How does T mess with your mind?
I’ve read all sorts of answers to this question. From “I suddenly started feeling an inexplicable rage” to “I feel peace for the first time in my life.” I hadn’t really thought about this until I listened to this radio show about testosterone, which includes an interview with a transman. One phrase stuck in my mind: “It’s like something in me giving me instructions I probably shouldn’t follow.”
I’m not so worried about the impulses T would bring; after all, part of being a human is controlling those impulses. I’m more concerned about the feelings that T might erase. The guy on the radio show, for instance, mentioned he couldn’t cry as easily, even if he wanted to. I’ve heard that testosterone makes it easier to control emotions, which could be a good thing (although that contradicts some sources, which mention an uncontrollable libido and anger). But sometimes I like feeling strong emotions. I like the goosebumps down my spine when I read something extraordinarily heartwarming, and the electricity that rushes through my body during a particularly good movie.
Overall, I’m not too preoccupied of the effects testosterone might have on my personality, although I would love if it gave me an energy boost (that’s a possible consequence). It is a factor to consider before starting T, but I don’t think any possible negative effects outweigh the certain positive physical effects I’ll experience. Besides, I can always stop my injections if necessary. Right now, I’m more worried about the implications on the gender system if T really does change your personality: would that make gender stereotypes at least partially true?
Hudson’s FtM Guide is probably right: “Testosterone is only one factor in transition, and not everyone responds to it in the same way. This is not to deny that testosterone can and does have significant effects on the moods and feelings of some trans guys, but rather to point out that many factors play into a person’s behaviors. You can meet ten different trans people on the exact same dosing schedule of testosterone, and they may have ten different transition experiences!”
PS: Tboy Jacky just posted about this issue; his experience is really illuminating, especially concerning aggressiveness and sex drive. And guess what? “I’ve always been easily moved by various art forms and that has not changed.” There goes my largest concern about the emotional consequences of T! Hooray!