I decided to write this, still dealing with one of the hardest experiences I have ever endured, but I figured if I could just help one person with my story, this would all be worth going through.. If one person experienced or is experiencing what I did, I want them to know that you are NOT ALONE, it does get better, and to please, just hold on and stay strong. This is my story:
I started taking Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo 5 weeks ago. I had taken it from ages 15-17 to regulate my periods, I had some weight gain, always super irritable ( I figured that was part of being a teenager), and that's why I chose to get off of it at 17 years old. This time around, at 21 years old, I felt like I would use the same type of contraceptive (Ortho Tri Cyclen- Lo) because it was familiar to me. The person who I loved and I had just split up, I had started a new job, I just thought it would be a good idea to be on birth control because no matter what, I knew at this time I was in no way, shape, or form ready to bring a baby into this world. I was going in for my yearly check up anyways, so it just worked out! I've never been the anxious type or anything, and I did have a little anxiety off and on, but I just thought it was all of these new life changes. I was always quickly able to reassure myself that I was okay, and the anxiety stopped when I told it to. The first month was pretty smooth, I was loosing weight pretty quickly, my skin felt good, emotionally I will say I was very numb. I thought at the time it was a blessing in disguise, boy was I wrong. There was only one day out of that whole month that I can say I had a bad experience, I got into an argument with my roommate, punched a wall(something I used to think was so childish and immature to do), and then cried my eyes immediately out after I did it because I felt crazy and almost like I blacked out in that moment.. I really wish I would've listened to my mind and body right then and there, but I looked up online about my mood swing and was quickly reassured that it was just my body getting used to the new hormones, and to give it three months before I even think about stopping the pill. I felt fine after my "little" breakdown, and carried on like nothing happened. The first period was light and only three days long. I did have some painful cramping, but it was nothing two Midol pills couldn't handle. Overall, the first month I was pretty pleased with my hormonal contraceptive.
Here's where it changes;
I had always taken my pill at 1:00 AM to try to sleep off most of the side effects (nausea, headaches, possible irritability) everything was fine up until the day I started my second week of my second pack. I am going to try my best to try and describe exactly how I felt, but just know, this is something I never even knew could happen until it happened to me, this is something that can change your whole entire life. It was like one second I was fine and myself, and the next second I was someone else. I've never been a sad person, I actually consider myself to be pretty optimistic and positive type person. I could hear my heart in my ears, my voice in my head was screaming telling me that something was wrong, to get to a hospital, I really truly felt like I was dying. I tried to tell myself to calm down, and nothing worked. I was experiencing my first ever anxiety attack, at home, for no apparent reason. I finally did some deep breathing and calmed myself down enough to where I could get a grip. Then the depression kicked in, I swear not even 60 seconds later. Instantly, my head was filled with the most negative things about myself (I didn't even know my own brain was capable of generating these kind of awful thoughts), and even worse it was my own voice in my head repeating these thoughts to me over and over. I was so hopeless, I felt like my life had no meaning, the thought of going to work or even leaving my house made me want to curl up into a ball and die.. I will never forget those thoughts for as long as I live. I was HAPPY AND SMILING two minutes before this. It's been four days since those thoughts have started, FOUR miserable, terrifying, just plain awful days. The first day, I just thought I felt the way I did from having too much caffeine, so I went to sleep thinking the next morning I would feel fine. So I took my birth control as normal, and finally went to sleep. I was scheduled for work the next morning, I woke up to the same awful thoughts and had NO energy, I felt like I was going to throw up at every second, and I honestly didn't care about even having a place in this world, I was definitely not going to go to work. I NEVER thought that birth control could do that to you. I'm so glad I started researching the web when I did, because if I didn't know that other people had the same experiences I did, some women almost the exact same experiences, I don't know if I would still be here today. The pain and hopelessness was THAT REAL. I have never been a suicidal person or have even had those kind of thoughts before, I really had my own self convinced that the world would be a better place without me in it and that I had no purpose on this planet. When you just sit there staring at a wall, four days has easily felt like months. Once I started seeing that people were speaking up about depression and being on the pill, I just wanted to stop taking it. I saw lots of posts saying "make sure you talk to your doctor before you stop taking the pill" I'm sorry, but if my doctor gave me this awful drug without discussing any of these possible side effects with me (The nurse and I honestly spoke for a total of three minutes about the method of contraception I wanted), why would I want her opinion as to what I should do next with my body? But, I called anyways, the front desk lady told me I could make an appointment to see the nurse practitioner the next day because they were full that day. What part of "I feel like I am dying" does she not understand? I know I'm not the only person going through this. And if I were to go to the doctors office, I would just be prescribed more medication to make me feel even more unlike myself. I couldn't believe how lightly the situation was being taken, and that's when I decided ON MY OWN to stop taking Ortho Tri Cyclen -Lo on the 9th day of my second pack. I know that isn't the recommended way to go about things, but I know myself and my body. Birth control was the "medication" I was taking. So my thought process was "I feel like this hormone is causing my body to react this way, so I want it out.) I really don't think that continuing to take the pills would do anything beneficial for me. Currently, it has been 67 hours since I have put that hormone into my body. I was hoping that as soon as I stopped taking them, that I would feel like myself again. I was praying for that quick fix just because I wanted this mess to all be over. It was like having the worst sickness you could ever possibly have, but it was all on the inside and no one could possibly understand that feeling unless they've experienced it for themselves. Almost three full days after stopping the pill later, I can't say I feel 100% better yet, but as far as the depression and negative thoughts, that has become way less frequent and I feel a lot more functional mentally. Physically, this is awful. I'm nauseous from the second I wake up until the second I fall asleep, my stomach is a COMPLETE MESS, and for whatever reason, I still don't feel like I can drive my car (I'm afraid of having a panic attack or throwing up while driving, I would never want to endanger innocent people's lives just because I don't currently have a grip on my own). My roommates have forced (and I mean forced!) me to either go on a walk around the block each day, the first three days it was complete hell. I just wanted to be alone in my dark room forever. Today, I was able to leave the house for four hours, but the nausea and stomach issues made it a little too much to handle, and feeling like you're going to throw up in public at any given moment isn't exactly the best help for this newfound anxiety). My biggest fear is that I will never be myself again. But, I'm putting my all into this because depression is a very serious matter that I feel is taken way too lightly in this world. These "doctors and nurses" are handing these pills out to women like CANDY! What's even more troubling, is that these hormones are given to young women as well. I'm half tempted to go stand in front of the clinic with my picket sign I'm so disgusted with how these people are handling contraceptives. Sure, you may be protected from getting pregnant, but I promise you, it's not worth what I just went through and am still dealing with. Now, I'm not saying that hormonal birth control isn't the answer for some people, but for people like myself, this information needs to be out there, too. I had to dig through pages and pages on the Internet to find out that depression/anxiety can be caused from birth control. I had myself convinced that something was wrong with me. I thought it was just all in my head. I wouldn't wish this experience on even my worst enemy, but this experience has given me a voice. I will not be quiet about depression and hormonal contraceptives any longer. If this has happened to you, speak up. I wish I could find the lady's story that she had posted on a forum, because she's really the reason I think I'm still here. It's okay to speak up, tell other women what you're going through. If you're currently going through this, take small steps forward. I don't know what I would've done without my roommates, if I had lived by myself this whole thing could've turned out a whole different way, because all you want to do in a depression is be by yourself. And in a depression, you truly are your own worst enemy. Like I said before, if I give just one person even the slightest bit of reassurance about what they are feeling, I've done my job.