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I didn't intend for the title to sound like corny Christianese or a self-help expo where the unstated goal is to create more pathways back to self-help, but whatever. There it is. I'm not even sure where this is going— presumably to life? That's the goal...

I forget that things can get better. I forget that things have gotten better. I suck at talking my way out of emotional holes, or pits, or whatever. I can't just out and say what's on my mind. I've felt trapped in so many prisons throughout my life that I feel like stating the obvious is not an option. It isn't really obvious. I am mistaken. I am deluded.

As weird as it sounds, to me and maybe to others, I'm having to train myself to understand that this isn't the case. This isn't something I've had much success facing in the past. For much of my life I was so distanced from anything resembling myself for many reasons.

The biggest one was DEPRESSION, feeling like I was cut off from normal feelings, from enjoying anything, from things that could have helped me out of the freaking hole I was in all the time. It turns out I'm one of the people with the MTHFR mutation, which means that my body cannot create enough neurotransmitters unless I take a methylated folate supplement. Going without for so long made me feel powerless, like an ill alien presence in my own body, not being able to control my thoughts, feeling restless and unstable, like I was some kind of element constantly on the verge of decomposition. (I managed to fool myself and others into thinking that this wasn't the case because, well, it "wasn't." How could it have been the case?)

Right now the medication to fix this consists of a really low dose of methylated folate, St. John's Wort (because it turned out that citalopram disagreed with my liver) and CBD oil, which ohmygod did you hear cannabis is medicine guise? CBD oil isn't the most researched thing in the world, but it seems to mute the limbic system, which helps to steer away from emotional extremes, which can be a thing after going through a bunch of shit and having to switch medications so many times. Expensive as fuck but it works.

Another enormous problem that I had was that I was a theistic person who had no idea how to function as a theistic person. I'm not shitting people here; I've talked so many times about how I would write things about "God" in high school and then feel so fucking embarrassed about it, or want to commune the way I saw Catholics communing, or here just read all of this: http://mytheisticbrain.wordpress.com/ (Written without the right medication and on an imposed schedule but I'm still happy enough with what I was doing there and I should probably start again. Also, like the above, I managed to fool myself and others into thinking that this wasn't the case, because it absolutely "wasn't." Fuck, this was like the worst shit ever, close-sarcasm-tag.)

The solution to that whole problem turned out to be 1.) actually letting the theistic experiences I was having for much of my life play out and learning to exist with them — living in communion as much as possible because it helps so much — and 2.) making inroads toward studying the cognitive elements that make such experiences what they are. I have the strongest academic and personal interest in understanding what makes people like me feel called, and why people deify and have spiritual experiences. We see people who are strongly inclined toward these things in most if not *all* cultures, so there should be some discernible patterns that can give insight into how all of this can play out, and how people with spiritual inclinations can make peace with them without getting taken advantage of, or dealing with other pitfalls that callings can manifest.

Then there was also something that I didn't think was an enormous issue, but considering I spent a lot of my freshman year in college doing my best to present as male (and being "correctly" gendered enough times) I guess it *was* an issue and continues to be one. Anyway... I'm *TRANS*. Not male, but solidly in between male and female. Looking back I realize a lot of issues came from this, from an eating disorder, to intense confusion about how to present pretty much all the time, to male-specific cultural issues. In other words I caught (like a disease) a lot of toxic masculinity growing up, and had no idea what it was or that it was problematic for me.

Back in my day enby, or non-binary (NB), wasn't a thing. There were no openly non-binary people that I was aware of. I knew CAMAB (classified-as-male-at-birth) people who were closet trans women, but nobody ever told me that there were people who were somewhere in between male and female. The weirdest part about it was feeling un-feminine and un-masculine, yet feeling so much of both simultaneously. It would have been convenient to say that I was agender, except that my presentation felt so crucial. It wasn't that I wanted out of the gender game, I needed in and I had no idea how to express what the hell I was. (Except I kind of did express myself... a lot. It really felt good being mistaken for male so much, even when it was in the form of shrieks and laughter or weird stares in the women's restroom.)

Now I don't have to work too hard at expressing myself because my hormones and brain do it for me. My skin is visibly rough, I barely have anything on my chest (but what's there can vacate at any time and I'd be fine with it), and my mannerisms are solidly demidudely. I'm not generally out, but I'm not-really-hiding in plain sight, and that feels fine. I know a lot of people who knew me years ago wouldn't be surprised at all if I came out to them as non-binary, but not everyone has to know.

Anyway, fucking hell y'all I had some other shit luck. Apart from the mental illness, spiritual and transgender issues, I was kiiiiinda in a cult that set me up for serious shit as far as emotional habits and life events went, for several. fucking. years. The cult was one of those things that in some ways saved me from a lot of bad shit and in many ways broke me. I needed the experience to teach me about myself, but because the cult was theism-centered I associated the core of who I was with my cult life for too long after. During the cult experience itself I sometimes found myself in the corner of a coffee shop huddled over my laptop typing the words "nobody talks about it" over and over again. That's as much as I'll say about it here. I don't talk much about the cult anymore because I don't need to, and when I do I feel comfortably distant from it and mostly just sad that the emotional bullshit it instilled affected people negatively.

(To be continued later. Or not, I'm not sure yet.)

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chozomind

February 2017

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