Hey B! I really appreciate what you are doing!
My question is, birth control and modeling? Or do you recommend some other type of contraception? I am a model and vegan with that so I would like to find the most natural way for contraception , with birth control I can also regulate my cycle and hormones, but I am worried for the side effects. What are your thoughts / experiences ? I think a lot of girls would like ro discuss this subject!
Looking forward to your reply and sending you lots of support and love!
Hi! Thank you for your question. Birth control is a topic I get quite a lot of questions about, and one that seems to be quite loaded right now. Before I start, I want to remind everyone that I am not a doctor. What has worked for me is not gospel – always talk to your doctor before making any changes.
I have a condition called PMDD. This is a relatively unresearched condition (as it does not affect men, go figure) – but at the most basic level, receptors in my brain do not convert hormones as they should. There was a recent study that showed it was due to genetic influences, and that it is untreatable by cognitive behavioral therapy. This means that it is a condition that cannot be mind over mattered. Certainly my experiences with it have proven that. It is a complete hijacking of my mental landscape, and I lose any sense of objectivity. In five seconds I go from being happy and chilled, to wondering what the point of my existence is.
The first line of defense for women with PMDD (and most female hormonal disorders) is to put women on hormonal birth control. I have been on the pill twice in my life – the first time prior to my diagnosis, and the second time post diagnosis. My first pill experience lasted around six months. In that time I became very depressed, moody, irrational and lethargic. I also gained quite a bit of weight. When I decided to go off, all of these symptoms reversed themselves in around a week. At that point, I decided to never go on hormonal birth control again – too scary. Fast forward to 2018, my obgyn told me that it was either anti depressants, or the pill. I decided to give the pill one last try.
It was disastrous. I lasted about ten days on it. This time I ended up with suicidal ideations – which was beyond terrifying. Thankfully I have an amazing doctor (my obgyn never returned my frantic phone calls) who took me off the hormonal birth control, and put me on antidepressants. My mood evened out wonderfully, and I got my life back again.
The reason why I am telling you this, is because there is no one answer for birth control. Based off of my experiences above, I will never go near another hormonal method again. I struggle enough monthly with my mood and energy – it is clear that taking synthetic hormones does not do me any favors. Frankly, I find it to be frustrating that there is a belief that our hormones need to be “regulated” in the first place. Our hormones do an extremely intricate job of keeping us in a balanced place. When they are out of sync, it is a sign that there is something that is quite wrong. This should be taken seriously, and gotten to the bottom of ASAP. I believe that women’s periods should not be a source of agony, and if they are, it is a sign that something else is wrong. Certainly when I am having a particularly awful luteal phase I can usually trace it to too much stress (sometimes, anyway). In an ideal world, hormonal imbalances should be viewed as a signal to change something. They should be a chance to make our lifestyle choices better. Except if you have PMDD I guess. Anywho!
Having said all that, safe sex is extremely important, and should always be practiced. I feel that barrier protection is key if your periods are not regular, or if you are not with a long term, known partner. I have used the rhythm method for a long time, and it has never failed me. Even though each cycle is consistently hell 50% of the time, my cycles run like clockwork. I track my cycle using an app, and always can tell when I am ovulating (and when my mood is going to turn scary). Women are fertile up to a week or so out of each month. Keeping an eye on that is key to preventing an unwanted pregnancy. Personally, I find it empowering to be that in touch with my bodies natural rhythm. For all the awfulness that my cycle brings me, I find it incredibly comforting to know when I have ovulated, and to know where my current mood state is influenced by. Again – I am fortunate in having cycles like clockwork. If I didn’t, then I would not use this form of birth control. It all depends on how your individual cycles are.
I have had a lot of people recommend using an IUD, and have had some friends on them. Again, they make me nervous. I will never go on any birth control that I have no control over stopping. My past experience with suicidal ideations has frightened me enough – if things go wrong due to hormones, I want to be able to remove the trigger asap. I have also had friends who once their IUD’s were removed, suddenly lost a lot of weight, and gained a lot of energy and happiness. I also have other friends of mine who love theirs, and have absolutely no issues whatsoever. Again, it all really depends on your genetic makeup and life situation.
My take home message with regards to birth control is always practice safe sex. Always use birth control, and always protect yourself from STD’s. But the source will always differ from person to person. I am very sensitive to hormones, and have consistently reacted terribly to synthetic forms of birth control. I have also been blessed with regular cycles, and am in a long term relationship. Therefore I can safely use the rhythm method. Other women will have different stories. It all depends on trying a few methods, and finding what works the best for you.
I hope this helps!