Update on working on myself as a whole

I thought I would do an update on last weeks blog about looking after myself as a whole, rather then just focusing on my mental health.

Last week I focused on moving more and eating better and it was pretty successful, I made a conscious effort to eat more fruit and veggies and different meals, which I do totally feel better for and this week I will continue to eat a more of a balanced diet than I was previously doing. I’m enjoying cooking for myself again, which is something I do really enjoy doing.

I’ve also been using my mini stepper everyday and again I feel better for it. Even though some days it feels like such a drag, I forced myself to get up and move and have definitely noticed a bit of a change in myself. I feel energised after and my brain feels a bit more awake too.

I up my mycophenolate tonight, so I have some tasty meals that I’ve prepped in the freezer just in case I feel sick and exhausted and also I have the covid vaccine on Wednesday so I want to make sure I’m 100% prepared with quick and easy meals and snacks for the next week or so, as its one less thing to worry about if I do feel a bit rough after the vaccine and adjusting my meds a bit.

But I’m going to continue to try and look after myself in a more rounded way but I know this week maybe a bit trickier and that’s ok. I’m not making huge changes and I don’t make myself guilty if I’m not doing what I set out to do. I’m just trying my best and that’s absolutely good enough.

Most days last week I struggled to get up before 11am and some days I didn’t get dressed until late afternoon as I was just resting and my brain was just totally switched off as being in lockdown we are all dealing with something that is having a huge impact on mental health, which is a pretty traumatic event and sometimes your brain just needs a break and switches off and that’s totally fine too. Plus it was so grey and rainy last week I just had zero motivation to get up early because there was nothing really I needed to be up for, I’m not doing anything or going anywhere to getting dressed at 4pm is totally fine.

I’m just rolling with what is good for me, but my mind, body and soul, not just my mind. Overall I am definitely feeling better then I was, although I am feeling super exhausted but that’s not unusual for me lol!

Peace out

Zak

Time to work on my body (as well as my mind

Hey all, how are you finding lockdown this time around? I am overall doing ok, but I’m still struggling a bit, but I am just trying to take things at my own pace and not getting too wrapped up in trying to compete and keep up with what I see other people doing, especially on social media. It’s super easy to compare your life to others and for me personally I can get myself completely lost in another person and just completely abandon who I am because I want to make that other person happy, which that in itself isn’t bad, but losing yourself in the process isn’t great and I also feel guilty about the things I think I SHOULD be doing with my time during lockdown… but ya know most days my focus is on getting through another day, my focus isn’t on the future right now because it is too uncertain.

Having my complete focus on making myself feel safe and comfortable has made other things fall by the way side, which isn’t too good but I can’t do it all. But I do need to find a bit more balance then I have at the moment. I’ve been doing too much sitting around and snoozing and not enough moving around, but its Jan, I find it harder to get motivated to get out anyway because its cold and rainy, however some days I have used that as a bit of an excuse to not bother lol!

So I ordered myself a mini stepper, now I have never been super healthy and fit because of my autoimmune disorder but I was much fitter then I am now before the very first lockdown. Like now I get out of breath putting my boots on which is really bad and I keep getting constipated, I know TMI but I’m here to tell my whole truth and that is partly because I’ve been so lazy regarding cooking different things and I’ve been eating too much sweet stuff, not drinking nearly half of what I usually drink and just not moving a whole lot and all of that has contributed to weight gain and belly issues.

My goal aimed at just loosing weight, I want to get my fitness levels back to where they were before lockdown and in fact probably before I had top surgery nearly 18 months ago now because that’s when the weight started piling on. So hopefully eating a bit better, drinking more water and moving more I will feel so much better over all.

Right now because I keep getting constipated my belly looks like I’m pregnant and that’s partly down to testosterone too as its redistributing fat and muscle, but it does make me feel uncomfortable and doesn’t help with the gender dysphoria. So that’s another big reason I want to try and get healthier.

My goal is to use the mini stepper every day and push myself further each day or every few days, set myself little goals etc as I am quite competitive so I know I can do it.

Keeping up with my walking which is where I get my exercise from has been more difficult during lockdown because I am high risk, shouldn’t really be out or going very far and its had a huge impact on my over all health and mental health so I am really hoping this can help me.

I shall keep everyone posted

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

Today is a win

Today is a win! Today my depression didn’t swallow me whole! I managed to do the things I wanted to do but more importantly I actually enjoyed doing them! I don’t really remember the last time I felt really happy, these last few years have been so hard. Lots of changes, loss of friendships, lost myself along the way, healing deep traumas, chronic isolation, lockdown.. it’s been so hard. I’ve been feeling so sad, so fragile like I could break at any moment.
But today I beat those demons even if it was just for a while, but I won’t stop fighting!

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

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 – 5 weeks post op Top surgery

Yesterday, my friend and I went up to my last post op appointment in Plymouth.

It went really well, the blood clot that he initially said would need to be drained at this appointment had gone, he said my body had absorbed it which is good. That meant not having to have a big needle stuck in my side! haha. That side is still a bit puffy but he said it will go down in time, it will take a few months for my body to properly heal itself.

The nurse cleaned around my scars and got rid of all the sticky patches from the tape and dressings and my surgeon picked off the scabs on my nipples and I got to see my new shiny, pink nipples properly for the first time! and they look pretty damn good.

As parts of my chest is still numb and hypersensitive, I’ve got to keep touching the area so wake it and stop it being so sensitive.

I DON’T HAVE TO BIND ANYMORE! WOO! The first thing I did when I got back into town, was go get my haircut! and man that felt great. Went to a new barbers and wow had the best haircut and service ever. I got home and jumped straight in the shower and that was the best shower in the world! It felt great! I finally feel clean again! and then I threw the binder away!

My chest, ribs and back are sore and stiff from binding and a bit from surgery too, so I’ve been doing gentle stretches to loosen my muscles up a bit. I’ve also been trying to consciously walk with a better posture, as the binder and pre surgery I walked hunched up, which isn’t helped with the sore muscles. A surprising side effect of a better posture is a better mood, I feel great when I’m standing properly, I don’t feel like I have to hide away anymore. I can walk tall and proud.

I feel like I’m finally getting back into the swing of life again, I’ll probably go back to volunteering in a week or two, although I’ll need to do a sort of trial shift, just to see how I get on, as I don’t want to push my body too much before its ready.

It’s been a long hard road to get here today but I did it and I’m so glad I held on, even when it felt impossible and so far out of reach.

Life can finally start!

Peace out

Zak

The light at the end of the darkness

I feel happy again and I can say that now and actually mean it.

Just a few months ago I was in the darkness, struggling to get through a day. At times I felt so tired, I just didn’t want to keep going.

I recognised that it’s not that I wanted to die, I just needed the pain to end.

At that time if you had told me to just hold on because you’ll soon be surrounded by some amazing people and you’ll soon be having top surgery, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.

My world was so dark, I just couldn’t see that there would ever be light and happiness again in my life.

But sat here now late at night, I feel happy, I feel content, I feel understood, I feel connected, I feel loved, I feel like I’m wanted. And it’s the most amazing feeling ever because I don’t feel I’ve ever really experienced it, I’ve never been around a group of friends who encourage each other, genuinely care about each other, have different passions and talents, who build each other up, help each other without question.

Most of my past friendships have come with conditions and they were about what I could offer, non of those friendships have endured and non of them really helped me grow, but they opened my eyes to the fact my kind nature attracts damaged souls and can easily be taken advantage of.

But now it feels different and for that I am eternally grateful, I let myself be vulnerable and open, which was scary but it’s paid off.

I know these people won’t all be in my life permanently and I’m ok with that, I know we were brought together to help each to continue to grow through our each individual journeys, by coming together as a collective, who’s knows where this will take us in 6 months/ a years time.

Its already helped me and started to heal some of the hurt I was carrying inside, I feel happy, I want to live, I’m actually excited about life now, I want to start looking to the future and what that will bring.

The only changes I made was I let myself be open and vulnerable and fuck that was scary but it’s something I’m going to continue to do, so I can keep experiencing life and hopefully new friendships and opportunities will arise.

You know who you are and I’m so grateful 💜

And to everyone in my life, know I love you, I appreciate you and I support you 💜

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy – Lower surgery appointment

Yesterday I went to see the Doc that will be doing my lower surgery.

It went really well, he’s happy for it to be done from my arm.

But because of previous bone fractures and my physical health stuff I need to have a scan of my wrists to check the blood flow. As where they take a vein out ( to use for the pee tube) the remainder of them needs to be strong enough to carry enough blood through to keep my hand alive and also I may have problems with my body rejecting the skin grafts cuz of physical health stuff but other than that everything should go well and I’ll be referred back for a proper appointment as this was just an information appointment but useful to have especially with my complications.

I also now know exactly what I want done, as there are various different ways to do this surgery, which is good. I’m so excited for this part of my journey. One thing I will share about the details of the surgery is, at the time of the first lower surgery op I’m going to have a full hysterectomy, removing everything. The other details are a bit more intimate and sensitive, but I will share it at some point.

I’ll now have to be officially referred for lower surgery, I have to be seen within 12 months of the referral, although if they’re busy they can extend it. But I’m focusing on getting through top surgery first and try to not get too excited about the next step.

So exciting!!! 🥳🥳🥳

^ one of the many trains I took with my friend yesterday

Peace out

Zak

Self care – Being brave and asking for help

Dinner date and movie with myself tonight.

Something I’ve not done in a while, been too caught up with the negative stuff in my head, I forgot to love and take care of myself. Trying my best to get back on track.

I also did something that was huge for me this week… I asked for help and close friends will know this, it’s something I do very rarely and avoid where possible.

But in August I’m finally getting top surgery done 🙂 and I’m going to need help during recovery from more then one person. As it’s a lot to ask from one person, so I was brave and created a group chat. I was so scared that I would be rejected and everyone would be too busy to help but to my surprise everyone was just amazing and everyone was so happy for me and more then happy to help.

It’s such a huge relief to know I have people around me that love and care for me. I always knew I had friends but I’d convinced myself I wasn’t good enough to have real friends and eventually if you tell yourself something long enough you believe it.

I need to work on my self esteem and self worth, this is definitely going to help 🙂 I’m not as lonely as I thought I was.

I’m going to try and trust more and open my heart more. I’m always standing in the way of myself, I need to move out of my way.

💜💜💜

Peace out

Zak