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How does T mess with your mind?

March 19, 2009

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!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Rattenmaus permalink
    March 19, 2009 7:14 pm

    Hi there,

    I heard the radio show you linked to a couple weeks back. I was really curious to hear this part of the show, actually. But then I was a bit disappointed, because I felt that the guy (for the life of me I couldn’t remember his name even right when I listened to the show.) was kind of…saying what was expected from him? I don’t want to say that he didn’t have the expiriences he talked about, but it made me wonder if a) the atmosphere at the interview made him feel like he had to talk like that, and that b) he attributed to much to the hormone. I mean, in the end that doctor even said that most things people think about testosterone is wrong. And I would imagine that *believing* that something will alter your personality would be enough to actually have your personality change (at least a bit). And especially when somebody feels the pressure to fit in and be a “real man”, I’d imagine one would be open for this.

    The reason I wanted to answer was, after the show I was kind of angry with that guy. He sounded like T made him abandon his feministc values, or “see the truth”. The part where he said how funny it was that a woman told him that he was doing something misogynic, because hey, he was a woman once! How could he be misogynic!
    I also didn’t like the joke about the planned website, “ask a guy who used to be a girl”…yeah, because having lived as a woman grants you so much wisdom about every other woman on the planet. I’m sorry, I don’t want to ramble, but it bothers me that what this guy said could bother you so much.

    The part where you talk about having strong feelings… maybe it will be different, yeah, but maybe it’s something you can adjust to. Feelings are something that you have to *let* happen, and I could imagine that men – both of the variety that just have T and the kind that has to take it – just don’t let themselves.

    And even if it’s true – for you – why would that prove gender stereotypes are true? You already know that there are men out there who are living examples of it. And still, there are plenty of guys who aren’t. And they will continue to exist even if you happen to be closer to the stereotype than you are now.

    I hope you don’t mind this rant from a stranger. :)
    Good luck with your treatment!

  2. Rattenmaus permalink
    March 19, 2009 7:22 pm

    PS: I wanted to apologize for the typos and errors. I’m not a native english speaker…^-^
    Uhm and if you’re wondering where the hell I come from, a friend of mine who’s trans himself kind of “sent” me because he knew that I listened to that radio show, and he had to live trough my fresh rants about it.

  3. March 19, 2009 9:33 pm

    Hey man, how’s everything? hope so good. I’ve read about this a little bit. In fact i saw a vlog on youtube about a transguy that was talking about this. Some say that at the begining you can feel angry or desperate or those kind of feelings because your through menopausia, i dont know how to write it in english. You are stopping estrogenos, so, you have to pass through a proccess.

    Its a little hard i guess, but it worths it.

    see you


  4. Andrei permalink
    March 22, 2009 9:00 pm

    i thought the point about a possible correlation between T and an interest in science was fascinating. I also realized that when I used to think of T, all I thought about were the physical changes. After all, my friend who started it last year had to know all of the bodily side effects before he could get it. Now I think about the mental effects too.

    I also noticed that when the man who had lost his testosterone was describing his experience, it reminded me a little of being on antidepressants; being able to lie around and not care about much.

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