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

Earth is waking up

We are heading towards spring and I couldn’t be happier, I’ve really struggled this winter with the darkness and near constant rain that we’ve had this winter.

The nights are slowly starting to get lighter again a bit later each day, the weather seems to be settling down too, although we have a storm heading our way this weekend.

I feel like I’m very slowly emerging out of my cocoon, just like the flowers which are slowly starting to bloom.

Still having days where things feel so intense and I just can’t face the outside world but I’m still pushing myself to get out at least a few times a week. I can’t hibernate forever lol!

Tuesday was a beautiful day and after a few days of feeling groggy and struggling with my chronic pain and fatigue, I woke up on Tuesday feeling a bit more human and the sun was shining, so I decided to take the dogs out for a walk and I’m glad I did.

It was so beautiful, lots of snowdrops and other gorgeous flowers blooming away and it was fairly quiet as well, we didn’t see many people out, until we got closer to the beach.

It was so peaceful and relaxing, it was definitely needed. The dogs had fun running around and I got some great pictures of everything. I love looking at life through the lens, finding beauty in everything I see.

I hope you enjoy my pictures,

I love being outside with my dogs, I feel so at peace. It seems to be the only place where my mind is fairly quiet. I feel like I can breathe when I’m out in nature, I feel at home.

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a Trans guy – Hysteroscopy

I wouldn’t usually put a trigger warning on my blog, but this blog in particular could be triggering as it mentions a procedure in a private area and those with gender dysphoria may find it hard to read. Having said that I am writing this to raise awareness of this particular procedure and its process and why it maybe done during transition from female to male.

This goes back to July, where I was sent a letter from the Gender clinic and my GP got the same letter to arrange a ultrasound scan of my uterus. Which is standard procedure once you are 2 years on testosterone. My GP organised the ultrasound scan for me, which was at my local hospital.

I’ve had ultrasound scans before so I knew what the expect. I had to drink loads of water before my appointment, I got called into my appointment and they put gel on my stomach and tried to scan me but as it was in the morning, I needed to drink more. So I went back into the waiting room and drank MORE water until I felt like I needed to pee and then they called me in and tried again, more cold gel on my belly and she pushed the scanner thing into my stomach, to take a look at my uterus. Which was really uncomfortable, especially when you really need to pee! She cleaned off my belly and there was a toilet in the room, so I went for a pee straight away! and man what a relief!

While I was waiting for the results, I tried to google why a trans guy on testosterone would need a ultrasound scan but I couldn’t find anything. Which is why I am writing this blog, to help educate others with my experience.

It didn’t take too long to get the results but the letter said that the lining of my uterus was too thick and it shouldn’t be. That really was all the information that was in the letter. They booked me an appointment with the gynaecologist and I went to that appointment on Friday.

Turns out I was extremely unprepared for this appointment and wasn’t fully aware of what they were going to do. That was partly my fault for not reading the information letter properly, but also I was probably just trying to block it out, not think about it as I have little connection to that part of my body. Although I was kinda good I wasn’t aware of what was going to happen at this appointment, as I didn’t have time to get anxious.

It was an early morning appointment, I only got up an hour before my appointment, so I washed my face and put some clothes on and ate a chocolate bar for breakfast lol and walked up to the hospital.

When I got there the Doc was already at reception and asked if I was there, even though I wasn’t late. As soon as they saw me they said ah this must be him and they made sure my details were up to date and the Doc took me into the room.

He had a male student nurse in the room with him, which I didn’t mind. My local hospital is a teaching hospital, so there’s always students knocking around. We briefly discussed my transition, how long I’ve been on testosterone for, how long I’ve been on the contraceptive pill for etc. He did say to me I could be fitted with the coil instead, which I fused as I’ve had friends who have had issues with bleeding and their mental health whilst having the coil and I don’t have any bleeding on the pill so I do not want to change that as periods are something I do not want! and cannot cope with.

He explained that all the hormones I’m on should have thinned the lining of my uterus, so they needed to do a hysteroscopy to take a sample of the lining to test and make sure everything is as it should be.

Now I cannot fault the Doctor or the nurses, they were amazing! They all gendered me correctly and just couldn’t have been nicer.

TRIGGER WARNING – Description of the procedure.

The Doc took me into another room, where two nurses were getting everything ready. I had to take off my shoes, jeans and boxers and loosely wrapped a sheet around me. The nurse helped me get up onto the bed and get comfy, had my legs up in those stirrups with the sheet covering my modesty while they set everything up.

The Doctor stared by inserting a speculum into me, which I’ve had done before for a smear test, so that wasn’t too bad. The Doctor talked me through what he was doing as he was doing it.

He then put a camera inside me, which I could see on the screen next to me, which was kinda cool. But it was extremely painful, he had a good look around my uterus and took pictures. He said it was painful due to the testosterone having made my uterus tight and constricted. They kept saying they could stop, but I didn’t want them too as I didn’t want to have to come back again. The camera process felt like forever! but they were all talking to me, asking me questions, trying to keep me relaxed.

I don’t quite know what he did to take a sample of the lining but it felt really pinchy and like really bad cramps. The whole thing was extremely painful and I’m pretty good with pain but this was almost unbearable.

The Doctor left the room so I could sort myself out, the nurses were clearing things away. One nurse gave me some paracetamol and a drink of water and the other nurse was talking to me about the Joker film and the new Harley Quinn film, which was cool.

I stayed sitting down for about 10 mins because my stomach hurt so much. I went behind the curtains to clean myself up and the nurse gave me this super thick sanitary pad to wear, as she said I would have some bleeding after. Wearing a pad and boxers don’t really go but wasn’t overly uncomfortable. She told me to take a few home with my just in case.

I went back into see the Doctor and said I wasn’t talking to him lol! and he laughed and apologised for it hurting so much. He didn’t really explain the negative possibilities of what the problem could be, he just said that it’s more then likely nothing and he’ll book me an appointment for 12 months. Which still leaves me in the dark as to what potentially the problem could be and as I’ve said there’s no information surrounding this particular situation relating the trans men.

I walked home, as I had light jeans on and I felt self conscious so I didn’t want to sit on the bus and potentially bleed through my jeans. Plus my stomach was hurting so much, I just wanted to get home.

When I got in I fully reclined the sofa, grabbed a pillow, put on my black joggy bottoms and pj top. Grabbed some snacks and a drink and curled up on the sofa with my blanket and Netflix.

I couldn’t move for a while without it hurting, I was curled in ball for hours. I fell asleep for a bit. Eventually the pain eased enough I could stretch out a bit, but I stayed relaxing on the sofa for most of the day.

Not only was I dealing with the physical effects of the procedure, but the mental side effects of having something done in a area of my body that almost feels like something completely separate, its hard to explain what I mean. But the whole experience wiped me out for the day.

Luckily I only bled for a few hours and by the evening it had stopped completely. But my stomach felt really tender all day and still feels a bit tender now a few days on.

I’m not sure how long it takes for the results to come through, but I will keep you all posted with the results.

I wish I had been a little more prepared before this procedure, as I would have done things a little differently.

Here are some tips for having this procedure, I would take a trusted friend, partner, member of family with you and have them in the room if you feel comfortable with that. Have someone drive you home and look after you for the rest of the day. Even though I couldn’t do much after, it would have been nice to have someone with me for that emotional support, even if it just was hanging out and relaxing. Make sure you have in snacks and easy to make foods, hotwater bottle, pain relief. Luckily I already had some snacks and pain relief in.

I hope this has been helpful to those who are going through the same stage in their transition.

If this has triggered you, please reach out of help, don’t suffer alone.

Please feel free to share this blog, to raise awareness within the trans community. I know these things aren’t an easy subject but its something we need to talk about, so we know we aren’t alone.

Peace out

Zak

Adventure Time – Brighton day trip

On Thursday I took a pretty huge step, I went to Brighton for the day by train on my own.

I’ve always had anxiety about getting the train places, as I have a fear of getting lost. Which is probably a weird fear but that’s where my anxiety around travelling alone comes from.

I’ve been to Brighton before, with a friend for Pride. This was probably about 11/12 years ago now. I don’t remember much of the journey or even pride itself. It sucks that I don’t really remember this experience but I don’t remember a lot of experiences in my life.

I got my first train just gone 9 am, it was running late but I was feeling pretty relaxed. I had to change trains, which went smoothly and I got on the right one. I did ask the train guard if it was the train to Brighton before getting on, just to ease my anxieties.

Got into Brighton at 12:21 and man it was freezing! I didn’t really have a plan of where I was going or what I was doing. So I just started walking and followed the sign posts.

I hit some shops and the first one that drew me in was a crystal shop! haha I mean of course it was! But there were loads of them! There was so many awesome shops, such bright colours, such a lovely energy. I kinda felt at home, my anxieties disappeared and I just was in awe of the place. I spent the day walking around with my mouth wide open! lol.

I went down to the Pier and walked along it, went in the arcade, had a walk along the beach. I went to Franco Manca for lunch, they do the best sourdough pizza’s. It was nice sitting and having lunch on my own in a new town.

I headed home at 5pm feeling extremely proud of myself, I felt incredible! Like I could conquer anything. Even now a few days later, I’m still feeling really good about myself.

I’ve spent my life waiting on other people, always believing I wasn’t strong enough to do things on my own, or that I needed other people to help me. But I bloody did it, I proved myself wrong and I proved everyone else wrong.

I am strong, I am capable, I can do things! I am good enough.

I had the best day and I definitely intend on going back there. Maybe when its a bit warmer lol. I’m also intending on going to Brighton for this years Trans Pride. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while but just haven’t got round to going yet. But this year definitely feels like the year to go.

This is one of many adventures I plan on having this year!

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a Trans guy

Today was my testosterone shot day! which is always something I look forward too. I had spoken with my GP a few weeks ago about changing over from Sustanon to Nebido injections.

I started on Sustanon two years and 5 months ago, having 3 weekly injections. I did try doing to injections myself for a bit but I couldn’t get over the anxiety of doing it myself as it really bloody hurt!

I decided I wanted to change over to Nebido as they are 12 weekly injections, which means roughly 4 injections a year, rather then every 3 weeks.

Thankfully when I turned up to my appointment today, they had sorted the prescription for the Nebido and I was ready to go!

There is a loading stage you have to go through in order to change from one injection to the other. So this afternoon I had Sustanon and Nebido jabbed into my butt muscles! The Nebido injection hurt way more then Sustanon but I am definitely cool with a bit more pain if it means less injections.

I hope it doesn’t cause any drastic changes in my mood, that is my only concern but I’ve managed well on the 3 weekly injections so fingers crossed everything will go smoothly.

I’ll keep you all updated with the change over.

Peace out

Zak

Saturday Afternoon Walk

The sunshine has finally arrived! and Saturday afternoon it was beautiful. The sun was shining and it was a bit chilly but it was a perfect day for a dog walk.

I was feeling pretty indecisive and a bit agitated, I wanted to do something but wasn’t sure what.

I finally managed to make a decision and force myself to go out. I grabbed my bag and Scrappy and we went for a walk.

We were out for a few hours and I got some great pictures, Scrappy had himself a great time. He swam in the sea, ran through the mud, played with other dogs and kids, found a ball… like he always does lol! He looked like a swamp dog when we got home and had a shower.

I felt good for getting out, I always do. It’s just getting out that sometimes I really struggle with, but always love being out.

I love photography and only use my iPhone, here are some shots I took. I hope you like them.

Peace out

Zak

Rediscovering myself

Since December, I’ve been in hibernation mode and I’ve really struggled to get out and about. I’ve wanted to stay close to home and just relax, but I feel its time to start slowly crawling out of this cocoon I’ve built and participate in life again.

It was necessary for me to take a step back from life so I could continue to heal from surgery and reevaluate my life. As I had some big life changes, friendship changes and growing in self confidence.

I’ve also been rediscovering who I am as a person, been trying to find my style, who I want to be as a man, what I am willing to put up with, who I want in my life, my expectations of every. So the hibernation time has been a really important part of that, as its allowed me the time and space to just sit and be and to look back on how things went before and what I want my future to look like now.

I’ve learnt that I had put myself into the role of care taker, for practically everyone in my life and I was always waiting on who needed me next, I was always making myself available for other people even if it meant not putting myself first.

I know I am a natural healer, which is really cool and I love helping people but I also need to know my value as an individual. I have stopped helping people at the detriment to myself, I’ve been putting up clear boundaries with people as well, which isn’t always easy but it makes me feel good.

I’m going to stop putting my life on hold and start doing the things I want to do. I’ve spent so much time making myself available for other people, just in case I’m needed, that my life kinda took a back seat.

I’ve made myself available for the people who wouldn’t do the same for me. I’ve realised that some friendships I was in were making my self esteem so low, due to the way I was talked to and treated. I am more capable then I realise and I am totally ready to see what I am capable of doing.

I want this year to be fun, I want to have adventures, I want to make memories, I don’t want to be reliant on anyone, I don’t want to be looking after everyone.

I know I can be a healer whilst remaining autonomous and not feeling like I HAVE to be there for that particular person.

This week I am hoping to go on an adventure, but I’m not going to say where and when until it happens. As I’ve learnt that if I announce what I’m going to do, it feels like so much pressure and I find it hard to then commit too. But I will keep you all posted.

Peace out

Zak