Today on the blog we are chatting about all things menstrual cycle, birth control, and hormones. If any of that ain’t your thing- don’t stress. I’ll see ya next time around!
Before I start this post, I want to make this disclaimer: I don’t want to turn this into a sociopolitical or religious conversation. This is me sharing my experience. This is not a medical conversation. You can disagree with me. That is perfectly okay. I believe every individual needs to take ownership of their health and their recovery. This is me doing precisely that.
Ever since I began recovery, I have taken it upon myself to prioritize my education. I take responsibility for my own health. That is something I pride myself on and have always wanted to make well-informed decisions. I don’t mean this in the sense of what I eat on a daily basis, because I strive to be lax on that, but moreso when it comes to other aspects of holistic health, specifically when it comes to medicine.
I have never been one to rely on pills. If I have a headache, I drink water or take a nap. I don’t take advil. If you see me request a painkiller, that’s a telltale sign I’m seriously hurting. I’ve always subscribed to the belief that our bodies are smart- we come ready with virus-fighting blood cells. Our bodies were designed to take care of themselves. There is no denying that modern medicine can do a world of good and can make our lives easier, I don’t want to discredit that. However, given my addictive personality, I’ve stayed on high alert when it comes to any form of substance in which people are prone to becoming addicted to.
Additionally, I am incredibly wary of anything that gives me hormones that are foreign to my body. Because of my disordered past and the prevalence of messed up mental health in my life, I already know my mind is a sensitive territory I need to protect. Adding into the mix hormonal medicine that can jeopardize any sense of stability I have is all too risky of behavior. I figured I would stay away from medicine for as long as I could.
As I mentioned on the blog last week, I stopped getting my period a few months ago. Blame it on whatever the case might be, this is not good. I brought it up to my physician who immediately suggested birth control. I aired my concerns with her, telling her I did not want to mess with my hormones, and she seemed to take it all in. She recommended the birth control Taytulla, which was – supposedly – a low dosage hormonal birth control. After a dozen questions from me, she urged me to try it for three months. If I really hated it, we could try something new.
I walked out of the doctor’s office feeling unnerved and extremely hesitant. I would not have even taken the birth control in the first place had she not told me about the dangers of not having a period. Though I already knew the basics of what a menstrual cycle was, my doctor placed a greater importance on what occurs in terms of cleaning out my system. The estrogen a body releases during one’s period makes the lining of the uterus grow and thicken. If a pregnancy occurs, the womb is now able to nourish and protect that embryo. If no pregnancy occurs, that lining is shed and the uterus is cleaned out, reducing any chance for infestation or bacteria to develop.
Every month I don’t have my period, I leave my body susceptible to more and more bacteria, causing the ability to get sick and develop cancer to heighten. (I’m not scientific in the slightest, so if any of this is wrong, please feel to correct me).
At the word, “cancer,” I immediately *noped* out of my reservations and figured I’d at least give this a shot. If, after three months, I couldn’t handle it, I’d try something else. I just didn’t want to completely say no in case this was the very thing that helped me feel better.
I went home and told my boyfriend all about my concerns with taking a hormonal birth control. He said he’d look out for me too.
So, I began to take birth control.
Guys, this month has been absolute hell for me.
It’s been ages since I was truly stuck in the darkest days of my depression, but all this month, especially this past week, I feel pulled back there. My head is clouded with drastically altered thoughts. I am not sleeping well. I get angered over the smallest issues. I want to cry over things that usually wouldn’t stress me out. I am not fun to be around. I am bloated all the time. I have no desire to go to school (which, is INSANE for me). I feel hopeless.
Yesterday was the final straw for me.
All day long, I felt physically off. It almost felt like I was constipated, but whenever I tried to go, my body didn’t respond. Tuesdays are my long day at class, so when I met up with my boyfriend to take the trolley home, I told him about how crappy I felt and how I couldn’t wait to be home in the comforts of our own bathroom and bedroom. Well, when we did in fact get home, I discovered the real culprit of my physical ailment- I had started my period. The artificially induced period from this birth control.
Then, I lost it.
A flood of emotions overtook me.
I was heartbroken that this period was not my body’s own doing, but a pill. I had nothing to do with this period. My own body couldn’t produce a period. I hate relying on external sources for things I should be capable of in my own right. I was in so much pain from the cramps and the bloating. I was uncomfortable by all of distress I felt.
Simply put, I lost it. I sobbed and cried and pleaded with my own body to take care of itself when I am doing everything right in terms of recovery.
Today, I’m still feeling crappy and at a loss for how to continue moving forward. It’s been a month, and I want to quit this birth control. I’m pretty sure I will quit it, but I feel guilt toward it. I feel like I’m not giving it my full effort, because my doctor recommended I stick it out for three months, not just one. My body is still adjusting to it and after a little while, I might be completely fine. Also, I feel guilty in regards to my relationship, but that’s a whole other thing. He’s been nothing but supportive in that respect- that’s just another burden I seem to place on my own shoulders.
Though it was only a month, I really believe that the birth control pill I was taking messed with my mental health. That’s terrifying. I am grateful we live in a day and age in which we have access to so many different forms of improving our health. I recognize that privilege and I don’t want to appear ungrateful. I’m over the moon thankful I had the opportunity to try out this birth control and make the decision for myself.
For me, the side effects outweigh the benefits. I don’t know what I’m going to do to get my period back naturally, but I’m going to revert back to what I’ve done in the past. For starters, I’m going to up my calorie intake. Ideally, I should also cut back on the stress, so I’ll pursue outlets that promote relaxation.
I’m an emotional person, but the way I’ve felt this past week is not okay. I felt like a foreigner in my body, always exhausted, always irritated, and always wrong. I don’t want this anymore. I want to be the happy me I know I’m capable of being.
I’m signing off for the day, because I don’t know what else to say. There is still more to this journey when it comes to my menstrual cycle, but I just made the decision a few hours ago to stop taking the birth control. We’ll see where I go next.
Much love to you all. Please feel free to weigh in with your own stories about hormones. I know my commenting system is struggling right now, but I will do my best to fix it.