trauma – Parts work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace out

Zak

Living with a Chronic illness

Having a chronic illness is hard work, especially at the moment, with the current pandemic. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I am classed a vulnerable and I’m meant to be staying inside for 12 weeks, but I’ve had to go out for various reasons.

Now I have finally been given a priority delivery slot with Tesco, which means I don’t have to go into any shops to get my food shopping. There’s also a service provided by the council where someone can pick up medication for me and do any other bits I need doing. Which is a relief as I was starting to get more anxious about going food shopping and collecting medications myself.

So now I have things in place for essentials I can relax a bit more, the only thing I’ve still been doing myself is walking the dogs as I need to get out an exercise as I’ve been really feeling the effects of not moving around as much as normal. I didn’t realise that just by getting out each day, doing general stuff like food shopping, going to hospital appointments, going to the cinema etc was so good for my physical health. In the last few weeks since everything has closed and I’m stuck in the local area, my joints have been super painful, especially my lower back and knees and my chronic fatigue has been much worse as well.

I’ve spent many years building up the strength in my legs to combat the chronic pain in them and same with chronic fatigue, I’ve spent years building it up to a point where I rarely needed to rest or sleep in the day time. But now I feel like I’m back at square one, which is really frustrating.

Now I’m have more clarity about dog walking, I’ve been out walking more, so I can build myself back up again, so I can feel a bit more human again and have a sense of well being.

Yesterday I had to have a 24 hour blood pressure monitor, as my blood pressure has been quite high recently. I think its mainly down to anxiety and possibly the change in testosterone. I don’t know why they haven’t prescribed propanaolol yet, it’s a beta blocker but also helps with anxiety. I get the results next week and I’m going to ask about the beta blocker as I think its probably the best course of action.

The blood pressure monitor went off every 20 mins, which was really annoying lol as I had to stand still when it was taking my blood pressure because it didn’t read it if I was moving around. Then in the evening from 10pm it went off every hour. I went to bed at midnight in hopes I would fall asleep before it went off again. I managed to get comfortable and I managed to get to sleep, I was conscious a few times throughout the night of it going off to take my blood pressure but apart from that I slept pretty well lol! The world could be ending and I still be asleep haha!

A couple of weeks ago they did an ECG which was fine and some blood test and only one flagged up as a not normal. Turns out I am borderline under active thyroid, which really makes sense, I’ve put on weight recently which I’ve been struggling to loose. They’ll repeat the bloods again in 3/4 months time to see if it’s still the same or its sorted itself out. Hopefully it will have sorted itself out by then, as I really don’t need anymore illnesses on top of what I’m already dealing with at the moment.

It’s been really difficult dealing with everything at the moment, but I am trying to keep a sense of normalcy. Each day is different, some days are much easier then others and that’s ok, just trying to go with the flow and trying not to push myself.

Well that’s it for now,

Peace out

Zak

Self care + Chronic illness

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace out

Zak

Surviving self isolation

I’ve spent the last few days thinking about stuff, I think being forced into self/social isolation has a tendency to do that. Whilst I am used to social isolation, its something that is really bad for my mental health. So I’ve had to really think about how I am going to get through this, without spiralling into the darkness.

The first thing I decided was to start back on trazadone, I decided to stop taking it as I felt like I no longer needed it. Although having stopped it, I realised they were helping more then I thought they were. They helped me focus, stop disassociating as much as I am right now, took the edge off anxiety and depression, all which have come back but I’ve been able to keep on top of them a bit. Now we are in this self isolation and not being able to do everything I enjoy I know my mood, anxiety and disassociation will get worse, so I know I need to get on top of this. Not something I really wanted to do but I need to do.

I need to write down a list of things I need and see if I can try and get hold of them, I don’t need much just a few bits to get by. But as I’m vulnerable to this condition I need to try and be as prepared as possible.

I also need to write a list of things I can do inside, things I can do to keep the fur babies occupied as well. I can still take them for walks but with my chronic pain and fatigue I can’t always be outside with them.

I need to write out a rough routine that I can try and follow, I do better with a routine. Although I know I easily get bored of routine, so it won’t be something I will follow strictly just guidelines really so I don’t feel like I’m just floating around.

My asthma clinic appointment was cancelled as my doctors aren’t doing face to face appointments unless they are an emergencies, which I understand. I can still get my testosterone injection as that is something I need, so that is booked in for 14th April. I did ask if I can get paracetamol on prescription just for now, as I cannot find it anywhere and I don’t want to search the shops. I was told to ring back, but wasn’t able to get through, so I will try again tomorrow.

I plan on writing more, whether that is a blog or just scribbling down in my notebooks. I’ve felt so disconnected from myself I’ve struggled to write anything that I felt connected with.

Once I have some stuff written down about how to get through this self isolation, I will share it on here and hopefully as a community we can come together and help each other get through this.

Peace out

Zak

Grumpy boy

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a struggle, I’ve been feeling so agitated, grumpy, achy and exhausted. A lot of it has to do with having stopped taking trazadone, which is slowly working its way out of my system.

I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything as well. I’ve taken a bit of a step back from life, by not answering messages straight away, as it feels too much and I just need that time and space and also taken a step back from people, some days the thought of having other people near me, especially a lot of people almost feels like a physical pain, which is really hard to explain Even just going to the shops to get food is difficult and I put it off until I really have to go. I also feel like I need a protective bubble around myself as I’m always nervous about people being near me, touching me etc, especially random people I don’t know.

Being just on my own is so much easier, as I don’t have to explain myself, or feel like I have to perform, or be happy or whatever. I can just be grumpy and irritable, without upsetting anyone by accident.

Its just much less pressure and feels freeing. 1:1 with someone isn’t as daunting, I think my social anxiety has really been kicking in due to coming off my meds. But I’m sure with a little time and patience I’ll be alright again. Just need to give myself some space to breathe.

I get so frustrated with myself for feeling grumpy and irritable and I know its usually because I’m trying to stop myself from feeling low, as if I let myself feel low, its a hard work to make myself feel better again. So I fight against just allowing myself to feel how I feel, which just makes the whole process longer, then if I just let myself feel sad in the first place!

I’ve also come to realise that I’m an introvert, I also used the think I was a bit of an extrovert. But I don’t think I am at all. I’m still really quite shy, which has something that has never really changed since I was small. I need my own space to be and recover from social interactions, I prefer my own company, being around lots of people is exhausting.

I think because I am quite good at coming across who is someone who is fairly confident but I’ve spent my life being my own advocate to get what I need from services, mainly hospitals/doctors etc.

But yeah I’m a pretty shy, anxiety filled human lol.

Hopefully in the next few weeks when the trazadone has come out of my system fully, I’ll start to feel a bit better again.

I got a SAD lamp, which I’ve been using most days. Haven’t noticed a difference just yet, but I’ll keep with it and maybe use it in the morning rather then the evening.

Peace out

Zak

Earth is waking up

We are heading towards spring and I couldn’t be happier, I’ve really struggled this winter with the darkness and near constant rain that we’ve had this winter.

The nights are slowly starting to get lighter again a bit later each day, the weather seems to be settling down too, although we have a storm heading our way this weekend.

I feel like I’m very slowly emerging out of my cocoon, just like the flowers which are slowly starting to bloom.

Still having days where things feel so intense and I just can’t face the outside world but I’m still pushing myself to get out at least a few times a week. I can’t hibernate forever lol!

Tuesday was a beautiful day and after a few days of feeling groggy and struggling with my chronic pain and fatigue, I woke up on Tuesday feeling a bit more human and the sun was shining, so I decided to take the dogs out for a walk and I’m glad I did.

It was so beautiful, lots of snowdrops and other gorgeous flowers blooming away and it was fairly quiet as well, we didn’t see many people out, until we got closer to the beach.

It was so peaceful and relaxing, it was definitely needed. The dogs had fun running around and I got some great pictures of everything. I love looking at life through the lens, finding beauty in everything I see.

I hope you enjoy my pictures,

I love being outside with my dogs, I feel so at peace. It seems to be the only place where my mind is fairly quiet. I feel like I can breathe when I’m out in nature, I feel at home.

Peace out

Zak

Self Care

I’ve not written much about self care recently, as after surgery self care was kinda a given. I had to listen to my body and look after myself.

Recently I haven’t been feeling great, I’ve been feeling absolutely exhausted and generally just been feeling unwell, but not enough to definitely say I have an infection or something. It maybe a delayed reaction to surgery. But I see my specialist tomorrow morning so I’m hoping to get more answers.

So because of feeling so exhausted all , I’ve been listening to my body and resting and sleeping when I’ve needed too. Which sometimes is a little frustrating as I feel like I’ve wasted a day. But self care isn’t a waste of time.

Today I’ve been resting and sleeping, as I’ve felt so exhausted. I eventually got up and did the housework which always makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.

Took the dogs out for a quick wee, it’s been so grey and miserable today. Despite that I decided to go into town. I got myself some frankincense essential oils, as it’s meant to help relax the chest and help with colds and infections. I went to lush to take in my old pots in exchange for a free pot of face mask stuff, I also got myself a shower bomb too. I then went to Asda to get a few things.

I could have easily just gone to Asda, but I knew I needed to get out for a bit. Even if it was just to a couple of places.

I’m pleased I treated myself to some self care things 🙂 It’s important to me to look after myself and my needs. It’s keeps me relatively well, physically and mentally.

It’s important to slow down and listen to what your body needs. You only have one body, there is only one you.

Certain self care aspects of my days are non negotiable, like taking my meds in the morning and evening, making sure I sleep when I need too, eating as and when I feel hungry, putting my incense sticks on in the morning and evening, doing housework every other day, attending appointments. There are more I could list but it would take a while.

I’m feeling pretty exhausted now, so I’m going to wrap it up. I’m not sure this blog will make much sense lol.

Peace out

Zak

Dear friends,

Dear friends, old and new. To those who I’ve known for 20 years and to those who I’ve known for 2 months. I wanted to write this to catch everyone up on where I am and where I’ve been.

In January, I was in a really dark place, which is somewhere I haven’t been for a long time and I feel like I’m only just coming out of the other side of it, but I still have a way to go.

As a result of this darkness I removed everyone from my Facebook for a good 3/4 months. I was angry, frustrated, isolated, depressed and struggling to survive.

But in that time I did a lot of soul searching, I know such a cliche, but I did.

I realised that over the years I’ve been quick to shut people out of my life, I’ve been quick to give up on friendships. I was trying to cut out “bad energies, drama” etc but in doing that I closed myself off to the good energies and good stuff.

I think I became so closed off because I’m so willing to help everyone, that sometimes I get burned. That’s not necessarily down to people themselves but due to my lack of boundaries and respect for myself. I thought if I made other people happy then I’d be happy but it doesn’t work like that.

Then about 5 years ago I started exploring my gender and came out as trans and I began my journey. Which again I was really open about but I was also wary of being people’s token trans friend and I was just anxious about not being accepted or whatever. So again I made my friend circle smaller.

In making my world smaller, I’ve missed out on living. I’ve missed out on friendships with some really great people. I gave in to the negative inner voices and the darkness, I allowed myself to become isolated and alone, the anger and frustration grew within.

January was my breaking point but in the weeks and months after I spent most of time alone, thinking, reflecting and meditating.

I started to allow myself to be open, slowly I began to add people back on FB, I began to reach out to friends. I started to ignore the negative inner voice and the darkness and walked towards the light.

It’s by no means perfect, I still struggle with anxiety and depression but I’m finding it a bit easier to deal with.

I often felt my expectations of people were too high, but I realised I rarely expressed my expectations in my friendships, I can’t have expectations if people don’t know what they are.

My voluntary work has helped me so much, it’s helped me with not being so isolated, I’ve made some incredible new friends who’s friendships I am so incredibly grateful for and hopefully in 20 years plus we’ll still be friends, still having adventures and experiencing this life together.

For those who I’ve not spoken to in a long time, who I’ve recently added back, I hope you’re well and forgive me for being so distant, I had to go off in order to grow into a better version of myself and I hope to hear from you soon, much love to you.

For everyone else, know that I appreciate you, I may not say it as often as I should or even show it but I do very much appreciate every friendship I have. You’ve kept me going even when I didn’t want too. I will continue to try and be open with you about everything, it’s something I’m still working one. But I’ll get there.

Thank you to everyone for your patience, love, support and sheer awesomeness!

I love and appreciate you all!

In 6 weeks time I will embark on the next stage of my journey, my physical transition, my spiritual journey.

I’m excited, I’m a bit scared, I’m nervous but I am so ready for it, I know it’s going to be a challenge but I’m ready to face it head on.

I know I will have my friends by my side helping me through and I’m so excited to have you guys with me! I can’t wait for this next adventure!

Peace out

Zak 💜

Laid bare

I’ve been mia for a while, I’ve not been posting regularly like I was, for a number of reasons, which I’ll explain as I write this.

I’m feeling pretty vulnerable at the moment, so this is going to be hard and uncomfortable. But it’s something I need to do, I need to get it out and be brave and open myself up.

I’ve been really shut down for the last 8 months, which was around when I spilt up with the person I was dating last year.

I opened myself up and ended up getting hurt, so I did what I always do when I’m hurt, I just shut down, shut everyone out. But I’ve learnt all that does it hurt me more and other people cuz I’m often a absolute dick to people, which I hate but it feels safer then being vulnerable with people.

I’m still good friends with the person I was with last year, which I love but at the moment it’s really hard to not be super needy and just need them and want them to be here and make everything better.. which is ironically where I went wrong in the relationship. I put her on a pedestal and hoped being with her would fix everything and that’s a lot to expect from one person let alone a relationship. That’s not how they work and that’s where I seem to always go wrong. My feelings always just get too intense and I get too much, I expect too much and actually this time I crossed major privacy boundaries and went through her phone, which I regret and still feel so guilty about. I behaved like a jealous child. But it was like an impulse I just couldn’t control. I still give myself a hard time about it, I’ve not forgiven myself yet.

Ultimately the breakup was mutual although she initiated it. It wasn’t meant to work out.

I need to be with someone who’s not embarrassed to be with me, who won’t hide the fact their with me, I deserve that much I know.

From there my mental health has just spiralled down. I think I’ve disconnected with anything mental health related because I didn’t want to have it anymore, I just wanted to be fixed and move on and just have a good life, like everybody else. But I realise I’ll never be like everyone else, maybe I was always meant to stand out and be different which I hate because I’ve tried so hard my whole life to fit in but I never have. Maybe this is it, maybe I’ll always have to work harder then everyone else just to be where I want to be.

Everyone shines, they know who they are, where they’re going in life. I still at 34 have no idea who I am, what I want. I don’t try because I’m so scared to fail but I’m also scared to succeed. I hate being centre of attention. I have no self esteem anymore, I don’t think I ever did. The last few months I’ve just been listening to the negative words running through my head every second of every day, mentally bashing myself. I’m so horrible to myself but I can’t stop.

I doubt this will make much sense because I’m really struggling to organise my brain and thoughts, everything is just all over the place. My brain is just all jumbled up at the moment and it takes so much energy to just get myself organised enough to get out of the flat.

I’ve been trying really hard to fake it till I make it, but I really can’t do it anymore, it’s too hard and it’s not working. I got myself a voluntary job, I started a social group etc I thought it would help and for the most part when I’m out doing stuff it helps, but as soon as I’m on my own again it’s like a switch gets flicked off and my brain is just done.

I’ve really been struggling with depression, anxiety, insomnia, disassociation, gender dysphoria and it’s all just overwhelming and too much for me to deal with alone anymore. So I made an appointment with my GP, I’m going to ask him to refer me back to the community mental health team, I need meds upped and probably need some therapy or something. But this time I need to be super honest and not hold everything in like I can just handle it all, because well no one can do that, not forever anyway.

I think recently I’ve felt worse, for a few reasons, I’m just emotionally exhausted from trying to hold everything together on my own, I’ve stopped doing things that I know help, I’ve been spending too much time on social media, wishing my life was different, knowing full well social media creates a fake reality, it still effects me. I’ve just had zero motivation to do anything, I have to push myself from the moment I get up, some days I can do stuff other days I fail and the furthest I get is from my bed to the sofa and back, with 2 15 mins walks for my dogs.

I don’t feel anything either, just numb all the time.

Everyday I wake up and pretend everything is ok and just fake my way through what I have to do. But inside all I want to do is just be at home where I feel safe. I’m a pretty good actor, some days in front of certain friends I can’t hide it and the darkness seeps out but to most people they see me smiling and happy and it couldn’t be more opposite.

It’s getting harder to just pretend, it’s getting harder to keep it together, it’s getting harder to keep everything inside.

I feel so small, so worthless and that’s another reason I’ve not sought help sooner is because I am trans and have physical health issues, I feel like I don’t deserve help because I already have so many issues. I’m just a drain on society so why waste more money on me.

I know it’s completely self loathing and probably comes across like I’m playing the victim or something (something I’ve recently been told I was doing and tbh hands up I probably was because I was angry and I couldn’t be the rational adult I know I can be) but it’s genuinely how I feel like a lot, all this negative mass of self loathing words swirling around my head daily, I try and say nice things to myself but I just don’t connect with them so I just can’t believe them.

I need help, I need support, whether that be meds’ and therapy or whatever but I’ve finally come to terms with the fact I just can’t do this on my own anymore. My GP is ringing me tomorrow and hopefully I can say everything I need too and maybe get referred back to the community mental health team.

I don’t want to feel like this forever, I want to feel better and I want to feel better about myself and stop destroying myself. I want to try and fail and try again until I succeed at something.

I want help with dealing with disassociation, I’ve just been doing things myself on a trial and error basis to help my dissociative moments. I don’t know if it’s the right thing or not and what I try and do to help myself doesn’t always work. I want to feel more connected with myself, at the moment myself, my brain and body just seems to be fragments floating around bumping into each other but never connecting. It’s really weird, I want to feel like a whole person.

I’m just so emotionally exhausted, I just want some relief. I feel like I’m wading through mud with no end in sight, I’ve ran out of ideas and steam, I can’t help myself anymore on my own. I wake up just as exhausted as when I went to sleep.

So yeah this is me laid bare, heart on the table.

Peace out

Zak

Living with a chronic illness

I’ve not written much about my health lately, mainly because I’ve been super busy with like a trillion appointments!

It feels great having such a great team of doctors around me but that comes with a lot of appointments. The team of doctors and nurses looking after my care are incredible and I am so grateful for them. I love the NHS!

My Rheumatologist over sees everything, but he is just one Doc apart of my team, I also have a Ears nose and throat doc, physiotherapist, and podiatrist. I also have to go to the hospital for a blood test every 8 weeks. I have two other appointments for my medical transition, I see a nurse every 3 weeks for my testosterone shot and also the gender clinic.

Since January I’ve had a total of 9 doctors and hospital appointments and I have another 7 coming up in the next 6 weeks!

Appointments mean a lot of early mornings and a lot of bus rides and days of recovery from these appointments.

My treatment is going well but like the appointments its takes up time as well. I take medication in the morning and in the evening, which have two pill boxes that I have to fill up every Monday, I do a sinus rinse twice a day, morning and evening but sometimes in the afternoon if my sinuses are playing up and physio exercises.

The treatment itself seems simple but if you add in the human element of chronic pain, chronic fatigue, getting ill, depression, dysphoria, disassociation, insomnia, memory issues and no motivation, then its not so simple.

Some days its so hard to get myself up an organised and get everything done before even leaving the house, that I often can’t get out until 2-3pm. Some days its such a struggle, some days are a bit easier but everyday is hard work.

Mental health has a huge impact on physical health and visa versa, which complicates matters. Even after all these years of dealing with these things it only feels like recently things are more under control and I am being properly cared for, but its still not easy and I’m still learning about myself and learning different ways to deal with whatever is thrown at me.

I don’t think living with a chronic illness will ever be easy and I don’t think its something I’ll every truly accept and its something I’ll never stop learning to deal with. But all I can say is that I am trying my hardest to maintain good physical and mental health, which in itself is a full time job.

Overall things are on the right path, at the moment its about maintaining good physical health with medications, physio, insoles in my shoes, sinus rinses and hospital appointments.

Peace out

Zak