3 Weeks on Testosterone
Monday, March 13th was my 4th shot of testosterone which makes me 3 weeks on T! In these short 3 weeks, I have felt so grateful and full of positive energy at the prospect of my future. More importantly, I have felt grateful in the moment. In these past 3 weeks, my mind has felt a blanket of calm envelop it and my body has responded to all of the love that I have given it. These changes alone are worth embarking on the journey of hormone replacement therapy. There have been some hiccups along the way these past 3 weeks, but they have been beautiful and I know that this is where I am suppose to be.
I've been recalling a memory lately of being in the car with some friends and someone joking with me that if I ever was on T that I would be a rage machine. This was long before I had an awareness of my gender identity and before I ever knew that I wanted (needed) to transition. I remember telling them that I thought it would calm me down, that I would be balanced by it. That reaction came from a place of pure intuition and from some deep part of myself. It was a voice that I didn't really listen to at the time, my inner voice was one that I often heard and then shushed. What's interesting though is that my inner voice was right all along, being on testosterone has calmed me down and given me some balance.
The mental changes are a big reason of why I sought out hormone replacement therapy. For as long as I can remember I have struggled with the depth of my emotions, their overpowering and overwhelming strength, and the way that they hit me like a silver bullet. There was just something not right about it and it was hard to handle. When an emotion or feeling would come in, for some reason, it would almost always get turned into sadness or anger. Even things like excitement and joy would quickly 180 on me and switch to a deep pain of sadness. It was confusing and very disruptive. Imagine having a great moment of success and instead of being able to enjoy it, it turns into a feeling of depression and desperation. The reason I'm using past tense of describing this is because lately I have not felt like that. It may return, but since I started HRT I have felt a balance develop with my emotions. This is true except for my first shot day where I had a severe panic attack, but I think that was a release of emotions.
The calm that has overtaken me is very stable and steady. In the past 3 weeks my life hasn't been a breeze, it's been stressful with work and I've had relationship issues straining me. The difference is occurring in how I am existing through these events. Emotions and feelings are still coming in but it's like I am able to just greet them, look at them, think about them, and then let them go. My baseline mood has also been more stable. I feel more like the "normal" version of myself that I can enjoy and function better as. I have been able to be more present, focused, and relaxed.
I think part of this has to do with feeling like I have access to a future where I am my true self, there is no more need to downplay my identity. Beyond that though, it really seems to be a hormonal difference that my mind is appreciating and finding comfort it.
There is not much to report at this stage in the journey as far as physical changes, but I have noticed some. The first is my skin. Since testosterone often makes people break out and develop acne, I've been hyper aware of taking care of my skin. In preparation of the acne onslaught that I anticipate having, I have started to make my skincare regime a priority. This includes washing only 2 times a day to help my body adjust to oil production and not over produce oil. I also use light moisturizer once a day on my entire face and neck. To treat acne as it comes up, I've went back to using good old benzoyl peroxide (which I haven't used since I was 12-13 years old). I have been using that religiously as spots come up. In week 2, I noticed that I started to develop a pretty significant sheen on my face 2-3 times a day. Then, in week 3 it switched and my skin dried out more so than it ever has. I actually had to use shea butter on some portions because it was flaking. Some areas were getting dried out from the benzoyl peroxide, but overall it was just dry. I'm interested to see what it will continue to do and I plan to just take it all in stride.
Other physical changes include my strength at the gym when weightlifting. I have noticed a difference in being able to go up in both reps and in weight. I have also noticed difference in the pump that I get during working out, my muscles feel quite a bit fuller. This could be the testosterone, but it could also be that I am off of a cut style diet and onto a clean bulk. I talk more about this in the Grow portion of the blog. Check that out if you are interested in training and fitness. I have put on about 1lb of body mass since starting T and I will be tracking all of my measurements, body fat, and body weight throughout my transition.
In addition to my skin and strength performance, I feel able to stand a bit taller. This isn't really a physical change, it's more mental but it does effect my physical appearance. Standing tall is something that I have not done since I was a child. I remember slouching all the time and being told to straighten up my posture, but I just felt like hiding most of the time. I kept my eyes down and my head down, avoiding eye contact with others. I was carrying around a lot of shame and anxiety without even knowing it. Lately, I catch myself standing proud and feeling confident in greeting others. This is huge and it's happening naturally without me having to think about it.
Many more physical changes will come. For more details and little bits of info, please watch my update videos either on the blog or on YouTube. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more frequent updates.
Thanks for joining me on this transition journey. Please feel free to leave a comment or browse the other sections of the blog. My goal in sharing my experiences is to provide personal information to anyone seeking out advice on gender transition, mental health, and wellness. People's personal stories have been a huge inspiration and source of information for me, I'd like to pay that forward. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments, or just need a sound board.