Pickles and Cheez-Its

Thanksgiving. A day for family. A day for food and conversation. A day for giving thanks. How did I spend my day?  Alone. Eating alone. Eating nothing but dill pickles and Cheez-It crackers. Alone. Alone with my thoughts. Alone with a box cutter. Curled up on the sofa, clutching the  blade; running it over my arms again and again. No one in my family thought to invite me to a meal. No one thought to even check to see if I was alive. Alone.

If they don’t care why should I?


A Bittersweet Dream

I have been rocked by a dream I had last night, and I can’t stop thinking about it. To give some context here is the basic backstory: I used to be married to a woman who had two children from a previous relationship.  My marriage ended when I started becoming more and more despondent about my gender identity. I transitioned after the relationship was over.  When I separated from my wife she cut me off from seeing her kids, and even went so far as to demand that I delete all pictures of her and her children from Facebook.

Last night I dreamt that the younger child, who is now 10 years old, sent me a message via iMessage asking to meet with me. I agreed to meet him in the parking lot of a Bel Air grocery store near his mother’s home at 2:00 in the morning. I arrived first and the child pulled up next to me in his mother’s car. This was the first time he ever saw me as I am now, not how I was when his mother and I were together. He completely accepted me and expressed disbelief that my transition was the reason I couldn’t see him and his older brother anymore. He told me that he missed me, and that he loved me, and wished I could come back. I told him I wished I could too. He drove away and I sat in the parking lot crying.

The dream makes me both happy and sad. It saddens me because I did truly love my wife and wish things could have worked out differently. I miss the kids more than words could ever describe. It makes me happy because I think someone somewhere is trying to send me a message that the children love me and miss me. It makes me chuckle a little bit because as absurd as a ten year old boy driving sounds, given past behavior and incidents, I wouldn’t be at all surprised that he would sneak out in the middle of the night and steal his mother’s car. I’m left with so many different emotions that I don’t know what to do.

Update 11/08/2015

I haven’t been writing much lately. Haven’t been doing much of anything really. I haven’t been able to work in two months because of depression and anxiety. All I do is sleep, sometimes as much as 18 hours a day. When I am awake, the voices are overwhelming.  I’m collecting short term benefits for the time being and have applied for long term disability (SSDI). I have my first of two exams from their examiners tomorrow. If I am approved for SSDI I will be eligible to start collecting benefits in February 2016. If I’m denied… well if I am denied I’m done. I can’t go back, I won’t go back. If they deny me I will buy a gun and shoot myself on the front steps of work. Even if I am approved I can’t picture myself still being here in February.

Yet Another Workplace Shooting

Readers, please note this is a creative writing piece, a work of fiction

It’s happened again. Another day, yet another mass murder at the hands of someone with a gun. This time it’s a middle aged woman walking into her work place, firing indiscriminately and leaving fourteen people dead in a small town most people have never heard of. It is becoming such a common occurrence that we aren’t shocked. So common that we aren’t outraged anymore. So common that it is hard to distinguish one incident from another. Instead of treating it as one of the most horrifying things to ever happen it only draws a heavy sigh. Next week or the week after another one will happen and the details of this one slip away. Sure, for the first day or two there will be the same talking points that are trotted out every time this happens. “It’s because of the guns” or “A case of a previously undetected mental illness” or “There’s nothing that could have been done to prevent it from happening”. Some talking heads on TV will state their cases, repeating the same tired lines, and in the end nothing will change.

What if something could have been done? What if people would stop bringing up the the same points over and over and actually looked at the situation? What if the shooter had sought help and didn’t receive it? What if she told every medical professional she came in contact with about the issues mounting? What if she had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals since her mid-teens? What if a more thorough background check would have been used to stop the legally purchased firearm from getting into her hands in the first place?

I’m sure most people would say that it’s not possible for the warning signs to be missed on so many levels. Someone, somewhere would certainly pick up on it right? Well, you would be wrong. The signs were there, and she begged for help. She told her medical doctor, her psychiatrist, and four different therapists about the increasingly dark thoughts she was having. She told them about the self-harm, the nightmares, and the voices. She shared the disturbingly violent things the voices were telling her to do. She begged and pleaded with friends and family for help. Most ignored her, the select few that picked up on her struggles severely underestimated the severity of the situation.

You would think that a proper background check would have prevented her from obtaining the weapons she used. After all, after her last hospitalization she was informed that she was forbidden from owning, possessing, or even handling a firearm for five years. Well, it turns out that these background checks aren’t very thorough at all. Seeing she was currently in a different state than where she was hospitalized last year the check didn’t come up with any red flags. Apparently in the eyes of the law mental illness does not cross jurisdictional lines.

All of the safety nets that should be in place just aren’t there. It is far too easy for a severely mentally ill person to hurt themselves or others. A mentally ill person who is aware of her illness and doing everything she can to get help before something bad happens slips through the cracks. No one took her seriously.

So when you arrive at work tomorrow and see all the police cars, ambulances, fire trucks and news vans don’t say you didn’t see it coming. When you pick up the paper, or read the news online don’t try and tell yourself that you could never picture her doing something like that.

I have been screaming for help for months, and I have been ignored. 


Anyone who knows me knows that I hate asking for help. A mixture of pride, stubbornness, and an alarmingly frequent inability to recognize when when I am in over my head often makes it difficult for me to ask for, or even admit to myself, that I need help. I am told that I need to speak out more when trouble strikes. So here goes…
I am drowning.
A mixture of depression and anxiety has made it impossible for me to work. I have not worked for over a month now, and subsequently have had no income. I applied for short term disability and have been told I am approved, but have yet to receive a payment. I applied for food stamps, was told I was approved for those as well, but again I have not received anything. The wheels are in motion, but the wait has been excruciating. 
Let me be clear… I am not asking for financial assistance. I am asking for your friendship and support. I am asking for a kind word and a good thought. I am terribly frightened of being alone and being isolated. I am asking you to keep me in you life even if it seems as if I am pulling away from you at the moment. I need to stay in contact with friends and family both near and far. It is far too easy to drift apart at times like this. I value everyone in my life and I hope you value me as well. I really don’t know where I am going with this, but I hope that the underlying meaning is coming through, even if the words are not my clearest.

Waiting and Worrying

I haven’t worked in over a month now. Because I haven’t worked I have had no income. I’m told I have been approved for disability, yet I have not seen a payment. They now tell me that I will get it later in the week. I currently have $7 to my name and virtually no food. This is not helping my depression and anxiety at all. I fear that if something doesn’t change very soon I will have to turn to sex work again just to avoid being homeless.