In 2009 I opted to get a contraceptive implant. It meant I never had to remember pills, which I was terrible at, and it also, quite importantly to me, delivered the lowest dose of hormone of all the hormonal contraceptives.
But there was a problem that soon became apparent. Even that low dose changed me. I suffered from a range of physical side effects but, most disturbingly, my personality was altered. I became more emotional; life became more difficult for me to deal with; I was more susceptible to bouts of depression and severe anxiety.
Granted, the years that immediately followed were difficult years for me regardless in many ways. I was under a lot of pressure and strain, and I’d taken on too much responsibility. But the effects of the implant were very real.
Several times I went to the doctors to report my symptoms and discuss having it removed, but I was always scared into keeping it because there were no ‘viable’ alternatives. On one occasion, my doctor agreed that it was time to try taking it out and switching to the patch for a while, and I booked an appointment. But during that appointment, the doctor doing the procedure – prepped and with scalpel in hand – suddenly asked me what I was planning to use instead. She scoffed at the idea of the patch, stressed how irresponsible it would be to have it removed without a suitable plan in place and within a few minutes ushered me out of the room, implant still in place.
I stuck out the rollercoaster for the full three years in the end (and maybe an extra year on top out of apathy). When it came time to replace or not replace, I was living in Wales and finally had a doctor who was as curious as I was to find out who I might be without it. She even agreed that tracking my cycle was a viable alternative as long as I was conscientious.
And there was no going back. A lot more difficulties came my way but I was able to finally develop into an emotionally mature, laid back, capable, functioning adult.
Or more accurately, until sometime in October or November last year.
Because, basically, having the contraceptive implant makes your body think you’re pregnant. And now I’m really pregnant. Ever on the verge of becoming a snivelling wreck. Orrrrrr, alternatively, some kind of angry, spitting porcupine type creature.
Granted, I have developed some extra tools to deal with the snivelling and spitting, and a much greater understanding of what’s going on to help me get some perspective, but still, it’ll be nice when my sanity is no longer held hostage.