A sad engineer trying to not be sad anymore

ValkyrieXB70

New Member
Hi everyone, a little about me before I give myself my first injections tonight! (I am nervous!) Apologies for walls of text.

Call it a feeling of "something is not quite right". I found this site maybe a couple months ago in my quest to figure out the cause of various symptoms and signs I had over the years. Back in July I completely broke down one day, with a completely depressed mood, and near nonstop crying and tears the entire morning into early afternoon. It took way too much effort to drag myself to the gym for a modest workout, after which the tears welled up some more in the shower afterwards. Depression and low mood suck. Glad I feel somewhat better now, but still existing not living.

On top of that, my focus and concentration at my design engineer position at work had all but evaporated by that point. It does not help that I don't enjoy my position much, but bills have to be paid, and my boss/the company are not bad at all! I have found it harder to even remember some co-worker's names at times and I work with them frequently. It's like my brain just pops out of gear.

In addition, I have been working with a powerlifting trainer over the last year. Even with expert coaching, 3 to 5 days a week of heavy compound lifting over 1 hr each day, and years of previous weight training experience off and on, my main lifts have progressed very slowly. This is with 6-7+ hr of sleep and 140-180 g of protein most days. See lifts at bottom of post.

Yet another symptom: poor sleep. I have been a light sleeper ever since early childhood. Always takes 1+hr to fall asleep and I get 6-7 hr typically. Sometimes much worse. Very rare to awaken refreshed. Sporadic apnea episodes that seem worse when I am at heavier bodyweight.

False start this September: I nearly signed up with a local clinic, they wanted to prescribe trt shots 1/wk, with clomid. Thanks to knowledge I gained from this site and reddit, alarms went off in my head so I hit the brakes.
LabCorp numbers from Sept 2020, taken mid afternoon:

total T: 492 (264-916 ng/dl)
free T direct: 7.5 (8.7-25.1 pg/ml)
SHBG: 56.6 (16.5-55.9 nmol/liter)
E2, Roche ECLIA: 9.8 (7.6-42.6 pg/ml) the less accurate test


Restart: I got in contact with Defy Medical early October based on research here and on Reddit. I dragged my feet for a week or two in filling out the forms, getting the sports physical, and Defy's labwork completed. With that said, speaking with Dr Saya on my initial consultation was refreshing! He explained things straightforward, and did not try to upsell me on anything, though he suggested DHEA and injectable B12 as things to consider for the future (I had mentioned my absolute disgust for the taste of B vitamin pills).

LabCorp numbers from October 2020, taken early morning, but after a 2 hr super early bike ride

total T: 442 (264-916 ng/dl)
free T direct: 9.3 (8.7-25.1 pg/ml)
SHBG: 48.7 (16.5-55.9 nmol/liter)
E2, sensitive: 18.8 (8.0-35.0 pg/ml) the more accurate test. (I am surprised the earlier test reads so much lower than this one).

t3, t4, and reverse t3 were all closer to the optimums within each reference range. When I asked Dr Saya if my thyroid was the problem he said no. More or less primary hypogonadism due to fairly high SHBG

Initial protocol per Dr Saya:
128mg/wk of t-cyp 200mg/ml in grapeseed oil. split 2x/wk shallow IM with 25g x 5/8" 1ml syringe

I hope this isn't toou

1000 iu/wk HCG. split 2x/wk subq. to backfill LH pathways. 30g x 1/2" easytouch 1ml

I plan on continued heavy weight training 3-5 days per week, cooking my own food(veggies, beef, chicken, fish, eggs, beef liver, fruits) from here on, and sleeping as best I can.

No AI prescribed for now, and I hope it can stay that way! I will be happy to post more detailed lab results within a few days, it is getting late for me now and need to take my first shots and sleep!


Specifications and dimensions:
make: homo sapien
model: male
height: 72 in
curb weight: 205 lbs
bodyfat : ~23%

current performance:
front squat: 165lb 8rm
bench: 165 lb 10rm
sumo dead: 325 lb 10rm
chinups: +25lb x 6rm, bw x 10rm
 

Golfboy307

Active Member
Val,

Welcome! I read your post twice, but I didn't see where you listed your age. I think it is very relevant when you consider possible treatments. (younger guys may not want to go full TRT for a variety of reasons)
 

Nelson Vergel

Founder, ExcelMale.com
Welcome! There are a few of us engineers on here.

I hate to quickly jump to conclusions, but your lab values are mid-point of ranges(I am assuming these values are not on TRT), you have enough energy to lift three times per week and bike ride early for two hours.

I have a strong feeling that you are dealing with depression. Since I do not know more than what you have written, I assume that the loss of your job and may be other changes have pushed you into this. You may be grieving some loss in your dreams or goals but, as I said, I am speculating and probably even projecting on you.

Hopefully you can expand more. I am glad you joined us.
 

UCFguy01

Member
Total T in the 400's with low free T explains a lot. Total T in the +800's with free T at the top will change your life. I too used to struggle with depression and testosterone pretty much cured it.
 

slicktop

Active Member
Not sure where to begin here... I guess by agreeing that getting your age would help considerably. Regarding your sleep... for me, everything revolves around good, adequate sleep. To that end, I would do whatever is necessary to help you get a good nights sleep for a week or two and then see if having those habits re-established helps you. Lots of people have terrible bed time habits as well - playing with their phone until they pass out, TV on in their room, etc. If you're doing any of that, STOP. Get in bed and read a book or a magazine. No screens whatsoever an hour before bedtime, only exception being a black and white Kindle. Have sex before you go to sleep. Take a benadryl. Find what it takes to sleep well and try to "reset" that as best as you can.

Regarding your labs and protocol, I would suggest following Dr Saya to the T and seeing where he can get you. He's trustworthy for sure, and his clinic has never done me wrong. There is some debate regarding DHEA and whether or not it can lower SHBG; Dr. Saya believes it does and I'll tell you from experience, backed by labs, it lowered mine.

Regarding your lifts... this is where I'll do my best to not sound like a dick, but I will fail simply because it's almost impossible to give advice on weights without doing so, but I'm not TRYING to be a dick, I promise. So I apologize in advance. It sounds like you're simply at a plateau, which is pretty standard after following a routine for a long time, however...those are not powerlifting numbers. Those are not powerlifting reps. You would do better getting rid of your "coach" and following 5x5 or Mike Matthews Bigger Leaner Stronger program. Go down to a 4-6 rep range for all your exercises and increase your weights immediately. Are you doing standard squats as well and you didn't post those numbers? Cause front squats do not/can not/will not replace standard squats. For example, my squat day is 3 sets of 6x175 followed by 3 sets of 6x315 standard squats, followed by a superset finisher of 15 each leg curls/leg extensions/leg press calf raises. I'll be 43 in less than a month and I'm 5'9", 190 lbs for reference. You simply aren't generating enough stress to push past your plateau. All of this though depends on your goals, however. If your goal is to maintain decent shape, then in a way a plateau is "fine". If your goal is actually powerlifting however, and therefore to increase the weight you move, you need to change things up.
 

ValkyrieXB70

New Member
Welcome! There are a few of us engineers on here.

I hate to quickly jump to conclusions, but your lab values are mid-point of ranges(I am assuming these values are not on TRT), you have enough energy to lift three times per week and bike ride early for two hours.

I have a strong feeling that you are dealing with depression. Since I do not know more than what you have written, I assume that the loss of your job and may be other changes have pushed you into this. You may be grieving some loss in your dreams or goals but, as I said, I am speculating and probably even projecting on you.

Hopefully you can expand more. I am glad you joined us.
Hi Nelson, thank you and everyone else here for the warm welcome! I am 39 and yes I do believe I suffer from depression. Low moods, random tears, terrible short term memory, focus, and concentration aka brain fog. It is the thing I most want to resolve, far more important than the gym stuff. Libido is soso, but not my priority. I hit the gym, mentor kids, and bike ride (the latter with friends sometimes) to keep the depression at bay. Exercise and activities are the best "pills" I have found for it so far. My motivation is lacking all too much hence the trainer. I have progressed far more under him vs on my own. Most sets are in the 5 rep range for main lifts, 8-15 for accessories.

I am very hesitant to consider ssri's or ADHD medications due to their side effects. I am already low energy and overfat. I don't want to add further weight gain, depersonalization and other side effects to the mix.

Dr Saya focused on my low free T values, statimg that was more important in my case vs total T. T can't do much when locked up by SHBG.

With that said I have a newfound respect for how food makes me feel. I believe TRT is only a tool, a mere part of a "well balanced life" to include positive social interactions, physical activity, nourishing food, good sleep, and peace of mind. I hope TRT can be a spark to light the fire. I'll still have to put in the work.

I was laid off for 6 weeks beginning mid March, but was rehired into another dept of my company which is actually a better fit than before. Yes I do have some lost dreams and goals. That is another story for maybe another forum here, another time.

PS did my first injections last night after much worry and hesitation. They went well! Today I had a good gym workout, and felt more awake even on only 4 hr of sleep, normally I would be more of a zombie with much worse gym performance. It helped a lot that I had 16 oz beef liver plus veggies and fruit for breakfast. Real home cooked food is awesome!
 
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ValkyrieXB70

New Member
Not sure where to begin here... I guess by agreeing that getting your age would help considerably. Regarding your sleep... for me, everything revolves around good, adequate sleep. To that end, I would do whatever is necessary to help you get a good nights sleep for a week or two and then see if having those habits re-established helps you. Lots of people have terrible bed time habits as well - playing with their phone until they pass out, TV on in their room, etc. If you're doing any of that, STOP. Get in bed and read a book or a magazine. No screens whatsoever an hour before bedtime, only exception being a black and white Kindle. Have sex before you go to sleep. Take a benadryl. Find what it takes to sleep well and try to "reset" that as best as you can.

Regarding your labs and protocol, I would suggest following Dr Saya to the T and seeing where he can get you. He's trustworthy for sure, and his clinic has never done me wrong. There is some debate regarding DHEA and whether or not it can lower SHBG; Dr. Saya believes it does and I'll tell you from experience, backed by labs, it lowered mine.

Regarding your lifts... this is where I'll do my best to not sound like a dick, but I will fail simply because it's almost impossible to give advice on weights without doing so, but I'm not TRYING to be a dick, I promise. So I apologize in advance. It sounds like you're simply at a plateau, which is pretty standard after following a routine for a long time, however...those are not powerlifting numbers. Those are not powerlifting reps. You would do better getting rid of your "coach" and following 5x5 or Mike Matthews Bigger Leaner Stronger program. Go down to a 4-6 rep range for all your exercises and increase your weights immediately. Are you doing standard squats as well and you didn't post those numbers? Cause front squats do not/can not/will not replace standard squats. For example, my squat day is 3 sets of 6x175 followed by 3 sets of 6x315 standard squats, followed by a superset finisher of 15 each leg curls/leg extensions/leg press calf raises. I'll be 43 in less than a month and I'm 5'9", 190 lbs for reference. You simply aren't generating enough stress to push past your plateau. All of this though depends on your goals, however. If your goal is to maintain decent shape, then in a way a plateau is "fine". If your goal is actually powerlifting however, and therefore to increase the weight you move, you need to change things up.
No offense taken sir. I am working hard on sleep hygiene now. Got a weighted blanket, noise generator, and try to retire early when possible.

Most of my main lift training is in lower rep ranges, anywhere from 3 to 7, but generally 5 reps. Accessories are 8-15 reps generally. I hear you on the plateaus. I feel most of my solo training has been plateaus. Very very difficult to progress on any lift even with adequate calories and protein, sufficient sleep, and intense effort put into heavy compound movements, exercises varied after 4 to 8 weeks etc. I will be doing back squats again at some point. Right now my trainer is focusing on my deadlift. I have had good progress on sumo deads the last couple months so we are riding that wave as long as possible. My so so recovery ability means I can only push one or two lifts up at a time though.

I don't ever plan on actual powerlifting competition. It would be unethical for me to do so on TRT, and I would have nothing to gain by competing.

I am looking at TRT more for the mental benefits, as SSRIs and amphetamines for depression and ADHD have their own sometimes nasty side effects. Some of those side effects look bad enough that I fear they could push me to a dark place I don't want to go
 

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