Shining light

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote anything and I’m feeling less angry and frustrated then I was in my last blog.

I took the decision to up my trazadone again to help me sleep better and hopefully help me feel less depressed and so far I’m sleeping a better most nights and I’m starting to feel a little better too. I don’t feel so hopeless and so lost in the darkness, I still don’t feel great but I can see the shimmer of light at the end of the darkness, I’ve just got to keep reaching out for it.

I’ve been trying to make little changes to my daily life, that will help continue to make me feel a bit better and to prepare myself for the winter months. Each year I struggle with my mood during the winter and every year it really hits me, so I’ve been trying to prepare myself so its not going to be so much of a shock when it rolls around.

I have written up a rough plan of things to do day to day, some of these things are non negotiable, like take my meds in the morning and evening, getting to bed at a reasonable time things like that. But also to get outside for at least 30 mins each day, especially when the clocks change. As some days I like to just chill and I don’t get dressed until 4pm, which during the summer months is fine as I have loads of time still to enjoy the sunshine. But in the winter it gets dark by 4pm, so I’m going to make sure that no mater how I’m feeling I make sure I spend time outside, soak in that vitamin D from the sun. I love being outside in nature so it shouldn’t be too much of a drag. Even something as small as that I know will make a huge difference to how I feel from day to day.

I love my lists and I’ve been spending nearly every day just writing and writing. One list is of self care stuff, things like washing my face masks regularly as that’s a new thing I need to do better, or using my SAD light every day, listening to what my body wants and needs. Just simple things.

This winter is going to be a tough one as we’re heading into another lockdown and firs time around I found it so hard and winter on top of that is going to bring added stress. But I feel much more prepared this time, that’s why I’ve been writing lists down, mainly as a reminder of things I can be doing to make myself feel better and help me get through this next part a bit easier and I know what to expect now so its not going to be so much of a shock to the system.

I think I mainly operate from my inner child, he’s in charge most of the time. Which is fine but at the moment he’s feeling scared, anxious and unsafe and that’s the main reason I’ve been trying to prepare myself for the winter months to ease the anxieties of my inner child and to make him feel safe. Which he is a bit more settled then he was but he’s still highly anxious and just wants everything in place to feel as safe as possible. Which I am currently working on and I’m not far off having everything ready but I’m not quite finished.

Trying to calm my inner child down has been difficult, but I’ve been trying to listen and trying to identify his needs and what he wants, but it’s tricky as he has complex needs from traumatic events in our life. Slowly I will heal us both, through counselling and lots of patience and self care. I’ve been trying to heal myself for the last 20 years but I’ve never even really scratched the surface until now, I think I’m finally ready to heal. I can’t keep bleeding, I can’t keep letting this little boy hurt, he deserves to feel better now. I want my life to be better now, I want things to be different, I want to break the patterns that I’ve been repeating for the last 35 years. I’m ready to be happy.

One of my self care/regular activities is to try and blog on a bit more of a regular basis. I love writing/blogging and my anxiety/procrastination stops me just getting on with it. I think sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed I can’t physically do anything so I don’t and then I feel annoyed because I haven’t done anything. So I am going to try and make more of a conscious effort to push through the anxiety and sit down and write. I always feel so much better for it, I just need to get over myself and do it! With any luck I’ll be here writing again soon and not with weeks or even months in between posts.

Now I’m sleeping much better at night, I’m getting between 7-9 hours a night, which is much better then the 4-6 hours I was getting, my appetite is a bit better as well. I’m not binge eating sugar because I’m tired. Hopefully I’ll loose a bit of weight now, as I’m not eating half as much as I was, I’m actually eating a proper breakfast every morning as well and I’m trying to eat dinner too, whether that be something I cook or a takeaway at least I’m eating meals rather then just shovelling chocolate into my face all day long.

Getting a good nights sleep for me is so important, it improves my mood, my appetite, I can manage my chronic fatigue better. It’s so easy to slip into bad habits when depressed but at the moment I’m really aware of what makes things worse for me and having all these lists of things will definitely help. Getting into a routine of going to bed at a reasonable time and having a slightly more structured day is slow going, it won’t ever be perfect but I’ve got a good start on it.

Well that’s all for now

Peace out

Zak

trauma – Parts work

I posted last week I think about childhood trauma, but I missed a big chunk out. I didn’t come to mind at the time, but as I’ve mentioned before my memory has huge chunks missing and things that aren’t in order and that’s got much worse over the years and I think that’s mainly cuz I’ve been getting closer to the source of the trauma, maybe its ready to start healing. Finally.

So when I was about 7 years old I started getting ill (I’m not sure if that age is accurate, but I know I was in first school) I think it started with asthma like symptoms and in fact I ended up having a asthma attack as all my x-rays would come back clear and I have the same issue now, I can have a chest infection and doc’s can never really hear anything until I cough. So In was treated for asthma, I then started having nosebleeds that would last for what felt like hours at a time and because I was young and the shape of my nose wasn’t right they would never cauterise my nose to stop the bleed. It then progressed to joint pain and fatigue but as was young most doctors didn’t really know what was wrong with me.

By the time it came to the year 2000, which was the year after my parents divorce (I think) I was diagnosed with an auto immune disorder, for which I was given heavy medications and their side effects were just as brutal as my illness itself. I was given no support for my mental health, I was given no extra support at school even though I had to take a lot of time off. I was given this huge life changing condition and I just had to manage it myself and that wasn’t easy.

At school I was always different, always the outsider and dealing with a auto immune disorder, did me no favours. I was already struggling with my mental health and this only impacted on it. I thought my life was over, what I wanted to do with my life was taken away from me, well I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life, but now everything seemed pointless. I’d already given up on my life at that point and to be honest I feel the same way, just a ghost going through the motions until I die. (PSA No I am not suicidal, just tired of existing, wanting this pain to end, not to be dead)

Childhood/teenage years are pivotal for the person you grown into as an adult and some who suffer trauma in those years can because stuck there, or parts of your inner system can become stuck in a certain mode as a way to protect that child.

I have been reading about ‘parts work’ or internal family systems model and holy shit did my protective child go crazy when I read about the protective child, why they are formed and how they can be changed to be more in balance. I felt physically weird reading that part, I definitely disassociated, felt itchy and uncomfortable and had to stop reading, so I could get up and move around. I ended up having to do something else as my protective child wasn’t ready to be reading that stuff, especially as its only been in the last week that I’ve verbalised to another human that yo this trauma is the source of this pain that isn’t shifting no matter what I do, I need to heal this pain first.

But I know that this protective child is protecting not just me but other deeply hidden pains and I know that this is going to take a while to work through and its not going to be easy or comfortable but I want to heal properly now, I think I’m finally ready to be vulnerable enough to dig through this pain and trauma that’s trapped within. I want to feel more balanced, I want to feel happy, I want to let this stuff go. I want to be able to fully accept myself and I want to self to take its place, I want to stop coming from a place of hurt and self preservation because that’s not helping me.

I want to stop hurting, because its getting to hard to keep carrying on my own. The load is too heavy now, I only end up bleeding on everyone, that’s why I can’t break into any friend circles, I don’t want to be alone anymore.

But for now at least I know that 95% of the time protective child fronts to protect me from the world because that’s what he’s had to do for so long. I wish I could hold that little kid and tell him its going to ok, those nights I would cry in bed at night, all alone. I’d never let myself be emotional or cry in front of anyone, I’d hold it in until I was alone. I do the same now, I could do with a hug now, someone to tell me I’m going to be ok.

I may not be where I want to be, or where I think I should be, but I’m finally starting to understand myself a little better. It’s never too late right?!

Peace out

Zak

Living with a Chronic illness

Having a chronic illness is hard work, especially at the moment, with the current pandemic. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I am classed a vulnerable and I’m meant to be staying inside for 12 weeks, but I’ve had to go out for various reasons.

Now I have finally been given a priority delivery slot with Tesco, which means I don’t have to go into any shops to get my food shopping. There’s also a service provided by the council where someone can pick up medication for me and do any other bits I need doing. Which is a relief as I was starting to get more anxious about going food shopping and collecting medications myself.

So now I have things in place for essentials I can relax a bit more, the only thing I’ve still been doing myself is walking the dogs as I need to get out an exercise as I’ve been really feeling the effects of not moving around as much as normal. I didn’t realise that just by getting out each day, doing general stuff like food shopping, going to hospital appointments, going to the cinema etc was so good for my physical health. In the last few weeks since everything has closed and I’m stuck in the local area, my joints have been super painful, especially my lower back and knees and my chronic fatigue has been much worse as well.

I’ve spent many years building up the strength in my legs to combat the chronic pain in them and same with chronic fatigue, I’ve spent years building it up to a point where I rarely needed to rest or sleep in the day time. But now I feel like I’m back at square one, which is really frustrating.

Now I’m have more clarity about dog walking, I’ve been out walking more, so I can build myself back up again, so I can feel a bit more human again and have a sense of well being.

Yesterday I had to have a 24 hour blood pressure monitor, as my blood pressure has been quite high recently. I think its mainly down to anxiety and possibly the change in testosterone. I don’t know why they haven’t prescribed propanaolol yet, it’s a beta blocker but also helps with anxiety. I get the results next week and I’m going to ask about the beta blocker as I think its probably the best course of action.

The blood pressure monitor went off every 20 mins, which was really annoying lol as I had to stand still when it was taking my blood pressure because it didn’t read it if I was moving around. Then in the evening from 10pm it went off every hour. I went to bed at midnight in hopes I would fall asleep before it went off again. I managed to get comfortable and I managed to get to sleep, I was conscious a few times throughout the night of it going off to take my blood pressure but apart from that I slept pretty well lol! The world could be ending and I still be asleep haha!

A couple of weeks ago they did an ECG which was fine and some blood test and only one flagged up as a not normal. Turns out I am borderline under active thyroid, which really makes sense, I’ve put on weight recently which I’ve been struggling to loose. They’ll repeat the bloods again in 3/4 months time to see if it’s still the same or its sorted itself out. Hopefully it will have sorted itself out by then, as I really don’t need anymore illnesses on top of what I’m already dealing with at the moment.

It’s been really difficult dealing with everything at the moment, but I am trying to keep a sense of normalcy. Each day is different, some days are much easier then others and that’s ok, just trying to go with the flow and trying not to push myself.

Well that’s it for now,

Peace out

Zak

Surviving self isolation

Yesterday I said I was going to do a timetable of stuff to do during the day and as I was thinking about it, I realised that having a chronic illness makes a timetable a bit hard and feels too pressured. Also I can’t say how I am going to feel from one day to the next. Like I slept 11 hours last night, I went to sleep around 12:30am and I woke up at 11:30am, I must have needed it and all day I’ve felt a bit tired.

So instead of a timetable, I wrote out a list of things to do and divided into sections.

The sections don’t have set times, just go with whatever feels good. But its also important to remember its perfectly fine to do nothing at all.

Quiet time is always good to do regardless, its good to switch off and be still, its a god time to go within.

I haven’t done much today as my fatigue has been bad and that’s ok, to just rest and do what my body needs.

Peace out

Zak

Self care + Chronic illness

I have a really cool book that’s called Health Minder Personal wellness Journal, its really detailed and its great for keeping track of your physical and mental health.

I’ve not used it in 2 years and I thought since I have a lot of the Covid19 symptoms anyway because of my autoimmune disorder, I thought it would be a good idea to start filling it in again as a way to keep an eye on my symptoms and notice any changes there maybe. Also its a good way for me to check in with myself in the morning a and evening, which may help me connect with myself.

I was gifted this book from a friend, but you can get them on Amazon, eBay and MemoryMinder Journals website.

For me it is all helpful but my temperature is usually lower then the average 37 degrees. My temperature can range between 35 degrees and 36.5 degrees, anything higher then that for me indicates that I have a fever. So if I do get sick this book will be good to show to the doctors so they can see what my temperature is usually, so they can see that 38/39+ is a very high fever for me. Plus them being able to look at my symptoms and how things have changed etc and saves me explaining things over and over again.

I think it will be good to keep an eye on the slightest changes in my weight, temperature and symptoms, so I can make sure I am keeping as well as I can and not picking up any infections, whether that be the Covid19 or my usual sinus and chest infections.

I hope you’re all keeping safe and keeping as well as you can.

Peace out

Zak

Self care during self QUARANTINE

I suffer with mental health issues, mainly depression and anxiety. But also struggle with disassociation and gender dysphoria. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I started myself back on trazadone to get through this tough, uncertain times. I’ve been back on it for around 5 days now and I’m already feeling a little better then I was feeling.

I know what its like to be socially isolated and it freaking sucks! It’s super hard! Even though I can be shy and a bit of an introvert, I do love being with other people. But as I am vulnerable to getting the covid19 I am staying away from people, ie not having people over and stuff. So I’ve been thinking of ways that I can stay connected with people, so the social isolation doesn’t hit me so hard and I can stay sane and mentally well.

One thing that has helped so far is that I’ve been reaching out to others who I know are in the same situation as myself and making sure they’re doing good. I find it hard to reach out to others when I need help, but this is a unique situation, we’re all kinda feeling the same anxieties and uncertainties, so I don’t need to express explicitly that I need help or support, as we’re all in the same boat right now. Which is making it much easier for me to reach out, as I feel like I’m helping others instead of asking for help/support which I’m not keen on doing.

I’ve offered people video calls/voice calls and messaging, to ease the social isolation and I’ve had a few video calls and voice calls with a few different people already and its been an absolute blast. Talking with my friends has definitely helped! Video calls makes it feel like I’ve socialised and got that essential interaction with people that we all crave. It makes the days feel less lonely and isolated.

I know I am often viewed as someone who is strong and capable, as I rarely let myself be truly vulnerable in front of people. So I feel like sometimes people don’t check in on me, as I’m seen as someone who can look after themselves quite happily. Whilst yes I am more then capable of looking after myself but I have my struggles. I’m trying my best to keep reaching out and talking to people. So I can feel connected with others and feel like I’m making a difference to others.

At times like this it’s important to remember no matter how alone we may feel, we are not alone! There is a community out there to help get you through this, you just have to be brave and reach out.

I’ve also been trying to keep some sort of routine, although its super flexible, I’ve just been trying to keep doing the things that for me are non negotiable for example I have to make sure I take my meds in the morning and evening, doing my sinus rinse morning and evening, do the housework every other day, walk the dogs twice a day, eat 2 meals a day. I’ve kinda given up on my sleep routine as I’m more awake in the evening hours anyway. I’m still making sure I get enough sleep, whether that’s napping in the day or waking up late.

I try and split my day up into units of time so the day doesn’t feel so overwhelming. I also try and remember that I don’t need to fill every second with an activity, its totally ok to just sit and be.

I roughly know how much time certain things will take me to do, like doing the housework takes about 30-40 mins, having a shower and getting dressed takes between 10 and 20 mins depending on how long I’m sitting in the shower for. So I know that when I decide to wake up and start my day how long it takes for me to get ready for the day and that’s like the first unit of the day and then depending on how I feel and what the weather is like helps me decide on what to do with the dogs, either a long walk or a short run around across the road. That’s another unit of time take up and you get the idea, cutting the day into more manageable chunks without feeling so overwhelmed about having to fill a whole day.

I wrote a list of things I can do on my own whilst were all on lockdown, so I’ll share with you what I wrote down

Things to do during self isolation –

Check in with myself daily

Video call friends

Reach out on social media

Write and blog

Try and read (I have adhd so I struggle to concentrate sometimes)

Listen to podcasts and audiobooks

Colour/draw/create something

Teach Scrappy new tricks

Play video games

Teach myself to play solitaire with playing cards

Nextflix/Amazon/DVD’s

Spring clean the flat

Walk the dogs

Watch YouTube videos

Create a cosy fort/nest

Yoga

Make bread, cakes, biscuits, meals

Nap

Be silly

I hope you’re all coping as well as you can during these uncertain times. We need to come together as one, show each other the kindness, the compassion and the unconditional love that I know we are all capable of.

If there’s anything you want me to write about/comment on please let me know and I shall try my best. Please like, share, comment and follow my blog

Peace out

Zak

Surviving self isolation

I’ve spent the last few days thinking about stuff, I think being forced into self/social isolation has a tendency to do that. Whilst I am used to social isolation, its something that is really bad for my mental health. So I’ve had to really think about how I am going to get through this, without spiralling into the darkness.

The first thing I decided was to start back on trazadone, I decided to stop taking it as I felt like I no longer needed it. Although having stopped it, I realised they were helping more then I thought they were. They helped me focus, stop disassociating as much as I am right now, took the edge off anxiety and depression, all which have come back but I’ve been able to keep on top of them a bit. Now we are in this self isolation and not being able to do everything I enjoy I know my mood, anxiety and disassociation will get worse, so I know I need to get on top of this. Not something I really wanted to do but I need to do.

I need to write down a list of things I need and see if I can try and get hold of them, I don’t need much just a few bits to get by. But as I’m vulnerable to this condition I need to try and be as prepared as possible.

I also need to write a list of things I can do inside, things I can do to keep the fur babies occupied as well. I can still take them for walks but with my chronic pain and fatigue I can’t always be outside with them.

I need to write out a rough routine that I can try and follow, I do better with a routine. Although I know I easily get bored of routine, so it won’t be something I will follow strictly just guidelines really so I don’t feel like I’m just floating around.

My asthma clinic appointment was cancelled as my doctors aren’t doing face to face appointments unless they are an emergencies, which I understand. I can still get my testosterone injection as that is something I need, so that is booked in for 14th April. I did ask if I can get paracetamol on prescription just for now, as I cannot find it anywhere and I don’t want to search the shops. I was told to ring back, but wasn’t able to get through, so I will try again tomorrow.

I plan on writing more, whether that is a blog or just scribbling down in my notebooks. I’ve felt so disconnected from myself I’ve struggled to write anything that I felt connected with.

Once I have some stuff written down about how to get through this self isolation, I will share it on here and hopefully as a community we can come together and help each other get through this.

Peace out

Zak

Counselling sessions

After 14 sessions, 14 hours I have finished my counselling sessions, with the lovely Scania Price.

I’m glad I was encouraged to find a private counsellor, I’m so pleased I found Scania as I got a lot out of my 14 sessions. It was different from what I have experienced before and its exactly what I needed at this time and I will definitely go back to her if I need to (probably will need too at some point) I have totally accepted now that its cool to need extra help, at whatever age, for whatever issue. Life is hard and sometimes I just find it so exhausting and so overwhelming, I just can’t do it on my own, I need a safe place to talk stuff through and work through stuff.

Before I started counselling, I had gotten myself to a certain point but there was still stuff I needed to untangle and I felt a bit stuck. I couldn’t move myself forward and I didn’t really have many people to sit and talk stuff through with and I struggle to talk about really deep personal stuff with people, as I struggle to trust others fully to reveal the true me. It takes someone special to get me to open up. I am the master of holding back and only saying snippets of things and not really digging much deeper then what I am willing to share.

I think that’s what’s hindered me in many ways, I think a lot of time I resist how I feel, I don’t just feel things, I fight it. I’m not truthful and honest with myself let alone other people. I struggle to always connect with myself, so often don’t check in with myself and how I’m feeling. But I am trying my best to check in with how I feel, speak my truth, say how I feel. I know I need to start trusting people, I need to try and accept that getting hurt is apart of being human and apart of having friends and family. I think I really avoid getting hurt, so I just withdraw from everything, but by trying to avoid the bad I’m also not letting the good in.

Counselling helped me untangle myself from a previous relationship that I was still getting over and untangle myself from friendships I was no longer in and these things were the main things I was really struggling with. I’d lost myself over the years in these friendships, I’d been chipped away at, I had no boundaries with people, I let people walk over me, I felt weak, I felt silenced, I felt used, I felt lonely, I felt unlovable.. the list goes on. I have started creating boundaries, I know what I will and wont tolerate, I feel stronger, I know I have a voice that I need to use more often. I feel less lonely, I just feel better. I know where I stand.

I feel like in my sessions I was able to be raw and honest and dig deeper then I’ve done before. I feel like I understand myself a bit better, I know I’m still in the process of rediscovering myself but that’s cool.

Even though I’m still feeling a little depressed although its not everyday, it comes in waves. Some days it will be a big wave and it will swipe me off my feet, but other days its a small wave and I’m still standing. I just think that’s the nature of having chronic depression and a chronic illness, as they both have a knock on effect on one another. I am in a much better place then I was in November.

It’s been 2 weeks since my last counselling session and it does feel a bit weird, it has been a bit overwhelming. I liked the routine of having a set time to get all the stuff out I needed too. I’ve been a bit all over the place, but I think I had a bit of the birthday blues, which threw me off. I’m just starting to get myself back together lol.

If anyone is thinking about seeking help, whether that be through the NHS, or privately please do it. Talking does help, no matter how old you are, what the problem is. If you’re feeling shitty, feeling suck and need a little help there is absolutely no shame in seeking what you need. It does not make you weak or less then. It makes you stronger because you are getting your needs met, you are looking after yourself.

I’m feeling tired right now and struggling to remember stuff and concentrate so this feels like its really disconnected and disjointed as I write this. I think its all I have to say, I can’t express enough about how much this round of counselling has helped me. I’m still dealing with stuff but who isn’t, that’s life right.

I was going to write another blog, but I need to sleep and come back tomorrow.

Peace out

Zak

A quick catch up

Just looking at when I last wrote and it was nearly 3 weeks ago, which feels like forever. I’ve struggled to sit down and concentrate mainly because I’ve been so exhausted but I’ve also been really struggling with disassociation, sometimes when I sit down I just feel frozen in place and I just cannot move, its so weird. It’s like part of my brain has just switched off but a tiny voice is still aware and awake, screaming at me but its too quiet to wake the rest of my brain up. It’s really frustrating as I have no control, so I try not to sit down to much so I’m not loosing chunks of time. But its not realistic, as much as its frustrating and makes me feel a big agitated I’m just letting it happen because it makes it worse if I fight against it. My brain is clearly just trying to protect me from something, I’m sure I’ll figure it out what.

That’s kinda where I’m at right now, still a bit depressed I think, which I have a real time accepting. Which makes the depression worse, I bully myself so much and I think as it was my birthday last week that exacerbated how I was already feeling as birthdays bring up so much stuff, which I’ll go more into in another post. Just writing this first to get the brain working and fired up lol!

It’s been really hard work to get myself organised and get stuff done as my brain is so foggy and so forgetful. Thoughts and stuff aren’t quite clear and sometimes don’t really make sense and aren’t in any order, which is making organising myself and my life pretty tricky. That plus my fatigue has been crappy as well, most days I’m not getting up and out till way past 12 pm but I’m trying not to be so hard on myself about it and just go with it. Although I do feel there’s a fine line between being lazy and resting and I’m not sure where that line even is at the moment.

I’m sure things will be less hazy soon, I kinda feel like I’m traipsing through thick, sticky mud and every task, every thought, just everything feels so heavy and so difficult. But I keep pushing through this mud, keep trying to find the beauty in every day, keep trying to smile and laugh every day. Its super hard, but I’ve been through this before, I know it passes, I know I will feel better eventually.

I’m still doing the weird breath holding thing, some days are worse then others. It’s starting to get frustrating as I can’t fix it. I think maybe its because I have things inside that have been left unsaid and I need to get them out. I need to write out some stuff out, not to post but to either pass on to the people I need to get stuff out too or just to get stuff out as a way of releasing it. I know its probably anxiety as well but deep routed as I don’t feel anxious. It probably doesn’t make sense but doesn’t make much sense to me lol.

I think I lost myself a little bit, I am changing and growing faster then can keep up with. But its been cool exploring new stuff, what sparks joy and passion and what doesn’t and who sparks joy and who doesn’t too. I do know I want to explore more, have more adventures, my confidence has grown so much and I am way more capable then I gave my self credit for. But I think that has a lot to do with leaving behind friendships where it was probably a bit codependent and just ended up being no good for anyone, not just me. I feel more free now, I don’t feel like life is on hold.

That’s all for this post but I have WAY more stuff to ramble on about lol! But I shall break it all down into different blogs.

Peace out

Zak