Gratitude Journal

Trying to remain grateful and trying to remain positive has been hard, but I’m still trying and I’m doing my best to keep going.

I have been doing a mantra meditation course on an app called Oak – Meditation and breathing. Its a really good app and its actually been nice to have moments of peace and restfulness during these meditations. I’ve been trying my best to make time each day. I don’t know why I find it so boring, just the thought of meditation makes me feel like its pointless and a waste of time, but right now I’m not doing much else right now and meditation is just like sleeping or breathing, its necessary to find that inner calm, that inner peace to get through the day.

I feel like there’s a lot of pressure to be super productive during this lockdown, which is adding unnecessary pressure, stress and anxiety, to an already stressful situation. I’m trying not to feel guilty about not doing anything and just sitting around. Some days I am productive and get things done but it ebbs and flows and I’m trying my best just to chill and go with it, without judgement and guilt.

Its a strange situation we find ourselves in, we’re all trying to navigate our way through it. There is no right way to get through this epidemic, some people will be super productive, some wont, some will get into fitness, some wont, some will be chill and cherish this time, some will really struggle. But whatever you do, however you get through this, we’ve got a worldwide connection, we’re all going through the same thing. We’ll get through this as a collective, keep loving and supporting one and other.

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy – Top Surgery

I’ve not posted anything in a while, I always think I have to be ‘in the right mood’ in order to be able to write a good post, but I realised that was just me being lazy and procrastinating. I decided I just need to get over myself and WRITE! I enjoy writing, it always makes me feel better, so I’m not sure why I stop myself.

A lot has happened in the last 2 months, since my last post. The main big news is that I’ve finally had top surgery! I had it 5 weeks ago 20th August! Everything went really well, my scars and new nipples look amazing! I am beyond happy! I’m still having to wear a compression binder..Urgh! But hopefully another week longer and I’ll be free!

I have a check up on Thursday, as I have a clot of blood sat on my right side of the chest, that they just need to drain and hopefully after that I won’t need to go back again. Wearing the compression binder has been pretty brutal, as I’ve been wearing it for nearly 5 weeks straight. I’ve had a few days where I’ve taken it off and given my chest a break. My skin is a bit sore where the binder has been rubbing on my skin and my ribs on the left are a bit swollen and this is exactly why I didn’t wear a binder in the first place, because its just too painful, uncomfortable and hot.

I have had a handful of good friends who’ve been so great during this time, I was so grateful to have people take me to the hospital before my op, bring me home, friends looking after my fur babies and friends taking me back and forth for check up apps and a couple of people coming over. It was one of the things I was worried about but I got there and back and my fur babies were look after, those were the most important things. So that made things easier.

Recovery has been a bit more difficult, its been pretty lonely and boring. I think week 3 of recovery was when I went out on my own, as I was so bored and I just needed to get out and then I also took the dogs out for the day which was great but man did that put me on my ass for the next few days. I’ve been trying to walk and get out as much as I can to start building myself up again, but still gotta take it easy and there’s still things I’ve got to be careful doing. I can’t reach my arms over my head yet and I can’t lift anything heavy still either.

Just been trying to occupy my time with different things, reading, meditation, gaming, playing inside with the dogs, napping, Netflix, colouring in. I keep I suppose its disassociating and just sitting staring and hours pass by and I haven’t moved or done anything. I also keep getting bouts of really bad anxiety, like anxiety I’ve not experienced before, it’s been so bad that I can’t move, I can’t tolerate noise, I’m just frozen and I felt so exhausted. Some days I was able to push through and make myself get out of the house, even just to walk to dogs, but even that was a massive effort. So things haven’t all been great just because I’ve had surgery, like it doesn’t solve all the issues, that I previously was struggling with. I think loneliness and isolation has really made it worse, as usual. It sucks not being able to volunteer and not having the energy to be out as much as I would like to be. It has had a huge emotional toll and I still haven’t really processed it and I think that’s another reason I’ve put off writing, because it means I don’t have to empty my guts out onto a page and examine what the fucks going on in that crazy brain of mine. I suppose this could be the start of the process but who knows.

So yeah its not been all flowers and rainbows, its been hard. I think the first 2 weeks after surgery, I kept having moments of feeling so blissed out, which was incredible. But then like I said the issues I had already before surgery reared their ugly heads again. But I mean I’m ok, I’m just frustrated, I miss not being in a routine and just doing things, I miss volunteering and seeing people. Kinda feels like a bit of a step back with the isolation… but I mean yeah.. I’m sure that will get better once I can do stuff again.

Above are pictures of my hospital room, me before and after surgery. I’m pretty impressed with how incredibly well my body has healed so far. The body is an amazing thing! I’m so blessed not to have had any major complications and everything has gone relatively well.

Just before surgery I had to have a ultrasound scan of my womb, as I was coming up to two years on testosterone, so its something they do. Results came back to say the lining of my womb is still thick and it shouldn’t be, so gotta go to gynaecologist in Dec, not overly looking forward to that, but its good they are looking into what might be happening.

2 days after surgery was my 2 years on testosterone anniversary 22nd August! I can’t believe it! It’s gone so quickly! I look so different too! In spite of all the mental health stuff I have going on, I do feel better on a more spiritual level, I feel more me, I just feel right now, well getting there, but I do feel more comfortable being me. I’m sure as more time passes the better that will get. I’m so proud of how far I’ve come and I still have a way to go, but I’m finally on the road I want to be.

Well that’s all for now, I hope whoever read this, enjoys it.

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 💜

A day in the life of a trans guy – Chest binding pain vs feeling happy/confident out in public

Chest binding pain vs feeling happy/confident out in public

It’s a difficult dilemma, especially in the summer and as here in the UK it’s been a lot hotter for a lot longer then it usually is in June/July or ever actually lol. In the winter I tend not to bother to bind as I can hide my chest with baggy tops and hoodies, so it makes life a bit easier.

It’s also difficult because I have an auto immune disorder which causes joint pain/inflammation etc and I’m more susceptible to broken bones (a few years ago I fractured 5 bones in like 6 months)… so I have to weigh up when is safe to bind and for how long. It means listening to my body and how my body feels. For example if I’m tired and achy then it’s probably not the best idea to bind for 8 hours straight or at all. But I don’t always listen to how I feel, because I’m often disconnected from emotions and my body, I know I need to work on it though. I try and connect with myself by writing, meditation and just sitting quietly. I’ve been trying to do it more often as it does make a difference and helps a bit with the disconnect between mind and body.

The last 3 days I’ve worn my chest binder and 2 days I’ve worn it for the majority of the day and my ribs at the end of the day ache so bad and all I want to do is get home and take it off. But those 3 days I’ve been out in public, so beach one day and the other two days I’ve been around people I don’t really know that well and wearing the binder has made me feel a bit more myself, a bit more confident, less anxious and a bit less self conscious.

Tomorrow I’ll need to give my body a rest a not bind all day. It’s not recommended that you bind all day every day and definitely not recommended to wear it for 8 hours straight, especially when it’s hot.

I’ve been careful to make sure I’m drinking more and eating regularly too. So I’m not dehydrated or hungry.

Chest binding is exhausting, I’ve had mine on for nearly 12 hours… and I can feel it. I’m exhausted, hot and in a lot of pain but it was totally worth it as I’ve felt really good all day… so it’s a real dilemma.

Because of my health issues, I’m used to dealing with joint pain, some days are easier then others. But I know this pain is fairly temporary, cuz as soon as I take the binder off and relax then pain will subside which is good.

I use a high impact sports bra to bind my chest, as I’ve found it the most comfortable (as chest binding can be) an the material isn’t too hot, itchy and scratchy. I’ve tried a range of different chest binders but have found this to be the better one. So it is really important to find a chest binder that feels as comfortable as possible and makes you feel good cuz ultimately that’s the main point. What suits one person may not suit another, so it’s a bit of trial and error. But it’s definitely worth it if you find a binder that you feel comfortable with.

Peace out

Zak

Transition update – Week 41 on T

Its so strange how things can change for the better in a second. I’m feeling so much better then I have done over the past few months. My financial situation is finally sorted and I got a back payment. Its such a weight off my shoulders, I feel like I can breathe again.

I’ve not spent all the money yet and what I have bought so far has been an investment of sorts. I’ve booked a short holiday in Devon with a friend, I’m super excited as I’ve not been on holiday for about 10 years. I booked to see Eminem in July! with my best friend, we are super excited for this. I got myself a Nintendo switch, a tattoo session and a new hoover. I intend on doing an online course and get my passport sorted. So I feel its not been a waste, I’ve actually got stuff to show for it this time around. So I’m quite proud of myself, as I’m not the best with money lol! I’ve also paid off the people I owed money too, so that felt good.

So I feel right now that my mental health is much better then it was, I’ve had a few anxiety attacks but there’s been a real reason behind them and not just anxiety for no reason. I feel back to myself again, I can enjoy life again rather then just trying to survive. I’m looking forward to the future rather then dreading it. I’m 100% committed to moving forward and bettering myself, I don’t want to be stuck in this place forever. I feel like apart from the transition and coming out as trans, nothing else has really moved forward in the last 5 years or so and I feel now is the time to do something more worthwhile. I’m not going to dive into anything, just small steps, small changes and things will start moving.

Transition stuff is going ok, I had my fasting blood test this morning to check my T levels and then I had my injection. I’ve got to have another fasting blood test next week and then hopefully I’ll get the results before I go away. I’m still not 100% that my levels are right as the last 3 weeks my emotions have been all over the place and I’ve found it really hard to hold myself together. Part of it has been high stress levels but I also think some of it is hormonal as well. Its a waiting game and I realise it takes time to get theses things right and I know it will be an ongoing thing.

Gender dysphoria has been ok-ish and its been manageable. Some days its easier to deal with but other days its so much harder. It makes me feel anxious, agitated which makes me detach and disassociate. I intend on trying to ground myself daily in order to help me deal with the gender dysphoria and disassociation. I’ve been writing in my journal again and that’s helped me express how I feel daily and its been helpful to look back on it and reflect on how I’ve dealt with things and how I’ve been feeling. I also intend on looking after myself and my needs again properly as I’ve let the self care side slip a bit, so I have made a promise to myself to put myself first.

That’s all for now 🙂

Week 41 on T

^ This weeks picture

^ This weeks video

Peace out

Zak

Transition update – Week 20 on T

5 months on testosterone today! WOOHOO! I did my 6th injection this morning, after the fasting blood tests and everything went well. I got my second bloods next Tuesday, to see how where my testosterone levels are.

Not really sure what else to say… um my facial hair is starting to get long and wild lol! which is pretty cool and I can still hear slight changes in my voice which again is really cool.

I got an appointment with my ears, nose and throat doc soon, I’ve had sinus issues for the past few weeks so I’m hoping he can sort something out. I’ve been getting nosebleeds and just so much snot its ridiculous.

Mood wise, I’ve been ok I suppose. Just been disconnected really, neither up or down. But I suppose that’s a good thing, because I’m not really depressed or anxious, I’m just nothing. I think its a coping mechanism to deal with all the overwhelming feelings and intrusive thoughts.

I’ve been trying really hard to look after myself, so everyday I’ve been meditating and doing something to look after myself. Like today I booked in with a charity to help me with filling in forms for PIP (personal independence payment) and I rang up to claim the forms. I’ve been dreading this for so long but I took the plunge and I’ve got the ball rolling. It actually feels good to have got everything started and I’m just hoping its not as traumatic as last time.

Self care is super hard, its so much easier to look after others. But its so essential , if you don’t take care of yourself, then you can’t take care of others.

 

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^ This weeks picture

^ This weeks video

That’s all for this week

Peace out

Dyllan

Feeling the energies of the earth – My Spiritual journey

I am so lucky to live to close to the sea, I feel so at home there and so grounded when I’m by the sea.

Yesterday evening I took the dogs out for a walk, I wasn’t intending to be out for long but we ended up being out for 4 hours. We met a lovely couple and ended up sitting and talking with them for ages, we sat and watched the sun go down. Even though I didn’t know these ladies it was as though we’d all known each other forever.

Sitting by the sea watching the sun go down was so beautiful, I felt so peaceful and calm and just at one with the world. It’s not something I’ve felt for a while, it felt so good just to sit and be. Also the only time I picked up my phone was to take pictures of the sunset, because I was sat chatting with these ladies, I didn’t need to look at my phone and constantly check my social media. It was just what I needed to switch off for a while, I really need to do it more often. I will make it a habit and apart of my daily routine.

Last night was good because I almost felt like I’d been reset, refreshed. I feel like I can take on anything again, I feel like myself again. It feels good.

Today my best friend and I took the dogs down to the water again, which was really nice. Because it was hot I wanted to put fox in the sea to cool her down, she doesn’t like swimming whereas Scrappy just dives straight into the sea. I took my shoes and socks off and walked into the sea with fox in my arms, I went in up to my knees so fox got completely wet and she even had to swim back into shore bless her. I got her little head wet as well, she was not best impressed but it stopped her panting.

I paddled about in the water for a bit, playing fetch with Mr Scrappy. He was going in so far having a good swim, he absolutely loves the sea.

The sea wasn’t cold it felt just right and I could feel all the stones under my feet, usually they hurt my feet but today they didn’t. All I felt was peace and calmness, I felt the energies of the earth flowing the me from my feet upwards and it was bursting out of my head. It felt so good and when we walked around to find a bit of shade I decided to carry on walking around barefoot.

Walking along the path was a tad hot on the bottoms of my feet and I didn’t feel the energies as strong. Once we got onto the grass I could feel all the earths energies again and I felt the same, peaceful, calm and just in the moment. I’m definitely going to walk outside barefoot more often, to be more in touch with earth and myself.

I feel good, I’ve not felt like this for a long time. It’s partly down to starting testosterone (see previous blog post) but its also down to walking this spiritual path I’m on. Sometimes I wonder off the path a bit and that’s ok as sometimes life gets in the way a bit. I manage to come back onto the right path and walk towards the light and what feels right.

Here are some pictures from last night and today’s walk by the sea

 

I’m loving my spiritual journey, I’m learning more about myself, others and the world around me. I’m learning where I fit in and how I can  be of service to the world.

I better get some sleep as its pushing midnight here in the UK.

Peace out

Batman

Food diary – Another update

Once again I’ve been a bit slack on a few things but I’ve been really struggling with disassociation and binge eating. I’ve been trying so hard to get on top of it all and I’ve been stressing out so much. Stressing out has been making everything worse and I’ve been eating so much until I feel so so sick and my thoughts and memories are so disorganised, disjointed and just strange and unreal.

The last few days I’ve been trying to get back on track with reading and meditating daily and I have felt a little more settled.

I was watching a TV show called This Morning and this lady was on and she was cooking Prawn and Chicken Jambalaya. I was sat thinking that it looked really nice, well apart from prawns as I don’t like them, so I decided that I was going to make it for dinner tonight.

I’ve been doing my food shopping as and when I need things, I was finding I was getting 2 weeks worth of shopping and not eating everything I bought and had a lot of wasted food. Even though shopping as and when takes up more time and energy, its a bit more cost effective as I’m not wasting food.

Today along with the chicken jambalaya, I also tried some green olives and I can safely say that I am not a fan! They were gross, even the dogs didn’t like them lol. But I am pleased I tried them.

So this evening I cooked the chicken jambalaya, it took me a little longer then the lady on TV said it should take lol but it turned out so well and I really really enjoyed it and I was mega surprised as well. Its not usually something I would eat, mainly because its a bit spicy but I am so pleased I just went for it and made it. I even have enough left for 2 more dinners, which is awesome.

This probably isn’t the most well written blogs I’ve ever done because I am struggling to organise my thoughts right now but I’ve tried my best. As usual I’m not going to say if I’ll try something new next week as I think that’s just a bit too much to ask from myself right now. My main goal is to keep on top of the binge eating because if I cannot do it alone I’m probably going to have to seek help because it cannot continue.

Peace out

Batman

Am I losing it? – Update on my life

It has been another 7 days since I last posted on here, mainly because my mood has been really low and I’ve not had the motivation to do anything and a bit because my situation hasn’t really changed much and I’m so fed up.

So what has been happening in my life in the past 7 days.. Not much lol, mostly because like I said I’ve been depressed and I’ve isolated myself. I tried to go to the group social on Thursday afternoon but it was just way too much and I could only stay for an hour, it was just too overwhelming. I think the fact I had meditated before I went was a factor as while it is good, it can also have a negative effect.

I found this picture and it really spoke to me, I love it and look at it every day.

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It made me think about my current situation and yes while it is very stressful and I am struggling to pay my bills etc. I can still have a good day, I can still do things that will make me happy and I’ve been trying to do that by making sure the housework and laundry is all done, making sure me and my fur babies have what we need and by making sure I don’t isolate myself too much, which is hard when I don’t have much money but a day out doesn’t need to cost much. So yeah I am trying to make the most out of a bad situation but I am also allowing myself to feel depressed, stressed and overwhelmed, I’m just not letting my emotions rule my day.

I saw my GP last week and he said I have fluid on my knee, so he gave me more anti-inflammatory meds to try. So far they haven’t helped too much but I shall see how it goes and if it still hurts then he will give me a steroid injection into my knee joint :/ ouch! I also asked about changing to Gabapentin for my pain as the tramadol isn’t working so much any more.

A big thing happened this week and that was I left a site that I have used for 6  years, I won’t name it but its for people with physical and mental health issues and for carers of people with physical and mental health issues. It has been a huge part of my life and it has been helpful but I felt I no longer have anything left to give the members of that community as most of them just want to be validation and don’t want to recover and some members are down right toxic and I will no longer tolerate people who make me out to be the bad person and I will not tolerate people manipulating me to feel bad for them and that site has one or two people like that. I feel I am on a different path now and I no longer need that sort of thing in my life, I am trying to get away from toxic people. It does feel weird as it was a big part of my life for so long and I am feeling a bit anxious about it but I know it’s for the best.

Update on benefits stuff – I got a letter to say the courts have my information I sent and now they are waiting for the Department of Work and Pensions to get back to them and then I will be sent a court date. I just want it over so bad, I am SO close to it being over, I just gotta hold on a little longer. People keep telling me I’m doing great but I feel like I am losing control and just totally losing my shit, I’m desperately trying to keep it together but its so freaking hard!

My appetite has gone again, what a fucking surprise lol. So I’ve just been grazing on whatever I fancy and I’m trying not to put so much pressure on myself. The belief is that I have to eat 3 proper meals a day, but is that really fact? Do I really have too? No I don’t because I’m an adult and I cannot force my body to do something it doesn’t want too do and it doesn’t want to eat regular meals. I think because all my life I have been forced to eat 3 meals a day and always been told that is what I need to do etc and its a hard to break that thought pattern.

But yeah I have lots of stuff to work through as usual and its hard man, like so hard! I think I need to possibly seek help for the PTSD due to my physical health diagnosis at a young age, I think its really causing me a lot of issues right now, with my mood and just stuff. I can’t explain it.

Feeling a little relaxed for having wrote this, although I feel really disconnected so I’m not sure if that shows in who I write this but yeah.

My Mr Scrappy Doodles is 2 years old today 🙂 We took the bus to the park, it was so nice out, the sun was out and it was lovely and warm. Scrappy had lots of fun swimming in the sea and playing fetch and Foxy just followed us around peeing on everything lol.

Here are some pics from today

Peace out

Batman

Waiting is the worst part

It’s only been 5 days since I last posted but it feels much longer as I’ve been quite busy, mainly getting my PIP stuff sorted but I’ve also been doing nice things too, to break up the monotony of the PIP stuff.

I’ll follow on from my last post,

Mr Scrappy doodles continues to be in good health and he turns 2 next week, which has gone so fast. Foxy, Marley and Harley are also doing great and Harley has a birthday next week as well and she will be 1 years old. Its gone insanely fast.

Medical stuff – My whole knee is swollen, so is my ankle and my hip feels like its swollen too, so yeah my whole leg. The naproxen didn’t help at all, it just caused me a huge bruise on the back of my thigh. So I booked another appointment to see my GP and its this Friday…really early in the morning :/ But whatever my leg is really hurting and nothing is helping.

I have my CT scan next week which is cool but my follow up app with my ENT isn’t until July.. So I may try and see if I can bring it forward.

Disability Benefits stuff – With the help of a good friend to get stuff all printed out and another person who checked over my appeal. It all finally came together, yesterday I checked it over like 3 times to make sure everything wasn’t missing and it was all in order. I posted it special delivery which cost £7.10 but it ensured its safety to get there and they cannot say they didn’t receive it in time.

I’m glad its all done but now I’ve got to wait, which is almost as stressful. I so hope they re-think the tribunal, I can’t go through that, I just don’t have the energy for it. This process alone has taken everything from me, I have nothing left.

I’m feeling a bit lost at the moment because the process of writing my appeal has brought up so many feelings, the main feeling being anger and the fact that I’ve not dealt with the PTSD caused by my physical health illness and I don’t know where to start. It’s all been very traumatic and something no one should have to go through.

How do I feel right now? I don’t know, I think I feel sad, I suppose you could say depressed. I just don’t feel connected with myself, I’m not grounded, I’m just exhausted in every sense of the word. Tonight I will meditate, I will try and relax a bit more.

I’ll end this now as my brain has switched itself off.

Peace out

Batman