I just very recently gave Against Me!‘s “Searching For a Former Clarity” (from the album of the same name) another listen. It’s amazing how much I can relate to it these days.

In early 2010, I was hit with severe bouts of anxiety and panic attacks that sent me to the emergency room on five separate occasions. Never before in my life had I felt so completely as if I was on the verge of death, like I had some unexplained and unknown disease. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk, and I was in severe and sharp physical pain.

Each trip, however, resulted in emergency room staff running a couple quick blood tests, coming to the conclusion that I “seem healthy” and sending me on my way after intravenously pumping pain killers and mood stabilizers into my system (which would certainly wear off within an hour or two of my exit). Each time, I asked to be admitted, but was denied.

This, of course, didn’t stop them from billing me thousands of dollars for their “care.”

It’s beyond awful to feel like no one believes you, like you’re alone in your pain. And it’s at that point that not only did my anxiety ratchet up further, but I began to sink into a deep state of depression.

While yes, propped up by pills (Xanax for the anxiety, Zoloft and Wellbutrin for the depression, and Topamax to counter tremors), I was able to dull these attacks from physically destroying my life, I was still mentally dying on the inside. It’s this experience that caused me to acknowledge that the gender dysphoria that I tried for so long to ignore and deny.

But here I am. Hoping to be well. Hoping to be me. I never want to feel like that again. If someone struggles with that, oh well, to hell with them. I cannot be someone I’m not, because I’ve found that it will very much literally kill me.

[spotify id=”spotify:track:73aZslifiwiOVNZk9UM1B4″ width=”300″ height=”380″ /]


“Searching For a Former Clarity” by Against Me!

No, the doctors didn’t tell you that you were dying
They just collected their money and sent you on your way
But you knew all along, went on pretending nothing was wrong
You said I will keep my focus until the end

And in the journal you kept by the side of your bed
You wrote nightly an aspiration of developing as an author
Confessing childhood secrets of dressing up in women’s clothes
Compulsions you never knew the reasons to

Will everyone you ever meet or love
Be just a relationship based on a false presumption?
Despite everyone you ever meet or ever love
In the end, will you be all alone?

As the disease spread slowly through your body
Pumped by your heart to the tips of your arms and your legs
Your greatest fear was that your mind wouldn’t last
The coherency and alertness would be the first things to fade

As your hair thinned, as the weight fell off
As your teeth blackened, as the lesions spotted your skin
As you fell to your knees in the center of the stage
As you offered witness to mortality in exchange for the ticket price
As the lights blended into the continuing noise
As all hope was finally lost
Adrenaline carried one last thought to fruition:

Let this be the end
Let this be the last song
Let this be the end
Let all be forgiven