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

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

Day 1 in lockdown – Panic/trauma response

I was going to write more about how I plan on getting through this lockdown, but I thought it was important to first share about how my mental health has been effected already in day one.

When I woke up this morning, my mind was already racing with a million thoughts, the second I opened my eyes and I had the urge to get up and start racing around and do all the things and fill every second of the whole day. But I stopped myself and sat for a min to check in with myself and how I was feeling and I was still feeling sleepy, so I got up and fed the cats, let my dog scrappy out on the balcony for a pee and had a pee myself and then went back to bed for 2 hours.

I felt much better for having a longer sleep but my mind was still racing with all the things I ‘need to do today’ just because I ‘need’ to have a productive first day in lockdown.

Now needs are often what we think we should be doing and its usually what we think we should be doing in order to be productive, in order have value and worth in this life! which is bullshit! We don’t need to do anything, if I hadn’t gone back to sleep this morning then I would be feeling really tired and irritable, so I NEEDED to go back to sleep in order for me to feel the best I can feel today.

Whilst going about my morning, having a shower, getting dressed etc I realised that this panic of making sure I fill up every second is a trauma response, needed to fill every moment to run away from how I’m feeling. I’m not feeling too bad but now we are officially in lockdown and I’ve had an email from the government my anxiety levels are raised a bit more today.

I decided just to sit down and breathe for a moment and stop busily planning on what to do with every second. I decided not to take the dogs on a big walk just because, I was feeling too tired for that and my mind was so busy I wouldn’t have been able to relax and enjoy it.

So instead I took them across the road, took scrappy’s ball and spent some calm time over there just slowly walking around and watching them play. I got in and sat down to watch the new Spongebob movie as I’ve been so looking forward to watching it and I got some snacks and really enjoyed it. I’m still feeling pretty tired so I’m really glad I didn’t rush around going for a walk etc because there’s no point in making myself even more exhausted then I already am.

Instead of racing around and giving into the panic response from past trauma’s that I’m working through in counselling, I made myself stop and slow down and to show this part of me that was panicking that we’re ok, we can rest and take it easy and that I’m here to look after and heal all these parts of me that are still hurting, panicking, scared, angry and lonely. A lot of these parts are children who don’t realise we’re 35 now and they don’t need to be scared anymore. But healing, it can take years to find the right thing that helps you sort through the mess of everything and for me reading a book called Parts Work an Illustrated Guide to Your Inner Life and for me its been revolutionary! I’m able to break down the different parts of my life and have a better understanding of where some of my actions and thoughts come from. It’s a book I highly recommend.

After spending most of the afternoon just relaxing, I don’t feel that panic anymore. My anxiety levels are better and I generally just feel better for stopping and thinking about what I really need rather then just following every thought that pops up in my head. I don’t think we do that enough, we get so busy with expectations of life and others and the swirling noise in our heads were just on auto pilot, so were doing all these things we think we need to do, but we don’t actually listen to where these things are coming from and if we REALLY need to run around getting all these things done.

This lockdown can help us to stop and slow down, pace ourselves and stop listening to the noise and try and figure out what you actually need.

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a Trans guy

I had a weird experience on Saturday, I took the train into the next seaside town with my dogs and we spent the afternoon there. I was really nice, beautiful blue skies, the sun was shining and the dogs had fun playing on the beach with the other dogs.

We had a walk through the town as I wanted to go into my favourite Fossil shop. But as I was standing outside just putting my mask on a girl came up to me and asked me if I had gone to Ashdown (my secondary school) to which I replied yes. I could tell she was nervous as she was talking to me, she didn’t say who she was. It caught me totally off guard and I didn’t recognise her at all, no idea who she was.

I find this type of situation difficult because its embarrassing, awkward and kind of makes me feel vulnerable because I hated school and I didn’t really have many friends and also back then I was presenting in my birth gender. Which isn’t me, its never been who I am and yeah it makes me feel like oh well if I’m still recognisable by someone who’s not seen my in nearly 20 years I must still look like a fucking girl!

It just makes my head spin and makes me feel all kinds of shit! Because I don’t want to be seen as female, I don’t want to be reminded that I’m biologically female, I don’t want to be remembered as female! Because I am not and never was that person I was perceived as.

It’s something that’s been bugging me all week, mainly because I have no idea who this girl was, she wasn’t in my year, she was the year below me. But I don’t remember a lot from school, I don’t really remember people’s names, faces etc because it was such a shit time for me.

Most of the time now I’m stealth, I’ll still get called miss on the phone sometimes and very rarely when I’m out. I am a guy, always have been, so I’m happy I can be out in the world as male. But yeah situations like this don’t make me feel great about myself.

I mean I will never deny my past and my transition etc because its apart of my journey but I don’t want it to be my whole identity. I want to be seen as me, not just for the fact I happen to be trans.

Who I was back then wasn’t really me, I was trying to fit into a world that I just didn’t fit into and I didn’t understand why. I was trying to be someone I wasn’t, I was just trying to do what everyone else was doing. But that wasn’t a true reflection of who I was.

I am more me now then I’ve ever been before, because I am more comfortable in my skin, I’m far more confident then I ever was. I mean yeah I am still on my journey of healing past trauma’s but I know who I am now, I used to feel lost like within myself if that makes sense, but I don’t feel like that anymore.

I know its inevitable I will come across situations like this but its something I hate dealing with, hopefully as time goes by it will stop happening and I can just pass as me and not as who I was before.

Peace out

Zak

Shining light

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote anything and I’m feeling less angry and frustrated then I was in my last blog.

I took the decision to up my trazadone again to help me sleep better and hopefully help me feel less depressed and so far I’m sleeping a better most nights and I’m starting to feel a little better too. I don’t feel so hopeless and so lost in the darkness, I still don’t feel great but I can see the shimmer of light at the end of the darkness, I’ve just got to keep reaching out for it.

I’ve been trying to make little changes to my daily life, that will help continue to make me feel a bit better and to prepare myself for the winter months. Each year I struggle with my mood during the winter and every year it really hits me, so I’ve been trying to prepare myself so its not going to be so much of a shock when it rolls around.

I have written up a rough plan of things to do day to day, some of these things are non negotiable, like take my meds in the morning and evening, getting to bed at a reasonable time things like that. But also to get outside for at least 30 mins each day, especially when the clocks change. As some days I like to just chill and I don’t get dressed until 4pm, which during the summer months is fine as I have loads of time still to enjoy the sunshine. But in the winter it gets dark by 4pm, so I’m going to make sure that no mater how I’m feeling I make sure I spend time outside, soak in that vitamin D from the sun. I love being outside in nature so it shouldn’t be too much of a drag. Even something as small as that I know will make a huge difference to how I feel from day to day.

I love my lists and I’ve been spending nearly every day just writing and writing. One list is of self care stuff, things like washing my face masks regularly as that’s a new thing I need to do better, or using my SAD light every day, listening to what my body wants and needs. Just simple things.

This winter is going to be a tough one as we’re heading into another lockdown and firs time around I found it so hard and winter on top of that is going to bring added stress. But I feel much more prepared this time, that’s why I’ve been writing lists down, mainly as a reminder of things I can be doing to make myself feel better and help me get through this next part a bit easier and I know what to expect now so its not going to be so much of a shock to the system.

I think I mainly operate from my inner child, he’s in charge most of the time. Which is fine but at the moment he’s feeling scared, anxious and unsafe and that’s the main reason I’ve been trying to prepare myself for the winter months to ease the anxieties of my inner child and to make him feel safe. Which he is a bit more settled then he was but he’s still highly anxious and just wants everything in place to feel as safe as possible. Which I am currently working on and I’m not far off having everything ready but I’m not quite finished.

Trying to calm my inner child down has been difficult, but I’ve been trying to listen and trying to identify his needs and what he wants, but it’s tricky as he has complex needs from traumatic events in our life. Slowly I will heal us both, through counselling and lots of patience and self care. I’ve been trying to heal myself for the last 20 years but I’ve never even really scratched the surface until now, I think I’m finally ready to heal. I can’t keep bleeding, I can’t keep letting this little boy hurt, he deserves to feel better now. I want my life to be better now, I want things to be different, I want to break the patterns that I’ve been repeating for the last 35 years. I’m ready to be happy.

One of my self care/regular activities is to try and blog on a bit more of a regular basis. I love writing/blogging and my anxiety/procrastination stops me just getting on with it. I think sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed I can’t physically do anything so I don’t and then I feel annoyed because I haven’t done anything. So I am going to try and make more of a conscious effort to push through the anxiety and sit down and write. I always feel so much better for it, I just need to get over myself and do it! With any luck I’ll be here writing again soon and not with weeks or even months in between posts.

Now I’m sleeping much better at night, I’m getting between 7-9 hours a night, which is much better then the 4-6 hours I was getting, my appetite is a bit better as well. I’m not binge eating sugar because I’m tired. Hopefully I’ll loose a bit of weight now, as I’m not eating half as much as I was, I’m actually eating a proper breakfast every morning as well and I’m trying to eat dinner too, whether that be something I cook or a takeaway at least I’m eating meals rather then just shovelling chocolate into my face all day long.

Getting a good nights sleep for me is so important, it improves my mood, my appetite, I can manage my chronic fatigue better. It’s so easy to slip into bad habits when depressed but at the moment I’m really aware of what makes things worse for me and having all these lists of things will definitely help. Getting into a routine of going to bed at a reasonable time and having a slightly more structured day is slow going, it won’t ever be perfect but I’ve got a good start on it.

Well that’s all for now

Peace out

Zak

Living in the darkness

I haven’t written anything on here for just over 2 months now, the main reason is I just got swallowed up whole by my depression and I just haven’t had the energy or desire to do the basic life things let alone sit down to write.

The main cause of my depression has been lockdown unsurprisingly, as it has I’m sure effected every single person in one way or another. It’s been an incredibly hard time and I haven’t experienced this depth of the darkness and isolation in such a long time and its not a place I like to be in. But I’ve had zero control in getting myself out of it and making myself feel better and you know right now that’s ok. My brain is doing everything it can to protect me from further tramua.

I’ve had silly comments from people who’ve said well I survived through it, I live in a beautiful area etc, which is extremely dismissive of how I’ve been feeling and its a reason why no one really knows just how bad and how dark the places I’ve been in recently because I get sick of this toxic positivity bullshit! Yes I’ve survived lockdown so far, but only fucking just and I mean I was on the verge at a few points of ending it all because the loneliness and depression was just so loud and it was so intense that I just didn’t and couldn’t deal with it anymore. But I did keep pushing through and its still not something I can feel proud about because I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m still pretty depressed, I’m just a fucking master at hiding it.

A few weeks ago it was my 3 years on testosterone and 1 year post op top surgery and in July I had arranged to meet up with some friends to celebrate as the previous years I haven’t and its something that’s extremely important to me and I wanted to celebrate, but it was pretty much a fail because most people bailed! which hurt like fuck and still fucking does and I’m still so angry and upset that I’m not overly interested in talking with the people that bailed. I tried to be happy and grateful for the few that did turn up but I just couldn’t, I was already extremely depressed and this just topped it off. Next year I’m not going to fucking bother! I am so fucking done with people!

People are so fucking fake! Always promoting mental health, self care etc but fuck me right! I don’t actually matter! I’m so fucking angry with people, I’ve been let down by everyone over the years and I have not one single person who I can rely on. I hate everyone, I don’t deserve to be treated this way, I bend over backwards to help anyone but no one seems to be able to celebrate something that’s extremely important to me. I am fucking done with everyone! I’m just not interested anymore. They can talk the big talk but I don’t trust that shit anymore, when it comes down to it, no one actually shows up for me.

All is does is make me feel like a really fucking shitty person! I feel like the worse person in the world cuz I’m 35 and still have no friends and I still don’t understand where I’m going wrong like wtf!? am I this fucking dumb?! I know I am far from fucking perfect, I know I’m an annoying dick head but I’m not a bad person. Yet shit like this makes me feel like the worst person in the world.

I see everyone else with their friends, having fun, doing stuff etc and there’s just me here on my own, like when’s it my turn?! When is it my turn to have friends and be happy? I fear my life will always be like this. I can’t seem the change the patterns no matter what I try, I try be like everyone else, I try and be myself, nothing works. So must be me right?

I’ve always felt like such an outsider, I feel like I’m from a different planet cuz I just don’t fit in socially, its too hard. But I don’t understand why I’m so different, I hate feeling like this. I don’t understand why people don’t like me or why people just can’t be bothered to put the effort in with me. I can’t change what I don’t understand.

I’m so fed up of writing about the same shit and crying about the same shit. I don’t think people understand the depths of my isolation really is. I have no emotional connections with anyone, certainly not my family and no friends. I’ve become so shut down emotionally so I can deal with this depression and loneliness, I can barely feel anything other then sadness and anger. I spend 99% of my time alone, there’s only 2 people who regularly message me and to be honest the last few months they’ve really helped get me through. But its still not the same as social interactions, I get so much from social interactions and I just haven’t had any for so long, its beyond difficult.

I’m back at counselling now, I begrudgingly went back. I enjoy going and I enjoy talking about stuff and its at least some social interaction for the week. But I’ve been in counselling for the last 20 years on and off, I’m starting to feel I’m too broken to ever be fixed and this is just my life forever now. My life has been hard and its still hard, with a few moments of happiness but they seem to be few and far between. The darkness is just so strong, its hard to climb out of it. Most days, I just let the darkness take over and I just sit and completely disassociate so I can just get through the day. I’m barely functioning most days, I have my non negotiable things I do each day, like take my meds, do my sinus rinse and take the dogs out, but the energy it takes just to do those small things is immense. I’m barely getting through each day and its exhausting. I want so much to be happy, to be loved, to have friends, to have adventures with my friends, but seems like that’s a lot to ask for. It’s all I’ve ever wanted from life. But damaged people don’t get a happy ending right? I just feel like I’ll be living in this darkness forever, its the only constant in my life over the years. I can’t remember when the darkness and I first met but I think I was quite young.

I do think my diagnosis of Bipolar is wrong, I reckon I have complex PTSD, autism spectrum disorder and ADHD as all 3 of these have symptoms that are the same or similar to bipolar and all 3 have overlapping symptoms with each other. I don’t have the energy to speak to my GP about any of this as I know I’ll get sent to my psychiatrist who doesn’t believe in adult ADHD, which is ridiculous and I just hate talking to him, I find it hard to get everything out as I feel like he’s sat there judging me, I always feel like he thinks that I’m just an attention seeker. So yeah I hate talking to him and I can’t ask for someone else as he’ll block that because he’s a prick! But hopefully through counselling I can figure some stuff out and maybe gather some evidence for a potential re diagnosis.

So yeah that’s me, writing out my heart and soul of darkness!

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

trauma – Parts work

I posted last week I think about childhood trauma, but I missed a big chunk out. I didn’t come to mind at the time, but as I’ve mentioned before my memory has huge chunks missing and things that aren’t in order and that’s got much worse over the years and I think that’s mainly cuz I’ve been getting closer to the source of the trauma, maybe its ready to start healing. Finally.

So when I was about 7 years old I started getting ill (I’m not sure if that age is accurate, but I know I was in first school) I think it started with asthma like symptoms and in fact I ended up having a asthma attack as all my x-rays would come back clear and I have the same issue now, I can have a chest infection and doc’s can never really hear anything until I cough. So In was treated for asthma, I then started having nosebleeds that would last for what felt like hours at a time and because I was young and the shape of my nose wasn’t right they would never cauterise my nose to stop the bleed. It then progressed to joint pain and fatigue but as was young most doctors didn’t really know what was wrong with me.

By the time it came to the year 2000, which was the year after my parents divorce (I think) I was diagnosed with an auto immune disorder, for which I was given heavy medications and their side effects were just as brutal as my illness itself. I was given no support for my mental health, I was given no extra support at school even though I had to take a lot of time off. I was given this huge life changing condition and I just had to manage it myself and that wasn’t easy.

At school I was always different, always the outsider and dealing with a auto immune disorder, did me no favours. I was already struggling with my mental health and this only impacted on it. I thought my life was over, what I wanted to do with my life was taken away from me, well I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life, but now everything seemed pointless. I’d already given up on my life at that point and to be honest I feel the same way, just a ghost going through the motions until I die. (PSA No I am not suicidal, just tired of existing, wanting this pain to end, not to be dead)

Childhood/teenage years are pivotal for the person you grown into as an adult and some who suffer trauma in those years can because stuck there, or parts of your inner system can become stuck in a certain mode as a way to protect that child.

I have been reading about ‘parts work’ or internal family systems model and holy shit did my protective child go crazy when I read about the protective child, why they are formed and how they can be changed to be more in balance. I felt physically weird reading that part, I definitely disassociated, felt itchy and uncomfortable and had to stop reading, so I could get up and move around. I ended up having to do something else as my protective child wasn’t ready to be reading that stuff, especially as its only been in the last week that I’ve verbalised to another human that yo this trauma is the source of this pain that isn’t shifting no matter what I do, I need to heal this pain first.

But I know that this protective child is protecting not just me but other deeply hidden pains and I know that this is going to take a while to work through and its not going to be easy or comfortable but I want to heal properly now, I think I’m finally ready to be vulnerable enough to dig through this pain and trauma that’s trapped within. I want to feel more balanced, I want to feel happy, I want to let this stuff go. I want to be able to fully accept myself and I want to self to take its place, I want to stop coming from a place of hurt and self preservation because that’s not helping me.

I want to stop hurting, because its getting to hard to keep carrying on my own. The load is too heavy now, I only end up bleeding on everyone, that’s why I can’t break into any friend circles, I don’t want to be alone anymore.

But for now at least I know that 95% of the time protective child fronts to protect me from the world because that’s what he’s had to do for so long. I wish I could hold that little kid and tell him its going to ok, those nights I would cry in bed at night, all alone. I’d never let myself be emotional or cry in front of anyone, I’d hold it in until I was alone. I do the same now, I could do with a hug now, someone to tell me I’m going to be ok.

I may not be where I want to be, or where I think I should be, but I’m finally starting to understand myself a little better. It’s never too late right?!

Peace out

Zak

trauma

This lockdown has been kinda good for one thing its allowed old wounds and pains to surface and its made me face the reality of the route cause of this pain that’s been there forever.

I’ve had counselling and different therapies since I was 15 years old on and off over the years and I’ve always skirted around this issue, cuz its painful and embarrassing to admit and as I’ve gotten older its got harder.

I find it super hard to be vulnerable and honest with myself let alone anyone else. But today I was able to verbalise it, which was very uncomfortable.

My parents divorced when I was 15 and my memories from around that time are patchy. It was a pretty traumatic experience and the years running up to that weren’t that great either and again memories are patchy.

For some that may not be seen as a traumatic event but for me it was and my mental health wasn’t great before it happened as I started self harming when I was around 9/10 years old. I can’t explain why I started self harming as again memories are fractured, not in order or missing completely.

I was an extremely anxious and extremely shy as a little kid, I struggled to make friends, I always felt left out and I still feel the same now at the age of 35 years old.

I think as you get older you tend to romanticise what your childhood was like, with me I don’t remember much at all. But I remember what it made me feel, what I felt then is what I feel now. No matter how hard I try to heal, to move forward. I am always dragged back to how I felt at the age of 15 years old.

I still feel like a little kid standing in a room full of adults trying to be seen and heard, I feel like I don’t exist, I feel alone, intense loneliness, I feel so sad, I’m in so much pain, I feel lost, I feel scared, I feel numb, I feel unloved and unlovable, I feel unwanted.

I can’t keep bleeding over the same thing, hurting over the same thing. It’s just too hard, too painful.

I feel so left out, everyone has their circle of friends and I’m standing way on the sidelines, waiting to be seen and heard, waiting for the scraps, waiting to have my existence remembered. I can’t do it anymore.

I’ve not hit any expected adult mile stones, I’ve never been in a long term relationships, I’ve never lived with anyone, I’ve never been engaged, married, I don’t have kids, never had a long term employment (mainly due to my physical health) 1 long term friendship which I no longer have. I don’t have kids, don’t own my place and never have. Never travelled anywhere, never done anything.

I feel like I’ve missed out on so much because of this trauma that hides inside me and seems to have such a strong hold over me. I end up bleeding on everyone around me and no one wants to deal with that. But I don’t mean too, I try so hard but doesn’t seem to be working. But I’m just a traumatise kid inside.

I’m so exhausted, so tired of trying, tired of feeling this pain, tired of fighting to be seen and heard, tired of existing. I’m tired of looking after myself, tired of acting like I’m a grown up when really I maybe 35 but emotionally, socially etc I’m still just a 15 year old kid inside. It exhausting trying to pretend I’m ok when I’m not.

This is hard

Peace out

Zak

Breaking very old patterns

As I mentioned in my last post, I had written 2 long posts early hours of this morning, but I knew I would need to proof read the spelling and if they made sense or not before posting as they were both written pretty quickly, as I didn’t want to forget anything and wanted to get everything out.

So here goes…

Stuck in patterns especially with friendships and relationships. Experiencing the same same thing over and over again but expecting different results.

I didn’t just need to step out of these friendships, I also needed to look at myself and where I was going wrong and why these patterns kept repeating.

A lot of it was because I let it happen and let those patterns continue as I wasn’t in tune, I wasn’t learning, changing or moving forward.

I also thought it’s all I deserved and because shitty friendships and relationships kept happening, so must be me right? I must have been the reason I was being treated in the ways that I was. That’s a little bit true in the fact I left my behaviour unchecked and unchallenged but I also didn’t challenge others about what they said and the way they treated me, I didn’t express how I felt when someone did or said something. I just shut up and accepted that’s all I deserved.

I’ve always struggled to maintain friendships and relationships. I know I’m not an easy person, I’m overly sensitive and I take things to heart. I used to view these as bad qualities because I was told constantly I’m too emotional, I’m too much to handle etc.

But my sensitivity is what makes me special, it’s what makes me different, it’s what makes me me!

I think these people just didn’t have the same emotional capacity, emotional intelligence as me, so it was easier to make out that I’m the bat shit crazy one and I’ll be the first to admit that I am absolutely bat shit crazy but I’m absolutely cool with that.

I wasn’t built for this cookie cutter society, I was built to stand out and shine bright. But all my life I’ve been surrounded by people who’ve slowly helped to dim that light until I was completely lost in the darkness, just serving others and not looking after myself because myself was completely lost.

I felt invisible like I was only here to serve the needs of others, regardless of the cost to myself. It’s what I deserved, after all I was only a shadow.

The last two years have been the most brutally beautiful and eye opening. It’s like my light has been switched on again and is starting to flicker and with every passing day it gets a little bit brighter.

2018 was the year I fell in love after being on my own for 5 years. Even though it lasted only 7 months I fell hard but it was hard not too as she’s an incredible human, it was the first relationship since starting my transition and as short as it was the longest relationship I’ve had.

I was completely broken when it ended but we remained friends which was really painful to begin with and I think it’s only been really recently that I can say that I’m over her. I still adore her and I’m glad we’re still friends but she was definitely sent to teach me a huge life lesson.

After we broke up my world went from sunshine to perpetual darkness, it was devastating. I withdrew from everyone, withdrew from life, I was so angry, so sad I would spend days crying, which felt like the tears would never stop.

But it gave me the opportunity to analyse what happened, where I went wrong and what I could improve on in the future. Now this isn’t something I’ve ever done before, usually I just get depressed and eventually get over it without learning any lessons so ultimately end up repeating the same shit over again.

It wasn’t a nice process looking at what a needy, emotional, childish diva I was. How intense I was and it’s proper cringeworthy stuff, so bad that I wished I just didn’t exist, that didn’t happen and no one remembered 😂

I mean fair play to her for surviving with me as long as she did.

Even though I did have some awareness of my behaviours and how needy I can be, I tried my hardest to act like a grown up and whatever but those not so great qualities of mine snuck in and soon took over and I couldn’t control myself.

I was overly needy, paranoid, super insecure.. the list goes on.

I’ve been able to step back and take a look at myself and it’s been hard. Especially admitting my flaws but I mean it’s been an essential part of me growing and changing.

It’s taken a lot of work to process the pain and move on from that dark place but I’m doing better now and I hope that if/when a new relationship arises that I’ll be better equipped to deal with myself and have a healthy relationship.

This all led to me taking a step back from important friendships in my life.

Often with long term friendships we don’t tend to take a step back and look at it and see the toxicity that’s slowly crept in along with the complacency.

Whilst this particular person was the one who actually took the plunge and said we need to take a step back from each other, it was something that I was already contemplating and thinking over. They just got to it quicker then I did. But I wanted to take my time look at everything, process everything before I made a decision but my hand was forced and this person did the ending off.

Which as time has gone on has been more of a relief then I imagined.

I won’t go into the ins and outs but toxic behaviour on both sides, a difference in needs/wants/expectations of the friendship which ultimately for me led to feeling disappointed and let down a lot.

I did though put in an important boundary for myself and blocked this person from all my social media as I feel like I wasn’t supported as much as I needed/wanted/expected, so they don’t get to know/see the next parts of my life. Plus a clean break from a bad environment is always good.

The other friendship, well I dunno just things had changed, I had changed and it was just too much of an effort and I just couldn’t be bothered anymore, we’d outgrown each other.

The other friendship, well I was sick to death of hearing the same old depressing shit over and over again and giving my advice and practical help but nothing changed. I walked away for my own sanity.

These decisions weren’t taken lightly as it left me extremely lonely as these people were the only ones that were the closest to me.

I feel like I’m no longer being strangled by others expectations and need. Which has been really freeing.

I’ve spent the last 6 months with huge chunks of time just on my own and it’s been amazing.

The friendships/people I still talk to now is such a different set up. No expectations of anything, we talk as and when, I meet-up with people as and when I feel up to it. I can say no and mean it, without feeling guilty about it. I can put in boundaries without feeling guilty. Proper grown up stuff lol!

I feel like a weight has been lifted, my light is shining bright, my confidence and self esteem is slowly building. I’m becoming the person I’m actually proud of.

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Holy shit who is this person that wrote this deep stuff?! like wow! ahaha. Its amazing what flows out at 4am.

Again another hugely raw and vulnerable post but its good to get this stuff out. I feel good, I am good.

Peace out

Zak