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Questioning stopping T

20 Jun

Lately I’ve been thinking about changing to T Gel, reducing my dose or stopping all together. The reasons for this are mostly to do with recent health issues and the anxiety I feel about hair loss/thinning.

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Preferred name and pronouns at work

26 Feb

In my last Team Leader meeting I asked if it would be ok for me to request for my preferred name to be used in all IT systems at work (e.g. email correspondence, case note records and within the programs we use to manage client information). I also asked if I could send out an email to staff to let them know about my preferred name a pronoun change. Here is the response I got after it needed to be discussed with the Team Manager: (more…)

Reducing T and sexual health

21 Apr

I’ve gone back to half-a-dose of T every 3-4 weeks (depends on how busy I am) and want to ideally stay on this or lower. I’ve contemplated using the gel/cream but I am worried that I will start getting a monthly cycle again, and that’s the one reason I am staying on the injections. Being on a higher dose did make me less tired but it also made me realise how much hair I was loosing (correlation or not) and also questioning why I was staying on T almost two-years on. It is so hard not knowing what this stuff is doing to me now and what effect it will have on my future. I am really thankfull of friends who are in a similar position to me and the various blogs I follow. This has kind of given me a bit of idea however, maybe a way to collect this info and be able to share it with others.

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Low dose vs. high dose

19 Feb

I went to the Dr today to have a chat about my T levels since starting the upped dose of 200mg from my half dosage of 125mg. My last blood tests from Dec ’14 show that my testosterone levels are higher (12?) than my previous tests where the were at a 9. He informed me that they like T levels to be around 14(?) as these are within the ‘normal’ male range. Of course this range is to continue masculinizing effects…so what about me?

I upped my dose a few months ago to see if it would change my energy levels and libido. Since the end of last year I have taken some time off over Christmas so feel rested – is it the T or the break that helped me feel less tired? In-between all of this my libido hasn’t changed, I’ve never felt that urge that other trans* guys talk about. One worry is my hairy back and how much hair I am loosing in the shower! To add to this list is whether my voice will change if I stop T all together, as in will it get a little higher? A big reason I don’t want to stop T completely at the moment is not wanting to deal with having a period again.

For now I am staying on the same 200mg dose for another three six shots and then have a blood test.

 

 

Started 200mg of T

16 Oct

I’m at work and I’ve just consumed a 375ml of Coke Zero and a snack pack of Barbecue Shapes. I started my 200mg of T today with the thought of trialing this dose for the next nine weeks. My expectations aren’t high, but I am expecting an increase in energy and libido, the energy being my main goal. However I realise there may be some unwanted side effects too and for that I am going to have to wait and see. At the moment however, five-hours after my shot, I feel exhausted and a little spacey. I have another three hours of work and then I am done for the day.

My anxiety levels have increased again, however I have no idea if this is due to the T or other factors in my life. Thankfully I am seeing my counsellor again in a few weeks and go through my thoughts with her. I’ve been a little disconnected from other genderqueer peeps because it’s been one thing after another – first a cold, then facilitating training workshops, another bug/virus, being busy and work. I did however manage a few quick catch-ups and I am hoping to see a few other friends at dinner this Friday.

I’m however struggling a little keeping afloat in what feels like to me a mostly trans* world. Despite people’s best attempts to introduce the topic of gender-neutral pronouns, mine were quickly forgotten, in several circumstances, when I was referred to as ‘she’. There were two events where this happened:

  • I’ve been facilitating a training course for newbie counsellors within the LGBTIQ community where I am amongst two gay men, two lesbians and a trans* guy. At the begining of the course we all stated our preferred pronoun when introducing ourselves. Despite being the only person preferring gender-neutral pronouns (e.g. they, them etc.) I didn’t hear or find anyone slipping up. The next two weeks however was very different. First I heard a member of the training team slip up, so I made an effort to try and speak up. I normally let these kind of things go, so imagine when I gathered the guts and calmed my anxiety by casually saying what my pronoun preferences were. By the end of the day I felt bad because the poor person felt I could have perhaps told them in private (instead of with one person close by), which caused them to be quite upset. Anyhow without going on and on about the situation, I soon found several people started referring to me as ‘she’ and wondered why the trans* guy got to have their pronouns respected?
  • Second occurance was at a social afternoon with friends where I was very aware of being referred to as ‘she’. Now while I don’t mind being called ‘she’ when someone has made the effort to ask me of my preferred pronouns (I really don’t mind but prefer the use of ‘they’) I was suprised that these friends went for the ‘greater of two evils’. Another friend mentioned it at the end of the day as we were doing the dishes and asked if I had noticed and what my thoughts were. It was my own fault for not enforcing it and it’s made me a little more determined to speak up for myself.

Anyhow this weekend we have our second-last training session and I will be co-facilitating with Genderqueer Australia to present about counselling trans* clients. I initially wanted to give my personal story to make people aware about assumptions, perhaps even to stand up and say ‘hey I am not invisable!’. However as soon as I mentioned it to the rest of the training team the trans* guy offered to tell his (not sure who knows and it may also be a bit of a ‘coming out’). I think both stories would be very powerful, actually I think anyone’s story would be, but I am not sure this is the place to do that – at least not while I am presenting to a training team I am continuining to work with. It does however remind me of the incident in NZ, and my heart just sinks a little at how invisable I sometimes feel.

Questioning T

24 Jun

I missed the first FTM Shed gathering yesterday because I am still trying to get over my cold and was exhausted after attempting to walk around South Yarra, Prahan and Windsor. There was also a part of me that wasn’t too sure about going as I don’t identify as FTM or masculine identified. I wanted to go because I wanted to find someone else like me, but as I scrolled through the Facebook event list I saw ‘guys’ and ‘men’. I still don’t feel like one of the group and I think I never will be. I didn’t sign-up for hormones because I wanted to belong to a community, but I guess it would have been nice. Well there is always the next one…

Two-weeks ago I took a week off work, which meant I had three days off. What was supposed to be a relaxing week turned out to reveal that I was in fact burning out and was feeling a little low. I needed to withdraw from everything and everyone in order to feel stable again. I don’t feel I am quite there yet but the time off, plus last week when I had a cold, has given me enough energy to battle on. The reason why I mention this here is that it affected how I see my genderqueerness and how I related to it as well.

Over the past two months, where a lot happened, I gradually felt myself decline. I complained that I was constantly tired, couldn’t sleep well and found it hard to concentrate. During that time I also didn’t feel like I was ‘me’, meaning that my gender/genderqueerness was of no importance when needed to survive seemed to overwhelm me. I was a little confused when I realized this – was my identity and taking T even important anymore? I missed T shots, was overdue for others and thought “why do I both?” when I did. I am still struggling a little and still have the questions of “why is this so important?” when it is so easy to put it on the back burner?

Before going to bed last night I noticed that two-weeks of facial hair growth was obvious enough to me to have to do something about it. Annoyance mixed with disgust battled for attention as I took my hair clippers to my chin and sideburns. I was worried what people at work would think of a ‘chick’ with tits having facial hair. In my mind I was worried that facial hair wasn’t for me – unwanted side effects of T. I knew I would get facial hair, I got excited about it, I didn’t mind it, but now that I am getting a beard I am wondering if this is it? There is a lot more I could explore, like do I have an stopping point or what other changes am I wanting, what would I do if I continue and grow a beard? All questions asked of me pre-T, but I couldn’t answer because I had no experience. I wonder how many other people ask these questions of themselves…

I can say what I am happy with and what I want: deeper voice, some facial hair, no menstruation, being seen as more masculine, increased sex drive… I wonder if I can cope with the hair growth stuff? I mean, that seems to be the only thing really making me question taking T at the moment, but what is a bit of facial hair!?

Connecting

29 Mar

I’ve been feeling a little disconnected in different ways over the past month. Some of it has to do with work, friendships, the trans* community and relationships. At the time that I wrote this however I was going through a ‘I am not trans* enough’/ no one gets me phase. I managed to catch-up with another genderqueer over dinner and some of the anxiety disapated and I felt lighter – thank goodness for genderqueer friends!

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30 Day Genderqueer Challenge Day 5

29 Jan

Dysphoria and how you manage it.

First of all I feel like I have to define what dysphoria is: Dysphoria (from Greek: δύσφορος (dysphoros), from δυσ-, difficult, and φέρειν, to bear) is a state of feeling unwell or unhappy; a feeling of emotional and mental discomfort as a symptom of discontentment, restlessness, dissatisfaction, malaise, depression or anxiety“.

I manage dysphoria in many ways, some helpful and others not quite so much. There were days when I felt so overwhelmed by anxiety and feeling unhappy that I didn’t want to get out of bed, go to work, talk to friends or even want to think about anything relating to my genderqueerness. On those days everything used to overwhelm me and I would usually just jump into bed and try and get a good nights sleep and tackle the next day as it came. On the bad days I would manage my dysphoria by binding my chest and trying to ‘present’ as masculine as possible as it helped me feel more trans* (which at times would make me feel dysphoric = not trans* enough made me feel crap). Some of mydyphoria was due to not feeling trans* enough, while at other times it was around being genderqueer – not quite a grrl and not quite a boi, inbetween, confused and feeling a little weird.

On ‘good’ days I was able to talk to someone (friend/partner) or ‘trick’ my thoughts/brain by distracting it with something I enjoyed doing. I manage on an ongoing basis by seeing a counsellor once-a-month, chatting to my friends and partner, writing this blog and by not rushing into anything that I am not sure about.

One of the main ways that made me feel less dysphoric was starting T, which didn’t cure it but made me at least feel a little more comfortable enough within my own (hairy) skin that being genderqueer is ok.

Adapted from the 30 day Trans challenge and the 30 day [GSM] challenge

Cccchanges

28 Nov

I will be starting fortnightly injections next Friday. It is a trial to see if I feel more stable and also to see how my body reacts. Thinking about it now I am not quite sure why I am doing it. Maybe it was because my last blood results showed my T levels had dropped and I also reported that I had some anxiousness during my third week. Only time will tell!

There is another counselling appointment tonight and then a psych one next Saturday. I find the counselling very helpful as I have space to talk, not just about gender and trans* issues, but also about my anxiety. The psych appointment seems to be more about him and/or the process. I don’t find it useful and I often find myself needing to think of content that I have already resolved.

Yesterday evening while playing netball a friend noticed my facial fuzz/hair, they know about my starting T, while another commented on my voice being croaky, this one isn’t aware of me. I am managing to mostly skim over these comments but I am wondering when they will be unavoidable. I’m already noticing that I am getting tiny hairs on my shoulders and around my nipples, while my facial fuzz continues to spread and is now causing a few pimples. I am plucking for the time being until I am needing to take action with a razor or hot wax! My voice continues to fluctuate but hasn’t settled as yet, which I don’t mind. A friend told me while ago, after one of my T shots, that I needed to drop my voice so it isn’t so squeeky. For one I had no awareness it sounded so obvious, secondly I was hurt that her didn’t get that I am not wanting to sound ‘manly’ or ‘pass’. I am happy as I am!

I’ve not contacted the training coordinator at work yet, mostly because I am a little lazy, but also because I am not sure if I want to go ahead. Yetsrday changed my thoughts on that a little though. I was approached by one of the counselling managers who had a question to ask me. My heart jumped into my throat and I panicked that he was going to ask me if I was trans*. The question was something else entirely though so disaster averted. I wonder however what I would have said if that was the question?

Anxiety and work progress

20 Nov

I received a reply from the training coordinator at my work. Basically it read “Can we arrange a time to discuss how you would like to proceed with this further, as I think it’s a very important topic?” followed by what days they were available to speak and meet. That was last week and I still haven’t called, partially because I am not sure if I want to go ahead and bring attention to myself now that I am transferring to another counselling service. I will think about this a little more and see how I go.

Work has been one place I can go and relax. When my anxiety is up or I am feeling stressed I find distraction at work. I am wondering how this might change if I choose to go ahead and ‘come out’ to come work peers? I am thinking perhaps the education on genderqueer could be for the staff and not my work peers who offer the counselling…? A plan for my supervisor and team leader to understand my want for gender-neutral pronouns etc. Maybe…

In other news my anxiety is back up and although I was concerned it was due to my hormone levels in-betweeen three-weekly shots I am fairly certain it is also due to my ‘normal’ r’ship anxiety I’ve always experienced. I won’t go into the who and why but I will elaborate by saying that I often feel isolated because I don’t know who I can talk to about this stuff. So many people roll their eyes when you launch into your love-life dramas that I’ve stopped talking about them, in-fact I have stopped talking about anything personal, and yes I have sought out a counsellor, but friends are always better because you can do it over a coffee.

Anyhow I am not in the right headspace (due to my anxiety levels) to write anymore today – thanks for dropping by though!