I’ve struggled with anxiety for pretty much my whole life, but I hit an all-time low during college. I was so anxious and depressed that my family and friends were getting concerned, so I decided to start taking birth control since my doctor thought it might help. Unfortunately, the pill ended up making my mental health issues so much worse.
Admittedly, I’m a hypochondriac. I’ve always had a fear of getting sick. Anything that doesn’t fit in with my normal bodily functions scares the crap out of me. If you know anything about birth control, you know that it makes your body stop its natural functioning. You can imagine how this made me feel. I thought I wouldn’t mind it but it actually made my fears even worse than before.
I’m especially nervous about my menstrual health. This may come from my fear of the gynecologist, but I’ll pretty much do anything possible to make sure I’m completely healthy and normal down there. I like the feeling of having a totally natural cycle because I feel like my body is doing what it is supposed to do. Plus, I like to know what to expect. The pill creates an unnatural cycle and the thought of that freaked me out.
I started getting my period every two weeks. A complete nightmare, I know. Because of a miscommunication with my doctor (never a good thing), I started the pill on the wrong week. This totally messed up my cycle and made me bleed every other week. I thought it would end after the first couple of months but it never stopped.
The periods I got were nearly nonexistent. Even though I got it twice a month, it was so light that it almost didn’t even count. I started the pill to ease my heavy flow and severe PMS so I should’ve expected it, but as you can imagine, not knowing if I was bleeding properly only heightened my anxiety.
The anxiety I already had tripled. My social anxiety was the worst it had ever been. There were times I wouldn’t leave my room for days. Instead of dealing with it, I developed unhealthy coping strategies. I stopped doing my work at times and I stayed cooped up alone constantly. Once I actively sought help for the first time, I realized how bad things had gotten.
I developed unhealthy eating habits. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has never been difficult for me. I love to eat healthily and cook my own meals. After starting birth control, though, my cravings went through the roof. Getting my period every two weeks clearly didn’t help with this as I felt the urge to eat poorly twice as much as usual. I used that as an excuse to give in to my junk food cravings. My diet was worse than ever and I felt awful.
I stopped working out. Part of living a healthy lifestyle for me is working out regularly. I never usually have issues with staying motivated or energized, but I was getting my period so often that I had absolutely no motivation to go to the gym. I had no energy and I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed. Since I wasn’t working out, my self-esteem plummeted and I felt horrible about myself.
I started lying to people about my life. When I talked to my family and friends, I made it seem like nothing was wrong. I exaggerated my productivity and accomplishments to hide that I was actually trapping myself in my bedroom and getting nothing done. This made my anxiety even worse because I felt I wasn’t living up to the expectations I set for myself.
I distanced myself from the people that were close to me. I refused to open up to anyone about my struggles because I didn’t want to seem like a failure. Because I was physically isolating myself, I felt much more removed from my loved ones. It felt like I was bothering them with my issues so I pushed them away.
I thought my friends hated me. If my friends didn’t reach out first, I automatically assumed they didn’t want to see me. I made up scenarios in my head and gave myself unnecessary stress over things that weren’t even happening. Soon they started to notice my resentment and it took a toll on our friendships.
I’m still learning from it. If anything, this has been a major learning experience. Seeing myself at my worst point motivated me even more to better myself. It’s been a long road but I’ve begun to figure out how to deal with my anxiety in a healthy, productive way. Even when I’m on birth control, I know I have total control over my body and I can still be my best self.
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