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

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

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

Grumpy boy

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a struggle, I’ve been feeling so agitated, grumpy, achy and exhausted. A lot of it has to do with having stopped taking trazadone, which is slowly working its way out of my system.

I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything as well. I’ve taken a bit of a step back from life, by not answering messages straight away, as it feels too much and I just need that time and space and also taken a step back from people, some days the thought of having other people near me, especially a lot of people almost feels like a physical pain, which is really hard to explain Even just going to the shops to get food is difficult and I put it off until I really have to go. I also feel like I need a protective bubble around myself as I’m always nervous about people being near me, touching me etc, especially random people I don’t know.

Being just on my own is so much easier, as I don’t have to explain myself, or feel like I have to perform, or be happy or whatever. I can just be grumpy and irritable, without upsetting anyone by accident.

Its just much less pressure and feels freeing. 1:1 with someone isn’t as daunting, I think my social anxiety has really been kicking in due to coming off my meds. But I’m sure with a little time and patience I’ll be alright again. Just need to give myself some space to breathe.

I get so frustrated with myself for feeling grumpy and irritable and I know its usually because I’m trying to stop myself from feeling low, as if I let myself feel low, its a hard work to make myself feel better again. So I fight against just allowing myself to feel how I feel, which just makes the whole process longer, then if I just let myself feel sad in the first place!

I’ve also come to realise that I’m an introvert, I also used the think I was a bit of an extrovert. But I don’t think I am at all. I’m still really quite shy, which has something that has never really changed since I was small. I need my own space to be and recover from social interactions, I prefer my own company, being around lots of people is exhausting.

I think because I am quite good at coming across who is someone who is fairly confident but I’ve spent my life being my own advocate to get what I need from services, mainly hospitals/doctors etc.

But yeah I’m a pretty shy, anxiety filled human lol.

Hopefully in the next few weeks when the trazadone has come out of my system fully, I’ll start to feel a bit better again.

I got a SAD lamp, which I’ve been using most days. Haven’t noticed a difference just yet, but I’ll keep with it and maybe use it in the morning rather then the evening.

Peace out

Zak

Disassociation and other stuff

I’m not sure this post will make much sense, or even have a point lol. But I just need to write things out and hopefully help sort through the mass of thoughts that race through my brain every second of every day.

I’m going to try and make sense of everything, by sorting through things bit by bit.

I’ll start with an update about my weird breath holding thing… basically I’m still doing it and its still frustrating. Nothing works so I’m just trying to ignore it as trying to fix it makes it worse.

I do it the most when I’m feeling tense, which at the moment seems like a lot. I find myself sat on the sofa scrunched up, my whole body is tense and I’m just unable to move, unable to get out of my head. I can sit like that for hours, which I know is disassociation but in a different form then what I’ve experienced before.

This disassociation feels more like an internal struggle, I’d much rather feel all floaty and out of my body, as I feel weightless. But this is so intense and physically hurts my whole body and I feel like I have no control.

When I become aware of how I’m so tense and scrunched up, I try my best to relax my body but I feel so achy after, its hard to get away from this internal struggle.

I also keep getting stuck endlessly and mindlessly scrolling through social media, again feeling really tense and again with chunks of time passing by.

It feels like apart of my brain has just switched off and gone to sleep, which is a simple way to describe what disassociation is. It’s your brains way of protecting you, which in itself in super interesting. But I feel that there is still a small part of my brain that’s awake and shouting to wake the rest of my brain up, which is causing this internal struggle. Because even though I’ve disassociated, my brain hasn’t entirely shut off, so I have an awareness but I’m unable to do anything. I feel like I’m trapped inside my body, its really weird.

I can be sat down, all scrunched up know I need to get up and move because I have stuff to do and but I just cannot move, I’m glued in place. The small voice just isn’t loud enough to wake my brain up, but I can still hear it shouting at me. Which makes me feel even more tense and frustrated because I’m not in control, I cannot make myself move until my brain wakes up again.

I don’t really know if this will change, maybe it means I’m slowing healing the parts of me that needed to disassociate, maybe it doesn’t, I’m not sure.

Hopefully in time, this will improve or at least I’ll go back to fully disassociating.

I’m feeling more tense this week for a few reasons, I’ve come off trazadone, as I felt I no longer needed it, I’m sleeping better and despite everything I’ve just described I’m feeling better too. But the withdrawals of trazadone can make you feel more agitated and I think that’s really hit me this week. Also two weeks ago I had a pretty big hit of testosterone, due to switching over from Sustanon to Nebido and the loading process means having both shots at once! So I think again such a big dose of hormones has really hit this week. I’m sure in time these will both wear off and I’ll start feeling a bit more relaxed.

I’m still struggling to feel connected to myself, which goes back to the disassociation, but also apart of the gender dysphoria as well.

I think when I took a step back from people in my life and took stock of everything, I took a step back from myself and forgot to step back in again.

I feel a bit out of place, a bit out of sorts and just a bit weird. I’m slowly working towards getting back to myself. But I think I’ve always had this disconnect with myself, the gap feels bigger then before.

Talking about this subject in counselling is helping me understand it a bit more, which has been helpful. This week I learnt that my high tolerance to medications could be linked to the disassociation which is really interesting. Even CBD oil, does nothing for me, natural remedies don’t work for me and I’m really resistant to most medications. When I started taking tramadol, I don’t ever remember it making me feel high, like how it makes most people feel. This is definitely something I want to look more into, as its fascinating and I want to be able to react to meds like everyone else does. I also know a high tolerance to medications is also linked to hypermobility as well, which I have. I just want to try and understand my brain better and why it does what it does and if I can help myself in anyway.

I always knew my brain was wired differently to most, but never knew why. I’m still really non the wiser about why I disassociate, as its usually a result of trauma. I’ve not experienced your usual traumatic events like sexual abuse, violence etc. But then my life hasn’t been simple easy, I became ill when I was 6/7 years old, family life wasn’t always easy, my parents divorce was pretty messy but these are the only things I really remember.

My memories aren’t in order and there are huge chunks missing, which again a sign of traumatic event. Maybe it was just a culmination of events throughout my early childhood/teenage years rather then 1 significant event. Sometimes not being able to remember things is frustrating but I know its my brains way of protecting me from bad things.

This week my memory has been awful, its much worse when I’m feeling stressed/tense. It effects my short term memory, I can forget when happened a few hours ago, which is super annoying. If I’m feeling more calm and relaxed my short term memory is better, I have much better recall.

I struggle with routine, I have non negotiable things I do every day, like take my meds, housework, eating, taking the dogs out. Things I need to do to get by. But beyond that I have no interest in the 9-5pm life. Partly because my body doesn’t work that way, my brain certainly doesn’t either. I cannot stand early mornings, I need quiet time to wake up and adjust to the day. My brain certainly takes its time to wake up, its much more active in the evening, early hours of the morning. I like my freedom to do what I need/want to do in order to feel good and take care of my mental and physical health.

I know I have a lot to give this world yet, but I’m not sure what that looks like. Maybe as the year goes on, that will become clearer to me.

I need to keep writing, I keep saying this but I always hold myself back.. Don’t know why I do it.

I can feel myself switching off, running out of focus. So I shall sign off for now.

Hopefully this sheds some light on well me and how I function, which could be useful for those in my life and help them understand me more and maybe it rings a bell with whoever else is reading this.

Peace out

Zak