My sister Tanya just left. Jessie had invited her over for the weekend, and I said at first I wanted her to visit, which is very true. I haven’t really gotten the chance to talk with her in nearly five months, only briefly when
she came to pick us up at the airport and bring us home from the surgery trip. I thought, at first, that it would be good to have her around, but very rapidly I went to hell. Not things in general, but me personally.

Two nights before she arrived, I exploded all over Jessie in the local supermarket, saying all manner of impolite and unwarranted things very loudly. Jessie was understanaably shocked by the vehemence of my response, but zie did zir best to mollify me and keep me from yelling too much. I wasn’t happy with my reactions, but at the time I told myself that I was justified in my actions, and in some fashion I’m sure I was, as nothing I had said was untrue, though much was probably exaggerated.

Then Tanya arrived at the apartment, and instantly I was on edge. She didn’t do or say anything to make me feel uncomfortable; I just was. From the first moment she was there until Jessie told me she’d walked out the door half an hour ago, I felt completely uncomfortable, even in my own bedroom. It was everything I could do not to hide in the bathroom when we went out to dinner, and then when we came home I nearly ran to the bedroom
to hide. She and Jessie went for a walk, but I begged off saying my heel hurt too much.

This morning, the two of them went to lunch and I again excused myself, saying that I shouldn’t eat at a buffet while I’m trying to diet, which was the truth, but only half of it. I spent almost all the time they were gone in the
bedroom, most of it in the bed, playing Civ3. Then, when they got back, I hid some more, until Jessie called me out to come watch something, which I did for twenty seconds before discounting it as stupid and returning to my
sanctum sanctorum. After another few hours, Jessie came in to ask me if I wanted to watch a movie, and I said yes I would after I got a shower.

I nearly had a crying fit in the shower, and then when I got out I got back into bed and did have one, during which Jessie came into the bedroom and held me while I cried myself out, mumbling to myself about how much I
hated being this way and how I wished I could face interacting with her. I couldn’t even go to the kitchen for a soda because I was afraid of being stopped in the living room to socialize and the very thought of it made me
sick to my stomach.

This has been as long standing in my head as my gender issues, but I’ve been able to avoid having to deal with them, just like I did the other, by clever manipulation of my environment. I never had enough friends at any one
time to make me uncomfortable being around them all at once, and I would avoid every party I could. The ones I couldn’t I either wandered about the whole night aimlessly, stood at the snackbar and noshed myself into oblivion
or monopolized the attentions of a few people the entire evening. In the times when I couldn’t do that, I became the Grand Observer, cutting myself off emotionally from the scene and laughing cynically at everyone around me
scurrying about and partaking of their silly social rituals. Now, one by one, facing my gender issues has forced me to discard the barriers that I used to protect myself from my worst secrets, and this has come back to hit
me square in the muzzle.

Tanya didn’t do or say anything wrong to upset me. The problem was entirely mine. Five months of silence interspersed only with a few bouts of what felt at the time like her dumping her problems on me led me to feel like I wasn’t safe around her. I know that she never meant to hurt me, and I know that she was as scared of talking with me because of how poorly I reacted to her that I was of trying to talk with her about anything, but I didn’t and still don’t know how to overcome that. Every time I thought about trying to speak with her and explain how I felt and what was wrong in my head, I tensed up and felt nauseous. A part of my brain rose up in indignation proclaiming that it was her job to speak with me about the things she did wrong, and another part panicked and froze solid at the idea of having her speak with me at all. I became a total wreck, and the time I tried to force myself into interaction with her and pretend that it wasn’t a problem only made the feelings worse.

I’ve sent an e-mail to my doctor asking him if he knows any therapists qualified to deal with social anxiety disorder or if he can prescribe any medication to help me deal with this. He’s about the only one I trust other
than my mate right now not to try to tell me that either my gender problems caused my social anxiety or vice versa. These are both problems, and maybe they’re both symptoms of a third underlying cause, but they’re not related to each other as far as I can tell.

I just hope that I can find some way of dealing with this. It hasn’t gone away in twenty years. I don’t think without medication that it’s going to go away now.