One pill makes you smaller: Birth Control

A couple weeks ago, I started back on the birth control pill after five or six years off of it. There’ve been times when I’ve been on the pill, but I’ve never taken it for extended periods. That’s just because I’m the kind of person who’s hesitant to get into chemicals of any kind. (Herbs, though, I’m down with.)
It’s been about two weeks since I started, and it went all over the place at the beginning, since I’m shitty at following a regimen. But in the last week I began to notice some mood swings happening. Stress hitting me harder than it should, and things bothering me more than they should.
I think I should be over the moon. I had an incredible let’s-stay-in-and-fuck-all-day kind of weekend last week, and at the end, felt pretty damned smug about it. Then he walked out the door, I received a depressing email, and for the rest of this week, I’ve been riddled with fears and paranoia. For several days now, I’ve been mired in a depression I can’t shake, that’s causing me to move towards some pretty intense agoraphobia.
There was a time in my past when I dealt with depression… for a long fucking time. With it comes that total lack of desire to live, the lack of energy, the lack of passion. Depression is lack. That’s all it is. Overwhelming lack. It’s when nothing brings a sense of value to you, and it is one fucking horrible thing to dwell under.
And it’s coming back. The only thing I can point my finger at are those pills. I have lost weight in the last month, since my jeans fit me snugger in all the right places, so that’s something to be pleased about. My dire financial cloud is lifting, again, a thing to be pleased about. And I’ve been laid time and time again in the most divinely delicious ways in a long time, so, yeah, that’s a good thing, too. But here I am, short of breath, panicking, and freaking right out. Over what? A phone call? A missed client appointment? A little rain? What the fuck’s under my skin? Some questions don’t have answers. Others have pills. But my pills are bringing the questions on, and that just ain’t so cool.
I had an email, coincidentally, from a male reader concerned about whether his girlfriend should go on the pill since they have a history of condoms coming off. Honestly? That’s not something I’m qualified to answer. So, I won’t.
I will, however, say that educating yourself by reading up on the internet is a must-do before you make such a change in your lifestyle. Know all the negatives, all the potential mishaps that may arise, before you move in that direction.
Personally, these kinds of things have never really affected me a lot — pills, drugs, et al — so I’m somewhat surprised to have fallen prey to this so damned thoroughly and quickly.The pill can come with any number of side effects, from serious health issues like blood clots all the way through depression and lack of sexual appetite and headaches. This is a great thread on a discussion forum about women’s health, and it really illustrates one pill-user’s experiences on the birth control pill.
Me, I think it increased an already-active sex drive, but has caused very serious depression. Fortunately, I know the signs of depression and it’s only taken a few days to realize that Something Isn’t Right. I have booked an appointment with my MD for Monday, and intend to discuss the issue in detail. I’m confident that getting off the pill will lead this Steff back to the land of sunshine and bliss. Or I’m as confident as feeling depressed will allow me to be, at least.
If you already suffer from depression, you may want to rethink the pill. If you’re susceptible to chemicals of any kind, you also may want to rethink the pill.
HOWEVER, if you’re aware of what might happen, you know the signs to look for, and you monitor any changes that arise, and you discuss all those changes with your lover, so they’re watching out for you as well, then why not try it? If it doesn’t affect you, being on the pill can really contribute added security and enjoyment to your life. Just don’t go into it blindfolded, is all I ask.
Allegedly, the side effects tend to quiet down in two to three months. The question is, can you live with them that long? Depending on the severity, it’s entirely possible it’ll be but a blip on your life. Not so for me. Personally, I spent too much of my life in the dark to go back in it again. I’ll be looking at other options or trying other brands.

11 thoughts on “One pill makes you smaller: Birth Control

  1. Laurie

    Oh yeah, I had to stop taking the bc pill because it made me depressed and bitchy all the time. Not to mention the lovely zits I got.

    I have an IUD – love it, swear by it, and no side effects. It’s good for ten years, so if you’re not planning on having any kids for awhile, it’s the way to go.

  2. Anonymous

    there is an iud called mirena, it’s good for 5 years and it’s plastic, not copper, and it uses progesterone vs. estrogen that are in the pills. i don’t have it yet, but i’m scheduled to get it done on Tuesday (long wait to see the doc)


  3. Ed

    My wife was on the pill for many years and had lots of problems. Then she had an IUD which was much better. I’d agree with Laurie, if you’re not planning on having children for a while it’s probably the way to go.

    The IUD lasted until it was time for me to have a vasectomy – which is definitely the way to go if you’re sure you’ve had enough children. If you can persuade your man, that is. 🙂

  4. Ellie

    I experienced some pretty nasty mood swings the first month I was on the pill. I was just completely irrational about everything. However, they basically stopped immediately once I got into the second pill pack. I haven’t had a problem since and they have helped keep my skin clear to boot.

  5. jazz

    nobody i’ve ever met has had this reaction to the pill. i take a very low-level estrogen pill which you might consider too. it’s effective as birth control but if you don’t have excessive cramps or mood swings without the pill you don’t need so much hormone in you.

    let us know how your doc appt goes!

  6. Anonymous

    There are a lot of different types of pills out there. Different combinations of progesterone/estrogen, less androgen, etc. . .

    There is also the ring, which I love. Fewer side effects.

    Call you practitioner and talk about your side effects and options.

  7. Anonymous

    I was on the pill for last year, but had just gotten out of a pretty serious depression, and it just sent me righ back. I’m a student, I got so depressed that I couldn’t get out in the morning – mainly because I got anxiety attacks, when I think agout it, and ended up with failing the whole semester. I quit after about two months, and it gradually went better.

    I tried the pill again a month ago, but quit after a week, because I got depressed and got anxiety attacks again, and I didn’t dare to go out. So I quit after a week – I’m using condoms at the moment, but I want something a bit more secure (I’m not especially good at remembering the condoms, they slip off or get ripped, etc), I just don’t know what yet…

  8. Anonymous

    Get properly fitted for a diaphragm. Got mine last week and problem solved! At last sex with no second thoughts or interruptions. LOVE IT!!!

    Did the rounds of condoms, the pill, depo provera etc with all the negative side effects. I used to joke to my boyfriend that the reason the pill was so effective was that I didn’t feel like sex anyway.

    Listen to your body and your instincts they will always tell you the true story.


  9. Deidre

    Hello Steff
    I agree with the general statement of depression being linked to or at least attributed to being on the pill.

    Years ago when I was on the pill (low dosage) I experienced mood swing and maybe even depression. I say maybe because I wasn’t willing to admit I could be depressed. When I talked to my OB/GYN, he suggested I take Midol (or something there of) to help curb the moods. Of course, I don’t remember the “moods” ever decreasing.

    One thing did stop the moods tho…I became pregnant while on the pill. LOL…what a surprise for us all!

    Never did go back on the pill after that pregancy (last one). I opted for a tubal.

    Now we are in a new millenium and when it was time for my daughter to take charge of her sexuality and decisions, she opted for the patch.

    But guess what? Yup, you guessed it…MOOD SWINGS, DEPRESSION, ANXIETIES, Etc, Etc, Etc…

    NOt sure if what I have to say on the matter helps shed any light to your concerns but by reading the responses and knowing what both my daughter and myself have gone through…You are not alone.

    If and I use that word very causiously, if, you know that you dont want to ever be pregnant there seems to be some success with a new (or maybe not so new) technique which is labelled by laymen terms as getting “springs” put in the tubes. Its supposed to be even more successful than the tubal. Downside to doing it though is there is no successful reversal to this procedure.

    Like I said, I don’t know what my opinion will do but just be assured…

    YOU are definitely not alone and YES listen to what your body tells you.

    – Deidre

  10. elvira black

    I never opted for the pill because I felt like anything that was messing with your hormones like that couldn’t be too healthy for you. Since I’m very prone to depression I can definitely relate to your decision to discontinue them. Definitely not worth it!

    Although I go with condoms now, I used the diaphragm all through college and that seemed to work pretty well for me–though that was in the pre-HIV era.

  11. Sazzle

    Yeh I hate the pill, it made me put on weight, lowered my sex drive and also got me depressed. I think the depression was maybe a side effect of the other 2 as well, but I’ve been off it for 18 months now and been so much happier generally. Been on condoms which are kinda effective. I have an IUD now which seems to cause few problems, though may be getting it removed soon, because may not be needing it anymore since men aren’t really a part of my life anymore and I don’t want them to be.

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