go to, but obviously not. I truly regret moving to Grantham in the first place and now I know that it’s only a matter of time before something really bad happens to me.  I never wanted to live in a small town to begin with and I thought small towns in the UK weren’t  as narrow minded as those in the United States, but I was wrong about that.

I just want to leave, or preferably no longer exist.   I am scared, paranoid, lonely and tired of painful memories being brought back to life because of living in the same small town as my mother.

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Unsolicited advice (when there is no help or when treatment hasn’t worked)

All too often, I’ve seen people dish out unsolicited advice to those suffering from mental health problems and loneliness, usually along the lines of “Seek professional help” or “Call the suicide hotline number” or “Check yourself into hospital”.  While this may be appropriate advice to give to someone who is in legitimate danger or is new to the game in terms of seeking treatment, most of us just want someone to listen and not abandon us, rather than give us ‘solutions’, many of which we’ve either tried or are unavailable to us due to where we live or due to insufficient income to be able to afford proper treatment.

As for loneliness and social isolation, I’m disappointed that the general consensus of many is that we should accept it and learn to love ourselves instead.  This might work for some people, but human beings are a social species and loneliness and social isolation are very bad for most people, as multiple studies have proven beyond shadow of a doubt.  The people who’ve given me unsolicited advice on the subject have generally been people who weren’t lonely at all and had never dealt with prolonged social isolation or marginalization from society.

People who’ve never experienced severe mental illness or have only experienced milder forms of mental illness fail to understand than for many of us, there simply isn’t any help , or the help we received failed to sufficiently lessen our symptoms.  And many people who have recovered sufficiently enough from mental illness to lead productive and fulfilling lives usually didn’t do so alone, as they hsd love and support or something or someone to live for, such as children or a partner or simply passion for life that their illness hadn’t robbed them of.

Therefore, I am about to list some of the most common forms of unsolicited advice that I’ve received, along with my response to each of them:, so that I can refer to this blog entry whenever I’m given unsolicited advice;

  1. You need to talk to a therapist”.  I’ve been in one form of therapy or another since I was 13 years old (just over 20 years, if you must know).  I’ve seen multiple therapists,  psychologists and school counselors in my time and in all that time, little healing took place, although my last therapist was at least able to help me understand how trauma has affected my brain.  And as of now, here in Lincolnshire, England, I cannot even get a referral and I’ve been told that even if I did, the wait time on the NHS would be months or even over a year.  As with many people who are mentally ill, I cannot afford to pay for a private therapist.
  2. “You just need to find the right medication”.  I’ve been on one form of antidepressants or another since 2001 and none of them have helped, in fact some made matters worse and the withdrawal symptoms of some of them was worse than cocaine withdrawal.  I’ve been on SSRIs, benzos (which at least helped with my anxiety) and even antipsychotics,
  3. “Go volunteer somewhere”.  I love it (sarcasm) when people advise those of us struggling with loneliness and mental health problems to volunteer, as if it’s that easy.  I have severe social anxiety and I struggle to do basic things involving being around others, such as going to the grocery store or riding a bus,  If I can’t work (which I can’t) then I can’t volunteer either, for the same reasons.  I did look into volunteering opportunities near me, but pretty much all of them required social skills that I do not have.
  4. “The more you try something, the easier it will get”.  Exposure actually doesn’t work for me in many aspects of life, especially when it involves being around people.  For example, I am afraid of riding buses, but even if I were to ride 10 buses a day, it wouldn’t make me any less terrified and self-conscious.  I’m afraid of children and teenagers and if I’m living in a place where there are a lot of families, my fear gets much worse, as opposed to if I lived in an area that was mostly single people and childless couples, where I might see the odd child or teenager here and there.  Many times, what happens with me is that regular exposure to something I’m afraid of just results in more trauma.
  5. “Stop comparing yourself to others (we all have problems)”.  Believe it or not, I don’t consciously compare myself to other people, it’s just that by being around others, my mind torments me with it and I have little control over such thoughts, except to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.  I feel like I am constantly reminded of what I’m missing out on and what I’ll never have whenever I go out or whenever I watch television or even a fictional show or film.  I also know that everyone has problems from time to time, but most people have a life that’s worth enduring and overcoming those problems for, rather than the piece of shit existence that I have.  Besides, knowing that other people might be suffering doesn’t make me feel better about my own suffering.
  6. “Try going to a support group”.  Firstly, there are no support groups where I live and the nearest one us in Nottingham, which is too far for me to go to on a regular basis, especially as many of their meetups are in he evenings, which clash with train times.  Secondly (and most importantly), I never do well in group settings.  I will either sit there like a rock and feel awful about myself, or I’ll blurt something out that might be inappropriate or embarrassing and I have a tendency to interrupt people without knowing it at the time.  The last group I went to (the anxiety group in Nottingham) was a total disaster and I didn’t feel welcome at all.  I decided not to go back when I posted something on the group Meetup.com page about how I was feeling, but all I got was (funnily enough) a bunch of unsolicited advice.
  7. Churches are great places to meet people in the community”.  Churches are not great places to meet people when you’re single, childless and transgender and not even religious..  If I were to walk into a church congregation in this town, I’d be about as welcome as a fly buzzing around a picnic.
  8. “You just need to learn to love yourself”.  Listen, I don’t love myself and never will.  Try being born in an ugly body that doesn’t match your gender identity and having people tell you from an early age that you’re ugly, ‘not one of us’,, stupid and a spastic.  Even if were comfortable in my own skin despite all of those things, I could never love myself.
  9. “Stop being so negative; think positive!”.  Believe it or not, I’m not a negative person; I have depression.  I don’t complain, I don’t broadcast my sadness outside of the internet and I can appreciate history and the beauty of nature.  I am neither a negative or a positive person and I don’t believe in that ‘glass half empty / half full’ nonsense, but I do not believe that positive thinking would make any difference to my shitty existence or shitty circumstances..  Please don’t tell me to “think positive” because my brain doesn’t work that way, sorry.
  10. “Check yourself into the emergency department of a hospital”.  No thanks!  The last time someone landed me in the psychiatric emergency department of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital, it was one of the most terrifying and pointless experiences of my life.  I was left on a couch / bench in a hallway and unable to leave for 8 hours before being discharged after I managed to convince the on duty psychiatrist that I was not a danger to myself.  It was a terrifying place and patients were treated as criminals.  I still can’t get the screams of that place out of my head when I sometimes experience flashbacks.  If I were to do the same here in the UK, I would wait for hours just to be discharged or treated like dirt, because the NHS simply doesn’t have the resources thanks to the Tory government not giving it sufficient funding.
  11. “Call the suicide hotline”.  I can’t make phone calls, sorry.  This is partly due to hatred of my male-sounding voice, but also because I find phone conversations extremely difficult, especially if the person on the other end of the phone is a stranger who doesn’t know me at all.
  12. “Pain is temporary, you’ll get through this”.  No, in my case my pain certainly isn’t ‘temporary’ in nature and my desire to end my life never goes away, even on not-so–bad days.  People who make such statements are either people who’ve never experienced treatment-resistant mental health problems or chronic loneliness and social isolation that will literally make you go crazy, even if you’re not already.   I would only say these things to someone who’d lost a relative, because people usually heal after the grieving phase is over.   And many people DO experience positive results from various forms of treatment, but I am not one of those people.

So there you have it; the unsolicited advice that people have given me over the years, which I’ve either tried and failed at or which wouldn’t work in my situation.  I will probably add to the list as I’m sure more examples of unsolicited advice will come to me after I hit ‘publish’.  I don’t need unsolicited advice; I need people who understand me and will stand by me and bear with me.  I need to be able to fit in somewhere in this society.  I need surgery to ix my deformities, which are far more than just ‘cosmetic’..  I need to live in a place where I feel safe and completely unwelcome.  I need love and support, just like anyone else does.

 

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