How T Turned Me Into The Grinch

grinch heart

People ask all the time about what kinds of changes to expect on T(Testosterone).  Usually they’re wanting to know about physical changes.  Yes, there are plenty of those to talk about but the thing that has really surprised me about taking T, even a low dose, was how it changed my outlook on life.  I wouldn’t say that it has changed my personality but in a way it has.

Ever since puberty hit I’ve been moody.  Very moody.  And irritable.  I often felt foggy headed and couldn’t think straight.  I was constantly tired and never could get enough sleep.  I would get irritated at the slightest little infraction that I perceived from an outside source.  And many days I woke up in the most foul mood imaginable.  All of this got worse the closer I came to starting my dreaded monthly period.  I don’t remember being like this before all that estrogen hit my system.

And so, between hitting menopause and taking some anti-depressants years ago a lot of that moodiness resolved itself but I still felt like there was a black cloud over my head a lot.  I had anxiety on a daily basis and felt stressed over and above what is healthy.  I started taking a low dose of T about 4 years ago.  The thing I noticed almost immediately was a general feeling of being happy and like everything was going to be ok.  At that time my relationship was going through a separation period and things couldn’t have looked more bleak.  But, somehow, I just knew it was all going to be ok.  Kind of silly, right?  But it did get better and we’re still together.  Somehow, I felt optimistic in the face of a terrible situation.

I started on a full dose of T in January of this year.  Since then, the physical changes have definitely kicked up a few notches but, again, what amazes me is the mental and emotional difference it is making in me.  My moods have been calmer for years now but even this past year I’ve seen an even deeper shift into a calmer state that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before.  I suddenly love kids, which I never did before.  Instead of T making me sullen, angry, and out of touch with my feelings I find that I feel more deeply than ever.  I don’t cry as easily but I do feel more intensely.  I’m more patient too.  It’s true that the T has made me less prone to freaking out over stuff and I can stay calm in a stormy situation but I can also empathize and really FEEL what’s going on in a way I never could before.  I think I feel love more deeply.  And I let the little stuff go more easily.  I no longer feel that brain fog I dealt with most of my adult life.  I once loved to take naps, but now, most days, I don’t feel the need for them.  I see all of this as positive changes.

The other day I realized that I feel like my heart has grown, like the Grinch at the end of the show.  And I’ll be honest, I really dislike the holidays but I even mind them less now and look forward to getting together with my family.  I couldn’t say that a few years ago.

Am I a different person now?  Absolutely not!  I’m the same person, but a lot of the yuck that followed me around has lifted and I can breathe and enjoy and feel life fully for the first time since puberty.  I’m less anxious and stressed.  I’m nicer, more patient, more open than ever.  For me, the greatest gift that being trans and taking T has given me is these mental changes.  I truly believe that Estrogen was toxic to my brain.  Once I started giving it the hormone it craved I immediately started to feel better.  This alone is reason enough for me to continue taking T.  The physical changes are interesting to me as well and many of them I am enjoying but they’re not the part that has impressed me about hormone therapy.  In fact, I think the physical changes are a bit underwhelming to be honest.  If I was crazy about having a full beard at this point I’d be really upset.  I’m not terribly anxious about the physical part to kick in hard because I’m really taking this whole thing slowly but I am extremely happy with the mental changes.

Hormone therapy is not for everyone.  For some reason I didn’t fret much about starting them.  I figured, on a low dose, they were mostly reversible and temporary changes if I decided to quit.  I certainly can’t say that my reaction to T is typical.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.  I have no idea.  Everyone’s body reacts to hormones differently.  But this old Grinchy now has a bigger heart and a brighter outlook.  And I’m quite happy about that.

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10 thoughts on “How T Turned Me Into The Grinch

  1. I’m pre-t, so my hormones still cycle monthly. When I’m at my most virile, I feel livelier, more alert, less hyper, and more focused. It is Imogene reported that trans men feel moody prior to taking T, but then feel the grogginess fade once they start taking it.

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    • For me, I see it as evidence that my brain needs this hormone to function at its best.

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      • My beain makes string connections and idiosyncricies between items snd ideas. I eat red meat and other foods men more often than women will eat. Somehow drinking straight-up black espressos and americanos cause not judt the adrenaline ro rush, but mskes my pre-T body more sensitive to the little bit of testosterone my body has.

        At ehe beginning of the month my new insurance kicks in. i hear Starbucks covers hormones and surgery. Can’t wait to find a doctor and hook myself up. Or at least finally be able to find a doctor I can pay out if pocket with my own paycheck and pay myself. I shouldn’t have to go broke because my insurance refuses to cover it—but i will if I have to. I will off paying for college for this if I have to. Transitioning means more than anything. i already scored my dream to work for Starbucks. Now the rest has to fall into place.

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  2. Hopefully your new insurance will cover your T. Mine does not so I pay out of pocket for it. I use an app on my phone called GoodRx that finds me coupons and sales so I don’t pay much for it. CVS seems to have the best price so far. Good luck with everything.

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  3. Hey, wanted to let you know I selected you for another round of the Very Inspiring Blog Award! You can go to my latest blog post for details…

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  4. Hi there, me again.
    I have been checking through your blog to see where you are at in this process. I am impressed that you are walking this path in your 50s. My feeling about T is that, if it is right, you know. The weekend of my first shot I was aware of an immediate change in emotional response. After years of feeling that I was being held hostage by the hormones I had rejected, a new leveling took control. If I was upset I was no longer reduced to a teary old dishrag. I was aware of a new grounding that just felt so right. Many years on I do find that I will tear up at a sad book or film (but not cry). However a fully cathartic cry is much harder to achieve and a much more intense, full bodied and physically draining experience. For anyone who tells you that the emotional responses of men and women are socially conditioned, trans* people stand to be able to hold witness to the power of hormones. They don’t change the way we feel about our gender identity, they complete it and make it whole but that hormonal piece is not insignificant.

    BTW, at your age you may never need the dosage levels many transmen take. I have never taken more than 1/2 the typical dose and I now take even less (my doctor has been concerned about red blood cell counts). After 14 years now I am amazed at the degree to which T has reshaped my body (beyond the obvious loss and growth of hair). And I went into this with a feminine shaped body that had carried two children. Signs and scars remain of course, but the changes in fat distribution and muscular shape are considerable over time. The overall masculinity is profound. And it just feels so good to be at home in your body.

    Enjoy the months to come, zits, horniness and all. You have earned this puberty.

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    • I’ve heard from a lot of guys and gals that getting the right hormone in their brain made a huge difference in their emotions in a positive way. My therapist told me that one of the indicators she looks for with trans* clients is whether the hormones make them feel better or not. I think it’s quite common, yet, as you mentioned, it is very significant in our transitions. I was in such a low place when I started T that it was a dramatic change for me and a very welcome one as well.

      I’m always curious about other people’s dosages even though I know it’s a very individual thing since everyone’s body is different. I’m currently on 80 mg/week and I wouldn’t say that the physical changes have been dramatic for me. It’s only been a year so maybe it’s too soon to say that but I also know guys who’ve got full beards after 4 months so I don’t know if there is a “normal”. I’ve also heard that older guys don’t change as quickly as younger guys. I’m guessing that I still have some estrogen interference going on at this point but hopefully soon that will be taken out of the picture.

      Thanks for your comments and checking out my blog.

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      • In those early days it all seems slow like molasses, many years on you do forget. My max dose of T has never been more than 50mg/week, now about 35mg/week (60mg every two weeks, I no longer need the steady flow of weekly injections). I did look remarkably young for the longest time but losing my hair really sealed the deal. I know lots of guys fret about baldness, but I love it and now that more bald guys shave their heads I notice how many young guys go very bald young (and still look hot, if I may say so 😉 ). But that is all due to genetics. Same with facial hair. My son started shaving at 15, his friends with native american blood only have whiskers at 25.

        One thing I did do was shave, every day from the beginning because you don’t want old lady peach fuzz or boyish whiskers. I would shave the night before so that, even as my beard started to grow, by late the next day I might look like I had some stubble. Now I would have to shave twice in a day if I wanted to look really clean shaven. Before long you may well be complaining about renegade ear and nose hair!

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  5. I guess the dosage thing is very individual. I do shave now about every third day and I love the feeling of stubble as it starts to grow back. As far as balding, I’m not so excited about that thought. I agree that some guys can pull it off and end up looking very good but I’ve always loved my hair and thought it was one of my best features so I’m really a bit freaked over losing it. Luckily for me, men in my family tend to lose hair in the front but don’t go completely bald. Still, I’ve noticed a distinct recession in my hairline, especially on the sides, over the last year and I’m a bit concerned about it. I know it’s a price I’ll have to pay but it’s on my cons list of reasons to do this. So far I think my ear and nose hair is about the same but I’m sure that will change.

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