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

Transition update – Week 32 on T

Today would have been T shot day but the docs didn’t have any appointments, so I’m having it done bright and early Thursday morning lol, 8:30am! Urgh, that’s still the middle of the night!! This is why I wanted to do it myself, so I didn’t have to mess around with apps and I can do it on the exact day its due. Even though I know it can be done 5 days before or 7 days after its due, it still gives me anxiety that its not being done on the exact day its due! But I’m weird like that, silly things give me big anxiety. I suppose its about control, its something I need to let go of a bit more and not let little things stress me out so much. A lot of it is because I often don’t feel like I have any power or control, so little things cause big anxiety. Man I sound like a lil weirdo but whatever.

My weeks been busy but its been really good. I’ve finally got rid of my chest infection, it only took just over 3 weeks and I’ve finished my steroids too, which is a relief! Although its been messing up my mood a bit, been feeling a bit emotional today but I think that was a mixture of things. I feel fine now, I had a nice shower and did some EFT (emotional freedom technique) on myself and it made me feel a lot better, much calmer and less emotional then I was, which is always a good thing. I know there’s a calmness inside, I just don’t always feel it. So I’m going to try and tap out all the intense negative emotions as and when they come, hopefully it will help me regain some control and things wont get so intense and overwhelming.

For some reason this week I am super spotty on my chest, neck and back, although I’m pretty spotty in those areas already but these last couple of days, loads of extra bloody spots have popped up lol! Its sooo hard not to squeeze all the ones I can reach, gross I know lol. Some of them are quite sore but I can’t reach them to put any cream or anything on them. Not sure what its all about lol, I’m hoping they calm down as like I said some are really sore, I’ve got a few on my scalp as well, they are a bit itchy and sore too.

My voice is slowly getting there, I’ve noticed today its a bit deeper which is cool, I said something earlier and I was like woah! who said that!! made me chuckle to myself. My T levels are nearly right I think, I speak to my GP Thursday about my levels as my results from the last bloods said they were borderline, not sure what that means, so I’m assuming it means that they aren’t quite high enough. So they may need to tweak the frequency of the T shot again.

My gender dysphoria and disassociation has been mostly ok this week, I’ve been feeling quite relaxed and calm where my body is concerned. But I’ve spent this week looking after myself and my needs, rather then everything else that isn’t really important. Which just proves how much self care is essential to my well-being, its something I struggle to do regularly. It is so noticeable when I stop basic self care, everything just goes off the wall and unmanageable. I’ve been taking a lot of really hot showers and it really helps with the disassociation and I can take 15-20 mins to just be totally in the moment, breathe and relax. It really works for me at the moment, it may not always work and may not work for others but at the moment its working, which is the main thing.

Well its gone midnight now and I better get to bed and I have my friends kids over again tonight and I’ll probably be up around 8:30 am, my mind is pretty awake so I need to wind down a bit before I can go to sleep

 

 

Week 32 on T.JPG

^ This weeks picture

^ This weeks video

Peace out

Zak

This f*cking suck!

I don’t even know where to start right now, once again my heads in a fucking spin! I feel so full of anger and frustration. I really fucking hate my life! Now I’m not one to say that very often, I try and feel grateful for my life. But some days its just fucking impossible to remain hopeful and grateful when there’s fuck all the be grateful for.

The catalyst to all this anger is Personal Independence Payment (Disability Benefits) They gave me 4 points in each component which isn’t enough to qualify for it. You have to get a minimum of 8 points.

I’m sick to death of being ill and I’m sick to fucking death of having to prove it to the cunts that just don’t give a fuck about anyone’s life! Its so fucking soul destroying and it points out every single failing of my life, which is every fucking aspect of it.

I left school with a few GCSE grades, non of them really mean anything now anyway. My highest grade was English…I can’t get anywhere without maths. I have no qualifications in anything, I have no skills, nothing. I feel like such a fucking failure. I have nothing to be proud of other then I’m still fucking alive! Which how I don’t fucking know cuz right now I’m struggling to see the fucking point at all. I’ve done nothing! and no employer is going to employ someone who’s been on the sick as long as I have and no one will want someone who they can’t rely on 100%. I can’t even fucking drive..

I feel like I have no fucking future, no life nothing. Nothing is moving forward, everything is standing still, life is just moving around me. Everyone else is moving forward, I’m still stuck in the same fucking place, all by myself.

Just the same old little fucking loser kid that I always fucking was. Absolutely pointless waste of fucking space.

I can’t keep doing this bullshit over and over. I’m so exhausted, my heart hurts so much. I’m just wading through mud, not moving forward, just sinking further in.

Its not just job wise, I’ve literally done nothing, been no where. Just been here, doing nothing, just barely existing.

I just want to disappear and stop existing so the pain would just stop.

Just a waste of space..

Peace

Zak