Social anxiety/trust issues + Personal Relationships = ???

Excellent question..

To this very day still solving this equation. Here’s what I’ve found so far.

My social aniexty and my distrust in people go hand in hand. My trust issues cause out of place and what some would call outrageous thinking especially in social interactions and relationships. My thought process on how to deal with and understand other people and how they interact was skewed a long time ago.

…like a glass plate once it’s broken, even if you gather all the peices; it will never be the same.

It is a daily struggle and an ongoing battle for me personally but I have learned that not everyone is out to get me. For the most part. I still think unrealistic pessimistic outcomes in certain social interactions. But not as much as I have in the past.

One of my coping methods that seem to be working is thinking, “What’s the worst that could happen?”. It sounds like thinking like that would actually increase my aniexty. On the contrary it helps. I am an over-thinker, can’t really change that and working on the way I think is still being, well; worked on. So no matter how outrageous and non-likely whatever crazy outcomes my aniexty cause me to come up with I let them play out in my head.

Most of the time these thoughts are so farfetched I end up laughing at myself and realizing how ridiculous I am. Some more realistic thoughts however do require some soul searching. For example: a lot of times I find myself stressing about what people’s intentions are with me. So I map out exactly what’s the worst that could happen if they are in fact out to hurt me in some way. I pretty confident in my ability to protect myself both physical and mentally. So instead of just wondering I prepare. 

The downside to this is it takes a lot of brain power to manifest these thoughts without hurling myself into some kind of depression. I would compare it someone being scared of a rollercoaster. They watching rare videos of people in rollercoaster accidents. Then look up exactly how rollercoasters work, how to spot defects and faults on the tracks; fully understanding the end and outs of the coaster and mapping out all the possibilities that could actually happen should they decided to get on that ride.

“Now that I’m actually writing this… You know what, this will probably only work for my weirdness.”

So technically I’m still working on the answer to the equations above…. 

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First 6 months in my new apartment

Well well, never thought I’d get this far…

Let’s just say I’m like an adult cat , I can probably take care of myself but someone should be around.

This is the first time that I have lived alone for longer than two weeks in almost in a decade. I usually end up with a roommate or a partner. Yes I am aware I have dependency issues. Anywho, I am remarkable proud of myself for holding my own for this long without adult supervision.

Especially losing my job so suddenly back in late December. With less than $500 in savings I was pretty worried. I don’t normally live above my means anyways. But I did manage to let somethings go that weren’t necessities, like Netflix & my Xbox Game Pass. I work weird hours now so I don’t really have time for all that anyways.

Slipping into a slight depressive state for a  few weeks the end of January; jet lag from all the mistakes I made in 2017 most likely. I kept my mind and my apartment clean so and I’m doing much better.

Still have yet to seek out a physician to get back into therapy. But I’m still recovering from having to go through 3 different doctors in a year. My anxiety isn’t exactly telling me it’s a priority.

I’ve even used the open floor plan of my place to my advantage in my healthy living goals. I’ve been able to do more advanced at home work outs and even do a little yoga once in a while.

Over all I am very proud of myself 😊

“Wonder if you are too…”

Figuring out you have a manipulative partner/friend.

Something that we don’t talk about enough in the transgender community. Men & Women. Let’s be honest; too often we are seen as fetishes, trophy or the “trans friend” everyone is so proud to have. It results in wasted time, broken hearts and unfortunately for some of my sisters a lost of a life. Most of these issues stem from a partner/friend not truly being comfortable with themselves. So they manipulate the situation and perception of it.

The biggest and most dangerous manipulative situation for alot of us is a partner whom is not yet comfortable with themselves trying to reflect that paradigm on their transgender partner. This is detrimental to our mental health and to some who fall into situations with those who would rather take a life than admit attraction to someone who is transgender; is down right deadly.

“Being trans and pursuing a relationship or a friendship is hard.”

Taking being transgender out of the equation (I know not all of my readers are trans) having a partner or friend who is manipulative is sooooo stressful. Manipulate individuals use words and actions to cause others to react the way they want them to. Often times we don’t even realize we are getting manipulated. 

Statements like:

  • “All I want know..”
  • “But it really isn’t my fault..”
  • “You shouldn’t feel that way..”
  • “Well remember when you..”

Are basically avoiding the actual situation being discussed, redistributing fault, and forcing feelings and paradigms on another; usually the one that initiated the conversation. It may seem like the person is listening and understand but subtle words & phrases, such as the ones just started; usually proves otherwise.

Everyone is guilty of this to some extent, myself included. It is not always done maliciously but it can differently take a toll if done repeatedly. Especially if it’s brought up to be received as manipulation or several occasions and it is continued.

As you let someone in and they begin to understand what exactly makes you tock they are also learning what makes you tickets. How to push your buttons. Most of the time these triggers are learned subconsciously and shouldn’t be a problem. You should care for a person through the good, the bad & the ugly. 

It’s when individual take this acquired knowledge and use it to force you in to emotions or actions to benefit them that it becomes manipulation. Everyone, literally everyone does this! *To some extent.

Parents use it to get their children to behave. Companies do it to their employees to get to work diligently. Countries do it to get their citizens to comply. It’s not always malicious, it’s not always negative. But when it’s don’t repeatedly it alters the relationship and communication between whatever parties are involved.

So then how do you know when your friend/partner is actually being manipulative or just being human?

Ahhh, that is the part where it gets complicated and begins to be in a grey area. My personal opinion is to voice how you feeling, should you start feeling manipulated. It will be the person’s reaction and response that will give you all the signs you need to know. Also take into consideration how often you use words and actions to manipulate others and definitely towards your partner/friend that you are having the discussion with.

Understanding is key. Remorsefulness is the deciding factor (for me). 

Sometimes it’s a learned trait, adefense mechanism acquired through life and sometimes it’s just a bad habit picked up.

It takes someone who is truely comfortable with themselves to admit “I am being manipulative in our realtionship and I apologise”

How sugarcoated or how blunt you wish to confront said individual is entirely up to you. However, I can say from experience that sooner rather than later is usually best. No one likes to be manipulated into doing/feeling anything. Holding it in can make the initial conversation hard.  

My advice to anyone would be: First try to understand where the person is at in life and what is causes these actions. Then decide if you want to receive those actions as malacious or just plain old human nature. Lastly have a talk with them and voice how you feel and what you would like to be changed. Most importantly understand that no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes & they way someone is feeling is never for you to decide if it’s right or wrong. 

 A feeling or emotion is exactly that.

 I hope this blog has helped a least one person begin to understand and figure out which side of a manipulative situation they are on and take the means to correct it. πŸ€—

Thanks for reading!

Β Losing my job a week before Christmas…

Hey readers, can’t say this blog will be any good news sorry…

But yes I did lose my job a week before Christmas πŸ˜₯…

The news totally came as a shock to me. I went through so many emotions in the matter of a few hours. My stress was at an all-time high and my confidence in myself was at a low it hadn’t seen in a while. 12 hours in I found myself still somewhat flabbergasted but had already began the stages of grief. 

“It really hurts man. I thought I’d be making prosthetics forever.”

It was hard copping with such a drastic and abrupt change in my everyday life; my way of living. Already having gone through several life altering events and having mental disorders I did what I could to fight off depression and not go down the ugly cold dark road. 

My termination was not yet public knowledge but due to my line of work I had to somewhat explain to customers why I would no longer be able to help them. That was probably one of the worst things about being fired. 

About 2 days in I found myself snapping back and on the job hunt again. It was still pretty tough getting out of bed and putting on clothes to go out into the world but it was even tougher looking myself in mirror and thinking about just giving up.

” I got fired. A week before Christmas. Through a text message. On my day off. ” , Now tell me that ain’t some shitty type of luck.

As always though I had some amazing black girl magic to help me pick my self off the ground and keep on pushing. My moms, my sister & of course my girlfriend. My recovery time was way less than alot of the life changing events I had been through in the past. Considering it’s severity I would say it’s a new record. And I owe it all to my support system of women who love me unconditionally.

So it’s only been a 2 days shy of a week since the whole ordeal and maybe it’s the holidays or just me mature and not being so angry all the time now but I am extremely optimistic about everything Iman.

Thanks for reading.

*Special thanks to all those who knew and reached out on more than one occasion to check on me, I really appreciated that πŸ’―

” Whose hiring ? “πŸ˜‚

Letter to my exes…

No , no don’t panic. This is not a petty blog..

Dear Ex,

What we had was special. At the time, I’m assuming; maybe not. That was then. This is me now. For whatever reason you didn’t make it to this chapter of my life; but that is neither here nor there now. I came to say that you taught me something. Wether it was a painful lesson or a bittersweet memory. No, you did not make me who I am today but you are forever part of my past. Something that can never be erased only learned from. However the promises I may have made, promises that I intended to keep; are no more. The past is the past for a reason. Irregardless to the facts and circumstances that lead you to becoming an Ex, I am grateful for all the learning experiences. And I am overjoyed to tell you that I am not the broken person you once knew… 

-I am Iman

I am a sensitive little b*tch..

No seriously…

Since I’ve transitioned and started living my truth I’ve allowed myself to really become in tune with my emotions and my feelings. Either that or I transformed into a sensitive little bitch πŸ™„πŸ˜‚

Being that I honestly don’t give a shit about what anybody thinks and having self awareness. Yes, I am more sensitive since I’ve transitioned.

It came on gradually after the initial breakdown my very first time in therapy but over time I noticed the shift little by little. I still have my dark humor but certain commercials or scenarios on TV had my eye all swelly and watery. And I don’t mean those deep ASPCA commercials with Sarah McLachlan singing in the background with close ups of helpless abused animals. But regular paper towel kid helps dad clean up mess , gives big hug and BOOM !; here come the water works. Then it got to the point where I would randomly think of a happy memory give a little chuckle and all of a sudden I have happy tears on my sleeve. When people tell me something that a normal person would just go “aww” and go about their day I’m clairvoyantly in a pile of empathetic borrowed emotions on the floor.

Not once was I like “Men Don’t Cry.”

But I applauded myself for letting my guards down and for once in my adult life truely allowing myself to feel. Feel everything. Not just happy and sad but a wide range of emotions.

So eh, if I’m a sensitive little bitch so be it …

Let’s talk How do you feel about living stealth* #WhatsUpIman

First off, too each their ownπŸ˜‡βœŒοΈ…

And I’ve said this multiple times., Personally I am DADT (don’t ask don’t tell). 

I also understand when people live stealth for certain reasons like safety or comfort. Just like those who choose to live unapologetically out loud like advocates.

Same as those who choose to go through legal transition, therapy & SRS; you do and live how best suits your needs and what is important to you.

So I can say that this is going to be a lengthy blog because this is more of an opinion than actual facts.

“…Because there is no way that you can fuck up every day living so bad that you might die.”

However I will say this… Eventually,now that I’m older and “cis passing” way more than the first time I blogged about this subject; I can see me living more out loud then DADT. I have taken this into consideration not only with my recent career change which puts my face out there more than before in the queer community but also because I CAN live my truth. I’ve never been one to rub my trans status it someone said face or always bringing it up in conversation outside of context. But I am fortunate enough that I can live my truth safely and comfortablely. Which not alot of trans and queer people can say. Those that can seem to forget that someone’s , guilty as charge. So I do see myself living a little more outloud in the future 😎

-Iman

A year of houselessness..

 ’16-’17 was a tough yearπŸ™„

From being dead broke recently divorced and packing up what little life I had left and blindly moving to New York…

To battling homelessness, heartbreak, extreme social anxiety & a complete fear and paranoia that everyone was out to destroy me…

And finally relocating to a small town, starting a career at a job I love, being financially stable and falling in love…

From the end of 2016 to a year later in ending in late 2017 life seemed to throw just about every curve ball possible at me. 

It started going downhill in Spring of 2016 as I struggled to understand my transition and where I wanted my new life to go I watched my marriage fall apart and what I that was my life explode. Not to mention the affair and jail time the year prior still causing me an extreme amount of stress.

Between my confusion in my transition and basically having my life turned upside down I began wanting to run. Run away from my problems. Run away from my mistakes. Run away from myself. So I did. I started running, or at least trying. 

Found myself leaving my home renting a room in a area of town where know  one knew my name, closing off from the world, barely even seen by my roommates but I didn’t seem to be escaping from what ever I was running from. So I ran farther. I ended up it Texas. Houston I believe. Paying weekly in hotel rooms, doing temp work, doing an assortment of drugs & trying to forget who I was/I am.

Eventually I ran out of money and mental strength to deal with people. By this time I believe I started to slip into depression. I still felt my demons on my shoulders, like I hadn’t ran at all. So I figure if I’m going to be broke, homeless and depressed I might as well go back to where it all started. Plus Texas is fucking stupid.

So somehow up I ended back in New Orleans, Metairie to be technical. A young broken man on the verge of a self destructive path. Fortunately I was taken in by my gay mother that had adopted me a few years prior. She tried her best to help me stand but mentally I was a complete fucking mess. And seemed like the more she tried to help the more it reminded me that my life used to be so great and it was completely falling apart all around me and there was nothing I could do about it only made me worse.

I went from being at depression’s doorstep to being hurled through the front door. Shit was bad. I mean like REALLY bad. Almost ended up in a psych hospital..

*Takes bong rip

Reaching my breaking point and still wanting to run away from it all, when the opportunity came for me to be able to run away 13000 miles away I took it.

Packed what I had left which ended up being a army duffle bag and 2 book bags and headed to the Greyhound station. I had no money in my pockets but I know if I didn’t do this and let my soul fly I would never get better & I might never figure out what I wanted to be in life.

“…But Son, what makes you happy?..”

You can read my blogs from my 26hr Greyhound bus trip from New Orleans to New York in my “Road Trip” section of my blog. 😊

Of course with no money in my pockets and not knowing anyone in NYC I ended up in the shelter system for the first few months and then renting rooms and eventually back in the shelter system. Seemed like everything was still going wrong. Getting lost. Being Robbed. Freezing temperatures. Injured at work. Losing my wallet. Getting played. 

But I felt like I had some how found what I was running to. I thought I was running FROM my problems but I was actually running to my life. My new life. The life my soul was searching for. Even with all the shitty stuff that was still happening I was happy. I felt like I made a decision that made me happy. Of course it wasn’t all shits and giggles and sparkles at first or for the first 6 months. There was times I wanted to give up but I refuse to just go home where I had found what I almost died searching for. So I stuck it out and eventually….

Well, eventually…😎

An eye opener… New Orleans??

My trip back home was emotional to say the least.. 

On top of dealing with something I thought would be years from now I had to deal with a lot of things I ran from last time I found myself in New Orleans.

Relationships, places, ideas, dreams, hoods…

All things I left behind in my city , or so I thought.

It was all so surreal seeing the apartment I called home with my wife and step kids. Family that I hadn’t seen since the beginning of my transition. Old neighbors & friends doing the same things they were doing almost 3 years ago. Shit was heavy man.

Then there was the missed connections.. people I thought would love to see me, seemed to do everything in their power to avoid me. Only a certain amount of moving hours in a day.. I missed links with people I really wish I hadn’t. Wasted time linking with those I really wish I hadn’t. 

But what was the most interesting thing over this weekend was random conversations I had with not only complete strangers en route and in town but the in depth conversations I had with some people that I never thought I would have. Outside looking in would appear to be minor things, trivial; but to me were monumental moments in my life that reflected the amazing amount of growth I’ve gone through as a person in just under 2 years.

My total travel time was about 8 hrs there and just below 12hrs on the return. *Including layovers and early arrivals at terminals.

I flew economy there and back with short layovers in Atlanta. Not sure what type of plane was from Syracuse to Atlanta and vise versa. But the 757 & 753 to and from New Orleans was the bees knees. Way to go Delta. 

I still prefer buses over flying , maybe one of these days I’ll take a train for the first time. Plane terminals are a lot easier to me. Maybe because most directions to your gate are pretty obvious and simple to read. Or that the fact there was someone I could re-ask what my gate number was almost every 10 ft. 

However as a TMOC , TSA was not so welcoming. Leaving out of New York wasn’t a problem. No extra searches , pat downs or luggage checks. Butttt coming out of New Orleans was the exact opposite. The workers stuck to their story that the extra “care” was because of my type of identification (which wasn’t a problem 4 days prior) but it still didn’t make me any less pissed about the 1st, 2nd or 3rd pat down. The old lady opening up both of my carry-ons or the wierd selfie stick looking device she ran over the edges of my Kindle.

I kept my cool till it was all over with, returned my vans to feet and stormed off to my gate which I made by the skin of my teeth…

All in all I call this an “eye opening” trip moreso than my previous adventures because it is rare that I get to return to a part of my past with fresh eyes. My reaction to almost everything has changed; from my mother’s passive aggressiveness, waiting on the RTA, certain areas of my city, the type of people I (used to) associate with, to way I receive people and they bullshit.

Yup I’ve changed.

The biggest thing that made it all worth while is people noticing the change in my vibe: “You don’t look all stressed” , “Seem to be alot more calm”, “Nothing pisses you off anymore” …

All things I needed to hear 😊 Things that are most certainly true 😎🀘

Be on the look out for my snapchat Vlog (tried something a little different) coming soon to my YouTube channel.

As always, thanks for reading folks and I appreciate your support πŸ€—

-Iman

#FlyHighGeraldineAUNTGERRYJones πŸ˜‡

Living with bipolar depression and anxiety.

 

Or should I say “battling” πŸ€”

Either way I have been “struggling” with this mental disorder as a child. Yes as a child πŸ˜”. Sadly this has been an ongoing battle for as long as I can remember.

It makes life difficult but not impossible…

Let me take you back as far as I can remember;

I was around 5 years old. I had recently been told I was adopted by my mother. As a bright kid I understood what that meant but also as a care free child it didn’t make much sense. I only knew one parent. My mom was my mother irregardless to anything.
Going through court appearances & learning to spell my new name was trying but it didn’t affect me that much (or so I thought).
After i turned 8 I became what was; at the time, “a rebellious child”. My mother started receiving phone calls from the school, I was misbehaving at home & just seemed to always be the one that “did it”… But to me I was just a kid.
So my mom did what most parents did for an over active hyper child in the 90s πŸ™„ took me to a therapist.
And just like that boom πŸ’₯ I was diagnosed with ADHD and depression. I didn’t grasp what that was at all. I knew in the mornings I had to take a pill and at lunch everyday at school I had to take my medicine.
I can’t recall feeling all that different on the antidepressants. But the meds for my attention disorder well they did a number on me. Mostly for the better because I was physically able to keep still with out feeling like I was going to explode. So I guess the did they job.
Skipping a few years into the future I’m approaching my 11 birthday and my favorite phrase and answer for everything was ” I don’t care” at first it was shrugged off my mother. However by Christmas my response to what do I want from was still “I don’t care”. Looking back at in now what i thought was just a phase was a sign to deeper mental problems that would reveal themselves later on in life. Because when the rebuttal to my phrase was “Well what do you care about?” I really didn’t have an honest answer.
So that went on for more than a year. That was my first time dealing with my depression; not knowing exactly what it was at the time. Then the following 2 years were extremely difficult. Experienced my mother having a break down at the lost of her mother, the lost and abandonment I felt during hurricane Katrina and ultimately the lost of my grandmother weakened my strength ever more so. It was during this time that I could be honest with myself that I had a problem. But I down played it a chalked it up to PTSD & not having a loving environment. I had ups and down over the next decade or so.
Fast forwarding to 23 years old when I realized that my depression can in fact be cropping. It was in this 6-8th month breakdown I had 2 suicide attempts, constantly went missing for days & wouldn’t leave the house for months at a time. That was the first time I really reached out for help, professional help. Needless to say I could have used it 4-5 years sooner, but better late than never.
Can’t say this story has a happy fairy tale ending because to this day my life is a struggle dealing with the lack of capability to control my thoughts & emotions all the time and that’s putting it nicely.
I had another breakdown that almost wound me up in psychiatric hospital at the age of 25.

My mental disorders do not define me nor what I can accomplish in life. The do make up a part of who I am but it is not the biggest nor most important part of me.

I am Strong. I am Determined. I am Resilient.

Mental disorders like bipolar depression, PTSD, anxiety, schizophrenia etc are serious issues in our community. They aren’t talked about and even less likely treated or monitored.

So if you have a friend , family or know someone that suffers from these or any mental condition or disorder please let them know you are there for them; sometimes that’s all we need.

Thanks for listening..
-Kristian Iman