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Taylor

Starting HRT and Effects

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Taylor

Hi everyone,

 

It's been a while since I've felt up for posting. (I'm so glad Winter has at least taken a break for a bit). To start off, I am glad to say I started HRT about a week ago. I know a lot of the changes don't really start until a few months in, especially the physical changes like fat redistribution and breast growth. I am however a bit curious, since that time frame is really an expectation more than a hard-set rule. If anyone would be willing to share how long it took them, before noticing various changes... be it some of the mentioned physical ones, or other changes like some of the mental/emotional shifts I've heard can happen.

 

I understand things can vary a fair bit, based on a variety of factors. I am still interested to hear the experiences of others.

 

Thanks,

Taylor

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MaryMary

It took me about 1 or 2 months I think. If I remember well the first physical effect was the skin

The first mental effect was feeling incredibly mellow but for the mental effects there's so much thing going on when starting hrt for me at the time that it's hard to know what had what effect. 1. it was the end of a 20 y/o depression 2. there was a certain amount of gender euphoria (being incredibly happy to finally be able to be myself) 3. hrt

so yeah, my guess is that the really really mellow part was because of hrt,

the more energy part was because my depression was ending

and my incredibly good mood at that time was because of being able to be myself finally

 

but that being said I think that it's different for each person and kind of highly depend of many factors like your genetic, how old are you, etc etc There's many unknown things around hrt. My answer would be different if I were to believe my gender therapist at that time but I highly doubt the scientific value of what she was telling me.

 

so yeah, my answer is the most conservative and rationnal I can give.

 

 

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Jani

Hi Taylor and thanks for the update.  As to changes, we're all different but you might start to notice a few things soon like less oiliness in your skin and a softness too.  Mental changes will come along soon enough although through the placebo effect you may start to feel better and different sooner.  No changes to facial hair.  Other physical changes may take a bit to manifest.  Hang on though, it will be interesting.

 

Cheers, Jani

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KathyLauren

Within the first month, I was starting to notice changes: tingling in my breasts, softer skin.  Within three months, there was noticeable breast growth.  My six months, I could see changes in my lips and eyes.  By the end of the first year, my body hair was thinning out or gone entirely, and my wife was commenting on how feminine my face looked.  At about two and a half years, I could notice some fat redistribution.

 

As with everything HRT-related, your mileage may vary.

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Jackie C.

A lot of it depends on age. You're 25, so you might not see much, or anything, in the way of hips. Breast tenderness was the first physical change I noticed. However, estridiol had been working dark magic on my brain before that. You'll find yourself more emotional first. It's subtle though, it sneaks up on you. Crying easier while consuming media for example.

 

Breasts are next. I'm not a good person to talk to about that. After about eighteen months I've got an A-Cup. I was a slow bloomer for puberty 1.0 too though, so I'm still holding out hope for a visit from the boob fairy.

 

Softer and clearer skin happened pretty fast. I'm just getting back on HRT after surgery and it took about a week for my skin to remember that it's smooth and pretty, not dry and nasty. This was subtle in the beginning too. I just slowly got less... manly I guess? There's also been some redistribution in where I carry my flesh in my face. It's subtle, but it makes me look more feminine.

 

Tragically, I suffer from alopecia so I can't tell you a darn thing about hair.

 

Hugs!

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Taylor

Thanks for the responses so far. I realize it will take some time. More curious than anything, about people who may have experienced thing rather early on or later than usual.

 

1 hour ago, KathyLauren said:

Within the first month, I was starting to notice changes: tingling in my breasts, softer skin.

 

It hasn't quite been a week yet, and some of it might be in my head, but over the weekend I did have a rather short tingling-itch in my chest. I also felt like my skin may have been a bit softer after my last shave, but it may have just been a closer shave that made it feel smoother.

 

1 hour ago, Jackie C. said:

A lot of it depends on age. You're 25, so you might not see much, or anything, in the way of hips. Breast tenderness was the first physical change I noticed. However, estridiol had been working dark magic on my brain before that. You'll find yourself more emotional first. It's subtle though, it sneaks up on you. Crying easier while consuming media for example.

 

Breasts are next. I'm not a good person to talk to about that. After about eighteen months I've got an A-Cup. I was a slow bloomer for puberty 1.0 too though, so I'm still holding out hope for a visit from the boob fairy.

 

Softer and clearer skin happened pretty fast. I'm just getting back on HRT after surgery and it took about a week for my skin to remember that it's smooth and pretty, not dry and nasty. This was subtle in the beginning too. I just slowly got less... manly I guess? 

 

 

Yeah. I know age can be a big factor. I'm glad I'm able to start transitioning now, at 25, than it being much later. Of course there is the part of me that wishes I would've realized things earlier in life, but it's not really productive to dwell on the past like that. (I would assume plenty of people here feel similarly about coming out, transitioning, etc.). Personally hips aren't really a big concern, a little shape would be nice... but not a big deal. I am kind of looking forward to the emotional stuff though, though I feel a bit weird for that.

 

Hope you do you your visit from the boob fairy though, Jackie.

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Astrid
4 hours ago, Taylor said:

I know a lot of the changes don't really start until a few months in, especially the physical changes like fat redistribution and breast growth

 

I began HRT on Dec 4th, 2019, less than 3 months ago.  Everyone's timetable will vary.   Mine certainly did:  breast soreness began at 3 weeks, breast buds formed at 4 weeks, and tissue growth began in earnest.  I understand why my doctor said that growth usually doesn't begin until 3 to 6 months in (because that's the average response she sees in her patients).  As I've remarked elsewhere in other posts, I've actually reduced my patch size/daily dose to slow growth down, as I'm non-binary and don't have significant breast growth as a goal.  I'm a living experiment in whether, for me, I can continue with microdosing.  The coming 6 months or so will tell, I think.

 

Body hair (for example, on legs) is now smoother.  Chest hair isn't, because I'm at the stage where electrolysis has removed almost all of it 😊.

 

Since an initial flurry of questions (via the health portal for my HRT facility), I've personally found a less stressful approach for me is to chill a bit and not be super-anxious about every small little thing I might notice.  It will happen when it happens, if it happens.  I'm just happy that estradiol really IS addressing my dysphoria -- I now have positive developments that I can dwell on, even small ones, and that's a good thing!  And, yes, I cherish being more emotional, too!

 

Astrid

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Susan R
8 hours ago, MaryMary said:

It took me about 1 or 2 months I think. If I remember well the first physical effect was the skin

 

8 hours ago, KathyLauren said:

Within the first month, I was starting to notice changes: tingling in my breasts, softer skin.

These were the very first things I felt and noticed too...I think my first noticeable effects started 3 weeks in before I knew something was changing inside.  The tingling sensation in the breast bud area happened almost simultaneously with the baby soft skin discovery.  I can remember the evening very clearly...I was really tired and I stretched my arms above my head and my bicep touched my cheek.  An unexpected thought hit me....”OMG! my skin is completely different.”  Both arms and shoulders had baby butt soft skin too.  The rest of my body followed suit by month 2 or 3.  It wasn’t even something I was really waiting for but it has been one of the best side effects I could ever imagine.  I would hate to have men’s skin again...especially now that my sweat doesn’t smell musky like a man’s anymore.  My wife loves that I don’t really have any noticeable smell these days.  I can’t say exactly when the change occurred but it was very early on that my wife noticed the difference...maybe 3 months into HRT.

 

Also early on (6 weeks to 2 months) there were changes were breast and libido related. My breasts, specifically my nipples, became sore to touch, very hard nip tips and some itching...then harder breast buds followed by growth. Which seemingly stops and starts still to this day (today is exactly 17 months HRT).

 

My libido dropped a bit which doesn’t bother me at all.  My libido no longer starts on its own...I have to consciously try to get the engine started with my mental stimulation and having my wife around helps too.

 

As others have mentioned, the facial changes probably happen next. For me maybe 2 months in but I first noticed I was looking a little more feminine in the face about 4 -5 months after starting.

 

Eventually, my feet, hands, and private parts started shrinking and upper body too as my weight started to redistribute to more feminine areas (thighs, butt shape, calves are smaller, arms are smaller, waist seems higher and smaller) ...maybe 5-6 months after starting.  My shoes dropped 2.5 sizes in US woman’s shoes.  I’m down to a size 9 - 9.5 now depending on the brand.  This change may have started 5-6 months in but may be continuing still. Don’t do what I did and go buy expensive shoes out the gate...I’d wait at least 6 months.  Many on HRT experience this especially if you drop a few pounds along the way.

 

Another interesting change is my wrist (and probably ankle) width.  My wrist thickness pre HRT was larger.  I had about a 1/2” from my thumb and middle finger when wrapping them around my wrist.  Now, I can easily touch the tips of my thumb and middle finger around each of my wrists.

 

My skin is much thinner now.  In the sauna, when it auto starts every 10 mins, my fingertips and toe tips get uncomfortably hot.  The same thing happens with very cold weather, my fingertips ache a bit if I am not wearing gloves. So there’s much more sensitivity in my extremities.

 

After about 8 months, body hair started becoming noticeably thinner everywhere.  Now, I have many areas that I no longer shave and a few areas only once in a blue moon because the hair is so light and thin.  My facial hair has not changed much in composition but I takes 3 days to get a noticeable amount of hair on my face (like 5 o'clock shadow). I have only let it grow out that much once though in the last year just to test it.  I still have to shave my face first thing every morning.

 

Another odd side effect I experienced is an eye color change.  I’m not sure when it happened...probably very slowly over the first year. My eye color pre HRT was dark blue grey now it’s a really bright blue.  My wife, daughters and several friends have noticed this change and commented on it.

 

Well that’s all The changes I can think of but there are others.  As you know and as others have pointed out...your age, dna, prescribed dose of HRT, etc...are different so don’t expect these exact same changes and the same timing but likely you’ll experience many of them at some time or another on your journey.

 

Good Luck,

Susan R🌷

 

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Taylor

Thanks again for posting your experiences.

 

12 hours ago, Susan R said:

Eventually, my feet, hands, and private parts started shrinking and upper body too as my weight started to redistribute to more feminine areas (thighs, butt shape, calves are smaller, arms are smaller, waist seems higher and smaller) ...maybe 5-6 months after starting.  My shoes dropped 2.5 sizes in US woman’s shoes.  I’m down to a size 9 - 9.5 now depending on the brand.  This change may have started 5-6 months in but may be continuing still. Don’t do what I did and go buy expensive shoes out the gate...I’d wait at least 6 months.  Many on HRT experience this especially if you drop a few pounds along the way.

 

 

I am a bit intrigued by this. A lot of things I've read have said things like foot size won't change, though at the same time I have seen some say they will. I know I would like to shrink a bit (about size 12 mens, depending on the shoe) puts me a bit out of range of women's typical sizes. I don't expect enough of a change to drop to a common size, however it would be be nice to at least adjust into the a more workable size in women's (where options are so limited). That said, I don't see myself caring a ton about starting a shoe collection... but being able to get a couple of things would be nice.

 

Thanks,

Taylor

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Susan R
49 minutes ago, Taylor said:

A lot of things I've read have said things like foot size won't change, though at the same time I have seen some say they will.

I attend several trans support groups.  Both are predominantly MtF groups.  Several women have mentioned this over the last year or so.  It’s not wishful thinking by any means.  I believe it’s a combination of weight loss from eating healthy, muscle mass decrease due to extremely low Testosterone, and the effect of thinning skin due to high levels of Estrogen.  My feet look completely different now in a much more feminine way.  My internal medicine endo told me last year after I brought it up that many of her MtF patients have seen this reduction in foot size.

 

Susan R🌷

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Jackie C.

It's not dramatic by any means,  but yes I've lost about half a shoe size.  Of course that makes me a women's 13. Keeping in mind that I specifically started working out to keep from losing too much muscle mass and to keep myself from gaining too much weight from the HRT.

Then it was a certain amount of body pride because I wanted to look nice.

 

So yeah, half a shoe size. 

 

Hugs!

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DeeDee

This is a really fascinating thread. Thanks for starting it Taylor :) I would be interested in the mental and emotional changes with HRT, was it immediate or did it take a while for your body to adjust not having T anymore?

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MaryMary
47 minutes ago, DeeDee said:

This is a really fascinating thread. Thanks for starting it Taylor :) I would be interested in the mental and emotional changes with HRT, was it immediate or did it take a while for your body to adjust not having T anymore?

 

for me it took a couple of weeks to have the full mental effects. It's easy to not realize it's there depending on your personnality. It's also very controversial to even mention this IRL, lol All I can say it's that it's there. I mainly observed this in the beginning because of how my gut reaction to daily parenthood changed. To me it's really like a second puberty, it's the best way I can describe it. I remember having one on one meetings with my boss and being incapable of stopping myself from crying. It was totally unwanted and very far from the frozen/dissociated/cold me from the past.  Contrary to cis woman you have 0 experience with dealing with it so it can be surprising and I know that I was a little ... unstable... in the beginning. You do learn some tricks after a while to control your hormones.

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MaryMary

the funny thing is that I could talk a lot about emotionnal changes but in my life this subject was so controversial and impossible to prove scientifically that I mostly kept all the mental/emotionnal changes to myself so far. I could talk a lot about it and it fascinate me but I feel that if you do that you often get a sceptical eye :D hahaha

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KathyLauren
1 hour ago, DeeDee said:

I would be interested in the mental and emotional changes with HRT, was it immediate or did it take a while for your body to adjust not having T anymore?

 

It took me a while to notice the emotional changes, because they were really subtle.  I suspect they probably happened in the first week or two, but it took me longer than that to be aware of them.

 

Right now, I have been off my E for a week, due to upcoming surgery.  What I noticed coming off it (because I was looking for it) is that my emotions have gone "flat" and "heavy".  Sorry, I can't describe it any better than that.  I feel none of the lightness and joy that I have felt for the last three years.  This is what I felt pre-transition.  I know in my head that I am in a better place now, but for the time being, I don't feel it.

 

I presume that the change starting E happened in about the same time frame as stopping it: about a week, maybe two.

 

Regards,

Kathy

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Taylor
2 hours ago, Susan R said:

I believe it’s a combination of weight loss from eating healthy, muscle mass decrease due to extremely low Testosterone, and the effect of thinning skin due to high levels of Estrogen.  My feet look completely different now in a much more feminine way.  My internal medicine endo told me last year after I brought it up that many of her MtF patients have seen this reduction in foot size.

 

1 hour ago, Jackie C. said:

It's not dramatic by any means,  but yes I've lost about half a shoe size.  Of course that makes me a women's 13. Keeping in mind that I specifically started working out to keep from losing too much muscle mass and to keep myself from gaining too much weight from the HRT.

Then it was a certain amount of body pride because I wanted to look nice.

 

So yeah, half a shoe size. 

 

It'll be hard to say until it happens, though if it has to do with weight loss and muscle mass, I'm not sure I'll lose all that much (I'm kind of a beanpole as it is). Though I will definitely keep in mind to exercise, more to prevent losing too much muscle mass.

 

1 hour ago, DeeDee said:

This is a really fascinating thread. Thanks for starting it Taylor :) I would be interested in the mental and emotional changes with HRT, was it immediate or did it take a while for your body to adjust not having T anymore?

 

I'm glad others find it interesting ^_^. Personally mental/emotional changes weren't immediate, sounds more or less the same for those who have shared so far. Though it does sound like it kicks in relatively early on (within the first month or so). The only possible experience I have with this so far is occasionally my eyes tear up a bit. It's far from crying. I don't really have any emotion (that I sense) attached to it, just a little wetness. Not even positive its related to HRT, but I don't recall it happening (at least not nearly this frequent) before.

 

I appreciate people contributing so much to this.

Thanks,

Taylor

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Susan R
2 hours ago, MaryMary said:

I could talk a lot about it and it fascinate me but I feel that if you do that you often get a sceptical eye

This is very true.  There are changes that I don’t feel I can talk about because it is so subjective and unprovable.  Add the fact that everyone has a different experience to some degree and you have a recipe for doubt and possible ridicule from others.

 

1 hour ago, KathyLauren said:

[Without E] emotions have gone "flat" and "heavy".  Sorry, I can't describe it any better than that.  I feel none of the lightness and joy that I have felt for the last three years.

Actually Kathy, this “lightness and joy” is a very good description of my general feeling while being on E.  Although prior to E (and medical transition), I was somewhat depressed and had a deep rooted anger that was present under it all.  Also, for someone my age, I had a high pre-transition T level (835ng/dL).  So being down at 17ng/dL now, I’ve noticed very little desire to compete to the death (lol) with others and even with myself like I once did.  That has reduced my overall stress immensely and has allowed me to stay calm in situations that normally would’ve had me raging.

 

Emotions are closer now to the surface with the exception of anger (I’m happy about that).  Some emotions like are less controllable as some have mentioned.  These new feelings make it easier for me to empathize, apologize and forgive others much easier now.  I like the new emotional me and so does my wife.  It works well with my personality.

 

Susan R🌷

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Astrid
2 hours ago, Susan R said:

Actually Kathy, this “lightness and joy” is a very good description of my general feeling while being on E.  Although prior to E (and medical transition), I was somewhat depressed and had a deep rooted anger that was present under it all.  Also, for someone my age, I had a high pre-transition T level (835ng/dL).  So being down at 17ng/dL now, I’ve noticed very little desire to compete to the death (lol) with others and even with myself like I once did.  That has reduced my overall stress immensely and has allowed me to stay calm in situations that normally would’ve had me raging.

 

Emotions are closer now to the surface with the exception of anger (I’m happy about that).  Some emotions like are less controllable as some have mentioned.  These new feelings make it easier for me to empathize, apologize and forgive others much easier now.  I like the new emotional me and so does my wife.  It works well with my personality.

 

Susan R🌷

 

Thanks so much, Susan, for your personal experiences on this topic.  It very closely matches (and validates for me) what I've experienced, too:  a feeling of lightness and joy, a significant reduction in anger and stress, and increased empathy.  All very good things!

 

Hugs,

 

Astrid

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Chrysalis

Good morning and what a good topic!

 

I began HRT just over 3 years ago. I wear Estradiol patches******mg w/ ****mg. Twice Weekly). As well, I've on a T Blocker for some time now.

 

My first recollection concerned how my heart reacted. On the first morning after filling the script, I applied a single **** patch and then went about drawing away at the computer. In very little time, my heart suddenly thought it was Ginger Baker and began the breakneck drum solo called 'Toad' from Cream's 'Wheels of Fire' album. I went into a sweaty panic over that! A number of medical people who seemed to have a less than positive views towards my gender aspiration had tormented me with tales of how HRT in a male bodied patient often leads to heart attacks. I do know one very opened minded nurse who, when I asked about this replied:

"So? Wouldn't you be willing to risk that to become the real you?"  

Obviously I survived quite nicely. 

 

I am in my 60's and was already becoming thin skinned from age; the estrogen has only enhanced that and now, if not careful, I'll peel like an onion. 

 

I don't recall when it began, but at some point I found myself waking up in the night and having to throw off the blankets and just lying there in a sweat and wondering what the heck. I'd read on line about the possibility of 'hot flashes' but thought that I might just be imagining things. I thought of Edith Bunker on 'All In The Family' going through the change and new that I wasn't as tragicomically daffy as she was. I have both sleep and emotional issues and was sure the problem came from there. 

Finally, at my therapist's one session, I suddenly felt flushed all over and asked if she'd turned up the heat? She looked at my strangely and simply said 'No'. However. She was staring at me as if though a microscope. 

(And btw: there are no thermostats in Providence exam cubes!)

I complained abut how hot it had all at once gotten and began unbuttoning my winter layers. My therapist's eyes smiled as her hand went up to cover her mouth. 

I glared back with watering eyes and in a cracking voice yelled: 

"This isn't funny!" (Expletive omitted.)

She removed her hand and with a laugh snapped back:

"Well, welcome!"

 

Chrysee

Edited by MaryEllen
Dosages removed per rule 13 of the community rules

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Jackie C.
4 hours ago, Chrysalis said:

I don't recall when it began, but at some point I found myself waking up in the night and having to throw off the blankets and just lying there in a sweat and wondering what the heck. I'd read on line about the possibility of 'hot flashes' but thought that I might just be imagining things. I thought of Edith Bunker on 'All In The Family' going through the change and new that I wasn't as tragicomically daffy as she was. I have both sleep and emotional issues and was sure the problem came from there. 

Finally, at my therapist's one session, I suddenly felt flushed all over and asked if she'd turned up the heat? She looked at my strangely and simply said 'No'. However. She was staring at me as if though a microscope. 

(And btw: there are no thermostats in Providence exam cubes!)

I complained abut how hot it had all at once gotten and began unbuttoning my winter layers. My therapist's eyes smiled as her hand went up to cover her mouth. 

I glared back with watering eyes and in a cracking voice yelled: 

"This isn't funny!" (Expletive omitted.)

She removed her hand and with a laugh snapped back:

"Well, welcome!"

 

I am SO tired of the hot flashes. They didn't start until I'd been off HRT for about two weeks preparing for my bottom surgery. They're mostly at night but I sweat through EVERYTHING. I've been back on my regular dose for a week or so now, but it can take up to two months for hormone levels to normalize so...

 

At least my sweat doesn't have the smell it did before I started transitioning. If I was living in a cloud of the musky stuff, I'd probably die. At least I'd shower and do the laundry more.

 

Hugs!

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      Venting is good for you, Wes. We all do it. It beats standing on the street corner screaming at the cars! (Unless you just like being arrested!) TA
    • Jackie C.
      I'm sorry you had such a lousy, rotten, no good day @ShawnaLeigh!   Susan and I do what we can but... I'm helpless at household repair stuff. I can troubleshoot electronics and that's about it. She's actually more capable in a lot of areas than I am. I mostly just know who to call for help.   I'm not going to last long when civilization finally cracks, am I?   Hugs!
    • TammyAnne
      That's where I'm at (waiting) too courtesy of the plague. I'm told all my papers are in a file waiting to go forward to the endo. But I'm going to beg to get it pushed forward ASAP at my next appointment since this was supposed to start back in November. TA
    • TammyAnne
      Due to medical things being on hold for a while, I will not get to start HRT until I'm 70. Is it too late? Too late for what? I wish I could have started fifty years ago, but the times were quite different and this was unthinkable course of action at that time. I will never look like a nineteen year old college girl, I know that, but I can be me to the best of my ability. It is better to plow forward even if it's late than to finish my life in regret. TA
    • Susan R
      Wise words from a wise woman.  Yes, this is the case in our household too.  Apparently, I forgot to negotiate this change in household roles when coming out....too late now.  Sure, it’d be nice for my wife to do more of my traditional male duties around the house but I realize it’s not practical at our ages. I do those things easier, faster and usually do them correctly the first time...lol   I feel for you...especially these day with no salon to fix you up in a snap.  We’ve all been there...keep your head up, hon! My Best, Susan R🌷    
    • Susan R
      Welcome KM, what an incredible story of coming to terms with yourself and sharing it with your wife. You did the right thing for your mental well-being.  There comes a time when you can’t just pack it away any longer.  The freedom you describe is so memorable to me.  It’s like a 200lb weight had been lifted off you.  I know your still feeling some of that relief 5 days after the fact.   What you say above is THE recipe to navigate through this successfully. I did this same thing with my wife and it has brought us closer together than ever before.  Like you, I gave my wife the keys and trusted she would open a door whenever I needed more.  It’s been over a year and all the doors are unlocked and life is good.   What an inspiration this is. I’m very happy for you and your wife.  Please keep us updated as to your progress.  It’s still very early but I’m confident you’re going to experience a positive outcome. I was so impressed I had to share your story with my wife.  I said to her, “Doesn’t this sound familiar? She read it and smiled!   Best of luck to the both of you on your new path. Warmest Regards, Susan R🌷
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