(TW: Mental health, depression, anxiety, paranoia, bipolar, hearing voices, name calling, self harm)
I can’t believe it has been that long already. Time has flown by so fast it seems like yesterday that I was skipping down Fulham Palace Road after being told I had the all clear. It seems like hours ago that I was on the phone to Charing Cross trying to speed up my letter coming through to the doctor and get the prescription to Boots in time to collect it before I let for Christmas and had to wait a whole month for it. It was great. One of the best moments of my life. My squeaky voice started to change into a manly thing that had people calling me sir, it was the best thing I had done without surgery.
This is something that panicked me before my surgery, what if it isn’t what I expect? What if I regret it? What if I end up saying I want them back? What if one day, I for some mad reason change my mind? It plagued me for ages, I knew I wanted it, but what if it went wrong? All of these questions roared around in my head for months pre-op. Tyler tried to calm me, saying that if I really regretted it later down the line he’d make sure I got a cracking pair of fake tits if I wanted. I laughed but strangely that helped. It wasn’t irreversible completely. I had to remember that. But I also had to remember how much I wanted it. Regardless of what happened, it meant no more binder, and that had to be a good thing. I felt just about prepared when I went down for surgery on the 3rd of December.
But no matter how prepared I felt, there was more than I expected that happened.
Finally the time for a fresh start. It is really refreshing now to be able to say that I have handed in my suspension forms. It has been a long time coming and honestly I almost wish I had done it sooner (although I am proud of myself for trying to keep going, it wasn’t going to work this year). I emailed over my suspension request form and filled in the accommodation suspension form this evening, and now I just have to wait for the decision (which I have already been advised wont be an issue, it was just the formality).
I am suspending from university. This means that I am leaving during the Easter break with the view to return in September, missing out the summer term. I have been advised this is best for both my physical and mental wellbeing and puts me in a better position to pass my degree with a better grade at the end. I am terrified of this in many ways, it means packing up all of my stuff, making sure I pay off my debts, finding full time work, practicing BSL away from the classroom and away from BSL users, and many other things.
However it is also for some of these very reasons that I am looking forward to it. I get to have a fresh start. I will be working with a different group of people, I can do some more work around my chosen career path both voluntary and potentially paid, I can look at doing my BSL exams before coming back, I can see friends and generally get my head straight. I am looking forward to this.
(TW: mental health, depression, anxiety, self harm, panic, grief, phobia, stress, shame, suicide, ptsd, lack of support)
I am a second year student at university. I started in September 2013 and am due to finish (right now) in June 2016.
While at uni, I have had a wide range of things happen. I have come to terms with my gender a lot more than before, I started hormones, I have had top surgery. I have also joined a quidditch team and made life long friends who feel like family. I have found myself drawn to a new element of learning I didn’t think I would want to pursue in life, and I have undergone a lot of outside pressure and stressors to life and my relationship.
But for some reason I have kept going. I have found myself in a very difficult position and I have struggled a lot, but kept going.
Lately my health has been very far below par, physically and mentally. I spent a week recently at home, unable to get away and only going out to places I saw as safe spaces, with my partner. I was unable to speak to people online, or even over the phone, without panicking and my anxiety roaring up in my face. At the end of the week I went to a quidditch tournament. I was dreading this – and I never dread quidditch. I spent the first day with anxiety attacks and believing everybody there was looking at me like I was awful, and shouldn’t be there. It was only when I took off my shirt in public to get changed and felt the sun on my chest for the first time since I was a child that I calmed down. It was a small thing, but it meant so much to me. It cheered me up for a bit. Thankfully, I was able to take this forward for most of the day and slowly my mental health improved, I was able to talk to more people, get more hugs from my friends and calm myself down a lot easier.
Quidditch has helped me improve tenfold, whenever I am with my close friends there I feel mostly a lot safer. Sure, I still have rough patches, but they are some of the most understanding and accepting people I have ever come across in life, and this helps.
Don’t get me wrong. I laughed at first. Quidditch? In the real world? Ha that’s ridiculous. But, as a die hard Harry Potter fan, I had to check it out.
I was waiting for a bit of an easy ride, it wouldn’t be that hard, there wouldn’t be injuries or anything like that. It was just a laugh, right?
Oh I am laughing now.
Thursday 5th February 2015 was a very busy day.
It started a week before, on Thursday the 29th January I got a Facebook message from my old youth worker and boss Pandora Ellis telling me she had nominated me for the Deputy Prime Minister’s Mental Health Hero award. But that was it. She said I would find out more the next day.
That was it. Until the next day knew no more, I had it on my mind but certainly on the back burner, I had been nominated for things before but never won. It would obviously be the same.
How wrong I was.
The next day I received an answer phone message from the Cabinet office. I was named as the winner of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Mental Health Hero award for the South East! I was shocked beyond belief, yet so honoured.
Sorry it has been so long since my last post, a lot has happened since then and I wished to update properly once I was in a better place. I decided through much deliberation that for now a focus is not my spiritual path, this is taking much of a back burner, rather simply post what and when I wish at the time. This is of course with the plan to do so regularly.
Tonight I shall offer an update of sorts. What has happened since my last note on this site. In short, the following, some of which I shall cover in later posts.
★ I had surgery before Christmas that has been causing issues, though has healed much better than before
☆ I received an award for services to mental health from the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg
★ My grades at university have suffered due to my health and so my current future within university is fragile for this year
☆ My healthy eating plan has been on hiatus due to my health and surgery, instead focusing on simply eating (something I struggle with when unwell)
★ I have had the opportunity to begin two new projects within the trans* community in Brighton , one with FTM Brighton, an organisation that tailors for those on the transmasculine scale over 18, and the other with Clare Project, an organisation for all trans* people
What does this mean for the blog?
Simply put, I should be posting more. But this doesn’t mean I will be able to. I am doing a lot at the moment and shall update when possible, hopefully with more interesting information than this!
I shall leave this post here however, and move on to another to focus primarily on one thing. Stay tuned for another post tonight!