First of all, it's impossible for me to disentangle the placebo, psychosomatic and pharmacological aspects of what's going on. Those are three different things. To explain: placebo effects could involve actual physical changes, triggered for instance by an increase in the secretion of endogenous oestrogens. The psychosomatic effects might be more connected with the perception of what's going on. Finally, by pharmacological effects i mean the kind of thing which would happen if i was taking them without being aware of taking anything, placebo or not.
There are a few obvious actions of oestrogen which i won't bother to go into, but if you want to take a look at the breast video, it's here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G58bbhvcHZQ . Leaving all that aside, there are many effects, but they include fat deposition, water retention, blood clot formation, an anti-depressant action (which surprises me), and it's also anti-inflammatory and counteracts OCD. The last i can believe, because i've felt much less driven since i started on it, and also euphoric, though not all the time, which would be a concern. Colours have seemed brighter too. In connection with the lack of drive, i feel slightly physically weaker although that may be more of a question of having a kind of "brake" on my physical activities than actually being weaker, and more tempted to hide from conflict. Regarding conflict itself, i find myself becoming more aware of the interactions between people rather than just the content of their discussions or arguments, and also of a whole world of interaction between people which i often strain to notice. In other words, i've become less "Aspie", which is a puzzle since there are clearly Asperger's women.
Given all that though, suppose all this is in fact in my mind. If that's so, i suppose what i'm doing is channelling my anima, which may be stereotypical, so what i'm doing in fact is behaving like my own sexist stereotype of the typical woman. Is there even a single female identity anyway? Also, if it really is making a difference, is that to do with the oestrogenic effects itself or other things?
What i mean by this is that of course i'm taking Trifolium pratense, a herbal remedy high in the phytoestrogen trifoliol, rather than oestrogen as such. Trifoliol is substantially similar to the endogenous human oestrogens but Trifolium pratense is more than just a phytoestrogen. There are quite a lot of oestrogenic herbs. Salvia officinalis - sage - i've used at a pinch in the past few weeks when i've run out of red clover, but am reluctant to do so because it dries up milk and my plan is to trigger lactation. Cimicifuga racemosa, if it is oestrogenic at all, i found emetic, made me irritable and the therapeutic index was pretty low. Humulus lupulus i wouldn't touch with a barge pole because it's depressant, and isoflavones in soya seem pretty dodgy. Xenoestrogens are even worse.
Tags: trans, transsexual, transition, oestrogen, estrogen, emotion, breasts, endometrium, hormones, hrt, ocd, herbalism, phytoestrogens, trifolium, red clover, salvia, sage, cimicifuga, cohosh, black cohosh, change, conflict, empathy, perception, gender, dysphoria, euphoria, vlog, experiences, hops, humulus, water retention, xenoestrogens, depression, feelings, asperger, aspergers, ocd, asd, neurotypical, sexism, anima, stereotype, stereotyping, placebo, psychosomatic, pharmacology, effects, cancer, carcinogen, action, identity, gender identity, sex
(The clicktotweet, which incidentally never seems to be used, is there in the real description).
So yes, at about the time i would be perimenopausal, i'm going for this. Not entirely sensible, you might think, but i feel alive! Not sure if it's actually the Trifolium of course. It might just be that i've finally decided to fight back against a body which is doing stuff i hate. I don't like not being integrated in this way - it's very unhealthy - but it hasn't gone away for decades. Even if the rebellion is purely symbolic, it's something.
It's a bit like caffeine though. Caffeine makes me feel good but is clearly not healthy. I presume i am doing something to myself here which is inadvisable, but at the same time it feels like what i've been missing for my whole life.
OK, let's just blog normally for once: how do i feel about this?
This is something i'm strongly tempted to apply to the whole transgender phenomenon, but i know that would be very judgemental and unfair, so i'll restrict it to myself, which is the Christian thing to do (!). There are a number of ways in which i think indulging my gender dysphoria is quite negative.
- It's self-centred and not about making the world a better place. I shouldn't be so focussed on my own problems that i neglect everything else. It's a self-indulgent voyage into my own ego.
- There's a lack of integrity with my own body. Every diploid cell in my body has a Y chromosome and my phenotype is male, so i just am male. I may have struggled unsuccessfully with coming to terms with that fact, but i should learn to accept myself, and as it happens, i am also disgustingly healthy. Why do i pretend this is a problem?
- It's invasive of female territory and reflects a failure to understand the true nature of patriarchy. A person is of a particular gender due to the history of how they've been perceived predominantly by society. I may occasionally pass, usually unintentionally, but that's not enough to make me female. I just am not female. There's no glass ceiling, no perception of the risk of rape, no constant risk of violence, no physical health problems caused by a patriarchal society where men hog all the resources. None of that. I will also never menstruate, never get pregnant and so on. The same is of course true of many women and in that sense it doesn't form part of their identity, but the perceived potential exists. I see trans in my life as reflecting a desire to invade and possess the feminine, and it's really crap of me to do that.