Hormones. It seems that we (men especially – thanks guys!) are quick to blame them for changes in mood. No matter how much you may hate the ‘irritable woman on her period’ jokes, for many people, there is a least a grain of truth in it. PMT/PMS, pregnancy and menopause can all have some pretty unpleasant physical and mental effects. In addition, some people experience very serious mental health problems which are caused entirely by changes in hormone levels. But what about those of us who are already suffering from an unrelated mental illness?
For me, hormones definitely affect how I experience depression. My deepest lows and darkest thoughts almost always seem to come in cycles. At first, I wasn’t sure whether it was coincidence. I was looking for patterns, reasons, something to blame. But after months of seriously suicidal thoughts and feelings leading up to my period, I’ve realised that there is a pattern, and something that definitely isn’t helping when it comes to trying to recover.
So this week, I came home from my GP with a prescription for the contraceptive pill. As a gay woman, I have never really needed to consider contraception. I find the whole thing a bit odd, because it’s not something I ever thought that I would need to take. And of course, like most medication, reading the side effects was alarming – blood clots?! This would have been enough to put me off in the past, but now I feel like I’m so fed up with feeling low that I’m willing to risk it. Having committed to trying everything I can to feel better, I can’t not try this.