Counselling sessions

After 14 sessions, 14 hours I have finished my counselling sessions, with the lovely Scania Price.

I’m glad I was encouraged to find a private counsellor, I’m so pleased I found Scania as I got a lot out of my 14 sessions. It was different from what I have experienced before and its exactly what I needed at this time and I will definitely go back to her if I need to (probably will need too at some point) I have totally accepted now that its cool to need extra help, at whatever age, for whatever issue. Life is hard and sometimes I just find it so exhausting and so overwhelming, I just can’t do it on my own, I need a safe place to talk stuff through and work through stuff.

Before I started counselling, I had gotten myself to a certain point but there was still stuff I needed to untangle and I felt a bit stuck. I couldn’t move myself forward and I didn’t really have many people to sit and talk stuff through with and I struggle to talk about really deep personal stuff with people, as I struggle to trust others fully to reveal the true me. It takes someone special to get me to open up. I am the master of holding back and only saying snippets of things and not really digging much deeper then what I am willing to share.

I think that’s what’s hindered me in many ways, I think a lot of time I resist how I feel, I don’t just feel things, I fight it. I’m not truthful and honest with myself let alone other people. I struggle to always connect with myself, so often don’t check in with myself and how I’m feeling. But I am trying my best to check in with how I feel, speak my truth, say how I feel. I know I need to start trusting people, I need to try and accept that getting hurt is apart of being human and apart of having friends and family. I think I really avoid getting hurt, so I just withdraw from everything, but by trying to avoid the bad I’m also not letting the good in.

Counselling helped me untangle myself from a previous relationship that I was still getting over and untangle myself from friendships I was no longer in and these things were the main things I was really struggling with. I’d lost myself over the years in these friendships, I’d been chipped away at, I had no boundaries with people, I let people walk over me, I felt weak, I felt silenced, I felt used, I felt lonely, I felt unlovable.. the list goes on. I have started creating boundaries, I know what I will and wont tolerate, I feel stronger, I know I have a voice that I need to use more often. I feel less lonely, I just feel better. I know where I stand.

I feel like in my sessions I was able to be raw and honest and dig deeper then I’ve done before. I feel like I understand myself a bit better, I know I’m still in the process of rediscovering myself but that’s cool.

Even though I’m still feeling a little depressed although its not everyday, it comes in waves. Some days it will be a big wave and it will swipe me off my feet, but other days its a small wave and I’m still standing. I just think that’s the nature of having chronic depression and a chronic illness, as they both have a knock on effect on one another. I am in a much better place then I was in November.

It’s been 2 weeks since my last counselling session and it does feel a bit weird, it has been a bit overwhelming. I liked the routine of having a set time to get all the stuff out I needed too. I’ve been a bit all over the place, but I think I had a bit of the birthday blues, which threw me off. I’m just starting to get myself back together lol.

If anyone is thinking about seeking help, whether that be through the NHS, or privately please do it. Talking does help, no matter how old you are, what the problem is. If you’re feeling shitty, feeling suck and need a little help there is absolutely no shame in seeking what you need. It does not make you weak or less then. It makes you stronger because you are getting your needs met, you are looking after yourself.

I’m feeling tired right now and struggling to remember stuff and concentrate so this feels like its really disconnected and disjointed as I write this. I think its all I have to say, I can’t express enough about how much this round of counselling has helped me. I’m still dealing with stuff but who isn’t, that’s life right.

I was going to write another blog, but I need to sleep and come back tomorrow.

Peace out

Zak

A quick catch up

Just looking at when I last wrote and it was nearly 3 weeks ago, which feels like forever. I’ve struggled to sit down and concentrate mainly because I’ve been so exhausted but I’ve also been really struggling with disassociation, sometimes when I sit down I just feel frozen in place and I just cannot move, its so weird. It’s like part of my brain has just switched off but a tiny voice is still aware and awake, screaming at me but its too quiet to wake the rest of my brain up. It’s really frustrating as I have no control, so I try not to sit down to much so I’m not loosing chunks of time. But its not realistic, as much as its frustrating and makes me feel a big agitated I’m just letting it happen because it makes it worse if I fight against it. My brain is clearly just trying to protect me from something, I’m sure I’ll figure it out what.

That’s kinda where I’m at right now, still a bit depressed I think, which I have a real time accepting. Which makes the depression worse, I bully myself so much and I think as it was my birthday last week that exacerbated how I was already feeling as birthdays bring up so much stuff, which I’ll go more into in another post. Just writing this first to get the brain working and fired up lol!

It’s been really hard work to get myself organised and get stuff done as my brain is so foggy and so forgetful. Thoughts and stuff aren’t quite clear and sometimes don’t really make sense and aren’t in any order, which is making organising myself and my life pretty tricky. That plus my fatigue has been crappy as well, most days I’m not getting up and out till way past 12 pm but I’m trying not to be so hard on myself about it and just go with it. Although I do feel there’s a fine line between being lazy and resting and I’m not sure where that line even is at the moment.

I’m sure things will be less hazy soon, I kinda feel like I’m traipsing through thick, sticky mud and every task, every thought, just everything feels so heavy and so difficult. But I keep pushing through this mud, keep trying to find the beauty in every day, keep trying to smile and laugh every day. Its super hard, but I’ve been through this before, I know it passes, I know I will feel better eventually.

I’m still doing the weird breath holding thing, some days are worse then others. It’s starting to get frustrating as I can’t fix it. I think maybe its because I have things inside that have been left unsaid and I need to get them out. I need to write out some stuff out, not to post but to either pass on to the people I need to get stuff out too or just to get stuff out as a way of releasing it. I know its probably anxiety as well but deep routed as I don’t feel anxious. It probably doesn’t make sense but doesn’t make much sense to me lol.

I think I lost myself a little bit, I am changing and growing faster then can keep up with. But its been cool exploring new stuff, what sparks joy and passion and what doesn’t and who sparks joy and who doesn’t too. I do know I want to explore more, have more adventures, my confidence has grown so much and I am way more capable then I gave my self credit for. But I think that has a lot to do with leaving behind friendships where it was probably a bit codependent and just ended up being no good for anyone, not just me. I feel more free now, I don’t feel like life is on hold.

That’s all for this post but I have WAY more stuff to ramble on about lol! But I shall break it all down into different blogs.

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

Living with a Chronic illness – Hospital appointments

There are some things that came part and parcel with having a chronic illness and one of those things is having lots of hospital and doctors appointments.

I have a good GP whom which I get on well with, along with the nurses who I do my testosterone shot for me. I also have a good relationship with my Rheumatologist and his nurses and my Ears, Nose and Throat doctor. Usually I don’t find appointments too difficult as I always feel involved in my care and generally feel listened too and well looked after.

But yesterday’s appointment with a Rhematologist was the an absolute disaster. It provoked huge anxiety and anger. It was NOT a good appointment.

So I had made my way to my appointment, now if my Rheumatologist is busy, I will see one of his two nurses, who are both really lovely and I am more then happy to see. So I’m used to seeing one of those 3 people.

However when I turned up for my appointment, a nurse called me in to do my blood pressure and weight, she also needed me to do a pee sample. But she said that Dr Hopkins will see me soon… I asked who he was and why I was seeing him as he’s not my doctor. She couldn’t answer me.

It put me right on edge, it made me incredibly anxious and I wanted to leave. I then couldn’t do a pee sample as I was too tense, it was noisy in the waiting room, there was more people then usual there, which didn’t help with my anxiety.

I heard my Doctors voice, the one I usually see and I saw both of his nurses, who I see if Dr Marks is busy. In fact I spoke with Phoebe and she said I wasn’t on her list so I must be seeing Carole.

This wasn’t the case, I was led into see Dr Hopkins. At this point my anxiety was so high, I struggled to concentrate. He basically talked at me, he didn’t listen, he talked over me when I did try to speak, he didn’t involve me in the plan of tapering off my steroids, he basically told me what I had to do. This for some reason really triggered rage within me.

I held myself together as best I could but I was so enraged. How dare this person just bark orders at me, the guy doesn’t know, he’s never met me before, yet he was like well do it like this.

I walked to the train station as I need to get back for my counselling session, when I got to the station I rang the hospital as I needed to vocalise what had happened and how I felt and I wanted answers and to why the fuck I saw a random doctor and I also let it known that I did NOT want to see this fucking guy again.

The person I said to said some one would call me back, but as of yet I’ve heard nothing, so I will chase it up next week.

I think I was so triggered because it was an unexpected change and no one explained to me why I was seeing this guy, when my usual team where there. I also fucking hate not being listened too, I hate not being heard, it makes me feel so small and angry. I’ve spent a lot of time not being given the respect of being listened too. We all want to be heard and listened too. I also hate being told what I need to do regarding my own health and what I need to do with my medications. I’ve been ill all my life, I’ve been on medications for most of my life and I know my body better then any doctor ever will. I was more then happy to try and taper off my steroids again, but I didn’t agree with the way he wanted me to do it and I want to wait until at least March, as I’ve been really struggling lately as the weather has been so damp and cold, it’s just not the right time to start reducing my steroids.

The whole appointment was almost like a power struggle, he had all the power and wasn’t willing to listen about what I wanted to do regarding my steroids as I didn’t agree with his suggestion. I felt powerless, so ended up just agreeing with whatever he said so I could leave.

I will not be tapering my steroids like he suggested, I will get down to the bottom as to why I saw this guy and I will push to see someone from MY team soon and I will make it very clear that I do not want to see this doctor ever again.

Advocating for myself is something I really used to suck at, but as I’ve got older I won’t tolerate shit like this and I will let it be known. It’s fucking exhausting constantly advocating for myself and making sure I am being heard and that I am getting the care I need and deserve.

Note to any Doctors or nurses who maybe reading this, your patients know their bodies better then you do, especially those living with a chronic illness. Listen to your patients, they are the experts of their illnesses, you may have qualifications but they live it every fucking day! They know what works and what doesn’t, they know how they feel.

As much as I’m not always connected to my body, I know my body better then anyone else, I don’t think sometimes Doctors understand and respect that. I know its something my usual team of doctors understand, but this guy certainly didn’t.

It took me the rest of Wednesday to calm down, I’m glad I had a counselling session that afternoon, so I could let off steam and talk through it. It was quite funny as my counsellor had out some tuning forks which she used near me and she was like woah your body is having non of this and asked me if I was feeling angry and I was like I am furious. It was nice to have a safe place to express myself and my feelings.

I am feeling a bit calmer now about it all but I know its something that I will ruminate on now for a while. It’s hard not too when something provokes such a huge emotional reaction. I’ll get over it eventually.

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy – Gender Dysphoria

I’ve noticed recently that I go through periods of taking selfies and then long periods of not taking selfies and focusing more on taking pictures of stuff around me.

I love taking pictures so much, looking at life through a lens. It helps me remember what I’ve done and where I’ve been, I just love pictures.

Looking back through my pictures of Facebook, I have loads of pictures of myself, being ridiculous and making stupid faces and just generally being silly! lol.

But since starting testosterone I have less pictures of myself and I think a part of that is still not being happy with my reflection and still not having a connection to the person in the mirror. Which is weird, I would have thought that testosterone and top surgery would lesson that disconnection between myself and my reflection.

Maybe its something that will take time, I’m still learning about myself, who I am, where I fit etc so maybe it just takes time to fuse myself and my reflection.

I’ve spent so many years hating my body, hating how I look. It’s no wonder I don’t recognise/like my reflection. I’ve never felt connected with my reflection, I’ve never felt a connection with myself.

Maybe I need to spend a bit more time looking at myself, so I can learn to love the person looking back.

I think sometimes there’s a lot of expectations put on the physical transition side of things and I’ve just kinda hoped that testosterone and top surgery would just ‘fix’ the low self esteem and gender dysphoria.

Whilst it has definitely improved the dysphoria it hasn’t ‘cured’ it so to speak, I think that comes from learning to love myself and the body I have.

Like I mentioned I’ve spent so many years hating my body, ever since female puberty hit. I hated how my body changed and I hated feeling like I was the only one that didn’t like my body. It was a really lonely time, I felt so odd and just I don’t know its really hard to explain.

I think having a chronic illness has also impacted on the lack of love I have for my body. Because I’ve been ill from such a young age, I felt like I was robbed of the life I wanted and I resented my body for that. I have found peace with that to a degree but I do still struggle with it a bit.

I need to start celebrating my body more, after all it’s got me this far. My body is amazing, I need to start feeling more comfortable in my skin.

It won’t change overnight, but I think it is something I can change and I want to change.

I’m 6 months post op top surgery this week and it still hasn’t sunk in, I am that detached from myself, it’s almost like I know in my brain that I’ve had the surgery and I can see my scars. But I’m still not emotionally connected with it.

For the first few weeks after surgery I felt euphoric on and off but that soon disappeared. I want to feel that again, as that felt amazing.

I have so much self work to still do, so much to unpick and untangle. I’m slowly getting there and I think in the last year I’ve made more progress that I have done in the last 10 years. Which feels a bit overwhelming but also feels good.

I’ll get there eventually, I just need to stop rushing the process and thinking I should be further along that I am.

I am perfect and exactly where I am meant to be.

Peace out

Zak

SAD lamp review

I bought a Lumie SAD lamp about 10 days ago now and I’ve been using it every evening. I either have in on while I am writing my blog, gaming or just watching TV.

In the last week I have definitely seen an improvement in my energy levels and generally feeling a bit better then I have been. Although I have still been feeling exhausting occasionally but I don’t think any amount of light from the SAD lamp will cure my chronic fatigue.

I’m really glad I finally got around to getting myself one, I have noticed something that I wasn’t expecting… I have noticed that my 8 year old miniature Yorkshire Terrier has benefited from it as well. She’s definitely had more energy when we’ve been out walking, she’s been running around and not waiting for me to stop and pick her up so she can have a rest.

I googled to see if they are good for dogs and to my surprise you can get special dog SAD lamps.

So it was definitely worth the money, as not only am I benefiting from it, my baby girl is as well, which is amazing.

If your struggle throughout the winter months I highly recommend getting a Lumie light. It won’t cure your winter depression but it will help elevate it and give you a much needed energy boost.

Peace out

Zak

Living with a Chronic Illness – Ordering Meds

Every single time I order my Prednisolone they give me the wrong dosage ones! Despite having been on the exact same ones for most of my life!

It’s infuriating because they’ve wasted money as those wrong meds will not be given to another person. It means I then have to go to the GO for the thousandth time and sort it out!

Just organising 10+ medications + hospital appointments is like a full time job, which can be so stressful when I’m not being listened to continuously even though I know exactly what I take and when.

It may seem like a small thing to most people, but it gets beyond infuriating. It wastes everyone’s time.

I do see my specialist on Thursday, so I’m going to get him to write my GP a letter to say exactly what dose pills I am meant to be on and have always taken. Hopefully this will clear up the confusion, which started when I started tapering off the steroids last year, but I had to go back onto them when I had surgery in August.

Anyway hopefully this ongoing problem will get sorted soon.

Peace out

Zak