It’s official: I’ve reached the first bump in the road on T. I’m going to attribute it at least partially to user error, though, because I definitely got a little overexcited and overplayed my hand.
Yesterday, as I dispensed my daily pump of testosterone gel into my hand to rub onto my shoulder, a little demon popped up on my shoulder and whispered in my ear: “What if you added just an extra, tiny, little half-pump at the end? Just for a boost!” To be clear, the NP who prescribed me my T told me that with the gel there was some flexibility to the dosing. She said if I tried out one pump and then decided I wanted to move up to 1 1/2 or 2 pumps a day, I could. However, she also made it clear that one of the benefits of a daily gel over a weekly shot is having more stable levels of testosterone every day.
Everyone reacts to hormones differently, and I’m sure for some people an extra quarter pump of T one time wouldn’t really cause any noticeable changes. I, however, am someone who struggles a lot with emotional regulation. I’ve got ASD and CPTSD, both of which can make my emotions a bit exaggerated and difficult to manage. Little changes in hormones, I now know, are not helpful in managing them.
I treated myself to that extra teeny-tiny pump of T, and man was that day a wild ride. I started off angry at everything, from the pile of dishes in the sink that I had failed to clean the day before to my cat following me around and yelling for his breakfast (like he does most days). I was just steamed about everything, but somehow I didn’t connect the dots between the T and my unfounded rage.
My next mistake was isolating myself in my room to try to ride out the wave of unrest. Locking myself up away from the world only proved to turn my bristly attitude into a bristly and depressed mood that lasted the whole day. Eventually it all culminated in an argument that didn’t need to happen with my partner, after which I cried a little and then took a nap. When I woke up, I realized what an ass I had been and apologized to my partner for flying off the handle.
Today I kept it to one pump and one pump only, and so far no drastic outbursts have occurred. I’m still a little embarrassed about yesterday, but I learned my lesson about playing around with hormones. Maybe for some the stakes wouldn’t be quite so high, but I’d say if you struggle with emotional stability at all it’s probably best if you stick to a strict routine for your HRT. You don’t want to mess around and find out just how cranky and insufferable you can be like I did.
Quick note, though: I still do not in any way regret starting T. I had one less than ideal day and I learned a lesson, but over all I’m still feeling infinitely better in my body than I did pre-HRT. Today I’m back to normal and happy I’ve taken this plunge, so take this sobering update with a big old grain of euphoric salt.