Thursday, March 31, 2016
Suffering in silence
I was being treated for Tuberculosis at time, something I had contracted from another patient at the hospital. I went home and took all the medication they gave me. When I woke up that evening I cried. When I was asked what was wrong, I lied and said nothing! Who does a 14 year old Intersex child tell about the pain they suffer in silence?
When I returned to school that Monday I was different, I had lost my flair for life. School was only a means to an end. That summer I tried marijuana for the first time. I didn't like it at first. It made me feel stupid, it controlled my thinking and caused hallucinations. But it was very successful at masking my pain. At the age of 17 I was smoking pot almost everyday. I was still doing good in school, so no one noticed.
Even though I still had regular visits at the hospital I started to skip my appointments more and more. Nothing the doctors said would help. I resented them. In 1981, when I was 18, I agreed to be hospitalized once more that summer. This after being hospitalized for studies every summer from the age of 10 - 18. The doctors told me there was new drug that could possibly reverse me being infertile. This was a trial drug that had no positive affects on anyone, but they thought it would be great to try it on me. Of course it didn't work. I was more frustrated than ever. I grew angry at the medical establishment, and didn't trust any doctors.
I never returned to the University of Chicago Hospital again, until 2014 as a paramedic taking a patient to the emergency room.
I abused drugs for many years, escalating from pot to harder drugs. In February 1993 I signed myself into the rehab, and I've been sober every since. I made a promise to myself that I would never use drugs or alcohol again. I knew I had to find a way to deal with my pain. I knew I had to talk to someone. Luckily I found a very good therapist, and I attended A.A. meetings regularly. For years I tried to be what the doctors wanted me to be, and what my mother wanted me to be. It was time I decided what I wanted for myself.
On February 17, 2016 I celebrated my 23 year sober anniversary. Today my life is filled with spirituality, and my Intersex community. I am on the Board of Directors of AIS-DSD Support Group (aisdsd.org), and interACT Advocates for Intersex Youth (interactadvocates.org). I work hard for both organizations to prevent what happened to me to happening to Intersex youths.