Jigme Datse Yli-Rasku

There are archives of this page on the Archives page.

The current version should be there as well, though I may be in the process of producing a new version, and it will not be linked there until the new version has become “stable”.  So this minor edit aren’t going to be archived.

I am creating a brand new version based on what I created back in March of 2016.

Jigme Datse Yli-Rasku (about page)

I am likely to at least try to write this as me speaking for myself.  I have a little bit of a list of things that I want to talk (write) about.

  • MindFreedom Nelson
  • Autism Assessment
  • Transportation issues
  • Trauma, and trauma responses
  • Being a trans person
  • Buddhist practice/identity

I’m going to dive into those now.

MindFreedom Nelson

A friend of mine some time ago invited me to be part of the MindFreedom Nelson group both in person, and on Facebook.  I have since moved from Nelson, and I have since left Facebook, but in theory I am still part of the group as we occasionally meet and talk about stuff, and we often talk about some of this stuff in other “localities” such as chatting online (in different places) or on the phone (infrequent).

When things were getting more or less organized and run by this friend (B to keep the indicator from previous versions) things went very well, and it worked well indeed.  When B was no longer to put the same level of effort into it, they asked that I start taking things over with the group.  I did continue with the group, but in the end it didn’t really work all that well.  I have noticed that even though the only way that I get a lot of things to start is to do it myself, I have also noticed that for me, getting someone to join with my groups is practically impossible.

I haven’t figured out the why of why people don’t really end up joining me in doing things.  There have been a few people, who have been supportive in various times, and some are ongoing, but almost none of them have been able to ever meet me in person.  That is mostly OK.  If I find ways to make things work such that I can feel that at least my voice is being “listened” to by some people that is fine, and one person has been good at giving at least some feedback that they are appreciative of my simply doing the stuff that I have been doing.

With my not being able to keep a “working” version of the MindFreedom Nelson actually going, and a number of other issues, I have decided to mostly drop myself off from being an official MindFreedom Nelson “organizer”.  I still am connected, but I have found that going to Nelson (for a variety of reasons) to meet with people, who for the most part haven’t met with me, has been something worth dropping (especially related to some of the trauma that I experienced related to that).

Autism Assessment

I have for a good many years looked at the possibility that I am on the Autism Spectrum (current term).  I think shortly after I heard about “Asperger’s Syndrome” I started to look at how all of that fit in with me.  It might have been some time around the early to mid 1990s.  I don’t think that it would have been before about 1985 at the very earliest.  I know that I was in school either in high school, or in university shortly after finishing high school.

I had talked to a number of people about whether or not I was autistic, or had Asperger’s or whatever.  I would have liked to get some sort of response which was genuinely helpful, rather than the two choices of “No, you are not,” or “yes, you are,” with really hardly any explanation beyond that.  I think that while those were really the only responses that I was able to get until I started to explore it far more independently that I should have needed, but neither of them were really not at all helpful, because they didn’t ever feel really based on more than a very superficial idea.

So, let’s look at what I went through (which I think that I’ll need to split up significantly, so I’m creating another list).

  • Getting to looking for an assessment
  • Looking for how to get an assessment
  • Finding out how to get the assessment
  • Getting the assessment done
  • Getting results of the assessment
  • Outcomes from the assessment

That’s looking like a lot of different things, but I think pretty much I need to break all of those, and need to talk about all of those. So I will have a section for each of them.

Getting to looking for an assessment

As I said above, I have been considering autism/Asperger’s for a good many years, I did keep asking people who I felt would at least know if it made sense to get an assessment, a number of times, these were different people over time.  No one really gave anything more than a “yes” or a “no”.  Which really didn’t end up helping me, as such a simple response was not even enough to lead me to feeling any more, or less that things were one way or the other.

Problems with dealing with professionals

But, at that time (and this was probably since at least University which I entered in 1993, and left in 1994) I wasn’t really that interested in challenging the basic authority of the authority figures (counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, doctors, et cetera) and figured that while they hadn’t given me an answer, their failure was pretty much inherent in the system, and that I probably wouldn’t even be able to get any better, or different answer.

Over time, I ended up feeling less and less that these people had anything to offer me in terms of help, that I couldn’t get from other sources.  Not saying that none of them were helpful, but a big part of the problem is for the most part, I wasn’t really able to do anything other than publicly funded options, and every publicly funded option has a “mandate” and if you don’t fit in the mandate, they decide they can’t do anything for you.

Problems with Publicly funded “mental health” services

If you need support from different “types” of groups with different “mandates” if you happen to “belong” to another group, than you can’t have multiple different types of support.

Because, well I don’t know.   What I do know is that part of it, is a justification for failing to provide enough support for people like myself who fit into a number of different groups, and there isn’t support in “public practice” for the combination of things I have.  And around here, pretty much there is no public support for some of the things that I deal with.

In particular, there are no “public” support for trans issues in terms of being able to get counselling.  In fact, around here, you are required to get some amount of private practice counselling in order to fully transition (including surgery) and I do not know what is being required in terms of obtaining access to hormones.  I do know that I have had little or no problems accessing what I have been able to, but I have to say that a lot of people probably wouldn’t have been able to do even those things.

Dropping Publicly funded services

But, let’s get back on track.  Next steps in terms of getting along to actually being very serious of seeking an assessment.

After a while, I ended up feeling that at best, most of what I was getting was what a “supportive friend” could offer.  At worst, I was getting retraumatized and suggesting that was what was happening, lead to the professionals doubling down, and increasing the behaviours which they were engaging in leading to harm coming to myself.  It took a few more “tries” to try to find something that was actually supportive of me more than a “supportive friend” or more had at least that aspect, and some genuine efforts to work on growth along the way.

Eventually my friend decided that I could benefit from some of the things they were getting from 12-step programmes, and invited me to a meeting.  I don’t really remember which meeting I attended first, but if I recall, it was attending a “two group” meeting (which aren’t really allowed to begin with, but let’s not argue that part) and attended their partner’s “birthday” as well as my first two meetings.

The group was so supportive, and in the end worked pretty hard at looking at developing growth for those who were looking for that.  While some individuals had their own agendas which were incompatible with the way that I work “in the world” for the most part, I could take what worked, and leave the rest.  I didn’t have to go through a process of repeatedly saying “this isn’t working” then finally formally asking to be “transferred” to another person, and having that person decided by others like I did with “publicly funded services”.

I just could switch.  So I decided that things were working well with that and continued, at this same time I was going through the “last” of my attempts to get support through public services.  And in the end, I decided that there really was nothing there.  That was after having once again going through the formal process of changing people I was seeing, and being told literally “there is no one else you can see”.

Finding online resources

With a combination of quitting publicly funded services, and moving, and not connecting with a good peer group where I moved, I started looking online for support.  Somehow I found a number of people who were talking about their personal experience with dealing with Autism, and the more I paid attention to them, the more I started to feel that their experience and my experience had very significant parallels.

The groups of people I found were the groups of people who felt that the “well funded groups” for the most part were highly misguided.  They didn’t (for the most part) say anything like “they don’t have anything good to say,” but they more said things like “the basic premise these groups are based on is misguided.”  In the end, this lead me to feel that both I wouldn’t be told anything I didn’t already know in terms of whether or not I am autistic, and that there can be real benefits to getting an assessment done.

So, I started (at first slowly) to look at what I would need to do to get an assessment done for myself.

Looking for how to get an assessment

I started looking at getting an assessment.  At first I did a search, and wasn’t really finding anything, so I would drop it for a little while, until I had thought of maybe something different to search for.  So to start off with, there were several false starts in trying to find resources in terms of actually finding even basic information.

At first, I don’t think I told anyone that I was doing this.  I know a big part of not telling anyone, is that I can be so fiercely independent, that it will slow a lot of things down.  Though, also with that fierce independence, if I get people offering stuff which doesn’t line up with it, it is actually even worse to ask for help, than to just muddle about on my own.

So at first it was muddling about on my own.  Then I started to get closer on my own, but had failed to find anything locally, and failed to find anything in the province which I felt was worth travelling several hours to be able to do.  But I had put out some queries about what the process would be (having found that it is something that might be funded).  And, I decided to ask my friend who works sort of in the area of practice in terms of who I would be connecting with what they knew (hoping to short circuit my already far too long process) and did end up finding what I needed in order to get an assessment.

Finding out how to get the assessment

At first once I was starting to get close (and I’m not quite sure if it was my friend, myself, or both of us independently) who ended up getting me to the leads that lead down the path.  But once I got to knowing that something did exist, I first found one group which I was able to talk to, but the first references I found for them, were with an older name, which actually wasn’t producing any helpful results (it was leading to pages that no longer existed, on domains that no longer served any site at all sort of thing).

But eventually I found out about the name change, and with finding out about the name change, I then started searching for the new name, and found a way to talk to someone there.  That person then directed me to another agency which they only gave me the name for.

This other agency had changed their name as well.  And the same process had to be gone through once again to find anything with the other agency.  But in the end.  I found them.  And I managed to get in contact with the right office, who could make things work out.

Finding my way to being referred for assessment

Now talking to the right office, and finding out that they could bring me to the right people, I say that I would really like to work on getting it done.  So I am asked to make a phone call to someone who I have not talked to at all (everything else has been text based, pretty much email, though some might have been chat), and I say that might be difficult for me, and that I would prefer as much as possible to do things by email.

This apparently wasn’t an option, but that my message could be forwarded to let her know that I was calling.  So I decided to give the call thing a go.  I called, and I talked to the person (not feeling that sure I was even ready to go through the process) and after a very brief discussion, it was decided for me that it was a good idea to get the assessment, and that with my transportation issues, that I should contact social services to have them arrange that.

First attempt at getting reffered

As I said (and would like to emphasize) it was decided for me.  I explained to the person my experience with dealing with trying to get transportation through “social services” (formally “The Ministry of (apparently no current name?)” but those guys who (and this hasn’t changed) deal with the provincial “Persons With Disabilities” (PWD) programme), and that I was very sure that for the trip I was being asked to take that there was no coverage whatsoever.

The person, who I was talking to, was certain that this was a worthwhile way to approach this, and that if I was unwilling to go through this process she was saying was “best for me” that nothing would go any further.  So I told her that I really could not do that, and ended up hanging up eventually.  I did tell her repeatedly that it would not go that way, and if she insisted on it, I would not continue with the process.

After having hung up, I informed the person who I first talked to, that it wasn’t going to work, and why it wasn’t.  I fully expected everything to end there, but she was able to connect me with someone else who was able to handle the process.

Second attempt at getting refered

I then got in contact (this time by email) and explained the situation, and what was going on.  We together decided that it was going to be good to talk in a more “realtime” form, and ended up meeting about a 10 minute walk from home, which I felt was a good way for it to work for me.

This was starting to look a lot better, she is working with me, and she is not trying to fit me into a process which isn’t working with me.  It’s very uncomfortable, but I feel that I am having that be honoured, and that it is expected to be uncomfortable, and that it is reasonable to feel that way, and reasonable to ask and receive certain accomodations for that.

Things are going along well, we meet, and talk about the programme, and talk about my concerns.  One of my important (and I thought clearly expressed concerns) was that how she was describing the process, I felt that I would not be able to successfully compete it.  I thought she had expressed that she would explain that, and that there would be no problem with getting appropriate accommodation would not be a major problem at all, so I decided to go through all of that.

Getting the assessment done

With the referral in, I waited (not that long really) to be able to get an appointment.  I again explained that in order to successfully complete the assessment, I wouldn’t be able to complete it the way that it normally was done.  I also talked that I had to try to arrange things with myself, and two other groups of people for it to be able to provide enough information that would be needed to fully complete the assessment.

There was no problem expressed with any of this.  So, I had figured that all of this was well understood, and would be well respected.  I ended up getting an appointment that sounded OK, except one of the people who I was hoping to be able to get there would not be able to be able to get there, but we’d decided that due to the fact that they would need to take time off work, in order to be able to get in at a time which was “allowed” by the people who are doing the assessment, that we would just go forward with the assessment without them.

Appointment day 1

I arrived, by myself, but having been driven by my parents who were doing their own thing, a little earlier than I plan on getting to appointments.  That felt like it probably shouldn’t be too big a deal, as it seems like a person should be able to arrive 15 minutes before the appointment, and not have to wait to get into the waiting room.

I figured I might need to wait a little while, until it was about 15 minutes to the appointment time roughly.  I got myself some water, and I did a bit of checking out the space that was around there, as the office wasn’t open when I arrived, but I figured that someone would show up shortly.  I checked about 20 minutes before my appointment time to see if anyone was there, and was feeling a little on the tired side (I had to get up earlier than I can “safely” get up without feeling tired) so shortly decided to sit on the floor and wait, and try to read.

About 5 minutes after the appointment was supposed to happen, someone showed up and opened the door.  We are now off to a bad start by my standards.  I’m not even in the office at the point that my appointment time is.  I go in and wait longer, slowly more staff start to show up.  And eventually the psychologist who is doing the assessment calls me into her office.

With the psychologist

The psychologist more or less set me at ease.  Though, there are a few issues which I have.  She presents me with the usual form that says what would require her to breach confidentiality.  Some of these clauses are highly problematic for me, due to the fact that there are a number of reasons they can be problematic.

The biggest one is the breach of confidentiality when the clinician thinks that there is a risk of harm to themself.  Ie. if the clinician feels that the client will harm themself, they have the right (or more as it is stated responsibility) to breach confidentiality.

Fist off.  This leads to the use of coercion, and forced treatment.  Even when there is little evidence that such treatment leads to better outcomes than deciding that the only reasons that such treatments “can” be used is when there is imminent threat of harm to self or other.  This (to me) is not a “belief” that something is going to happen “sometime soon” it is only when the person is in front of you, and they are making express motions to causing such harm.  And that use of force, can only continue to the point that level of threat of harm continues to exist.

What it has lead to more importantly for me, is a genuine fear to share certain very important aspects that are going on with me, where being able to talk about them, and be able to deal with those issues in a safe environment would lead to significant healing and growth, but talking about these issues, only to have confidentiality breached, and then having severe threats of use of force, and life changing uses of force means that the topics flat out are not safe to deal with in any therapeutic relationship.

I had expressed these concerns to her, and she said “don’t worry, I won’t do that unless there is something which I can’t deal with any other way.”  So I really felt that things were probably OK with regards to that.

The assessment day 1

So, the assessment continued, and she started to ask me questions which (if I understand) are questions laid out in the CARS-HF assessment (I can’t get that information from the psychologist, and I have so far not found any other way to get that) and I answered them, giving full answers rather than just “yes/no” type answers, even though the questions are phrased in a closed ended “yes/no” way.

I know that the answer of “yes/no” is not really helpful at all, and know that if the results of the assessment are based on that kind of answer, then the assessment will not provide me with anything at all beyond what filling out the “Autism Quotient” (AQ) online gives.  Which really has been pretty much entirely useless.

There is an “Asperger’s Assessment” online (or used to be) which is far more involved (and far more useful) but a good number of the questions when I last did it were worded very poorly (from the wording, could not tell what the intention was, but could kind of guess).  But it’s far better than the AQ as it gives values for something like 8 different “axes”.

So I am hoping that the information I am giving will lead to a better understanding, and a better set of recommendations (more on that later) than if I had simply answered the questions as they were being asked.  My “being social” in this context was one of practicality, and not “social practicality” but rather genuine it should have proven to be a useful thing.

We keep going through questions, and the time is approaching that of the end of my appointment, so I am expecting to leave very shortly (time is also approaching that of when I’m going to need to eat, or I’m going to end up in a situation of overload simply dealing with having not eaten soon enough), and the psychologist asks if I feel OK to just finish it all off, which in my (now I realise it, I didn’t at the time) clearly distorted thinking from being social for 2 or more hours straight, I agree.

Continuing on assessment

The assessment continues on with the WAIS-IV (I think that’s the version of it they were using) which is an intelligence test (if such a thing genuinely exists, the ability to genuinely test intelligence… I can say this is not a tool which doesn’t have very strong biases which prevent certain highly intelligent people from showing up as being intelligent, and how it is administered can lead to very distorted results, so testing an already stressed out person, in a manner that leads to even more stress will seriously skew the results, that was me).

I complain about how this is being administered, and that a good part of how it is being administered is likely leading to my scoring much worse on almost all sections we do.  I don’t say “we need to stop right now” and I don’t even say that “I need to take a break right now.”  I express my concerns and say that this is really bothering me, and that it is going to cause problems.  I am hoping, and expecting that will lead to an attempt at accommodating my needs, stepping back, giving me some time to look at it better, giving the assessor (different person than the psychologist) a chance to sit back and look at me better, and I am given the choice to continue or stop.

I said reluctantly (and I think it was expressed clearly that it was reluctantly) that I could continue, if the assessor was willing to work more with me.  So we continued on (I had felt that “sure we’ll continue than” meant agreement on their part of a greater willingness to work with me).  And it went on.  I was getting into greater and greater overload (social, sensory, and physical due to being seriously in need of food, and the environment.

I’m not sure if there is a genuine problem with the portion I was going through, but it was strictly verbal (spoken words) and is (as was explained) assessing abstract thinking.  And questions were of the sort:

“What makes a circle, a square, and a triangle similar?”

Which of course there could well be a number of different (and accurate answers to that) but when it comes to:

“What makes a coat hanger, a sailor, and a fence similar?”

(yes I’m not exaggerating, though I’m not sure I have the correct items, but they were about as similar to that) a simple answer isn’t possible, and when I stated that there was no simple answer, but an answer is probably possible, I was told that I needed to come up with a simple answer.  And then I tried to explain why such a question the way it was being presented is entirely invalid, and was told I could either quit, or continue.  I quit, and didn’t expect to go back.

On return home

When I returned home, on my way back from downtown I got a call from the psychologist.  She assured me that none of what I had experienced would be a problem if I came back, and that she would even administer the assessment that needs to be done herself.

I decided that I could go back, because clearly something would be better than the “nothing” she was saying I would get if I didn’t return.  I was not feeling confident, and when it came to making the appointment, it should have raised some alarm bells with me, as they were booking the WAIS portion, and the finalizing the assessment portion as separate things.

Assessment Day 2

I return to finish off the assessment, I’m feeling OK that it probably will work out.  I wait and I wait and I wait (even worse than the first day) and I feel that things are not going to go well at all, but I’ve made the trip, and not even giving it a chance, probably won’t really be a good thing at all.

Eventually I get called in, it’s the same person (this isn’t boding a bit better, but I had already resigned myself that this was going to be this way).  I sit down, and we start in.  So far, none of my concerns about how it was being administered seem to be addressed at all.  There is no better making sure I understand.  There is no trying to make it lower stress.  Well I’ll just do it.  I’m sure that it will be worth it in the end.

Then my phone alerts me to a text message.  I’m asked if I need to get that, and I say no, and try to explain that my phone is setup for priority mode, and that there are a few people who can call, or text and I’ll hear the notification, and that if those people are in distress enough I will need to get it.  I hope, and fully expect it to be enough to explain that.

She said that I couldn’t continue unless I turned my phone off.  Which I again tried to explain why the phone was doing that, and that she should be fine with that, it probably wouldn’t go off again, and if it does, I will need to check it.

She wouldn’t continue without the phone being turned off.  I wouldn’t abandon my friends and family who were in that priority list.  So, I ended it again.  Having been put into a double bind.

I returned the text message, and thought (I don’t think I failed in this case) that I messaged suggesting that a response would be greatly appreciated, and I ended up not getting a response until after I had left the assessment.

Wrapping up assessment

I had been told that there was more to the assessment that the psychologist wanted to do, so I waited for an hour (I think closer to 2 hours) as I had been told that if she was available, she might be able to see me any time.  I went in, and talked to her.  She told me there was nothing more she wanted to do.  And I left.

That was the the end of the assessment, I was told that I would receive the assessment in 2 weeks.  I waited 3 weeks and hadn’t received it, so I called.

Getting results of assessment

After calling to see what was happening with it, I was told that I was asked to call, and that I would need to come in to receive my assessment.  I said that after having two very bad experiences with going in, that I was not willing to go in yet another time.  So, I say that if they insist on it, that I really am not enough interested in completing it.

I ask if there is any other option, and I keep getting told that there really isn’t.  And eventually I suggest that I could do a Skype session, which after thinking about it for a bit was considered “acceptable”.

A while later, I manage to do the Skype session, and I hear what she is saying, not anything that is vaguely revealing, though there are some things I am certain are highly incorrect.  But I don’t know what the “accurate” answer to those parts are, and really I’m not entirely sure that it is important enough.  I agree that it is good enough, and that they can process the final bits of it and send it off (including to myself).

When I receive the assessment, I read it over carefully, and still I’m having a hard time understanding what the problems with it originate from, and I try to get some answers myself, but I fail to get full answers.

Outcomes from the assessment

Reading the assessment, there are a very limited number of “recommendations” which none of which really look all that useful.  None of them are specific, but very general.  The most specific it gets is “get more exercise, at least this much per week”.  I go through the suggestions and try to find them.

I have not received any connection with services through the assessment, and I decide that already tested, and “failed” services which have been recommended will not be reconsidered at least not until there is a clear indication that either things have changed dramatically with me, or that the services themself have changed significantly in ways that sound promising.

So for those things, I look for alternatives, but fail to find any that really feel like they fit.

I also contact a number of different people to ask if there is anything that I haven’t already found, and end up getting referred to a number of services that I flat out do not qualify for (and I don’t understand how the person could have seen that I might have qualified for them, as things like requirements of being intellectually impaired, or age are way out of the range I am in).

I managed to make it through the entire list of recommendations, only to find that in terms of what I was told would be good, either are very bad matches, or non-existent services.  Based on the number of times I have been told “you need to do at least this much more exercise,” I think that the total if I had followed it is something like 20 hours of exercise per day 5 days a week.  Somehow even spreading that out over 7 days makes it almost physically impossible.  Though, I may be underestimating how many times people have told me to “get more exercise”.

Oddly, when I have looked at what is actually recommended I am currently doing more exercise than I should be.  I am not only no longer getting as much benefit from any extra exercise, but genuinely extra exercise is likely causing more harm than doing less would.  I’m not going to cut down my level of exercise, as I am enjoying the amount I am doing.  But I can honestly tell people who suggest that I do more, that I already am doing more than I should be doing.

Actual benefits from the assessment

It may seem that the assessment is quite useless for me.  And in a lot of ways, it is on a number of very practical ways entirely useless.  The things that were helpful from it, actually are more how I responded to the way all of this came out.

  1. The assessment process itself was unnecessarily stressful, and attempting to deal with that lead me to a few conclusions
    1. If someone you are seeing doesn’t answer relatively safe questioning of process or protocol in a manner of genuine acknowledgement of validity of your point, this is a red flag.
    2. If they justify the way that things worked because they “need to be done that way” and try to encourage you to continue things will not improve.
    3. Going through an unhealthy process can lead to healthy outcomes, if the person who would otherwise be harmed takes the opportunity to grow from it.
  2. Failures of communication are a major red flag, especially if you as a client are willing to admit that you have problems with communication.
    1. These failures rarely are resolved in a manner where the “clinician” ends up taking any responsibility for them.
    2. Direct communication of what is causing problems with the communication are unlikely to change the poor behaviour of others.
    3. A person who is unable, or unwilling to change in order to adapt to requests to change communication style are only helpful in teaching you that they are not safe.
  3. Going through unhelpful suggestions of changes can be very helpful.
    1. Generally speaking, if you say “that won’t work” they won’t listen at all to you.
    2. If you say that you tried it after they have suggested it to you there is a greater chance (not much) that they will listen to you.
    3. It can strengthen your ability to be able to assess the validity of services more quickly.
  4. Finding things that at least minimally work for yourself can be far more helpful even if they are not something anyone has recommended.
    1. This and a number of different things have come out of this assessment, and they have lead to some sense of accomplishment and focus.
    2. I have better understood how the individual is important in making these decisions for themself.
    3. I have become better able to say to people that when talking about other people, those people need to be primary decision makers.

That really seems like a fair amount to come out of that.  Oh and one more thing.  I can say clearly that I have been told that this is indeed the thing going on with me.  They may take that and use it against me.  Or for some people (I haven’t met them yet) will use it as a way to better accommodate my needs, as they can see they are “real”.

Transportation issues

I have been for some time experienced a number of transportation issues over the years that I have lived here.  I was able to find that transportation in other communities has worked a lot better.

Initially I thought that a major part of what I was experiencing was a matter of “large system” vs. “small system” in that with a larger transportation system, the fact that if I would miss a bus, or have to get off a bus because of problems with stuff going on the bus, in the large system, I probably would only be set back at most 15 minutes, whereas here it has been a missed bus, would mean not being able to get another one for at least 3 hours.

I did work at the “other end” of the current transportation system that I currently use, and the only problems that I would experienced were those which are related to the schedule, which I thought really was the problem here.  But I have since found that this end of the system has a rather aggressive stance towards any minority, whereas that “other end” they attempt to be hugely supportive of anyone who is different.

The last time that I ended up using the local transit system, I got off the bus, as someone had gotten on who had very recently been smoking marijuana and smelled very strongly of the marijuana, and I have discovered that I am so sensitive that I need to leave immediately when that happened, so I did leave.

I contacted the transportation system, and waited (again) to get a response, but did follow up.  I was told “we can’t ban that person from the system” which really wasn’t what I was asking for, I was asking for the application of the existing rules of “scent free” especially in this particular case.

As I was making my way home that day, I was assaulted, dropped from 3 feet in the air, arrested, and had a car practically plow into the police car because the officer had pulled his car right in front of busy traffic.  All because I was sitting on the side of the road, and dared to say “I don’t need help, thank you.”

I have not found any transportation since, besides family and friends.  My family has been helpful in being able to drive me about, but I am still having a very hard time with asking to get driven places and stuff.

I would maybe feel better if I could just ask “can I borrow the car” but I don’t drive.  The last time I was driving, I blacked out twice, and that was in the space of about 15 minutes.  So have for now given up on that.

Trauma, and trauma responses

I have talked about a number of very stressful events which have been interpreted (by myself, and in talking with a number of other people rightly so) as threats that are considered “trauma” that is threats of death or bodily harm, as well as actual bodily harm (not mentioned clearly above).  I have been diagnosed as having post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (as well as acute stress disorder, which is highly related) by at least 4 different people.

The issues which come up with PTSD can make it very difficult to be “in the world” as depending on what might have initiated it, you can experience triggers of a “trauma response” on a regular basis.  I find that even with my “avoidance” behaviour, I still get triggered on a several time a week basis.  Part of that is, that a lot of things that most people don’t even think could be trauma related, are associated with trauma.

Obvious failure to actually be listening to me, while maybe for most people couldn’t possibly be a “trigger” is often a serious trigger for me, especially if that is happening around something where I am working on trying to do things to make my life better, and I don’t even get very basic levels of a person listening to what I am saying.

I’d really like to say more about this, but for now I am moving a little bit further in this list of things I have been meaning to write here.

Being a trans person

This isn’t a “mental disorder” type thing at all.  Though for me, I think it does very much belong here.  Because there are a number of reasons that it can lead to issues with dealing with the world.

This is something that might seem really odd to some people, I have had a number of people talk to me about how “brave” I am for transitioning, and how it is a “big deal”.  This can be a good thing to hear in a limited number of circumstances (I can think of two where it has been a good thing) and those cases have always been where a person has said to me that they found that seeing me, talking to me, and getting to know me, have allowed them to take on a big transition themself.

This is where I see things which are really important to share it.  I am not sure ever the “that person is so brave” is ever helpful unless there is a very good reason to say, “that person has genuinely inspired me to do something brave, and difficult”.  Being told how “inspiring” you are for me is even more depressing than having public displays of “inspiration porn” where someone who has disabilities is “honoured” publicly for doing just “regular” stuff.

My identity

I am not entirely sure how to express this.  I have adopted the term “non-binary trans-feminine” to describe my identity lately.  I “tried on” the term “genderqueer” which kind of felt like it might be a reasonable fit, but to me, it was just “a little to radical” for me to feel comfortable about.  I feel that in terms of my gender identity I consider it “just is”.  I see it is “not typical binary” but I don’t feel that there is really anything “radical” about that.

I have found that using pronouns “them/they/their/theirs” has lead to a number of people having a lot of difficulty even comprehending that.  There has only been one person who I have had use such pronouns unprompted, but I think that was largely accidental.  Ie. I don’t think the person was doing it to honour me, but rather to hide the fact that he was “talking to a woman”.  It was weird on far too many levels.

I think that really I am not really able to talk much more about this.  Even though many people think this is “really important” about who I am.  I just think this is one of the most minor parts of who I am.  I know that people see that “binary cis-gender identity” is the only real “normal” thing, and that it is “brave” to “adopt” anything different.  The thing is, I wonder if they think it is “brave” to be “depressed”.  Not likely…  But in my mind, those are very similar type situations.

So, “onward” to what I think is the last section.

Buddhist practice/identity

During the 10 (or so years) that I have lived elsewhere (not far from here) I started to practice Buddhism.  I know that my practice has slipped a great deal over the time, in terms of “formal practice”.  I don’t very often take an official “meditation session”.  But I will “drop into meditation” on a very regular basis (at least once an hour unless I am sleeping, but apparently I also meditate in my sleep sometimes (wait, what, is that even possible?  Apparently my brain waves tell me it is) which to me is really weird).

When I “took refuge in the three jewels of Buddha, dharma, and sangha” or “officially became Buddhist” I took on the name I was given in the session.  I use the name in my day to day life.

I am not really sure I can say much more about that right now, so I’m wrapping this up for now.