Like many, I am guilty of treating my mental health as being separate to my physical health. This is something that is omnipresent in western culture largely due to Descartes and his theories of dualism which describes the mind as a separate entity to the body. While this is a powerful image, it’s completely false. Our mind is our body, our gut health impacts our mental health and as I learned hormones can be the key to curing anxiety and depression.
In December, I had follow-up tests to see if my testosterone levels had been raised through healthy eating and supplementation. I left the care of Lets Get Checked, who tried to convince me 10nmol of testosterone was normal for a 28 year-old man (despite BSSM guidelines stating this is wrong) and transferred my care to a company called Optimale. My second test with Optimale showed my levels were still clinically low so on the suggestion of their doctor I decided to try testosterone replacement therapy.
When people think about low testosterone they first think about the physical symptoms. For me the physical symptoms were fatigue, loss of strength (my bench press went from 110kg for 3×3 to struggling with 70kg) and a difficulty recovering from training.
What people don’t realise about low testosterone are the mental symptoms. Depression and anxiety are as common as the physical symptoms and for me, in the space of a year I went from happy and healthy to wanting to cry during sad scenes in movies. My anxiety was at a point where there were times that I felt that dying would be easier than going on. I was truly lost and I didn’t see a way out.
I have been on TRT for 5 months and there has been a lot of change. Unfortunately I don’t look like Vitor Belfort, I haven’t won ADCC nor am I deadlifting like Eddie Hall. What has changed is that I don’t struggle with my mental health anymore I recently found out that I no longer meet the criteria to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and I enjoy life.
Alastair and the team at OptiMale have helped me on this journey and there was blips early on as it took me a while to get my treatment dialed in but I am finally happy.
The truth is I may never know what caused my testosterone issues. I have never used anabolics and I haven’t suffered any brain injuries. One thing that I suspect might have caused the issues for me was the use of antidepressants in my teens which seems to be linked to hormonal abnormalities in recent studies.
For me testosterone has reduced my mental health symptoms to the point where weeks go by without symptoms which is a huge relief because I truly spent months in constant panic prior to starting.
I don’t know if I will spend the rest of my life on TRT, but right now it is the best thing I can do to insure that I remain happy and healthy.
My main reason for writing this article and all the articles pertaining to my mental health is to be open and hopefully help guide someone who is in a similar position. Testosterone might not be causing your issues, but rest assured there are answers out there for everyone and I believe that recovery is possible for all those suffering from depression and anxiety.
If you have any questions about this article or my journey with anxiety email me at rhb638(at)gmail.com