Strange sensations, relaxing and increased appetite. Sounds like the start of a 1990’s sitcom and for the most part it basically is. One week on hormones has given me some interesting and different aspects to think about and feel.
The most noticeable thing about starting hormones has been the calming effect they are having on my overall demeanour. I wonder if my new found sense of calm and control is how the real me should be. Is my brain less frustrated and annoyed because it is finally getting what it needs? Is my body and brain starting to align this quickly? Is it all just a placebo for reaching the milestone that is HRT land? These are nice questions to be pondering and a relief that the first experience with this world changing medicine is positive. I know I am not the first, and will not be the last, transperson to have this going on at the start of treatment.
I was very fearful of this stage of transition. More because of its significance as opposed to the actual medical effects. I proudly say that I have made it, being prescribed the hormones and starting to take them has been a breathe of fresh air to my life and for the first time I feel like me, not some mess of a man in a dress. I feel like a woman and even though these pills have had little physical effect they have certainly helped my mind. I genuinely do not care if I grow boobs or a better figure, all I wanted was to stop the madness and feel like myself.
I appreciate it is early days and things will change as time goes by but not having a mind racing away with itself, worrying about a non-future and generally causing havoc with me has allowed me to be me! There are many transfolk who feel they do not need hormone treatment and I totally respect that but this has been a revelation for me. For many a fundamental aspect of transition is to start hormones and many prescribe themselves treatments from the internet. I understand this when I see the many hurdles put in front of transfolk from medical services and although it is dangerous some feel there is little other choice. However, I do not want to dwell on yet more negatives for our community. There is enough of that already.
The next ‘change‘ I have noticed is the need to eat. Now do not get me wrong, I am no replica of Twiggy or anything like that, but I have been eating a lot more than I previously did and I am concerned about putting on weight. I feel hungry all the time and keep thinking about gorging on fast food and other bad things. This has been exasperated by giving up smoking at the same time, which has been successful thus far. I think I am replacing smoking with food and reacting to new hormones with food also. It is the least of my worries in the big scheme of things, but trying to resist eating is becoming agonising. I have been reading a lot about the side effects of HRT and I think I would rather be in the dark about all this. Just sit, suck on a lollipop and hope for the best.
Serotonin has been ruling my life for the last week and I can literally feel it oozing from the glands in my head. I am constantly trying recreate the lovely tingly feelings I have been experiencing so far. Fun is not a word I would attribute to medication very often but my senses are loving the influx of oestrogen recently. I know this is excellent news and goes hand in hand with the aligning of mind, body and soul that has been missing my entire life. I cannot overstate how open my mind is, it is as if I was blind and deprived from happiness only for it to flood me like a tsunami. Smashing away all the dread, washing away all the fear, purifying my soul. And when all the forceful waves are washed away it is only my ship still floating, ready to continue the journey. (More water metaphors Amy!)
Finally throwing away the last of the man clothes that were being kept for no real reason has been great. As humans, our brains do strange things to feel comfortable or content with life and ridding ourselves of memories that cause pain. It is always a necessity to forget the harm of our pasts, failing to do so never allows our spirit to move on. I feel spiritual now having been able to clean my nest of bad memories, it was a process of growing as well as forgetting. Similar to how the beautiful butterfly forgets it was once an ugly caterpillar and now flies free. The caterpillar phase has well and truly finished for me and perhaps I am just finishing my cocoon ready to hibernate before POW! Faith flutterby time.
The only real negative I have felt since starting HRT is that in my bones. I constantly need to stretch and find it difficult to get comfortable. I am not sure why this is and unlike the appetite issue, I cannot control this. Hopefully it is just a settling in phase and not something permanent which would be very hard to deal with all the time. I will take mental notes if anything serious starts to affect me and report them to the blood doctor when it is time to see him again.
On the topic of doctors, I have been given the all clear on the mental health side of transition. I have been told not to go back to the doctor who was dealing with the mental side and to me this is great. Not only on a medical level, but a financial level as well! Not having to go through the questions and feelings is a relief and is another sign for me that progress is being made on many fronts.
Progress, in terms of transgender transition is very personal but one thing I feel helps a successful transition is planning. I have planned every step meticulously but been flexible enough to make changes, quickly, if needed. Always have something to do has become an unofficial motto of my journey. I am still planning now, finish face lasers, start voice training, continue to save for clothes etc. I will not stop until I know I can physically do no more to improve my life as a woman. Another benefit to taking this attitude is that it stops any dysphoria setting in and getting a grip. I am done with that and kicking on with the medical side of finding happiness.