Thursday, June 7, 2012

It took me 5 years to recover from Yasmin

I started Yasmin in 2005, after I stopped breast-feeding my second child, and stopped taking yasmin in March of 2007.  I had only taken the pill for about 2 years or so and it took me about 5 years to completely recovered. With that I want to point out that: each individual’s recovery period is different.

The first year, on yasmin, and like everybody else, I had already noticed some strange symptoms but I brushed it off thinking it was probably due to stress as I had 2 toddlers under the age of 5 and was also working full time.  

Those strange symptoms were: 
  • loss of libido
  • short-tempered
  • unusual dryness on my skin throughout my body (skin would break if you scrub or scratch)
  • light-headedness
  • insensitive to feelings
  • feeling stressed all the time
Those symptoms were just the bothering symptoms while I was on the pill until I got a full-blown panic attack one beautiful day in March of 2007.  I was fetching my eldest daughter from kindergarten when an attack swept over me, flooded me with palpitations out of the blue, sweating profusely and out of breath.  I was thinking I was about to faint and the school crowd suddenly became overwhelming for me (I was so fine with the crowd and noises before!)

I still don’t know how I made it out of the school and drove back to our home.  My husband was out-stationed then and I thought perhaps it was an ‘insecurity’ feeling that my husband was away and I was left handling the house with the kids but I was skeptical because I never had those problems before!  I did not understand why I couldn’t handle it this time.  I was a healthy, strong mother – what made me so fearful this time? I kept asking myself... The panic feeling remained with me for a few more days and I began to sense that it could be the pill. 

I stopped mid-pack and had a withdrawal bleeding.  After I stopped all other impending symptoms hit me.  I was bedridden for about 2 weeks with these symptoms:
  • unable to get out of bed due to body ache
  •  fainting 
  •  unable to think, brain-fog
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of concentration
  • heart palpitations
  • nausea
  • numbness
  • suicidal
I was feeling like I was about to die.  I cried endlessly wondering what illness I had, my children watched me helplessly. They were so young then and I was so sorry that they had to see me in that state.  I saw shock and fear in their eyes.  I neglected them and everyone in the family because I was numb, I had no feelings, I felt brain-dead as I couldn’t think properly.  All I wanted to do was to sleep and lay in bed.  Back then I still couldn’t imagine what had gone wrong except for knowing that I had stopped the pill and I was bleeding.  I cried a river of tears.  I had no food on the table for the family, I didn’t send my kids to school.  I just locked myself in the bedroom – I did not even know when it was day and night.

After a few more weeks during the early months off, I watched everyone around me in envy because they could move around so easily while I was feeling handicapped.  I even developed agoraphobia; I couldn’t step out of the house.  I had my mother come over to help me but it was hard as we did not live together, I had my neighbor send my kids to school and she also did grocery shopping for me when my husband was away for work.  I couldn’t leave home without someone by my side.  I had IBS and bouts of vomiting.  I went to the doctor and was diagnosed as gastroenteritis.  Where did that come from? I was eating the same food as cooked for my family – how could they be safe while I was poisoned?  Thousands of questions raced through my mind: am I dying? Do I have stage 3 cancer that I was not aware of?  I imagined my own funeral and even dreamt of one.  I was suicidal when I was awake but couldn’t do anything, even too tired to walk out of my bedroom.  Visits to the doctors were useless.  They sent me to psychiatrists.  At one time, I really believed I was crazy but the gut feeling told me I was not.  I had always been healthy, from a young girl (I traveled across the continent alone a few times) to a strong mother of 2, a runner, and doing martial art.  What happened to me?  - A question that was left unanswered until I found the forum 4 to 6 months after I was ill and going through this.

It was a big relief when I found others who shared the same symptoms as mine.  I cried in relief, this time tears of happiness because I found my answer.  I stopped questioning when I could be better after learning that different people recover differently.  I channeled my time and effort to research and got help instead of venting and ranting ‘why me’?  I got over the stage of being angry with the pill very quickly because I knew I wanted to recover for the sake of myself and everyone in my family.  

My recovery was bumpy and I was constantly going through so many unexpected moments.  For me, it was not just depression alone.  It was depression along with many other symptoms – physically, emotionally, and mentally at the same time.  Examples are:
  • headaches that would not go away
  • no concentration no matter how much sleep I got
  • night sweating, shivering, and trembling
  • feeling faint under the sun like my body was losing control of how to regulate its own temperature
  • random pain from waist down to thigh, leg and calf – I was limping at one time
  • eye, skin and muscle twitches
  • strong sunlight made me dizzy
  • couldn’t form words in a sentence properly
  • bad eyesight
  • toothache, sensitive gum
  • hair loss
  • joint pain
  • anxious and couldn’t concentrate while driving
  • couldn’t  stand loud noises and big crowds
  • couldn’t function in the mornings
  • insecurity of being alone
  • allergies
  • cold and flu-like symptoms onset of menstruation
Today I sometimes lose count of what else I have been through.  I wouldn’t have recovered if I didn’t read and research enough.  I also discovered I was so naive when I was younger – feeding my body with synthetic hormones.  As no doctors could help me, I diagnosed myself with adrenal fatigue after my thorough research.  Yasmin had ruined and robbed me of my life, even as I recovered physically I still couldn’t get back my confidence completely, not until I got help from inspirational and motivational guide books – they helped me through steps-by-step in discovering myself, my strength, and my future. 
The following has helped me:
  • get enough rest, sleep at least 8 hours even after you are fully recovered because there is always relapses if you ‘overdo’ yourself.  Do not wait for the relapse to treat your body well – treat your body well at ALL times
  • avoid alcohol and other caffeinated drinks
  • accept help whenever you can, wherever you are
  • find a hobby that suits you, distract yourself from negative thoughts
  • read self-help books
  • do light exercises e.g. tai chi or yoga
  • laugh – even though you may not feel like it, watch funny videos to bring out laughter – it makes a difference
  • acupuncture
  • body massage – it may not be possible for some and may be costly, I suggest to google ‘how to massage yourself’, it does make a difference on stiff muscles
  • to ease allergies or cold/flu symptoms, drink up turmeric + water
  • have herbal soup once a week if possible
  • stick with home-made meals and juice from fruit rather than fruit concentrate and sugar
  • avoid processed food
  • Above all, patience is the key point to getting well.  I hope you all have a speedy recovery.
Because of what I have been through, I have learn a great deal about natural health – I have started to take courses and schedule my time for study on homeopathy and herbalism. 

~ Leni
Yasmin user 2005 - 2007