Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Two stories involving drugs

I have some pretty bad phone anxiety. And yes, I know it's irrational but hey— some people are afraid of bugs, some people are uncomfortable in crowds, and I get anxious talking to someone I can't see: that's just the way it is. So, a while ago, when I emailed the electrolysis clinic I wanted to go to, I wasn't too thrilled when they mentioned in their response that appointments could only be made by telephone.

Two weeks ago I finally worked up the courage to make the call. I already had the number in my contacts, so I could avoid having to dial it when the time came, (dragging out the process by dialling always makes my anxiety worse). It started ringing, my heart raced faster and faster, my breath came in short gasps, and then— voicemail. I panicked and ended the call. They did call back a few hours later, but by then I was hanging out at a friend's house and opted not to take it.

After that I was sort of kicking myself for having such an inconvenient hang-up (no pun intended). It seemed ridiculous that a goddamn phone call could be such a big obstacle between me and transitioning. So, a week later I tried again, but this time I enlisted some help of a chemical nature. That is to say, I did a shot of vodka beforehand; it made a big difference. While I probably still seemed a little awkward on the phone, for the most part I actually felt fairly calm. We set up a consultation for this coming Saturday.

In a very real sense I've been transitioning since I first allowed myself to question my gender identity, but this will be the first step towards physical transition, so I'm pretty excited about it. Excited and just a little bit scared.

To whomever invented distillation, thanks for the courage!

On the subject of mind-altering substances, I tried psilocybin mushrooms for the first time last Saturday. Prior to that the only recreational drugs I'd ever done were caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Like, I've never even smoked weed, so this was a pretty new experience for me. Me and a couple of good friends took a small dose each, put Heart's Dreamboat Annie on the record player, and just had a really groovy time. It was a very positive, horizon-broadening experience, and definitely something I'd consider trying again at some point.


  1. As a parent, and now a grandparent, you would hear from me "Everything in moderation dear!"

    Reading your story it seems clear you have followed that well, as the vodka seems to have moderated your stressful feelings very nicely. Let me add that if you had written this a day early, you might have saved me a month or two in a project dear to my heart; something a shot of spirits might have been very good for indeed (more in an email if you like)!

    I hope the successful outcome of this telephone experience makes it possible for you to feel less anxious on the next occasion.

    xx Halle

    1. Yup, moderation and knowledge are the key things I think. When my friend asked if I was interested in trying mushrooms, my response was, "I don't know. Let me do some research." I read up about them on Wikipedia and other non-biased sources, came away convinced that psilocybin was as safe a chemical as could be, and got back to him with, "Sure, I'll do a small amount."

      Ultimately, (at least in my worldview), my personality, emotions and sense of self are all just an ongoing series of chemical reactions. From that perspective it makes sense, as long as you know what you're doing, to exert some control over those things by carefully adding other chemicals into the mix. But again, moderation and knowledge are essential: alcohol can help with my anxiety, but it can also destroy my life, if I let it.

      I am rather curious about this project you speak of.