Christmas and New Year 2020 Round up

Wow what can I say about this year… It certainly has been a wild ride, I’ve had to learn how to adapt quickly to new situations and be ok with the things that are completely out of my control and I’ve had to learn how to be ok completely on my own, which has been incredibly hard but interesting.

I’ll jump back to Christmas before continuing with the round up of the year. I thankfully was able to spend Christmas and Boxing Day with my friend, which was good fun. I got some great presents, I cooked a delicious roast dinner, we went for a walk, watched movies, ate and played games. I really had a good time, it was very much needed after such a crazy year.

Yesterday it was announced that we are now in Tier 4 which means sadly my friend can’t come over for New Years.. but thank god for technology! We’ll still be able to chat which won’t be the same but it’s the safest way.

Oh on the 19th Dec disability benefits decided to send me assessment forms! Absolute assholes! They’ve got to be back for 13th Jan, which just isn’t long enough. So I rang up for a time extension.. although its not much better and I booked myself in for a form filling service because I’m not doing it myself, its just too stressful. So all I really need to do now it gather evidence to send off with my assessments. I really don’t understand why they’re assessing me every 2 years, its not like I’m suddenly going to be healed! But whatever… they’ve extended my money until Oct 2021 so hopefully non of my payments will stop which will take a lot of stress out of the situation… But yeah URGH! they suck!

Speaking of my health, this year it has definitely got worse. I not only have Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis, but I have high blood pressure and borderline under active thyroid… and my fatigue has been so bad that my whole body sometimes feels like jelly and I feel so shaky and sick. My fatigue hasn’t been this bad in years and its just so awful, whatever I do I have to have a sit down and rest afterwards, which is really frustrating. I can’t even really explain how bad my fatigue is some days, but I really hate it so much.

Other then all of that I’m actually mentally feeling alright, I’m getting used to being on my own for very long periods of time, not being able to just go out and do anything. It doesn’t really bother me now, earlier on in the year the lockdown and all the change that came with it was extremely stressful because I wasn’t really sure what was happening, what I was/wasn’t allowed to do. But now I feel like I’m more settled, I’m used to not doing the things I would usually do and being home more. I mean in the winter I’m home more then I would be in the summer anyway, so its not so bad. Although there doesn’t really seem to be an end of this in sight just yet, but I’m sure at some point in the new year life can slowly start getting back to normal.

It’s not easy everyday though, some days I’m still finding thigs really difficult. Even simple things like making breakfast feels like a mammoth task, but I do what I always do and just push through. However I am trying to sit more and try and really concentrate on connecting with how I’m feeling because pushing through regardless is easy but doesn’t always acknowledge what you really need/want and can make how I’m feeling worse. So I do try and connect with myself to see how I’m feeling and what I need in that moment. Most of the time what I need is a nap lol! which is easy enough and its actually a good way to have a little break from everything.

I think overall this year has been a good one, despite the strange circumstances that we’ve all found ourselves in this year.

I like a lot of people have experienced loss this year, I lost a friend to Covid-19 and my stepdad also passed away this year, which I don’t think the grief for either has entirely hit me yet, but I think that’s been my brains way of protecting me in order to get through these times safely. I think the sadness and grief has come out when I’ve watched a movie that’s made me cry, which happens quite often as I’m a sensitive soul but that’s ok.

I’ve made huge progress through counselling which I am so proud of! I feel like I can tackle any friendship/relationship and relationship with myself in a much more healthy way and finally healing those deep routed trauma’s, which feels good.

I feel like I’ve changed so much in just 12 months, I am unapologetically myself and I am confident in who I am now and that feels good. For the first time ever I know myself, I listen to myself, I know what I want and need and I know what I won’t put up with and I don’t feel guilty for asking to be treated better. I don’t feel embarrassed to be seen or even to exist, I feel solid.

So 2021, I have no idea what this year will bring and I’m not going into the new year with any resolutions. But I am going to continue to heal and continue on this journey with myself.

That’s it really, see ya all in the New Year.

Stay safe

Peace out

Zak

Self care and Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace out

Zak

Dealing with Grief

Grief is something I think a lot of us are dealing with right now, whether that be the loss of a person, the loss of a pet, the loss of a job, the loss of your sense of self. A lot of people have lost a lot this year due to the covid-19 situation, it has been such an intense year.

Loss and grief covers a wide range of things we experience and go through, its not just about losing a loved one

We can grieve over, divorce/relationship break up, loss of health, losing a job, loss of financial stability, miscarriage, retirement, loss of a pet, loss of a much sought after dream, loss of a friendship, loss of safety after trauma and selling the family home. But we can grieve over different things that are personal to us and that is absolutely ok. No matter how small and insignificant you think your loss is, its still ok to feel that grief, its such a personal thing and such a personal journey.

I decided to write about grief as I lost two people in my life this year and the biggest grief I’ve suffered so far in my life is the loss of my dad 9 years ago which was one of the hardest things I’ve experienced. Also a friend has recently had a big loss of a parent too and I wanted to use my experience to help them and others.

I don’t think that you can ever prepare yourself for any sort of loss, whether it be suddenly or over a prolonged illness. When that grief and loss hits, it hits so hard and I think what I wish I could change about my grieving process when I lost my dad was the people I was surrounded by. At first everyone was super lovely, so understanding and we’re all really great I couldn’t fault anyone but as time went on, people I had in my life at the time were fed up with my anger and depression and just the fact I was a complete and utter mess and this was only 6 months after I had lost my dad. It was like I was expected to have gotten over it by that point! The worst thing was I allowed that to influence me and I didn’t stand up for myself and I internalised just everything, didn’t talk to anyone about anything and just quietly dealt with it on my own, without the support from others who were meant to be there for me.

Do not ever let anyone tell you how you should feel and that you should be over it by now! because grief doesn’t work like that and I think what often isn’t talked about is that grief never leaves you, its always there like a part of you is missing. But over time whether is takes you 6 months, 1 year or 10 years you learn how to live with it, even though at the time you just feel so broken and feel like you’ll never be happy again, you will. You’ve got to give yourself time and the space to feel how you feel without letting outside influences telling you how you should be feeling.

After the loss of someone its ok to feel happy in the moment, its ok to feel relief, its ok to feel positive, don’t stop yourself from feeling however you feel because you think you’re supposed to feel a certain way. Just let those emotions flow through you, if you stop yourself from feeling however you feel, it will prolong the healing process.

Surround yourself with those who truly care about you and will hold that space for you, who will carry you through when you can’t carry yourself.

During times of grief self care is so important and so is having some sort of routine, but its also ok to do nothing. Try and keep up with the basic self care things like showering, taking medications, having a good sleep routine, even though cooking and eating is so difficult try to eat every day, get out for some fresh air, have some quiet time, talk to friends and family, try and do things you normally do and enjoy.

I like my lists, so writing lists of acts of self car that you can do daily may help to give you that focus and writing a journal will help so much for you to get out your feelings and help you process things and its just an amazing tool, especially if you make a habit of doing it on a daily basis, its such a simple tool but its so powerful.

Cry, cry a lot, you may find your just randomly bursting into tears and that is so normal, please don’t hold yourself back, don’t hold it in, let it out. I know when your start crying it may feel like you’ll never be able to stop but you will, you will be ok and you’ll probably have a really good sleep after. I don’t think I cried after I lost my dad till about 3/4 weeks after as I was just in shock and I just couldn’t cy, but once I did cry I cried a lot and for well over a year.

Sleep will be very hit and miss, I struggled so much to sleep at night. Especially after I went to see my dad’s body, every time I closed my eyes I saw his face. I do not regret one bit going to see his body at the funeral home, it was such a traumatic experience but I am so glad I saw him. He died very suddenly at the age of just 51 of a heart attack and he didn’t live locally to me so I needed to go and see him just to make sure it was really him. Even though after that I kept seeing his face I don’t regret it. My brother chose not to go and see our dad but its not something he regrets not doing, its very personal. If you think its something you’ll regret not doing 100% do it! because that will be your only chance. Take someone who can be strong for you, it’s such a hard thing to do but down the line when you’ve begun to heal you’ll be proud of yourself for going through that experience.

Back to sleep, so I struggled so bad with sleeping during the first few weeks and I asked my GP for some sleeping tablets, just so I could get through that first few weeks of stress. But after those had ran out, I often didn’t sleep a lot at night and slept a lot during the day and you know that was absolutely ok, I did what I needed to do in order to survive. Although as time went by I did try get back into a better sleep routine, so going to bed at the same time every night, getting up at the same time etc. Lack of sleep will make you feel so much worse and will make everything seem so huge, so getting enough sleep is so importnant.

I think that’s all I can really say about it, don’t rush yourself, feel how you feel, don’t let others tell you how you should be feeling. You will feel ok again, no matter how dark and sad you feel right now, you will see that light again. But don’t rush the journey, its your path to take just know it will all be ok again. You are so much stronger then you think you, even if you feel like you’re not, you so are! You can do it.

Always honour your emotions.

Much love to anyone out there who have been effected by grief, hold on, the light will always be near.

Peace out

Zak