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

A day in the life of a trans guy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a Trans guy

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

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

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

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

Well that’s it for now,

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy

Where do I even start, I’ve been really struggling with this lockdown in many ways but gender dysphoria has been difficult, as I’ve got more time to sit around thinking about it and also certain experiences I’ve had hasn’t helped.

I’ve been out as male for a little over 5 years, I’m 2.7 years on testosterone and 7 months post op top surgery and I still feel like I am viewed as female, not only by strangers but also by friends who knew me pre transition.

Last week I was out walking the dogs and a creepy older guy stopped ahead of me and I think he did that on purpose so he could talk to me, he then continued to refer to me as my dogs mum. I was wearing jeans, hoodie, baseball cap and boots. I don’t think that in anyway did I look female. It really made me angry and sad, I know I’m only 5ft 3 but I don’t think I look like a female. I don’t know… It really fucking sucks.

Also in my mums infinite wisdom (although it came from a good place) made a family group whatsapp group and they decided to share pictures of each other when we were young. Which I wouldn’t usually mind but it wasn’t in my control and my transition isn’t even acknowledged or even talked about. It’s just ignored like its not even happening. Which makes me feel invisible, like I don’t even exist as myself. It only took a week for my brother to push my buttons and piss me off so I left the group. He’s exactly why I’ve not spoken to him for over a year, he’s such a prick!

Then a well meaning friend added me to an all girl group chat for a group video call. I left that group and messaged her to say that I’m not a girl and wouldn’t feel comfortable and her reply was I was the only boy invited but she understood. Which it really doesn’t feel like it, otherwise I wouldn’t have been invited in the first place.

I’m so sick of being invited to girly things and being tagged in stuff especially for woman etc, every time it happens it breaks a small part of me inside. I feel like I’m still being viewed as female and it fucking sucks! I am not female and I never was!

Not being seen as myself is so fucking invalidating, it makes me feel like the me I know I am doesn’t exist as people just aren’t willing to see it. I don’t think people realise how painful it is, even if something is well meant.

Like I said lockdown has been rough, being sat with my own thoughts is hard. I’ve been struggling with gender dysphoria, which I thought would go away, after top surgery.

For so long I was so focused of getting top surgery, I didn’t really have huge lower dysphoria although I knew I wanted lower surgery. But now that focus has shifted from top surgery, I’ve realised I have lower dysphoria, I don’t hate my female parts but I don’t connect with it and I think it is starting to cause a bit of unconscious distress.

The more I think about it all the more I want surgery, so I can just move forward with my life and hopefully it will help me feel complete. But my appointment for my second yes for lower surgery is obviously postponed at the moment due to the virus, which is frustrating.

I hope one day I’ll be seen as myself and I’ll feel comfortable in my skin.

Peace out

Zak

Gratitude Journal

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

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

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

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

Peace out

Zak

Surviving self isolation

Yesterday I said I was going to do a timetable of stuff to do during the day and as I was thinking about it, I realised that having a chronic illness makes a timetable a bit hard and feels too pressured. Also I can’t say how I am going to feel from one day to the next. Like I slept 11 hours last night, I went to sleep around 12:30am and I woke up at 11:30am, I must have needed it and all day I’ve felt a bit tired.

So instead of a timetable, I wrote out a list of things to do and divided into sections.

The sections don’t have set times, just go with whatever feels good. But its also important to remember its perfectly fine to do nothing at all.

Quiet time is always good to do regardless, its good to switch off and be still, its a god time to go within.

I haven’t done much today as my fatigue has been bad and that’s ok, to just rest and do what my body needs.

Peace out

Zak

Keeping busy during lock down

The last few days I’ve been pretty lazy and disconnected from life and not wanting to participate in life, which obviously hasn’t made me feel great.

My nose has been really stuffy the last few days and I think that’s because I’ve spent a lot of time laying down and sitting down. Which also isn’t good for my joints, I’ve been more achy then usual. Being on lockdown and having physical health and mental health issues is going to take a toll on both.

Today I got up at 9:30 am, did the housework, had breakfast, filled in my personal wellness journal, I had a delivery of food for the fur babies and cat litter which should hopefully keep them going for a while. I took the dogs for a wee, dropped them home and went to Asda as I needed to pay my rent and electric. I paid more then I usually do, so I don’t have to keep going out. I went to the pharmacy to pick up my medications and the line was pretty long but fair play to the staff working their asses off to make sure everyone gets what they need.

I weighed myself this morning and holy shit I got fat! I’ve been eating too much and being so freaking lazy! I’m 10st 12′ which is probably why my blood pressure is super high at the moment. I’ve decided I am going to loose this weight and usually once I’ve put my mind to something I will do it. I’ve started by intermittent fasting, which will hopefully help me to stop binge eating and eating when I’m bored. I’m also going to try exercise inside by doing a bit of Yoga, walking inside, using my weights.

I’m going to sit and write out a rough timetable of things to do everyday, so I don’t go insane lol! And so I make sure the fur babies and I are getting the stimulation we need, so our brains don’t turn to mush! I will share my rough timetable, which hopefully will give you guys some ideas of how to stay sane too.

I got myself Disney+ and NowTV Kids, along with Netflix and Amazon Prime I’m not short of things to watch. But I also need to get a balance of watching TV and having some quiet time to read, nap and listen too podcasts. I find I write better with the TV on which is weird.

I think before this day is out I may shave my hair lol! As going to the barbers isn’t essential and my hair is already starting to look a bit wild. I need to trim my facial hair and sort my eyebrows out lol! I will not look like a caveman at the end of this lock down! hahaha.

One thing that I am have done today is to keep my windows open, so I have some fresh air coming through, so I don’t feel so claustrophobic. It’s also good for your lungs and mental health to have a flow of fresh air, when stuck inside.

I’m definitely feeling much better today and I think actually getting up and doing stuff has helped.

I may write more a bit later,

Peace out

Zak

Daily gratitude

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

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

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

Peace out

Zak

Self care + Chronic illness

I have a really cool book that’s called Health Minder Personal wellness Journal, its really detailed and its great for keeping track of your physical and mental health.

I’ve not used it in 2 years and I thought since I have a lot of the Covid19 symptoms anyway because of my autoimmune disorder, I thought it would be a good idea to start filling it in again as a way to keep an eye on my symptoms and notice any changes there maybe. Also its a good way for me to check in with myself in the morning a and evening, which may help me connect with myself.

I was gifted this book from a friend, but you can get them on Amazon, eBay and MemoryMinder Journals website.

For me it is all helpful but my temperature is usually lower then the average 37 degrees. My temperature can range between 35 degrees and 36.5 degrees, anything higher then that for me indicates that I have a fever. So if I do get sick this book will be good to show to the doctors so they can see what my temperature is usually, so they can see that 38/39+ is a very high fever for me. Plus them being able to look at my symptoms and how things have changed etc and saves me explaining things over and over again.

I think it will be good to keep an eye on the slightest changes in my weight, temperature and symptoms, so I can make sure I am keeping as well as I can and not picking up any infections, whether that be the Covid19 or my usual sinus and chest infections.

I hope you’re all keeping safe and keeping as well as you can.

Peace out

Zak

Sunday Afternoon walk

Yesterday I spent most of the morning relaxing and resting which was very much needed.

I finally got myself up and together, did the house and some laundry and as the sun was shining I decided to take the dogs on a walk to Upon Country Park and back.

It was so nice to be out in the sun even though it was a bit chilly, I love walking really helps me get out of my head and be in the moment. There wasn’t many people around, so I could still practice my social distancing.

The dogs definitely needed a good long walk and run around, they were both shattered when we got back. I had to give Scrappy a shower when we got back, as he’d been in the stinky water and stinky mud! He smelt gross lol!

I got some great pictures while we were out, which always makes me feel good.

Hopefully I can continue to safely take the dogs out on a walk, in these uncertain times we all need a sense of routine.

Peace out

Zak