Shining light

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote anything and I’m feeling less angry and frustrated then I was in my last blog.

I took the decision to up my trazadone again to help me sleep better and hopefully help me feel less depressed and so far I’m sleeping a better most nights and I’m starting to feel a little better too. I don’t feel so hopeless and so lost in the darkness, I still don’t feel great but I can see the shimmer of light at the end of the darkness, I’ve just got to keep reaching out for it.

I’ve been trying to make little changes to my daily life, that will help continue to make me feel a bit better and to prepare myself for the winter months. Each year I struggle with my mood during the winter and every year it really hits me, so I’ve been trying to prepare myself so its not going to be so much of a shock when it rolls around.

I have written up a rough plan of things to do day to day, some of these things are non negotiable, like take my meds in the morning and evening, getting to bed at a reasonable time things like that. But also to get outside for at least 30 mins each day, especially when the clocks change. As some days I like to just chill and I don’t get dressed until 4pm, which during the summer months is fine as I have loads of time still to enjoy the sunshine. But in the winter it gets dark by 4pm, so I’m going to make sure that no mater how I’m feeling I make sure I spend time outside, soak in that vitamin D from the sun. I love being outside in nature so it shouldn’t be too much of a drag. Even something as small as that I know will make a huge difference to how I feel from day to day.

I love my lists and I’ve been spending nearly every day just writing and writing. One list is of self care stuff, things like washing my face masks regularly as that’s a new thing I need to do better, or using my SAD light every day, listening to what my body wants and needs. Just simple things.

This winter is going to be a tough one as we’re heading into another lockdown and firs time around I found it so hard and winter on top of that is going to bring added stress. But I feel much more prepared this time, that’s why I’ve been writing lists down, mainly as a reminder of things I can be doing to make myself feel better and help me get through this next part a bit easier and I know what to expect now so its not going to be so much of a shock to the system.

I think I mainly operate from my inner child, he’s in charge most of the time. Which is fine but at the moment he’s feeling scared, anxious and unsafe and that’s the main reason I’ve been trying to prepare myself for the winter months to ease the anxieties of my inner child and to make him feel safe. Which he is a bit more settled then he was but he’s still highly anxious and just wants everything in place to feel as safe as possible. Which I am currently working on and I’m not far off having everything ready but I’m not quite finished.

Trying to calm my inner child down has been difficult, but I’ve been trying to listen and trying to identify his needs and what he wants, but it’s tricky as he has complex needs from traumatic events in our life. Slowly I will heal us both, through counselling and lots of patience and self care. I’ve been trying to heal myself for the last 20 years but I’ve never even really scratched the surface until now, I think I’m finally ready to heal. I can’t keep bleeding, I can’t keep letting this little boy hurt, he deserves to feel better now. I want my life to be better now, I want things to be different, I want to break the patterns that I’ve been repeating for the last 35 years. I’m ready to be happy.

One of my self care/regular activities is to try and blog on a bit more of a regular basis. I love writing/blogging and my anxiety/procrastination stops me just getting on with it. I think sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed I can’t physically do anything so I don’t and then I feel annoyed because I haven’t done anything. So I am going to try and make more of a conscious effort to push through the anxiety and sit down and write. I always feel so much better for it, I just need to get over myself and do it! With any luck I’ll be here writing again soon and not with weeks or even months in between posts.

Now I’m sleeping much better at night, I’m getting between 7-9 hours a night, which is much better then the 4-6 hours I was getting, my appetite is a bit better as well. I’m not binge eating sugar because I’m tired. Hopefully I’ll loose a bit of weight now, as I’m not eating half as much as I was, I’m actually eating a proper breakfast every morning as well and I’m trying to eat dinner too, whether that be something I cook or a takeaway at least I’m eating meals rather then just shovelling chocolate into my face all day long.

Getting a good nights sleep for me is so important, it improves my mood, my appetite, I can manage my chronic fatigue better. It’s so easy to slip into bad habits when depressed but at the moment I’m really aware of what makes things worse for me and having all these lists of things will definitely help. Getting into a routine of going to bed at a reasonable time and having a slightly more structured day is slow going, it won’t ever be perfect but I’ve got a good start on it.

Well that’s all for now

Peace out

Zak

Surviving self isolation

Yesterday I said I was going to do a timetable of stuff to do during the day and as I was thinking about it, I realised that having a chronic illness makes a timetable a bit hard and feels too pressured. Also I can’t say how I am going to feel from one day to the next. Like I slept 11 hours last night, I went to sleep around 12:30am and I woke up at 11:30am, I must have needed it and all day I’ve felt a bit tired.

So instead of a timetable, I wrote out a list of things to do and divided into sections.

The sections don’t have set times, just go with whatever feels good. But its also important to remember its perfectly fine to do nothing at all.

Quiet time is always good to do regardless, its good to switch off and be still, its a god time to go within.

I haven’t done much today as my fatigue has been bad and that’s ok, to just rest and do what my body needs.

Peace out

Zak

Keeping busy during lock down

The last few days I’ve been pretty lazy and disconnected from life and not wanting to participate in life, which obviously hasn’t made me feel great.

My nose has been really stuffy the last few days and I think that’s because I’ve spent a lot of time laying down and sitting down. Which also isn’t good for my joints, I’ve been more achy then usual. Being on lockdown and having physical health and mental health issues is going to take a toll on both.

Today I got up at 9:30 am, did the housework, had breakfast, filled in my personal wellness journal, I had a delivery of food for the fur babies and cat litter which should hopefully keep them going for a while. I took the dogs for a wee, dropped them home and went to Asda as I needed to pay my rent and electric. I paid more then I usually do, so I don’t have to keep going out. I went to the pharmacy to pick up my medications and the line was pretty long but fair play to the staff working their asses off to make sure everyone gets what they need.

I weighed myself this morning and holy shit I got fat! I’ve been eating too much and being so freaking lazy! I’m 10st 12′ which is probably why my blood pressure is super high at the moment. I’ve decided I am going to loose this weight and usually once I’ve put my mind to something I will do it. I’ve started by intermittent fasting, which will hopefully help me to stop binge eating and eating when I’m bored. I’m also going to try exercise inside by doing a bit of Yoga, walking inside, using my weights.

I’m going to sit and write out a rough timetable of things to do everyday, so I don’t go insane lol! And so I make sure the fur babies and I are getting the stimulation we need, so our brains don’t turn to mush! I will share my rough timetable, which hopefully will give you guys some ideas of how to stay sane too.

I got myself Disney+ and NowTV Kids, along with Netflix and Amazon Prime I’m not short of things to watch. But I also need to get a balance of watching TV and having some quiet time to read, nap and listen too podcasts. I find I write better with the TV on which is weird.

I think before this day is out I may shave my hair lol! As going to the barbers isn’t essential and my hair is already starting to look a bit wild. I need to trim my facial hair and sort my eyebrows out lol! I will not look like a caveman at the end of this lock down! hahaha.

One thing that I am have done today is to keep my windows open, so I have some fresh air coming through, so I don’t feel so claustrophobic. It’s also good for your lungs and mental health to have a flow of fresh air, when stuck inside.

I’m definitely feeling much better today and I think actually getting up and doing stuff has helped.

I may write more a bit later,

Peace out

Zak

Self care + Chronic illness

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace out

Zak

Self care during self QUARANTINE

I suffer with mental health issues, mainly depression and anxiety. But also struggle with disassociation and gender dysphoria. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I started myself back on trazadone to get through this tough, uncertain times. I’ve been back on it for around 5 days now and I’m already feeling a little better then I was feeling.

I know what its like to be socially isolated and it freaking sucks! It’s super hard! Even though I can be shy and a bit of an introvert, I do love being with other people. But as I am vulnerable to getting the covid19 I am staying away from people, ie not having people over and stuff. So I’ve been thinking of ways that I can stay connected with people, so the social isolation doesn’t hit me so hard and I can stay sane and mentally well.

One thing that has helped so far is that I’ve been reaching out to others who I know are in the same situation as myself and making sure they’re doing good. I find it hard to reach out to others when I need help, but this is a unique situation, we’re all kinda feeling the same anxieties and uncertainties, so I don’t need to express explicitly that I need help or support, as we’re all in the same boat right now. Which is making it much easier for me to reach out, as I feel like I’m helping others instead of asking for help/support which I’m not keen on doing.

I’ve offered people video calls/voice calls and messaging, to ease the social isolation and I’ve had a few video calls and voice calls with a few different people already and its been an absolute blast. Talking with my friends has definitely helped! Video calls makes it feel like I’ve socialised and got that essential interaction with people that we all crave. It makes the days feel less lonely and isolated.

I know I am often viewed as someone who is strong and capable, as I rarely let myself be truly vulnerable in front of people. So I feel like sometimes people don’t check in on me, as I’m seen as someone who can look after themselves quite happily. Whilst yes I am more then capable of looking after myself but I have my struggles. I’m trying my best to keep reaching out and talking to people. So I can feel connected with others and feel like I’m making a difference to others.

At times like this it’s important to remember no matter how alone we may feel, we are not alone! There is a community out there to help get you through this, you just have to be brave and reach out.

I’ve also been trying to keep some sort of routine, although its super flexible, I’ve just been trying to keep doing the things that for me are non negotiable for example I have to make sure I take my meds in the morning and evening, doing my sinus rinse morning and evening, do the housework every other day, walk the dogs twice a day, eat 2 meals a day. I’ve kinda given up on my sleep routine as I’m more awake in the evening hours anyway. I’m still making sure I get enough sleep, whether that’s napping in the day or waking up late.

I try and split my day up into units of time so the day doesn’t feel so overwhelming. I also try and remember that I don’t need to fill every second with an activity, its totally ok to just sit and be.

I roughly know how much time certain things will take me to do, like doing the housework takes about 30-40 mins, having a shower and getting dressed takes between 10 and 20 mins depending on how long I’m sitting in the shower for. So I know that when I decide to wake up and start my day how long it takes for me to get ready for the day and that’s like the first unit of the day and then depending on how I feel and what the weather is like helps me decide on what to do with the dogs, either a long walk or a short run around across the road. That’s another unit of time take up and you get the idea, cutting the day into more manageable chunks without feeling so overwhelmed about having to fill a whole day.

I wrote a list of things I can do on my own whilst were all on lockdown, so I’ll share with you what I wrote down

Things to do during self isolation –

Check in with myself daily

Video call friends

Reach out on social media

Write and blog

Try and read (I have adhd so I struggle to concentrate sometimes)

Listen to podcasts and audiobooks

Colour/draw/create something

Teach Scrappy new tricks

Play video games

Teach myself to play solitaire with playing cards

Nextflix/Amazon/DVD’s

Spring clean the flat

Walk the dogs

Watch YouTube videos

Create a cosy fort/nest

Yoga

Make bread, cakes, biscuits, meals

Nap

Be silly

I hope you’re all coping as well as you can during these uncertain times. We need to come together as one, show each other the kindness, the compassion and the unconditional love that I know we are all capable of.

If there’s anything you want me to write about/comment on please let me know and I shall try my best. Please like, share, comment and follow my blog

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a Trans guy

So just a quick update really as I don’t have a whole lot to say regarding my transition. As at the moment it feels like it’s on pause.

20/3/2020 marked 7 months post op top surgery! Which is cool but as I’ve spoken about over and over, I still feel that lack of connection with my chest and body in general. So whilst I’m extremely grateful that I was lucky enough to have the surgery, I don’t feel the happiness I thought I would feel. Maybe I put too much expectations of surgery making everything better.

Now we’re in this quarantine times, I intend to try and slow down and connect with my innermost self and really trust myself and learn to love myself unconditionally. Maybe this will help ease the dysphoria and help with the connection. I need to lose weight too as that definitely isn’t helping. But I feel stuck inside myself, I can’t move.

I intend to look after myself better because I deserve it.

Here are some pictures of my chest 7 months after life changing, life saving surgery

Peace out

Zak

Gratitude

Now we’re facing times of such uncertainties, I think it’s a good opportunity to stop and look for the positives and be grateful for what we do have.

I’m going to try and write a gratitude list everyday.

Who’s going to join me?

I made a start, here are my lists.

I hope this gives you hope and inspiration

Peace out

Zak

Surviving self isolation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace out

Zak

Chronic illness – Covid19

I’ve been back and forth about writing this as the entire world is talking about it and rightly so as its serious.

There’s lots of information out there, misinformation, real information and so on. There’s also a lot of people panicking. So it’s hard to know what to believe, what to do etc.

Obviously there are countries like Italy that are on complete shut down, to contain the virus.

I am stuck between trying not to panic but also panicking a bit, as I have an autoimmune disorder, I am on immunosuppressants, I have no immune system to fight off simple infections. For me a common cold will go to my chest and sinuses and I will need a 2 week course of antibiotics to try and get rid of it.

My mum is panicking a bit, keeps asking if I have stuff in, which is a bit annoying but also my local shop is out of the basic necessities. Luckily I have what I need for now but I can’t get paracetamol anywhere, so I may need to ask the doctor for a prescription but that’s if they will let me as I will run out eventually.

I can’t not go out main reason being is the dogs, I have to take them out to pee and for a run. But also I cannot stand staying in for long periods of time, it makes me feel claustrophobic and just isn’t great for my mental health. So whilst yes I probably need to stay away from populated things like the cinema (my fave thing to do) public transport etc, I still need to go out in the fresh air.

Until the government tell us not to go out at all, I am going to continue to walk the dogs.

I’m just trying to remain calm, not read everything I see on the coronavirus and carry on kinda as normal.

I was lucky enough to not get swine flu and bird flu when that hit, so am I hoping I wont catch this either.

My poor step dad is currently in hospital in isolation, not because of the coronavirus but he has a condition that effects his lungs and he’s been in and out of hospital for a few months now, which hasn’t been looking great. I don’t know how long he has left but I can’t risk going to see him, I can’t risk infecting him with anything and I can’t risk picking anything up either, which really sucks.

I’m just trying to rationalise this whole thing, try and keep myself safe as I can and just be sensible about the whole thing and not panic.

Stay safe, be sensible, please consider those around you, wash your hands, if your sick stay home! Do as your government advises.

Peace out

Zak