Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Every medication works on people differently. I know plenty of people who have been on the pill, implant, NuvaRing, and IUD that have loved it. I personally do not handle estrogen well, and the side effects were scary. Do not let this scare you out of trying birth control if you haven't before. Just be aware that if you are having signs of depression, anxiety, or any other type of mental illness, it could be linked to your birth control.
I have been on birth control since I was a sophomore in high school due to the fact that I had horrific cramps that would keep me home from school for a week straight. They would last until I swallowed ibuprofen and forced myself into the bathtub with scorching hot water. It was unbearable and at the time it seemed as if birth control was the only way that I could stop it.
Birth control seemed to help a lot with the cramps. However, my sophomore year of high school, I started to get upset about a lot of things. I would cry after basketball games on the way home. I didn't know why I was so sad all the time. I had a great freshman year, what could have changed? I didn't realize how sad I actually was, because I really was having a good time, too. But I was very moody and somewhat aggressive. I was on edge all the time. This carried on into my junior year and finally settled down my senior year even though I would get little patches of being extremely emotional. I remember one time I cried because my brother put the chicken nuggets in the microwave "wrong." I am a junior in college as of right now, so I don't really remember a lot of the details on how I felt in high school. Looking back on it now I can tell you that I started feeling differently around my sophomore year, which just so happened to be when I got on birth control. However, the symptoms seemed bearable. I wasn't that bad, I would just get a little moody here and there. The pills I was taking were not that strong, however.
My freshman year of college I decided to try the implant because I was very bad about taking the pill. I would have breakthrough bleeding and let's be real — it was not fun at all. This is when my life started to change drastically. Let me be clear when I say I am a very happy person. The bar did not give me depression like the pill did. This was way worse. For the first six months that I had it, I found myself Googling everything that was wrong with my body. If my toenail looked funny I would literally Google it. If I got a sore throat I automatically assumed that it was cancer or something else completely horrible. I Googled everything but would not go to the doctor in fear that he would tell me that there was actually something wrong with me. I didn't want to know. This completely consumed my life. I would spend my time at work crying on the phone to my parents. Let me tell you one thing, they got so sick of it. They didn't know why I always thought I was dying. And trust me, in my brain, I was completely convinced I was dying.
They say after about six months your symptoms are supposed to settle down and your body is supposed to be used to it. Well, my symptoms just changed. I started getting really bad relationship anxiety. I was questioning everything in my relationship. I was having panic attacks about school, my boyfriend, my parents, my friends. I thought that everyone hated me. I would lay in bed and try and push the thoughts out of my head. It was weird and scary. I had never experienced anxiety before, but having an anxiety attack was a major wake-up call. When I started having multiple, I knew something was wrong. I went to the doctor and got put on anxiety medication. This helped, yes, but I didn't want to take any more medicine. Finally, one day I saw an article about the implant and how it made someone completely freak out and go psycho. I Googled it and you would not believe the number of stories online about not just the implant, but every other type of birth control. I, unfortunately, at the time was only focused on how the implant affected me. I only looked at those stories. I finally made an appointment to get off of the implant. I had my doctor take it out and she immediately offered me the IUD. I was petrified by what had happened with the implant. Really, words cannot even describe how much anxiety I had. It was ruining my life. I wanted something that I would stop taking if it started giving me symptoms again. I decided to go with the NuvaRing instead.
The doctor told me to put the NuvaRing in that day. Obviously, all of the hormones from the implant were not yet cleared out of my system. This may have been a mental thing but I felt so much better. I felt relaxed, which was something that I had not felt in a very long time. I had heard plenty of good stories about the NuvaRing, so I was excited to try it. I went home a few hours later and put it in (sorry TMI). I woke up the next day feeling extremely grumpy. I was going to go to the lake with my boyfriend, though, so I knew I had to get into a better mood. However, when I got to the lake, once again, I started freaking out. I felt as if my life was falling apart, but I couldn't really tell why I thought that. I didn't understand it. I literally felt like I couldn't breathe. I started blaming it on my boyfriend. I wanted to go home. I was texting my parents and they were telling me to calm down. Finally, we left early. He tried calming me down on the way home, for whatever I was even upset about. (I sound psycho, right?) I would stay calm for a few minutes, then it felt as if my chest weight one thousand pounds. I felt like the world was closing in on me and there was nothing I could do to get out of it.
I got home and cried in my room for hours. I put my head in my pillow, trying to calm myself down, but nothing could make me calm. My parents tried talking to me. Finally, after about 30 minutes of them trying to figure out why I could possibly be freaking out so bad, my dad's face lit up. He said, "Oh my God, you just got on that new form of birth control didn't you." It clicked in my mom's head too and she told me to go take it out. A few hours later, I was literally laughing about what had happened. I literally could see how psycho I was. That was the moment I decided that birth control was not for me. I wanted to get off of it. So I did. It took a few weeks but as the days went on I could feel myself getting more and more normal.
I was off of birth control for a semester and let me tell you it was the best semester I've ever had. I had fun. I didn't care about what other people thought of me. I was carefree. I wasn't emotional about anything. I was always positive. I was just having a good time. The only bad part about getting back on birth control was my periods were completely unpredictable. I also had cramps again, yet, they were not as bad as when I was younger. I decided to get back on the pill, because, it wasn't that bad before. Spring break was coming up and last time I went on spring break I started my period in a white bikini... so, yeah, I wanted to control that this time.
It had been five months since the last time I had any form of birth control in my body. As soon as I started taking it again I immediately noticed a difference. Let me be clear, I was not looking for these symptoms. In my mind, at the time I thought that the pill meant I was in the clear for any crazy side effects. I didn't really get anxiety attacks this time. I didn't even really get depressed. It literally felt like I just wasn't me anymore. I was getting extremely mad about stupid things. I was also getting really emotional. When I say emotional, I mean like I was emotional because Taco Bell didn't deliver. It wasn't even funny. It was legit crazy emotional. I would get super sad if a boy that I didn't even like didn't like me. I was sad and paranoid once again that everyone hated me. I wasn't focused on school because I was so damn paranoid. The third time was the charm and I finally noticed my mood change. I noticed what was wrong with me, but I thought that the risk of knowing that I would not start my period on spring break and knowing that cramps wouldn't ruin my whole trip felt worth it. This was literally like three months of hell. Again, I was constantly on edge. I was crabby all the time. I was emotional for NO REASON. Literally, anything could make me sad. Anything. I was constantly snippy with people. I wasn't my "laid back" self that I was the semester before.
Spring break ended and I got home and knew it was time to get off of birth control for good. I didn't take my pill on the way home and immediately started my period the day after I got home. Birth control tends to stay in your system for awhile, but I felt the need to get it out right away. I went to a supplement store, purchased a cleanse, and drank it immediately. A few HOURS later (yes, when the stuff wasn't even completely cleared out) I could feel a HUGE difference. I was relaxed. I was calm. I was happy. I drove back from spring break wanting to break down in tears because I listened to "Concrete Angel" by Martina McBride. I kid you not, I was sad for 18 hours because of that. I few hours after getting some of it out of my system, it was like a breath of fresh air.
There have been so many times when I thought I was crazy because of this. I've looked up so many other stories on the internet that were so similar to mine. If it wasn't for me seeing an article about birth control, I legit would have thought I was crazy. When I'm not on birth control, I do not have anxiety. I like to go with the flow. When I am not on birth control, I do not have depression. I laugh a lot. I don't let people bring me down. I always seem to be happy. Obviously, if something really sad happens, that's different, but I wouldn't let little things get to me. When I'm not on birth control I am myself. When I am on birth control I seem to turn into a completely psychotic, raging, emotional girl. It is almost as if my personality disappears.
If you are one of the people who love your birth control, I am jealous of you. This is an article for the girls who are experiencing really bad anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, depersonalization, or OCD.
If you are experiencing any of this and it is taking over your life, maybe you should take a few months off of it to see if it gets better. To me, getting off was the best decision I've ever made. Birth control took over my life for so long. Be aware of how you feel when you get on it. I was so used to it that I thought it was me. Decide what is important to you. If you have horrible cramps and would rather have anxiety, take birth control.
If you love unprotected sex and don't want a baby, take birth control. However, if this is something that is tearing apart your entire life, its time to toss them.