the art of altering consciousness

DOPAMINE- Plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior. Every type of reward that has been studied increases the level of dopamine in the brain.

SEROTONIN- Contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.

I haven’t been completely sober for the last year. Although I am no more subservient to the self-destructive Opiate. I will regretfully admit that I have been drinking Alcohol. And yes, I’m well aware of it’s extremely high potential for abuse and it’s equally destructive attributes. I don’t even like it that much, definitely not my favorite drug, I just have a few glasses of wine to relax after work.  Maybe it’s my personality or it’s in my genes but I cannot deny liking how certain substances not only make me feel but how they make me think. I’d like to traverse through as many realities as possible, getting to know different sides of myself. There are an abundance of ways to alter your state of consciousness; drugs, sex, religion, exercise, sleep, etc. I’m definitely not the only one that finds it enjoyable. As long as there has been humans we have been seeking ways to “get high” or distort our normal thought process. Whether it’s for self-improvement, a search for the divine or just entertainment.

I’ve been especially interested in Psychedelics lately like LSD, Psilocybin Mushrooms, DMT, etc. They’re extremely promising for relieving depression, anxiety, addiction and an incredibly insightful way of exploring your mind. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is an organization researching psychedelic therapy. Psychedelics are drugs that have legitimate medical use even though the government says they don’t. I’m really looking at drug use in a different way. It may sound cliché or hippy-ish but I want to be more in touch with my creative side, something that I’ve lost because of silly insecurities. I don’t necessarily want to be numb or stoned all the time, I want to experience my emotions through the altercations of my brain chemicals. No more escaping into a drug to avoid my problems, I want to utilize the drug to help me understand and solve my problems, as in a therapy session.  Some drugs help me appreciate life, they’re a learning experience, a tool. We are made of drugs, so when you take more drugs you’re just tweaking the chemicals that are already in your brain. When sober, this is just our perception of reality. The real reality is unknowable. Dennis McKenna says it really well here.

Recently I came across the research chemical or “designer drug” Methoxetamine (MXE) that’s in the Dissociative category.  A  derivative of Ketamine (Special K). At high doses it can be a used as an anesthetic, but at low doses it’s quiet up-lifting and has shown to have anti-depressant like effects. I’m also looking into Psychedelic Tryptamines that are similar to Psilocybin. I’m not suggesting you should go out and get any of these chemicals. There are dangers when taking any substance. Little is known about the health risks of these chemicals. You have to be responsible and educated on what you’re taking. These chemicals are VERY potent, you must be certain you’re taking the correct dose! For now some of these research chemicals are legal and easily accessible. Since the far safer and natural drugs like Psilocybin Mushrooms and Marijuana are illegal we are forced to find other ways of enlightenment. A lot of times research chemicals are sold as something else like LSD. So if you do come in contact with a substance you’re not sure of, be safe and know what you’re taking. Here’s a good website for information and testing kits – Dancesafe.org. Also check out Erowid for trip reports!

I’ll be posting trip reports of my own and be more specific about the effects the drugs I take have on me.

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1 year on Testosterone

It’s been a really long time since I’ve wrote anything! Almost a year. Definitely too long, and I have a lot of regret about not documenting my changes more.  There’s a handful of excuses why I haven’t updated but I’m not going to list them. It’s honestly just laziness, I have a very limited amount of self discipline. My regret is more about  not writing, not so much the part about saying how much hairier I’ve gotten. That’s fine if you want to do that, there’s just so many guys doing it that I don’t think there’s much of a need for one more.  Although most people, including myself, like to look back on how far they’ve come, how much they’ve grown. This is supposed to be for me. A journal is a lot like talk therapy, helping yourself figure things out. I want to be writing about everything in my head. So many thoughts are just lost, because I don’t write them down. I could say that will change right now, but I’ll be lying.  I can work on it though.

It has been a year since I started taking testosterone. It seems like it flew by. I guess a year is a milestone but I’m not sure I feel that way. Don’t get me wrong I’m extremely grateful that I’m able to take hormones and medically transition! I guess I’m just not completely satisfied with myself yet(and probably won’t ever be). I’m sure I’m not the only guy in the middle of transition that feels this way, of course. I know, I just have to be patient. I have changed enormously, for the better. My voice has dropped and yes I am quite hairy( not so much on the face, it’s still filling in). Nobody mistakes me for a girl anymore and I’m starting to feel more comfortably with myself. I still have a lot to work on though. Not just with changing physically but mentally, becoming a better person and just being happy. I’m still not yet the person I want to be.

Also it’s really hard to stay optimistic about “top” surgery too. A part of me thinks IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN! But I know realistically it will, someday, it’s unfortunately not going to happen as quick as I’d like it too. But it will! I have to be positive, look at the bright side. I don’t know why that’s so hard for me. It’s difficult to change how your brain is used to thinking.


How I overcame addiction to find myself

After a few months clean of all drugs including Nicotine; a doctor said to me – wow, something must have really motivated you!  What made me want to take control of my life? What was my motivation to take on the struggles of  a life of sobriety after addiction? I had to stop and look at myself from the outside. Asking myself – why the hell am I doing this? It’s getting me no where. It’s self-destructive, not to mention, destroying all relationships I had with all other human beings. I was paranoid, suspicious, and on the verge of being anti-social. My thought process was – as long as I have my drugs, I don’t need people.  It’s amazing how drugs substantially alter the chemistry of your brain. I was thoroughly convinced that my drug was all I needed to survive. The relationships you have in your life are the only thing that are significant. Everything else is just filler. I was oblivious to this while consumed by drugs.  I only cared about my next high. Constantly trying to escape reality, letting life pass me by. It was changing me into something I hated. I had to stop it. I had enough.

I was on Suboxone for a couple of years to get off of the illegal drugs. I say it that way because Suboxone is still a hardcore drug, it’s just prescribed to you. If anyone is unfamiliar with it, it differs from Methadone because you can’t get high from it. They call it a ceiling effect. It basically makes you feel “normal”, well as much as possible while on a very strong opiate. It postponed withdrawal.  One good thing I can say about Suboxone is it did help me clear my mind so I had some idea of what I was doing to myself. Although I wasn’t getting the buzz from it I still thought I needed it to survive. I couldn’t go a day without it. I still had the same intense panic if I would happen to lose one and thought I wouldn’t have enough to get me to my next appointment, then when I was using pain pills and was worried about where I could get more. Suboxone was controlling my life just like any other drug.

Doctors don’t seem to have a real clear plan on how long you should be on this drug. It’s up to you, you could be on it for years. Not all insurance companies will pay for this treatment either. It can be more expensive than your original addiction. So doctors will keep you on it as long as you want because they are profiting from it. Not concerned about what it is doing to your body. The long-term side effects aren’t really known because it’s still relatively new. It’s a partial opioid agonist, there’s nothing else like it in nature. It’s unnerving how eager doctors are to put you on it, treating it as though it’s some miracle drug for addiction. When honestly it’s just a replacement.

Remember I said it only postpones withdrawal. You’re supposed to taper down eventually but even on the smallest dose possible you’re going to go through withdrawal when you stop. I felt as though I had these invisible handcuffs and there was no way of escaping.  I got down on as low of a dose as I could, not even telling my doctor. I’ll admit that wasn’t the best idea but when I did tell him I wanted to lower my dose he would say not to do it so fast. I had to, I had to get off this drug! Finally I just got fed up with the humiliation of having to take a drug test every 2 weeks, the toll it was taking on my mind and body and just stopped going to my appointments.  Thinking about the withdrawal now still causes me anxiety even as I’m almost 6 months clean from it. The week or two after stopping was an incredible battle. Part of me just wanted to take something to take away the pain. But I knew if I did take something, I would have to start all over again. I had to start the process of stopping. I stayed strong and it was worth it. I feel so much better, I have this confidence now that I can accomplish anything.  The relief I feel is indescribable.

I’m still going through post acute withdrawal. Most days I feel fine but my brain and body are still recuperating. I could be in post acute withdrawal for up to 2 years. The longer you are on the Suboxone the harder it seems to get off it. I wish I would have stopped it sooner but I’m just glad I could stop it at all. There are people who have been on it since it came out. Maybe that’s better for them because they know they’d go back to using illegal drugs. Not for me, I had to figure myself out. That wasn’t who I wanted to be. You just have to stand up to what you’re running from. It’s not going to go away, it’s only going to intensify.

So what was I trying to escape from? What would make me choose a life of a deranged drug addict? My parents were divorced but my childhood wasn’t that bad. That wasn’t what I was trying to hide from. Why am I so unhappy with myself and what do I have to do to change it? That’s when I started to realize I was Transgendered. It all started making sense. It gave me a completely different outlook on my future. It gives me the motivation to stay clean. I can be happy! I don’t have to live with a body that I hate. If I don’t like something about myself, I’m going to change it. Even if someone doesn’t agree with it. Why should I live unhappily just to make other people comfortable? I’m not going to go through life cowering in the corner, thinking of ways to make myself numb anymore. I want to feel! Not only feel the pleasures but feel the pain too. I want to know I’m alive!


3rd shot, 4 weeks on Testosterone

I skipped a few weeks on updating on my progress because there wasn’t much going on. It’s been 4 weeks and today is my 3rd shot of T. I’m on a low dose of 100 mg every 2 weeks but I’m going to start taking 50mg every week so my hormone levels are more stable. I’ve been getting headaches a couple days before my next injection.

I haven’t noticed a lot of changes, just a couple. I’m getting a lot of peach fuzz on my face. That was surprising, I didn’t expect that to happen so soon. Yeah I know, it’s just peach fuzz but I’ve heard transguys talk about not getting peach fuzz until 5 or 6 months into transition. It’s really noticeable, I may have to start shaving sooner than I thought I’d have to. I’ll probably have a pretty full beard. Unfortunately this likely means I’ll be really hairy everywhere else too. I’m not really looking forward to back hair! You have to take the good with the bad I guess. My throat has been scratchy at times. Some words come out deeper than I expect but no real significant drop yet. Oh yeah, acne.Yep the acne has got worse. I expected that though. I used to break out before my period every month. Now it doesn’t clear up, it’s just always there. I do have a topical gel that keeps it under control, just hope it goes away in a few years. I guess after my “puberty”. That’s about it for changes so far.


First shot of Testosterone!

June 28th was my first shot of Testosterone! Finally!

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I went to the doctor and she watched me inject myself, guiding me along the way. I didn’t have much of a problem, as I suspected. If that’s what I have to do for the changes, then that’s what I have to do. It doesn’t hurt and its pretty quick, not a big deal. I probably won’t always think that way though, considering I’ll have to do that for the rest of my life. But I’m not going to worry about it too much right now. Its been five days since the shot, and of course I don’t feel any different yet. Some guys say they do but their good moods probably are just a result of finally getting the T. It is a good feeling!

I’m pretty impatient though, I’d like to fast forward a couple weeks just to see what’s going to happen. The anticipation is brutal! It should go fast though, I have a lot of new things happening. Moving into a new apartment, hopefully getting a job, a lot of stuff to be excited about.

I previously wanted to wait until my transition progressed some before getting a job but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. I am nervous about dealing with it while working. Well, dealing with the people. I guess I’ll just have to suck it up. People are going to talk and there will be people who can’t understand it. That’s fine, I’m not going to work to make friends. I just hear stories about people being fired just for being transgendered and that makes me anxious. I need to have a job to pay for this apartment.

Also I’m not completely out yet. I know that I don’t pass 100% of the time, so I haven’t insisted people call me by my chosen name. Some people do, some don’t. So going through the transition at work seems really difficult right now.  I suppose I’ll just have to deal with the situations as they come up.


Don’t assume!

When I tell people that I’m transitioning, I think the impression they get is that I want to become a man. Even though I’ve tried to explain that I’ve always been a man on the inside. I don’t look like a girl, I don’t feel like a girl and don’t act like a girl either. I guess this was the gender I was assigned at birth so that’s all they know. I’m just tired of being underestimated because I’m a “girl”. It’s just their narrow-minded way of thinking, to say a girl isn’t as strong as a guy. She can be if she wants to be! Granted the testosterone helps guys but even now before I’ve started HRT(hormone replacement therapy) I’m stronger than some guys! People do too much assuming! Bugs me.


in limbo…

Time is sure dragging since I’ve been waiting for May 24th… that’s when I have my consultation with a doctor about testosterone. It still seems so far away, I’m a very impatient person. I’m just so sick of being stuck in between. Maybe that’s ok for some people, to be androgynous, but not for me. I guess because I’ve been assumed female for so long, even though that’s not how I feel. Most of the time people aren’t sure, they stare and must be wondering – is that a guy or girl? I would like to walk in somewhere and not be scrutinized for a change. I probably shouldn’t care what people are thinking and I’m trying not to. I just want to feel comfortable with myself. At least I finally have the appointment and soon I’ll have the testosterone and all the exciting changes that come with it. =)


come out or be stealth?

I want to start by saying I love my girlfriend so much and I appreciate how supportive she have been with me transitioning, as well as everything else in my life. I would be lost without her, she is my best friend, my life partner. I have to say I’m so glad I’m in a relationship and don’t have to worry about dating. Trans-people have it really hard in that area. You have to explain to someone you’re not “normal”. So I don’t have to worry about coming out to a girl I want to date but I’m still worried about who I will have to come out to.

I’m learning to deal with being trans. It’s just not as accepted as being gay is, but then again being gay isn’t accepted all over. To most of the simple-minded people around me a transsexual is the lowest of the low. That’s what I am though, as much as I think of myself as a guy, I was born in a female body. I can’t change that. Even if I choose to be as stealth as possible, there’s a chance someone can find out about my past. For the most part, I just want to be seen as guy. I guess as time goes on I will embrace being trans, just like I grew to accept being gay.

I suppose everyone wants to fit in somewhere. Not that I do what ever it takes to fit in, I like being an outsider. But I’m human and we all have some need to fit in, to be accepted by others. I’m struggling a little knowing that I’m leaving the lesbian community, although I didn’t completely identify because I never really felt like a woman, it was finally a community that accepted me. Something I could say I was a part of. Now I’m becoming a heterosexual male, something lesbians don’t have a lot of respect for, to say the least. I wasn’t a big part of it though, I don’t have a lot of lesbian friends. I’m hoping to become a bigger part of the trans community, get to know other people like me. I’ve never been a very social person, I tend to stay to myself. I’ve had a couple close friends but never been part of a big group. I guess because I never have a lot in common with most people, and I don’t like drama, friends seem to equal drama. I’m going to try harder now, as much as I don’t like to admit I need friends, I do. Again, I’m human.


51 days clean!

Yes 51 days clean, from narcotics. This is only my 3rd day clean from Marijuana. I’m determined this time though. I’ve been trying to quit but I can only get to 3 or 4 days then I end up smoking because I’m so aggravated! That’s really not a smart decision on my part, I know only time and abstinence will cure it. I know better! Addiction isn’t an easy thing to overcome though, no matter what you are addicted to. I hate hearing – weed isn’t addictive, bullshit! Whatever you do that makes your brain release dopamine is addictive!  So anything that makes you “feel good” can be addictive. Drugs, food, sex, even exercise (a good addiction but still an addiction). Maybe some people have less of an addictive personality than others but if you do anything long enough, then stop, you’re going to feel the changes happening in your brain and body. No matter how small or insignificant they may be, it’s going to have some effect on you.

A little part of me will (almost) miss the partying, that’s the only way I knew how to have fun.  That was the whole problem though, I couldn’t have fun without drugs. So I needed to completely change my life around. There’s PLENTY of things to do that’s fun and won’t destroy my mind and body. Now I can, not only enjoy them but remember that I enjoy them! I’m on my way to improving my life. Everyday I get closer.


How do I tell family and friends??

As of right now that seems to be my biggest concern. I’m not employed because I had some issues “cleaning up”. Which is going great by the way (don’t think I’ve posted about my progress yet, but I will because there’s a few things I want to say) I’ve got 46 days clean! Might not seem like a lot yet but I have NO intentions on going backwards! So anyhow, today I got a call from a friend I used to work with and he said they really need the help. I don’t talk to him often so he has no idea. If I do go back to work with there, I’ll have to tell him and of course my supervisors. I’m still at the beginning of my transition so I’ve only told my immediate family. I’m having trouble with telling people I associate with. I haven’t mentioned anything on my Facebook account yet (not like I’m a big Facebook user), but I’m thinking of just writing a post about it saying “yeah this is what I’m doing, feel free to message me with any questions.” That would get most people I know out of the way. Although there are a couple people I’d rather tell in person but for most that seems like a good idea. I thought it was hard coming out as gay, it’s going to be harder coming out as trans! If anyone has any advice I’d really appreciate it!


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