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Author Topic: Correlation between the pill and anxiety?
redcatmonster
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Straight, 20-yr-old female here.

I was "diagnosed" with Generalized Anxiety Disorder when I was about fifteen and for a while it was really bad - I would live with a constant feeling of dread, suffer from seemingly random and severe panic attacks, wake up in the middle of the night unable to breathe, etc. I was never put on medication (it was offered, but my mother was staunchly against that sort of thing) but I have been able to get it under control quite well with some counseling and literature and various techniques.

I started dating my boyfriend about nine months ago and have been on the pill for roughly eight of those. At first there didn't seem to be any noticeable difference in my mental state, and so I figured I was taking to the pills quite well. I was noticeably moodier around my period, but I could deal with that.

The past month or so, though, I've really been noticing that my old patterns of anxiety and irrational worrying have started to flare up again. I feel like I can't be relaxed and secure about my relationship because I'm too busy worrying about it, thinking about if I'm saying the right thing, if I'm being communicative enough, or too communicative, if I'm showing too much affection or not enough, etc. Over-analyzing every minute detail, in other words. This is especially bad because my boyfriend and I are poly, he has another partner, I am interested in someone and hoping to add him to the "network," but I know that the kind of insecurities I'm suffering with aren't very conducive to this relationship model.

I also used to have a terrible habit of immediately assuming the worst if I was unable to contact someone that I cared about. When I was a teenager I imagined that my loved ones were dead in countless ways just because they weren't picking up the phone, or were ten minutes late coming home.

A few nights ago my boyfriend wasn't picking up his phone (turned out he was just taking a nap) but after I called three times with no answer I made the irrational and quite frankly INSANE decision to go to his apartment because I had convinced myself beyond any doubt that he was dead - he'd slipped and broken his neck, fallen on a knife in the kitchen, his apartment had caught fire, etc, etc.

My boyfriend was incredibly patient and understanding about this, held me while I sobbed uncontrollably, urged me to stop apologizing for what he deemed was the right course of action (that I'd taken steps to stop myself from worrying,) and asked what he could have done differently to prevent it. It was agreed upon, though, that showing up unannounced at his place regularly was not something I could do (what if his other partner had been there, for example.) I believe he empathizes with what I am going through (he's struggled with depression and is currently on medication for it) but I still feel awful about this whole incident, and didn't want him or anyone to have to deal with that side of me.

Is is possible that the birth control could be partially to blame? Are there options which would have less of an effect on my emotional state?

I know this is long but I needed to get it off my chest. Thank you for reading.

[ 06-14-2012, 12:04 PM: Message edited by: redcatmonster ]

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Robin Lee
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I'm a little unclear about your question here. Have you been experiencing more anxiety lately? Or are you asking generally if taking the pill can exacerbate anxiety?

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Robin

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redcatmonster
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quote:
Originally posted by Robin Lee:
I'm a little unclear about your question here. Have you been experiencing more anxiety lately? Or are you asking generally if taking the pill can exacerbate anxiety?

Sorry, I accidentally clicked to post before I was finished writing! Fixed it.
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Robin Lee
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HI There,

Anxiety like this is a really tough thing to deal with. It's uncomfortable, and can, as you've said, have a pretty strong impact on relationships. I'm really glad to hear that that your boyfriend was supportive, but also that you both realize it's important, even while understanding how hard the anxiety is on you, to maintain healthy boundaries.

Is getting some counselling again a possibility for you?

The pill is known to increase depression and anxiety for some people. There are certainly many other birth control options. I'd suggest talking to a doctor to see what might work best for you if you'd like to try something else to see if it helps alleviate the anxiety.

Here's some information about different birth control options.

Birth Control Bingo!

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Robin

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Redskies
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Hey, redcatmonster, I'm sorry you had that experience, it sounds really distressing. Just wanted to say that maybe you can cut yourself a bit of slack with how you feel about it? I know that turning up at your boyfriend's isn't workable with the arrangement you have with him, but really, there are much wilder things someone might have done (eg calling the emergency services or everyone he knows, etc...). I know it feels horrible to have this going on and feel like it's affecting other people, but try to remember that they get a lot of positive things from having you in their life, too. If they seem happy having you in their life, just try to trust their ability to make decisions for themselves. If you're taking as much responsibility as you can for dealing with your anxiety, then really, it's pretty much like any of the other myriad difficulties that people can have - we might not choose it, but it happens. We don't have to feel really bad about being affected by this thing that we didn't choose and are trying to deal with. Some people are honestly ok about accepting how the condition affects us and our life. It's ok and understandable if you feel awful about it, but please know that there isn't anything that you should have to feel awful about.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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redcatmonster
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Thanks, both of you.

My university does offer free counseling services for students, perhaps I would be wise to make use of them while I can.

Having looked at Birth Control Bingo I think my best alternative would be a copper IUD. The pill still seems like the safest option to me, but I will definitely talk to a doctor about the IUD, if it might improve things [Smile]

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Robin Lee
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Free counselling is definitely not something to turn down, particularly if counselling has been helpful to you in the past.

Are you able to access medical services at your university too?

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Robin

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redcatmonster
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There aren't any medical services aside from emergency first aid, but there are a number of free walk-in youth clinics in the area (which is where I've been getting my birth control.)
Posts: 21 | From: Vancouver | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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