Back to the Land of Sanity

Remember a few weeks ago when I had my birth control hijacked? I wrote that after only a few weeks on a different BC that had me totally wackadoo. I was anxious, twitchy, sad, uncertain about every decision I had ever made in life, angry, and filled with guilt. At first I recognized it completely as a hormonal issue. I understood that the drastic mood swings and my chronic PMS was totally and completely due to outside influence. So, I scheduled an appointment with the doc, and had my BC switched back.

But by that time I was already into my second month of the evil pills, so I thought I would just finish them out and start my new (old) ones on my next cycle. Well, after 6 weeks of feeling like a crazy person, of sobbing to Kamel nearly every day, of questioning my existence as a rational human being, I started to feel like all of this emotional turmoil was real. What if I really did find Kamel to be utterly and completely annoying? What if I really did have all of this rage bundled up inside me regarding the bulk of humanity? What if this was the real Lauren? I am not even exaggerating when I say this – these hormones threatened my relationship. If, in the beginning, I felt like a crazy person, after 6 weeks I felt like the crazy was beginning to be my normal.

I remember this clearly. I was at work, talking to Alyssa through the gmail and telling her how I was so incredibly unstable and how I could not continue with this very much longer. I was a wreck! And she was agreeing and sympathizing and telling me it was totally the BC and how that happened to her once and it was awful, and basically every normal person sane thing that really did make me feel better. And suddenly it hit me – I had to stop taking these goddamn pills immediately. Screw the waiting for my cycle to finish, starting right that minute, I was no longer taking them. I had 1 more week left on the evil crazy makers and I couldn’t imagine going one more day. Done.

I told Kamel I had stopped taking them before the time was right and he was very confused that I had the ability to start and stop my period like one turns on a faucet. Oh we women and our voodoo vaginas! He was convinced I was going to make myself sick, or explode, or something. What happened instead was I stopped feeling homicidal, and I was able to have my rational (as rational as I get, anyway) self back.

It wasn’t until a few weeks had gone by and Kamel and I were in LA, basking in some sunshine, when I realized how at peace I was, and how not at peace I had been. Too much estrogen makes Lauren crazy, but normal Lauren is actually fairly calm, fairly happy and content, and it was like a true breath of fresh air. It’s amazing how quickly something out of the ordinary can begin to feel “normal” even when it’s not.

So, I wanted to let you know. Things got bad there for a while, but now they are completely, beautifully fixed. And I cannot express how grateful I am to not feel like shit anymore. Being normal is a fantastic thing.

55 thoughts on “Back to the Land of Sanity”

  1. Oh yes, this has happened to me. And I think it was on Yasmin too. I just remember feeling crazy and not knowing why. Except instead of homicidal it made me suicidal. Oh that was a bad month. I also stopped taking them during the middle of the second cycle once I figured it out and it quickly got better. No lasting side effects.

    I now have the Mirena (I asked for it because of the Yasmin episode–the Mirena has a low dose of hormones directly at the source). I’m halfway through the 5 year period and love love love it.

    I’m glad you are doing better! It is funny how when you are in the middle of something like this you can’t see it clearly. It feels almost normal. But once you have some space from it, it all becomes clear and you think, “of course it was the hormones!”

    1. I didn’t want to say suicidal outloud, but since you went there, I’ll follow. I’m pretty sure that my hopelessness and trappeed feeling would have lead to very bad things if I would have stayed on it much longer. I was seriously at the end of my rope.

      1. Yeah, I paused before writing it as well. But it should be something that is talked about because it is so dangerous. I definitely think doctors should talk more about these possible side effects before prescribing. Mine certainly didn’t.

        I’m glad you went off it and feel better!

      2. Yes! Same here. Evil Yasmin. I switched to it from Orth Tri Cyclen Lo to save money and it made me so SO crazy, emotional, etc… that James finally said, “I don’t care if it costs us more money. Get back on your old meds ASAP!” and so I did. and my sanity returned. I’m glad yours returned too L!!!

  2. I finally, FINALLY went off hormonal BC altogether a couple of months ago after FOUR YEARS of being various levels of crazy as I tried a string of different brands. I finally decided it wasn’t worth it, and we’re back to barrier methods and whatnot, and it’s FINE. Better than fine, even, because I am not trying to destroy everything around me, including my relationship. It seems like so many women (myself included, obviously) stay on HBC because it’s pretty effective at preventing pregnancy, even though for a lot of women, it’s also pretty effective at wreaking emotional havoc as well. There are other options!

    I’m glad you have a brand that works for you! And that you are back on it — the hormonal crazies are not worth it at all!

  3. Are you using a different brand now or are you doing something different? I ask because I want to stop using mine and I’m curious about these http://www.cyclebeads.com/ but they seem a little bit … uh … Christian Fundamentalist/HippieDippie/Feeding Your Menstrual Blood to Your Plants-esque for me. I’d be interested to see if anyone has used them and had success…

    1. “Christian Fundamentalist/HippieDippie/Feeding Your Menstrual Blood to Your Plants-esque” almost made me pee my pants.

      Offering up my unwanted two cents: That’s just natural family planning with a set a pretty beads. I hadn’t heard of those, but I’ve heard of something similar. And if you want to be fancy, you can get an app to do the same thing on your phone. (if you have a fancy phone.) You can also just use a calendar…
      Just make sure that if that’s your only or primary form of birth control that you’re okay with an “oops” baby.

      Also? I was off my pills for a little while and my period SUCKED in comparison to when I was off. My gyno says that it sucks for women, but a 4+ day, painful period is normal. (I was so used to my MAYBE 3 days, fairly light period that I thought I was broken….)

      1. Lady, I don’t want to hear it until you have a 7+ day heavy period with cramps the whole time. That is my non-medicated “normal” period. πŸ™‚

    2. Oh! and i’m back on the Yaz vs the devil Yasmin. And it is the best BC I’ve ever been on. But I also think that (unless you have an allergy) condoms are way underrated. They have come a long way from even when I was in high school. I’m pro condoms for the non hormone route.

      1. I am loving this conversation and Lauren, I applaud you for bringing up the topic. It’s an important discussion and one I don’t think women discuss often enough. We often just go merrily along without thinking too much about the pill and whether it is actually the right thing for our bodies. Sometimes there are other options which are better suited to us/our lifestyles. I went off BC about 4 years ago because I wanted to understand more about how my body behaved in its normal state, rather than when it was being artificially regulated by hormones. My husband and I have happily used condoms since then and I agree, they are totally underrated.

  4. oh thank goodness. yay for normalcy! also yay Alyssa!

    I’m thinking of going off the bc and trying out natural family planning… eeek! seems obvious that I would immediately become pregnant. and that is NOT what I’m going for at the moment. but I do wonder sometimes about how the hormones might be affecting my personality.

    1. After my experience, I definitely encourage others to try a few months w/out hormones… it can make such a difference.

      NFP freaks me out, though I do know a few couples who are extremely, extremely disciplined and it works well for them (though I also know of a lot of NFP “whoops” babies ;-)).

      1. For me, that just takes too much thought and suddenly the magic is gone. But I’m big on magic. Possibly to a fault. Don’t tell me about science!!!! Science is boring, you know what’s not boring? UNICORNS.

    2. I’m currently taking a break from HBC while I don’t have insurance. We practice “safe” sex though so hopefully that’s good enough for now. I feel better not being on it, especially when I get stressed out. I’m just like “wow, I’m really stressed” instead of “rawr crazypants kill everyone!!!” When I get on Stephen’s insurance in June I’m going to talk over my options with my doctor.

  5. “Oh we women and our voodoo vaginas!”

    hehe, classic line!

    I finally had to dump ALL hormonal BC after switching several times and still never feeling “right,” including a host of unhappy side effects. I also started wondering if maybe this was the “real me” – yikes. Am so happy to be off it now (for… 4 yrs now I think?). Glad you’re feeling normal again! It IS a fantastic thing.

  6. I’m SO glad you’re better! I’d noticed it but I didn’t want to be like, “You sound happy, how’s your vagina?”

    I am FULL of birth control opinions. I love/HATE it. Especially the patch. The patch is the DEVIL. But Yaz helps my PMDD and makes me feel normal, so I love that.

    Oh, ovaries!! Why must you hurt us so?!?!

  7. I am really bad about remembering to take the pill but I don’t like the patch or that creepy ring thing.

    I’m considering fancy-beads (let’s just call it that now. please? can we?) and also thinking about how okay I’d be with an Oops Baby. The Pre-Marriage Counseling we went to advised couples to wait at least a year before having kids so that you have that time to cement your bond. I’m on board with that most definitely but I also REALLY WANT A BABY. (must stop reading Mom blogs. Must. Stop.)

    So I’d be okay with a SURPRISE!!! Baby!!!! and so would Hubs, but we’re still not ready to ditch the pills yet. I’ve been on them for a long ass time due to medical reasons and the length of time has always freaked me out even though I’ve done my research and I think it’s fine. I’m okay medically and can enough to come off them if I want to, but it’s a heavy choice to make.

    In other news, if I do decide to feed my menstrual blood to my plants I will keep a graph and chart to see how much better/worse they are for it.

    you. are. welcome.

    PS – There’s an APP for your Period?! Truly people, we live in the future.

        1. @ Zan
          Actually, you do not need beads, it is quite easy. I am a biologist (sorry for the little bit of science Lauren) and research has proven that the second phase of your cycle (luteal) always lasts 15 days . So you just have to figure out how long your cycle is, let’s say 27 days, and go 27 – 15 = 12, that would be the day you ovulate, so you just count 2 days around that date (+/-) abd those are your fertile dates. I am guessing the application does that for you, but it is also really easy on a calendar or agenda πŸ˜‰

          1. Yes we could use Lucy’s horn… it was good enough to bring Aslan and the magic back πŸ™‚ Now we just have to find her !

          2. This is a good way to try and GET pregnant but a VERY RISKY way to try and NOT GET PREGNANT. Sorry for yelling, I just don’t want us to be responsible for BABIES all of a sudden. Women can vary wildly in their ovulation dates.

        2. @ Meghan,
          Well I was meaning this comment for Zan who clearly said she would be ok with the oops, surprise baby, in case.
          From my little experience it is not so easy to get pregnant (and of course this changes from person to person), but we have been trying for 7 months, went to the doctor who did all kinds of tests on both of us and we are both young and healthy, and still gotta keep. For a sperm to reach the egg, it would be like swimming a distance from Mexico to the Tibet, against a more or less hostile environment. So every baby is a miracle, and I am not even talking about how hard it is for an embryo to survive the first three months.
          So just to say, it is not so easy to get pregnant just like that, a million little factors have to be there at the same time and right moments. And yeah if you are going to do anything like the beads of course you have to be ok with the possibility of a baby.

          1. Amanda, I am sorry about your struggle to become pregnant. I am very personally aware of the difficulty of getting a pregnancy past 3 months.

            Though as a medical provider I wanted it to be very clear to Lauren’s readers that not everyone’s menstrual cycles fall into the same pattern. If one wanted to be serious about using NFP as birth control I would recommend using ovulation test kits to get a better idea of ovulation times.

            Best of luck to you.

          2. oh hai guys. I didn’t notice there was a controversy over here.

            I wrote my undergraduate thesis on the Catholic Church and Condoms so I know a LOT about NFP and how it … uhm … often does not work out as planned. But Meghan, good on you for stepping up with the WAIT!!! message.

            It’s true. There is no way NO. WAY. (for emphasis!) that we would even consider NFP unless we’d both agreed beforehand that a suprise progeny would be a, HOORAY surprise and not a “OMG. WHAT?! NOOOOO!!” surprise.

  8. This is like a kick in the pants. I asked to get put on a higher hormone BC 7-8 months ago because the lower hormone one basically killed my sex drive (right around the wedding – yay?). Except that it led me to sob fests in Whole Foods, uncontrollable breakdowns for multiple hours, and general feeling like the world is going to end and I should just sleep through it. And what’s crazy is that it’s been so difficult to get into my doctor that I haven’t gotten it switched back (it turns out that depression also doesn’t increase sex drive – who knew?). And now I know – I need to switch it. Thank god it helped you, and I’m hoping it helps me too.

    1. Honestly, my best advice is to just STOP. stop taking it today. If it makes you feel like that, just stop. Within a week you will be able to tell a huge difference and you can get BC through planned parenthood. It’s super super easy. You will feel soooo set free.

  9. I just want to jump in here as someone who used to use the ring. Which was its own little blessing and curse. But I was on Yasmin before that (from age 15-18) and I have not since been a crazier person than I was on that wretched stuff. Nuvaring wasn’t too shabby, though it was relatively expensive for being a college kid.

    All this is to say word up to condoms, which have been foolproof and orderable via Amazon for about 4 years now.

    On a separate note, I tried desperately to get a refill on my BC (that I had been off of for like 3 years) before going to Mexico last year and I’m convinced it would have been easier for me to get large quantities of Heroin than a mother-effing pack of BC pills. Does anyone else here think that it’s a wee bit ridiculous that we can buy cigarettes and booze over the counter, but not birth control?

    End of rant.

    1. Ohhhh yeahhh…. the last time I discussed my birth control challenges it was because they were holding them hostage until I got a PAP and then switched the pills on me without consult because they were cheaper for kaiser. WHAAATT.

      And I’ve been on the ring too! I very much enjoyed it, as I am totally awful at taking the pill everyday. BUT I also wasn’t having sex at the time so who knows what that would have been like for the mens.

  10. Ok. I got pregnant with natural family planning which was fine because we were going to start trying in a months or two… so there is that.

    I would totally recommend the mirena iud. Progesterone only and good for five years and yes you can have one if you haven’t had kids.

  11. Ok, here’s my rant:
    I swear hormones have more or less a crazy person ever since I first got my period.

    Anti-depressants, which are a whole other discussion, brought it down to from 7+ to 3 days and made me less crazy. No BC in college was OK. (But there was the sex drive. The dangerous I want to have your babies at exactly the wrong time of the month sex drive.) Then ortho-cyclen made me stupid nuts for a year before I settled on ortho-tri-cyclen-lo which only makes me kind of nuts.

    I’m tempted to try out other options, but am functioning as I am (crazy can become normal, right), so why rock the boat and potentially make it worse? The other issue with trying things is my male gyno thinks different BC’s are like deciding between Coke and Pepsi. Sorry, sir, but neither Coke nor Pepsi make me INSANE.

    Also, on the boys are stupid front, I delayed my period for a vacation last year and Scott was like shell-shocked, “Is that OK? Can’t that make you sick?” (In a concerned for my vagina way, not concerned that we will get preggers way.)

    And don’t even get me started on how they hold it hostage. And make you pay through the teeth for it. For 3 motherfucking years, mine was $20 for 3 months. This year it’s suddenly $20/pack. Why? It was a “glitch in the system.” Then they told me to be thankful that I don’t OWE THEM $$$. ARGH.

    /rant.

  12. Isn’t it crazy how hormones can mess with the mind? It makes me wonder what’s really real and what’s “just” hormones, and is there a really real after all? Is anything real? Is anything fake? Is everything in my head?????

    1. This is a fabulous point. Maybe Kamel really is just THAT obnoxious? Maybe I’m living in a fog of chemicals that are telling me my life is pretty ok. Where is truth? What is truth? Are the words coming out of my mouth really what I want to say?

      It’s like genetics. Apparently genetics do not only equal the color of your hair, but also how cranky you are and how much patience you are blessed with. Well that is no fun at all, here I thought I was just superior!!

    2. Word to this. Has anybody here ever read “The Female Brain?” I just remember reading, “oh yeah, due to hormone shifts throughout your life, one day you’ll probably wake up and everything you thought was important and true isn’t anymore,” and being like WTF?!

  13. glad you’re back! i hate when your hormones fuck with you and i go through that sometimes too, lady…i hope everything’s smooth sailing from here.

  14. I was really concerned about BC and the whole hormonal craziness when I started it a year ago. (I was previously in a same sex relationship for 8 years and never needed it.) I was afraid it would totally change my personality or my body. It’s the main reason I went with Mirena — that and its effectiveness!

    Good to hear you are back to normal and feeling happy with yourself again.

  15. On the one hand…love my BC pills! Yay women’s rights!

    On the other hand….that shit be crazy! I accdientally goofed on some pills this month, and WHOA HOLD ONTO YOUR PANTS! Hello, crazy! From like, goofing on ONE WEEK!

    Which just made me realize…yeah, I should probably be a little more careful about the whole thing. These are HORMONES I’m ingesting, not sugar pills.

  16. Guys. I’d really like to know about experiences with Mirena!

    My lady doctor wouldn’t even CONSIDER letting me try it since I haven’t had babies. And she really didn’t seem to know much about it, not anything more than what I could manage to gather from the website.

    Experiences???

    1. I did it. And never regretted it. You just have to find someone comfortable with putting it in. It invloves dilating your cervix a bit, but takes approx. 2 minutes. A very painful 2 minutes. I went unmedicated, but I would recommend 800mg of ibuprofen and a muscle relaxant. Some clinics will give women a medication to help start dilating the cervix….

    2. I did it and haven’t had babies either. My provider was fine with it, as have been my later providers (I move around a lot).

      I took a bunch of advil two hours before and it wasn’t too bad. I had cramps the rest of the day.

      Like people have said it is a progesterone only which thins out your uterine wall so for the first six months I had a lot of spotting (so be prepared for that). After that stopped it has been amazing, very light and I don’t get cramps or pms.

      I feel like this option is a really good one for a lot of women – single, married, pre or post babies that I don’t feel like it is offered very much (I had to specifically ask for it).

  17. “Oh we women and our voodoo vaginas!” – CLASSIC. Love that!

    I am glad you are feeling better. It is scary that we are putting these hormones into our bodies and the power they have over us. They really can be crazy pills. I do not want a baby right now but it is scary to think about the side effects and how the pill is not natural at all for our bodies. I came off my pill because it lowered sex drive and created/increased size of a (benign) tumor on my liver. Neither are side effects I care to have.

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