Happy New Year – 2021

Hey, how is everyone doing? I hope the first few days of the new year have been treating you well so far.

So far the first few days for me have been fairly good, I haven’t set any new years resolutions for this year, mainly because I feel very soon we will be back into a national lockdown so it seems kind of pointless. Although I do have things I want to aim for and things I want to achieve but I don’t like to share them, or even have them written down, as then I am less likely to do it. It just feels too much pressure to have specific things written down, but I know what I want to do/achieve but also if I don’t that’s totally cool as well because we’re all still stuck in such a weird time and feels like nothings really moving forward very far. I am quite happy with how my life is moving forward anyway right now and even though I initially found lockdown really hard, I am actually really loving my own company, like I am really enjoying it.

New Years day was extremely quite, even though I didn’t actually get to bed that late, I was so exhausted! That all I could manage for most of the day was sleeping and resting, not a terrible way to spend the first day of the new year though. But I did cook up the rest of the veg I had left over from Christmas so it didn’t go to waste, the last of which I will have tonight for dinner, can’t beat a good roast dinner!

Yesterday I did the housework and took the dogs for a walk around the Quay, which I forced myself to do, as it was cold and I was exhausted. But with fatigue its such a catch 22 situation, the less I do the more I’m exhausted but on the flip side if I do too much, I’m also exhausted! So I am making a conscious effort to try and walk a little more every day and try and build my energy levels back up a bit. It’s going to be hard but I’ve done it before, however I am fighting against a under active thyroid as well at the moment, so it may not go quite to plan.

After our walk, I got in and had a rest for a bit before cracking on with some paperwork for my disability benefits. The form filling service needed some information before the phone call, which will help with filling it in, so I spent 2 hours sorting through everything and writing down all the information they needed. I hate sorting through this crap, its so emotionally exhausting and draining!

I treated myself to a Pizza hut for dinner, as I was just too tired to cook or even think about cooking. I had a nice surprise and my friend B video called me, which was lovely as we’d not done that in years! We spent about an hour and a half catching up which was really lovely.

After my video call, it was back to finishing off sorting through the paperwork and I emailed the form filling service with all the information they wanted and holy shit! I felt so much better for having that all done and sorted! The benefits process is so long and draining, but I am so glad I am not doing it alone, because I would just put it off till the last second! Because I hate it so much!

I was so tired after all that I decided to get ready for bed and watched the Simpsons curled up in bed with my 4 fur babies, a perfect way to end a productive day.

Today has been a pretty good day and I am really proud of myself! It was so hard to get going, as its been so cold and grey today, I mean when isn’t it in the UK LOL! But it does make it much harder to get motivated to want to do anything.

I did eventually get myself up, showered, dressed and fed I had peanut butter and honey porridge which I am obsessed with! So tasty and filling. I then got the dogs ready and took them across the road for a run around, Foxy wasn’t overly impressed because she was getting cold. She did what she needed to do and she was done lol. We went back home and the whole time I was trying to decided whether or not to take Scrappy out for a longer walk on his own, but that meant walking further from home… which is something I have been really struggling to do.

We got in and I was going back and forth in my head and decided fuck it! I’m not doing this for me, I’m doing it because Scrappy loves going for long walks and being by the sea. So we went… I did nearly have a panic attack as we got further away from home but I managed to control it and carry on. Once we got down to the sea I felt so much better, I was still feeling a bit tense but I tried to focus on taking pictures and playing fetch with Scrappy. I was just trying to enjoy the moment and watching Scrappy run, play and swim always helps. He’s always so happy whatever he’s doing and that always makes me smile.

I had a great walk with my boy, all be it a chilly walk lol and I am SO proud of myself for pushing myself to get out and not turning back when the panic attack kicked it, but it did not win! We got back in and I made myself a nice cuppa to warm up and curled up on the sofa with a film.

I didn’t come on the laptop to blog initially… but here we are! I still have a few bits to sort out for my disability benefits, which is actually what I came on here to do. I need copies of all the information I need to send, but I still have this evening and tomorrow that I can sort that stuff out. It’s not too much of a rush to get done.

I’m actually feeling pretty good, that walk did me the world of good and also getting so much sorted regarding my disability benefits, I feel like I have some sort of control over the situation.

Life under lockdown has been far from easy but I am so proud that I’ve been able to mange and handle all the change and deal with everything its thrown at me and taken away from and I’ve still come out fighting and smiling. Although some days it does and has gotten the better of me but I mean that’s the nature of living with chronic depression that would happen in any situation. I don’t think my younger self would have been able to deal with this at all, I definitely think that a younger me would have given up, because younger me needed to be around other people to feel like a valid human. Me now at age 35 (very nearly 36) has finally realised that the only person that I need to be happy with is myself, I am the only one I will have a life long relationship with, so it better be a good one! I am valid, worthy and loved all by myself! I don’t need outside validation for that anymore, I know exactly who I am now and I am freaking awesome! I am happy on my own and I know whatever else is thrown at me, I am capable of dealing with on my own.

Here’s a few pictures from the first few days of this year

That’s all for now,

Peace out

Zak

Christmas and New Year 2020 Round up

Wow what can I say about this year… It certainly has been a wild ride, I’ve had to learn how to adapt quickly to new situations and be ok with the things that are completely out of my control and I’ve had to learn how to be ok completely on my own, which has been incredibly hard but interesting.

I’ll jump back to Christmas before continuing with the round up of the year. I thankfully was able to spend Christmas and Boxing Day with my friend, which was good fun. I got some great presents, I cooked a delicious roast dinner, we went for a walk, watched movies, ate and played games. I really had a good time, it was very much needed after such a crazy year.

Yesterday it was announced that we are now in Tier 4 which means sadly my friend can’t come over for New Years.. but thank god for technology! We’ll still be able to chat which won’t be the same but it’s the safest way.

Oh on the 19th Dec disability benefits decided to send me assessment forms! Absolute assholes! They’ve got to be back for 13th Jan, which just isn’t long enough. So I rang up for a time extension.. although its not much better and I booked myself in for a form filling service because I’m not doing it myself, its just too stressful. So all I really need to do now it gather evidence to send off with my assessments. I really don’t understand why they’re assessing me every 2 years, its not like I’m suddenly going to be healed! But whatever… they’ve extended my money until Oct 2021 so hopefully non of my payments will stop which will take a lot of stress out of the situation… But yeah URGH! they suck!

Speaking of my health, this year it has definitely got worse. I not only have Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis, but I have high blood pressure and borderline under active thyroid… and my fatigue has been so bad that my whole body sometimes feels like jelly and I feel so shaky and sick. My fatigue hasn’t been this bad in years and its just so awful, whatever I do I have to have a sit down and rest afterwards, which is really frustrating. I can’t even really explain how bad my fatigue is some days, but I really hate it so much.

Other then all of that I’m actually mentally feeling alright, I’m getting used to being on my own for very long periods of time, not being able to just go out and do anything. It doesn’t really bother me now, earlier on in the year the lockdown and all the change that came with it was extremely stressful because I wasn’t really sure what was happening, what I was/wasn’t allowed to do. But now I feel like I’m more settled, I’m used to not doing the things I would usually do and being home more. I mean in the winter I’m home more then I would be in the summer anyway, so its not so bad. Although there doesn’t really seem to be an end of this in sight just yet, but I’m sure at some point in the new year life can slowly start getting back to normal.

It’s not easy everyday though, some days I’m still finding thigs really difficult. Even simple things like making breakfast feels like a mammoth task, but I do what I always do and just push through. However I am trying to sit more and try and really concentrate on connecting with how I’m feeling because pushing through regardless is easy but doesn’t always acknowledge what you really need/want and can make how I’m feeling worse. So I do try and connect with myself to see how I’m feeling and what I need in that moment. Most of the time what I need is a nap lol! which is easy enough and its actually a good way to have a little break from everything.

I think overall this year has been a good one, despite the strange circumstances that we’ve all found ourselves in this year.

I like a lot of people have experienced loss this year, I lost a friend to Covid-19 and my stepdad also passed away this year, which I don’t think the grief for either has entirely hit me yet, but I think that’s been my brains way of protecting me in order to get through these times safely. I think the sadness and grief has come out when I’ve watched a movie that’s made me cry, which happens quite often as I’m a sensitive soul but that’s ok.

I’ve made huge progress through counselling which I am so proud of! I feel like I can tackle any friendship/relationship and relationship with myself in a much more healthy way and finally healing those deep routed trauma’s, which feels good.

I feel like I’ve changed so much in just 12 months, I am unapologetically myself and I am confident in who I am now and that feels good. For the first time ever I know myself, I listen to myself, I know what I want and need and I know what I won’t put up with and I don’t feel guilty for asking to be treated better. I don’t feel embarrassed to be seen or even to exist, I feel solid.

So 2021, I have no idea what this year will bring and I’m not going into the new year with any resolutions. But I am going to continue to heal and continue on this journey with myself.

That’s it really, see ya all in the New Year.

Stay safe

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

Transition update – Week 41 on T

Its so strange how things can change for the better in a second. I’m feeling so much better then I have done over the past few months. My financial situation is finally sorted and I got a back payment. Its such a weight off my shoulders, I feel like I can breathe again.

I’ve not spent all the money yet and what I have bought so far has been an investment of sorts. I’ve booked a short holiday in Devon with a friend, I’m super excited as I’ve not been on holiday for about 10 years. I booked to see Eminem in July! with my best friend, we are super excited for this. I got myself a Nintendo switch, a tattoo session and a new hoover. I intend on doing an online course and get my passport sorted. So I feel its not been a waste, I’ve actually got stuff to show for it this time around. So I’m quite proud of myself, as I’m not the best with money lol! I’ve also paid off the people I owed money too, so that felt good.

So I feel right now that my mental health is much better then it was, I’ve had a few anxiety attacks but there’s been a real reason behind them and not just anxiety for no reason. I feel back to myself again, I can enjoy life again rather then just trying to survive. I’m looking forward to the future rather then dreading it. I’m 100% committed to moving forward and bettering myself, I don’t want to be stuck in this place forever. I feel like apart from the transition and coming out as trans, nothing else has really moved forward in the last 5 years or so and I feel now is the time to do something more worthwhile. I’m not going to dive into anything, just small steps, small changes and things will start moving.

Transition stuff is going ok, I had my fasting blood test this morning to check my T levels and then I had my injection. I’ve got to have another fasting blood test next week and then hopefully I’ll get the results before I go away. I’m still not 100% that my levels are right as the last 3 weeks my emotions have been all over the place and I’ve found it really hard to hold myself together. Part of it has been high stress levels but I also think some of it is hormonal as well. Its a waiting game and I realise it takes time to get theses things right and I know it will be an ongoing thing.

Gender dysphoria has been ok-ish and its been manageable. Some days its easier to deal with but other days its so much harder. It makes me feel anxious, agitated which makes me detach and disassociate. I intend on trying to ground myself daily in order to help me deal with the gender dysphoria and disassociation. I’ve been writing in my journal again and that’s helped me express how I feel daily and its been helpful to look back on it and reflect on how I’ve dealt with things and how I’ve been feeling. I also intend on looking after myself and my needs again properly as I’ve let the self care side slip a bit, so I have made a promise to myself to put myself first.

That’s all for now 🙂

Week 41 on T

^ This weeks picture

^ This weeks video

Peace out

Zak

Transition update – Week 38 on T

I don’t really have much to write today… I don’t really know what to write or even say.

Not feeling great today, am so stressed out with my whole benefits saga.. I hate having no money, I’m having to sell stuff just to get by and this week is no different.

This is all impacting on everything else, I’ve put on a stone in weight which makes me feel like shit! Which in turn is making the dysphoria worse because all the weights gone to my stomach and chest. I feel so fed up…. I have to keep pushing through but I’m so tired of forcing myself to get up every day and just fake it, its exhausting.

I’m over this is all… hopefully the money thing will be sorted soon-ish… but its not soon enough.

Oh I get my next testosterone shot tomorrow so that’s one thing to look forward too..

Week 38 on T

^ This weeks picture

^ This weeks video

Peace out

Zak

Transition update – Week 37 on T

I’ve had a pretty good week this week, despite money still being tight and the uncertainty of being able to get through financially, I’m feeling fairly calm and quite positive.

The only changes really this week have been my voice is continuing to change which is really cool and still getting hairy everywhere. Tops of my thighs the hair is getting longer and darker and same with my chest and stomach. I’m fairly happy with my transition so far, my next testosterone injection is next Wednesday, so I’m looking forward to that as always.

I had a really good bank holiday weekend, I went to the beach with a friend where I was really brave. I spent the whole time sat in the vest top, binder and my boxers, because it was so hot I had to pretty much strip off, but I felt really confident and comfortable. No one said anything, no one was staring at me. It felt good to just be able to be myself and be comfortable sat out in the sun and enjoying it, rather then feeling anxious and uncomfortable.

So I’m super proud of myself for just accepting my body as it is and being able to just sit in my vest and boxers and being totally comfortable. Its definitely not something I would have done last summer.

I’ve made these steps by just doing them and not thinking to much about it. But I haven’t pushed myself, I’ve done these things like shaving, wearing my binder, wearing a vest top because they felt right and I felt good about it. I’ve not pushed myself at all, which is why I’ve been able to do these things with less stress and anxiety. Its also important to acknowledge these big steps and reward yourself and congratulate yourself. Its important to recognise the positive steps forward, so you have something to look back on when you’re struggling and when the gender dysphoria is bad.

It is possible to feel good about yourself and have gender dysphoria, there is hope!

Week 37 on T

^ This weeks picture

^ This weeks video

Peace out

Zak

Transition update – Week 36 on T

Today I finally got around to doing a voice comparison video! woohoo! I’ve been meaning to do it for a while, but my throat has been really sore today, I keep having to clear my throat and my voice sounds a lot different, to me anyway it does. I can’t believe how different my voice sounds! Its so crazy but really cool.

Apart from my voice I’ve not really had any other changes, just getting more hairy and horny lol!

I’ve been quite busy and I haven’t really had much of a chance to sit and just be, which is cool but I haven’t really been able to check in with myself as much, as at the moment I’m always planning on how I’m going to get by money wise fortnight to fortnight. I’ve not really been able to be in the moment as much.

I’m still in the middle of sorting all my benefits stuff out… I gotta email some stuff off tonight and hopefully it won’t take too long for the charity I’m using to put together my MR for PIP. I want it over with now, its so stressful.

I’ve been getting a bit of dysphoria, but its not been too bad. Its been manageable, although I’ve figured that sometimes when I feel dizzy its because I’m disassociating. It makes me feel really weird, like I’m not real, everything else isn’t real… and then I feel dizzy and wobbly. When it happens I just try and focus on something, which isn’t always easy but it does help a bit.

Self care helps with the dysphoria, things I like to do are –

Napping, eating, binge watching tv, playing with my dogs, walking, housework, being with close friends, meditation, singing, listening to music…the list goes on.

Other self care includes making sure I’ve eaten decent meals, paid bills, that I’ve got enough money, taking my meds, housework, laundry..etc boring self care stuff but essential.

 

Week 36 on T

^ This weeks picture

^ This weeks video

^ Finally got around to doing a voice comparison video.

Peace out

Zak

Transition update – Week 35 on T

This week has been full of ups and downs but I’ve made some huge steps forward, which feels so awesome! I’m so proud of myself.

I’ll get the non transition stuff out of the way first. Its been a pretty hard week, I’ve had so much stuff to sort out and its been really difficult and overwhelming. Yesterday I wrote out a list of everything I needed to do and just went through it bit by bit sorting through everything. I felt so much better for it, I’ve still got a few things to do but I’ve made a good start. Things are slowly coming together, I’m still in the middle of sorting out my benefits and money is still really tight but hey I’m still here, still fighting.

Transition stuff has been pretty exciting this week and I’m really proud of myself. Last week it was quite hot for a couple of days, usually it makes me really anxious and makes me gender dysphoria really bad. But on this particular day I was feeling pretty good and confident so I wore my shorts out, which is the first time since starting testosterone. I had my hairy legs on show and I did feel a bit anxious while I was out but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The next day I went out for the day with friends and we went to the beach, again I wore my shorts but I was feeling a bit self conscious about my chest so I decided to try on my chest binder I bought a year or so ago. Its a high impact sports bra, but since I bought it I’ve lost weight, so it fits much better. After yesterday I was feeling really good and I decided to go out and wear my binder all day. It felt really comfortable and I felt less self conscious. I just felt good, I felt more like myself. I felt really confident, which is really weird for me. So yes big steps and I’m so proud of myself. Pics below are of my hairy legs in shorts and me in my binder.

I got my T shot tomorrow, I’m looking forward to that. Over all just feeling good, despite all the stuff I’ve got going on.

Week 35 on T

^ This weeks picture

^ This weeks video

That’s all for this week!

Peace out

Zak

Transition update – Week 34 on T

Its been another week on testosterone and again its just flown by, I’ve barely been able to keep up. Its been like a whirlwind but its been good, for the most part anyway. I’ve been dealing with a few stressful situations over the last few weeks, one which has been resolved but the others I’m still working on. I’ve felt like I’ve been dealing with them better then I usually do when I’m put under a lot of stress, so that feels pretty good.

I had another shave today, which feels so awesome! Its hard to explain how it feels, but it just feels right, it just feels natural. I’m so happy I got over my anxieties and just went for it last week.

I noticed the other day that the hair on my arms are starting to get a bit thicker and darker… maybe just my imagination though, but the hair on my chest and stomach is slowly getting thicker and darker too which is cool.

My  voice is finally starting to break and its more noticeable now, even on the phone which is really cool. Sometimes when I say something my voice goes all weird and squeaky lol and I’m like what was that!! so funny.

Got my next T injection next week so looking forward to that as always! 🙂

Everything is just generally going well at the moment, I’m feeling good, feeling positive and making small changes to move things forward.

 

Week 34 on T

^ This weeks picture

^ This weeks video

Peace out

Zak

Transition update – Week 33 on T

Another week on testosterone, its been such a long crazy week but its been s good one.

I’ve struggled to get through money wise, but I’ve been selling stuff. That’s slowed down now and I don’t have much left but I have food so hopefully be ok. This is a whole other issue… I’ll maybe write about it in a separate blog.

Despite having little money I had my haircut today as its been driving me insane. But I feel so much better after my haircut, feeling fresh! When I got home after my haircut, I sorted out my wild eyebrows, I swear testosterone has made them much thicker then before, so am always having to pluck and tame them. As I was looking in the mirror, I was looking at the fluff on my chin and moustache and the hair on my chin was looking really messy. I decided that I was going to have my first shave and so I just went and did it without thinking about it too much. It all went fine, I didn’t even cut myself which is always a bonus. Feels like a big milestone, it feels really good, I feel really good. It makes it all the more real I suppose.

I feel a bit sad that my dad wasn’t there to guide me through or to talk too about all this manly stuff. But I know he’s always with me. I know he’s proud of me and how far I’ve come.

I started this blog this afternoon…its now gone 10 pm and I’m only just getting around to finish it. This day has just flown by and I don’t feel like I’ve had the time to do anything. Or I’ve just got too many things to do and not enough time. Feels a bit overwhelming at the moment, haven’t really had much chance to have some quiet time and just sit.

Also I’m so tired, feeling a bit unemotional and a bit disconnected. I haven’t slept very well the last few nights as I’ve had a lot on my mind and my legs have been really achy at night.

I just need a good nights sleep and my inner child is screaming out to be looked after, he’s tired and cranky. I’ve been neglecting him and myself a little bit.

I realise its not so much ‘trans’ stuff in this blog but being trans and going through this transition is only a small part of my life. There is so much more to my life and me then this transition.

That’s enough from me, I need to start winding down for the night.

 

Week 33 on T.JPG

^ This weeks picture

^ This weeks video

Peace out

Zak