Living in the darkness

I haven’t written anything on here for just over 2 months now, the main reason is I just got swallowed up whole by my depression and I just haven’t had the energy or desire to do the basic life things let alone sit down to write.

The main cause of my depression has been lockdown unsurprisingly, as it has I’m sure effected every single person in one way or another. It’s been an incredibly hard time and I haven’t experienced this depth of the darkness and isolation in such a long time and its not a place I like to be in. But I’ve had zero control in getting myself out of it and making myself feel better and you know right now that’s ok. My brain is doing everything it can to protect me from further tramua.

I’ve had silly comments from people who’ve said well I survived through it, I live in a beautiful area etc, which is extremely dismissive of how I’ve been feeling and its a reason why no one really knows just how bad and how dark the places I’ve been in recently because I get sick of this toxic positivity bullshit! Yes I’ve survived lockdown so far, but only fucking just and I mean I was on the verge at a few points of ending it all because the loneliness and depression was just so loud and it was so intense that I just didn’t and couldn’t deal with it anymore. But I did keep pushing through and its still not something I can feel proud about because I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m still pretty depressed, I’m just a fucking master at hiding it.

A few weeks ago it was my 3 years on testosterone and 1 year post op top surgery and in July I had arranged to meet up with some friends to celebrate as the previous years I haven’t and its something that’s extremely important to me and I wanted to celebrate, but it was pretty much a fail because most people bailed! which hurt like fuck and still fucking does and I’m still so angry and upset that I’m not overly interested in talking with the people that bailed. I tried to be happy and grateful for the few that did turn up but I just couldn’t, I was already extremely depressed and this just topped it off. Next year I’m not going to fucking bother! I am so fucking done with people!

People are so fucking fake! Always promoting mental health, self care etc but fuck me right! I don’t actually matter! I’m so fucking angry with people, I’ve been let down by everyone over the years and I have not one single person who I can rely on. I hate everyone, I don’t deserve to be treated this way, I bend over backwards to help anyone but no one seems to be able to celebrate something that’s extremely important to me. I am fucking done with everyone! I’m just not interested anymore. They can talk the big talk but I don’t trust that shit anymore, when it comes down to it, no one actually shows up for me.

All is does is make me feel like a really fucking shitty person! I feel like the worse person in the world cuz I’m 35 and still have no friends and I still don’t understand where I’m going wrong like wtf!? am I this fucking dumb?! I know I am far from fucking perfect, I know I’m an annoying dick head but I’m not a bad person. Yet shit like this makes me feel like the worst person in the world.

I see everyone else with their friends, having fun, doing stuff etc and there’s just me here on my own, like when’s it my turn?! When is it my turn to have friends and be happy? I fear my life will always be like this. I can’t seem the change the patterns no matter what I try, I try be like everyone else, I try and be myself, nothing works. So must be me right?

I’ve always felt like such an outsider, I feel like I’m from a different planet cuz I just don’t fit in socially, its too hard. But I don’t understand why I’m so different, I hate feeling like this. I don’t understand why people don’t like me or why people just can’t be bothered to put the effort in with me. I can’t change what I don’t understand.

I’m so fed up of writing about the same shit and crying about the same shit. I don’t think people understand the depths of my isolation really is. I have no emotional connections with anyone, certainly not my family and no friends. I’ve become so shut down emotionally so I can deal with this depression and loneliness, I can barely feel anything other then sadness and anger. I spend 99% of my time alone, there’s only 2 people who regularly message me and to be honest the last few months they’ve really helped get me through. But its still not the same as social interactions, I get so much from social interactions and I just haven’t had any for so long, its beyond difficult.

I’m back at counselling now, I begrudgingly went back. I enjoy going and I enjoy talking about stuff and its at least some social interaction for the week. But I’ve been in counselling for the last 20 years on and off, I’m starting to feel I’m too broken to ever be fixed and this is just my life forever now. My life has been hard and its still hard, with a few moments of happiness but they seem to be few and far between. The darkness is just so strong, its hard to climb out of it. Most days, I just let the darkness take over and I just sit and completely disassociate so I can just get through the day. I’m barely functioning most days, I have my non negotiable things I do each day, like take my meds, do my sinus rinse and take the dogs out, but the energy it takes just to do those small things is immense. I’m barely getting through each day and its exhausting. I want so much to be happy, to be loved, to have friends, to have adventures with my friends, but seems like that’s a lot to ask for. It’s all I’ve ever wanted from life. But damaged people don’t get a happy ending right? I just feel like I’ll be living in this darkness forever, its the only constant in my life over the years. I can’t remember when the darkness and I first met but I think I was quite young.

I do think my diagnosis of Bipolar is wrong, I reckon I have complex PTSD, autism spectrum disorder and ADHD as all 3 of these have symptoms that are the same or similar to bipolar and all 3 have overlapping symptoms with each other. I don’t have the energy to speak to my GP about any of this as I know I’ll get sent to my psychiatrist who doesn’t believe in adult ADHD, which is ridiculous and I just hate talking to him, I find it hard to get everything out as I feel like he’s sat there judging me, I always feel like he thinks that I’m just an attention seeker. So yeah I hate talking to him and I can’t ask for someone else as he’ll block that because he’s a prick! But hopefully through counselling I can figure some stuff out and maybe gather some evidence for a potential re diagnosis.

So yeah that’s me, writing out my heart and soul of darkness!

Peace out

Zak

Where do I belong – communities

Where do I belong? Is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and whilst I belong to a few different communities, I don’t really engage with them as much as I would like too, if I did maybe I wouldn’t feel so lonely. But its complicated, I’ve actively stayed away from these communities because I didn’t want to be defined by these certain things. I’m realising that these things will always be apart of me and its ok to engage with these communities and they could be a source of friendships and support. I’ve kinda cut off my nose to spite my face, but I’ve been surrounded by such toxic people who’ve said over and over that you can’t let these things define you because you are more then that.

Now years down the line, those people who said those things are no longer around, but I still have that fear and anxiety around engaging in certain communities because I don’t want them to be all that defines me and my life. Right now I due to lockdown, I don’t really have anything outside of myself right now because I’m high risk, so I’m not really allowed to do much and I’m struggling to do anything at home on my own, as its so boring.

So what are these communities I belong too, well first one is people with chronic illness. I was first diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder when I was about 15 and I spent a few years fighting against, as I wasn’t given any support. I’ve always tried to fight against it and act like it doesn’t exist, but that never ends well. I think I have a better acceptance of it now but it still kicks my ass, especially when I’m not feeling well. I know from experience there’s a huge online community, full of amazing people but I just don’t engage with it, mainly as I’ve said before I don’t want my illness to define me. I don’t want my life to be boiled down to just a person with a illness.

I also have mental health issues, mainly depression and anxiety but also struggle with disassociation and now this community I’ve ran from because I didn’t want my mental health made worse by others, I didn’t want to become a professional patient, which is such a toxic term and insinuates that someone is attention seeking and not really mentally unwell. I’ve also felt that because I’m not in and out of hospital and I don’t outwardly express how I feel that I’m not unwell enough to be in the community. I mean its a whole mess of not nice feelings surrounding the mental health community, so right now I’m not sure its one I can really engage with because I think it would make me feel worse.

And the last community is the LGBT community, I am the T in LGBT and it is really a huge community with amazing people, but when I came out as trans I didn’t want to solely engage with the T community, I’m not really sure where that came from, maybe because its how I feel about most communities. I don’t want to feel pigeon holed, I didn’t want my transition to be the only exciting thing about me. But again I think I’ve missed out on making friends and doing things.

I see ‘proud to be trans’ a lot and I think for me that’s now lost all sort of meaning, I’m not really proud to be alive let alone be trans. I just feel too old for all these communities, I feel like I’m not sick enough, not unstable enough, not trans enough, just not enough to be apart of these communities. I just feel like I don’t really belong anywhere, I don’t really know myself but that maybe because I’ve walked away these communities, but these parts of me make up who I am.

I’ve disengaged with life in general at the moment, everyday feels the same. I feel like I’m living in a simulation or something, nothing feels quite real and it seems to be never ending and its so god damn lonely!

I know I need to make an effort and engage more but it feels so hard, I just feel like I’m being annoying all the time and that holds me back from doing anything. I’m so stuck inside myself, I want to reach out but it feels impossible, feels like I’m physically being held in place, frozen. Totally engulfed by the darkness, overwhelmed by the anxiety. I feel like I’m drowning, trying my best to float but I’m getting tired.

I know there’s a wonderful world of different communities that I belong to and can engage with but I’ve been so disconnected from humans, I don’t even know how to interact anymore. I wouldn’t know where to start and feels a bit scary putting myself back out there and trying once again to make friends.

I don’t want to just find people who are only temporary, who forget me if I don’t always message first. That’s apart of why I’m anxious about making new friends. Because I don’t want to make an effort just to be forgotten again, cuz that shit is emotionally exhausting and makes me feel so worthless.

I want so much to have a better life for myself, I don’t want to feel this way forever. But I don’t know how to move on, I don’t know if things will ever get better, right now I can’t see that it will.

Peace out

Zak

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

trauma

This lockdown has been kinda good for one thing its allowed old wounds and pains to surface and its made me face the reality of the route cause of this pain that’s been there forever.

I’ve had counselling and different therapies since I was 15 years old on and off over the years and I’ve always skirted around this issue, cuz its painful and embarrassing to admit and as I’ve gotten older its got harder.

I find it super hard to be vulnerable and honest with myself let alone anyone else. But today I was able to verbalise it, which was very uncomfortable.

My parents divorced when I was 15 and my memories from around that time are patchy. It was a pretty traumatic experience and the years running up to that weren’t that great either and again memories are patchy.

For some that may not be seen as a traumatic event but for me it was and my mental health wasn’t great before it happened as I started self harming when I was around 9/10 years old. I can’t explain why I started self harming as again memories are fractured, not in order or missing completely.

I was an extremely anxious and extremely shy as a little kid, I struggled to make friends, I always felt left out and I still feel the same now at the age of 35 years old.

I think as you get older you tend to romanticise what your childhood was like, with me I don’t remember much at all. But I remember what it made me feel, what I felt then is what I feel now. No matter how hard I try to heal, to move forward. I am always dragged back to how I felt at the age of 15 years old.

I still feel like a little kid standing in a room full of adults trying to be seen and heard, I feel like I don’t exist, I feel alone, intense loneliness, I feel so sad, I’m in so much pain, I feel lost, I feel scared, I feel numb, I feel unloved and unlovable, I feel unwanted.

I can’t keep bleeding over the same thing, hurting over the same thing. It’s just too hard, too painful.

I feel so left out, everyone has their circle of friends and I’m standing way on the sidelines, waiting to be seen and heard, waiting for the scraps, waiting to have my existence remembered. I can’t do it anymore.

I’ve not hit any expected adult mile stones, I’ve never been in a long term relationships, I’ve never lived with anyone, I’ve never been engaged, married, I don’t have kids, never had a long term employment (mainly due to my physical health) 1 long term friendship which I no longer have. I don’t have kids, don’t own my place and never have. Never travelled anywhere, never done anything.

I feel like I’ve missed out on so much because of this trauma that hides inside me and seems to have such a strong hold over me. I end up bleeding on everyone around me and no one wants to deal with that. But I don’t mean too, I try so hard but doesn’t seem to be working. But I’m just a traumatise kid inside.

I’m so exhausted, so tired of trying, tired of feeling this pain, tired of fighting to be seen and heard, tired of existing. I’m tired of looking after myself, tired of acting like I’m a grown up when really I maybe 35 but emotionally, socially etc I’m still just a 15 year old kid inside. It exhausting trying to pretend I’m ok when I’m not.

This is hard

Peace out

Zak

meh

Where to even start… I don’t even know right now.

I feel like I’m just repeating the same old patterns, writing the same old bullshit about the same old shit, feeling the same old way. Why can’t I move on? Why can’t I feel better? Why am I being left behind? 35 year old loser!

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Something I wrote the other night

I’m just invisible, my light got blown out years ago, trying to pick myself up, but darling I’m so low now

Hard to see that bright light, with the darkness filling me

Where do I go from here? I can’t find my way out.

Can anybody see me? I don’t understand what’s happening right now?

Can anybody hear me? I can’t keep screaming any longer.

Just invisible, fading into the background, I no longer see myself in my reflection, I don’t know who I am now.

I’m just invisible yeah. Just invisible.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Something I wrote today

Trying my best to keep on holding tight,

I won’t let go, no baby not tonight.

But I’m trying my best to keep my head held high, don’t want you to see me cry.

I’m sure I’ll probably be alright… right?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

This lock down is hard, mental health is slowly unravelling, harder to hold shit together.

I’ve spent so many years being everything everyone else needed to be, yet I still wasn’t good enough for anyone to stay around.

I’ve spent so much time changing myself for other people, so I would be what they expected me to, what they wanted and needed me to be. But in doing that I lost myself.

I’ve realised that in one friendship in particular this happened and I was being gaslight, not on purpose. But I was never good enough as myself, I was stupid, I didn’t know anything about anything, my feelings were never valid but theirs always was.

All of my life I’ve been told and made to feel that I’m not good enough, I don’t try enough, I’m not enough for anything. That shit cuts so deep and I believe it, I can’t change that anymore.

I’m so sick of even trying. In societies eyes I’m a failure and as for other people, well I wouldn’t know anymore cuz I mean I have no real friends. Just all lip service, like always.

I’ve never really felt like I’ve existed, or like I even belonged here. Partly my struggle with disassociation but I’ve always felt so invisible.

I’m so sick of being stuck down here on the ground, I’m always being told to keep trying, put in the effort with people, do this, do that… blah blah blah! Makes no difference, I’m not a bad person. I try so hard but always ends up the same, alone.

I always connect with people, I’d never speak to anyone if I didn’t. But I’m done making the effort, its shown me all I need to know. Confirmed what I already knew.

I’m alone and no one gives a shit.

Social media is full of people having fun, despite lock down. Video calls with friends, just having fun still.

I’ve never felt so alone and sad in my entire life.

I thought as I got older life would get better, cuz that’s how it works right? People grow up and move forward. I just feel so left behind, I try so hard and get no where. When do I get better? When does my life start? I’ll never catch up now.

Just living like a ghost trying to find the light in all the darkness.

peace out

zak

A day in the life of a trans guy

Where do I even start, I’ve been really struggling with this lockdown in many ways but gender dysphoria has been difficult, as I’ve got more time to sit around thinking about it and also certain experiences I’ve had hasn’t helped.

I’ve been out as male for a little over 5 years, I’m 2.7 years on testosterone and 7 months post op top surgery and I still feel like I am viewed as female, not only by strangers but also by friends who knew me pre transition.

Last week I was out walking the dogs and a creepy older guy stopped ahead of me and I think he did that on purpose so he could talk to me, he then continued to refer to me as my dogs mum. I was wearing jeans, hoodie, baseball cap and boots. I don’t think that in anyway did I look female. It really made me angry and sad, I know I’m only 5ft 3 but I don’t think I look like a female. I don’t know… It really fucking sucks.

Also in my mums infinite wisdom (although it came from a good place) made a family group whatsapp group and they decided to share pictures of each other when we were young. Which I wouldn’t usually mind but it wasn’t in my control and my transition isn’t even acknowledged or even talked about. It’s just ignored like its not even happening. Which makes me feel invisible, like I don’t even exist as myself. It only took a week for my brother to push my buttons and piss me off so I left the group. He’s exactly why I’ve not spoken to him for over a year, he’s such a prick!

Then a well meaning friend added me to an all girl group chat for a group video call. I left that group and messaged her to say that I’m not a girl and wouldn’t feel comfortable and her reply was I was the only boy invited but she understood. Which it really doesn’t feel like it, otherwise I wouldn’t have been invited in the first place.

I’m so sick of being invited to girly things and being tagged in stuff especially for woman etc, every time it happens it breaks a small part of me inside. I feel like I’m still being viewed as female and it fucking sucks! I am not female and I never was!

Not being seen as myself is so fucking invalidating, it makes me feel like the me I know I am doesn’t exist as people just aren’t willing to see it. I don’t think people realise how painful it is, even if something is well meant.

Like I said lockdown has been rough, being sat with my own thoughts is hard. I’ve been struggling with gender dysphoria, which I thought would go away, after top surgery.

For so long I was so focused of getting top surgery, I didn’t really have huge lower dysphoria although I knew I wanted lower surgery. But now that focus has shifted from top surgery, I’ve realised I have lower dysphoria, I don’t hate my female parts but I don’t connect with it and I think it is starting to cause a bit of unconscious distress.

The more I think about it all the more I want surgery, so I can just move forward with my life and hopefully it will help me feel complete. But my appointment for my second yes for lower surgery is obviously postponed at the moment due to the virus, which is frustrating.

I hope one day I’ll be seen as myself and I’ll feel comfortable in my skin.

Peace out

Zak

Coronavirus

Some years ago I met a lovely lady in a vasculitis group on FaceBook called Tracie Jayne Jacob. Even though we had never met she was always so lovely and super supportive.

Tracie was diagnosed with the coronavirus 2 weeks ago and on Saturday morning, she sadly lost her battle and passed away.

It’s beyond devastating and hits so close to home, she was only mid 40s’s and had a similar physical health condition to me.

This virus takes no prisoners, it doesn’t care who you are, how old you are, it will come for you.

If you think you won’t it won’t effect you, you’re wrong! eventually you will know someone who will be effected.

Please stay safe out there, do as the government advises you too, yes it sucks staying in and not hanging out with your friends, family but it will save lives. Especially those like myself who are at very high risk of this awful virus. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for those in your life who are vulnerable. Now is not a time to be selfish, now is the time to think of your community, to keep everyone safe.

Tracie, I hope you are at peace now, forever in my heart.

Rest in Peace my friend

Peace out

Zak

Birthday blues

Despite have a good birthday, I always feel a bit low around my birthday. Apparently it’s quite a common thing to feel low or even depressed around your birthday for a number of reasons.

One reason is because it forces you to look back over the past year and feeling like you’ve not accomplished enough over the last year, also feeling disappointed by not having expectations met.

Both of those examples I really struggle with, I often feel let down by people, as I have been let down a lot. I also feel like I’ve not done enough, I’m not doing enough, I’m not good enough etc.. So birthdays bring up so much crap and always throws me off and makes me feel so shitty.

I try and manage my expectations of people and my birthday but its really hard. I try my best to make sure I ask friends if they want to do stuff, so I’m not alone. But I still struggle to verbalise what I really want for my birthday, which makes managing expectations difficult.

But I had a great birthday despite feeling a bit low about everything and I am feeling grateful. It just knocks me down a bit, but I always get back up stronger then before.

Does anyone struggle around birthdays? Do you feel low? How do you cope with birthdays?

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy – 6 months post top surgery.

Time is flying by faster then I can keep up with, it’s just crazy. But today marks 6 months since I had top surgery.

I’m slowly starting to connect with my chest and slowly starting to realise that I’ve finally had this life changing, life saving surgery that I’ve been wanting since puberty.

Still struggling a bit with the gender dysphoria and recognising myself but I think its a natural part of being trans.

I don’t think I look at my chest enough, I don’t look at myself and appreciate my new body. I think I was focused on recovering from surgery and it going well without any complications that I wasn’t really present and I was pretty lonely during recovery as well, so I didn’t have anyone around to be excited about surgery with and to share it with.

Looking back at leading up to surgery and after surgery I was kinda disconnected from it and as I’m used to being in hospitals and I’ve had lots of minor surgeries before, I just kinda treated it like any other procedure I’ve had to go through. I was really excited on the day of surgery and just after but it didn’t last very long. I just came at it like something I had to go through and I do feel sad now that I was that disconnected, I feel sad that I didn’t have anyone close to share the excitement with, I feel sad that I had no support during the recovery period, I felt quite let down.

I’ve felt quite lonely during my transition, despite friends being supportive and being happy for me. Apart from 1 appointment last year and the friends who took me to appointments before surgery, who took me there, took me home and took me to follow up appointments, I’ve spent the last 4 years going to appointments alone. It’s something that still makes me feel really sad, more then I think people know. As its not something I really express as it can’t be changed now.

But moving forward, I know I need to try and spend more time looking at my chest and touching my chest, so my brain starts making that connection with my new body. I think when it starts getting warmer and I spend more time walking around the flat topless, that will also help as well.

I’m still really happy with the results and how well my scars look and I’m super grateful to have been able to have this surgery done. I do feel better for having it done, just its such a huge emotional experience and as I am a super sensitive person, I’m sure its something that will take me a while to process.

Here are pictures from today.

Peace out

Zak

Counselling – Asking for help isn’t shameful

I went back to counselling sessions about 3/4 months ago now and I’ve found it to be really beneficial and has really helped me to process things I’ve been dealing with and has helped me unpick some real deep routed/ingrained stuff that I hadn’t really realised I had issues with.

I was a bit hesitant to go back into therapy/counselling, for many reasons. But some of these reason had actually come from what others had told me in the past that had become apart of my negative self talk.

One reason I was hesitant was that over my life I have seen a lot of counsellors, therapists etc I’ve done CBT and DBT and at what point is it enough? I kept telling myself, well I’m an adult now, nearly 35 I should be able to manage life on my own, I’ve had lots of therapy, I should have the skills and ability to deal with life… and the list goes on. Lots of I SHOULD’s which are the fucking worst!

Also in the past I’ve had friends people in my life, telling me I’m not trying hard enough, I’m not doing enough to change my life and the situations I find myself in etc and if you’re told that enough times, especially if you have low self esteem like I do, you believe those people and those statements and they become apart of your inner monologue, which you the use to bully yourself with.

I viewed counselling as an adult as a sign that I am failing, have failed at managing myself and my own life. Because of those negative statements I felt a lot of shame about needing counselling again, which is bullshit, the best thing for me at this time was to go back to counselling to help myself.

Things you say to people even if you mean well can be so damaging, especially if that person is like me and is particularly sensitive to other people’s words. Obviously you can’t know what words will hurt people, but its just having an awareness of what you do say may have a bigger impact on a person, whether you meant it or not.

The words we say are hugely powerful and can have a massive impact on the rest of someone’s life, not to be dramatic. But a lot of the things in my inner monologue are from negative things or perceived negative things that have been said to me.

It’s really hard for me to not take things to heart, I often don’t seem like I’m effected by things in the moment but I am very much someone who will repeat something over and over and over a million times and look at it from every different angle imaginable. By doing so I make myself feel so upset or angry by something and often my internal reaction often doesn’t match the actual event and is usually an overreaction.

It is something I have been working on for years as I am very aware I can be seen as overly emotional, but I can also go the other way and have no reaction at all, no response.

Taking things to heart is something I still struggle with a bit, I’m still learning. I am much better at controlling my emotions and reactions to things.

Counselling has been eyeopening and it has helped me process things that I was struggling with on my own. I feel like I have dealt with past hurts from a relationship that ended just over a year ago, that was the main thing I was still really struggling with. It still felt so raw and painful, but that pain and hurt has been worked through, unpicked and it just feels good to have had someone outside the situation to talk to about it.

It has also helped me unpick past friendships and why patterns kept repeating over and over. I lack boundaries with people and because of my kindness and low self esteem I let people walk all over me, I let toxic behaviour to continue unchallenged, I was way too much of a people pleaser, I often didn’t even realise I was being emotionally abused because it was so subtle, but over the years it wore me down.

Before I started counselling I was starting to realise that a lot of my main friendships I had were so toxic and just weren’t good for me. In on particular one I felt like I was constantly being put down, in such subtle ways but now I’m not involved in that situation I can’t believe the fact I let it go on for as long as it did, without even saying anything. I just accepted it because that’s what I thought I deserved.

I didn’t think I deserved to be treated better then I was, I didn’t think I was worthy enough. But since stepping back from these friendships and since unpicking this pattern of negative friendships, I realise I am worthy and I do deserve to be treated better then I have been.

Unpicking life, unlearning behaviours and patterns isn’t something that happens overnight and isn’t something that ever stops. I think its good to continue to keep stepping back and looking at different aspects of life to continue to move forward and to make sure you’re not being taken advantage of and helps you identify toxic negative behaviours, either from yourself or that you are allowing from other people.

Counselling also helped me unpick and look at the problems I have with disassociation and how its your brains way of protecting you and the different effects it can have. IE it can stop medications being effective as there is such a separation being brain and body. Which so so fascinating.

We also talked about my gender dysphoria and the fact that I feel still disconnected to my chest despite having had top surgery, nearly 6 months ago now.

This disconnection/disassociation from my brain and body is something I think I’ve always struggled with ever since I was small. Due to traumatic events, those events being my parents divorce which was extremely messy and painful and then being quite ill from a very young age and finally having a diagnosis as a teenager of a life changing, lifelong illness. Also being brought up in an environment that wasn’t great for anyone’s mental health, let alone a child’s

I have very little recollection of my parent’s divorce and the bits I do remember, aren’t great but the rest I’ve blocked out. I may never fully remember those events, I may have something that one day will trigger those memories. And that’s ok because my brain is doing whatever it needs to do to continue to protect me and keep me safe, which is amazing.

Maybe one day with more inner work and the further down the line I go with my transition I will close that gap between my brain and body and that disconnection won’t be so great. But as with anything these deep routed things take time to heal and takes time to change.

I think because I am a pretty sensitive person that I will need top up counselling sessions every now and then throughout my life, just to keep me going, keep me safe and keep me happy and I’m ok with that now.

You take your car for an MOT, you go to the hospital if you break a leg, you eat food in order to fuel your body to keep going, so why wouldn’t you put in the same effort for your mental health?

Mental health is such an important aspect and even now in 2020 it still feels as though going to counselling is a negative thing. But it really isn’t, it’s such an important part of life, especially if mental health is something you have struggles with.

There is no shame in needing help, there is no shame in needing medication, there is no shame in needing counselling/therapy as and when you need it and for however long you need it. There is NO shame in looking after your mental health.

Shame is such a powerful emotion, it’s one I really struggle with. Sometimes I just feel so full of shame about even being alive and taking up space that I do wonder why I am still here. But again often that shame isn’t mine, its come from words other people have said to me, opinions from others etc.

I am slowly learning how to build boundaries with other, which in turn is helping my self esteem. I’m slowly learning to like myself and who I am as a person, I am slowly learning to change that negative self talk to a more positive self talk. I am slowly learning.

Not everyone’s paths and journeys look the same, there is no time scale that anyone should be doing anything by. Some people learn huge lessons at a young age, some people take longer, some people never learn and change and that’s ok. We are all different, we all experience life differently and we’re all walking different paths to different destinations and that’s ok.

If you think you need some extra help, please access it. See your GP or psychiatrist, look up a privet counsellor (most of which will do a concession charge) talk to a friend, partner, family member. Needing extra help, isn’t shameful, isn’t a sign of failure. In fact asking for help takes such strength and bravery, it is the opposite of failure.

Asking for extra help means you respect yourself enough to know that you deserve help.

I decided last month to end my sessions at the end of this month and I know that I am welcome to go back whenever I need to and for however long I need too and it feels nice to know that whenever I need a little help to get unstuck from life, I have someone I can go to and work things through with.

I am looking forward to this next part of my life, with a new healthier view on friendships and relationships and the confidence to build and maintain boundaries. Even though at the moment my mood isn’t amazing, I feel stronger and I feel more capable of dealing with life in general.

That’s all for now,

Peace out

Zak