Me and my contraception.

This started out as a quick note to tell you I am still alive, and turned into…. well.

I haven’t knit for three weeks.  Well, I’ve done a row or two, but nothing that really counts.  I just haven’t really had the urge.  Partly because I haven’t had the time, and when I have, it’s been sit-and-stare-at-the-wall time.

Work has been a bit mental the last few weeks.  Mostly good mental, although not every day.  Last Thursday (not yesterday) I went over to Emma’s house for dinner.  My arrival went something like this: hiemmaihavewinebutit’snotcoldi’mputtingitinyourfreezerdoyouhavenaycoldwine?

It was one of those days. 

Add to that the fact that I have had a social engagement or other activity every single night this week.  I seriously fail to understand how this is my life.  I am boring!  And Old at Heart!  And don’t like people!  How did I acquire a social life?! 

I went to the Random House Roadshow the other week and they had a bit about movies that were coming out that were based on books they’d published.  And they had a trailer for a Jim Carey movie (which looked surprisingly un-shit, actually) called, imdb tells me, Yes Man.  It’s about this guy (that’d be Jim) who always says no to stuff.  Then he goes to some guru or has a life coach or something and he starts saying yes to everything and his life is one big adventure.  Hoorah!  Except I was sitting there going ‘Say ‘no’, Jim!  You know you want to!’  I feel like that is my life – I had started to get really good at saying no to stuff I didn’t really want to do.  Then people I like started asking me to do fun stuff that I want to do.  It’s awesome… and exhausting.

If you asked some of the people at work, they’d tell you it’s because I’m on the cusp of travel-loving, need-new-experiences Saggitarious and stay-at-home, who-moved-my-socks-they-were-alphabetised Capricorn.  Then they’d tell you about how Mercury is rising, and how, if you squeeze your ankle, you can tell if you’re ovulating (I’m not making that one up)

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I am soooo tired.  And not just from running around being a social butterfly.  I think it might be partly hormonal.  The next bit might be a bit TMI, so… forewarned and all that.  See, I got my implanon out last friday. 

I have had one in since I was… um… 19?  And I loved it.  Unequivocally loved it.  (Even though I freaked myself out a bit reading some links just then.)  I’ve realised I really liked knowing that there was no way I could conceive.  Not at all.  That I was off the market as a baby-making machine.  It was the sort of thing that I didn’t realise was a part of my mental landscape until I had it taken out.  The idea that I could get pregnant is really weirding me out, actually.  I mean… ah!

Anyway.  I wanted to just talk a little about my experience on it and also why I got it out – in case anyone is ever interested, and also for my own future reference.

I originally got it in because I needed some form of contraception, and that seemed to fit best with my life and what I needed.  I used to have trouble swallowing pills (psychosomatic, but still a thing) and I was a poor uni student, so the idea of 1) not having to pay for the Pill every month and 2) not having to think about it for three years, really appealed.  A few of my friends had one in, and so it didn’t really seem weird – I had already heard them talk about some of the side affects and how it affected them, and I felt like I knew what I was getting into.  I figured that if I hated it I could just have it taken out.  Plus, I read The Gate To Women’s Country as a teenager, and it seemed so cool and future-tech.  (Good book, you should read it.)

Anyway, I got it put in at SHine, in the second year that they were allowed in Australia.  the implanon, not SHine.  The doctor who did the intitial consultation was really good.  She didn’t push me either way, or suggest that I didn’t know what I was talking about – she listened to what I said about what I wanted, made sure I had done my research, and helped me figure out what questions I still had.  I have been really impressed with SHine every time I have been.

The first few months were… interesting.  (This is where the TMI really starts) I had a bit of spotting, which is normal – not too much, though.  I know a few people who had them out after two weeks because they just couldn’t stand the spotting.  For me, this only lasted a few weeks, and wasn’t a big deal, but if it hadn’t stopped, or if it had been heavier, it would have been hard to deal with. 

In general, I found the whole period aspect of it great.  I never had much period pain before, but what I had went, and my periods were lighter.  The longer I had it in, the lighter they were, and the less frequent, too.  I think I only had two or three in the last year.  Which is a little weird, when I put it in writing, but also awesome.  The only downside is that they are obviously not regular, so you get caught by surprise sometimes.  But since they were so light, it wasn’t hard to cope.  Having to constantly have pads etc on me is bumming me out, now.  Plus… it’s gross.  I’m sorry, you can talk all you want about natural and the beauty of the human body.  I completely appreciate that in the abstract.  But IRL?  It’s gross and uncomfortable and I didn’t miss them even a little, tiny, abstract bit.

The hormone thing was interesting, though.  I remember Katharine, one of my friends at the time who had it in, telling me about it before I had it done myself.  Since your periods are irregular, you don’t know when they’re coming, and therefore don’t know when you are supposed to be PMSing.  Katharine said that she would often find herself being a mega-bitch – yelling at her boyfriend, being cranky at work… and then, a week later, she’d get her period, and realise what that was all about, and have to go around apologising for being unreasonable.

At the time I thought she was kind of exaggerating.  But she was right.  I would find myself on huge PMS rage binges – I would be thinking all this unreasonable stuff, and I wouldn’t be able to stop it from popping out of my mouth.  Where normally I was completely chill, for a week or so I would snap or cry at the littlest comment.  It seems pretty obvious now what was going on, but at the time, just emerging from puberty, not really knowing my body or my emotions terribly well… well, frankly it was a bit frightening, until I realised what was going on!  And even then…

I can’t emphasise this point enough – it didn’t matter that I knew what was going on.  I could almost literally feel the hormones in my system, but what I thought about it didn’t seem to matter.  For that week, my body was not my own, my mind was not my own.  And as annoying as it was for other people to live with, it was worse for me.  To be stuck somewhere inside, thinking ‘wtf is your problem, lady?!  he just asked if you were feeling ok, because you looked tired!  That’s no reason to cry!!’ and not being able to do anything about it.  It was scary!  At least once I figured it out I knew I wasn’t going mad!  But if it had kept going, it might have been a deal breaker.

However.  It didn’t.  As my periods got fewer and lighter, the hormone rush did, too.  One of my current friends has commented that she knows three people who have the implanon and love it.  One is me, and the other two are remarkably similar in personality.  We are, as she puts it, her ‘bitter friends’.  I don’t think that the implanon makes you like that (well, not that much anyway – more on that in a sec) rather, if your hormones/personality/world view are already set up a certain way, the implanon and the way it affects you is easier for you to deal with, and fits into your life better.  In my unexpert opinion.

That said.  The hormone rush didn’t just get less during PMS time.  It got less overall.  No mood swings.  Sounds great, doesn’t  it?  Well, sometimes it is.  But other times… I lost a lot of the lows, but I lost a lot of the highs as well.  And turns out, a lot of the stuff that makes you unhappy doesn’t come from the hormones, anyway.  It comes from your brain – or mine, at least.  It’s just that when I am hormonal, I deal with negative thoughts less well.

I got it out because I needed to know what I was like when I was just me.  I don’t want to talk about My Hormones like they are an external influence.  I don’t think you can separate things out like that – you are, in a large part, what your body makes you.  Your hormones, how much sleep you’ve had, the shape of yourself, what your body can do.  It changes how you interact with the world, and that’s what makes up who you are. 

I think that that was the most valuable thing that I got from having the implanon in.  (Plus all the money I saved on sanitary products… oh, and the hot, worry-free sex…)  I know it added hormones in, but it sort of felt like it took them away, too.  I got to learn who I was without being able to blame it on mood swings, or anything else.  I got to learn myself.  And I learnt to cut myself and other people a bunch of slack.  Because there’s only so much you can do to talk yourself out of a grump when you are awash in a hormone cocktail of doom. 

It taught me, in that visceral way that only direct experience can, that I am not in control, or even aware of, all the things that make me me.  It taught me to appreciate that and to deal with the end results better.  I feel like I am much more accepting of who I am, much more forgiving of myself.  I guess that sounds a bit self indulgent, but it’s true.  Part of it might just be getting older, too, but it defnitiley helped to take me out of myself, so to speak – to give me that distance from my emotions that I needed to be able to see them for what they were.  Which ones are important, which ones are real, which ones are useful and which ones need minimising.

I am hoping that that will serve me well when the first PMS hits.

Try not to rub my face in it too much when I fail, will you?  I don’t know that I can be held accountable for any violence i may wreak.  Hormones, donchaknow…

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2 thoughts on “Me and my contraception.

  1. just had to tell you I loved Gate to Women’s Country and pretty much anything else by Sherri Tepper. One day I’m going to spend a whole week lounging around reading and re-reading womens sci fi.

    PMS sucks. I find mood stabilsers help, but then I am baseline nutty anyway.

  2. Contraception is such a hassel. As is PMS and mood swings.

    I’d have to say the only time contraception wasn’t floating about in the back of my mind was when I was pregnant with Miss B.

    Now I just have to worry about making sure she is informed and aware of her choices without letting her think she needs to be indulging in those hot and (don’t tell her, fun) activites that require contraception.

    It might be time to alphabetise my socks while this Carpricorn hides from overtired teenage PMS.

Whadya reckon?

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