A Rocky Start

I haven’t written much this year yet.  The year got off to a rough start at work and I still don’t feel like I’ve found my footing in this new year that is now almost 1/4 of the way done.  I find that somewhat depressing.  I’m finally getting my work stuff straightened out and by the end of this week I should be feeling fresh and clean there and ready for a new start.  Nothing like finishing last years projects almost four months into the next year to charge you up!  Sarcasm, if you didn’t know, is one of my favorite forms of expression.  Anyway, besides feeling increasingly like the big bad wolf is about to blow my work house down I’ve been going through some emotional things that have increased my anxiety levels to new heights.

It’s hard for me to talk about what I’m going through because I’m not sure I understand it.  I don’t know what’s causing it and I don’t even know what it is.  I think it’s related to transitioning and possibly using hormones.  For a while I thought maybe my dose was too high (standard dose of .5cc per week) and it was making me feel crazy in my head.  So I dropped it down one cc/10 mg to .4cc or 40 mg and that might have helped but I’m not absolutely sure.  I’ve talked to a couple of folks about it and they think it’s purely anxiety.  What’s happening is that sometimes I feel mentally fragmented like there’s a part of my brain that I can’t access.  Sometimes I get this weird feeling like I don’t know who I am anymore.  I go through my mental quiz with myself to make sure I’m not having another episode where my short term memory is messed up.  My therapist suggested I start taking B vitamins since they’re good for memory and I do think they’ve helped a little bit.  They also help with anxiety which is good too.  Then I was reading about the affects on the brain from living with narcissists and how it affects your memory as well.  There’s a thing call Complex PTSD which is similar to regular PTSD like soldiers experience after being in war but is caused by prolonged exposure to mental and/or physical trauma.  I definitely show signs of C-PTSD and it probably has a lot to do with my anxiety and phobia issues.  Along with being sensitive to a lot of stimulus and not dealing well with stress it is probably a perfect storm brewing inside my head, along with all the fun stuff that transitioning does for a person.  How could I not be feeling in a heightened state of anxiety?

On top of all this I scheduled my top surgery for April 7th.  I find myself wondering if my timing is bad on this.  I wanted to get it done now because the rest of the year is going to be pretty busy with work and trips we have planned and if I don’t do it now I’ll have to wait until late in the year or even next year to do it.  And there’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to do it then either since we never know what the future holds.  Now is definitely the time to have my surgery but my head is spinning out of control some days and I’m relying more and more on my anxiety meds to keep my stuff together.  Another thing that’s been bothering me even though I’ve been told by two nurses that they think it is anxiety as well is that my heart often feels like it’s going to pound out of my chest and I can feel my pulse throbbing up into my ears.  My blood pressure and pulse are all normal and I don’t have heart issues but it still scares me.  Last night when I went to bed I felt like my whole body was buzzing/vibrating and thought that at any moment I might start shaking all over.  I didn’t.

Now, dear reader, you may be thinking, “Wow, poor Lesboi is a hypochondriac and has some serious mental issues he needs to take care of ASAP!”  I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that.  Honestly, I wouldn’t.  I think it too most days.  Except I’m not a hypochondriac and usually, other than some depression and anxiety, I’m pretty mentally stable.  I don’t know what my problem is to be honest.  I feel like I’m losing my shit and I’m not even sure what shit I’m losing.  I’ve even considered quitting my T altogether in case it’s the root cause of my malaise.  I’ve been on T for about 4 years and at this dose for close to two so it’s not like I’ve been messing around with the dosage or trying new things.  My guess is that it isn’t the T.  But what is it?  Stress probably.  I felt great at the end of 2015 with all that I had accomplished in my transition and looking forward to finishing it all up in ’16 but work-wise I didn’t wrap things up like I had wanted and the holidays put me in a real downward spiral emotionally.  I’ve been a mess ever since then and it’s getting worse, not better.  I’m hoping getting work fixed up will take some of the stress off me.  But I also have the stress of the upcoming surgery which I am really looking forward to, yet have some anxiety about as well.  This is my big transition surgery and it has a lot of meaning to me.  It symbolizes the end of my life as a female bodied person.  The last outwardly visible cue of my female gender will be removed that day.  Don’t get me wrong, I want them gone.  I’ve never wanted breasts.  But, just as I felt a pang of sadness when I erased my old identity at my college a few weeks ago I think having my breasts removed could possibly trigger some deep emotional response as well.  I’m a little afraid of how it will make me feel to have them gone.  I know that body parts don’t equal gender and that lots of men have boobs.  I get that.  But, for me, they were the most outward and obvious sign that, yes, I definitely am a woman even if I don’t like it.  When they came in I had to reconcile that within myself and my psyche.  I have boobs.  I am a woman.  I’m never going to be a boy or grow up to be a man.  And I put all of those thoughts out of my head for a very long time.  As I’ve said before, I have a lot of internal shame around my desire to be a boy and really struggle to feel worthy of claiming male as my gender.  Even so, my plan is to change my gender marker to Male once I’ve had surgery.  It’s a big deal to me.  Whether Candace knows it or not, it’s a big deal to her too.  How will it affect my relationship?  What will people think?  I won’t be able to hide anymore.  I will be visibly trans or at least visibly not female.  This is my thinking anyway.  Reality will probably teach me that I’m wrong the first time someone calls me ma’am after surgery.  And I’ll get mad about it, I’m sure.  I’ll have to come out to my employees too and I’m really dreading that, yet I’m pretty sure it’ll go fine.  Today, a customer called me sir in front of one of them and I didn’t “correct” him.  I was sure that my employee would say something but he didn’t and I was thankful for it.  Maybe he didn’t hear or wasn’t sure what he heard.  Either way, the time has come to clear all this up for the people I work with.

On top of all this, I’m planning to open a second location for my business in the middle of the summer, so I’m worried about that too.  I worry that it’s more than I can handle and that I’ll be overwhelmed.  Maybe I’m biting off more than I can chew.  I want to do it though.  I can’t explain it other than I just feel in my bones like it’s the right thing to do.  The stars have aligned perfectly for this to happen and I want to do it.  But it is daunting and scary.  Another reason to get surgery done now instead of later.  I know that the end of this year is going to be insanely busy with work and I won’t have time to take weeks off to recuperate and take it easy.

So as you can see, life is a bit wonky right now for me.  I’m managing ok most of the time but I often feel on the edge of losing my grip on reality.  I think.  If I can get myself in a new routine of meditating in the mornings and doing some exercises at night I think I’ll feel a lot better.  After writing all of this out I can clearly see that I’m dealing with a lot of heavy stuff and I need to learn to relax more.  I’m hoping that once I get work caught up I can take a few days by myself and do a mental retreat to work out some things and chill out away from home and work.  I wanted to do this in January, but like I said, work just didn’t allow it.  Now I just need to figure out where I want to go.

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15 thoughts on “A Rocky Start

  1. Sorry you’re experiencing this anxiety. It sounds like all this change, though ultimately good for you, is de-grounding you in some way in the short term. I don’t have anything useful or comforting to say, just hang in there. And, if morning of surgery you feel way more anxiety than you’d like to, you can still change your mind. I hope you find some peace of mind.

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  2. You got to where you are despite everything – I believe you can conquer the future as well. For me top surgery was a huge burden off my chest – I hope it will be the same for you. Sending good vibes your way. Good luck for April 7, at least it is not April Fools Day. Take care, Shawn.

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    • It almost was scheduled for April 1 but that date didn’t work out. Probably for the best lol. I’m pretty calm about the surgery. I think I’m just glad to be finally getting it done and over with and I’m looking forward to not having the things in the way anymore.

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  3. Consider talking to your p.c.p. about possibly adding a low dose of atenolol to your daily meds. I find it incredibly helpful in regulating my uneven heart rate when stressed. But I also have hypertension so it may not be a good choice for you. Still, worth discussing.

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    • I do take a little blood pressure pill every day but it’s not atenolol. The nurse at my endo suggested I ask about Beta blockers. I’ll definitely add this into the discussion when I see my doc again. Thanks.

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  4. It sounds like you have a bit too much on your plate to feel comfortable with it, but I won’t say you need to cut something out. I’m just sitting in the same boat as you, so we’ll have to make the ride together and hope for the best.

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    • It’s good to have all the great company on the journey! Yeah, there’s really nothing I can cut out. In fact, I’m trying to engage more in my life so all I can do is push on and keep my head together the best I can. Hang in there Fredric and remember deep breaths!

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  5. I have the same “my brain is made out of swiss cheese” thing going on. I lose words, and if google did not have an on-line dictionary and thesaurus some of my posts would sound like “see Dick run”. The brain freeze also creates a lot of anxiety for me.
    A lot of what you are describing sound to me like the symptoms of menopause (which I am going through). Since you recently had a hysto that put you into sudden medical menopause, it may be connected.
    Also, you may want to talk to your doctor about adjusting your T dosage, because without the estrogen in your system to counter it, you may be getting a lot more T at the same dosage you were taking when you still had your uterus and ovaries.
    I’ve been trying to get more info about starting T post/tail end of menopause, and there is very little information out there because the standard doses are meant for guys in their 20s and 30s who are still “intact”.

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    • I just had my hormone levels checked a few weeks ago and everything is about where it’s been even before the hysto. Estrogen has dropped a tiny amount but I think my ovary had already shut down before surgery for the most part. I’m actually not sure where I’m getting my E from now days but I definitely have some in my system.

      My theory is that it really is anxiety induced brain freeze. The more I worry about it the worse it gets. Also, I find that spending a lot of time at the computer has a negative effect on me mentally too so I’ve been limiting my time staring at computer screens. It definitely bothers my eyes and affects my mood. I think if I could get my butt up and exercise a little bit I’d find that to be extremely helpful on a lot of fronts.

      As far as T levels for older guys, I think the theory is that age doesn’t really matter so much since you need to get your levels up to get the changes going. Also, they monitor you every 3 to 6 months to make sure it’s not going crazy. The docs pretty much know what .5cc/week will do at this point. And they know that if your E raises when you go on T that you’re taking too much. Plus, how you’re feeling mentally and physically along with the physical changes are taken into account as well when setting the dosage. Age only really comes into it if you have health issues to keep an eye on. That’s my take on it anyway.

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      • I have a very bad attitude towards prescribed medicine (I think that we overmedicated partly for the profit motive rather than trying to use as little as possible) – and am suspicious of one size fits all dosing and in general the lack of medical research on drugs post menopause. But that is my own prejudice leaking out into the discussion. It has very little to do with T research and more to do with my fear of T being a runaway train.

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      • I agree with the over medicating and one size fits all thing myself. And as far as the run away train, I think starting on a low dose using gel might help you feel like you’re more in control since it’s administered daily and you can control exactly how much you take. Truthfully, I wouldn’t go to a doctor that is rigid about whether you can control that yourself (with their guidance, of course). I think in some ways I’m fortunate because my hormone doc is very flexible about what I do with my T. The max dosage is .5cc but I can take less if I want. It’s totally up to me. Lately I’ve been going with .4cc (80mg)/week and it’s been ok. I just want you to know that it’s not like once you start you have to keep doing it and you have no control and they don’t start you out on a high dose either. Anyway, just my 2 cents. I know you’ll make the right decision for you in the end. Take care, my friend.

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  6. My partner had top surgery on March 4th, 2015. We were both nervous as hell beforehand. Me, because I was worried about her dying on the table (I have anxiety issues) and she, because she worried about how friends and family would react and if I would be okay with it. She uses female pronouns and is not transitioning, but is assumed to be trans by almost everyone. Especially now. Anyway, all that anxiety just evaporated after the surgery. She began to walk with her head high and shoulders back (not hunched over her breasts). She was sexier than ever, and we are both so happy with the outcome. Everyone has been really supportive. I loved her breasts, but I love her chest even more because it’s just her. I can’t even imagine breasts on her anymore. And I agree with Jamie Ray on the menopause thing. I tell my kids that I’ve forgotten more than they’ve even learned yet. I lose words now, and and feel really foggy at times. Maybe it’s just mid-life, regardless of gender….

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    • Thanks for sharing this with me. Like your partner, I’m somewhat concerned with what others will think/say and how it will affect my partner. I’m happy to hear that it all went so well for both of you.

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  7. Pingback: Testosterone: Panacea or Pandora? | Dawn to Don

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