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

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