Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Things which make me want to kill myself and what I am trying to do about them

My current apartment:
Beyond being overly expensive for the state it is in [1], the noise and other discomforts keep messing with my psychological disorders. I do not see how I can go keep on living in this place for even just another year. It's time for me to move. This is why I have begun to ask around for suitable alternatives [2]. Frustratingly enough I seem to be fully dependent on others for this.

I crave so much for a quiet place to live. A place where I can relax for the first time in probably two decades, with just the silence to soak in. No fear of sudden sounds.

Maybe someone will help me out here. I really hope so.

Being a medical experiment:
About a week ago I quit the hormone therapy the endocrinologist had put me on again, despite it being an overdose. After suffering the renewed effects of said overdose for a month, including headaches, extreme mood swings, extreme numbness in my right leg, nausea and other fun, I called it quits.

I am not sure in how far I am interested at this point in dealing with being the subject of such pointless experiments. Maybe if they can conclusively prove that I need it to keep healthy bones I'd be convinced. Before that I am however done and through with it. I have been used as a soul-less guinea pig by doctors and psychologists for over a decade. At some point I have to put down my foot and reclaim my human rights.

However, I am not looking forward to the confrontation this may cause with the endocrinologist. If I ever hear from her again, that is. No, I still feel that I cannot trust physicians. How could I?

Surgery, or not:
Will I undergo reconstructive surgery this year or not? It's still the same waiting game, with no feedback or even a hint of what may come. At this point I have simply resorted to acknowledging that all it will likely affect will be my sexuality, which is something which is so useless that one may as well fully ignore it.

Come what may, ultimately such a surgery - or for that matter sexuality in general - should not play a role in my life at all. My experiences have taught me that to hold hope in one's heart is foolish. Better to stab it until it dies, then discard of such useless distractions lest it keeps one from salvaging one's life from disaster. Sexuality isn't a part of being human. Even if it might be nice to have.

Thus, I wait. And wait more.


I really, really hate having post-traumatic stress disorder, mostly because of how it manages to make normal social situations into Hell itself, or a crappy apartment into a trigger-based iron maiden. For most of it I can deal with things, except for the apartment side, as noted above. I reckon that having an actual home where I can feel safe might help enormously with dealing with PTSD in general.


[1] http://mayaposch.blogspot.de/2016/03/apartments-or-meaning-of-life.html
[2] http://mayaposch.blogspot.de/2016/03/please-help-me-find-ptsd-safe-home.html

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Please help me find a PTSD-safe home

My name is Maya Posch. Over two years ago I fled the Netherlands, where I had suffered severe psychological and physical abuse during more than a decade [0]. I currently live and work in the city of Karlsruhe, in Germany, where I am still searching for a home where I can live and recover from this ordeal. Unfortunately these same traumas I am trying to recover from also prevent me from engaging in a stressful search for a new home.

I have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder [1] and Dissociative Identity Disorder [2] since 2009, due to among other things long-term mistreatment by doctors and psychologists of my intersex [3] condition. Finally, I was also born with a sensory processing disorder [4], which implies that I suffer from hypersensitivity to sound and other sensory impressions, making it impossible for me to shut out or ignore sounds and motion in my environment.

In the current apartment I live in, there are regularly sudden sounds from people walking around on the floor above me, in the hallway, as well as sounds from people using the toilet and opening and closing doors and such. In addition the heating system is very noisy, emitting constant sharp, metal ticking [6]. Everything together means that I cannot shut out these sounds, which thus make me feel agitated and unsafe due to my traumas constantly being triggered.

For the past two years I have managed to live in this situation by sleeping with earplugs in, by using headphones a lot and by simply not being at the apartment as much as possible, but rather at the office and at the local hackerspace.

What I am looking for:
A place where I do not have people living above or below me, or share a hallway and such. A place which is quiet, without noise from the heating system or other sources. Basically a place where I can sleep without earplugs and read a book without having to wear headphones. Having a stress-free landlord unlike the current one would be very nice, too.

The place can be about an hour cycling from the center of Karlsruhe. Rent (including utilities) can be up to a thousand Euro per month (rather less, but it'd be worth it). My current apartment is 85 square meter, but I do not use the living room at all due to the noise issues, so 60 square meter or more should suffice. Finally I'd very much like to have a safe, dry place for my bicycle.

When do I need it:
Preferably as soon as possible, but my goal is to move before the end of 2016, before the noise from the heating system becomes so bad again.

Thanks for reading this and thanks for caring :)


[0] http://mayaposch.com/media.php
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posttraumatic_stress_disorder
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociative_identity_disorder
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_processing_disorder
[5] http://mayaposch.blogspot.de/2016/03/apartments-or-meaning-of-life.html
[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EzwfL5IKXQ

Friday, 25 March 2016

Worrying developments

The past days have been filled with turmoil for me. Part of it can probably be attributed to merely hormonal causes, no doubt worsened by me having been put back on an overdose of oestrogens. Most of it is however due to these memories and impressions which keep flooding my thoughts for days on end now.

Happy memories, but mostly painful, traumatic ones. Memories in which I am trapped, being beaten, humiliated, feeling helpless, isolated and alone. Maybe the worst part of it all is that my current apartment is partially causing these painful recollections, and partially adding to it by being a perfect match for some of the worst places I have been forced to spend time in, thus strengthening the associated traumas.

I have done what I can, by stopping the hormone therapy once again. Both in the hope that this will lessen the feelings of depression and despair sufficiently to regain some emotional stability, and in the admission that I can no longer find the energy to trust doctors. Abandoning the hope that I will get medical help, I do not wish to feel like a medical experiment any more, meaning no more experimenting with my body's hormone levels.

Yet I'm not sure it'll be enough. A few blog posts back I already described the unpleasantness of this apartment I currently live in, and touched upon some of the reasons why it's a really unhealthy environment for me considering the traumatic and other disorders I have been diagnosed with. What's becoming ever more clear, however, is that this apartment may be instrumental in a possible future suicide attempt.

It may sound dramatic, but then so are my recent outbursts of despair at living in this place and having to suffer continuous traumatic triggers. I shouldn't be crying, feeling like bashing my head into things. I shouldn't be punching the sides of my head with my fists. I shouldn't be screaming, yelling, punching and feeling like I am being hunted. That at any moment something terrible will happen.

In many ways it feels like that time when, after suffering a sound beating by the police at the request of a Christian doctor, I had to spent one horrible night and day trapped in a police cell. Almost naked, hurting all over and crying out my lungs all night because I was so terrified.

This apartment is my cell. Even though I can leave at any point I have nowhere to go. Searching for alternatives is the ultimate reminder that I cannot escape. Meanwhile I have to endure the constant threatening noise from the heating system. The haunting footsteps above me. The humiliation of hearing people upstairs urinate and defecate. The realisation that everything in this apartment is old and broken. That nobody cares that I live here. That I am actually suffering.

Wearing headphones all day while listening to loud music drowns out the noises, but is a prison into itself. It's just a symptom of my suffering.

How could I be suffering? I have a place to live and food to eat.

*punches head again, repeatedly*


An apartment shouldn't be driving one to suicide, but I can feel the madness gnawing at my sanity. One piece at a time. I honestly do not know how much longer I can hold on. What I could possibly do.

I am terrified that I will die in this police cell.

I never escaped.


Thursday, 24 March 2016

A comfortable illusion

Sometimes one is left to wonder whether the thoughts one experiences are the symptoms of depression or merely the accepting of grim reality. As more and more memories come flooding back of things long suppressed I find that a stark yet very simple image begins to appear, one profoundly illustrating the distinction between illusion and fact.

I would venture to say that it more or less started a few weeks ago when it suddenly occurred to me that everything I have gone through over the past decade and then some was never about this body that I inhabit. This wasn't very shocking in light of that one of the more profound things I struggled with as a child was the thought of my own mortality, as well as that of others, and how to give that all a place.

Then, as a young teenager, the acceptance of the utter meaninglessness of the universe and that of every existence inside of it. The realisation that 'meaning' is something so very human that it is completely alien to the universe and the laws governing it.

For the years afterwards I have sought for the meaning that I would wish to assign to my own existence. My quest to find answers about my own body and identity was part of that. Through it I have learned many things, experienced even more and seen too much.

Through it I can see just how profoundly comforting those illusions were which I grew up with as a child and initially as a teenager. Illusions of a 'normal' life. Of finding 'love', of becoming famous and wealthy. Of starting a family and making humanity just that little bit better.

The fact of the matter is that none of that is real. 'Humanity' as a concept is already an illusion in itself. This world we create for ourselves and which we inhabit, it's all an illusion. We are all at least partially aware of this fact, through science, much as most wish to deny and ignore its findings.

I have not found the meaning of my own existence, but I have slowly come to see that by existing, and through that fact learn about everything which this universe has to offer, some meaning is given to said existence. Maybe at the end of that journey I will find the insight to resolve that one nagging question which has troubled me since childhood.

Living without the comforting blanket of a deceitful illusion is not easy, but as with a dream, once you know it's not real, it loses its glamour. In the end accepting reality is all one can do.


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Apartments, or: The meaning of life

When pushed a bit, I can probably think of a lot of reasons why I do not care much for the apartment I have lived in the for the past two years, and which I still currently inhabit. Reasons such as the many free holes in the walls and related which makes this place as well-insulated as a sieve:

Even after two years of repairs, the place is still rather shoddy, and borderline lethal:

There's also the issue of the rather rusty waterpipes, which lead to amusing scenes like these:

Less funny and probably even less healthy is whatever that's in the water that has coloured what used to a brand-new water bottle this way after two years:

Not pictured in the above photos is the noise from the heating system, which all too often sounds like this:

And when the heating system is finally quiet, there is nothing like hearing the upstairs neighbour walking around (especially at 1 AM) and relieving themselves with one being able to hear every single, individual droplet because noise insulation is for sissies.

As a result my best friend in bed isn't the book I'm reading at that point, but my earplugs which to me are most precious than gold, even if inserting them and sleeping with them in every night for years on end can be excruciatingly painful sometimes.

Yet some nights even those earplugs cannot keep out the noise from someone stomping around above me head. I truly do hate those nights.

What especially adds to this fun is that I have a post-traumatic stress disorder [1], as well as a sensory integration disorder [2]. The latter prevents me from ignoring and shutting out sounds (over-sensitivity), while the former makes me feel terrified at certain environmental sounds, particularly those caused by humans and mechanical sounds.

Naturally I have tried to find alternative places to live, but as in so many cities, finding an affordable place which is also quiet and well-maintained is about as likely as winning the lottery. Twice. By finding discarded lottery tickets on the street.

The negative repercussion of this - aside from a lack of proper sleep and lots of unnecessary stress with associated physical problems - is a sense of hopelessness: the thought that no matter what else one may accomplish in life, one will still be stuck in an apartment which is terrible for one's psychological and physical health.

It raises the question of what one's life is truly worth if such conditions are deemed suitable to live under, even without the further complications of psychological and similar disorders.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posttraumatic_stress_disorder
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_processing_disorder


The past years I have frequently had the same discussion with people: after they discovered that I am not in a relationship, the automatic assumption is that I need to get advice on how to fix that problem. Finally the conclusion is that I'm pretty and smart, but that I'll have to work hard on finding someone to enter into a relationship with since I'm not into heterosexual relationships.

Do I really want to enter into a relationship? No way.

Do I feel at all interested in hunting down someone interested? Not a chance.

Don't get me wrong, I am not single by choice, for much the same reasons why I have so few friends: it just didn't happen because of the course my life took. Even though I would definitely call myself an extroverted, people-oriented person, I currently find myself in the awkward position of (re-)learning this 'social' thing.

I was five years old when I began to withdraw into myself for some reason. It would then take decades for me to overcome that and begin the rehabilitation. This whilst significantly hampered by trust issues, post-traumatic stress disorder and other (psychological) complications.

The closest I guess that I have been to 'being in a relationship' was when a rather psychotic flatmate figured that I'd make for easy prey. In addition to losing virtually all of my possessions and money that way, it also left me with hitherto insurmountable trust issues when it comes to other people, let alone in the form of a relationship.

A few years ago I got to experience something resembling a relationship for a brief time and discovered that this experience evoked incredibly vivid nightmares and countless most unpleasant flashbacks.

Yet a relationship would make me happier, is the assumption.

I guess it could, but that is after the risky emotional confrontation of these countless traumas and the assumption that this incredibly rare person - who cares enough about me to work together with me through all of that - will still be around after such a harrowing experience. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone, that's for sure.

In short, while I am not single by choice, I nevertheless wish that people would stop bothering me about it without understanding the complexity of the issue and stop making me feel like a bad person.


Sunday, 13 March 2016

PTSD: Reconciling the mundane with the unimaginable

While you're in the war zone there is no doubt, no uncertainty. You know why you're there, you know what has to be done. Even at the worst of times, even when confronted with death and unimaginable cruelty by fellow human beings, everything is still so incredibly clear. Everything is about survival, about making it to that period after the war, when you're back home and everything will be fine.

Or so one is tempted to believe: that one just has to get through those months, years or even decades of horror, death and tragedy. I must confess to thinking like that during the past eleven years as well. Just have to get that little bit further, make it to that elusive finish line and you'll be home safe.

Yes, for me my war seems to have largely come to an end, but like so many others the price one has to pay for years, or even decades, of traumatic stress doesn't become apparent until afterwards. In my particular case, I have already - years ago - been officially diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well as likely Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) as a result of my experiences. I thought I knew PTSD.

The uneasy feeling that's been following me for the past months is one that's largely new to me. While I was still in the 'war zone', my goal was clear: to find medical help so that I can live happily ever after. Whenever I felt uneasy about the 'normal' lives of regular people (civilians?), I could push it away with the thought that I'd deal with it after I had found help and would be better prepared for it.

I feel like a broken shell of a person. All that I have learned over the past decades is how to survive in a world where nobody can be trusted, nobody can be relied upon. Where only the strongest, quickest and most psychopathic can carve out an existence. I have been raped, beaten, locked up, brainwashed, attempted to commit suicide and have on many occasions had to keep others who were on the verge of committing suicide from going through with it. I have seen the ugliest side of humanity in how people like me are being treated, even in supposedly civilised Western countries.

And then I suddenly have to reintegrate into normal society. With the war practically over, I'm now back to being a civilian, instead of a warrior fighting a desperate battle for survival. Physically I came out okay, I think, no more than some scars, nerve damage and other old wounds. Psychologically it's a whole different matter, though.

I was about five years old when I first began to lose my trust in other humans and began to withdraw into myself, likely as a result of possible (sexual) abuse I can (mercifully?) not remember. Puberty signalled the point where I lost my body as well. Decades later, I have regained the latter through a lot of pain and hardships, yet I never experienced life like a regular civilian would. What do I have in common with them, anyway?

In the end it's that sense of alienation, of not being able to picture a normal existence in civilian life, where I feel like I have most in common with returning war veterans. How to reconcile an existence where you have seen and experienced more pain, gore, suffering and human cruelty than one could ever consider possible with a quiet civilian life? How to live day to day working an office job while the slightest trigger nudges loose another traumatic memory, sending it screeching through your head?

I do not know how I can overcome this sense of alienation, of not feeling like I am part of civilian society. I'm not sure whether it's even possible. At some point it feels like one can simply have experienced and seen too much. How can one regain one's trust in fellow human beings, long after they have stopped trying to actively kill and hurt you and your friends?


P.S.: some more good reading on the subject: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/appsych/opus/issues/2013/spring/duca

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

I feel like a murderer

Should I feel guilty?

In hindsight it's both understandable but also weird that I have never really considered this thought. Yet maybe it's simply because at this point the present no longer urgently requires my full attention, allowing other, maybe less relevant details to demand attention.

In the end what it comes down to is that because I exist, one other life now doesn't exist. Worse, that life never even had a chance to be born or grow up.

Or maybe it did.

As far as I am aware at this point, I carry inside of me the cells of what used to be two zygotes. Two new lives in development, until they merged into a single zygote which became an embryo, which became me. My twin sister. My twin brother. Now just... me.

Am I those two lives, merged? Should I feel bad that my twin sibling simply isn't there because their cells got merged into mine? Yet can I even refer to myself without it including both entities?

It felt curious to think about all of this when the thought suddenly hit me yesterday, especially in the sense of what it means to exist.

Does it matter that these two zygotes, these clumps of cells merged to become me? They were just cells, after all. Not conscious, thinking beings. I shouldn't have to feel bad about what happened, yet I do. Mostly when I think about what could have been.

Imagining a different life where a regular girl was born, with a twin brother, to both live their lives probably without any major troubles. Probably happier lives than the life I have lived so far.

As I slowly come to grips with what it means to be a hermaphrodite, I very much doubt that this will be the last issue I'll have to settle for myself. Even ignoring the countless traumas and other experiences of the past decades, there seem to be a lot of things and concepts which I have to learn in order to be myself, yet which are practically alien to those around me.

I still have a long road ahead of me, a road of which I am not certain it will lead me closer to or further away from society as a whole. Nevertheless it's a road which I must walk to the end, if I wish to learn to understand and accept.

If only I didn't feel so completely alone.


Saturday, 5 March 2016

A punch line over a decade in the making

During the last appointment with the endocrinologist I found myself expressing again my wish to find out the source of these monthly pains which have been plaguing me since I was eleven years old. At this she responded with: "That's because you're a woman."

Cue the 'badum-tish' of a punch line being hit.

In a sense it's really a pretty hilarious joke, albeit with a serious undertone and a lead-up stretching back over two decades. Decades during which I found myself wondering many things about my body which I did not understand, with ever more questions and contradicting statements by doctors and psychologists making it ever more difficult to perceive reality and truth through the murk and confusion.

Don't worry, you're just a woman.

The almost slapstick-like simplicity of such a statement, putting everything back into proportion. Sure, I'm still an intersex woman, born with both testicles and ovaries, as well as a penis and a vagina. Yet I'm undeniably a woman if you ignore the unimportant details.

Sure, there are still the questions about what kind of hormone therapy I may need to keep my bones happy - due to having fairly low natural female hormone levels (for a woman) - and there's still the issue of the reconstructive surgery options for the vagina, but beyond that it should all be fairly normal. Beyond the irrelevant detail of me having been born fully infertile, that is. Fertility is not an important qualifier for whether one can be male or female, after all.

I'd also still like to clear up exactly which tissue is responding during these monthly cycles, considering that I'm not supposed to have a functional uterus, and there's the tiny detail of my right leg going slightly numb during each ovulation period as if a nerve gets pinched. When it all comes down to it, these are at least details I can live with, painful as they may be. They're pretty much just things even regular women may have to deal with, as well.

But whatever happens, in the end I'll just be a woman. Nice and simple.