Empowered

Writing and looking at myself and shown me how much I let others have such a huge influence on my life, no wonder I felt so lost, confused and frustrated! I wasn’t living my life for myself! I was bending myself into who I thought I should be for everyone else but myself! WTF was that?! No wonder I completely lost myself, I was too wrapped up in being everything for everyone else.

I let other peoples opinions influence me far more then I should have done. I completely lost myself in my last relationship, they were older then me so I thought I need to ‘grow up’ but that wasn’t being true to who I am and how I express myself.

Looking back on those times I just can’t believe how much of a hold other people’s opinions over me and my own thoughts of who I should be and I should present myself to other people.

I let other people have an influence in my hairstyle, my clothes, the things I have in my house! I felt like I needed to be a ‘proper grown up’ But I am a grown up, I am just very in touch with my inner child and there’s no one way to be an adult! It’s so ok to be 35 and love watching Spongebob! Its ok to wear clothes that don’t make you look like a grown up! Its ok to be 35 and still wear Adventure time socks and a batman T-shirt.

I also got rid of all my build a bear bears, I got rid of all my lego (although I don’t miss that, it was getting an expensive and I lack space for it)

But over the years I have changed myself so much for everyone and I have neglected myself so much, I haven’t been living my life for myself and haven’t been living my life how I want too, I haven’t been expressing myself and my personality for myself!

I regret so much letting many different people having such a big influence over my life, for so long I felt so f*cking lost! But now I see it was because I wasn’t being there for myself, I wasn’t being who I am.

I am so glad that now I can see all that and I am absolutely living my life for myself and expressing myself exactly how I want too! and I feel great, I don’t feel lost anymore. I know who I am and I will never get so wrapped up and get myself so entangled with other people like that, I will find people who accept me for me 100% and don’t want me to change how I dress or how I have my hair, or that I still watch cartoons! I will not settle, I will not change for anyone!

I feel such a great sense of self and a sense of empowerment that I’ve never felt before and I want to share that with everyone, I want to help others, I want to keep shining so people can see they can get through their battles too! I’ve never felt so happy before like in my entire life and it feels so great! I can’t wait to see where life takes me next!

Peace out

Zak

Dealing with Grief

Grief is something I think a lot of us are dealing with right now, whether that be the loss of a person, the loss of a pet, the loss of a job, the loss of your sense of self. A lot of people have lost a lot this year due to the covid-19 situation, it has been such an intense year.

Loss and grief covers a wide range of things we experience and go through, its not just about losing a loved one

We can grieve over, divorce/relationship break up, loss of health, losing a job, loss of financial stability, miscarriage, retirement, loss of a pet, loss of a much sought after dream, loss of a friendship, loss of safety after trauma and selling the family home. But we can grieve over different things that are personal to us and that is absolutely ok. No matter how small and insignificant you think your loss is, its still ok to feel that grief, its such a personal thing and such a personal journey.

I decided to write about grief as I lost two people in my life this year and the biggest grief I’ve suffered so far in my life is the loss of my dad 9 years ago which was one of the hardest things I’ve experienced. Also a friend has recently had a big loss of a parent too and I wanted to use my experience to help them and others.

I don’t think that you can ever prepare yourself for any sort of loss, whether it be suddenly or over a prolonged illness. When that grief and loss hits, it hits so hard and I think what I wish I could change about my grieving process when I lost my dad was the people I was surrounded by. At first everyone was super lovely, so understanding and we’re all really great I couldn’t fault anyone but as time went on, people I had in my life at the time were fed up with my anger and depression and just the fact I was a complete and utter mess and this was only 6 months after I had lost my dad. It was like I was expected to have gotten over it by that point! The worst thing was I allowed that to influence me and I didn’t stand up for myself and I internalised just everything, didn’t talk to anyone about anything and just quietly dealt with it on my own, without the support from others who were meant to be there for me.

Do not ever let anyone tell you how you should feel and that you should be over it by now! because grief doesn’t work like that and I think what often isn’t talked about is that grief never leaves you, its always there like a part of you is missing. But over time whether is takes you 6 months, 1 year or 10 years you learn how to live with it, even though at the time you just feel so broken and feel like you’ll never be happy again, you will. You’ve got to give yourself time and the space to feel how you feel without letting outside influences telling you how you should be feeling.

After the loss of someone its ok to feel happy in the moment, its ok to feel relief, its ok to feel positive, don’t stop yourself from feeling however you feel because you think you’re supposed to feel a certain way. Just let those emotions flow through you, if you stop yourself from feeling however you feel, it will prolong the healing process.

Surround yourself with those who truly care about you and will hold that space for you, who will carry you through when you can’t carry yourself.

During times of grief self care is so important and so is having some sort of routine, but its also ok to do nothing. Try and keep up with the basic self care things like showering, taking medications, having a good sleep routine, even though cooking and eating is so difficult try to eat every day, get out for some fresh air, have some quiet time, talk to friends and family, try and do things you normally do and enjoy.

I like my lists, so writing lists of acts of self car that you can do daily may help to give you that focus and writing a journal will help so much for you to get out your feelings and help you process things and its just an amazing tool, especially if you make a habit of doing it on a daily basis, its such a simple tool but its so powerful.

Cry, cry a lot, you may find your just randomly bursting into tears and that is so normal, please don’t hold yourself back, don’t hold it in, let it out. I know when your start crying it may feel like you’ll never be able to stop but you will, you will be ok and you’ll probably have a really good sleep after. I don’t think I cried after I lost my dad till about 3/4 weeks after as I was just in shock and I just couldn’t cy, but once I did cry I cried a lot and for well over a year.

Sleep will be very hit and miss, I struggled so much to sleep at night. Especially after I went to see my dad’s body, every time I closed my eyes I saw his face. I do not regret one bit going to see his body at the funeral home, it was such a traumatic experience but I am so glad I saw him. He died very suddenly at the age of just 51 of a heart attack and he didn’t live locally to me so I needed to go and see him just to make sure it was really him. Even though after that I kept seeing his face I don’t regret it. My brother chose not to go and see our dad but its not something he regrets not doing, its very personal. If you think its something you’ll regret not doing 100% do it! because that will be your only chance. Take someone who can be strong for you, it’s such a hard thing to do but down the line when you’ve begun to heal you’ll be proud of yourself for going through that experience.

Back to sleep, so I struggled so bad with sleeping during the first few weeks and I asked my GP for some sleeping tablets, just so I could get through that first few weeks of stress. But after those had ran out, I often didn’t sleep a lot at night and slept a lot during the day and you know that was absolutely ok, I did what I needed to do in order to survive. Although as time went by I did try get back into a better sleep routine, so going to bed at the same time every night, getting up at the same time etc. Lack of sleep will make you feel so much worse and will make everything seem so huge, so getting enough sleep is so importnant.

I think that’s all I can really say about it, don’t rush yourself, feel how you feel, don’t let others tell you how you should be feeling. You will feel ok again, no matter how dark and sad you feel right now, you will see that light again. But don’t rush the journey, its your path to take just know it will all be ok again. You are so much stronger then you think you, even if you feel like you’re not, you so are! You can do it.

Always honour your emotions.

Much love to anyone out there who have been effected by grief, hold on, the light will always be near.

Peace out

Zak

Counselling – You are worth it

Hey all, how’s lockdown treating you all? I am actually doing pretty well considering that I barely made it through the last lockdown. Even though it is difficult I feel much more capable, I feel like in the past few months I have just grown so much as a person and even I’m like who the f*ck is this person that’s talking! I barely recognise myself but in the absolute best way.

This change/breakthroughs are down to my counselling sessions I’ve been having and I am so glad I chose to go privately, as with the NHS the mental health services are sadly severely underfunded and they have been for many years and the things I need to delve into will not be solved in the 12 weeks often offered. I need something much more regular, more in tense and I feel like I have more control over and I feel like my sessions are led by myself rather then my counsellor, which is how counselling should be. I also view it as an investment in myself, all counselling and therapy is an investment in yourself, because your mental health is so important and I am definitely worth that investment because I want to be the best version of myself I can be, so I can attract better things too.

I am in no way ashamed to say that I have been in and out of counselling and therapy since I was about 15 years old, where I first saw a counsellor at school. I was actually doing my exams when I saw her but I didn’t care enough about them to care about missing class. I loved my sessions, as I’d never really had that 1:1 attention before and that time in my life was so chaotic for many reason and to have a 50 min session once a week with someone who was actually listening to me was such a relief and she helped get me through till the end of school.

I think my pervious experiences of counselling and therapy served simply as a kind of plaster, to help me go through those chaotic moments in time. Not saying that I didn’t get anything out of them at all, because I did I learned a lot and I learned how to manage that chaos and how to keep surviving. But what I was unable to do at that time because it wasn’t safe for me to do so, was to dig deeper into myself and look at my trauma. Also I was unaware of the trauma I had, but as I’ve grown and as life has calmed down and things aren’t as chaotic anymore, I’ve slowly been able to gain more awareness of myself and boy it’s been a journey and I am nowhere near where I want to be, but I can certainly say that I am finally on my way.

Lockdown took so much away from me and without all the noise of life and other people’s input and with the help of an amazing counsellor who has been beyond patient with me and has been incredibly helpful and has shown me different materials on different things that relate to mental health and trauma. I have been able to really focus on myself and I’ve taken the time to step back and really reflect on everything and I’ve been able to see things with eyes wide open. I’ve been able to dig into the trauma which has been difficult with a fuzzy memory of my life. I’ve been able to really analyse past friendships and relationships and see where I went wrong and also see that I let people treat me so poorly without saying a single word. I now feel like I have grown so much and I am now able to be a much better friend and potential partner to someone, but I also feel confident in the fact I can put boundaries in place, I can speak out when someone says or does something I don’t like.

I have always struggled with confidence and poor self esteem issues and a lot of that was down to how I let people treat me, I let people treat me like shit over long periods of time and that just wore me down so much, that I had no self esteem, no confidence and no self worth. I so wished I could just live my live but be invisible, because I just felt so unworthy of everything, of existing. Which is such an awful way to feel. But I feel so much stronger now, I still struggle with all those things but I know that I am worthy, even if I don’t feel like it. I am slowly learning to be confident in myself. I know I am a good person with a good heart, something which in the past I couldn’t say because I didn’t feel like a good person at all.

Anyone who is thinking about counselling/therapy, you are so worthy of it! There’s no shame in needed it. It is an investment in yourself and in your future! YOU ARE WORTHY.

Anyone already in counselling/therapy and feeling like your not really getting anywhere, you will eventually. It may not be right now, next year or even in 3 years. But when the time is right and when you are safe you will make some huge breakthroughs and it will be incredible! Just be patient, it will happen, stick with it.

Peace out

Zak

Surviving lockdown/winter Part 2

I’m back with some more exciting lists lol, although these are a bit more interesting then the last ones.

I wrote two separate lists of activities and self care activities, some do overlap and that’s cool because we all do need to be doing self care everyday and I know its maybe an overused maybe wish washy expression but basic self care is having a shower, feeding yourself, sorting out a bill, doing some laundry all of that day to day boring adult stuff we all have to do is a form of self care. Self care isn’t all about extravagant spa days and buying yourself expensive gifts, its getting those most boring jobs done, because that is you looking after yourself and that’s what self care is about. You know changing the bedding may not feel like an exciting form of self care, but getting into that fresh bedding, feels so so good! The task itself sucks! but what you get from it is what makes you feel good.

I wrote down a list of activities and self care things as I’ve said before I’m quite a visual person so its good for me to have something written down. Also I find some days I don’t know what to do with myself and I find that so overwhelming that I end up doing nothing and feeling even more frustrated with myself, so having a list and a rough plan for the day give me that bit of structure and feels much less overwhelming, so its easier to decide what to do.

Here’s the Daily activities list

Walk the dogs

Blog – Try and write at least once a week

Listen to music and podcasts

Watch tv (I’ll often re-watch stuff I’ve seen a million times which helps ease my anxiety)

Have a day of total rest, do nothing at all and make a cosy resting spot

Online course (not found anything interesting yet)

On rainy days play inside with the dogs, bubbles, balloons, fetch and treat toys

Play on my PS4

Write/draw/doodle/colour/read

But don’t feel the need to fill EVERY second of every day, its ok to rest and relax and keep in contact with mind and body.

Here are my self care activities

Shower in the morning and evening if I feel like it

Make sure I get outside everyday for at least 30 mins no matter what the weather.

Take morning and evening meds and do my sinus rinse twice a day

Journal – Write every evening

Blog

Continue counselling (currently via video call)

Nap and rest – meditation and breathing exercises

Cut hair / bleach and dye it (I find cutting my hair and colouring it very theraputic)

Treat self to something I want

Don’t force myself to eat dinner or cook dinner. If I only want snacks for dinner or a takeaway that’s fine do it!

Do things that make me feel happy and good, don’t force myself to do anything especially if it doesn’t make me feel good.

Make a cosy place on the lounge floor lots of pillows and blankets (my inner child bloody loves this)

Or get comfy in bed and watch films on my laptop with snacks, pillows and candles

Don’t forget to reach out! Take time to message friends and interact on FB groups

Play with fidget toys (they help me to concentrate loads and just help me feel calmer)

Bake cakes/cookies or make bread

Don’t wait to long to take pain killers, take them when I need them, don’t wait till the pain is unbearable

Don’t force myself to be happy, let myself feel how I feel.

Keep on top of hospital appointments, blood tests and medications

Take a day where I don’t reply to notifications and try to not spend too much time just scrolling through social media. Try and do that once a week, just to shield myself from constant negative news

Feel tension in my body and chest, stop take and deep breaths and exhale slowly, do that a few times and slowly unclench my jaw, drop my shoulder and just sink into it the breath

When the evenings start t get darker earlier use the SAD light once a day to help with my mood during the winter months

Regularly wash face masks (I suck at remembering to so this lol)

Use weighted blanket when feeling anxious or just need some comfort

Take photographs and use clip on lenses

Hunt for mushrooms and other autumn things (my new interest)

Take a moment to stop and ask myself what I need in that moment.

That’s all I have written down and some may seem really obvious and simple but our lives and minds are often to busy that the simple things get forgotten.

The most important thing is to find joy in the things you do, even in the boring tasks.

Hopefully this list will be helpful and its something you can incorporate into your life to makes things run better, to maybe help you feel better. Obviously tweak, it change it and make it work for you, these are just my ideas and what’s been helpful to me, but won’t be helpful to everyone.

Peace out

Zak

Surviving Lockdown and Winter

I struggle with the winter months every year and every year the shorter colder days always hit me smack in the face, even though it happens every year. But as I was preparing for another lockdown, I thought it was a good time to include the seasonal aspect to it, as earlier on in the year I was able to go outside more because the weather was nicer but this time of year is a bit colder with more rain, so being stuck inside more can be difficult.

As you’ve probably noticed I like my lists, as lists helps me organise myself and my thoughts, so I wrote several more lists for surviving winter/lockdown.

One list is called Non negotiable tasks, now these are the things I NEED to do every day no excuses.

These are my non negotiable tasks,

Sunday – Thursday get to bed between 11pm and 12 am at the latest

Friday and Saturday get to bed 1am at the latest

Getting to bed at the same time every night helps with insomnia, so if you have trouble getting to sleep try and get to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

Get up between 9am and 10am (not always easy with chronic fatigue but I try)

Every Monday do up medication pill boxes and write down what needs to be ordered

Take my meds in the morning and evening and do my sinus rinse morning and evening

Have breakfast before snacks

Get showered and dressed

Get out of the house with the dogs BEFORE sunset! no matter how exhausted I am.

Now those are the bare bones of my day and things that I do every day and somethings are much harder then others but creating a good routine, especially if you have mental health issues, is super important as consistency creates a sense of comfort and safety which will ease anxiety.

A more in depth list I have is a Rough day to day plan (some of this will be repetitive)

Sunday – Thursday get to bed between 11pm and 12 am at the latest

Friday and Saturday get to bed 1am at the latest

Wake up around 9am – 10am

Do the housework every other day

Take morning meds and do sinus rinse

Have a shower and get dressed

Have breakfast (before snacks)

Walk the dogs – weather and fatigue depending – either a longer walk or just a shorter walk across the road. But get out before sunset

See activities list (yet another list lol!)

Walk the dogs 6pm – 6:30pm at the latest

Between 7pm – 8pm at the latest make dinner or order takeaway.

After dinner have a shower (but not every night just if I feel, cold and achy or fancy one) Put some candles and incense sticks on.

Sit down with my SAD light and journal.

Maybe have a hot chocolate/camomile and honey tea and watch a film or something

Take meds, do sinus rinse and get to bed. (I usually listen to a podcast in bed)

So that is my rough day to day plan which helps give me a bit of structure to each day, now a lot of it is dependent on my chronic fatigue and chronic pain, so I try and keep checking in with myself to see how I’m feeling physically, so I’m not pushing myself and so I can still get things done whilst looking after myself as well.

This may seem quite over simplified but when you’re living with a chronic illness and especially depression, things need to simple. I find having a rough day to day plan written out, which I can go back to look at when I need too, takes a bit of stress out of daily living because I can keep track of the things I need to do.

In another separate list I have the days of the week written out and by each day I write what day the housework is, if I have any appointments, if I need to order medications, make any phone calls, when I need to do food shopping, things like that so that each day the important tasks are highlighted. As I really struggle to prioritise tasks, sometimes I’ll get invested in doing something I really enjoy doing but the boring and often more important tasks get forgotten until its too late then I have to run around and get stuff done which ends up being more stressful then if I had just got on and done it in the first place.

I also have written down when I get paid my benefits and how much and I also have my bills all written out and what comes and when, how much, who its going to etc and this has helped me so much to manage my money! I am really rubbish with money and in the past I have gotten myself into debt because I didn’t know what was coming out and when and now along with online banking, which is great as I’m such a visual person I need to see my money so I can organise myself and again it just takes so much stress and anxiety out of it all.

As I said I’m a really visual person which is why for me writing lists is incredibly helpful and having those visual aids helps things run a bit more smoothly and I don’t get myself into difficult situations with money etc any more because I am more organised.

Being an adult and know how to manage yourself and your life doesn’t come easy to everyone and we all do things differently and for me a routine and lists are the 2 things that help me manage my life on my own and maybe at 35 I should be able to do these things with no problems but when you have over riding things like a chronic illness and mental health issues, simple tasks can be much harder to manage.

I will write another blog with a list of activities and self care things this week coming.

I hope you find this useful

Peace Out

Zak

Depression and isolation – Be Kind

A lot of us have been really effected my lockdown and many many people are struggling with severe depression which is impacted by isolation.

Now I know people who always say oh I’m always here, just message me, give me a call etc. Which is all great and really lovely but if you live with depression you won’t send that text, you won’t reach out because you’re so exhausted just trying to do basic things, let alone let yourself feel even more vulnerable by reaching out, especially if that person then doesn’t respond.

When I feel depressed the last thing I want to do is message anyone, despite feeling incredibly lonely and desperate to talk to others. The main reason for that is the black dog whispering a load of awful things to me, like don’t bother reaching out your not worth their time, they don’t like you anyway, you’re worthless, you don’t deserve to exist, no one cares about you, stop bothering people with your sadness, they don’t want to hear it… etc the list of just awful negative things that goes through my head when I’m really depressed stops me reaching out because I don’t want to be a bother and I don’t want to annoy anyone.

So if you know someone is alone and is struggling, don’t wait for them the reach out, as its unlikely they will. Please take 5 mins to check up on someone, it could mean the absolute world to them in that moment and they won’t feel so alone, so lost in the darkness by themselves, one message could save a life!

I know lockdown is hard on every single person no matter their situation, so we all need to be extra kind and compassionate towards each other, so please spend a moment just to check up on people who you think maybe struggling. You could potentially be saving a life!

Now is the time to come together, we owe each other basic decency, to make sure that people feel loved, wanted and cared for, WE ALL DESERVE that!

Peace out

Zak

Day 1 in lockdown – Panic/trauma response

I was going to write more about how I plan on getting through this lockdown, but I thought it was important to first share about how my mental health has been effected already in day one.

When I woke up this morning, my mind was already racing with a million thoughts, the second I opened my eyes and I had the urge to get up and start racing around and do all the things and fill every second of the whole day. But I stopped myself and sat for a min to check in with myself and how I was feeling and I was still feeling sleepy, so I got up and fed the cats, let my dog scrappy out on the balcony for a pee and had a pee myself and then went back to bed for 2 hours.

I felt much better for having a longer sleep but my mind was still racing with all the things I ‘need to do today’ just because I ‘need’ to have a productive first day in lockdown.

Now needs are often what we think we should be doing and its usually what we think we should be doing in order to be productive, in order have value and worth in this life! which is bullshit! We don’t need to do anything, if I hadn’t gone back to sleep this morning then I would be feeling really tired and irritable, so I NEEDED to go back to sleep in order for me to feel the best I can feel today.

Whilst going about my morning, having a shower, getting dressed etc I realised that this panic of making sure I fill up every second is a trauma response, needed to fill every moment to run away from how I’m feeling. I’m not feeling too bad but now we are officially in lockdown and I’ve had an email from the government my anxiety levels are raised a bit more today.

I decided just to sit down and breathe for a moment and stop busily planning on what to do with every second. I decided not to take the dogs on a big walk just because, I was feeling too tired for that and my mind was so busy I wouldn’t have been able to relax and enjoy it.

So instead I took them across the road, took scrappy’s ball and spent some calm time over there just slowly walking around and watching them play. I got in and sat down to watch the new Spongebob movie as I’ve been so looking forward to watching it and I got some snacks and really enjoyed it. I’m still feeling pretty tired so I’m really glad I didn’t rush around going for a walk etc because there’s no point in making myself even more exhausted then I already am.

Instead of racing around and giving into the panic response from past trauma’s that I’m working through in counselling, I made myself stop and slow down and to show this part of me that was panicking that we’re ok, we can rest and take it easy and that I’m here to look after and heal all these parts of me that are still hurting, panicking, scared, angry and lonely. A lot of these parts are children who don’t realise we’re 35 now and they don’t need to be scared anymore. But healing, it can take years to find the right thing that helps you sort through the mess of everything and for me reading a book called Parts Work an Illustrated Guide to Your Inner Life and for me its been revolutionary! I’m able to break down the different parts of my life and have a better understanding of where some of my actions and thoughts come from. It’s a book I highly recommend.

After spending most of the afternoon just relaxing, I don’t feel that panic anymore. My anxiety levels are better and I generally just feel better for stopping and thinking about what I really need rather then just following every thought that pops up in my head. I don’t think we do that enough, we get so busy with expectations of life and others and the swirling noise in our heads were just on auto pilot, so were doing all these things we think we need to do, but we don’t actually listen to where these things are coming from and if we REALLY need to run around getting all these things done.

This lockdown can help us to stop and slow down, pace ourselves and stop listening to the noise and try and figure out what you actually need.

Peace out

Zak

Surviving Lockdown – Preparation

As I wrote yesterday, I’m going to write up a series of posts about how I’ve planned on getting through another national lockdown. Now I’m classed as high risk due my physical health issues so the rules for me are a bit stricter, but I don’t really see many people anyway so that doesn’t really change much for me.

I knew we would be entering another lockdown at some point, so I started planning. The first thing I did was to buy a new notebook and start making lists, as for me I find lists so so helpful, it helps me organise myself and my thoughts and I also use it as a visual aid to remember things.

So far all my lists I’ve written have been super helpful! I’m glad I took the time to sit down and turn my high anxiety levels into something a bit more productive and helpful.

As I mentioned in my last post that I don’t generally keep the cupboards full of essentials as I tend to go shopping as and when, but obviously because I am high risk its been advised not to go food shopping if possible. I will still have to go in occasionally for things like milk, but I won’t need to go in for big shops which take longer then just picking up a few items.

I started by writing a list of categories,

General cleaning and house stuff,

Toiletries

Health stuff

Pet stuff

Non perishable food

And under each category I wrote down all the things that I would need to make sure I had enough off, to limit my shopping trips during lockdown. I spent the next few weeks and months slowly going shopping buying more then I normally would so I was stocked up on everything I will need.

I also wrote a list of, How am I going to stock up? Where I wrote about how often I needed to go shopping, if I needed order things online, what was the priority to get first, keeping a track of what I’ve got etc.

This helped my anxiety hugely as last time, because it was all unknown and everyone was stressed and it was just a super crazy time, I spent the first few months with sky high anxiety worrying about how I was going to survive on my own as I don’t have anyone to help me.

Having lists of even basic things like this, how to get myself prepared was a huge help and has definitely helped me to keep my anxiety in check.

This was the first of many lists, I shall share more in other blog posts.

Peace Out

Zak

Lockdown Part 2

It’s the eve before another lockdown here in the UK, it was something I was anticipating due to the slow reaction on the part of our government, but I won’t go into my thoughts and feelings on that subject right now.

I knew another lockdown would happen, for me it was just a matter of when it would happen. I just about survived last time but I feel much more prepared, I know what to expect and I know what I can and cannot do. I have also spent time writing a lot of lists and making sure my cupboards are full.

I haven’t been panic buying, but due to living on my own I usually by things as and when I need them, so my kitchen is rarely stocked up. Most of my cupboards and fridge freezer are usually half full, but the first lockdown getting things in I needed was highly stressful for two reasons, one is because I am high risk so going food shopping felt a bit scary and two it was hard to get hold of what I needed because people were panic buying. So over the the few months I have been making sure that my kitchen cupboards are fully stocked up with non perishables, so that I don’t have to risk food shopping on a regular basis and it has calmed my anxiety down so much.

Due to lockdown my anxiety has been sky high and I’ve even found it extremely hard to leave my flat and when I do, I don’t want to go far and all I think about is going home where I’m safe. Now I’ve suffered with anxiety all of my life and I’ve never experienced such intense anxiety to the point that even going out makes me feel like I’m going to pass out from anxiety/panic attacks. By making sure I have everything in I will need has made me feel so much better and I feel like I can handle this lockdown better then last time.

Also there’s a lot of online shaming around people who have been panic buying, there are lots of reason why people did it. It could be any number of reason and I expect anxiety comes high on the list of reasons. We need to try and be a bit more compassionate and try and think about the reasons why people have acted in the way that they have during this incredibly difficult times. We’re all trying to survive and get through this as best we can, we need to be kinder and judge less without knowing the full story.

Over the next few days, I’m going to write up some of the stuff I’ve written to help me get through this next 4 weeks and hopefully it will help some of you get through these coming weeks as well.

One thing that I’ve been finding extremely helpful recently is journaling. I write every evening and it always surprises me about how much stuff I have going on in my brain, some days I can write 1 page of A5 and other days I can write 8 pages, but I always feel so much better for it. I think people under estimate how healing it is to write, it has helped me continue to identify my trauma, my reactions to that trauma, patterns that keep repeating, just so many things that I’ve been able to look at and work through. I highly recommend journaling throughout these next 4 weeks, it will really help.

I’m actually feeling pretty good right now, which feels so good after spending most of this year feeling so depressed, lost in the darkness not sure if I’d ever find the light again. I feel like I’m not going to crash so hard this time around, I think I’ve prepared myself fairly well and it gave me something to focus on, took my mind off what is out of my control and I focused on what I could control which has eased my anxiety no end.

Anyway look out for some self care lockdown posts, I’ll get on it tomorrow

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a Trans guy

I had a weird experience on Saturday, I took the train into the next seaside town with my dogs and we spent the afternoon there. I was really nice, beautiful blue skies, the sun was shining and the dogs had fun playing on the beach with the other dogs.

We had a walk through the town as I wanted to go into my favourite Fossil shop. But as I was standing outside just putting my mask on a girl came up to me and asked me if I had gone to Ashdown (my secondary school) to which I replied yes. I could tell she was nervous as she was talking to me, she didn’t say who she was. It caught me totally off guard and I didn’t recognise her at all, no idea who she was.

I find this type of situation difficult because its embarrassing, awkward and kind of makes me feel vulnerable because I hated school and I didn’t really have many friends and also back then I was presenting in my birth gender. Which isn’t me, its never been who I am and yeah it makes me feel like oh well if I’m still recognisable by someone who’s not seen my in nearly 20 years I must still look like a fucking girl!

It just makes my head spin and makes me feel all kinds of shit! Because I don’t want to be seen as female, I don’t want to be reminded that I’m biologically female, I don’t want to be remembered as female! Because I am not and never was that person I was perceived as.

It’s something that’s been bugging me all week, mainly because I have no idea who this girl was, she wasn’t in my year, she was the year below me. But I don’t remember a lot from school, I don’t really remember people’s names, faces etc because it was such a shit time for me.

Most of the time now I’m stealth, I’ll still get called miss on the phone sometimes and very rarely when I’m out. I am a guy, always have been, so I’m happy I can be out in the world as male. But yeah situations like this don’t make me feel great about myself.

I mean I will never deny my past and my transition etc because its apart of my journey but I don’t want it to be my whole identity. I want to be seen as me, not just for the fact I happen to be trans.

Who I was back then wasn’t really me, I was trying to fit into a world that I just didn’t fit into and I didn’t understand why. I was trying to be someone I wasn’t, I was just trying to do what everyone else was doing. But that wasn’t a true reflection of who I was.

I am more me now then I’ve ever been before, because I am more comfortable in my skin, I’m far more confident then I ever was. I mean yeah I am still on my journey of healing past trauma’s but I know who I am now, I used to feel lost like within myself if that makes sense, but I don’t feel like that anymore.

I know its inevitable I will come across situations like this but its something I hate dealing with, hopefully as time goes by it will stop happening and I can just pass as me and not as who I was before.

Peace out

Zak