Where do I belong – communities

Where do I belong? Is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and whilst I belong to a few different communities, I don’t really engage with them as much as I would like too, if I did maybe I wouldn’t feel so lonely. But its complicated, I’ve actively stayed away from these communities because I didn’t want to be defined by these certain things. I’m realising that these things will always be apart of me and its ok to engage with these communities and they could be a source of friendships and support. I’ve kinda cut off my nose to spite my face, but I’ve been surrounded by such toxic people who’ve said over and over that you can’t let these things define you because you are more then that.

Now years down the line, those people who said those things are no longer around, but I still have that fear and anxiety around engaging in certain communities because I don’t want them to be all that defines me and my life. Right now I due to lockdown, I don’t really have anything outside of myself right now because I’m high risk, so I’m not really allowed to do much and I’m struggling to do anything at home on my own, as its so boring.

So what are these communities I belong too, well first one is people with chronic illness. I was first diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder when I was about 15 and I spent a few years fighting against, as I wasn’t given any support. I’ve always tried to fight against it and act like it doesn’t exist, but that never ends well. I think I have a better acceptance of it now but it still kicks my ass, especially when I’m not feeling well. I know from experience there’s a huge online community, full of amazing people but I just don’t engage with it, mainly as I’ve said before I don’t want my illness to define me. I don’t want my life to be boiled down to just a person with a illness.

I also have mental health issues, mainly depression and anxiety but also struggle with disassociation and now this community I’ve ran from because I didn’t want my mental health made worse by others, I didn’t want to become a professional patient, which is such a toxic term and insinuates that someone is attention seeking and not really mentally unwell. I’ve also felt that because I’m not in and out of hospital and I don’t outwardly express how I feel that I’m not unwell enough to be in the community. I mean its a whole mess of not nice feelings surrounding the mental health community, so right now I’m not sure its one I can really engage with because I think it would make me feel worse.

And the last community is the LGBT community, I am the T in LGBT and it is really a huge community with amazing people, but when I came out as trans I didn’t want to solely engage with the T community, I’m not really sure where that came from, maybe because its how I feel about most communities. I don’t want to feel pigeon holed, I didn’t want my transition to be the only exciting thing about me. But again I think I’ve missed out on making friends and doing things.

I see ‘proud to be trans’ a lot and I think for me that’s now lost all sort of meaning, I’m not really proud to be alive let alone be trans. I just feel too old for all these communities, I feel like I’m not sick enough, not unstable enough, not trans enough, just not enough to be apart of these communities. I just feel like I don’t really belong anywhere, I don’t really know myself but that maybe because I’ve walked away these communities, but these parts of me make up who I am.

I’ve disengaged with life in general at the moment, everyday feels the same. I feel like I’m living in a simulation or something, nothing feels quite real and it seems to be never ending and its so god damn lonely!

I know I need to make an effort and engage more but it feels so hard, I just feel like I’m being annoying all the time and that holds me back from doing anything. I’m so stuck inside myself, I want to reach out but it feels impossible, feels like I’m physically being held in place, frozen. Totally engulfed by the darkness, overwhelmed by the anxiety. I feel like I’m drowning, trying my best to float but I’m getting tired.

I know there’s a wonderful world of different communities that I belong to and can engage with but I’ve been so disconnected from humans, I don’t even know how to interact anymore. I wouldn’t know where to start and feels a bit scary putting myself back out there and trying once again to make friends.

I don’t want to just find people who are only temporary, who forget me if I don’t always message first. That’s apart of why I’m anxious about making new friends. Because I don’t want to make an effort just to be forgotten again, cuz that shit is emotionally exhausting and makes me feel so worthless.

I want so much to have a better life for myself, I don’t want to feel this way forever. But I don’t know how to move on, I don’t know if things will ever get better, right now I can’t see that it will.

Peace out

Zak

Living with cHRONIC iLLNESS

Last week I had had to wear a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours, which went well. It didn’t bother me at all during the night.

Monday my GP rang me to discuss the results and they weren’t great. He said my blood pressure was higher at night when I was asleep, which isn’t good as your blood pressure is meant to be lower when you sleep and slowly rise as your body wakes up. Due to all the medications I am on and all my health conditions and the fact I am under 40 (only for another 5 years lol) he’s going to refer me to a cardiologist, to get advice about medications and the check that there’s nothing more serious going on.

He prescribed me Amlodipine to hopefully reduce my blood pressure in the meantime and I’ve got to continue to take my blood pressure everyday.

Hopefully the new medications will help and there’s no underlying reasons for my blood pressure being so high. I really don’t need anymore health problems right now.

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

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

Chronic illness – Covid19

I’ve been back and forth about writing this as the entire world is talking about it and rightly so as its serious.

There’s lots of information out there, misinformation, real information and so on. There’s also a lot of people panicking. So it’s hard to know what to believe, what to do etc.

Obviously there are countries like Italy that are on complete shut down, to contain the virus.

I am stuck between trying not to panic but also panicking a bit, as I have an autoimmune disorder, I am on immunosuppressants, I have no immune system to fight off simple infections. For me a common cold will go to my chest and sinuses and I will need a 2 week course of antibiotics to try and get rid of it.

My mum is panicking a bit, keeps asking if I have stuff in, which is a bit annoying but also my local shop is out of the basic necessities. Luckily I have what I need for now but I can’t get paracetamol anywhere, so I may need to ask the doctor for a prescription but that’s if they will let me as I will run out eventually.

I can’t not go out main reason being is the dogs, I have to take them out to pee and for a run. But also I cannot stand staying in for long periods of time, it makes me feel claustrophobic and just isn’t great for my mental health. So whilst yes I probably need to stay away from populated things like the cinema (my fave thing to do) public transport etc, I still need to go out in the fresh air.

Until the government tell us not to go out at all, I am going to continue to walk the dogs.

I’m just trying to remain calm, not read everything I see on the coronavirus and carry on kinda as normal.

I was lucky enough to not get swine flu and bird flu when that hit, so am I hoping I wont catch this either.

My poor step dad is currently in hospital in isolation, not because of the coronavirus but he has a condition that effects his lungs and he’s been in and out of hospital for a few months now, which hasn’t been looking great. I don’t know how long he has left but I can’t risk going to see him, I can’t risk infecting him with anything and I can’t risk picking anything up either, which really sucks.

I’m just trying to rationalise this whole thing, try and keep myself safe as I can and just be sensible about the whole thing and not panic.

Stay safe, be sensible, please consider those around you, wash your hands, if your sick stay home! Do as your government advises.

Peace out

Zak

Living with a Chronic illness – Hospital appointments

There are some things that came part and parcel with having a chronic illness and one of those things is having lots of hospital and doctors appointments.

I have a good GP whom which I get on well with, along with the nurses who I do my testosterone shot for me. I also have a good relationship with my Rheumatologist and his nurses and my Ears, Nose and Throat doctor. Usually I don’t find appointments too difficult as I always feel involved in my care and generally feel listened too and well looked after.

But yesterday’s appointment with a Rhematologist was the an absolute disaster. It provoked huge anxiety and anger. It was NOT a good appointment.

So I had made my way to my appointment, now if my Rheumatologist is busy, I will see one of his two nurses, who are both really lovely and I am more then happy to see. So I’m used to seeing one of those 3 people.

However when I turned up for my appointment, a nurse called me in to do my blood pressure and weight, she also needed me to do a pee sample. But she said that Dr Hopkins will see me soon… I asked who he was and why I was seeing him as he’s not my doctor. She couldn’t answer me.

It put me right on edge, it made me incredibly anxious and I wanted to leave. I then couldn’t do a pee sample as I was too tense, it was noisy in the waiting room, there was more people then usual there, which didn’t help with my anxiety.

I heard my Doctors voice, the one I usually see and I saw both of his nurses, who I see if Dr Marks is busy. In fact I spoke with Phoebe and she said I wasn’t on her list so I must be seeing Carole.

This wasn’t the case, I was led into see Dr Hopkins. At this point my anxiety was so high, I struggled to concentrate. He basically talked at me, he didn’t listen, he talked over me when I did try to speak, he didn’t involve me in the plan of tapering off my steroids, he basically told me what I had to do. This for some reason really triggered rage within me.

I held myself together as best I could but I was so enraged. How dare this person just bark orders at me, the guy doesn’t know, he’s never met me before, yet he was like well do it like this.

I walked to the train station as I need to get back for my counselling session, when I got to the station I rang the hospital as I needed to vocalise what had happened and how I felt and I wanted answers and to why the fuck I saw a random doctor and I also let it known that I did NOT want to see this fucking guy again.

The person I said to said some one would call me back, but as of yet I’ve heard nothing, so I will chase it up next week.

I think I was so triggered because it was an unexpected change and no one explained to me why I was seeing this guy, when my usual team where there. I also fucking hate not being listened too, I hate not being heard, it makes me feel so small and angry. I’ve spent a lot of time not being given the respect of being listened too. We all want to be heard and listened too. I also hate being told what I need to do regarding my own health and what I need to do with my medications. I’ve been ill all my life, I’ve been on medications for most of my life and I know my body better then any doctor ever will. I was more then happy to try and taper off my steroids again, but I didn’t agree with the way he wanted me to do it and I want to wait until at least March, as I’ve been really struggling lately as the weather has been so damp and cold, it’s just not the right time to start reducing my steroids.

The whole appointment was almost like a power struggle, he had all the power and wasn’t willing to listen about what I wanted to do regarding my steroids as I didn’t agree with his suggestion. I felt powerless, so ended up just agreeing with whatever he said so I could leave.

I will not be tapering my steroids like he suggested, I will get down to the bottom as to why I saw this guy and I will push to see someone from MY team soon and I will make it very clear that I do not want to see this doctor ever again.

Advocating for myself is something I really used to suck at, but as I’ve got older I won’t tolerate shit like this and I will let it be known. It’s fucking exhausting constantly advocating for myself and making sure I am being heard and that I am getting the care I need and deserve.

Note to any Doctors or nurses who maybe reading this, your patients know their bodies better then you do, especially those living with a chronic illness. Listen to your patients, they are the experts of their illnesses, you may have qualifications but they live it every fucking day! They know what works and what doesn’t, they know how they feel.

As much as I’m not always connected to my body, I know my body better then anyone else, I don’t think sometimes Doctors understand and respect that. I know its something my usual team of doctors understand, but this guy certainly didn’t.

It took me the rest of Wednesday to calm down, I’m glad I had a counselling session that afternoon, so I could let off steam and talk through it. It was quite funny as my counsellor had out some tuning forks which she used near me and she was like woah your body is having non of this and asked me if I was feeling angry and I was like I am furious. It was nice to have a safe place to express myself and my feelings.

I am feeling a bit calmer now about it all but I know its something that I will ruminate on now for a while. It’s hard not too when something provokes such a huge emotional reaction. I’ll get over it eventually.

Peace out

Zak

Living with a Chronic Illness – Ordering Meds

Every single time I order my Prednisolone they give me the wrong dosage ones! Despite having been on the exact same ones for most of my life!

It’s infuriating because they’ve wasted money as those wrong meds will not be given to another person. It means I then have to go to the GO for the thousandth time and sort it out!

Just organising 10+ medications + hospital appointments is like a full time job, which can be so stressful when I’m not being listened to continuously even though I know exactly what I take and when.

It may seem like a small thing to most people, but it gets beyond infuriating. It wastes everyone’s time.

I do see my specialist on Thursday, so I’m going to get him to write my GP a letter to say exactly what dose pills I am meant to be on and have always taken. Hopefully this will clear up the confusion, which started when I started tapering off the steroids last year, but I had to go back onto them when I had surgery in August.

Anyway hopefully this ongoing problem will get sorted soon.

Peace out

Zak

Counselling – Asking for help isn’t shameful

I went back to counselling sessions about 3/4 months ago now and I’ve found it to be really beneficial and has really helped me to process things I’ve been dealing with and has helped me unpick some real deep routed/ingrained stuff that I hadn’t really realised I had issues with.

I was a bit hesitant to go back into therapy/counselling, for many reasons. But some of these reason had actually come from what others had told me in the past that had become apart of my negative self talk.

One reason I was hesitant was that over my life I have seen a lot of counsellors, therapists etc I’ve done CBT and DBT and at what point is it enough? I kept telling myself, well I’m an adult now, nearly 35 I should be able to manage life on my own, I’ve had lots of therapy, I should have the skills and ability to deal with life… and the list goes on. Lots of I SHOULD’s which are the fucking worst!

Also in the past I’ve had friends people in my life, telling me I’m not trying hard enough, I’m not doing enough to change my life and the situations I find myself in etc and if you’re told that enough times, especially if you have low self esteem like I do, you believe those people and those statements and they become apart of your inner monologue, which you the use to bully yourself with.

I viewed counselling as an adult as a sign that I am failing, have failed at managing myself and my own life. Because of those negative statements I felt a lot of shame about needing counselling again, which is bullshit, the best thing for me at this time was to go back to counselling to help myself.

Things you say to people even if you mean well can be so damaging, especially if that person is like me and is particularly sensitive to other people’s words. Obviously you can’t know what words will hurt people, but its just having an awareness of what you do say may have a bigger impact on a person, whether you meant it or not.

The words we say are hugely powerful and can have a massive impact on the rest of someone’s life, not to be dramatic. But a lot of the things in my inner monologue are from negative things or perceived negative things that have been said to me.

It’s really hard for me to not take things to heart, I often don’t seem like I’m effected by things in the moment but I am very much someone who will repeat something over and over and over a million times and look at it from every different angle imaginable. By doing so I make myself feel so upset or angry by something and often my internal reaction often doesn’t match the actual event and is usually an overreaction.

It is something I have been working on for years as I am very aware I can be seen as overly emotional, but I can also go the other way and have no reaction at all, no response.

Taking things to heart is something I still struggle with a bit, I’m still learning. I am much better at controlling my emotions and reactions to things.

Counselling has been eyeopening and it has helped me process things that I was struggling with on my own. I feel like I have dealt with past hurts from a relationship that ended just over a year ago, that was the main thing I was still really struggling with. It still felt so raw and painful, but that pain and hurt has been worked through, unpicked and it just feels good to have had someone outside the situation to talk to about it.

It has also helped me unpick past friendships and why patterns kept repeating over and over. I lack boundaries with people and because of my kindness and low self esteem I let people walk all over me, I let toxic behaviour to continue unchallenged, I was way too much of a people pleaser, I often didn’t even realise I was being emotionally abused because it was so subtle, but over the years it wore me down.

Before I started counselling I was starting to realise that a lot of my main friendships I had were so toxic and just weren’t good for me. In on particular one I felt like I was constantly being put down, in such subtle ways but now I’m not involved in that situation I can’t believe the fact I let it go on for as long as it did, without even saying anything. I just accepted it because that’s what I thought I deserved.

I didn’t think I deserved to be treated better then I was, I didn’t think I was worthy enough. But since stepping back from these friendships and since unpicking this pattern of negative friendships, I realise I am worthy and I do deserve to be treated better then I have been.

Unpicking life, unlearning behaviours and patterns isn’t something that happens overnight and isn’t something that ever stops. I think its good to continue to keep stepping back and looking at different aspects of life to continue to move forward and to make sure you’re not being taken advantage of and helps you identify toxic negative behaviours, either from yourself or that you are allowing from other people.

Counselling also helped me unpick and look at the problems I have with disassociation and how its your brains way of protecting you and the different effects it can have. IE it can stop medications being effective as there is such a separation being brain and body. Which so so fascinating.

We also talked about my gender dysphoria and the fact that I feel still disconnected to my chest despite having had top surgery, nearly 6 months ago now.

This disconnection/disassociation from my brain and body is something I think I’ve always struggled with ever since I was small. Due to traumatic events, those events being my parents divorce which was extremely messy and painful and then being quite ill from a very young age and finally having a diagnosis as a teenager of a life changing, lifelong illness. Also being brought up in an environment that wasn’t great for anyone’s mental health, let alone a child’s

I have very little recollection of my parent’s divorce and the bits I do remember, aren’t great but the rest I’ve blocked out. I may never fully remember those events, I may have something that one day will trigger those memories. And that’s ok because my brain is doing whatever it needs to do to continue to protect me and keep me safe, which is amazing.

Maybe one day with more inner work and the further down the line I go with my transition I will close that gap between my brain and body and that disconnection won’t be so great. But as with anything these deep routed things take time to heal and takes time to change.

I think because I am a pretty sensitive person that I will need top up counselling sessions every now and then throughout my life, just to keep me going, keep me safe and keep me happy and I’m ok with that now.

You take your car for an MOT, you go to the hospital if you break a leg, you eat food in order to fuel your body to keep going, so why wouldn’t you put in the same effort for your mental health?

Mental health is such an important aspect and even now in 2020 it still feels as though going to counselling is a negative thing. But it really isn’t, it’s such an important part of life, especially if mental health is something you have struggles with.

There is no shame in needing help, there is no shame in needing medication, there is no shame in needing counselling/therapy as and when you need it and for however long you need it. There is NO shame in looking after your mental health.

Shame is such a powerful emotion, it’s one I really struggle with. Sometimes I just feel so full of shame about even being alive and taking up space that I do wonder why I am still here. But again often that shame isn’t mine, its come from words other people have said to me, opinions from others etc.

I am slowly learning how to build boundaries with other, which in turn is helping my self esteem. I’m slowly learning to like myself and who I am as a person, I am slowly learning to change that negative self talk to a more positive self talk. I am slowly learning.

Not everyone’s paths and journeys look the same, there is no time scale that anyone should be doing anything by. Some people learn huge lessons at a young age, some people take longer, some people never learn and change and that’s ok. We are all different, we all experience life differently and we’re all walking different paths to different destinations and that’s ok.

If you think you need some extra help, please access it. See your GP or psychiatrist, look up a privet counsellor (most of which will do a concession charge) talk to a friend, partner, family member. Needing extra help, isn’t shameful, isn’t a sign of failure. In fact asking for help takes such strength and bravery, it is the opposite of failure.

Asking for extra help means you respect yourself enough to know that you deserve help.

I decided last month to end my sessions at the end of this month and I know that I am welcome to go back whenever I need to and for however long I need too and it feels nice to know that whenever I need a little help to get unstuck from life, I have someone I can go to and work things through with.

I am looking forward to this next part of my life, with a new healthier view on friendships and relationships and the confidence to build and maintain boundaries. Even though at the moment my mood isn’t amazing, I feel stronger and I feel more capable of dealing with life in general.

That’s all for now,

Peace out

Zak

Disassociation and other stuff

I’m not sure this post will make much sense, or even have a point lol. But I just need to write things out and hopefully help sort through the mass of thoughts that race through my brain every second of every day.

I’m going to try and make sense of everything, by sorting through things bit by bit.

I’ll start with an update about my weird breath holding thing… basically I’m still doing it and its still frustrating. Nothing works so I’m just trying to ignore it as trying to fix it makes it worse.

I do it the most when I’m feeling tense, which at the moment seems like a lot. I find myself sat on the sofa scrunched up, my whole body is tense and I’m just unable to move, unable to get out of my head. I can sit like that for hours, which I know is disassociation but in a different form then what I’ve experienced before.

This disassociation feels more like an internal struggle, I’d much rather feel all floaty and out of my body, as I feel weightless. But this is so intense and physically hurts my whole body and I feel like I have no control.

When I become aware of how I’m so tense and scrunched up, I try my best to relax my body but I feel so achy after, its hard to get away from this internal struggle.

I also keep getting stuck endlessly and mindlessly scrolling through social media, again feeling really tense and again with chunks of time passing by.

It feels like apart of my brain has just switched off and gone to sleep, which is a simple way to describe what disassociation is. It’s your brains way of protecting you, which in itself in super interesting. But I feel that there is still a small part of my brain that’s awake and shouting to wake the rest of my brain up, which is causing this internal struggle. Because even though I’ve disassociated, my brain hasn’t entirely shut off, so I have an awareness but I’m unable to do anything. I feel like I’m trapped inside my body, its really weird.

I can be sat down, all scrunched up know I need to get up and move because I have stuff to do and but I just cannot move, I’m glued in place. The small voice just isn’t loud enough to wake my brain up, but I can still hear it shouting at me. Which makes me feel even more tense and frustrated because I’m not in control, I cannot make myself move until my brain wakes up again.

I don’t really know if this will change, maybe it means I’m slowing healing the parts of me that needed to disassociate, maybe it doesn’t, I’m not sure.

Hopefully in time, this will improve or at least I’ll go back to fully disassociating.

I’m feeling more tense this week for a few reasons, I’ve come off trazadone, as I felt I no longer needed it, I’m sleeping better and despite everything I’ve just described I’m feeling better too. But the withdrawals of trazadone can make you feel more agitated and I think that’s really hit me this week. Also two weeks ago I had a pretty big hit of testosterone, due to switching over from Sustanon to Nebido and the loading process means having both shots at once! So I think again such a big dose of hormones has really hit this week. I’m sure in time these will both wear off and I’ll start feeling a bit more relaxed.

I’m still struggling to feel connected to myself, which goes back to the disassociation, but also apart of the gender dysphoria as well.

I think when I took a step back from people in my life and took stock of everything, I took a step back from myself and forgot to step back in again.

I feel a bit out of place, a bit out of sorts and just a bit weird. I’m slowly working towards getting back to myself. But I think I’ve always had this disconnect with myself, the gap feels bigger then before.

Talking about this subject in counselling is helping me understand it a bit more, which has been helpful. This week I learnt that my high tolerance to medications could be linked to the disassociation which is really interesting. Even CBD oil, does nothing for me, natural remedies don’t work for me and I’m really resistant to most medications. When I started taking tramadol, I don’t ever remember it making me feel high, like how it makes most people feel. This is definitely something I want to look more into, as its fascinating and I want to be able to react to meds like everyone else does. I also know a high tolerance to medications is also linked to hypermobility as well, which I have. I just want to try and understand my brain better and why it does what it does and if I can help myself in anyway.

I always knew my brain was wired differently to most, but never knew why. I’m still really non the wiser about why I disassociate, as its usually a result of trauma. I’ve not experienced your usual traumatic events like sexual abuse, violence etc. But then my life hasn’t been simple easy, I became ill when I was 6/7 years old, family life wasn’t always easy, my parents divorce was pretty messy but these are the only things I really remember.

My memories aren’t in order and there are huge chunks missing, which again a sign of traumatic event. Maybe it was just a culmination of events throughout my early childhood/teenage years rather then 1 significant event. Sometimes not being able to remember things is frustrating but I know its my brains way of protecting me from bad things.

This week my memory has been awful, its much worse when I’m feeling stressed/tense. It effects my short term memory, I can forget when happened a few hours ago, which is super annoying. If I’m feeling more calm and relaxed my short term memory is better, I have much better recall.

I struggle with routine, I have non negotiable things I do every day, like take my meds, housework, eating, taking the dogs out. Things I need to do to get by. But beyond that I have no interest in the 9-5pm life. Partly because my body doesn’t work that way, my brain certainly doesn’t either. I cannot stand early mornings, I need quiet time to wake up and adjust to the day. My brain certainly takes its time to wake up, its much more active in the evening, early hours of the morning. I like my freedom to do what I need/want to do in order to feel good and take care of my mental and physical health.

I know I have a lot to give this world yet, but I’m not sure what that looks like. Maybe as the year goes on, that will become clearer to me.

I need to keep writing, I keep saying this but I always hold myself back.. Don’t know why I do it.

I can feel myself switching off, running out of focus. So I shall sign off for now.

Hopefully this sheds some light on well me and how I function, which could be useful for those in my life and help them understand me more and maybe it rings a bell with whoever else is reading this.

Peace out

Zak

Dear friends,

Dear friends, old and new. To those who I’ve known for 20 years and to those who I’ve known for 2 months. I wanted to write this to catch everyone up on where I am and where I’ve been.

In January, I was in a really dark place, which is somewhere I haven’t been for a long time and I feel like I’m only just coming out of the other side of it, but I still have a way to go.

As a result of this darkness I removed everyone from my Facebook for a good 3/4 months. I was angry, frustrated, isolated, depressed and struggling to survive.

But in that time I did a lot of soul searching, I know such a cliche, but I did.

I realised that over the years I’ve been quick to shut people out of my life, I’ve been quick to give up on friendships. I was trying to cut out “bad energies, drama” etc but in doing that I closed myself off to the good energies and good stuff.

I think I became so closed off because I’m so willing to help everyone, that sometimes I get burned. That’s not necessarily down to people themselves but due to my lack of boundaries and respect for myself. I thought if I made other people happy then I’d be happy but it doesn’t work like that.

Then about 5 years ago I started exploring my gender and came out as trans and I began my journey. Which again I was really open about but I was also wary of being people’s token trans friend and I was just anxious about not being accepted or whatever. So again I made my friend circle smaller.

In making my world smaller, I’ve missed out on living. I’ve missed out on friendships with some really great people. I gave in to the negative inner voices and the darkness, I allowed myself to become isolated and alone, the anger and frustration grew within.

January was my breaking point but in the weeks and months after I spent most of time alone, thinking, reflecting and meditating.

I started to allow myself to be open, slowly I began to add people back on FB, I began to reach out to friends. I started to ignore the negative inner voice and the darkness and walked towards the light.

It’s by no means perfect, I still struggle with anxiety and depression but I’m finding it a bit easier to deal with.

I often felt my expectations of people were too high, but I realised I rarely expressed my expectations in my friendships, I can’t have expectations if people don’t know what they are.

My voluntary work has helped me so much, it’s helped me with not being so isolated, I’ve made some incredible new friends who’s friendships I am so incredibly grateful for and hopefully in 20 years plus we’ll still be friends, still having adventures and experiencing this life together.

For those who I’ve not spoken to in a long time, who I’ve recently added back, I hope you’re well and forgive me for being so distant, I had to go off in order to grow into a better version of myself and I hope to hear from you soon, much love to you.

For everyone else, know that I appreciate you, I may not say it as often as I should or even show it but I do very much appreciate every friendship I have. You’ve kept me going even when I didn’t want too. I will continue to try and be open with you about everything, it’s something I’m still working one. But I’ll get there.

Thank you to everyone for your patience, love, support and sheer awesomeness!

I love and appreciate you all!

In 6 weeks time I will embark on the next stage of my journey, my physical transition, my spiritual journey.

I’m excited, I’m a bit scared, I’m nervous but I am so ready for it, I know it’s going to be a challenge but I’m ready to face it head on.

I know I will have my friends by my side helping me through and I’m so excited to have you guys with me! I can’t wait for this next adventure!

Peace out

Zak 💜