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

Healing inner parts

Recently I’ve been really focusing on things that make me feel good, make me feel happy, safe and comforted, especially as here in the UK we’re back in a National lockdown and I’m here on my own dealing with it on my own.

It’s not just lockdown that has made me feel like I need to feel safe and comforted but doing inner work and realising that I didn’t really get what I needed as a child, my parents were emotionally distant and often my emotional needs weren’t met. Food and meal times were often a stressful event as often I was force to eat things I didn’t like and forced to eat even if I wasn’t hungry and that has caused me so many issues over the years and also despite voicing the fact I didn’t feel like I was a girl, I was basically ignored and that led to feeling so much shame, I felt like something was wrong with me and I despised myself, which led to an unstable sense of self, low self esteem, no self worth and it’s been a really long hard road to get where I am now.

So now I am trying to reparent myself and look after my inner boy because he was totally ignored and was made to be hidden and forced to live life as someone he wasn’t. He’s very emotional, sad, angry, still holds some shame and he just wants/needs to few heard and to feel safe and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing and I’m feeling good. The inner boy or little dude as I call him is feeling better but there is still some work to do

Now some of the things little dude craves may seem childish but you know what he is a child! He’s not aware that as a whole person we’ve grown up, he’s still 15, sometimes there’s a much younger part a younger boy.

I remember a time when I was 12 nearly 13 and starting secondary school and mum shamed me into getting rid of a lot of the toys that I really still loved playing with because I was too old and no one else would be playing with toys and everyone would think I was a baby etc. I think it was because she thought I’d struggle to make friends but I did anyway..

Because I wasn’t getting my emotional needs met from my parents I was very connected to my toys and things because they made me feel safe and comforted. But they were taken away from me and I was forced to grow up when I wasn’t ready. I definitely think my emotional maturity was way behind my peers.

Now the things I find comfort, safety and that makes me feel happy are probably viewed as childish things to those who aren’t aware of my process and what I’m doing trying to heal myself but I don’t care, I feel no shame because these things are helping me heal such deep deep wounds and I love my inner child, he’s so much fun and he and I are loving everything I’m doing to feel safe and comforted.

At the moment I’m totally obsessed with squishmallows 😍 which are super soft and squishy plush toys. Also can’t get enough of kinetic sand, there’s something about it that I just can’t explain it’s just so nice to play with. I’ve also got a whole bunch of fidget toys and a chewigem necklace that I love chewing on often when I’m writing or concentrating on something.

All of these things are sensory things which living alone I don’t have much sensory input from another human, no one to hug or cuddle with and that lack of human connection is really hard so I think I’m trying to find that similar feelings from different things. But sensory things also help keep me calm, calms my anxiety down and helps me focus on whatever I’m doing.

I think often we get so wrapped up in what we should and shouldn’t be doing because of how old we are, which to me makes zero sense. But because I was trying to fit in and be the grown up or the perception of what a grown up is that I pushed little dude away and made him hide away again because I thought that all my stuff was childish and I had to grown up now and what a load of bullshit that is! I mean yes I’m 35 nearly 36 and I manage my own place, bills, pets etc but why should that mean I can’t love plush toys or cartoons, why do we have to stop liking those things and having those things just because we’re older? I don’t understand it.

I am no longer influenced by other people, I don’t care if people think it’s silly or I’m too old etc because I know I am healing myself and that’s all that matters. I will continue to buy myself whatever little dude craves to feel safe and loved and do things to keep him calm and relaxed because when he’s calm, I’m calm.

Connect with the inner parts of yourself, listen to them and what they have to say, you’ll be surprised when you start listening and helping them how much better you will feel.

In strange times like these where things are so uncertain, we all need to feel safe and that will look different for everyone. For me it’s being curled up either in bed or on my sofa with blankets, snacks, my squishy’s and fidget toys, hot water bottle, tv and my fur babies, when I’m here I feel so safe and comfortable, it’s definitely making each day easier to get through.

That’s all for now

Peace out

Zak

Christmas and New Year 2020 Round up

Wow what can I say about this year… It certainly has been a wild ride, I’ve had to learn how to adapt quickly to new situations and be ok with the things that are completely out of my control and I’ve had to learn how to be ok completely on my own, which has been incredibly hard but interesting.

I’ll jump back to Christmas before continuing with the round up of the year. I thankfully was able to spend Christmas and Boxing Day with my friend, which was good fun. I got some great presents, I cooked a delicious roast dinner, we went for a walk, watched movies, ate and played games. I really had a good time, it was very much needed after such a crazy year.

Yesterday it was announced that we are now in Tier 4 which means sadly my friend can’t come over for New Years.. but thank god for technology! We’ll still be able to chat which won’t be the same but it’s the safest way.

Oh on the 19th Dec disability benefits decided to send me assessment forms! Absolute assholes! They’ve got to be back for 13th Jan, which just isn’t long enough. So I rang up for a time extension.. although its not much better and I booked myself in for a form filling service because I’m not doing it myself, its just too stressful. So all I really need to do now it gather evidence to send off with my assessments. I really don’t understand why they’re assessing me every 2 years, its not like I’m suddenly going to be healed! But whatever… they’ve extended my money until Oct 2021 so hopefully non of my payments will stop which will take a lot of stress out of the situation… But yeah URGH! they suck!

Speaking of my health, this year it has definitely got worse. I not only have Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis, but I have high blood pressure and borderline under active thyroid… and my fatigue has been so bad that my whole body sometimes feels like jelly and I feel so shaky and sick. My fatigue hasn’t been this bad in years and its just so awful, whatever I do I have to have a sit down and rest afterwards, which is really frustrating. I can’t even really explain how bad my fatigue is some days, but I really hate it so much.

Other then all of that I’m actually mentally feeling alright, I’m getting used to being on my own for very long periods of time, not being able to just go out and do anything. It doesn’t really bother me now, earlier on in the year the lockdown and all the change that came with it was extremely stressful because I wasn’t really sure what was happening, what I was/wasn’t allowed to do. But now I feel like I’m more settled, I’m used to not doing the things I would usually do and being home more. I mean in the winter I’m home more then I would be in the summer anyway, so its not so bad. Although there doesn’t really seem to be an end of this in sight just yet, but I’m sure at some point in the new year life can slowly start getting back to normal.

It’s not easy everyday though, some days I’m still finding thigs really difficult. Even simple things like making breakfast feels like a mammoth task, but I do what I always do and just push through. However I am trying to sit more and try and really concentrate on connecting with how I’m feeling because pushing through regardless is easy but doesn’t always acknowledge what you really need/want and can make how I’m feeling worse. So I do try and connect with myself to see how I’m feeling and what I need in that moment. Most of the time what I need is a nap lol! which is easy enough and its actually a good way to have a little break from everything.

I think overall this year has been a good one, despite the strange circumstances that we’ve all found ourselves in this year.

I like a lot of people have experienced loss this year, I lost a friend to Covid-19 and my stepdad also passed away this year, which I don’t think the grief for either has entirely hit me yet, but I think that’s been my brains way of protecting me in order to get through these times safely. I think the sadness and grief has come out when I’ve watched a movie that’s made me cry, which happens quite often as I’m a sensitive soul but that’s ok.

I’ve made huge progress through counselling which I am so proud of! I feel like I can tackle any friendship/relationship and relationship with myself in a much more healthy way and finally healing those deep routed trauma’s, which feels good.

I feel like I’ve changed so much in just 12 months, I am unapologetically myself and I am confident in who I am now and that feels good. For the first time ever I know myself, I listen to myself, I know what I want and need and I know what I won’t put up with and I don’t feel guilty for asking to be treated better. I don’t feel embarrassed to be seen or even to exist, I feel solid.

So 2021, I have no idea what this year will bring and I’m not going into the new year with any resolutions. But I am going to continue to heal and continue on this journey with myself.

That’s it really, see ya all in the New Year.

Stay safe

Peace out

Zak

Self care and Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace out

Zak

Xmas and binge eating

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace out

Zak

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

Fragile being

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe someday, maybe never.

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

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

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

Peace out

Zak

Dealing with Grief

Grief is something I think a lot of us are dealing with right now, whether that be the loss of a person, the loss of a pet, the loss of a job, the loss of your sense of self. A lot of people have lost a lot this year due to the covid-19 situation, it has been such an intense year.

Loss and grief covers a wide range of things we experience and go through, its not just about losing a loved one

We can grieve over, divorce/relationship break up, loss of health, losing a job, loss of financial stability, miscarriage, retirement, loss of a pet, loss of a much sought after dream, loss of a friendship, loss of safety after trauma and selling the family home. But we can grieve over different things that are personal to us and that is absolutely ok. No matter how small and insignificant you think your loss is, its still ok to feel that grief, its such a personal thing and such a personal journey.

I decided to write about grief as I lost two people in my life this year and the biggest grief I’ve suffered so far in my life is the loss of my dad 9 years ago which was one of the hardest things I’ve experienced. Also a friend has recently had a big loss of a parent too and I wanted to use my experience to help them and others.

I don’t think that you can ever prepare yourself for any sort of loss, whether it be suddenly or over a prolonged illness. When that grief and loss hits, it hits so hard and I think what I wish I could change about my grieving process when I lost my dad was the people I was surrounded by. At first everyone was super lovely, so understanding and we’re all really great I couldn’t fault anyone but as time went on, people I had in my life at the time were fed up with my anger and depression and just the fact I was a complete and utter mess and this was only 6 months after I had lost my dad. It was like I was expected to have gotten over it by that point! The worst thing was I allowed that to influence me and I didn’t stand up for myself and I internalised just everything, didn’t talk to anyone about anything and just quietly dealt with it on my own, without the support from others who were meant to be there for me.

Do not ever let anyone tell you how you should feel and that you should be over it by now! because grief doesn’t work like that and I think what often isn’t talked about is that grief never leaves you, its always there like a part of you is missing. But over time whether is takes you 6 months, 1 year or 10 years you learn how to live with it, even though at the time you just feel so broken and feel like you’ll never be happy again, you will. You’ve got to give yourself time and the space to feel how you feel without letting outside influences telling you how you should be feeling.

After the loss of someone its ok to feel happy in the moment, its ok to feel relief, its ok to feel positive, don’t stop yourself from feeling however you feel because you think you’re supposed to feel a certain way. Just let those emotions flow through you, if you stop yourself from feeling however you feel, it will prolong the healing process.

Surround yourself with those who truly care about you and will hold that space for you, who will carry you through when you can’t carry yourself.

During times of grief self care is so important and so is having some sort of routine, but its also ok to do nothing. Try and keep up with the basic self care things like showering, taking medications, having a good sleep routine, even though cooking and eating is so difficult try to eat every day, get out for some fresh air, have some quiet time, talk to friends and family, try and do things you normally do and enjoy.

I like my lists, so writing lists of acts of self car that you can do daily may help to give you that focus and writing a journal will help so much for you to get out your feelings and help you process things and its just an amazing tool, especially if you make a habit of doing it on a daily basis, its such a simple tool but its so powerful.

Cry, cry a lot, you may find your just randomly bursting into tears and that is so normal, please don’t hold yourself back, don’t hold it in, let it out. I know when your start crying it may feel like you’ll never be able to stop but you will, you will be ok and you’ll probably have a really good sleep after. I don’t think I cried after I lost my dad till about 3/4 weeks after as I was just in shock and I just couldn’t cy, but once I did cry I cried a lot and for well over a year.

Sleep will be very hit and miss, I struggled so much to sleep at night. Especially after I went to see my dad’s body, every time I closed my eyes I saw his face. I do not regret one bit going to see his body at the funeral home, it was such a traumatic experience but I am so glad I saw him. He died very suddenly at the age of just 51 of a heart attack and he didn’t live locally to me so I needed to go and see him just to make sure it was really him. Even though after that I kept seeing his face I don’t regret it. My brother chose not to go and see our dad but its not something he regrets not doing, its very personal. If you think its something you’ll regret not doing 100% do it! because that will be your only chance. Take someone who can be strong for you, it’s such a hard thing to do but down the line when you’ve begun to heal you’ll be proud of yourself for going through that experience.

Back to sleep, so I struggled so bad with sleeping during the first few weeks and I asked my GP for some sleeping tablets, just so I could get through that first few weeks of stress. But after those had ran out, I often didn’t sleep a lot at night and slept a lot during the day and you know that was absolutely ok, I did what I needed to do in order to survive. Although as time went by I did try get back into a better sleep routine, so going to bed at the same time every night, getting up at the same time etc. Lack of sleep will make you feel so much worse and will make everything seem so huge, so getting enough sleep is so importnant.

I think that’s all I can really say about it, don’t rush yourself, feel how you feel, don’t let others tell you how you should be feeling. You will feel ok again, no matter how dark and sad you feel right now, you will see that light again. But don’t rush the journey, its your path to take just know it will all be ok again. You are so much stronger then you think you, even if you feel like you’re not, you so are! You can do it.

Always honour your emotions.

Much love to anyone out there who have been effected by grief, hold on, the light will always be near.

Peace out

Zak

Counselling – You are worth it

Hey all, how’s lockdown treating you all? I am actually doing pretty well considering that I barely made it through the last lockdown. Even though it is difficult I feel much more capable, I feel like in the past few months I have just grown so much as a person and even I’m like who the f*ck is this person that’s talking! I barely recognise myself but in the absolute best way.

This change/breakthroughs are down to my counselling sessions I’ve been having and I am so glad I chose to go privately, as with the NHS the mental health services are sadly severely underfunded and they have been for many years and the things I need to delve into will not be solved in the 12 weeks often offered. I need something much more regular, more in tense and I feel like I have more control over and I feel like my sessions are led by myself rather then my counsellor, which is how counselling should be. I also view it as an investment in myself, all counselling and therapy is an investment in yourself, because your mental health is so important and I am definitely worth that investment because I want to be the best version of myself I can be, so I can attract better things too.

I am in no way ashamed to say that I have been in and out of counselling and therapy since I was about 15 years old, where I first saw a counsellor at school. I was actually doing my exams when I saw her but I didn’t care enough about them to care about missing class. I loved my sessions, as I’d never really had that 1:1 attention before and that time in my life was so chaotic for many reason and to have a 50 min session once a week with someone who was actually listening to me was such a relief and she helped get me through till the end of school.

I think my pervious experiences of counselling and therapy served simply as a kind of plaster, to help me go through those chaotic moments in time. Not saying that I didn’t get anything out of them at all, because I did I learned a lot and I learned how to manage that chaos and how to keep surviving. But what I was unable to do at that time because it wasn’t safe for me to do so, was to dig deeper into myself and look at my trauma. Also I was unaware of the trauma I had, but as I’ve grown and as life has calmed down and things aren’t as chaotic anymore, I’ve slowly been able to gain more awareness of myself and boy it’s been a journey and I am nowhere near where I want to be, but I can certainly say that I am finally on my way.

Lockdown took so much away from me and without all the noise of life and other people’s input and with the help of an amazing counsellor who has been beyond patient with me and has been incredibly helpful and has shown me different materials on different things that relate to mental health and trauma. I have been able to really focus on myself and I’ve taken the time to step back and really reflect on everything and I’ve been able to see things with eyes wide open. I’ve been able to dig into the trauma which has been difficult with a fuzzy memory of my life. I’ve been able to really analyse past friendships and relationships and see where I went wrong and also see that I let people treat me so poorly without saying a single word. I now feel like I have grown so much and I am now able to be a much better friend and potential partner to someone, but I also feel confident in the fact I can put boundaries in place, I can speak out when someone says or does something I don’t like.

I have always struggled with confidence and poor self esteem issues and a lot of that was down to how I let people treat me, I let people treat me like shit over long periods of time and that just wore me down so much, that I had no self esteem, no confidence and no self worth. I so wished I could just live my live but be invisible, because I just felt so unworthy of everything, of existing. Which is such an awful way to feel. But I feel so much stronger now, I still struggle with all those things but I know that I am worthy, even if I don’t feel like it. I am slowly learning to be confident in myself. I know I am a good person with a good heart, something which in the past I couldn’t say because I didn’t feel like a good person at all.

Anyone who is thinking about counselling/therapy, you are so worthy of it! There’s no shame in needed it. It is an investment in yourself and in your future! YOU ARE WORTHY.

Anyone already in counselling/therapy and feeling like your not really getting anywhere, you will eventually. It may not be right now, next year or even in 3 years. But when the time is right and when you are safe you will make some huge breakthroughs and it will be incredible! Just be patient, it will happen, stick with it.

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