You wrecked me: An ode to post-pill hormonal blues

I’ve started this story a lot.

Mostly via text, sometimes in person.

It’s not for anyone to feel bad for me. Although, that helps. I’m just trying to give a little background. But not necessarily be “seen.”

In fact, seen is the last thing I want.

Let me start from seven months ago.

I broke up with the pill and got an IUD inserted (I like to say installed, like a satellite dish). It was an intensity I can’t entirely articulate, but here’s a try: It’s like electric waves, but from an alien. The process made me sweat through my shirt and they had to give me snacks to get my blood sugar back up.

Then I went straight into work. It wasn’t so bad.

To be honest, the decision felt powerfully feminine. My doctor and nurse were women–and so supportive! And I was sticking it to the Trump administration! No one knew (or yet knows) what reproductive rights will be affected.

And I wanted to finally be off of synthetic hormones.

I had been taking the same pill for 10 years. It was fine. It did its job. My doctor told me I was a “perfect candidate” for the copper IUD.

My period disappeared for three or four months.

But everything seemed fine. At least, until a month ago–when the breakouts began.

Did I mention I’m 30?

I’m talking guests-that-won’t-leave-type breakouts. These are three at a time (or more!) pimples. These are not dopey little white heads, here one day and gone the next. These have roots and family trees.

This has been every day for a month.

I spend hours online, searching for cures. I don’t want to go to the dermatologist. I don’t want another prescription. And all the reviews say these doctors are too brusque. I want at least a little sympathy while you prod my spotted chin.

So I’ve done research.

Before bed I take magnesium. During the day I take fish oil, B complex and zinc with a meal (it makes me feel like shit on an empty stomach).

I marched into Sephora, demanding a spot treatment and a lesson on using concealer. I marched out $100 poorer.

I picked at my face at work one day, then bluntly asked a very kind man working the beauty counter at Nordstrom to fix it for me. He did. I bought $30 sunscreen.

I read more blogs and forums. There’s another supplement I could try. I’ll give it a week.

I can feel another pimple taking root.

I stop looking coworkers in the face when I talk. Or at least try to stand at a distance. I want to tell them “It’s hormonal! I’m not sitting at home wiping donuts on my face.” I want to give them perspective.

(I really do eat quite well. I think about green smoothies and healthy fats a lot.)

It’s so demoralizing.

I was fixing my makeup at work today in the bathroom. A woman walked out of the stall.

“The lighting in my apartment is SO bad!” I said, truthfully. “I come here and have to totally fix everything. Haha!”

She didn’t care.

There is one friend I have who is also experiencing hormonal breakouts lately. Honesty, it feel really good to have a companion on this. I hardly notice hers. I hope people feel the same about me.

Today, I saw this video:

I have avoided writing about my experience.

Do we need another person talking about their breakouts? Do we need another conversation about birth control and what it does to our bodies?

This video says yes.

Why WOULDN’T I write about the one thing that, for the past month, has been making me feel
and at a complete loss.

If I spent half as much time writing as I do
staring at a mirror
looking up at-home cures
doing and redoing my makeup

I would still have breakouts. But a few essays, too.

Did I mention I’m 30?

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