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

Today is a win

Today is a win! Today my depression didn’t swallow me whole! I managed to do the things I wanted to do but more importantly I actually enjoyed doing them! I don’t really remember the last time I felt really happy, these last few years have been so hard. Lots of changes, loss of friendships, lost myself along the way, healing deep traumas, chronic isolation, lockdown.. it’s been so hard. I’ve been feeling so sad, so fragile like I could break at any moment.
But today I beat those demons even if it was just for a while, but I won’t stop fighting!

Peace out

Zak

Counselling – You are worth it

Hey all, how’s lockdown treating you all? I am actually doing pretty well considering that I barely made it through the last lockdown. Even though it is difficult I feel much more capable, I feel like in the past few months I have just grown so much as a person and even I’m like who the f*ck is this person that’s talking! I barely recognise myself but in the absolute best way.

This change/breakthroughs are down to my counselling sessions I’ve been having and I am so glad I chose to go privately, as with the NHS the mental health services are sadly severely underfunded and they have been for many years and the things I need to delve into will not be solved in the 12 weeks often offered. I need something much more regular, more in tense and I feel like I have more control over and I feel like my sessions are led by myself rather then my counsellor, which is how counselling should be. I also view it as an investment in myself, all counselling and therapy is an investment in yourself, because your mental health is so important and I am definitely worth that investment because I want to be the best version of myself I can be, so I can attract better things too.

I am in no way ashamed to say that I have been in and out of counselling and therapy since I was about 15 years old, where I first saw a counsellor at school. I was actually doing my exams when I saw her but I didn’t care enough about them to care about missing class. I loved my sessions, as I’d never really had that 1:1 attention before and that time in my life was so chaotic for many reason and to have a 50 min session once a week with someone who was actually listening to me was such a relief and she helped get me through till the end of school.

I think my pervious experiences of counselling and therapy served simply as a kind of plaster, to help me go through those chaotic moments in time. Not saying that I didn’t get anything out of them at all, because I did I learned a lot and I learned how to manage that chaos and how to keep surviving. But what I was unable to do at that time because it wasn’t safe for me to do so, was to dig deeper into myself and look at my trauma. Also I was unaware of the trauma I had, but as I’ve grown and as life has calmed down and things aren’t as chaotic anymore, I’ve slowly been able to gain more awareness of myself and boy it’s been a journey and I am nowhere near where I want to be, but I can certainly say that I am finally on my way.

Lockdown took so much away from me and without all the noise of life and other people’s input and with the help of an amazing counsellor who has been beyond patient with me and has been incredibly helpful and has shown me different materials on different things that relate to mental health and trauma. I have been able to really focus on myself and I’ve taken the time to step back and really reflect on everything and I’ve been able to see things with eyes wide open. I’ve been able to dig into the trauma which has been difficult with a fuzzy memory of my life. I’ve been able to really analyse past friendships and relationships and see where I went wrong and also see that I let people treat me so poorly without saying a single word. I now feel like I have grown so much and I am now able to be a much better friend and potential partner to someone, but I also feel confident in the fact I can put boundaries in place, I can speak out when someone says or does something I don’t like.

I have always struggled with confidence and poor self esteem issues and a lot of that was down to how I let people treat me, I let people treat me like shit over long periods of time and that just wore me down so much, that I had no self esteem, no confidence and no self worth. I so wished I could just live my live but be invisible, because I just felt so unworthy of everything, of existing. Which is such an awful way to feel. But I feel so much stronger now, I still struggle with all those things but I know that I am worthy, even if I don’t feel like it. I am slowly learning to be confident in myself. I know I am a good person with a good heart, something which in the past I couldn’t say because I didn’t feel like a good person at all.

Anyone who is thinking about counselling/therapy, you are so worthy of it! There’s no shame in needed it. It is an investment in yourself and in your future! YOU ARE WORTHY.

Anyone already in counselling/therapy and feeling like your not really getting anywhere, you will eventually. It may not be right now, next year or even in 3 years. But when the time is right and when you are safe you will make some huge breakthroughs and it will be incredible! Just be patient, it will happen, stick with it.

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy

Well I haven’t been writing for a long while, although the notes on my phone are crazy long lol. I just haven’t had the motivation or concentration to sit down and write, so I have lots to catch up on. That’s if I can make sense of some of the things I’ve noted down.

Yesterday marked 10 months since having had top surgery, it has gone crazy fast. I can barely keep up with myself. My scars are looking great and I’m just so happy with the results, areas of my chest still feel a bit numb but its slowly regaining sensation. I still have the occasional nipple twinge where I’m assuming the nerve endings are still growing, that is a super weird feeling.

I still feel quite self conscious when I’m out and about, I still feel like I need a hoody so I can hide my chest. I still feel like people are staring at me, that I don’t ‘pass’ well enough etc and I know that’s just my insecurities and gender dysphoria. I also think its down to the ridiculously high standard that is set for trans men to look a certain way and I certainly do not meet the criteria. The expectation is that all trans men are super buff, work out, have muscles and are super handsome. I am non of those things, I’m short with a chubby body and I don’t work out or have muscles. I am currently in the process of loosing a bit of weight to help with my self esteem, body image and my general physical wellbeing, but I will never be a gym bunny.

I will never look like a lot of trans activists out there, who all work hard and look amazing. But there’s not a lot of representation out there for different body types within the trans masc community and I am no where near brave enough to show my chubby body in all its chubby glory on social media, as I am not strong enough to handle any negative criticism, even though I know it may help others feel seen, right now its not something I can do. But hey maybe one day.

I also think the expectation that once you have surgery that the dysphoria will disappear, I think I was under the illusion that it wouldn’t be an issue anymore. I’ve spent so long not feeling comfortable in my skin, that its going to take a whole lot of self love to even being to love this body of mine. I am so grateful for my body, it keeps me alive but I still don’t love my body enough and I don’t even really know what that looks like, as I’ve spent so long neglecting my mind and body that true self love and acceptance is not something I’ve experienced before and not sure how it looks or how it feels. I feel like I’m only just starting to scratch the surface of this self love stuff, I’ve got so much I need to heal first but I’m still trying.

The 12 weekly testosterone shots are going well, I’m 2 years and 10 months on T now which again has gone crazy fast. Only feels like yesterday that I would have done anything to be on testosterone and now here I am nearly 3 years down the line. There where times where I thought I can’t wait, its taking too long, once I knew who I was finally, waiting for everything was absolute agony it was almost like a physical pain, it was unbearable. I am so glad I held on, things get better eventually.

I much prefer the 12 weekly shot to the 3 weekly as my hormones are more settled and I feel less chaotic, then on the 3 weekly shots. My next one is due on a couple of weeks and I’ve got to get my levels checked to see how my body is reacting to the longer lasting testosterone. My sex drive has only just settled down since my last injection lol, it sucks being single and stuck in lockdown by myself. The first few weeks after my shot I’m super hungry and just want to eat everything and I’m horny as hell too, which is so weird. Before testosterone I had very little sex drive, mainly due to being on the medications I’m on, but now its a different story lol! But unlike the crazy appetite which settles down, the high sex drive seems to last a good 9-10 weeks! But self pleasure is a good pain relief, which I can say is true as I’ve barely had to take any of my usual pain meds recently so its not just an old wives tale.

I recently joined a dating website, which feels so embarrassing to even say… that I just want the ground to swallow me up right now lol! Its called OkCupid, which is a LGBT friendly dating site and that was the main reason for joining that specific one. I decided to join as I’ve on dated one person in the last 7 years and that relationship was exactly long, it lasted all of 6 months and it was my first relationship out as a trans guy.

There’s a few downsides to the website, one being that I am shit and describing myself and bigging myself up or even making myself sound in the slightest bit interesting…so I’ve not had any likes yet lol and I’m too scared to message anyone first as I feel awkward as fuck and I’m so shit and inserting myself into other people’s orbit, as I feel like I’m being instantly annoying.. Shit if I could be invisible but still be seen that would be the best lol. So yeah I don’t think my profile is really anything special, it doesn’t really stand out from anyone else’s.

The second downside is that I keep being matched with lesbians… like WTF! Lesbians want to be with lesbians, they do not want to be with trans men, I mean that would make them bi/straight. So that’s pretty annoying, trying to sift through all these hot lesbians and I feel bad for swiping no, although I don’t think it tells you who rejects you which is good.

So yeah I’m trying to get myself out there but its so fucking hard when all I want to do is disappear because I don’t feel worthy enough to be taking up space on this earth. I’m desperate to be seen and heard but I also want to disappear which is such a confusing paradox. But a lot of it is I have no self worth, self love etc and like I said I wouldn’t even know what that feels like, looks like. I’m so used to feeling like this for most of my life, its hard to imagine ever feeling any different. Maybe one day. I’ve got a lot of trauma to work through.

I know I am a bit late but HAPPY PRIDE MONTH! Always live your truth, no matter how hard your light will eventually shine and you can be a beacon of hope for others out there.

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a Trans guy

Time is flying by super fast, I am now 2 years and 8 months on testosterone and 8 month post op top surgery. It feels like I spent an eternity waiting and waiting to start testosterone and have top surgery and now that’s all a reality, which sometimes still feels unreal but I feel so blessed and so grateful that I’ve been able to be living my life as my true self.

I’ve spent so much of my life not liking myself, especially certain parts of my body, its hard to start loving myself again. It’s all a continuous journey and I’m trying to love my body again, after all it’s served me well over the last 35 years, it doesn’t work as well as it could do, but I am still alive, despite the years I’ve spent not looking after my body.

Unfortunately because of the current pandemic the appointment for my second yes for lower surgery has been delayed, which is super frustrating as I am becoming more aware of the dysphoria I have around that area. But I am trying to remain grateful for where I am right now in my transition, as the dysphoria I experienced around my chest was just unbearable and made life so miserable. I was so self conscious of my body all the time, I couldn’t relax or even be myself.

I’m still trying to find my authentic self, who I truly am on the inside, still trying to keep on speaking my truth but some days its so hard. I struggle to connect with my emotions, I’m always worried about being myself as that hasn’t won me friends in the past but I can’t blame that all on myself. I know I’m not perfect but I’m not a bad person, I always try my best but for some its not good enough. I think because of this I struggle to connect with myself and feel my emotions as I’ve been conditioned to think that my emotions are bad because they can be intense at times. Unlearning all that is really hard, especially at the moment with the social isolation and the strange situation we’re all in.

Well that’s it for now,

Peace out

Zak

Gratitude Journal

Trying to remain grateful and trying to remain positive has been hard, but I’m still trying and I’m doing my best to keep going.

I have been doing a mantra meditation course on an app called Oak – Meditation and breathing. Its a really good app and its actually been nice to have moments of peace and restfulness during these meditations. I’ve been trying my best to make time each day. I don’t know why I find it so boring, just the thought of meditation makes me feel like its pointless and a waste of time, but right now I’m not doing much else right now and meditation is just like sleeping or breathing, its necessary to find that inner calm, that inner peace to get through the day.

I feel like there’s a lot of pressure to be super productive during this lockdown, which is adding unnecessary pressure, stress and anxiety, to an already stressful situation. I’m trying not to feel guilty about not doing anything and just sitting around. Some days I am productive and get things done but it ebbs and flows and I’m trying my best just to chill and go with it, without judgement and guilt.

Its a strange situation we find ourselves in, we’re all trying to navigate our way through it. There is no right way to get through this epidemic, some people will be super productive, some wont, some will get into fitness, some wont, some will be chill and cherish this time, some will really struggle. But whatever you do, however you get through this, we’ve got a worldwide connection, we’re all going through the same thing. We’ll get through this as a collective, keep loving and supporting one and other.

Peace out

Zak

Daily gratitude

I’ve still been writing my daily gratitude list, it’s a great reminder to be thankful for all we have in times like this. Its also good to take time to sit, reflect and just be in the moment, rather then worrying about what’s going to happen over the next few days and weeks.

I’m going to continue to share my gratitude list, as it will give me the intensive to keep writing.

These next few weeks are going to be really trying, stay grateful.

Peace out

Zak