I had the unfortunate experience of checking myself into Emergency a week or so ago.
Along with being depressed and suicidal, I have been trying to manage the panic attacks that come up when the worst of gender dysphoria hits me.
Most of the time I can halt the progression with some breathing and talking myself down. These episodes seem the worst when I torment myself about being an imposter or delusional…
The attacks became so bad that I was unable to cope.
Like when scuba diving. The water is calm enough when you jump in but an hour later when you get back to the surface you find the surface water choppy and small waves wash over you as you bob along the surface.
If you time your breathing right you just get in rhythm with the waves and ride it out as you get back to shore/boat.
In my case I couldn’t get into that rhythm. A new wave would crash into me before I had time to adjust to the first. Then with every subsequent wave it became worse and I would struggle for air…I am drowning.
I checked into Emergency and the nurses seemed very friendly and caring. They only knew I was suicidal and having panic attacks.
The doctor on shift finally comes into the room an hour later.
Dr. Nick Riviera: “So what brings you here?”
Me: “I’m having panic attacks I can’t control and can’t stop thinking about killing myself.”
Dr. Nick Riviera: “What’s the issue?”
Me: (Crying) “I’m a pathetic delusional 48 year old man that thinks he’s a woman.”
Dr. Nick Riviera: “What do you mean?”
At this point I want to leave. This doesn’t feel right at all.
Me: “I have horrific gender dysphoria.”
Dr. Nick Riviera: “So what do you want me to do?”
Huh? How could I possibly tell you? Give me an overdose of drugs that’ll put me out of my misery? Does this guy ask for patient advise on his course of action all the time?
Me: “I have no idea.”
Dr. Nick Riviera: “I can put you on anti-depressants but they won’t take effect for a week or two…”
Me: “No. I’m done with anti-depressants.” They killed my sex drive and were causing me extra anxiety when I was with my girlfriend.
Dr. Nick Riviera: “I’m not sure what you want me to do.”
Me: “Nothing I guess.”
Dr. Nick Riviera: “I can refer you to a psychiatrist.”
Me: “Sure do that.” Fuck it. I pay my taxes. I’ll take the psych referral. My counselor thinks I’m totally sane but who knows? Maybe she missed some cues or something.
At this point I just want to take the nearest fire exit and run away so I can crawl under a rock.
I just want to leave. I convinced him I couldn’t/wouldn’t kill myself as I have a daughter at home.
I vowed never to ever come back to the hospital for anything less than an axe embedded in my skull.
I had heard that all the local doctors have had some recent training on transgender issues. Dr. Nick slept his way through that particular info session I am sure.
Why can’t they have a little laminated card they can yank out when a person experiencing gender dysphoria walks in?
A good start:
- Tell them you understand and you doubt they are crazy.
- Remind them they are in a safe place and to try to relax and breathe.
- Tell them they will be okay.
I take responsibility for how things make me feel. This little episode was dehumanizing for me. I’ll own it.
I can only hope that a more vulnerable person doesn’t get the same treatment.
Round 2 of that doctor training session is apparently in order.