A day in the life of a trans guy

Does anyone else just smash the keys until they can think of how to start a blog post?! No.. just me then lol! My brain feel slugish today but still full of things swirling around and around a million miles an hour.

I am due my testosterone shot on the 17th March and holy shit do I know it! A week or two before my shot I turn into such a gremlin! My mood takes a complete nose dive, my anxiety gets sky high and I feel so irritable, like I could hulk out at any moment at the slightest inconvenience. I get so easily angry, when normally I can keep myself together without completely loosing my mind!

I am getting my bloods taken before my shot as I’ve been on Nebido for a year now and for some reason not had the right bloods taken that then endocrinologist needs to see if my levels are right or not. If they’re not then I’ll need my shot more regular then every 12 weeks. I’m hoping they are ok but I’m not sure I should be feeling so shitty and intense before I’m due my shot, so maybe they aren’t quite right. But we’ll see next week to see if the levels are right or not.

My skin also is so bad right now, but tbh its been so bad since my last shot so I’m not sure its related to being due my testosterone. But yeah that’s frustrating me mainly because the spots are pretty sore and seem to just be multiplying. I haven’t had the greatest of diets at the moment, so I know that hasn’t been helping either but really on the list of things it isn’t really high up of priority.

When my mood is this low all I want to do is eat junk and hibernate and that’s pretty much what I’m doing. But it is difficult to distinguish between what is my ‘regular depression’ and what is a mood change because my testosterone levels are low because my shot is due. And if I am being super honest I can’t really remember the last time I felt properly happy and that really sucks to even say but its true. I mean I’ve had small intervals of feeling happy but they’ve been small moments that haven’t really dragged me far out from the darkness.

A lot of this is due to lockdown and being forced to just be in, enforced isolation for such a long period. I’m just totally over it now. It just feels so dark and heavy and seems never ending, like I’m in a tunnel that I can’t run fast enough to find the light again. It’s all just such a big mess of big emotions and I’m just so exhausted with dealing with it all, although some days I just completely shut off, shut down just to recharge a little and have a much needed break from reality.

I am anxious about lockdown lifting as I feel we’ll be back at square one again. Plus my anxiety is just so bad, I’ve never had anxiety about leaving the house and I know that is one thing that is going to be super difficult so get over. Although part of me can’t fucking wait to get out and about again, so I’m not sure how its going to be, just have to wait and see. So much is still so unknown at this point, I don’t know just feels like an eternal nightmare.

So yeah that’s me right now, feeling pretty fragile I suppose. I’m just over it all.

Peace out

Zak

Update on working on myself as a whole

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace out

Zak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I shall keep everyone posted

Peace out

Zak

Healing inner parts

Recently I’ve been really focusing on things that make me feel good, make me feel happy, safe and comforted, especially as here in the UK we’re back in a National lockdown and I’m here on my own dealing with it on my own.

It’s not just lockdown that has made me feel like I need to feel safe and comforted but doing inner work and realising that I didn’t really get what I needed as a child, my parents were emotionally distant and often my emotional needs weren’t met. Food and meal times were often a stressful event as often I was force to eat things I didn’t like and forced to eat even if I wasn’t hungry and that has caused me so many issues over the years and also despite voicing the fact I didn’t feel like I was a girl, I was basically ignored and that led to feeling so much shame, I felt like something was wrong with me and I despised myself, which led to an unstable sense of self, low self esteem, no self worth and it’s been a really long hard road to get where I am now.

So now I am trying to reparent myself and look after my inner boy because he was totally ignored and was made to be hidden and forced to live life as someone he wasn’t. He’s very emotional, sad, angry, still holds some shame and he just wants/needs to few heard and to feel safe and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing and I’m feeling good. The inner boy or little dude as I call him is feeling better but there is still some work to do

Now some of the things little dude craves may seem childish but you know what he is a child! He’s not aware that as a whole person we’ve grown up, he’s still 15, sometimes there’s a much younger part a younger boy.

I remember a time when I was 12 nearly 13 and starting secondary school and mum shamed me into getting rid of a lot of the toys that I really still loved playing with because I was too old and no one else would be playing with toys and everyone would think I was a baby etc. I think it was because she thought I’d struggle to make friends but I did anyway..

Because I wasn’t getting my emotional needs met from my parents I was very connected to my toys and things because they made me feel safe and comforted. But they were taken away from me and I was forced to grow up when I wasn’t ready. I definitely think my emotional maturity was way behind my peers.

Now the things I find comfort, safety and that makes me feel happy are probably viewed as childish things to those who aren’t aware of my process and what I’m doing trying to heal myself but I don’t care, I feel no shame because these things are helping me heal such deep deep wounds and I love my inner child, he’s so much fun and he and I are loving everything I’m doing to feel safe and comforted.

At the moment I’m totally obsessed with squishmallows 😍 which are super soft and squishy plush toys. Also can’t get enough of kinetic sand, there’s something about it that I just can’t explain it’s just so nice to play with. I’ve also got a whole bunch of fidget toys and a chewigem necklace that I love chewing on often when I’m writing or concentrating on something.

All of these things are sensory things which living alone I don’t have much sensory input from another human, no one to hug or cuddle with and that lack of human connection is really hard so I think I’m trying to find that similar feelings from different things. But sensory things also help keep me calm, calms my anxiety down and helps me focus on whatever I’m doing.

I think often we get so wrapped up in what we should and shouldn’t be doing because of how old we are, which to me makes zero sense. But because I was trying to fit in and be the grown up or the perception of what a grown up is that I pushed little dude away and made him hide away again because I thought that all my stuff was childish and I had to grown up now and what a load of bullshit that is! I mean yes I’m 35 nearly 36 and I manage my own place, bills, pets etc but why should that mean I can’t love plush toys or cartoons, why do we have to stop liking those things and having those things just because we’re older? I don’t understand it.

I am no longer influenced by other people, I don’t care if people think it’s silly or I’m too old etc because I know I am healing myself and that’s all that matters. I will continue to buy myself whatever little dude craves to feel safe and loved and do things to keep him calm and relaxed because when he’s calm, I’m calm.

Connect with the inner parts of yourself, listen to them and what they have to say, you’ll be surprised when you start listening and helping them how much better you will feel.

In strange times like these where things are so uncertain, we all need to feel safe and that will look different for everyone. For me it’s being curled up either in bed or on my sofa with blankets, snacks, my squishy’s and fidget toys, hot water bottle, tv and my fur babies, when I’m here I feel so safe and comfortable, it’s definitely making each day easier to get through.

That’s all for now

Peace out

Zak

Happy New Year – 2021

Hey, how is everyone doing? I hope the first few days of the new year have been treating you well so far.

So far the first few days for me have been fairly good, I haven’t set any new years resolutions for this year, mainly because I feel very soon we will be back into a national lockdown so it seems kind of pointless. Although I do have things I want to aim for and things I want to achieve but I don’t like to share them, or even have them written down, as then I am less likely to do it. It just feels too much pressure to have specific things written down, but I know what I want to do/achieve but also if I don’t that’s totally cool as well because we’re all still stuck in such a weird time and feels like nothings really moving forward very far. I am quite happy with how my life is moving forward anyway right now and even though I initially found lockdown really hard, I am actually really loving my own company, like I am really enjoying it.

New Years day was extremely quite, even though I didn’t actually get to bed that late, I was so exhausted! That all I could manage for most of the day was sleeping and resting, not a terrible way to spend the first day of the new year though. But I did cook up the rest of the veg I had left over from Christmas so it didn’t go to waste, the last of which I will have tonight for dinner, can’t beat a good roast dinner!

Yesterday I did the housework and took the dogs for a walk around the Quay, which I forced myself to do, as it was cold and I was exhausted. But with fatigue its such a catch 22 situation, the less I do the more I’m exhausted but on the flip side if I do too much, I’m also exhausted! So I am making a conscious effort to try and walk a little more every day and try and build my energy levels back up a bit. It’s going to be hard but I’ve done it before, however I am fighting against a under active thyroid as well at the moment, so it may not go quite to plan.

After our walk, I got in and had a rest for a bit before cracking on with some paperwork for my disability benefits. The form filling service needed some information before the phone call, which will help with filling it in, so I spent 2 hours sorting through everything and writing down all the information they needed. I hate sorting through this crap, its so emotionally exhausting and draining!

I treated myself to a Pizza hut for dinner, as I was just too tired to cook or even think about cooking. I had a nice surprise and my friend B video called me, which was lovely as we’d not done that in years! We spent about an hour and a half catching up which was really lovely.

After my video call, it was back to finishing off sorting through the paperwork and I emailed the form filling service with all the information they wanted and holy shit! I felt so much better for having that all done and sorted! The benefits process is so long and draining, but I am so glad I am not doing it alone, because I would just put it off till the last second! Because I hate it so much!

I was so tired after all that I decided to get ready for bed and watched the Simpsons curled up in bed with my 4 fur babies, a perfect way to end a productive day.

Today has been a pretty good day and I am really proud of myself! It was so hard to get going, as its been so cold and grey today, I mean when isn’t it in the UK LOL! But it does make it much harder to get motivated to want to do anything.

I did eventually get myself up, showered, dressed and fed I had peanut butter and honey porridge which I am obsessed with! So tasty and filling. I then got the dogs ready and took them across the road for a run around, Foxy wasn’t overly impressed because she was getting cold. She did what she needed to do and she was done lol. We went back home and the whole time I was trying to decided whether or not to take Scrappy out for a longer walk on his own, but that meant walking further from home… which is something I have been really struggling to do.

We got in and I was going back and forth in my head and decided fuck it! I’m not doing this for me, I’m doing it because Scrappy loves going for long walks and being by the sea. So we went… I did nearly have a panic attack as we got further away from home but I managed to control it and carry on. Once we got down to the sea I felt so much better, I was still feeling a bit tense but I tried to focus on taking pictures and playing fetch with Scrappy. I was just trying to enjoy the moment and watching Scrappy run, play and swim always helps. He’s always so happy whatever he’s doing and that always makes me smile.

I had a great walk with my boy, all be it a chilly walk lol and I am SO proud of myself for pushing myself to get out and not turning back when the panic attack kicked it, but it did not win! We got back in and I made myself a nice cuppa to warm up and curled up on the sofa with a film.

I didn’t come on the laptop to blog initially… but here we are! I still have a few bits to sort out for my disability benefits, which is actually what I came on here to do. I need copies of all the information I need to send, but I still have this evening and tomorrow that I can sort that stuff out. It’s not too much of a rush to get done.

I’m actually feeling pretty good, that walk did me the world of good and also getting so much sorted regarding my disability benefits, I feel like I have some sort of control over the situation.

Life under lockdown has been far from easy but I am so proud that I’ve been able to mange and handle all the change and deal with everything its thrown at me and taken away from and I’ve still come out fighting and smiling. Although some days it does and has gotten the better of me but I mean that’s the nature of living with chronic depression that would happen in any situation. I don’t think my younger self would have been able to deal with this at all, I definitely think that a younger me would have given up, because younger me needed to be around other people to feel like a valid human. Me now at age 35 (very nearly 36) has finally realised that the only person that I need to be happy with is myself, I am the only one I will have a life long relationship with, so it better be a good one! I am valid, worthy and loved all by myself! I don’t need outside validation for that anymore, I know exactly who I am now and I am freaking awesome! I am happy on my own and I know whatever else is thrown at me, I am capable of dealing with on my own.

Here’s a few pictures from the first few days of this year

That’s all for now,

Peace out

Zak

Christmas and New Year 2020 Round up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay safe

Peace out

Zak

Social interactions

During lockdown first and second one, I was pretty isolated and it wasn’t until recently that I realised that a lot of my social interactions come from things like talking to people out dog walking, talking to people while out shopping, talking to people when taking my dogs to the vets and all that was taken away this year, even talking to other dog owners especially at the start of lockdown.

The dogs had the vets this week and we were made to stand outside in the cold, everyone else were sitting in their cars but I don’t drive and then I couldn’t go in with them. This made me super angry and not because I couldn’t go in with because I knew they would be fine but it was the fact that my social interaction was completely taken away from me, I’ve gone months without seeing a single soul and can do that even before this virus situation and for me that small social interaction is so important and can make a huge difference to how I feel that day.

Unless you’ve suffered with chronic isolation, I think its maybe hard to understand why it was such a hit to me. But yeah it made me feel so sad that something I was looking forward to was taken away from me, I really needed that social interaction, no matter how brief it may have been. Plus it’s always really nice to be told your dogs are happy and healthy and your doing a great job, but I didn’t get anything. It was all so cold, distant and not particularly friendly, which they usually are.

So this week I decided to go into a few shops in town, just to be around humans and not hold up on my own, talked to a few people in the shops. It was also helpful to help me get through this agoraphobia that’s developed over lockdown.

Lockdown has shown me how much I take for granted, even down to the smallest things. I didn’t even really realise how important these small interactions were to me, until I couldn’t do them anymore. But hopefully in the next few months things will slowly start getting better.

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

Surviving lockdown/winter Part 2

I’m back with some more exciting lists lol, although these are a bit more interesting then the last ones.

I wrote two separate lists of activities and self care activities, some do overlap and that’s cool because we all do need to be doing self care everyday and I know its maybe an overused maybe wish washy expression but basic self care is having a shower, feeding yourself, sorting out a bill, doing some laundry all of that day to day boring adult stuff we all have to do is a form of self care. Self care isn’t all about extravagant spa days and buying yourself expensive gifts, its getting those most boring jobs done, because that is you looking after yourself and that’s what self care is about. You know changing the bedding may not feel like an exciting form of self care, but getting into that fresh bedding, feels so so good! The task itself sucks! but what you get from it is what makes you feel good.

I wrote down a list of activities and self care things as I’ve said before I’m quite a visual person so its good for me to have something written down. Also I find some days I don’t know what to do with myself and I find that so overwhelming that I end up doing nothing and feeling even more frustrated with myself, so having a list and a rough plan for the day give me that bit of structure and feels much less overwhelming, so its easier to decide what to do.

Here’s the Daily activities list

Walk the dogs

Blog – Try and write at least once a week

Listen to music and podcasts

Watch tv (I’ll often re-watch stuff I’ve seen a million times which helps ease my anxiety)

Have a day of total rest, do nothing at all and make a cosy resting spot

Online course (not found anything interesting yet)

On rainy days play inside with the dogs, bubbles, balloons, fetch and treat toys

Play on my PS4

Write/draw/doodle/colour/read

But don’t feel the need to fill EVERY second of every day, its ok to rest and relax and keep in contact with mind and body.

Here are my self care activities

Shower in the morning and evening if I feel like it

Make sure I get outside everyday for at least 30 mins no matter what the weather.

Take morning and evening meds and do my sinus rinse twice a day

Journal – Write every evening

Blog

Continue counselling (currently via video call)

Nap and rest – meditation and breathing exercises

Cut hair / bleach and dye it (I find cutting my hair and colouring it very theraputic)

Treat self to something I want

Don’t force myself to eat dinner or cook dinner. If I only want snacks for dinner or a takeaway that’s fine do it!

Do things that make me feel happy and good, don’t force myself to do anything especially if it doesn’t make me feel good.

Make a cosy place on the lounge floor lots of pillows and blankets (my inner child bloody loves this)

Or get comfy in bed and watch films on my laptop with snacks, pillows and candles

Don’t forget to reach out! Take time to message friends and interact on FB groups

Play with fidget toys (they help me to concentrate loads and just help me feel calmer)

Bake cakes/cookies or make bread

Don’t wait to long to take pain killers, take them when I need them, don’t wait till the pain is unbearable

Don’t force myself to be happy, let myself feel how I feel.

Keep on top of hospital appointments, blood tests and medications

Take a day where I don’t reply to notifications and try to not spend too much time just scrolling through social media. Try and do that once a week, just to shield myself from constant negative news

Feel tension in my body and chest, stop take and deep breaths and exhale slowly, do that a few times and slowly unclench my jaw, drop my shoulder and just sink into it the breath

When the evenings start t get darker earlier use the SAD light once a day to help with my mood during the winter months

Regularly wash face masks (I suck at remembering to so this lol)

Use weighted blanket when feeling anxious or just need some comfort

Take photographs and use clip on lenses

Hunt for mushrooms and other autumn things (my new interest)

Take a moment to stop and ask myself what I need in that moment.

That’s all I have written down and some may seem really obvious and simple but our lives and minds are often to busy that the simple things get forgotten.

The most important thing is to find joy in the things you do, even in the boring tasks.

Hopefully this list will be helpful and its something you can incorporate into your life to makes things run better, to maybe help you feel better. Obviously tweak, it change it and make it work for you, these are just my ideas and what’s been helpful to me, but won’t be helpful to everyone.

Peace out

Zak

Surviving Lockdown and Winter

I struggle with the winter months every year and every year the shorter colder days always hit me smack in the face, even though it happens every year. But as I was preparing for another lockdown, I thought it was a good time to include the seasonal aspect to it, as earlier on in the year I was able to go outside more because the weather was nicer but this time of year is a bit colder with more rain, so being stuck inside more can be difficult.

As you’ve probably noticed I like my lists, as lists helps me organise myself and my thoughts, so I wrote several more lists for surviving winter/lockdown.

One list is called Non negotiable tasks, now these are the things I NEED to do every day no excuses.

These are my non negotiable tasks,

Sunday – Thursday get to bed between 11pm and 12 am at the latest

Friday and Saturday get to bed 1am at the latest

Getting to bed at the same time every night helps with insomnia, so if you have trouble getting to sleep try and get to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

Get up between 9am and 10am (not always easy with chronic fatigue but I try)

Every Monday do up medication pill boxes and write down what needs to be ordered

Take my meds in the morning and evening and do my sinus rinse morning and evening

Have breakfast before snacks

Get showered and dressed

Get out of the house with the dogs BEFORE sunset! no matter how exhausted I am.

Now those are the bare bones of my day and things that I do every day and somethings are much harder then others but creating a good routine, especially if you have mental health issues, is super important as consistency creates a sense of comfort and safety which will ease anxiety.

A more in depth list I have is a Rough day to day plan (some of this will be repetitive)

Sunday – Thursday get to bed between 11pm and 12 am at the latest

Friday and Saturday get to bed 1am at the latest

Wake up around 9am – 10am

Do the housework every other day

Take morning meds and do sinus rinse

Have a shower and get dressed

Have breakfast (before snacks)

Walk the dogs – weather and fatigue depending – either a longer walk or just a shorter walk across the road. But get out before sunset

See activities list (yet another list lol!)

Walk the dogs 6pm – 6:30pm at the latest

Between 7pm – 8pm at the latest make dinner or order takeaway.

After dinner have a shower (but not every night just if I feel, cold and achy or fancy one) Put some candles and incense sticks on.

Sit down with my SAD light and journal.

Maybe have a hot chocolate/camomile and honey tea and watch a film or something

Take meds, do sinus rinse and get to bed. (I usually listen to a podcast in bed)

So that is my rough day to day plan which helps give me a bit of structure to each day, now a lot of it is dependent on my chronic fatigue and chronic pain, so I try and keep checking in with myself to see how I’m feeling physically, so I’m not pushing myself and so I can still get things done whilst looking after myself as well.

This may seem quite over simplified but when you’re living with a chronic illness and especially depression, things need to simple. I find having a rough day to day plan written out, which I can go back to look at when I need too, takes a bit of stress out of daily living because I can keep track of the things I need to do.

In another separate list I have the days of the week written out and by each day I write what day the housework is, if I have any appointments, if I need to order medications, make any phone calls, when I need to do food shopping, things like that so that each day the important tasks are highlighted. As I really struggle to prioritise tasks, sometimes I’ll get invested in doing something I really enjoy doing but the boring and often more important tasks get forgotten until its too late then I have to run around and get stuff done which ends up being more stressful then if I had just got on and done it in the first place.

I also have written down when I get paid my benefits and how much and I also have my bills all written out and what comes and when, how much, who its going to etc and this has helped me so much to manage my money! I am really rubbish with money and in the past I have gotten myself into debt because I didn’t know what was coming out and when and now along with online banking, which is great as I’m such a visual person I need to see my money so I can organise myself and again it just takes so much stress and anxiety out of it all.

As I said I’m a really visual person which is why for me writing lists is incredibly helpful and having those visual aids helps things run a bit more smoothly and I don’t get myself into difficult situations with money etc any more because I am more organised.

Being an adult and know how to manage yourself and your life doesn’t come easy to everyone and we all do things differently and for me a routine and lists are the 2 things that help me manage my life on my own and maybe at 35 I should be able to do these things with no problems but when you have over riding things like a chronic illness and mental health issues, simple tasks can be much harder to manage.

I will write another blog with a list of activities and self care things this week coming.

I hope you find this useful

Peace Out

Zak