24 January 2012

Family and sleep

I mentioned yesterday that my wife now acknowledges that her sleep patterns need to change. It seems that my making an effort to get to bed before midnight is having an effect on her, as she was also in bed before midnight last night. We both had trouble falling asleep, and lay in bed talking until after midnight.

On the first night that I got to bed before midnight, I was still awake at 2am. I'm hoping that by getting to bed at a reasonable time and getting up around 8 hours later, I'll re-train my body to sleep during that time, but I don't want to be too sleep deprived, so I'm not too worried if I stay in bed for a few minutes extra while I get into the pattern.

We were going to be going to Canberra for a few days with my inlaws to allow my wife and her father to compete in sport, as we have done before, but work related issues mean that I will have to stay home while my wife and son will travel with my inlaws. While they are away, they will likely be getting up between 6 and 7am. They will get home on Sunday night, in time for our son to start the new school year on Monday. That means that they will need to be up by 7:45 on school days. The only way that my wife will get enough sleep will be to follow my lead and get to bed before midnight consistently. I expect that the few days away with her parents will help to reinforce the pattern.

If I can maintain the pattern, hopefully it will help my wife to do likewise, and will ultimately make our house a happier place, as I suspect that we are often both grumpy due to lack of sleep. As a side effect, if she gets up earlier on weekends, it might not be so difficult for me to get out en femme during the day, which will make me a lot happier.

The next challenge will be seeing what time I get home from the cafe night tonight, and hence whether I fit in my walking session and shower and still get to bed before midnight. I really don't want to miss the exercise, or be up after midnight, but I really need to be home by 10pm for that to all to work. I'm not sure that I've even left the restaurant by 10pm on any of the nights that I've been there in the last few years.

23 January 2012

Weight and sleep

My weight and sleep problems have been recurring themes in my blog posts. Both affect my crossdressing, albeit in different ways. Both also influence my depression.

My weight affects not only what clothes will fit and how I look, but how I feel about myself. The fact that my fat distribution tends to be a typically male pattern, particularly a spare tyre around the waist, means that the heavier I am, the less feminine I feel and the more likely I am to be depressed.

To really complicate things, I tend to comfort eat when depressed or stressed, leading to weight gain that pushes me into a downward spiral of depression that makes me less inclined to go out en femme because I feel fat. The downward spiral is worsened by the fact that getting out en femme is something that I need to do, and not doing it makes my depression worse. At the end of a depression cycle, I usually find myself heavier than I was before it started, and wondering how I'm going to fix it.

While my weight and depression have been problems that I've been aware of for decades and have mentioned since my early blog posts, it was only around mid 2010 that I acknowledged that I had a sleep problem. It sneaked up on me over a a few years, and the real issue is not the time that I get to bed or the time that I get up, but the time I spend asleep. When I get less than 4 hours sleep, I end up trying to balance it out by getting more than 8 hours on another night by getting up late.

I've been off work since before Christmas and I've been getting more sleep than usual. After getting up around noon for a few days, I realised that I really needed to do something. I was feeling better because of the extra sleep, but was so late getting up that I wasn't getting anything done. I also realised rather suddenly that I wasn't depressed.

So a couple of days ago, I decided to make a major change to try to address both my sleep pattern and weight. I don't know whether I'll be able to keep it going, but I've got to try. To start with, I am aiming to get to bed before midnight consistently, and get up about 8 hours later. I hope to gradually move to getting to bed before 11pm. I'd love to get to bed by 10pm and get up at 6am consistently, but I seriously doubt that that will happen.

To work on my weight, I'm not only trying to remind myself that everything extra that I eat works against my weight loss goal, but I've started walking again. This time, instead of walking an hour circuit each night, I'm using a walking machine that I picked up through freecycle. I can set it up so that I can watch TV or videos on a computer, and for the past few days I've been doing two separate 30-minute sessions, walking fast enough to work up a sweat each time. One in the early afternoon and the other just before having a shower and going to bed. Once I go back to work, the daytime session will either stop, or will have to be in the morning when my wife is presently in bed asleep. Fortunately, she now acknowledges that her sleep patterns also need to change.

Time will tell whether I manage to keep both the sleep cycle adjustment and the exercise going, but I have to try, and the walking machine overcomes the biggest problem that I had before, which was stopping because of the rain and not starting again.

22 January 2012

A year in review

As you may have noticed, I haven't posted much recently. I have been feeling rather out of sorts and just not with it.

I decided to look back at the goals that I set myself last year.

* I did continue to come out to people around me, but haven't said anything to people who I am sure know but choose to say nothing.

* My work commitments did indeed increase significantly, but I completely failed to delegate anything to prevent it from swamping my girl time.

* My plan for frequency of outings fell off a cliff. Not only did I fail to achieve an average of getting out once every 5 days, I didn't even come close. In fact, with just 51 outings for the year, I didn't even average one outing per week. :(

* I still had problems with lacking ideas of things to do en femme, but push my comfort zone and do a few new things. I caught a train to the Sydney CBD and back twice, the first time in a blonde wig in May and the second time wigless in August. In between those, my third time out wigless was the first time putting fuel in my car en femme, as I drove to the outskirts of Sydney and took a suburban train into the city and back. My fourth trip to Sydney was in September for IMATS, when I again drove to outskirts and caught a suburban train.

Sadly, I didn't get in touch with our former belly dance teacher, and while I believe that she still lives in the same place, her web site no longer exists and she doesn't show up in any web searches.

* My sleep patterns continued to be a disaster last year, and in the past few days I've started making a real effort to fix that, in spite of my wife making it difficult due to her sleep patterns. I still don't know how it will work with cafe nights, particularly as others make an effort to make the nights run as late as possible.

* I haven't improved my organisation for preparing to go out, and the building work that I was hoping would have helped with that, which should have been well under way by now has not even started, for reasons beyond my control.

There have been a few times both last year and this year that my wife being in bed asleep has prevented me from going out during the day. By the time she gets up, I feel that it's too late to bother. :(

* I keep thinking about trying to go for a smaller breast size, but haven't done anything about it. I think that my present D-cup size fits my frame and downsizing would probably not look right. I think I've decided by default to do nothing and simply continue with what I have.

* I achieved my goal of wearing halterneck tops and dresses. Sort of. I don't think that I mentioned it but, while in Sydney for work in August, I bought 2 new style body shapers that loop over the sides of a bra instead of having shoulder straps, which made halter a much more viable option. I wore a halter dress for the first time in September and my first halter top in October, but with outings coming to a virtual halt, they were the only halter outfits I've worn out. One dress, one top, no plural.

* When I went back to my posts from early last year, I discovered that the 5th of January was an anniversary of more than one thing. Not only was it the first anniversary of having my nails done in acrylic and gel, but it was also the first anniversary of the first time I ever went out en femme without a wig. I think that both are very significant events, and somehow I had forgotten that these events had happened on the same day.

The interesting thing about going wigless was that it became habit forming. It took me until June to go out wigless for the second time, but the third time was just 3 days later, when I went shopping in Sydney with friends. At that stage, I still hadn't been out wigless in Newcastle. It took another 3 weeks before I finally challenged myself to go out wigless locally, and I haven't worn a wig since! That's right, in all of my outings en femme, I haven't worn a wig since 21st June. I'm not saying that I won't wear a wig again, but for now I'm going to enjoy living with my own hair.

* I just started to type that I have not made any progress on packing my girl stuff to travel, then realised that by going out with my own hair, I no longer need to pack a wig. If I decide to wear a wig while away, I'll have to look at the options then. In the meantime, I'm thinking that I should just get a large suitcase or backpack with enough space. Packing my hip and buttock padding without damaging it remains the biggest issue.

I might have a look around the local shops in the next few days. :)

* I've made completely and utterly no progress on my female voice. :(

* As mentioned above, I've maintained my nails long and painted for over a year now, and the colours are nowhere nearly as subtle as at the beginning of the year. Yay. :)

* I ended 2010 at 72.5kg. Sadly, I ended 2011 at 83.5kg, and was 85kg a few days ago. At the same time as realising a few days ago that I really need to make an effort with my sleep patterns, I've also realised that I need to make a serious effort with my weight!

05 January 2012

Nail anniversary

Today is an interesting anniversary for me. It was 12 months ago today that I first got all of my nails done in acrylic and gel. Aside from a couple of days in June, I've had colour on my nails for all of that year. I started with neutral colours close to the colour of the skin under my nails and worked my way up to more obvious colours.

Sadly, with ongoing stress, depression and exhaustion problems, I haven't been out en femme since my last blog post, when I had my nails done for Christmas, including missing another 3 cafe nights.

After Christmas, I got busy with several days of gardening that I had been putting off for too long. I broke one nail on the first day, so I went and got it fixed on Friday. The next day, I broke another one. This time, I decided to clean it up, trim the natural nail back and just keep working. By yesterday, I'd not only had enough of gardening for a while but I was getting tired of having a mismatched broken nail so I brought my next appointment forward to today.

I celebrated the anniversary by getting my nails re-done this morning. :)