Transgender day of Visibility 2018

Transgender day of Visibility 2018

Here we are again! A year a later and (for me personally) a year stronger.

Since I last blogged (and certainly since last years TDOV post) I’ve moved to a city that is much more diverse and accepting than where I used to live and I’ve started a new job too. About two weeks ago I also decided to take the next step in my transition. I’ve started to be femme full time. No more boy days, no more boys toilets and no more boy clothes. Just before I moved house I got rid of the last remaining hangovers from when I was still ‘in the closet’ and treated myself to another batch of new clothes from girly clothes shops in my new city. I’ve been more on-top of promoting my pronouns too.

I tell my friends that my pronouns are they/them/their although my new house mates and colleagues have automatically gone with she and her and I haven’t bothered to correct them. She and her works just as well for me as they and them so I don’t want them to change (if you’re reading this, you pick what you want call me, so long as it’s not he or him) and I’m happy being referred to in this way. All the new people I’ve met recently also call me by full name, Amelia, as opposed to Mel, the name most of my friends use. I like this too!

Today at work (I work at a big university, I have an office with big windows on three sides so every one can see in) I decided to hang the Trans Pride flag on my office wall above my desk in preparation for TDOV this year. I sent an email to my colleagues about what the flag meant and explained about what Transgender day of Visibility is too, information which a lot of people reading this might find useful:

‘Sunday this week is Transgender day of Visibility. It’s a day that occurs on the 31st of March every year (annoyingly clashing with Easter this year but oh well) and is a day that’s set aside to promote transgender people in society and the workplace.

The main aims of the day are to encourage employers and establishments to show their support of ‘my’ community as well as celebrating the contributions transgender people make to their workplace or community, in attempt to break down the stigma that surrounds our community (we’re just like anyone else, a lot of society doesn’t get that yet) just like the Pride marches in Summer do for the wider LGBT community. It is also to show solidarity and alliance to transgender people, particularly those who haven’t come out yet. Promoting support of transgender people in places like schools and universities is massively encouraging to young people who may be battling with gender dysphoria and not found the courage to come out, as it shows they will be accepted in the establishments in which they are students or associated with.

Showing support can be done by simply flying the Transgender Pride flag in a visible area of the workplace or in your car window, changing your desktop background to the flag colours or wearing a flag pin-badge.

If you want to know a little more about this day, there is some more detailed information on my blog:

https://girlbrainboybody.wordpress.com/2017/03/29/transgender-day-of-visibility-2017/

I have decided to bring in one of my own flags from home to hang above my desk so it can be seen through the window, but I’m open to suggestions of other places it could be flown if anyone has them.’

…and that’s that. I had a couple of replies asking where they can get flags from so I’ve ordered a load more to take to work and give to people to hang!

I’ve got a couple more ideas floating around that I’m going to write about in the not too distant future (hopefully) but until then, thank you again for reading and supporting me, if you have. Friends, pleeease start using my preferred pronouns!

I normally end my blogs on explaining the quote I use for the title, but as this has no quote I’m going to leave one here instead:

‘But we can stay here, and laugh away the fear.’

This is taken from a song by a musician that writes stuff I never thought would be the kind of music I would like, but is someone I have grown to love because of what and who their music connects me to. The quote has many meanings to me but the simplest interpretation is that I wouldn’t have been able to more forward in my transition at the speed I have without the infinite support of certain people around me and one person in particular fits the ‘together’ in this quote perfectly.

Transitioning becomes so much easier when you can let someone in and help you through it because at the end of the day, it’s a battle. Battles are easier to fight when you fight them with someone who believes in what you’re fighting for as much as you do. When this person has their own battles that you want to help them fight for the same reasons it makes the process even easier, you start to invest in each other, become intertwined and end up fighting everything together, sharing the effort between you to make everything half as hard. Battles are scary, daunting and fearsome things but moving forward, out of the darkness towards the light and my end goal is so much more obtainable when we stay here, and laugh away the fear.

Happy TDOV 2018.

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It’s all up in your head (pt 2).

Okay, so here’s the second part now I’ve got the information I need.

As most of you know, I’m a song writer and my favourite part of creating a new piece of music is filling it with words and lyrics. I can put together the music for a song in a matter of minutes but the words I write sometimes take months or even years to perfect. I have a song called Rubidium, about my relationship with my dad and things he said to me when I was young and how the things he said to me have affected me later in life. t tells a story of home what he’ said to me has affected what interactions with people close to me and how something he said to me taught me how to trust people and let people in. I spent the best part of five years writing all the lyrics to that song and when I finally got it recorded it felt like the closing of chapter.

All of my songs are about something important to me, I don’t think I’ve ever written lyrics that aren’t about anything random. I have pieces about dreams I’ve had, sleep paralysis, people I have loved or people who have loved me, my dad, what happens in my mind or places I have been. As it turns out, some of my songs have completely different meanings to people who have listened to them, the song above included. Rubidium is such a personal song for me but someone I know has taken their own thing away from it, something which rings personal to them. Music is a powerful thing like that and it always amazes me that as humans we have the power to interpret something so differently from its original meaning.

Which leads me on to this: ‘In My Head’ by a band called Glass City Vice. Whenever I write a blog post, I always get this song stuck – no pun intended – in my head. As with part one of this post, I’m lucky enough to know the band personally and am luckier to call the singer, Josh, one of my best friends (sorry babes, you’re getting it in the neck with this one!). GCV haven’t been a band for some years but their music (this song in particular) rings through to me. Why this song get’s stuck in my head whenever I write a post is because of what I said earlier, I’ve taken something away from this song that is different from what Josh had originally written about.

When I have particularly dysphoric or anxious days, I have to remind myself that whatever is happening is only happening in my head and that nothing is ever as bad as it seems. I tell myself ‘its all up in your head,’ a quote which by coincidence is the lead lyric in the chorus of the GCV song mentioned above. Josh originally wrote this song about his grandad but I’ll never know what Josh was trying to say to him. But I do know that – although he doesn’t know it himself – Josh is telling me that all my dysphoria and my anxiety is in my head. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems, and I need to be reminded of that sometimes.

Today has been a boy day. I slept badly last night and woke up feeling less than average today so I’m hiding at work in jeans and a hoodie and looking forward to getting home where I can have a hug and clear my head a bit. Until I can get home, I’ve enlisted music to help me to day, this song included. I’ve also relied on:

  • Tom Waits: Mule Variations (Come On Up To The House is a fucking masterpiece and if you disagree you can sit in the road and wait)
  • Nine Inch Nails: Still (beautiful ‘acoustic’ versions of some of NINs heavier songs)
  • Hans Zimmer: Interstellar OST (immersive, brooding soundscapes that pull at my heartstrings but also channel my thoughts back to reality – see the ‘Rage…’ post previously about finding light amongst the darkness)

Thanks to Josh and the rest of GCV for giving me something to remind me I’m okay. Everyone should have a song like this, something you can connect to and something you can use to bring you back to reality.

Nothing is ever as bad as it seems.

This two-part blog is named for the lyrics of ‘In My Head’ by Glass City Vice, which you can listen to here:

It’s all up in your head (pt 1).

With exception to the main story from where this blog originated from, this is (probably going to be) the first post I write that spans over night. I’m relying on a couple of people to get back to me about things I have asked them and I won’t be able to complete it without their input.

Firstly, from the last post: I’ve been shortlisted for the job I was interviewed for. More updates to come…

Anyway, there’s a couple of vague things I wanted to talk about in this, so I’ll try and break it down into two sections so they don’t get mixed together. I want to talk about my memory and also about things never being as bad as they seem.

I’ve only ever told one person this: My biggest fear is losing my memory. It’s my biggest fear because it’s already a reality. I have massive blank patches from significant chunks of my life and entire situations or events I have been a part of are totally absent from my mind. Nowadays, I usually only know I was there or was involved in something because of my scrapbook (or bloody Facebook memories, lol). Never thought I’d write about this because only about five or six people originally knew about my scrapbook, but as I’m proud of what I’ve collected I wanted to write about it.

In my scrapbook I have every gig ticket, plane ticket, gig flier, doodle, random piece of gaffer tape from the bottom of my shoe, bit of newspaper, hype sticker from CDs and records I have bought, photograph and setlist that has been in my possession after an event. I’ve collected things since I was a child because even then I knew I’d want to remember whatever it was I’d come from. I used to have a sort of doodle scrapbook thing when I was toddler (which I still have) and I guess this has come from that.

The most recent entry is a flier from a band called All Ears Avow that advertises the release of their newest single, Breathe. I’m lucky enough to know the band personally and I talk to the bass player, Joe, relatively frequently on social media, a chap I always enjoy catching up with. He handed me the flier when I saw them perform last to which I said ‘I don’t need this, I already know you have a new single out!’ but then took it anyway, declaring it would go into my scrapbook and today I finally added it. I sent Joe a message telling him this and after I told him how old the book is and what his flier was sitting along side, his response was ‘literally mind blown’ and that’s when I decided I would write this post. I also figured then (because of his response) that I don’t actually know anyone else who had a scrapbook.

The book itself has only been in my possession for a few months after being given to me by my ex partner who helped me put it all together. Before the contents were catalogued, everything was just lose in a number of boxes and files across my room. It’s one of those art books you could buy from school, perfect for sticking multiple things into. It’s currently about three quarters full and I decided while talking to Joe that when it’s complete I’m going to photograph every page and make an online album, attempting to tag everyone and everything in it. Thanks Joe, you gave me a fucking brilliant idea!

So this ties into my memory in a strange and (probably) unique way. When I know I’m trying to remember something but can’t place whatever it is, my brain draws an empty cube inside my head. It’s like I an feel this box there, empty, in my fucking skull and I’m trying to get inside it. I get this sometimes ten or twenty time a day and it’s maddening. You know when you walk into a room and can’t remember why you’re there, and get pissed off? That’s me, 50% of my waking time. My scrapbook’s contents help me remember. If I can’t find in my head what I’m looking for, I pick up the book and just sift through it. What I’m looking for may not be in the book but nine times out of ten there is something that reminds me and that’s good enough as it leads to see feeling the box has been filled, made smaller, or just gone entirely.

Scrapbooking is fun and I recommend it to anyone who keeps gig tickets, physical photographs or bits of confetti you scoop up of the floor after a Biffy Clyro concert (yes, there is literally bits of confetti in there). You can look through it when you’re bored or want to surprise friends with random shit you have from a night out ten years ago, like the flier from a Crescent Shoreline show at Moles on July 23rd 2007 (if anyone get’s that reference, PLEASE let me know). I don’t really know what else to say about my memory and didn’t have much of a point with writing about my scrapbook, other than encouraging you to make one.

So I’m actually going to post this bit separately from the second part (lets call it ‘part one’ and ‘part two’ *goes and changes post title*) as I wrote a lot more than I thought I would and I’m still waiting for someone to get back to me! The second half, and why this blog is named why it is will come in the near future.

You can hear the song that is advertised on the flier that helped inspire this post here:

Morphology.

Yesterday was a day. I don’t know what kind of day it was, I think it was good, parts of it were certainly fun but I won’t find out if it was a successful day for another week or so.

Yesterday I had a job interview, the first interview I’ve had since coming out, which meant figuring out how to actually dress smart as a girl, as opposed to just throwing on some fishnets and a pencil skirt like I normally do when I want to be feminine. The position isn’t one where presentation is key, thankfully, so I managed to pull off a plain jumper and skirt combo and some heeled boots but by the time I actually found the place and got there I completely forgot about what I looked like.

On my CV in the ‘about me’ section, it says that I like music and all the other shit that people say they like. Mine also says ‘I identify as transgender’ but there’s no mention of being gender fluid or what my pronouns are. My full name (minus title) is on there too. My preferred pronouns are they/them but literally no one I know uses them, certainly not around me anyway. A couple of people have asked, and I tell them, but I also don’t really care that much. Any way… yesterday I was referred to as she or her all day. No one at the establishment asked, checked or batted an eyelid, I was just she or her. First time that’s happened since I’ve come out, and although not technically correct for what I want it was incredibly empowering. During the interview I was asked a question in third person and it threw me off a bit as I was she instead of he. Strange. But it was nice to be in an environment were no one even questions it and just assumes that’s how I want to be gendered. Strange to think they’re all (hopefully) discussing my suitability for the job today, referring to me as a girl and not a boy.

I left the establishment not feeling particularly confident about the job but feeling a new found confidence in myself because of the way I’d been addressed, so I decided to go shopping. I’ve just moved house and thrown out loads of old clothes and other things I didn’t want anymore and I felt like replacing some of them.

I bought some tights and a top (wow, much excite) as well as a couple of records. My feet were dying because I’d been in heels for bloody ages so I bought some flat Chelsea boots to change into as well. Needn’t have bought the boots as the next place I went to had half price DMs so I treated myself to a pair of blue boots then decided to go home before I spent any more money. I’ve wanted some DMs for bloody ages but didn’t just want the standard black or red ones that most people have so the blue ones (at half price!) were something I had to snap up. When I got home I started planning some outfits for the weekend because I’m going out three nights in a row and found out pretty quickly that DMs open up a whole world of outfit possibilities I never knew I could pull off. I peppered my Instagram story with loads of cute ideas and some outfits I never thought I’d have the guts to show anyone, let alone post publicly. I’ve got a bunch of dresses I don’t know if I’d ever wear out but dressing them down with DMs and fishnets or over-knee socks made them instantly more appealing to me. Amazing how much a pair of boots and being referred to as a girl can boost my confidence that much. Managed to put some outfits for the weekend together, too.

There wasn’t really much of a point to this post other than blowing my own trumpet and telling everyone that yesterday was in fact a really, really good day. Now I just have to wait and see if I was successful at the interview or not…

I’ve named this blog ‘Morphology’ as it’s a word I learned/learned the meaning of during part of my interview. In Science, it’s the study of the form and structure of organisms and their features and I thought this was a sort of good title to use as I’m constantly studying myself and learning something new. Yes, I know that’s not totally correct but I don’t care, I learned a new word *sticks out tongue at people trying to correct me*

For anyone who cares, yesterday I listened to:

  • Cancer Bats: Dead Set On Living and Searching For Zero
  • System Of A Down: Hypnotize
  • Alien Ant Farm: Anthology
  • DOT: DOT

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Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I just wanted to write a sort of open letter to some people who have meant so much to me in the past few weeks. I think there will be a few new readers to this blog because of this post, please read some previous posts (for back story, if nothing else) if you have the time!

To the guitarist of a band that I have followed and worshipped for years, thank you for sticking up for the trans community that I am part of. In a world where there is so much division and hatred, for someone who I admire and idolise to come out as an ally of ‘my people’ means the world to me. Upon actually meeting this person and thanking them for their words of support, they were humble and inclusive, and expressed their own gratitude for my words of thanks back to them. That means more to me than you’ll ever know and has helped me cement my own pride in my identity in ways I never knew I could.

To the strangers on the internet who have taught me that it is okay to be upset about the breakup of band, thank you. I have cried my eyes out twice in recent days because one of my favourite bands has just played their farewell shows and the people who I share that connection with have shown me that this reaction is okay. I have no deeper love to anything than I do with music and I have lost a loved one at the break up of this band. The people who shared and felt this with me know who you are. You are my family. It is okay to feel loss and to mourn the passing of something other than a real life. People have the power to make unique and powerful connections with things and entities outside of ‘what is normal’ and people with these connections should feel proud of them and embrace them.

Speaking of family and powerful connections, I can’t even begin to find the words to thank the people I have spent the past few days of my life with. (Switching narrative here) I have typed out and deleted paragraph after paragraph about you and genuinely can’t find the words to express my love and gratitude for you all. You welcomed me into your home at a time that I feel most shut off from reality and included me like I’ve been in your family forever. Upon thanking you for your generosity and inclusion I’ve been made to feel even more humbled and loved. You are all there for me as I am here for all of you.

In a music documentary I have seen countless times, a fan describes his home as where his favourite band is. I always choked up at that line, knowing I felt the same about the people I have mentioned above.

My home is where my peers and idols accept, encourage and protect me.

My home is where a total stranger shares a unique and different connection to something so special with me, and where this connection inevitably strengthens at the loss of what originally united us.

My home is being included by my friends at a time of year I could never enjoy, and having these friends become my family.

This blog is named for the poem which is partially recited by Michael Caine in the film ‘Interstellar,’ a film that I watched recently with one of the people I’ve mentioned above. I interpret the poem as fighting the darkness and looking for the light.

You (yes, you) have so much light ahead of you, and the tools with which to capture it.

The 53

I bumped into a friend on the bus home from work the other day. This person is someone who I’ve known for a while (I used to work in a school they were a student in, that we have both now left) but never known personally until recently, someone who has got to know me quite well through reading my blog. They said to me on the bus that ‘all of my posts on social media are amazing and really helpful’ so I thought I would write another one that was aimed at what else we spoke about on the bus and touches on something I wrote about in my previous post: Confidence.

So, part of my (and everyone else’s) coming out process is building up the confidence to start dressing as your chosen gender in public. I feel like I managed to get this right for myself so I’m going to attempt to pass a few tips on to anyone ‘still in the closet.’

When I eventually knew that I was going to be coming out publicly as transgender, I started to buy clothes that I hoped I would feel comfortable wearing outside the house. I had a load of stuff I would wear in the privacy of my own home but none of it was stuff I would wear out, I guess you could say I started out as a ‘cross dresser’ (I fucking hate that term, by the way, literally makes it sound like guys can ONLY wear guys clothes or vice-versa and to dress like a girl/guy is a sexual fetish which is absolute BULLSHIT for 99% of transgender people).

I started to replace my mens jeans with girly skinny jeans (took me a little while to actually start working out my size but I soon learned that no two clothes shops size things the same and I can be anything from an 8 to a 14) and began wearing them out straight away. No one really noticed except for my partner at the time (who knew I wanted to come out anyway) and my friend Lily who told me she liked my new jeans. I started wearing girls underwear at the same time simply as no one would ever know I wasn’t wearing boxers. This was the most liberating thing EVER and I would encourage anyone who’s considering coming out to try this because you are literally the only person who would know and it is a huge confidence booster and anxiety killer after doing it for the first time.

After a couple of months of this I started swapping the skinny jeans for plain black leggings. I’d team this up with a long t-shirt so at a quick glance they would just look like black jeans. No one really noticed again but if anyone did, they didn’t say anything to me. After that it was tights under jeans or leggings to get used to them, then a pair of boots with small heels on, then I started replacing my jackets with girly ones. I stopped cutting my hair and shaved my beard clean off, later wearing foundation and concealer to cover up the shadow. I started adding a pencil skirt or bodycon dress under the t-shirts when wearing leggings and it was around this time that I came out as gender fluid and announced I’d changed my name. Ditching the leggings for tights in the latter outfit by this point was easy, as I’d taken super small steps with my outfits each time I left the house.

The clue is in the title when transitioning between genders. It’s normal for a transition to take time and trans people – for all our battles – have the luxury of choosing this time frame. Making minor changes to your wardrobe will also make it less obvious for outsiders if/when you do come out, as you’ve kind of already started to transition long before announcing it. I was dressing ‘differently’ for almost a year before I publicly came out and my dress sense is now more or less unchanged unless I’m going out for drinks and want to look and feel extra femme.

Which brings me on to the next point – actually going out dressed differently. This for me was simple. I had a small group of friends who I’d told that I was going to come out as trans sometime in the future. They were supportive (obviously, all your friends will be even if they don’t fully understand at first – be patient with them as they will be with you but be prepared to answer some questions) and decided that these friends would be a good group of people to start dressing differently around, knowing they would ‘have my back’ if we were at the pub and a stranger wanted to try and have a pop at me. This has never actually happened (and I live in a small market town full of narrow-minded people) but it was infinitely helpful knowing I had a small group of friends around me that would stick up for me if things went sour. Safety in numbers and all that.

As my hair grew out I started to wear it in space buns or tied back under a bandana. This was immeasurably liberating being able to do, as well as something you can easily cover with a hood or take down altogether if you step out and decide you’re not ready for a femme hair style in public. To be honest, hair tied back under a bandana is really practical for anyone with long hair and after a while I ended up doing this to work all the time long before I came out publicly. I always used to wear a hat so no one seemed to even notice.

Nowadays, a year on from coming out fully, I don’t bat an eyelid about dressing like a girl unless I’m having a particularly dysphoric day (see previous There’s No Need To Panic post) which is a testament to taking your time with transitioning and making small changes at a time. Both of these things make the whole process less of a shock to the people around you which will in turn help with your process altogether.

There’s No Need To Panic!

It’s been a while, for no reason other than I haven’t really had much to talk about. When I started this blog it was with the intention of helping people by sharing my story, and also to remind people they aren’t alone. I figured there wouldn’t be any harm in sharing a few of my coping mechanisms for things that happen in my head.

The three things mentally that I have to deal with are dysphoria, anxiety and panic attacks, although the latter hasn’t really happened for longer than I can remember with one recent exception which I’ll go into later.

1: Dysphoria. This is something that I deal with almost every day, and something I still haven’t fully got to grips with yet. It’s basically when I wake up in the morning, may face or body doesn’t even slightly resemble whats in my head and I feel like killing myself. Step one: go back to sleep. Step two: start again. Sometimes even 10 minutes back in bed (sacrificing my breakfast and eating later on/at work) can help start the thought processes again and make me feel less horrific. I’ve mentioned before about girls days and boy days, and 95% of the time I am on girls days now. Boy days tend to happen when I have to shave and my face reacts badly to the razor, for any number of reasons, leaving me with a shadow that I can’t cover up. On those days, it’s jeans, a hoodie, no effort at all and generally trying to hide from people. Days like this usually mean my skin will be bad the day after too, so at least I can prepare myself for having a bad day the day after. When I start to take hormones my face should start to clear up and the above will become less of an issue, although for now I don’t quite have a solution – other than going back to sleep.

2: Anxiety. For me, this is something that’s linked in to what I choose to wear. If I’m having a particularly good day and I’ve gone for the big heels, lots of leg and something to maximise what I have discovered to be my excellent ass, I’m usually relatively unstoppable, and I’ll do the shallow thing of an Instagram post knowing that the comments are often incredibly encouraging, something which helps keep the anxiety at bay (see photo below of a recent Ann Summers purchase that I never, ever thought I would have the guts to post publicly). Now, I can only assume that most other girls have the problem of ‘OH MY GOD ALL MY CLOTHES ARE SHIT AND I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR’ because since dressing as one, I get that too. I have three almost identical black pencil skirts and I spend 20 minutes deciding which one to wear, that’s normal, right? This is where the anxiety starts to set in, the feeling of ‘none of my clothes look good’ starts to remind me that I still very much have a male body, something I don’t particularly want to be reminded of. When this happens, I have a nap again (there’s a theme here, right?) and that tends to help.

When I’m dressed up like a sassy bitch, fucking nothing can stop me. Getting there can be a challenge but when I’m ready and I’m out, I’m happy. I don’t care if people stare at me or look me up and down or if an old guy in the queue at the post office tuts at me and shakes his head. It’s not my fault I look better than them. A street cleaner in my home town approached me the other day and said he’d seen me about and had talked about me to his mates before and wanted to tell me that I was brave, ‘had balls’ (for lack of a better expression) and that I shouldn’t give a shit what other people think. He was right about the last bit, I don’t. People in the street very rarely shout abuse at me or say things that make me uneasy. They stare, they tut, they may not understand but they aren’t looking for a fight if they say anything. Hopefully that last bit is encouraging to anyone wanting to come out… be yourself, it’s not as bad out here as you may think. I can count on one hand (at the time of writing) the things people have said:

  • on the way to work ‘there’s something hanging out from under your skirt’ L O L how original
  • walking through town ‘have you got a mangina’ (I fucking DIED laughing at this, he was about 12
  • leaving a pub ‘fuck off you girl’ FROM A GIRL like, fuck off, bitch, I’ll slap the make up off ya face *walks off like the sassy bitch that I am and buys cheesy chips at the kebab shop*
  • leaving the toilets in a pub ‘have you got a fanny or a cock.’ Who remembers Dick and Dom In Da Bungalow? Dom said it. Or maybe it was Dick. Who cares? He apologised after. I just laughed and walked off.

If someone does shout crap at you, ALWAYS keep walking. They don’t care enough to follow it up. And if they tried to, you can run faster than them. Don’t feed the trolls, real or on the internet. Honestly, people on the whole want to say nice things, I have run out of body parts to count the compliments on.

3: Panic attacks. Luckily, these don’t really happen anymore *touches wood* and it’s been some time since one has. I never knew exactly what used to cause them and to be honest I don’t know exactly why they’ve stopped. I used to struggle to identify when one was happening which would often mean I’d have left it too late to get out of. So I guess the first bit of advice is learning to understand your body and changes in it that feel uncomfortable. Things like elevated breathing or heart rate, increased senses of anxiety or awareness of yourself/your surroundings and things like being increasingly uncomfortable towards a normal task can all be indicators (from my experience, at least) of an impending panic attack.

I have had one near miss since learning to recognise when I was about to have one and I was lucky enough to get over it, mainly because I recognised when it was about to happen. Calming down is much easier said than done (reeeally slow breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth is good, as well as stretching excessively and clicking your fingers in turn a few times) but can be really effective if you ‘do it early enough.’ If you’re past this and your body is filling with adrenaline, I find that closing off my senses then doing something fast and active is good. Luckily for me I’m a drummer, and drumming is a stunning what of buying off excess adrenaline. When I started to feel panic recently I found an isolated spot (I was at work but the shop was shut so again, lucky), put Glitches by ETID on my iPhone and proceeded to drum along in the air with my eyes shut. The movements are fast and precise and require your entire upper body to perform them. Panic attacks often induce increased breathing, leading to excess oxygen in the blood and this kind of activity is a great way to use the O2 up. Closing my eyes allowed a memory of the the band performing the song to fill my mental space, a memory that is positive and treasured to me and one that can flush out panic and its associated emotions. By the time I made it to the end of the song, I was in the clear.

In Laymans Terms, I isolated all my senses by ‘playing along’ to this track. Any one can do this – it might not work but anything is worth a try, I guess – isolate yourself, find a song you associate with positivity, crank it, and move/dance/jump/pretend to play drums until the song is over, with your eyes shut. It’s not for everyone, but if it works for one other person besides myself then this blog post has succeeded. DISCLAIMER – this might not work, it might make your own panic attacks worse. I am giving advice that works for me and it is not gospel for all. I haven’t directly told you to try this and I’m not responsible if it doesn’t work. Alright? Alright!

The final line of that song is ‘No Need To Panic,’ something I didn’t even realise until after picking it as my go-to song if ever I get close to panicking. Strange, that.

That’s it for this post, so as always, thanks for reading. For those of you following this blog because of my gender related battles, I have no updates as yet. The clinic I have been referred to are working slower than ever due to excessive numbers of people being referred. This is good and bad – it shows that the need is there and that more people are feeling comfortable enough to come out or get help, but it also means the waiting lists are getting longer. It’s a good thing our UK government care about the NHS, mental health and gender related illness.

That last bit was sarcasm.

For anyone interested, I have currently been listening to:

  • Don Broco – Priorities
  • Converge – The Dusk In Us
  • QOTSA – Villains
  • Aeges – Weightless
  • ’68 – Two Parts Viper