On my divorce with France - Part 2: One day, darling, you will understand.
· TRIGGER WARNING: parts 2, 3 and 4 (the two last are yet to come) make some mentions of suicide and mental illnesses.
· This story is written from my point of view. And, shall I add that, don't glorify the French healthcare system. They are entirely guilty of having left my father behind.
· A lot of events are depicted, as those cover the entire month of January 2018 as I lived it. It may be confusing to some.
It has been four years, and now I’m finally willing to talk about this. I briefly talked about this in He Fell from Venus, but now, I think it's time. Whilst Part 1 of this blog was barely a starter on what is very common to see in this country, now, it is time to pass to the main course.
This entire story, the one depicted in part 1, occurred during the Summer of 2017, it was meant to be a normal period, ideally quiet as I was planning everything for my final journey, my transition. So, I wanted to make it as smooth as possible, having a job, keep a low profile so at least it would leave me plenty of time to bounce back. During summer, then, I started seeking what I needed to do to finally begin my journey and find a solution to ultimately bypass those two required years of psychiatric follow-up imposed if you wanted to take part in the “official” transition process, the one that is taken care of in hospitals. I learned later on, by July, having frequented some transgender groups on Facebook that I could go through what is called a “personal journey”, selecting my doctors, this would also be taken care of in charge of the state insurance. But, this is into He Fell from Venus if you want to know more about this.
What I mentioned was, when I came out. Coming out to my grandmother came to her as no surprise, given the fact that “you’ve always been a girl anyway” so it was easier than I thought. Same when I came out to my sister, and I also came out to my father’s girlfriend, who was by then living with my father in her flat. Their relationship was strange, given the fact that my father was suffering since his car crash in 2001 from a post-traumatic stress disorder, which, obviously (we don’t like talking to shrinks in my family), triggered the beam of his bipolar disorder. Having analysed the black boxes now, four years on, we concluded that he was suffering from bipolar disorders. And since, within my family, there’s a common shared love for secrecy, he never admitted that he was suffering from hallucinations in the final years. Hallucinations are still allegations because it comes from my grandfather, and since he was everything but trustworthy… I’ll talk about him and his abusive behaviour in a separate blog probably later in the future.
Long story short, my father was suffering from bipolar disorders with psychopathic tendencies. When I was younger, at least after his car crash, I saw him from time to time drinking, to the point of being completely fucked up and in the end, being violent. In 2001 I was six, so at least the alarm of him having an alcoholic tendency was raised back in 2006 when I turned 11, and since even, the shit hit the fan: as a teenager, having two parents completely unfit for being parents, my mother started battling against him, misunderstanding that my father was suffering from this, and it went into many fights, fights in between of which my sister and I were used as postal services. From my father, we used to hear quite often that my mother was a whore, and from my mother, we used to learn various sexual details about my father’s performances. When you’re a teenager, believe it or not, it kind of effects you. There’s always this old motto in French that says, about pretty girls who have no common sense, be pretty and shut the hell up. Against the odds, it summarised my mother quite well. Even today as she is near the 50 years old stage.
Bipolar disorders, just like many other mental illnesses, and even just like many illnesses in general, must ALWAYS be taken seriously and you must have a serious follow-up of it, otherwise, things are literally about to go messy for you, and in the end, you’ll die of it. When unfollowed, and untreated, bipolar disorders evolve into different stages, but the final ones are mostly complete delusion and, in the end, the delusional phases are more frequent than the phases when you’re aware of reality, it goes mixed up and confused, and, as the party barely starts, it usually ends up in, most cases, suicide, or unfortunate accidents, or… death, in a way or another. Spoiler alert, in my father’s case, suicide did not occur classically. It kind of occurred, but not in the way you’d imagine. The problem is, what I’m mostly reproaching to France, is that… since you don’t need to pay for doctors or specialists, then, as this is something for free, you get the result of this thing for free: my father was never formally diagnosed as being bipolar. They always diagnosed him with depression, or nothing really serious, but only one doctor was closed to the reality. After a massive breakdown, in 2010, he was sent two weeks to a psychiatric ward. One of the doctors told my grandmother by then, “once your son turns 40, it’s unlikely that we’d ever hear about him again.” My grandmother loved hearing this thing.
To come back to the summer of 2017, in January, my father managed to rent a house away from Montpellier, which he left two months afterwards. His professional situation wasn’t that great, his income dramatically decreased, and he was spending more, more, and more, mostly on alcohol. When I mean alcohol, my father used to have different phases: in the beginning, he was able to drink and be fucked up for an entire week, and then go clean for months and months, this is precisely through that behaviour that we diagnosed bipolar disorders. The thing is, his phases of drunkenness and his phases of being sober altered a lot, but since we were ways too involved, we couldn’t see things. He mentioned suicide quite often but yet was probably too scared to take the step forward. In the past three years before his death, his various phases went mostly like this: I get drunk on Thursday, do nothing and not speak to anyone for two days, be nice to everyone for the next four days afterwards, and go back to that cycle again, and again, and again. He entered the delusional stage in January 2017, but no one has seen anything. April of this year, I temporarily moved to Dublin. June, July, August and September, I came back to France to start my transition. And working in that supermarket. My transition officially started when I started the first cocktail of hormones on September 27, 2017, at 11.30 am. In the meantime, when I came up, I didn’t realise that the worst earthquake in the family would occur. As a pilot, the worst turbulences were to finally come.
It took him a week, an entire week, of being drunk every single day, after I announced that I was to become a trans woman. A week later, I set even more fire to the rain when I posted online this picture of myself in a dress and heels on Facebook. At the end of these fifteen days, his girlfriend kicked him out of her house. And given the fact that he had also nowhere to go, he ended up at my grandmother’s house, living with me, and making, in return, my life a perfect nightmare, certainly at the moment I needed to have the calmest period in my life. Another detail that you must keep in mind, is his bipolar disorder. Without wanting, I wakened up the devil. His delusional phases went even worse, until this evening when we fought together (a real fight, with fists and punches, fight of which I was left lame for the next two days and had many haematomas on my chest), to which I went to complain about this. I went to the police, filing a complaint against him, knowing that…
Knowing that, when I was in Dublin, about a week after I settled in there, and also after the 2017 French presidential election (he was still traumatised by Macron’s election, which in a way I can understand… but it was mostly because I was gone), he got caught by the police on his way back home to be driving under the influence of alcohol. It was the third time it ever occurred. The first time, he was taken into police custody, but he just got a fine, and that ended up here. The second time, he was remanded to court, and the court sentenced him to three months in prison. He barely did a month, because, well, French prisons are so full of rapists and terrorists-in-training that, in the end, his offence wasn’t that bad, and, he has been released thanks to nice behaviour. On the third time (hence this time), he had a good lawyer, who pushed over the fact that he was recently diagnosed with depression, making this what is called in French a circonstance attenuante, (it’s a French word for bullshit unless you want to use Google Translate for finding out what it means) and given the fact that he offered to the court to start a medical follow-up, acknowledging that the issue came from him, but not giving any deadline on when he’d do it, the court was like meh, okay, let’s give it a try. Yet, he still went to prison for a week. Yes, that’s on us. Take this as a gift.
Then I came back to France, you already know the story, and, he finally started the follow up at the end of August, for a month. The follow up proved itself to be ultimately completely useless. Why? No medical protocol has been issued, even though, a “breakthrough” was made what triggered the bipolar disorder was PTSD. For a month that followed, he was feeling better, his mental health clearly improved, and as I started my transition by the end of September, back in October we finally had the opportunity to discuss this, my plans and everything. I finally had a month my father back, and in a way, I don’t know if it was fake or true, but he started accepting me as his daughter. His second daughter. Or, first, since I was born before my sister. At the same time, my relationship with my mother went to a stalemate, before going into an all-out war.
October, November, and back in December, he started making new plans for his professional life. He told us that he had a friend working for Orange, a famous French company selling phones and mobile plans, and he wanted to start working there. What he needed was a routine, it could only be beneficial for him. Until, back in December, around the 20th, when we asked him about random things, and plans for the next year, he laconically replied, “well, you will see…”.
And remember what I’m gonna say: if you seek corruption in France, try courts. You won’t be disappointed. There is nothing more corrupt than a judge or a prosecutor in France. Nothing, even a politician in Venezuela or one of those fancy countries. Even the mafia isn’t that bad compared to the French judicial system. The only difference is, at least with the mafia, you know you’re fucked from the start. With a judge in France, they’re bringing you some gel so you can apply on your arse before harshly fucking you. It’s gonna be painful anyway, but all the pleasure will be for them.
January the 9th, 2018. First, around the 3rd of January, I received by post a letter from the City Hall, stating that my legal name was formally changed, therefore I was no longer Xavier but Taylor Alexandra. Of course, names here have been changed. Around the 9th, for my birthday, my father called me early in the morning. He also called my grandmother. I woke up, already shattered because my treatment started and I was suffering from very slight anxiety, he called me and said, obviously after swiftly having wished me a happy birthday, “listen, I just received a call from the police. From what I was told, the kid of my girlfriend is accusing me of sexual assault, and I am to be heard very soon. I’m concerned because, this is all fake, but given the fact that I have a suspended prison sentence [I forgot to mention that when he’s been sentenced on the third time, he had received three years suspended prison sentence, therefore would go to prison if anything would show up], it’s not helping, I’m fucked now”.
The story was completely unrealistic. First, my father was not a paedophile, this was just… completely insane, but many things in his story made it somehow… let’s say plausible: we know that Patricia’s kid was everything but trustworthy and, in a way, they didn’t like each other. Second, this kid has a father who hated mine, and third, we were repeatedly trying to call Patricia, but she was not responding because she was at work, and later this day had an appointment with her kid away from Montpellier on the kid’s high school, and the fact that my father was a very good pathologic liar, in addition to which completely delusional, it made us scared. And concerned. To my father, thinking that his suspended sentence would sooner or later turn into a real sentence in prison was an excuse to completely drink. To me, everything was an occasion to investigate, so I tried to call his girlfriend. And, by eight o’clock on the evening, whilst we were already calling the lawyer to find out what we could do to make him avoid prison, Patricia called. Everything, this entire story, was a lie. Why? Because she didn’t tell us that for the past few days, he was completely delusional. It’s there that, twenty-four long hours started for me. I spoke with my grandmother, I spoke with the lawyer, I spoke with his friend who was also a doctor, and my decision was now made: my father was now to be stopped. I needed to find every possible way to stop him. Making him stop before the police or the law makes him stop once and for all.
By then, he was unemployed, and since he was working as a freelance, he had no contracts with anyone. He had no money and was mostly depending on the money I lent him, or my grandmother lent. First thing, cut the tap. No more money, I wanted to financially asphyxiate him. For those who have read On harassment and bullying, they know that I have some skills in manipulation and trapping people. I’m quite good at it. So my plan was this one: my father’s girlfriend was fed up and exhausted, she was begging me for finding a solution to make him stop. I asked her to confiscate the keys. Meanwhile, he was upset with me because I started to tighten the noose financially for him, and restricted his access to money, so he just had cash with him, and would not go anywhere with a few euros. At the same time, I asked for advice: I can legally have him placed in a psychiatric ward. So I called a lawyer, and he told me that… No. I could, but not anymore. Only a judge can approve my request, and it’s gonna take months, even if I manage to prove that this is an emergency. Unless I’ve got another person signing for me, which was still okay, my grandmother was with me, and I was like, this already happened in his past.
He’s been already locked up in a psychiatric ward and managed to be talented enough to beg his mother to release him from this mess. Yes, because, by law, only the person signing that paper is rightfully allowed to release him from the ward. Knowing myself, I was already planning to leave him, forced to undergo treatment for at least six months, and then I’d review the decision myself. I was the only cold-blooded person to have no feelings to carry out this. He needed this, so I had a lot of pressure on my shoulder. Amongst my ex-boyfriends, I called someone who was doing psychiatric studies and was actually near finishing his studies, and I told him the situation. First, he told me that doing this was not possible anymore. Second, he told me that, if I do not act fast, the consequences could be worse than they already are. Why? Let’s imagine he drives under the influence of alcohol and accidentally kills a family. He advised me to call the emergency services and explain the situation.
But since France is a country where the pizza comes much, much faster than the police, emergency services shrugged off and told me to fuck off. Even though I explained that he was completely delusional, even though I explained that he was a potential threat, and I was calling to prevent an accident, no, it wasn’t enough. Like I said, ask for a French to work, it’s a lot. In forty-eight hours, between the 9th to the 11th, I slept only five hours. So, in the end, as I couldn’t have any help from anyone in this bloody country, I preferred using the old-fashion way: manipulate him and trick him. Using deception. I was exhausted, mentally and morally drained, but at least, at the beginning of the 11th of January, he finally accepted to come to our place. And, here was the deal. “If you do not accept to start a serious cure, under Taylor’s supervision, you’re out of here.” It took us three hours to convince him. And, whilst he had a final moment of lucidity, he finally accepted.
It was getting harder and harder to have a clear conversation with him since January. During this very same period, hopefully, I was not alone. I had a boyfriend. We started dating during this period. Meanwhile, I was also on the path of creating my own company – my grandmother was by then a freelance retired house assistant who was seeking someone for taking over her customers. So, having left this company, and having some money to invest, I was like, why not? Yet the ongoing events were severely disrupting all the projects we may have, and the ongoing drama made that, it became the very last of our priorities. Once my father was “admitted” to hospital, on that very same morning, I remember that whilst we were in the waiting room, at the Emergency services (In the English-speaking world, you usually go to A&E when you do have a problem such as a sickness, broken leg or something – whereas in France they have also their psychiatric emergencies in A&E – after I don’t know everywhere in the world, but… from what I know, this is this) for four hours, seated on those uncomfortable chairs, we saw the chopper taking off on the helipad right before us. He took this in the video. He was in total confusion, almost reduced to his primary childish instincts, and deep down I was heartbroken to see him like this, I wanted to cry but, I couldn’t. I was not “allowed to”, as we needed to keep control over him. It is widely admitted in France that crying is a sign of weakness.
This video was the very last thing he would ever record in his entire life. A chopper taking off.
For those who read Free Expensive Lies, at the beginning of the first Act, there are the lyrics (Au dela de nos differences – nos coups de coeurs, nos coups de sang – a force d’echanger nos silences – maintenant qu’on est face a face – on se ressemble sang pour sang), it’s the lyrics of the song we were listening to when we saw that helicopter taking off. If you do not speak French, it means Beyond our differences – our moments of love and moments of anger – as we kept exchanging our silences – now that we are facing one another – we look like each other, blood for blood.
We arrived by 7 am, he was finally admitted to the psychiatric emergency by 11. He mentioned to the psychiatrist that my transition genuinely affected him, as well as a challenging past with his father being a dickhead who loved himself before loving the two sons he brought to this world, and, as a result of this, the psychiatrist (who was in training – I remember her as she was quite nice) admitted him for a few days. He also mentioned his alcohol problems and said that he needs urgent care for this. The problem is, whilst I wanted to have him admitted to a psychiatric ward, the French government firmly believes that mental illnesses are far from being a priority (Macron, what the fuck have you been doing for the past five years, seriously?), therefore, as a result of this politics, psychiatric wards are being left behind, and whilst they have more and more patients, they have less and less space to admit and treat them. And, he needed to be admitted immediately. So, first, you need to have “the chance” to have a competent doctor who will diagnose you for what you have. Second, you need to be “treated correctly”, from which two outcomes are possible if you do not follow what you are supposed to follow: either the psychiatric ward, under someone's supervision, or the second option. What is the second option? Keep reading, darling, I’m coming to it.
So he got admitted, but I spoke with that psychiatric trainee and asked expressively for him to have his phone removed and sealed and any possible communication way he may have to the external world shut. As such, he could finally focus on his treatment without being disturbed by anything else. She told me, in return, yes but you can’t do that. He’s still a free citizen. So I understood that the battle would be much harder than predicted, as, I needed to find a way to sabotage his phone from the inside. And isolate him. On the afternoon of his admission, he improved, yet when I came back home, first, I took a shower, second, I cried, and third, I went to sleep. I called my boyfriend, for an hour, explaining the situation, and surprisingly, he was understanding. He offered to meet in the evening, but I refused, I told him, I need to be alone. I was ways too overwhelmed. Things evolved on that same day, the psychiatrist in charge offered him a place in an open rehab, where he could cure his alcohol consumption problem, even though he’s been speaking to him for an hour this afternoon, he simply offered to cure this alcohol consumption problem. This is where the mess started.
Why? As a psychiatrist, you are supposed to be trained to identify someone delusional. My father was delusional, especially given the number of symptoms we gave them. We told him that he was a pathological liar, he was out of his mind, he created an entire story that never happened (this story with Patricia’s son), and he should have identified an emergency there. He had all the symptoms here of the final phase of the bipolar disorder, as he was into a complete delusion. But no, he said the alcohol problem was the priority, so treating the obvious problem without caring about the cause. A day after, he was transferred to a hospital in Castelnau-Le-Lez, a small town on the outskirts of Montpellier this transfer was made on my father’s terms, and not on mine. Meaning, that he was free to leave whenever he wished. At the same time, my grandmother and I called his employer, so we would make sure that all the possible contracts for the foreseeable future would be either cancelled, or given to someone else, which he did, but two days later, after having been admitted to this new hospital, the mess kept on going, he invoked some phoney contracts that he was supposed to have (even though everything was cancelled) that he had to honour, and thus, as a result, signed his discharge for the hospital. And since the chance we have in our Western cultures to leave dangerous people roaming around, and pray for not getting killed, he got granted his exit. At this point, my grandmother and I decided to take the heart-breaking, but unfortunately necessary decision, leading to that second option, as things were escaping our control: you want to leave? Go, you’re free. But don’t expect to come back home.
He was now homeless, jobless, and didn’t have any money. And didn’t have his car. There were just a few clothes with him and nothing more, probably a ten euros note, but nothing more. Our move was simple: you need to face the shit so you will crawl to come back, and then you will be treated under our condition. Instead, my mother granted him a push to get a car… and gave him money. This was a move that I’ll never forgive her. She knew everything, she knew all the problems, but my mother, towards my father, has never been benevolent. You know what I'm talking about for those who read He Fell from Venus. She always said that her mere concern was to bring my dad to his coffin. She didn’t know by then, but she was purchasing it. And digging his grave at the same time.
We don’t know where my father was heading for an entire week. As he went silent for this week, to us. But, at the same time, another drama, for my grandmother, actually started: her 96-years-old mother died, in Northern France. Even though she always said that her relationship with her was not really at its best, she still had to go there for helping with the funerals and the burial. Because her two brothers by then were unable to deal with that. A week passed when she had to go back there, and at the same time, we strictly had no clue about what my father was doing.
Until this day: 20th of January, early morning. I wake up, and take my phone: five missed calls. All of them are from Patricia. And a text. Do you remember that my father had a suspended prison sentence? “Taylor, listen, your dad has been arrested last night, he was driving a car whilst being drunk. He’s in custody right now, and will be remanded to the court later on.”
To be continued.