It’s been a while, again. We had quite bit going on.
This post is about how my year with a Mirena IUD almost killed me and certainly put a lot of stress on my marriage…even though we’ve only been married since June.
In November of 2015, I talked to my doctor about my birth control options. I hadn’t been on any form of birth control in 12 years, and at 34, I felt like it was time to stop playing with fire. I felt I was too old and single to have an “oops” baby. I explained that I stopped taking bc due to increased acne and weight gain. Dr. O’Toole recommended the Mirena.
I did some research on the thing and was not thrilled with what I saw. For every single positive review, there were hundreds of terrifying negative reviews.
In February, I told Dr. O. that I had a history of anxiety and depression and discussed what I’d read about women having issues with panic attacks and extreme depression while on Mirena. She went into the spiel about Mirena having a low dose of progesterone and lower risk of side effects since the progesterone is released directly into your cervix. She said she had one and it worked well for her. I wasn’t fully on board, but I asked her to order it.
I had the doc hold onto it and told her I’d think about it. I talked to some friends about it and they gave their accounts of it being a bad decision based on their own experiences, but everyone really only went into physical symptoms like bloating, acne, and discomfort, which Dr. O had informed me would cease after about 6 to 8 months. I continued to read and watch horror stories online. She kinda raged out on me when I asked more questions in July. It was creepy and seemed kinda evil, like I could see it bubble up in her when she said, “Look are you gonna get it or not? These questions are a waste,” but I let it go.
Finally, in August of 2016, when it looked like the presidential election would go a certain way, I realized that women’s healthcare services may no longer be fully covered, so I had Dr. O’Toole insert it. That’s the only reason I had it inserted. I wasn’t even having sex on a regular basis at that point.
The first couple of months went as promised. I bloated something fierce every evening. My cycle was sporadic and inconsistent. And then, sometime around December, I stopped getting my periods and that was fucking awesome. No need to carry my diva cup around if I was going backpacking, camping, or on vacation, no more having to worry about leaks on heavy days. Dude, I thought I was set.
Aside from work and rehearsals with my sketch comedy troupe, I wasn’t spending extended amounts of time around anyone, so there was no way to show that my mood was gradually changing. I am generally a pretty chill, level person. I am told how zen I am at least once a month.
Then life stuff happened, a crazy, violent, new coworker, who made my work life at a job I freakin loved and did well at, a living hell, a car accident, that was not my fault in March that caused nerve damage and meant I am sidelined from running and yoga indefinitely, my grandma dying from a stroke all the way across the country, leaving the job with the crazy bitch only to go to another job that only hired me to finish a project they needed completed, but went through the motions of hiring me as a full-time employee so they did not have to pay contractor rates, and I fell into a deep depression. I’ve dealt with situational depression in the past, but not like this. I always bounced back from those, but it seemed like this depression was trying to swallow me whole.
I felt like I was trapped in my own mind and couldn’t get out. I started having suicidal thoughts and inclinations. I hated myself and I felt like the world would be better off without me, SC included. He’s such a great guy. I told him he deserved to be with someone without problems. I know, that’s not a thing, but it seemed logical at the time.
Plus I was in so much physical pain from the car accident. Ibuprofen 800 wouldn’t make a dent in the nerve pain and I’m not a fan of prescriptions to begin with, so I didn’t take anything else. I haven’t taken anything since I stopped the Ibuprofen 800 in June for the pain, so I’ve been without a relief from sciatica in my back and nerve pain in my right shoulder since March. Psychologically and emotionally, I was also hurting.
SC told me that the person he knew was stronger and more resilient than this and he didn’t understand what was happening. In the meantime, we were arguing more and more often. The arguments became more explosive. What was odd was he kept asking me to stop screaming at him, but I wasn’t. In my head I was speaking normally. Still, no matter what happened, he constantly reminded me that he would stay with me, no matter what.
It got so bad that I decided to go down to a behavioral health hospital to see if I needed to check myself in. By this point, I’d looked back on my journal entries over the past two years and I was positive the only thing that’d changed in the last year was the IUD, but honestly, I knew no one would believe me, so I figured let me go to the behavioral health hospital. If anything, they could give me something for the anxiety and depression.
I told the intake psychiatrist everything, from the situations I had to deal with, to being told that I was raging out when I thought I was just talking. Luckily, he asked how my mood was before and after my periods. When I told him I didn’t get one often due to the Mirena, he asked a whole host of additional questions, and finally told me that I was sane enough to go home, prescribed some anti-anxiety medication, an amino acid for my nerve pain, and, most importantly, told me to have the Mirena removed immediately. He said the progesterone being released directly into the cervix tricks the body into thinking it has enough progesterone, so it doesn’t produce it. Progesterone, among other things, is a natural pain killer, helps muscles relax, and eases inflammation. He said the Mirena creates estrogen dominance, which causes the rage and the extreme depression. In addition, he was pretty sure I have silicone poisoning from the device.
That was a week ago today. I’d read horror stories of women’s doctors pretty much refusing to believe that the mood alterations were connected to the Mirena and therefore refusing to remove them, so I went to a clinic that happened to be open Saturdays. It was the only place open in town, that day. The doctor there was happy to remove it as she had similar issues with Mirena some years ago and told me I should feel better almost immediately, and I did.
It’s only been a week since I had it removed, but some new external factors in our life have been pretty crazy. I don’t even know where to begin with those. The thing is, I feel like myself now. SC and I bickered about some stuff the other day, but we came to a resolution. There were no raised voices and no drama whatsoever. I expressed my discontent with something going on with my parents and my brother, and he sat and listened to me for over an hour without trying to fix it or getting annoyed. He said that I was much more coherent and level. He didn’t feel like he had to fix anything or me.
Can I just say, I am not a fan of ending these entries? I always feel like I just cut them short. The whole point of this is, a big point of contention in our relationship really came from this device, that I chose to put into my body because I wanted to keep from having an “oops” baby and kept it in because I was happy not having a period, or having light ones when it did come. The thing would have eventually killed me, I am sure. I barely even take cold medication when I am sick. I get sinus infections every year and wait 2 months before going to the doctor for antibiotics and still, I was all for putting this damn hormone pumping device in my body.
Once a month, SC would mention that I should get it removed and each time I told him I wasn’t ready to have a period every month just yet (lol). I have now been on my period for a week and I’m not even mad. Would I like it to level out soon? Hell yeah. I am, however, just happy that my body went into repair mode right away. I’m grateful that I got a psychiatrist who was smart enough to ask the right questions. That’s the first time I’ve had a mental health professional ask a question like that. My guess is he had a family member who suffered the same thing.