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.