A day in the life of a trans guy

I’ve not written on here for a while, mainly because I’ve not really had anything much to say and partly because I’ve not had the concentration to be able to sit down and write, so I thought I would write a bit of an update regarding my transition.

On the 20th Feb was my 18 month post op top surgery! Which is so crazy, time has flow so quickly and I am still so pleased with the results of surgery, the scars look fab and its healed so well. I am beyond grateful and still just so happy with how my chest looks.

And on the 22nd of Feb was my 3 years and 6 months on testosterone which is just so crazy, can’t believe its been nearly 4 years already! Still trying to grow my beard in lol! but its getting there. Testosterone and surgery saved my life and I will be forever grateful for access to trans healthcare.

One thing I have been thinking about for a long while is my pronouns, I have been going by he/him which is cool that fits me fine but I’ve recently been thinking about going by they/them as well as he/him. Because I’m not out here trying to be a cis guy, I’m just trying to be me and for me I feel that he/him is just too restrictive and that in order to be he/him I have to be a certain way, which just isn’t me. I still identify as a trans masculine guy but I have a much softer, far more sensitive side and I don’t feel like who I am fits into the narrow view of what it is to be masculine and that’s totally fine with me, I definitely feel like they/them gives me more room to breathe and continue to explore myself, without such restrictions. It feels far more freeing already.

Being trans isn’t just hormones and surgery, its a constant journey of self discovery, for me it has been anyways and I think a lot of that is down to my growing confidence within myself and free from toxic/negative/gaslighting situations and free from others judgements so I’ve been able to really look at the things I really love and enjoy and not worry about what other people think about it because I AM happy and that’s all that matter and I am looking forward to continue to explore this part of my journey.

Always be yourself and if the people around you don’t like it or don’t respect you, get rid of them. If someone cannot respect you for who you are, they don’t deserve to have a place in your life. We all deserve to be treated with love and respect and we shouldn’t accept anything less.

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

today sucks

Now lockdown is easing, I’ve had two different hospital departments ring me up last week to book me in for appointments. It was quite nice to go without hospital appointments for the last few months, its been the only real upside to lockdown life.

One appointment was for the podiatrist, he said my new insoles are ready… finally! Feels like I’ve been waiting forever for these new ones. He said he can post them to me or I can come in for an appointment and I said I’d prefer an appointment as if they still aren’t right then he can write down what adjustments they need and send them off there and then, rather then having them posted to me, them not being right and having to go up for an appointment anyway. Made more sense to me to just go in for an appointment. I go there on Thursday morning, I’m really hoping these are better then the last ones as its been nearly 2 years now trying to get these insoles just right.

The second appointment was for cardiology, which I went to this morning and it was a pretty fucking shit experience for a number of reasons.

The first being the face mask, for some reason is provokes such an intense reaction. It makes me feel really angry, really agitated and really anxious. I fucking hate wearing stuff over my face and around my neck, I can’t wear a Halloween mask for the same reason, I can’t fucking stand scarfs either. So as soon as I put that mask on to enter the hospital, my mood completely changed and its not under my control. I just instantly felt on edge and really emotionally dysregulated, I just wanted to take that mask off an leave.

Then I was fitted with a blood pressure monitor which is completely different from the one I was fitted with at the doctors surgery, which stressed me out even more. This one I have on now for 24 hours is uncomfortable, I have the monitor looped around my belt and the wire is all bunched up around my back and isn’t sat flat across my shoulder, its extremely hard to ignore the fact I’m wearing it and I fucking hate it! For bed time I have a softer belt to wear but if possible I’m not going to wear it as a belt, if its long enough I’m going to try and wear it over one shoulder.

The one I had from the doctors surgery a few months back was way better, the monitor itself was in a little bag with a strap, so I wore it over my shoulder which meant the wire wasn’t all bunched up around my back and sat flat around my shoulder. It was barely noticeable and it wasn’t such a stressful experience as this one is turning out to be.

I feel so fucking angry because I don’t feel comfortable and there’s nothing I can do so make myself feel less angry and uncomfortable. I just have to put up with this bullshit till 12 pm tomorrow and then have to drop the fucking thing back off which means wearing a fucking mask again!

I feel so fucking frustrated I want to smash my head in! That’s how intense I feel right now, I can’t wait for this 24 hours to be fucking done!

How I feel is beyond any self soothing skills or any other bullshit skill, I won’t feel better until I can take this fucking thing off.

Before lockdown I could cope ok with changes and sensory things, I was still effected by sudden changes or something that didn’t feel right but I was able to just deal with it and it didn’t often invoke a strong reaction, occasionally is did but not always. But now because lockdown guidelines are forever changing and things are so uncertain and my anxiety is heightened, I simply cannot deal with the smallest of changes or things that don’t feel right. It sends me into a massive internal spin and invokes such intense reactions, which makes me want to physically act out, in hurting myself. Which admittedly I have punched myself in the head, I’ve pinched myself hard, scratched myself, punched my legs. Just anything to stop the intensity of how I feel, the only things I’ve not resorted to yet is cutting myself. Mainly because I’ve not cut for 2 years and 6 months but also I don’t think I’d be able to control myself and I don’t want to have to deal with going to hospital for stitches and being questioned by people.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of maybe being on the autism spectrum because of my sensory issues, the fact I struggle to deal with change and find it difficult to make friends, I don’t like being touched unless I’m in a relationship with someone then its different, I don’t give very good eye contact as I find it really uncomfortable and social situations make me anxious. I also have stuff that I will intensely be interested in, collect etc and same with foods I will eat something for weeks/months on end until I’m sick of it. Also I have a lot of friends past and present who are on the spectrum, which makes sense as people with additional needs tend to gravitate towards each other. I may bring this up with the nurse next week when I go for my T shot and see what she suggest I do and her opinion on whether I could be on the spectrum or not.

Girls with ASD even now get missed and aren’t diagnosed as often as boys are, mainly because when the DX was written about ASD it had boys/men in mind now girls/females. Also girls are often much better at learning how to pretend and mimic their peers, boys don’t often do this and will ore often act out more aggressively so are more likely to be tested for autism, whereas for girls its not often picked up until much later in life.

I was raised as female and actually there’s a high instance of trans people who are on the spectrum, so these two things makes sense as to why maybe if I am on the spectrum it was missed earlier on in my life.

Anyway I’m so over today, I’m going to try and relax and hopefully the intensity of the mass of swirling mess inside subsides enough for me to chill and feel a bit better.

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

A day in the life of a Trans guy

So just a quick update really as I don’t have a whole lot to say regarding my transition. As at the moment it feels like it’s on pause.

20/3/2020 marked 7 months post op top surgery! Which is cool but as I’ve spoken about over and over, I still feel that lack of connection with my chest and body in general. So whilst I’m extremely grateful that I was lucky enough to have the surgery, I don’t feel the happiness I thought I would feel. Maybe I put too much expectations of surgery making everything better.

Now we’re in this quarantine times, I intend to try and slow down and connect with my innermost self and really trust myself and learn to love myself unconditionally. Maybe this will help ease the dysphoria and help with the connection. I need to lose weight too as that definitely isn’t helping. But I feel stuck inside myself, I can’t move.

I intend to look after myself better because I deserve it.

Here are some pictures of my chest 7 months after life changing, life saving surgery

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy – 6 months post top surgery.

Time is flying by faster then I can keep up with, it’s just crazy. But today marks 6 months since I had top surgery.

I’m slowly starting to connect with my chest and slowly starting to realise that I’ve finally had this life changing, life saving surgery that I’ve been wanting since puberty.

Still struggling a bit with the gender dysphoria and recognising myself but I think its a natural part of being trans.

I don’t think I look at my chest enough, I don’t look at myself and appreciate my new body. I think I was focused on recovering from surgery and it going well without any complications that I wasn’t really present and I was pretty lonely during recovery as well, so I didn’t have anyone around to be excited about surgery with and to share it with.

Looking back at leading up to surgery and after surgery I was kinda disconnected from it and as I’m used to being in hospitals and I’ve had lots of minor surgeries before, I just kinda treated it like any other procedure I’ve had to go through. I was really excited on the day of surgery and just after but it didn’t last very long. I just came at it like something I had to go through and I do feel sad now that I was that disconnected, I feel sad that I didn’t have anyone close to share the excitement with, I feel sad that I had no support during the recovery period, I felt quite let down.

I’ve felt quite lonely during my transition, despite friends being supportive and being happy for me. Apart from 1 appointment last year and the friends who took me to appointments before surgery, who took me there, took me home and took me to follow up appointments, I’ve spent the last 4 years going to appointments alone. It’s something that still makes me feel really sad, more then I think people know. As its not something I really express as it can’t be changed now.

But moving forward, I know I need to try and spend more time looking at my chest and touching my chest, so my brain starts making that connection with my new body. I think when it starts getting warmer and I spend more time walking around the flat topless, that will also help as well.

I’m still really happy with the results and how well my scars look and I’m super grateful to have been able to have this surgery done. I do feel better for having it done, just its such a huge emotional experience and as I am a super sensitive person, I’m sure its something that will take me a while to process.

Here are pictures from today.

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy – Gender Dysphoria

I’ve noticed recently that I go through periods of taking selfies and then long periods of not taking selfies and focusing more on taking pictures of stuff around me.

I love taking pictures so much, looking at life through a lens. It helps me remember what I’ve done and where I’ve been, I just love pictures.

Looking back through my pictures of Facebook, I have loads of pictures of myself, being ridiculous and making stupid faces and just generally being silly! lol.

But since starting testosterone I have less pictures of myself and I think a part of that is still not being happy with my reflection and still not having a connection to the person in the mirror. Which is weird, I would have thought that testosterone and top surgery would lesson that disconnection between myself and my reflection.

Maybe its something that will take time, I’m still learning about myself, who I am, where I fit etc so maybe it just takes time to fuse myself and my reflection.

I’ve spent so many years hating my body, hating how I look. It’s no wonder I don’t recognise/like my reflection. I’ve never felt connected with my reflection, I’ve never felt a connection with myself.

Maybe I need to spend a bit more time looking at myself, so I can learn to love the person looking back.

I think sometimes there’s a lot of expectations put on the physical transition side of things and I’ve just kinda hoped that testosterone and top surgery would just ‘fix’ the low self esteem and gender dysphoria.

Whilst it has definitely improved the dysphoria it hasn’t ‘cured’ it so to speak, I think that comes from learning to love myself and the body I have.

Like I mentioned I’ve spent so many years hating my body, ever since female puberty hit. I hated how my body changed and I hated feeling like I was the only one that didn’t like my body. It was a really lonely time, I felt so odd and just I don’t know its really hard to explain.

I think having a chronic illness has also impacted on the lack of love I have for my body. Because I’ve been ill from such a young age, I felt like I was robbed of the life I wanted and I resented my body for that. I have found peace with that to a degree but I do still struggle with it a bit.

I need to start celebrating my body more, after all it’s got me this far. My body is amazing, I need to start feeling more comfortable in my skin.

It won’t change overnight, but I think it is something I can change and I want to change.

I’m 6 months post op top surgery this week and it still hasn’t sunk in, I am that detached from myself, it’s almost like I know in my brain that I’ve had the surgery and I can see my scars. But I’m still not emotionally connected with it.

For the first few weeks after surgery I felt euphoric on and off but that soon disappeared. I want to feel that again, as that felt amazing.

I have so much self work to still do, so much to unpick and untangle. I’m slowly getting there and I think in the last year I’ve made more progress that I have done in the last 10 years. Which feels a bit overwhelming but also feels good.

I’ll get there eventually, I just need to stop rushing the process and thinking I should be further along that I am.

I am perfect and exactly where I am meant to be.

Peace out

Zak

Counselling – Asking for help isn’t shameful

I went back to counselling sessions about 3/4 months ago now and I’ve found it to be really beneficial and has really helped me to process things I’ve been dealing with and has helped me unpick some real deep routed/ingrained stuff that I hadn’t really realised I had issues with.

I was a bit hesitant to go back into therapy/counselling, for many reasons. But some of these reason had actually come from what others had told me in the past that had become apart of my negative self talk.

One reason I was hesitant was that over my life I have seen a lot of counsellors, therapists etc I’ve done CBT and DBT and at what point is it enough? I kept telling myself, well I’m an adult now, nearly 35 I should be able to manage life on my own, I’ve had lots of therapy, I should have the skills and ability to deal with life… and the list goes on. Lots of I SHOULD’s which are the fucking worst!

Also in the past I’ve had friends people in my life, telling me I’m not trying hard enough, I’m not doing enough to change my life and the situations I find myself in etc and if you’re told that enough times, especially if you have low self esteem like I do, you believe those people and those statements and they become apart of your inner monologue, which you the use to bully yourself with.

I viewed counselling as an adult as a sign that I am failing, have failed at managing myself and my own life. Because of those negative statements I felt a lot of shame about needing counselling again, which is bullshit, the best thing for me at this time was to go back to counselling to help myself.

Things you say to people even if you mean well can be so damaging, especially if that person is like me and is particularly sensitive to other people’s words. Obviously you can’t know what words will hurt people, but its just having an awareness of what you do say may have a bigger impact on a person, whether you meant it or not.

The words we say are hugely powerful and can have a massive impact on the rest of someone’s life, not to be dramatic. But a lot of the things in my inner monologue are from negative things or perceived negative things that have been said to me.

It’s really hard for me to not take things to heart, I often don’t seem like I’m effected by things in the moment but I am very much someone who will repeat something over and over and over a million times and look at it from every different angle imaginable. By doing so I make myself feel so upset or angry by something and often my internal reaction often doesn’t match the actual event and is usually an overreaction.

It is something I have been working on for years as I am very aware I can be seen as overly emotional, but I can also go the other way and have no reaction at all, no response.

Taking things to heart is something I still struggle with a bit, I’m still learning. I am much better at controlling my emotions and reactions to things.

Counselling has been eyeopening and it has helped me process things that I was struggling with on my own. I feel like I have dealt with past hurts from a relationship that ended just over a year ago, that was the main thing I was still really struggling with. It still felt so raw and painful, but that pain and hurt has been worked through, unpicked and it just feels good to have had someone outside the situation to talk to about it.

It has also helped me unpick past friendships and why patterns kept repeating over and over. I lack boundaries with people and because of my kindness and low self esteem I let people walk all over me, I let toxic behaviour to continue unchallenged, I was way too much of a people pleaser, I often didn’t even realise I was being emotionally abused because it was so subtle, but over the years it wore me down.

Before I started counselling I was starting to realise that a lot of my main friendships I had were so toxic and just weren’t good for me. In on particular one I felt like I was constantly being put down, in such subtle ways but now I’m not involved in that situation I can’t believe the fact I let it go on for as long as it did, without even saying anything. I just accepted it because that’s what I thought I deserved.

I didn’t think I deserved to be treated better then I was, I didn’t think I was worthy enough. But since stepping back from these friendships and since unpicking this pattern of negative friendships, I realise I am worthy and I do deserve to be treated better then I have been.

Unpicking life, unlearning behaviours and patterns isn’t something that happens overnight and isn’t something that ever stops. I think its good to continue to keep stepping back and looking at different aspects of life to continue to move forward and to make sure you’re not being taken advantage of and helps you identify toxic negative behaviours, either from yourself or that you are allowing from other people.

Counselling also helped me unpick and look at the problems I have with disassociation and how its your brains way of protecting you and the different effects it can have. IE it can stop medications being effective as there is such a separation being brain and body. Which so so fascinating.

We also talked about my gender dysphoria and the fact that I feel still disconnected to my chest despite having had top surgery, nearly 6 months ago now.

This disconnection/disassociation from my brain and body is something I think I’ve always struggled with ever since I was small. Due to traumatic events, those events being my parents divorce which was extremely messy and painful and then being quite ill from a very young age and finally having a diagnosis as a teenager of a life changing, lifelong illness. Also being brought up in an environment that wasn’t great for anyone’s mental health, let alone a child’s

I have very little recollection of my parent’s divorce and the bits I do remember, aren’t great but the rest I’ve blocked out. I may never fully remember those events, I may have something that one day will trigger those memories. And that’s ok because my brain is doing whatever it needs to do to continue to protect me and keep me safe, which is amazing.

Maybe one day with more inner work and the further down the line I go with my transition I will close that gap between my brain and body and that disconnection won’t be so great. But as with anything these deep routed things take time to heal and takes time to change.

I think because I am a pretty sensitive person that I will need top up counselling sessions every now and then throughout my life, just to keep me going, keep me safe and keep me happy and I’m ok with that now.

You take your car for an MOT, you go to the hospital if you break a leg, you eat food in order to fuel your body to keep going, so why wouldn’t you put in the same effort for your mental health?

Mental health is such an important aspect and even now in 2020 it still feels as though going to counselling is a negative thing. But it really isn’t, it’s such an important part of life, especially if mental health is something you have struggles with.

There is no shame in needing help, there is no shame in needing medication, there is no shame in needing counselling/therapy as and when you need it and for however long you need it. There is NO shame in looking after your mental health.

Shame is such a powerful emotion, it’s one I really struggle with. Sometimes I just feel so full of shame about even being alive and taking up space that I do wonder why I am still here. But again often that shame isn’t mine, its come from words other people have said to me, opinions from others etc.

I am slowly learning how to build boundaries with other, which in turn is helping my self esteem. I’m slowly learning to like myself and who I am as a person, I am slowly learning to change that negative self talk to a more positive self talk. I am slowly learning.

Not everyone’s paths and journeys look the same, there is no time scale that anyone should be doing anything by. Some people learn huge lessons at a young age, some people take longer, some people never learn and change and that’s ok. We are all different, we all experience life differently and we’re all walking different paths to different destinations and that’s ok.

If you think you need some extra help, please access it. See your GP or psychiatrist, look up a privet counsellor (most of which will do a concession charge) talk to a friend, partner, family member. Needing extra help, isn’t shameful, isn’t a sign of failure. In fact asking for help takes such strength and bravery, it is the opposite of failure.

Asking for extra help means you respect yourself enough to know that you deserve help.

I decided last month to end my sessions at the end of this month and I know that I am welcome to go back whenever I need to and for however long I need too and it feels nice to know that whenever I need a little help to get unstuck from life, I have someone I can go to and work things through with.

I am looking forward to this next part of my life, with a new healthier view on friendships and relationships and the confidence to build and maintain boundaries. Even though at the moment my mood isn’t amazing, I feel stronger and I feel more capable of dealing with life in general.

That’s all for now,

Peace out

Zak