I’ve been just working and enjoying the summer here in Chicago. After a few days of sweltering heat and humidity we’ve gotten a break and today is looking to be a beautiful one in the high 70s.
So what’s up?
Well, I’ve noticed an uptick in my anxiety levels, so I went to Josh over at Howard Brown. We talked about SSRIs, and I tried one (Zoloft), but decided I was jumping the gun with meds. I want to try to control the anxiety with more cardio, some morning yoga, and some meditation and breathing exercises. Also, I’ve started back to my therapist once a week, instead of every other week. I don’t have a good routine down yet for all these methods, but I do notice I feel a little relief after practicing each one. And so that is encouraging.
I also asked Josh to lower my testosterone dosage: .3 ml was keeping me in the high range of normal–I thought maybe my body would feel more comfortable going through these changes at a slightly lower pace. So I started .2 ml injections this past Thursday, and will return to Josh in three weeks to have my levels checked again.
Remember boys, your dosage, and your pace, and your whole transition is in your hands. If you don’t feel good, or something doesn’t feel right, talk to your doctor, and tell him what you are comfortable with and what you are uncomfortable with: if he doesn’t listen, he’s not the right doctor. Fortunately for me, Josh is a smart guy with good suggestions, so when I told him I wanted to lower my dosage, at my own suggestion, he was very receptive.
So, what prompted me, exactly, to lower my dosage?
Well, I’ve been sleeping terribly. I’ve been having anxiety-related chest pains pretty regularly. And heart palpitations. I’ve been feeling light headed. These symptoms and I have a long history together, but of course Dr. J took a listen to the ticker to rule out any other more serious cardio condition first. So my heart is healthy, and the symptoms, unsurprisingly, are anxiety-related.
Really, I think as I go through this transition, I will be jettisoning some old fears, and those will be painful as they leave my body. I think I am digging out some soreness and letting it go and that is a difficult process. Healing always hurts. But I am confident I will feel a lot better on the other side of this transition. Or rather, out of these particular woods, because as I am learning, my transition, your transitions, are never really complete, are they? The bodily changes the testosterone is causing may peak and level off, but I will always be an evolving human, and so will you.
I’m also realizing that I can do all the yoga and meditation and exercise I want, but until I look at my history, and the pain and trauma it has caused me, the anxiety symptoms will always come back. Until I get to some trans support group and talk about how painful it was to hide this part of myself for so long, and make some friends who are having the same social and psychological problems I am (and release some of this internalized transphobia), until I go to some Al-Anon meetings and work through the pain my mother and her alcoholism has caused me, I will never be rid of these sleepless nights, these chest pains, these feelings of inadequacy and timidity.
Wish me luck, and be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli