Update on working on myself as a whole

I thought I would do an update on last weeks blog about looking after myself as a whole, rather then just focusing on my mental health.

Last week I focused on moving more and eating better and it was pretty successful, I made a conscious effort to eat more fruit and veggies and different meals, which I do totally feel better for and this week I will continue to eat a more of a balanced diet than I was previously doing. I’m enjoying cooking for myself again, which is something I do really enjoy doing.

I’ve also been using my mini stepper everyday and again I feel better for it. Even though some days it feels like such a drag, I forced myself to get up and move and have definitely noticed a bit of a change in myself. I feel energised after and my brain feels a bit more awake too.

I up my mycophenolate tonight, so I have some tasty meals that I’ve prepped in the freezer just in case I feel sick and exhausted and also I have the covid vaccine on Wednesday so I want to make sure I’m 100% prepared with quick and easy meals and snacks for the next week or so, as its one less thing to worry about if I do feel a bit rough after the vaccine and adjusting my meds a bit.

But I’m going to continue to try and look after myself in a more rounded way but I know this week maybe a bit trickier and that’s ok. I’m not making huge changes and I don’t make myself guilty if I’m not doing what I set out to do. I’m just trying my best and that’s absolutely good enough.

Most days last week I struggled to get up before 11am and some days I didn’t get dressed until late afternoon as I was just resting and my brain was just totally switched off as being in lockdown we are all dealing with something that is having a huge impact on mental health, which is a pretty traumatic event and sometimes your brain just needs a break and switches off and that’s totally fine too. Plus it was so grey and rainy last week I just had zero motivation to get up early because there was nothing really I needed to be up for, I’m not doing anything or going anywhere to getting dressed at 4pm is totally fine.

I’m just rolling with what is good for me, but my mind, body and soul, not just my mind. Overall I am definitely feeling better then I was, although I am feeling super exhausted but that’s not unusual for me lol!

Peace out

Zak

Time to work on my body (as well as my mind

Hey all, how are you finding lockdown this time around? I am overall doing ok, but I’m still struggling a bit, but I am just trying to take things at my own pace and not getting too wrapped up in trying to compete and keep up with what I see other people doing, especially on social media. It’s super easy to compare your life to others and for me personally I can get myself completely lost in another person and just completely abandon who I am because I want to make that other person happy, which that in itself isn’t bad, but losing yourself in the process isn’t great and I also feel guilty about the things I think I SHOULD be doing with my time during lockdown… but ya know most days my focus is on getting through another day, my focus isn’t on the future right now because it is too uncertain.

Having my complete focus on making myself feel safe and comfortable has made other things fall by the way side, which isn’t too good but I can’t do it all. But I do need to find a bit more balance then I have at the moment. I’ve been doing too much sitting around and snoozing and not enough moving around, but its Jan, I find it harder to get motivated to get out anyway because its cold and rainy, however some days I have used that as a bit of an excuse to not bother lol!

So I ordered myself a mini stepper, now I have never been super healthy and fit because of my autoimmune disorder but I was much fitter then I am now before the very first lockdown. Like now I get out of breath putting my boots on which is really bad and I keep getting constipated, I know TMI but I’m here to tell my whole truth and that is partly because I’ve been so lazy regarding cooking different things and I’ve been eating too much sweet stuff, not drinking nearly half of what I usually drink and just not moving a whole lot and all of that has contributed to weight gain and belly issues.

My goal aimed at just loosing weight, I want to get my fitness levels back to where they were before lockdown and in fact probably before I had top surgery nearly 18 months ago now because that’s when the weight started piling on. So hopefully eating a bit better, drinking more water and moving more I will feel so much better over all.

Right now because I keep getting constipated my belly looks like I’m pregnant and that’s partly down to testosterone too as its redistributing fat and muscle, but it does make me feel uncomfortable and doesn’t help with the gender dysphoria. So that’s another big reason I want to try and get healthier.

My goal is to use the mini stepper every day and push myself further each day or every few days, set myself little goals etc as I am quite competitive so I know I can do it.

Keeping up with my walking which is where I get my exercise from has been more difficult during lockdown because I am high risk, shouldn’t really be out or going very far and its had a huge impact on my over all health and mental health so I am really hoping this can help me.

I shall keep everyone posted

Peace out

Zak

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

Self care and Christmas

The holiday seasons can bring such joy but they can also bring a lot of stress and anxieties, people often put themselves into debt and really put themselves out over this time of year just to make everything amazing and magical so you can have the perfect Christmas that you can show off on your social medias.. But for some its a hard time of year for different reasons.

Mental health issues, eating disorders, addiction, grief, disabilities.. etc DO NOT disappear at Christmas. They still exist and its totally ok to be depressed, to feel sad at Christmas, you will not ruin Christmas! and if someone tells you that you’ve ruined their Christmas because you’re feeling sad then they are TOXIC as fuck! Because it is YOUR Christmas too and you are allowed to feel however you feel!

If you aren’t looking forward to Christmas this year for whatever reason it maybe try and put somethings in place that will make you happy and make you feel comforted. Because this is your Christmas too.

Every year I buy myself presents and I buy all the fur babies presents too and wrap everything up. Which makes me feel good, especially as one of my dogs will unwrap his presents which is so much fun to watch.

I spend the day with a friend and if the weather is good, get out for a nice walk and I make dinner and relax, watch some films maybe play a board game or two and generally just have a relaxing time. But throughout that time I don’t always feel 100% happy because I’m a human who experiences emotions and that’s ok, I’ll also still have to take my medications and pain killers because my chronic illness doesn’t take a day off.

Boundaries are SO important this time of year, as it is so easy to become overwhelmed and anxious. First boundary would be don’t spend what you don’t have! Buy Christmas presents for every person you know, or buy lots of presents just isn’t worth getting into debt over! Put a limit on what you spend and don’t feel guilty about not buying everyone something, even kids you may have in the family or friends kids. Just because it is Christmas your are under no obligation to get them anything, especially if you can’t afford too, because the stress of being in debt will be worse then the 5 mins of joy that a present creates. If you HAVE to give presents, be creative, make something, gift something you don’t use, get it from a charity shop.

Time boundaries are super important too, as people feel obliged to see you just because its the season. But if you don’t feel up for seeing people when they’re feel try not to feel guilty, there’s always another time. Or if you simply don’t want to see that person, say no. It’s ok to say no to things that you don’t want to do especially if it won’t make you feel good. Don’t push yourself into doing things you really don’t want to do, even if its family engagements, you are under NO obligations to do anything! Do no let anyone bully you, guilt you or gaslight you into doing things you don’t want to do. You are you own person, with things going on and if you’re struggling with the season, tell people, tell them you’re not really feeling it and why and you’d rather just not do whatever it is and if they don’t respect that, they are the problem.

Time boundaries on Christmas day is important too, if you need to take some time out own your own, to nap or just be by yourself, do it! You don’t need to explain yourself, take yourself off and have some down time, that is TOTALLY OK! and much needed and it can get really overwhelming, especially if you’re surrounded by lots of people. It’s hard to be happy and social if you don’t feel it inside. Take some time to yourself to recharge, you will not ruin anything. You and your mental health is super important too, everyone will still be there when you’re ready to re-join everyone and if you just can’t face going back that’s totally ok too! Do what you need to do, take time to listen to yourself and what YOU need.

If you’re spending Christmas alone through choice or not, try and stay off social media, although I know there are usually a few different chats throughout Christmas on Twitter, which could be useful if you’re feeling lonely. Reach out to people, do things that make you happy, like I mentioned earlier, I always but myself presents and wrap them up. Just lots of self care, you are not alone. If you choose not to participate in Christmas at all that’s totally cool too, its not an easy time for everyone.

There’s lots of things you can do on Christmas, you can treat it like any other day, you can volunteer at a local soup kitchen, or at a animal rescue place, I’m sure there are lots of volunteering opportunities over the Christmas period.

But whatever you choose to do, whatever your doing, its ok to feel sad and lonely, its ok to still be grieving that doesn’t stop because its Christmas, its ok to reach out for help, its ok to be happy. It’s just OK, you’ll get through it. You are much stronger then you think. I mean we’ve made it this far right! 🙂

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

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

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

today sucks

Now lockdown is easing, I’ve had two different hospital departments ring me up last week to book me in for appointments. It was quite nice to go without hospital appointments for the last few months, its been the only real upside to lockdown life.

One appointment was for the podiatrist, he said my new insoles are ready… finally! Feels like I’ve been waiting forever for these new ones. He said he can post them to me or I can come in for an appointment and I said I’d prefer an appointment as if they still aren’t right then he can write down what adjustments they need and send them off there and then, rather then having them posted to me, them not being right and having to go up for an appointment anyway. Made more sense to me to just go in for an appointment. I go there on Thursday morning, I’m really hoping these are better then the last ones as its been nearly 2 years now trying to get these insoles just right.

The second appointment was for cardiology, which I went to this morning and it was a pretty fucking shit experience for a number of reasons.

The first being the face mask, for some reason is provokes such an intense reaction. It makes me feel really angry, really agitated and really anxious. I fucking hate wearing stuff over my face and around my neck, I can’t wear a Halloween mask for the same reason, I can’t fucking stand scarfs either. So as soon as I put that mask on to enter the hospital, my mood completely changed and its not under my control. I just instantly felt on edge and really emotionally dysregulated, I just wanted to take that mask off an leave.

Then I was fitted with a blood pressure monitor which is completely different from the one I was fitted with at the doctors surgery, which stressed me out even more. This one I have on now for 24 hours is uncomfortable, I have the monitor looped around my belt and the wire is all bunched up around my back and isn’t sat flat across my shoulder, its extremely hard to ignore the fact I’m wearing it and I fucking hate it! For bed time I have a softer belt to wear but if possible I’m not going to wear it as a belt, if its long enough I’m going to try and wear it over one shoulder.

The one I had from the doctors surgery a few months back was way better, the monitor itself was in a little bag with a strap, so I wore it over my shoulder which meant the wire wasn’t all bunched up around my back and sat flat around my shoulder. It was barely noticeable and it wasn’t such a stressful experience as this one is turning out to be.

I feel so fucking angry because I don’t feel comfortable and there’s nothing I can do so make myself feel less angry and uncomfortable. I just have to put up with this bullshit till 12 pm tomorrow and then have to drop the fucking thing back off which means wearing a fucking mask again!

I feel so fucking frustrated I want to smash my head in! That’s how intense I feel right now, I can’t wait for this 24 hours to be fucking done!

How I feel is beyond any self soothing skills or any other bullshit skill, I won’t feel better until I can take this fucking thing off.

Before lockdown I could cope ok with changes and sensory things, I was still effected by sudden changes or something that didn’t feel right but I was able to just deal with it and it didn’t often invoke a strong reaction, occasionally is did but not always. But now because lockdown guidelines are forever changing and things are so uncertain and my anxiety is heightened, I simply cannot deal with the smallest of changes or things that don’t feel right. It sends me into a massive internal spin and invokes such intense reactions, which makes me want to physically act out, in hurting myself. Which admittedly I have punched myself in the head, I’ve pinched myself hard, scratched myself, punched my legs. Just anything to stop the intensity of how I feel, the only things I’ve not resorted to yet is cutting myself. Mainly because I’ve not cut for 2 years and 6 months but also I don’t think I’d be able to control myself and I don’t want to have to deal with going to hospital for stitches and being questioned by people.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of maybe being on the autism spectrum because of my sensory issues, the fact I struggle to deal with change and find it difficult to make friends, I don’t like being touched unless I’m in a relationship with someone then its different, I don’t give very good eye contact as I find it really uncomfortable and social situations make me anxious. I also have stuff that I will intensely be interested in, collect etc and same with foods I will eat something for weeks/months on end until I’m sick of it. Also I have a lot of friends past and present who are on the spectrum, which makes sense as people with additional needs tend to gravitate towards each other. I may bring this up with the nurse next week when I go for my T shot and see what she suggest I do and her opinion on whether I could be on the spectrum or not.

Girls with ASD even now get missed and aren’t diagnosed as often as boys are, mainly because when the DX was written about ASD it had boys/men in mind now girls/females. Also girls are often much better at learning how to pretend and mimic their peers, boys don’t often do this and will ore often act out more aggressively so are more likely to be tested for autism, whereas for girls its not often picked up until much later in life.

I was raised as female and actually there’s a high instance of trans people who are on the spectrum, so these two things makes sense as to why maybe if I am on the spectrum it was missed earlier on in my life.

Anyway I’m so over today, I’m going to try and relax and hopefully the intensity of the mass of swirling mess inside subsides enough for me to chill and feel a bit better.

Peace out

Zak