A day in the life of a trans guy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace out

Zak

Happy New Year – 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s all for now,

Peace out

Zak

Self care and Christmas

The holiday seasons can bring such joy but they can also bring a lot of stress and anxieties, people often put themselves into debt and really put themselves out over this time of year just to make everything amazing and magical so you can have the perfect Christmas that you can show off on your social medias.. But for some its a hard time of year for different reasons.

Mental health issues, eating disorders, addiction, grief, disabilities.. etc DO NOT disappear at Christmas. They still exist and its totally ok to be depressed, to feel sad at Christmas, you will not ruin Christmas! and if someone tells you that you’ve ruined their Christmas because you’re feeling sad then they are TOXIC as fuck! Because it is YOUR Christmas too and you are allowed to feel however you feel!

If you aren’t looking forward to Christmas this year for whatever reason it maybe try and put somethings in place that will make you happy and make you feel comforted. Because this is your Christmas too.

Every year I buy myself presents and I buy all the fur babies presents too and wrap everything up. Which makes me feel good, especially as one of my dogs will unwrap his presents which is so much fun to watch.

I spend the day with a friend and if the weather is good, get out for a nice walk and I make dinner and relax, watch some films maybe play a board game or two and generally just have a relaxing time. But throughout that time I don’t always feel 100% happy because I’m a human who experiences emotions and that’s ok, I’ll also still have to take my medications and pain killers because my chronic illness doesn’t take a day off.

Boundaries are SO important this time of year, as it is so easy to become overwhelmed and anxious. First boundary would be don’t spend what you don’t have! Buy Christmas presents for every person you know, or buy lots of presents just isn’t worth getting into debt over! Put a limit on what you spend and don’t feel guilty about not buying everyone something, even kids you may have in the family or friends kids. Just because it is Christmas your are under no obligation to get them anything, especially if you can’t afford too, because the stress of being in debt will be worse then the 5 mins of joy that a present creates. If you HAVE to give presents, be creative, make something, gift something you don’t use, get it from a charity shop.

Time boundaries are super important too, as people feel obliged to see you just because its the season. But if you don’t feel up for seeing people when they’re feel try not to feel guilty, there’s always another time. Or if you simply don’t want to see that person, say no. It’s ok to say no to things that you don’t want to do especially if it won’t make you feel good. Don’t push yourself into doing things you really don’t want to do, even if its family engagements, you are under NO obligations to do anything! Do no let anyone bully you, guilt you or gaslight you into doing things you don’t want to do. You are you own person, with things going on and if you’re struggling with the season, tell people, tell them you’re not really feeling it and why and you’d rather just not do whatever it is and if they don’t respect that, they are the problem.

Time boundaries on Christmas day is important too, if you need to take some time out own your own, to nap or just be by yourself, do it! You don’t need to explain yourself, take yourself off and have some down time, that is TOTALLY OK! and much needed and it can get really overwhelming, especially if you’re surrounded by lots of people. It’s hard to be happy and social if you don’t feel it inside. Take some time to yourself to recharge, you will not ruin anything. You and your mental health is super important too, everyone will still be there when you’re ready to re-join everyone and if you just can’t face going back that’s totally ok too! Do what you need to do, take time to listen to yourself and what YOU need.

If you’re spending Christmas alone through choice or not, try and stay off social media, although I know there are usually a few different chats throughout Christmas on Twitter, which could be useful if you’re feeling lonely. Reach out to people, do things that make you happy, like I mentioned earlier, I always but myself presents and wrap them up. Just lots of self care, you are not alone. If you choose not to participate in Christmas at all that’s totally cool too, its not an easy time for everyone.

There’s lots of things you can do on Christmas, you can treat it like any other day, you can volunteer at a local soup kitchen, or at a animal rescue place, I’m sure there are lots of volunteering opportunities over the Christmas period.

But whatever you choose to do, whatever your doing, its ok to feel sad and lonely, its ok to still be grieving that doesn’t stop because its Christmas, its ok to reach out for help, its ok to be happy. It’s just OK, you’ll get through it. You are much stronger then you think. I mean we’ve made it this far right! 🙂

Peace out

Zak

Xmas and binge eating

I’ve struggled a lot with binge eating without purging and emotional eating and Christmas for me is a big trigger as its an excuse to binge eat/overeat and binge drink too and generally just do everything to excess.

Last year I used ‘oh its ok its December’ as an excuse to binge eat and I found it really hard to stop and put on about a stone which I’ve not been able to shift this year.

I’ve been super aware of that this year as we hurtled into December and I’ve had much more of an awareness how much I’m eating, because I eat to the point I feel sick and my stomach hurts for days because it gets so bloated and I feel so sluggish and gross.

I’m super proud that I’ve been able to really stop, think and look at these excuses and behaviours and catch myself before I eat when I’m not hungry and try and figure out what it is I actually need instead. It’s usually an emotion that’s been left unnoticed, like if I’m feeling sad, or I need to feel comforted etc, so instead of eating to temporarily fill those feelings, I try and do a bit of self care instead, redirect my concentration.

If I feel like I need comforting then I fully recline my sofa, cover it with blankets and pillows, get a drink and small snack and chill out on the sofa with a favourite film and maybe message friends, use my fidget toys and chewigem to redirect my concentration. And things like this have been really helpful to help me deal with the urges to just eat everything in sight, which never ends well, it makes me feel much worse then if I was just to take a moment to sit and ask myself what do I actually need right here in this moment.

I’ve really learnt this year to really look at my actions, feelings, emotions etc and instead of mindlessly just do things based on how I feel, I’ve been looking at what my brain is trying to tell me it needs. It is a bit like trying to decipher a code that I didn’t write lol and its hard work and frustrating but it has definitely been worth the work.

I’ve still had a few days where I have eaten a bit too much but it hasn’t been to the degree where I felt sick after, I’ve been able to control it much better.

Hopefully I can continue to keep on top of my binge eating and maybe even shift a few pounds too. But even if I have times where I don’t that’s ok too, I can always start over again.

Just to finish off with as this just popped into my head, but I’m not great at trying new food, even new drinks because it causes me a lot of stress and anxiety. But my mum bought me a Pukka tea advent calendar and at first I was really apprehensive and nervous about trying them, especially ones I’ve never tried before which is the majority of them.

So everyday when I get one I don’t think I’ll like, or I’m unsure about trying, I try and put those anxieties and thoughts aside and just sit and be in that moment and not judge it until I’ve had a few sips of tea before I decide I don’t like it and its really worked, there’s not been one yet that I haven’t liked or haven’t drunk. I mean there are one that I prefer over others but I think that’s pretty normal. I am pretty proud of myself for trying something new everyday, its a pretty big deal for me. I am definitely getting better at trying new food and drink but it does have to be under the right circumstances, like I can’t be super anxious or stressed or I won’t try it/won’t enjoy the experience. I have to be relaxed and opened to it.

Yeah man I am destroying these old fears/traumas! I am kicking butt!

Peace out

Zak

Social interactions

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

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

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

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

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

Peace out

Zak

Fragile being

I really don’t feel so good, I’ve really been struggling all week long with various different things.

Last night I cried myself to sleep, I cried so much and so hard. I thought I was never going to stop. I’ve not cried so hard in a long time, I woke up this morning and my eyes still felt puffy and sore and still do.

I’ve been struggling with anxiety, depression, derealisation, depersonalisation and chronic loneliness.

I’m feeling really sensitive at the moment, just feeling really fragile, like I could shatter at any moment and break into a million pieces. I don’t know, I just feel so sad, I can’t express the depth of the sadness or even explain why.

My heart feels so broken, the sadness is all consuming. The loneliness is overwhelming. I keep feeling like even though I can see people, I feel like I’m the only person left in the world, nothing feels real, I don’t feel real. Just a ghost going through my daily tasks but without knowing I’m a ghost, just a tape playing on repeat.

I just feel so sad that I don’t have anyone that I can 100% trust and rely on. I don’t have that one person that I feel 100% comfortable with, who can lift me up when I need it.

It feels like the loneliness will never end and I will always be everything I need for myself, that’s just so exhausting and soul destroying.

I deserve to have a person of my own who I can share my life with, share my love with, go through the good times, the bad times and everything in between with.

Maybe someday, maybe never.

I’m currently curled up on the sofa with my beautiful babies, my weighted blanket and snacks. I put on The Muppets Christmas Carol to watch, it feels safe and comforting.

I’m doing everything I can to take care of myself and to help myself but it still doesn’t seem enough to keep the darkness away. I don’t know what more else I can do other than keep trying, but I’m so exhausted now.

I’ll get through on my own, I always do. I just wish things weren’t so painful.

Peace out

Zak

Surviving lockdown/winter Part 2

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

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

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

Here’s the Daily activities list

Walk the dogs

Blog – Try and write at least once a week

Listen to music and podcasts

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

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

Online course (not found anything interesting yet)

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

Play on my PS4

Write/draw/doodle/colour/read

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

Here are my self care activities

Shower in the morning and evening if I feel like it

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

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

Journal – Write every evening

Blog

Continue counselling (currently via video call)

Nap and rest – meditation and breathing exercises

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

Treat self to something I want

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bake cakes/cookies or make bread

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

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

Keep on top of hospital appointments, blood tests and medications

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

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

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

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

Use weighted blanket when feeling anxious or just need some comfort

Take photographs and use clip on lenses

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

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

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

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

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

Peace out

Zak

Surviving Lockdown and Winter

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

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

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

These are my non negotiable tasks,

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

Friday and Saturday get to bed 1am at the latest

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

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

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

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

Have breakfast before snacks

Get showered and dressed

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

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

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

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

Friday and Saturday get to bed 1am at the latest

Wake up around 9am – 10am

Do the housework every other day

Take morning meds and do sinus rinse

Have a shower and get dressed

Have breakfast (before snacks)

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

See activities list (yet another list lol!)

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

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

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

Sit down with my SAD light and journal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope you find this useful

Peace Out

Zak

Depression and isolation – Be Kind

A lot of us have been really effected my lockdown and many many people are struggling with severe depression which is impacted by isolation.

Now I know people who always say oh I’m always here, just message me, give me a call etc. Which is all great and really lovely but if you live with depression you won’t send that text, you won’t reach out because you’re so exhausted just trying to do basic things, let alone let yourself feel even more vulnerable by reaching out, especially if that person then doesn’t respond.

When I feel depressed the last thing I want to do is message anyone, despite feeling incredibly lonely and desperate to talk to others. The main reason for that is the black dog whispering a load of awful things to me, like don’t bother reaching out your not worth their time, they don’t like you anyway, you’re worthless, you don’t deserve to exist, no one cares about you, stop bothering people with your sadness, they don’t want to hear it… etc the list of just awful negative things that goes through my head when I’m really depressed stops me reaching out because I don’t want to be a bother and I don’t want to annoy anyone.

So if you know someone is alone and is struggling, don’t wait for them the reach out, as its unlikely they will. Please take 5 mins to check up on someone, it could mean the absolute world to them in that moment and they won’t feel so alone, so lost in the darkness by themselves, one message could save a life!

I know lockdown is hard on every single person no matter their situation, so we all need to be extra kind and compassionate towards each other, so please spend a moment just to check up on people who you think maybe struggling. You could potentially be saving a life!

Now is the time to come together, we owe each other basic decency, to make sure that people feel loved, wanted and cared for, WE ALL DESERVE that!

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