Three years ago I was in I was in a massive slump. In fact, slump would probably an understatement – I had hit rock bottom. There’s depression and then there’s feeling like a black cloud follows you around 24/7.
Nonetheless, from the outside looking in I had a pretty good life. I was working in London in the heart of the financial industry – a prestigious job with good opportunity for progression. In addition, I was in a stable relationship and had a close circle of supportive friends.
Yet in spite of this, I felt empty inside and didn’t know why. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would ultimately lead me on a journey of self-discovery.
And as the saying goes, in life sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Although in my case, I failed to see how it could get any worse. At least in the way I felt.
A Passenger In My Own Life
As I mentioned, I previously worked in the financial industry in London. In the beginning I really enjoyed my job. It gave me a buzz to work in such a high-octane, fast and pressure-cooker environment.
We all have those days where we don’t want to get out of bed. Perhaps it was simply youthful exuberance. Nonetheless, for the most part, I used to jump out of bed; excited to see what the day had in store for me.
However, since the onset of this depression around the age of 27, I had lost my enjoyment for work and zest for life. I remember getting on the London underground (locally known as the ‘tube’) for work one day.
I had been awake for a few hours, but I felt zoned completely out – like a zombie. This was despite the fact I slept more than enough. I remember the bitter irony of being a passenger on this train, while feeling like a passenger in my own life.
It was as if I was watching a movie play out in front of my eyes. And I was definitely not the protagonist.
I read up about my symptoms on the Internet. The closest thing I found that came close was ‘Depersonalization syndrome.’ According to the definition on Wikipedia:
“Depersonalization is described as feeling disconnected or detached from one’s self. Individuals experiencing depersonalization may report feeling as if they are an outside observer of their own thoughts or body, and often report feeling a loss of control over their thoughts or actions”
I can’t say for sure that this is what happened, as it’s never a wise idea to self-diagnose yourself on Google. However, this description resonated with how I felt. It got to the point that I felt so numb and no longer enjoyed life.
My Daily Fight With Anxiety
The anguish from the emptiness and depression alone was enough to plunge me into turmoil. But on top of that, I struggled with daily with a kind of grinding anxiety. And once again – I had no idea why. Indeed, I suspect that this constant anxiety contributed to me feeling disconnected from reality, as I described above.
I used to worry about the smallest things. I used to obsess over emails that I sent at work – in case I made an error. Or I’d worry about something I said to someone. In case I said the wrong thing and it would be misinterpreted.
I would play each scenario over and over in my mind. It was a form of self-torture – one I felt I had no control over. In addition, I struggled on several occasions with panic attacks. Sure, I had anxiety in the past – like any normal person, but this not something I had experienced before.
I remember one time I was sat at my desk at work and my chest tightened, my airwaves constricted and my heart pounded out of my chest. I thought I was having a heart attack and almost passed out. Later on, I found out it was a panic attack. It was the first time this had happened. And once more, I had no idea why.
I assumed this was due to the stress work and in my life. But in truth, my life wasn’t that stressful. So what the hell was going on? I just got overwhelmed by the smallest things. Yet, I knew deep down this wasn’t the real me.
Low Libido and Stagnation in the Gym
If all the anxiety and depression weren’t bad enough, my sex drive had also fallen off a cliff. In fact, it was non-existent. My girlfriend at the time thought that I no longer found her attractive. However, no amount of reassurances helped.
I had no libido and couldn’t explain why. It was quite distressing. As a man, your sexuality is a big part of your identity. You want to feel vigorous and energetic. And once that’s taken away from you, you feel as though you’re half a man. A shadow of your former self.
In spite of all this, I felt that there was one area of my life that was still OK. The gym was my sanctuary. I’ve been lifting weights for a long time and I’ve often used it to event my frustrations and channel my energy into something positive.
Although I soon discovered that this area of my life was not immune from the chaos in the rest of my life. I lifted weights three times a week at a minimum. Yet I couldn’t make progress for love nor money.
I couldn’t get stronger, in spite of how many times I squatted or deadlifted. I couldn’t gain muscle mass. And what’s more, I had fat around my waist I couldn’t get rid of.
In the end, I concluded at the ripe old age of 28 that I had reached my ‘genetic potential.’ Looking back, it was clear that there was something seriously wrong. I suppose I was too close to everything to see it for what it really was. I figured I was an anxious or ‘negative’ person.
Furthermore, I thought that I couldn’t make progress in the gym because my training program was bad, or my diet wasn’t up to scratch.
But here’s the thing. I didn’t drink alcohol, didn’t smoke, and my diet was actually pretty good. I was trying my level best, but I felt like I was spinning my wheels.
The Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
I didn’t know what to think–until one day I took a routine blood test. The blood test was pretty thorough. From liver, kidney and thyroid panels, hormones, full blood count and immune system testing. When I got the results back, I wasn’t expecting anything untoward.
It all looked normal, until I got to my testosterone levels – I saw that I had the testosterone level of an 80 YEAR OLD MAN. I was dumbstruck. I felt like I had fallen into an abyss, because I couldn’t believe what was happening to me.
How was this possible?
I took such good care of my body, but I had low testosterone at such a young age? Suddenly, all of these symptoms made complete sense–although I didn’t recognize them as such at the time. The anxiety, low libido, depression, lack of energy and brain fog.
They were all classic symptoms of low testosterone. However, out of willful ignorance or otherwise, I had ignored them–thinking they couldn’t happen to me at such a young age. After much deliberation and soul-searching, I decided the right thing for me was to undergo testosterone replacement therapy.
I felt anxious about my decision to undergo TRT and a lifelong medication? However, at this point I felt there was nothing more I could do and this was the best solution.
Moreover, I had several friends who had already successfully undergone treatment. I saw how much of a positive impact it had on their lives. Many of them were older than me and had been on testosterone therapy for several years. They were the picture of perfect health.
That was proof enough for me. Subsequently, I managed to find a doctor who was open-minded enough to treat a young man for low testosterone. That was and still is rare – of which I’m thankful. I got my prescription for testosterone replacement therapy and put it off for a few weeks.
I was scared of change; scared of the unknown. Part of me wanted to cling onto the ‘known.’ But in the end, I decided my longing for comfort the ‘known’ was a miserable existence.
I would do anything to change it. So I decided to take my first injection. In fact, I got my roommate to do it, because I didn’t have the courage to do it.
How Testosterone Transformed My Life
It took a few weeks for the testosterone to kick in, but to say that thee effect was AMAZING would be an understatement. After a few weeks, I had increased mental clarity and more energy.
I felt like the OLD ME again. After a few more weeks, my anxiety had subsided to almost nonexistent levels. My depression had lifted and my sex drive was a back to a healthy level.
What’s more, after six months in the gym, I had gained over 10 lbs of lean muscle mass. So, my efforts weren’t in vain after all? I simply needed the right hormonal balance in my body to see the fruits of it.
But that wasn’t all…
I felt connected once again with my own instincts, which had disappeared into the background. For the first time in a long time, I felt the courage, conviction and confidence to go after what I wanted in life.
Several months post-treatment I decided to quit my job and move to Spain. This had been a long-standing ambition of mine. A dream I never thought I would fulfill, because I was suffered with so much doubt and fear. But having my health back in balance instilled my self-belief once more and my ability to conquer my dreams.
A few years after that I started my own business – another long-held ambition of mine. And in 2019 I launched my first book –Optimized Under 35. Funnily enough, I never dreamed I would write a book – let alone on hormonal optimization.
However, after going through the trials of low testosterone, I knew had to share my story. Because there are many other men out there who suffer with it and don’t know that help is available.
Without testosterone, I would not be half the man I am today. Words cannot accurately describe the mental and physical metamorphosis I underwent. Testosterone helped me get my life back and helped me go from an unconfident, anxious, depressed shell of a man to a confident, assertive and positive individual.
Hormones are the backbone of your health, and you cannot truly appreciate how important they are to your well-being until they’re in the gutter. Indeed, you may even be like me and not know that you have a hormonal imbalance, as the symptoms can creep up on you like a thief in the night.
Testosterone replacement therapy is not for everyone. Most people would do well simply to live what I call a ‘testosterone-friendly’ lifestyle. That way they avoid lifelong medication and everything that comes with it.
Not only is testosterone replacement therapy not the cakewalk and panacea many men think it is. It also has its own challenges and it could take months for the treatment to be successful.
Some men come to me and tell me that they have tried ‘everything’ and nothing has worked for them. So they think that taking testosterone will fix all of their problems. But, after I get them to track their diet for a few days, I quickly see their nutrition is not up to scratch.
Yet, instead of fixing their diet, they would rather go on a lifelong medication. Now they have to manage their estrogen, inject themselves multiple times a week and pay all the insurance fees that comes with it. It’s madness.
Testosterone replacement therapy isn’t always the right solution – but hormonal balance is for EVERYONE. And if you can live a lifestyle that facilitates that naturally – all the better.
The picture below on the left is me before I started TRT. The look on my face says it all; I was unsure, lacking self-confidence and afraid. And there was belly fat around my stomach that I just couldn’t get rid of.
The second picture on the right is me after being on testosterone for six months. I look much more confident and assured. But not only that, my physique has changed in dramatic fashion; I appear more defined and muscular.
This is the power of hormonal balance. Hormones are the backbone of your health, and as a man testosterone is your LIFE BLOOD. Testosterone maintains androgenic (male) sex characteristics such as facial hair, a deep voice, sperm production, and muscle mass.
It has stimulatory effects on bones, libido, mood, cognition centers in the brain, and erectile strength. In addition, it has a positive effect on metabolic rate, lipids (e.g., cholesterol), and inflammation. If your hormones are out of balance you feel like a shadow of your former self.
If you identify with many of the symptoms I discuss in this post, contact me about my 1on1 coaching below. We will work together to create a lifestyle to help restore your natural hormonal balance through the power of nutrition.