This blog almost died. In fact, if it weren’t for me having today off of work, this blog would definitely be in the ICU. I’d love to tell you I haven’t written because I am busy and life has gotten in the way, or because until now, our contract on the house we’re buying hasn’t been finalized, or that we are just so happy that I have no time in the midst of our newlywed bliss to sit down in front of my computer and write a blog post.
The truth is that I have been struggling with major depression and anxiety. I haven’t been able to focus on any one thing, I haven’t had an optimistic outlook on anything, I have been crying more than I think is healthy, and for the life of me I haven’t been able to figure out life. Over the past few weeks, this mood monster has driven me away from people and hobbies and activities into desperate isolation. I have had racing thoughts, stomachaches, tearfulness, and the inability to order things in my head.
Something I tried blogging about several times but never published was my worry that these huge mood swings and lack of control over my thoughts and feelings were related to birth control pills. I have been consistently on hormonal birth control for about 15 years. When we got married, I got very serious about staying on them and taking them regularly. Since then, I noticed increasing anxiety, more frequent tremendous, foggy bad moods with no source, and spontaneous irritability, among other things. There are days when I feel incredibly, deeply depressed for no reason, and there are days (like a couple of Sundays ago) when I have anxiety attacks that last hours.
I was genuinely worried about leaving the house. I could find a reason to be fearful of anything, and I often dwelled on those fears so much that I couldn’t enjoy anything.
I’m talking in the past tense because this past week, I decided to take control of my health: mind and body. I talked with my OB-GYN for years about going off of birth control with little feedback or support. After doing my own research and talking with many women, I started to believe that those little pills of hormones may be the root of my wacky, out-of-nowhere moods. I was genuinely tired of not being happy or enjoying anything, and freaking out about my job and marriage and how overwhelming life felt all the time.
So… two weeks ago when I was on the “no-pill” week, I re-filled my prescription just in case, and I made two appointments: one with my doctor and one with a therapist. To my great relief, my doctor completely supported my decision to go off of birth control pills, telling me my beliefs were not unfounded and that he thought, if I was ready for it, it was a good idea to stop taking them. He also suggested some possible solutions to my anxiety through medicine, which I am not quite ready for but happy to learn about.
I am waiting to be matched with a therapist through a local counseling service after my evaluation last week, which went well. I am confident that therapy is really going to help me sort through any lingering fears or bouts of depression.
In the meantime, though, I have been off of birth control for over a week and I feel incredibly different. One factor that may be playing a role is my extended Easter break from work, but I feel like myself again. If I am upset, I know why. I don’t feel overwhelmed by my to-do lists. I can choose to spend time with Dayne and put tasks aside, and I have regained the ability to pick my battles. I actually have been wanting to leave the house and looking forward to activities with my spouse and other people. Just because I have the day off today and I am alone hasn’t made me feel sad and lonely, but rather excited to read, catch up on some household tasks, write in my blog again, and maybe even get to other projects I don’t usually have the time for.
Today, I wanted to write in my blog and be honest. Everything is not perfect, and I haven’t been able to write for weeks because I haven’t been able to get my thought life or emotions together. Now that this entry is out of the way, I am hoping to have the freedom and time to write about our journey to our new house, our current phase of marriage, what I’m learning from my daily walk in the Bible, and other happenings of life. It feels like I have thrown a huge weight off my shoulders, and I am optimistic for what is to come.