I've never been one of those girls that used "Sorry, I'm on my period" as an excuse for my behavior. I've always thought that saying that didn't make sense, that I should be in control of myself and my actions at all times and that blaming it on my hormones was an irresponsible cop-out.
Then, one day in high school, I woke up at a sleepover in excruciating pain, worse than any I'd ever had before in my life. After months of doctors visits, ultrasounds and CT scans, and even surgery, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal condition that affects 5 to 10 percent of women worldwide.
My body's hormonal imbalance was causing me terrible symptoms: pain, mood swings, acne, irregular cycles, stress, and so much more. The doctor that ultimately diagnosed me was Catholic and anti-abortion and told me "Birth control would help manage your pain but I don't prescribe it." That was the moment that I truly felt hopelessness and devastation.
Right before I left for college, I decided to take my medical fate into my own hands. I went to a different doctor and was given an IUD. It worked great for a few months and then my body rejected it. I got a new one and it rejected again. A last-ditch third effort was also rejected and then it was time to attempt another method.
I spent six months on the shot, which left me feeling amazing for a few weeks right after I was given a major dose of hormones but made me miserable for about six weeks after that when the hormones started wearing off while I waited for my next batch.
Now, finally, I'm on the pill, which generally has been a great choice for me personally. There are still some days that I feel down. I still get bad acne and headaches and a plethora of other symptoms that are influenced by hormones but generally, I'm much happier and healthier now.
Hormones are fascinating. They control everything in our bodies and even the slightest imbalance can have dramatic effects and leave you feeling miserable. It's a great scientific achievement that we have medications such as birth control that we can use to manipulate hormone levels and their effects but this technology still has so far to go before it's perfect.
Now I know how important hormones truly are and how great their effects can be on every aspect of my day-to-day life. I'll still never say "Sorry, I'm on my period" but I'm a lot more comfortable now recognizing when I'm having a bad day or if I'm having physical symptoms like acne, pain, and headaches.
Hormones have spent five years ruining my life but now I'm using them to get my life back.