Look Further Into the Effects of Birth Control

I started on birth control pills when I was 12 years old, about 6 months into having my period for the first time. My periods were very painful, and very heavy, and the longest they lasted was 23 days. I eventually figured out that I had a tilted uterus, and that it would resolve on its own but could be contributing to the pain my period caused me. So, I went to a gynecologist to discuss going on birth control. I didn’t see the point in having my period at all, and frankly didn’t want to deal with it, so I asked if I could take the pill continuously, meaning I wouldn’t take the week of sugar pills at the end of the pack. I was told that this would help with my acne, take away my period completely, (with the exception of shedding of lining about twice a year) and could even help stabilize my moods. How could I not take this? I thought, who wouldn’t want to not have to deal with their period every month? So I started taking the pill every single day.    Through my teen years, I had a lot going on and developed depression. I went on various anti depressants and I’ve been on so many that I’ve lost count. None truly helped my moods like I wanted to, making me end up just feeling flat. I was always told that this is just parts of being a teenager and that everyone my age feels like this. To some agree, I still agree with that, but I do not agree that it should’ve been at my extent.    Through these years I am unclear on my identity and how I fit into society. I don’t feel emotions like a normal person does, and I learn to mimic regular social behaviors. It would catch me by surprise when I would rarely laugh for real. I would think, “Oh! So that’s what it should feel like.” I was caught in this vicious cycle of trying to fit in and figure out who I was. I would see all of my friends start forming interests in boys, and felt like everyone was changing around me. Whenever someone would call me innocent, I would jokingly reply, “I’m mentally 14, what do you expect?” And even though I was saying it in a funny matter, I truly felt stuck at the age of 14. I had romantic interest in some boys through this. I can only recall having a real crush on about four total, and only two lasted more than a year. The extent of these crushes were very immature. I only pictured holding their hand, or MAYBE kissing them. The thought of intercourse scared me. Around the ages of 15-18 I was hesitant to be in a relationship in fear of it escalating to more than just kissing, knowing I didn’t feel that sort of attraction toward anyone. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be enough for someone because I couldn’t feel those things. I wanted to feel them.     Whenever someone would ask me my sexuality, I would tell them, “How am I supposed to know if I’ve never been in a relationship before?” And although that does apply to some, I think by my age I should’ve had some idea of what I was attracted to. I didn’t openly say this to many, but I then started identifying myself as an asexual, but it still didn’t feel right identifying that way. I didn’t want to be an asexual. I craved to feel genuine emotions so badly, but I never did. I wouldn’t go so far to say that I was a sociopath, because I have always been empathetic for others and cared about everyone. I recall the happiness and sadness I felt during my teen years and it wasn’t nothing, but I know now that it wasn’t what I should’ve been feeling. My emotions were dull, and fractured. It was like a light switch where some days I could feel some sort of emotion and empathy and other days I was a walking zombie trying to act like everyone else around me, because I still felt the need to be accepted by others.    I gained a lot of weight from switching to so many anti depressants and an even stronger version of continuous birth control because it broke through too often to my liking. I gained about 80 lbs through my journey of finding the right anti depressant for me. I didn’t have much success on any. Some made me self harm, others suppressed my emotions even more to the point that I never had any feeling. Overall, I can’t say that I’ve truly liked any that I’ve been on.     Skip to June of 2018, I am graduating high school. I am doing pretty well. I have had so many cycles of depression throughout, but during that time I was doing well. Almost maybe even happy. I talked with my psychiatrist, and he was impressed with my improvement. I expressed to him how I was tired of being on medicine, and that I didn’t want to feel like a zombie on the medicine I was on. Previously we had talked about changing anti depressants since this one, (Welbutrin and Lexapro) really made me feel emotionless. Since I was doing so well, instead of just switching medication we decided to just wean myself off of them and see how I did. The process was hard. I went off pretty quickly and was very unstable and suffered from brain zaps and headaches due to the withdraw. Eventually when I weaned off of the medicine completely I felt a lot of general anxiety. It wasn’t ever triggered by anything, I just felt butterflies in my stomach most of the day. It made me very on edge and I had trouble sleeping from all of the anxiety. After a month or two of being fully off of the meds, I expressed my anxiety to my psychiatrist and he concluded that I should start on another anti depressant. I was disappointed, because I didn’t want to have to rely on more medicine to make my mind normal, but I agreed because my anxiety was too much for me.    After a week of taking this new medicine around mid November, I feel great and maybe even happy. I thought I was finally getting back to normal. Come the second week, all hell broke loose. I don’t know what triggered it, but I had the worst few weeks of my life. I was the most suicidal I had ever been, and I was so done with life. I wanted to die, and it got so dark that I turned to God and asked him to earn my mother’s permission to commit suicide. The only thing that held me back from committing suicide was the effect I knew that it would have on others, and it saddens me that I felt like my life was an obligation. Somehow I got through that suicidal state and went on with my life. My psychiatrist ups my dosage of my medicine and I am still on that dose today (February 2019).        In late December, my shed of lining happens from my birth control. When this happens, you stop the pill for four days and then start it up again. I wanted to be on less medication, so I decide that I’m going to stop taking birth control and if my next period is as painful and as heavy and lasts as long as they did, then I will go back on it. But if I can tolerate it, then that’s one less pill I’ll have to take at night.     Going off of birth control was the best decision I have ever made in my life. After maybe a week of going off of it, I feel amazing. I feel a genuine joy that I have never felt before. I look at myself in the mirror and like what I see. I am confident in my body, I feel worthy of myself and see my importance and value. I started to feel different forms of attraction towards others that was completely new to me that I still don’t fully understand. I start forming romantic feelings for multiple people very quickly and typically it would take me years to even consider seeing myself with another person romantically. I also feel impulsive, I am going on spontaneous outings and hanging out with people I have barely ever talked to which have sparked into wonderful new friendships. My feelings are real and I am loving it.    With all of these new feelings I am still trying to understand, I feel overwhelmed. I feel a rush through my body all the time. Any thought can trigger butterflies not only in my stomach but throughout my entire body. I feel confused, and always on edge. I want things and I am impatient to have them. I crave to be in a relationship with someone for the attention and human contact. I am having trouble organizing my thoughts and feelings. But despite all of this, I am so glad that I made the decision to go off of it because I’m sure my feelings will dim down and regulate eventually. I no longer feel mentally 14, and I am ready to experience the world as a young adult at the age of 19.    I am disappointed that there is not enough research done on how hormonal birth control can effect someone, especially young women who take it as soon as they start puberty. I was never warned of the possibility of depression or suppressed emotions going on this medicine. I was convinced that I was just never on the right anti depressant. I didn’t know that birth control could potentially stop my maturing process and keep me stuck at an age mentally. I had no idea that birth control could cause more than half of my depression. There needs to be more research looking into when to start a woman on birth control and how long they may need to wait to ensure their body produces the right hormones that they need to function normally. Doctors  also need to seriously and thoroughly explain ALL of the side effects birth control can cause, because as I’ve said, I was only told it will take away my period and help regulate mood swings and acne. Of course my case is probably a rare one, because as I’ve tried to research about my situation, it takes me a lot of digging to see people in the same predicament I’m in; however, it is worth noting how powerful these drugs can be. It is worth knowing that birth control can alienate you and greatly suppress you as a human being. I feel like I have lost seven years of my life and wonder what kind of life I could’ve had not on this medication.    Of course, going off of this is no cure. I am still unstable and still trying to figure out my feelings. But, I can proudly say I am a bisexual woman who is perfectly able to feel and experience genuine feelings a woman at my age should! I am so relieved to be in this stage of my life and finally get the emotions I should be experiencing.

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I am in no way shape or form against birth control. This is how the medication effected ME and I know that birth control can be a life saver for others, it sure did help take my pain away for the time being. I am only hoping that in the future more research is done on how it can suppress younger women looking to take it, and for everyone to be informed of how this can affect you physically and mentally. I want people to take this drug more seriously so they don’t end up in the situation I am in, because even though there aren’t many reports on it having the effect on people as drastically as it did me, I bet it happens more than we’d think. I sure know I am not the only one.