Survival: Living From One Milestone to the Next

“Living from check to check” is a common phrase in today’s society and economy. In virtually every country in the world today, and particularly in the United States, and whichever state you live in here, the number of people who survive ‘check to check’ has skyrocketed. Not only do I really live check to check, but I live… no, survive from event to event in my life.

What I mean is that, particularly since I undertook transition, I have found myself ever more hanging onto each and every upcoming stage. As I scheduled my first appointment with my local community health center, I found myself increasingly desperate to walk through those doors and get it done and over with. The process felt much longer and more painful than it really ever was.

Similarly, once I’d jumped through my hoops and pressed my Pavlovian button on the wall for my doctors, I waited anxiously for my treat – my scripts to be filled and dispensed to me. Each step upwards, first from my testosterone blocker, then to my hormones, and subsequently up to my full levels, it was all a tremendous back-build of pressure, but with a disproportionately small release each time. It felt great, but it was still much smaller than the amount of pressure built up in me, and I was sprinting towards a full meltdown.

When it finally reared its ugly head, it was a full blown panic attack at work that nearly got me fired. Despite my manager’s stated ‘friendship,’ it was a limited one way street of confidence that only served to dramatically deepen my internal pressure.

Going full time resolved a lot of these pressures for me. I was not afraid of being seen or recognized by someone, my family all knew, and to one degree or another accepted and still loved me. At work, by hook or crook, I had the support of the leadership and my coworkers, and at the least I was ‘tolerated.’

Over the past year or so, I’d engaged my company in arbitration through a neutral third party company that they contracted with for that job to obtain my Gender Reassignment Surgery. A few months ago I got the news that I had succeeded – my appeal was approved and I was able to schedule my surgery. I’m currently 10 months out, and strangely enough, hanging on by a thread. Once again, I’m looking at a distant milestone that awaits my arrival, and I have to fear – will I make it that far?

My stress level builds rapidly as things pile up on me. Despite now having the primary cost of my surgery covered, there are the new worries. Transportation. Lodging. The deposit. Also, suddenly, I have to worry about the various side effects of my medication and depression which once again have placed my job in peril. Losing my job would likely mean the end of my surgical hopes, and without that milestone in the distance, slowly counting down the mile markers, I’m not sure where that would leave my mental state.

Someone jumped from the George Washington Bridge here in New York City last night. It brings back memories of Tyler Clementi, and what I wondered about him back when I first heard about his suicide. Why? What could bring such a bright young man to do something so drastic?

The answer seems to be as simple as seeing “no way out.”

I think I understand now.

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