Now before I get started, please know this is in no way an anti birth control blog. Anyone that knows me knows that I support Planned Parenthood, a women's right to choose, birth control, sex education in our schools and educating your children about how to have sex responsibly, from an early age. This blog is just my small attempt to try and have us, as women, start to think more about how we are feeling every day, how we should expect to be able to feel and not be so afraid to speak up and ask questions when we don't feel our best.
Women have higher rates of heart disease...Why? Breast cancer takes millions of women every year, Why? Women's health is truly a passion of mine, so here goes my humble attempt to call out my own crazies to inspire others to do the same.
I have been on birth control since I was 22 years old. That is 11 years on hormones, varying levels of testosterone, progesterone, all while constantly still being fearful of getting pregnant. That is 11 years of trying different types of pills, waiting the suggested 3 months to then have to judge and assess my "crazy level" on that type of birth control. Was I crazy, but not crazy enough to want go through the process of going back to my doctor to get another prescription to try different kid, or was I feeling so crazy, I needed to get off asap??
The first birth control pill I was ever on, I remember just crying and crying alot. It made me super emotional, it took away my sex drive and it made me gain weight. Ah, the things we have to put up with as women. I know there are always side effects to any type of pills you put into your body, but this first attempt was an utter disaster. I went back to the doctor and got a "Low" version of the same pill. I was on this for awhile and I was feeling pretty good. I was still emotional, but not as emotional, I still had the 10 lbs on, but it stopped at 10 my sex drive was starting to come back. I had found my "magic" birth control pill. I could picture myself on it for years. Ha ha, yeah right, no such thing, but at the time I believed it. At the time, I remember thinking millions of women are on the pill, there must be something out there for me that doesn't make me feel crazy.
Then, of course it happened. They switched me to the generic version, which started the "Patty crazies" all over again. I was a wreck, upset, starving, and just feeling awful. I went back to my doctor to try a new kind. They decided to put me on a kind that was supposed to be even lower level of hormones and more progesterone than testosterone, or something like that. You will have to forgive me, there has been a lot of back and forth over the past 11 years and I certainly wasn't owning my health and how I was feeling or how I should. I was a young 20 something willing to do anything to ensure NO unplanned pregnancy. I wasn't ready to be a mom yet, so I was willing to feel sad, cry, be emotional, gain weight, have the crazies and feel just awful.
The new pills they put me on worked well and appeared to be going fine. Once again, I was then switched over to the generic version. My blood pressure went up and I remember feeling anxious and shaky. I went back to my doctor and I switched to what I have currently been on for the past 3-4 years, which was supposed to be even lower in dosage and more convenient, as I didn't need to take a pill every day.
Again, I know we should expect side affects from any type of pill we put into our bodies. It is always about weighing the pros with the cons. I just feel like, so often, as women, we just soldier on. We know there is no magic birth control bill, we know that we will feel down right crazy on many of them and we just deal with it. Why isn't there more of a demand for the medical world to figure this out. Why are there more women enraged with how they are feeling? I understand we are all grateful for having the pill.I understand we are all grateful to have the option to family plan, not have children if we aren't ready, etc. but at the same time, I feel like we should try and find a way to demand more of our doctors. Hell, they have pills to allow men to have sex longer, why can't they make a birth control pill that doesn't make us all so crazy.
At the same time, I also know there are many added benefits to being on the bill. It helps with irregular periods, it helps with sists, it can help with severe cramps, etc. All that being said, I still want and wish things were better.
So, as I continue to go to try and figure out how to feel my personal best, after talking with many of you, I wonder if I should come off of birth control for awhile. See how I feel. Why have I needed to come to the realization by speaking with all of you, and not thanks to the help and advice of my doctors. As Greg and I continue to think about this and as I continue to weigh what this means, I am seriously considering coming off of it for awhile and seeing how I feel. Could the birth control be contributing to my anxiety, could the birth control be contributing to my panic, the headaches, the spike in blood pressure from time to time. I am looking to all of you, my fellow women out there, I know it is embarrassing, but please, open up about your experiences? Have you had the "crazies" on certain birth control pills? What were your symptoms? What did you ultimately decide??
As a women in her 30's I have been really thinking about this a lot lately. Not only because of all the doctor appointments and tests I have been going through lately, but also because I have friends and family members that have experienced the challenges of not only the child-bearing years, but also that of menopause.
Why isn't this something that is more talked about. Why do so many women suffer with similar symptoms as they get older?? The "crazies" the "hot flashes" the feeling tired and run-down. I know it is all because of hormones and the levels in our bodies, but I feel like doctors are smart. Why haven't doctor's been able to figure this out. I understand no one really dies because of menopause, but that doesn't mean that millions of women should have to suffer for years while they try and figure it all out on their own. Hormone replacement therapy, anti anxiety medicine, yoga, meditation. WE NEED HELP!
I feel like from the moment you are born into this world as a women you basically need to figure it out on your own. Not that I want anyone dictating things for me and how I HAVE to do things, but some GOD DAMN FUCKIN' HELP would be greatly appreciated.
Get your first period, freak out, try and figure out how to use pads, or god forbid get that first tampon in....SERIOUSLY?? As women, we aren't supposed to touch ourselves or even look at ourselves, how are we expected to understand what is happening to us and good luck using a tampon for that first time if you haven't had sex yet....SERIOUSLY.....Then we realize that with your period if you are super lucky come the monthly cramps and backaches that make you throw up and dry heave....EVERY MONTH??SERIOUSLY?? Develop breasts, realize there are times when they get sore and if you have been lucky enough to get big ones, they will often hurt if you are running active and can even hurt your back......SERIOUSLY.....Want to start having sex....need to go to the doctor's every year to have them stick you with a metal tool and crank you open wide as they scrape your cervix....SERIOUSLY. Let's not forget the fun of your first time having sex, depending on your previous experience and Tampon success rate...SERIOUSLY...need to then go every year to ensure you are healthy and get your birth control while your boyfriend runs to CVS to get his condoms (no check-up required) SERIOUSLY!! Go on birth control because you want control of your life. Feel liberated, briefly until you start getting the CRAZIES...SERIOUSLY..... Need to remember to take your birth control every day/month and deal with side effects that range from the crazies, weight gain, anxiety, blood clots, and still possibility of pregnancy....SERIOUSLY!!! Never really educated about your hormones and how you personally should deal with the ups and downs of your cycle...SERIOUSLY.....You mean there is a slight chance that after all of this, I still come somehow get pregnant.....SERIOUSLY.........you push a 7 pound baby out of your vagina and am supposed to feel lucky to have gotten the Government mandated, what 6 weeks of maternity leave...possibly not paid, after 9 months of morning sickness, pain, cramps, sleepless nights and sheer and utter terror....SERIOUSLY..... Those breasts you were so excited to develop when you were a teen now need to be tested yearly to ensure you do not have a lump, or breast cancer.....SERIOUSLY.....Then once you hit menopause, forget about it, all bets are off. You are totally on your own as a women, unless you fight for it....SERIOUSLY..... I have had some wonderful doctors along the way who have been proactive about helping me feel my best, but never once has hormones come up in the conversation....SERIOUSLY....
**Again, I am no way saying that women's Gynecological health isn't important, it is just a lot to process**
I am a feminist, through and through, but there are some things that make us different from men, and our biological make-up is one of them. Just because I don't want to be overlooked for promotions, expect the same level of pay as my male counterparts, think I can pretty much do anything a man can do, that doesn't mean there aren't some things, biologically, that would be helpful to think about and focus on. If as a women, my ideal hormonal balance should be a certain way, why isn't there a way to figure that out. I know that hormones fluctuate daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, I just don't understand why this isn't more of an issue. Why this isn't more talked about.
Everyone I know that has gone through menopause, has told me stories of them trying their own thing. Trying to find what works for them. Maybe that is just the sad truth. When it comes to our bodies, as women, we are really on our own.
I guess this just reminds me again, the importance of being your own advocate. The importance of not being embarrassed and speaking up when you are feeling a certain way. I feel like women's health is almost as taboo as mental health. There isn't a women I know who isn't looking to be strong and independent. Maybe there is a fear that "complaining" about these things would back-fire. Again, I am all for family planning, Planned Parenthood, a women's right to choose, sex education and birth control in general, I am just also for each of us demanding and expecting to feel our best.
I know it can be frustrating. Sometimes I swear when I think about everything it makes me feel like how do we even deal with all of this? I feel like you have to be careful with blogs. I certainly am not claiming to suffer like so many that do for different reason, terminal illnesses, death, poverty, abuse, etc. I, again, am just advocating that each of us are a bit more willing to share our stories, share our knowledge and not be embarrassed by our challenges and struggles.
Let's try and be as supportive and as helpful as we can to one another. Let's look out for the next generation of women and promise to leave life for them a bit less scary, a bit less "figure it out on your own" and empower them to speak up more than we have.
Here's to hoping we all find a way to feel our best, every day
and that's all she wrote...