On Saturday, James and I took the second round of Depo injections, and the Wednesday before that saw the start of the cyproterone (25mg twice daily for me, 50mg twice daily for James). At two and a half weeks in, I think I can safely say that it’s working.
Speaking yesterday with one of the few people with whom I’ve talked about this, I mentioned that libido was down around 50%, but I think I’m going to re-estimate that downward. I first noticed how drastically reduced it was yesterday morning when a friend on Twitter asked what sort of kinky stuff I was into. I’m not really all that kinky of a person even when I’m not actively trying to knock down my libido, but even when trying to sort through past experiences to figure out what I considered some of my favorite experiences, nothing appealed to me. It wasn’t just one of those “nah, not that that one; not that one either” sort of feelings like when one can’t decide which song to play next, but more of a “huh, I guess I had fun at the time, but that sounds kind of boring now; that one’s kind of gross” feeling. So much of what drove those experiences and made them pleasant for me was based solely on libido. Those that still seemed pleasant seemed so because I had such fond feelings for those involved.
I’ve noticed fewer “morning wood” erections and the ability to even bring myself to arousal is greatly reduced (it’s getting difficult!), so I’m going to lower the estimate from 50% to maybe 35-40%. Which, hey, is more than I was expecting out of two halves of a pill and a shot ever two weeks. Sorry for the grossness, but that’s part of the experiment.
While I’m not expecting any crazy revelations on the gender front, I do feel like I’ve gained the ability to think a little more clearly about it, which I suppose is what I was after. It’s easier to comprehend how much of what I’ve been calling a problem is me being wrapped up in gender roles and being unhappy about it. There’s a sort of guilt that underlies a lot of the internal conflict, much of which likely has to do with some of the ways in which I was raised – both sides of my family bought pretty strongly into gender roles, in their own ways. With my dad, it was the strict sense that he needed to be the one with the brains and control in the family, and so he sought out wives that were, as he saw it, inferior to him in that sense, then he would get upset at them and belittle them for not being smart enough. On my mom’s side, while my mom was bucking some of the roles by advancing quickly in her position as a female engineer, the relationship was complicated by my stepfather, who was like my dad in many ways. That relationship turned sour, I believe, when my stepdad quit his job and my mom supported the entire family (him, his three children, me, and herself). It was, I think, a little damaging to his machismo.
More than that, though, I think that I’m just unhappy feeling as though, in order to make it through life, I have to live within a certain role defined by my genitalia – a role whose borders are strict and yet never discussed in the open. I suppose that’s the sort of thing feminists have been talking about for quite a while, but the fact that I’m a confused guy uncomfortable in his own skin makes it all seem quite profound. Ah well. I suppose it’s the type of thing I’ll need to think about further if I’m to get anywhere with it.
Additionally, it certainly helps that I’m spending so much time feeling bad about friendships and work, because it leaves little emotional strength to feel bad about gender, as well. There has been quite a bit of moodiness the last few days surrounding those two topics, and I find it difficult to disentangle the matters internally. On the one hand, there are quite a few giant warnings about how this course of action can lead to suicidal levels of depression, but on the other, I have some legitimate things to be upset about. Work’s killing me – the commute is over the top, the project I’m on is going nuts, and there’s little room for advancement beyond project lead – and friendships are turning sour as a result of my own stupid mistake back in March. I spend a lot of my time dwelling on these things, as I’m wont to do, and working myself into a depressed state. The two things that point to this having possible connections with the medication are that, for one, the moods respond well to the anxiolytic I’m already on for such things (as if the anti-androgens and progesterone were just triggering the anxiety that’s already there), and also that I find if I remember that I’m taking something that is going to be affecting my mood, it’s almost an immediate relief, as in “Oh, good, it’s just because of the meds; better now.” I realize that the latter isn’t so much a diagnosis as a redirection technique, something I’ve been working on quite a bit with my psychiatrist (redirecting anxious energy away from thinking about offing myself and towards finding a new job and so on has been one of the biggest helps of the whole thing). I’m not worried yet, in other words, but I’m keeping an eye on my moods, just to make sure.
As for other side effects, the only things of note are that I’ve been needing sleep a whole lot more than I used to. I’ve noticed myself crashing at around nine or ten at night (which bodes ill for our night-time release on Friday), and having a difficult time waking up. During the day, it’s usually manageable with coffee and the like, but I still find myself getting spacey and dozy in the afternoons. Also, something, and it could be just me being overweight now, but maybe not, has me sweating like crazy in the heat. James has mentioned his sensitivity to temperatures in the past on such courses, but usually sensitivity to cold. It could be that this is just another aspect of that, but it’s a little out of control at times; I’ve had to bring paper towels with me when walking the dog, recently, in order to take care of the sweat (though perhaps some of that is due to the fact that I only wear long sleeved shirts and jeans, on weekdays).
I suppose that’s all for now. I have a recording to transcribe from Saturday, will try to get that done soon.