Wednesday, May 4, 2011

...the 'PILL' did this?!?!

I realize it's been a while since I've posted anything, but I have some pretty significant news to share. It turns out that my severe depression and heightened BPD behaviours were caused by...get this...a BIRTH CONTROL PILL!!! Here's what happened...

Last summer, I went to see my family doctor (who is a new doctor for me, which I had only been seeing for about a year at that point) to get a refill of my prescription for birth control pills. He advised me that the pill I was on (which I think was Triquilar 21) was outdated (I had been on it on and off for about 15 years) and that there were much better pills out there these days. So, he reached into his cupboard to see what free samples the pharma companies had given him, and gave me some samples of Yaz. During my first month on that pill, I gained 8 pounds, and before that cycle was up, I marched right back to his office demanding a different pill (for obvious reasons). He then reached back into his magic pill sample cupboard and gave me a few packs of Tri Cyclen Lo (TCL). I seemed to be ok on those pills, so I kept taking them...up until last month.

Like many people who suffer from depression, I had been asking myself over and over "why had this happened to me?" What triggered it? Why had I become SO depressed? Why did the life I worked so hard to build suddenly seem to be falling spectacularly to pieces? Yes, I had dealt with depression in the past, and yes, it seems that I have shown borderline traits for much of my life. But the emotional roller coaster I had been riding for the last 8 months or so was something on a whole different level.

My boyfriend is much more observant than I am, and it was actually him that came up with the idea that maybe it was the Pill, because really, that was the only thing that I changed before becoming severely depressed. (For reference, the Pill change happened around June/July 2010, and I began to fall into a deep depression in Sept 2010.) So, we decided to hold a little experiment...take me off TCL, and see what happens.

I've been off the Pill for about 2 1/2 weeks now, and I feel GREAT! My depression is gone, and while my BPD behaviours are still there, I am able to keep them in check. Unbelievable.

What's shocking and enraging is that I've been doing a lot of online research over the past few days, and have found that so many other women have gone through virtually the exact same experiences as I have! Most even reported the same result...that when they went to see their doctors about the sudden onset of severe depression, the doctors responded by prescribing (you guessed it) anti-depressants. What a ridiculous ordeal, not to mention a truly pathetic representation of the medical community.

So now I'm angry. Feeling great otherwise, but boiling over with rage. I feel as though I've been robbed of the last 8 months of my life. It put many of my relationships at risk, including the ones that mean the most to me, and cost me so much financial and emotional pain. (Some of you may recall that I have been unable to work due to the severity of my issues, and have been on disability since Sept 2010.) My doctor is clearly a quack. What's more, I read the insert for TCL, which includes the following warning:
"Be alert for the following symptoms and signs of serious adverse effects. Call your doctor immediately if they occur: severe depression"

Calling my doctor when I became depressed was exactly what I did. Never did he mention that perhaps we should change my Pill. Instead, he experimented with various anti-depressants...and you know the rest of the story.

So, here is my concern: there is a clear lack of awareness among women that the Pill can cause such side effects. It's frustrating. In fact, it makes me want to run through the streets screaming about this to everyone, in hopes of saving other women from having to go through the experiences that I went through. I am therefore embarking on a new speak out about my experience, and to inform women about such lesser-known risks. If I can save even one woman from experiencing the pain that I have gone through, my goal will have been reached.

Please pass along this message to the women you care about. We should all be made very aware.

Much love and strength...


  1. This is so interesting and intriguing to me because much of the time when I read certain blogs I've thought about estrogen levels of the writers and also, other drugs and how severely they can affect how we feel. For me, I'm 63, and loved menopause because I firmly believe the less estrogen in my body made me less depressed. And, there are a number of different pieces to the puzzle that convince me my depression was made so much worse from the drugs I was taking. I have not once felt suicidal since menopause.
    I think it is useless to blame doctors; just as it is useless to blame the pharamecuetical companies. They are in the business of making money; not helping people.
    It is such a fine line to walk because so very many people believe the drugs they take are "good" and that by saying anything against drugs you may jeopardize a person's life by influencing them against the drug.
    I realize you're only referring to the bc pills here, but I think this is a good example of how supposed "good" or "necessary" drugs can wreak havoc on our lives.
    I'm glad to hear you are talking about this even if it is only with regard to birth control.

  2. Yep, "the pill" in various formulations and hormone strengths can severely exacerbate mental health symptomatology. I had similarly unfortunate experiences with Yaz and Orthotricyclen-Lo. You have to be careful because the hormone levels in each brand vary significantly. I'm now on Junel-Fe and have found it to be extremely helpful in terms of regulating my cycle. The only thing is I get extremely bad PMDD. In fact, it's so bad (I get very suicidally depressed, anxious, agitated, and even somewhat psychotic sometimes) that I was taking the pill continuously for a while so I would only get my period every 3 months. It's definitely a struggle. I wish you all the best! *hugs*

  3. WOW. I'm blown away by this. I've been on the same birth control pill for about 20 years and I worry so much about the side effects/long term damage, not even realising that severe depression could be one of them. Thank goodness you found out relatively quickly and can rectify the situation. I don't know what my options are, I'm unable to tolerate most other contraceptives (implant, injections, mini pill), but the awareness is so important. Thank you LG xx

  4. I had the same issue with orthotricyclen low. I was put on a different pill and have been fine since! I don't think this can apply to ALL birth control pills, but if you are taking a pill that isn't right for your body, it is certainly a concern.

  5. Hi, I'm LG's BF... I just want to say how happy I am to have my girl back. What she describes above is beyond a doubt, 100% true. She went on this pill and became a shadow of her former self. She thought she was worthless and there were many nights where she was suicidal. We did whatever we could to balance her out and she was a great patient but nothing worked. Now, almost 3 weeks after she's been off this pill, I have my baby back with all her enthusiasm and her beautiful smile. She still gets upset over things, but it only takes her hours to get over it instead of days.

    Having gone through this has probably brought us closer, but knowing that it could have been avoided upsets me. We both went through pain and sadness that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I can only hope others can learn from our experience.

  6. I posted about this a while ago.

    I was on Estrostep. It made me literally want to jump off a cliff b efore my period every month. I would cry whenever someone walked by and the suicide thoughts really concerned me. I had never really thought that hard about it.

    I got off of EstroStep and felt better. Here is the post.

    Birth control can also affect wearing contacts!

  7. Thank you so much to all of you for all your comments. It amazes me, and angers me, that so many women have had to suffer like this! Which makes me wonder, why has there not been any action against the pharma companies, or doctors who clearly "dropped the ball" on cases like mine? Have there been actions, but they were unsuccessful? Or has no one taken this on yet??? I would be more than happy to be an ambassador here, so I will be doing some more research to see what else I can find out.

    The way I see it, the problem is not so much that hormone pills can have severe mood altering side effects...the problem is that not enough people know about it, and specifically how far it can really go! I certainly did not know that a birth control pill could have the impact on me that it did, and apparently neither did the 7 doctors I've seen over the last 8 months, since none of them managed to put two and two together! It's just not right.

    Still, at the end of the day, I suppose I was lucky. All I have to show for the last 8 months are rows of scars on my arms, a bunch of ruined relationships, and a significant loss of income from my inability to work over the last while because of these issues. But there were many days and nights when I was suicidal. I could have lost my life because of this! How many women out there weren't so lucky? Which is why I feel I have to do something here.

    If anyone has any input or suggestions, please let me know! I am not just going to let this one go.

  8. Hope you're doing well. Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that I nominated you for an award! If you're interested, the instructions on accepting it are on my blog here:

    Much love! *hugs*

  9. Hello..
    I thought you might want to have a look at my new website and the blog, which I'd love you to join to share the experience etc. The blog can be accessed on:

    and the related website can be accessed directly from the blog or on:

    Thank you for your time and efford.
    Kind Regards,

  10. Thank you, BPDisme2...I've been offline for a while, but I'm back. I will be accepting, and will pass on the luv :) Thanks again!

    Denisa, I am now following you. Take care...

    Everyone else, I hope you are doing well. Things with me have been up and down. I do have an update to post soon. I miss our dialogues...


  11. Thanks for sharing this. Women are often so unaware that the pill can do things like this. I too cannot take the pill and had an IUD inserted. I cannot take any hormone replacement medications because it just makes me crazy, literally! It can cause your system to go nuts, especially if you are already suffering from something, such as mental illness, that already has your chemicals out of whack. I am glad that you got it figured out and are not back to your stable self and doing okay. Keep on keeping on.