Rosecrans Baldwin:

I asked what his advice would be for young people contemplating PEDs. His response was immediate: “Get into therapy.” I thought he was talking about hormone therapy, but no: psychological therapy. “Get into therapy, and take it as a challenge to learn to love the body you have. Get into therapy, be in therapy once a week for a good year, and work hard. It’s just like the gym: You get out what you put in,” he said. “It sounds so cliché and corny. I used to spit when I would hear shit like that. I thought there was something honorable in hating yourself enough to change your body.”

This was a disappointing article. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I recently declined the offer of testosterone replacement therapy from my doctor, so I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the last month learning what I can about the topic. With just that small bit of knowledge, I found it rather shocking how uninformative this was. Baldwin refers to TRT, performance-enhancing drugs, and anabolic steroids interchangeably without providing useful distinctions, let alone any contextual information about the overall health, or the diet and fitness routines, of the people he quotes. He even casually mentions creatine as one of the “drugs” that Hollywood actors use to get beefcake bodies. For context, creatine monohydrate is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein. It’s one of the most common over-the-counter supplements there is, and it’s probably the most widely-studied supplement on the planet, to the point where it’s almost a punchline about how researchers would rather do yet another study reinforcing the efficacy of creatine than provide us with useful information. Everyone from young lifters to my elderly parents takes it. Personally, I gained ten pounds of muscle in the first few months of taking it, not because of the creatine itself, but because I felt better overall and had more energy, and thus was able to work out harder and more often. You might as well declare a high-protein diet and a good night’s sleep to be performance-enhancing drugs.

Anyway, Gell-Mann amnesia effect aside, I found it striking that the article ended on this note, with a call to get thee to a therapist. Maybe I’m just imagining a golden age that never really existed, but I feel like there was a time, in the not-too-distant past, where the reader might have been trusted to be capable of thinking through the issue on his own, without being urged to pathologize his dilemma as a form of illness requiring treatment, and outsource his deep thinking to an accredited professional. I realize that an increasing number of people report that they have no close friends, or are estranged from family, but it still seems pathetic how reflexive it has become to assume that a therapist’s office is where you go to think or talk about the big picture. Even worse, the answer likely will be some combination of pharmaceuticals. Where’s Socrates when you need him?