Saturday Afternoon Walk

The sunshine has finally arrived! and Saturday afternoon it was beautiful. The sun was shining and it was a bit chilly but it was a perfect day for a dog walk.

I was feeling pretty indecisive and a bit agitated, I wanted to do something but wasn’t sure what.

I finally managed to make a decision and force myself to go out. I grabbed my bag and Scrappy and we went for a walk.

We were out for a few hours and I got some great pictures, Scrappy had himself a great time. He swam in the sea, ran through the mud, played with other dogs and kids, found a ball… like he always does lol! He looked like a swamp dog when we got home and had a shower.

I felt good for getting out, I always do. It’s just getting out that sometimes I really struggle with, but always love being out.

I love photography and only use my iPhone, here are some shots I took. I hope you like them.

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy – The beast that is Gender dysphoria

What is gender dysphoria? Gender dysphoria is where you experience a disconnection between your biological sex and gender identity. It comes in varying degrees of distress and varies from person to person.

My dysphoria was always worse around my chest, I’ve always hated my chest. I never connected with it and as I got older I just tried to completely detach myself from that part of my body. It caused me immense pain and stress and it was such a relief to finally have had top surgery. But I still have a huge disconnection with my chest and in fact myself in general.

After surgery, I tried not to touch my chest too much as I wanted the healing process to go smoothly, as I was at a higher risk of complications due to having granulomtosis with polyangiitis. So I was probably a bit too careful, as I was worried that the nipple grafts wouldn’t take and I would get infections and luckily the nipple grafts took and I didn’t get any infections.

Even though my scars are fully healed, I still struggle to touch my chest around my scars. I think a lot of that is because there’s still such a huge disconnect between mind and body, because of the intense gender dysphoria I have had surrounding my chest. To the point I’ve really struggled with aftercare, because it means touching my scars.

It’s something I am working on to improve, which isn’t easy. Today I put the surgical tape over my scars, which I’m meant to wear a few days a week to strengthen them. I am hoping this will help me have a better connection to my chest, I’m also trying to spend a few mins a day touching my chest and again maybe it will help me connect with my body more.

I have no regrets in anyway about getting top surgery done, it feels right. I always hated wearing a bra or binding because that never felt like a natural thing to me, it always felt super weird. So being able to get dressed without having to wear a bra or bind, feels like how it should have been all along, it feels more natural, feels good.

I have the same disconnect when I look in the mirror, I don’t recognise the person looking back at me, but I never did. I’ve always struggled with my reflection, I don’t quite know why. I don’t think it can all be blamed on the gender dysphoria, maybe low self esteem, trauma has had an impact.

The dysphoria has been bad to the point where I have struggled and still struggle with dissociation, which is kinda like a break in your mind, so its caused my memories to be out of order and somethings I just can’t recall at all, its a complete disconnect from thoughts and feelings too.

Dissociation for me often feels like I am trapped inside my head and can’t get out. I often lose chunks of time, as I just sit and stare into space. Lack on concentration too, sometimes I really struggle to even think straight. It’s sometimes such a struggle to perform the simplest of tasks because I can’t get myself organised enough.

The dissociation hasn’t been as bad since I had top surgery, it’s less intense and happens less often. I feel more in control of my mind but I still get bad days, especially when I’m tired.

Today the gender dysphoria has been really kicking my ass and it’s exhausting. To take it back a bit before I explain what’s been happening today. Back in August 2019, I was 2 years on testosterone, so I had to go have a ultrasound scan of my womb, as its standard procedure, as testosterone can increase the chance of problems in that area. The results said the lining of my uterus was still thick and it shouldn’t be, so they made me an appointment to see a gynaecologist, which I have on the 24th Jan.

Since a bit before my scan, I kept getting cramps now and again, like period pains. Now I’ve not had a shark week for about 4 years, as I take the pill without a break. As testosterone hasn’t stopped them and they just aren’t something that is good for my mental health, again like my chest having shark weeks are so stressful and makes me feel so depressed, so having them just isn’t an option. But over the last few months the stomach cramps have increased, they don’t last too long and don’t happen every day but they are pretty intense and just reminds me of the parts of my body that I hate with a passion.

Its really sucky, as it makes me feel so shit. I makes me feel like a bit of a freak and it just spirals down from there, into a decent of such bad thoughts. Which I won’t go into right now, as I’m trying not to walk down that path at the moment, that’s why I decided to sit and write this out.

I don’t know what to expect at this gynaecologist appointment this week, which is a bit scary and I really hope they don’t have to do an internal examination as I don’t know how I would cope with that. But I’m trying not to think about that right now and just hope its a talking appointment.

I think before I started testosterone I had the idea that it would maybe make the gender dysphoria go away, although I know rationally that’s a pretty optimistic view. Same with top surgery, I thought it would make the gender dysphoria go away. But I think it’s something that will always be a work in progress.

I don’t think the dysphoria is something that completely goes away, but I think if I continue to work on connecting my mind and body so they are more aligned with one another, then that will at least help ease this huge disconnection I have from myself. It feels like such a huge task and sometimes feels like I’ll never feel at peace.

I do and have felt at peace since starting my physical transition, so I do know it is possible. It just feels out of reach at the moment, but I am working on getting back to myself, through counselling, writing things out and trying my best to be kind to myself.

Trans Day of Remembrance 2019

Yesterday was TDoR, where we take a moment and light a candle in remembrance of our fallen trans brothers and sisters over the past year.

This year 331 transgender people died, some were murdered, hanged, lynched and died by suicide.

We say their names so they are not forgotten, they are forever in our hearts.

This year we lost someone locally, which hits hard.

The majority of those killed are trans women of colour. We need to do better!

100% of cases are missed, I should imagine that sadly the number of deaths is higher than recorded.

We need to do better for the trans community, no human should be living in fear just because they are brave enough to live in their authentic truths.

Peace out

Zak

Transition update

I don’t when I last posted an update about my transition stuff, but I have exciting news 😁

I am now 21 months on testosterone, my two years on T will be 22nd August. Everything with T is going well, I do my own shots now every 3 weeks, which is cool.

I got a letter the other day about arranging my first appointment at Harley Street to talk about lower surgery, which is super exciting! I’m just waiting waiting for them to call me to discuss a first appointment.

I got a call on Friday from Plymouth hospital and I booked in for top surgery! I have an initial appointment 1st August and my operation will be 20th August!

It’s only 3 months away! I’m super excited, I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet. This means everything to me, it will be my freedom!

It’s scary and exciting but it’s absolutely everything. I’ll finally feel like me, hopefully I’ll feel more confident and less self conscious and maybe it will help my low self esteem.

I can’t really express how much this means to me. I can’t believe I’ve got a date! It’s insane, I mean I was waiting for a date but it somehow still felt so out of reach.

I can’t wait for the relief, my chest gives me the most dysphoria and causes me the most stress and anxiety. I feel emotional just thinking about it and how life changing it will be. I really can’t wait.

Peace out

Zak

Still trying – Self care

At the weekend I was feeling really agitated, indecisive and I just didn’t know what to do with myself.

I think I was stressing about not doing enough…by that I’m not sure what. But I think I felt like I HAD to be doing something productive. But really all that pressure I was putting on myself was just stressing me out and making me feel worse then I already did.

So after much stressing and panicking that I wasn’t doing ‘enough’ (whatever enough means) I decided to go to the shop to get some food, to make sure I was eating, I got some fruit but mainly packet stuff that’s quick and easy to eat without much hassle. I then decided to find something to watch on Netflix and that relaxing with my animals for the rest of the day and making sure I ate was more then enough.

That simple change in my perspective changed everything and has actually made this week so much easier. The agitation and stress disappeared and I felt much more relaxed and to my surprise I was able to make decisions without feeling so stressed and felt a bit more motivated.

On the Sunday I took Scrappy to the beach, the weather was really nice so we spent most of the afternoon there, we walked, sat and had snacks, talked with other dog walkers. It was such a nice day and very much needed.

This week has been fairly busy, I’ve done two shifts at the cat cafe, I’ve meet up with two friends and I’ve had a physio appointment.

Today I have done the housework and laundry, I’ve taken the dogs out and then I have rested and listened to podcasts. I’m so exhausted from everything I’ve done this week, I decided it was best to just rest my body and my mind.

I’ve also spent some time sorting through my appointments for the next few months of which I seem to have more then I usually do lol! But I at least know where I’ve got to be and when.

I’ve not had the idiot box on today, only to play music on YouTube while I was doing the housework. It’s been quite nice just to listen to different podcasts, instead of starting at the TV.

That small change in how I feel about relaxing and doing nothing, has really helped me this week. I know I deserve to relax and I should be relaxing, I shouldn’t be pushing my body and I am worthy of self care.

Feeling worthy is so important and something I really struggle with. I often feeling like I am not worthy of anything! I’m working on it and it comes and goes but I’m still trying.

Self care is super important and because I’ve been depressed, I haven’t been looking after myself as well as I deserve. I’m starting again, which is fine, no matter how many times, I stop, start, fall down, I will always get back up and keep trying.

Peace out

Zak

Transition update – Week 38 on T

I don’t really have much to write today… I don’t really know what to write or even say.

Not feeling great today, am so stressed out with my whole benefits saga.. I hate having no money, I’m having to sell stuff just to get by and this week is no different.

This is all impacting on everything else, I’ve put on a stone in weight which makes me feel like shit! Which in turn is making the dysphoria worse because all the weights gone to my stomach and chest. I feel so fed up…. I have to keep pushing through but I’m so tired of forcing myself to get up every day and just fake it, its exhausting.

I’m over this is all… hopefully the money thing will be sorted soon-ish… but its not soon enough.

Oh I get my next testosterone shot tomorrow so that’s one thing to look forward too..

Week 38 on T

^ This weeks picture

^ This weeks video

Peace out

Zak

Transition update – Week 29 on T

This week I have some big news! But before I talk about that I’ll talk about other stuff that’s transition related.

This morning I had a blood test to check my testosterone levels, this is the trough which means that my testosterone levels will be at their lowest. I then had my testosterone injection done, which went well. Next Tuesday I have another blood test which will be the peak of my testosterone levels and from that they can work out if my levels are too low or high enough. I’m still not convinced that my levels will be high enough but I’ll find out next week.

Again no massive physical changes going on, other then my hair on my face, chest and stomach is getting darker which is really cool. I’ve still not had the confidence to start shaving yet but I’m in no rush. Voice is definitely starting to change, it sounds more noticeable to me now, so that’s pretty cool and others are starting to notice it too.

The gender dysphoria hasn’t been too bad over the last few days, that’s mainly because my mood has lifted a bit, which makes everything a lot easier to deal with. I feel like I’ve got a bit more positive energy going on. I felt a real energy shift on Saturday and I’ve been feeling really calm and peaceful, it feels so nice.

I’m ill yet again at the moment, I have a chest infection so I have more antibiotics and a higher dose of steroids. Hopefully it will kick it soon, I’ve had a high temperature, I ache so much and my chest has been really sore. I’m anticipating a bit of insomnia though being on 35mgs of steroids, hopefully it wont be too bad.

So the big news! which I have left till last on purpose. 9 years ago before I even realised I was trans, I changed my name to Dyllan. I wanted to change my name as I’d always hated my birth name, it never felt right, it never felt like it was me at all. I always felt disconnected from my birth name. I purposely picked Dyllan as its the unisex was of spelling it and I was so sure I wanted a unisex name, but I couldn’t tell you why I wanted a unisex name, I just did. Now it all makes sense as to the why I did what I did.

Recently I have been thinking a lot about my name and how I want to change it to a masculine name, rather then have a unisex name. Since starting testosterone and having physical changes to my body, I’ve been wanting to move away from everything associated with pre-transition. So I have decided to change my name to Zak, its a name that I’ve always loved and it was the name I really thought about a lot when I changed my name to Dyllan. My middle nephew Leo’s middle name is Zack, so it’s cool we’ll have that little connection.

I told my bro and sister in law the other day and they’re both happy about it. My bro said oh well least I can spell that! lol!!! and I’ve told all my friends and had a good response from everyone which is really awesome. I ordered my deed poll yesterday morning, I’m super excited and it shouldn’t take too long to sort out.

The only people I’ve not told yet is my mum and grandparents… But mother is never happy with anything I do in my life, so I know she won’t be happy. I’m not sure how my grandparents will react. But I’m already anticipating a negative response but in all honesty their opinion really means nothing to me. We have no emotional connection, yes we are family but they’re like strangers to me.

Anyway I’m super happy with my new name, it feels so good and feels really right. It feels like the natural progression of my transition, the next step. I feel really content and peaceful and I’ve not felt like that in a few weeks, so its a nice relief.

That’s all for now 🙂

Week 29 on T

^ This weeks picture

Week 29 on T comparison pic

^ Can’t believe how different I look! so awesome

^ This weeks video

Peace out

Zak

Can’t sleep, chronic pain sucks!

Its nearly 5 am and I’ve been awake since 3:30 am, I am in so much pain with my left hip and ankle. I’ve taken pain killers and its made no difference and there’s not much else I can do to make it go away. My hip has been so painful this week, I have no idea why but its been constant.

I can’t get comfortable to enough to sleep any longer so I thought I would do something productive and write.

Chronic pain sucks so much and its so hard to deal with. I’ve been trying to just breathe through the pain, I’ve tired mindfulness but nothing is working. My hip feels so uncomfortable no matter what position I am in, no matter what I’m doing.

I’ve had painful hips ever since I can remember, it was one of my first symptoms of GPA (granulomatotisis with polyangiitis) and it doesn’t get easier to deal with, especially when it disrupts my sleep.

Even sat writing this is painful and I can’t get comfortable. I wish people understood just exactly what living with chronic pain is really like and how much is disrupts your life and how much it effects everything. I find I am far more grumpy and less intolerant when I am in pain.

This is for all those that are up all night with chronic pain, huge hugs to all of you and I hope you find some relief. Keep strong, I know how much this sucks right now

Peace out

Batman

Disassociation poem

I thought I’d share this poem, I wrote it last week after I was looking in the mirror. I think its called depersonalisation and or derealisation, under the disassociation rainbow.

Just looking in the mirror

Staring at the wide eyed

Crazy haired person staring back

 

In that moment I was lost

I didn’t recognise myself

I didn’t know where I was

 

And Suddenly, in a heartbeat

I’m back in my body

Standing at the bathroom sink

Staring at myself in the mirror

 

Still feeling lost, but I’m back

At least for this moment

 

So yeah that was it, I had to sudden urge to write it after this experience happened. I’m going to write more as its a huge passion of mine, I’ve let it slide and let life get in the way.

Peace out

Batman