“I don’t like to go out,” Harold says. “People stare. Even the cashier at the grocery store. You can tell they’re trying to figure out what I am.”
Harold developed breasts in his early teens. Like many boys who took Risperdal, Harold had a difficult childhood. He lived with his grandmother for a while, and because of behavioral issues, he was sent to a group children’s home at the age of 12. That’s where he was first prescribed Risperdal -- to keep his outbursts in check.
While taking Risperdal, Harold gained significant weight very quickly. He also developed breasts, which he first attributed to the weight gain, but later felt that something else was happening to him. “There were other kids in my family that were overweight,” Harold says, “but they didn’t have what I have.”
Kids at school noticed as well, and for a while, Harold was the object of relentless bullying. “I learned to stand up for myself,” Harold says. “The bullying mostly stopped, but I never had many friends.”
As a young adult, Harold still only associates with a small group. “When I meet new people, I feel like I have to explain why I have breasts.” Harold recalls meeting a woman who had trouble believing his name. “She didn’t know if it was weirder for there to be a girl named ‘Harold’ or for there to be a boy with girl’s breasts.”
Recently, Harold saw a cosmetic surgeon about having his breasts removed. When he told the doctor that he is also hoping to lose weight, the doctor encouraged Harold to reach his goal before having surgery. If he lost weight after the surgery, the doctor explained, his chest would end up being deformed. Harold has to conquer one side effect of Risperdal before he can correct another. Harold scheduled gastric bypass surgery for the summer of 2017, and he hopes to have the breast reduction surgery later in the year.