Here's my story:
I had considered getting a paraguard in 2011 when I first got separated & divorced, but had decided against it then and chose to wait until I actually got into a relationship again. My ex-husband had a vasectomy more that 20 years ago so birth control was not something that I had to think about. Fortunately, the man in my next relationship already had one as well.
In November of 2014, I met a new man (who didn't have a vasectomy) and it seemed like a good solution at the time to get an IUD as neither of us wanted to have children. The naturopath whom I had been seeing recommended it as a good option that would get me through the rest of my "reproductive years" and gave me advice on how to minimize cramping, etc.... during and after the procedure. She said that she had never seen any negative side affects from it and I trusted her opinion. At that time, I was tired from working hard but also super excited about the projects and plans that I had for the winter months and was generally in a positive mood.
The iud insertion all went really smoothly and everything seemed fine in November and early December. Even in December, I still felt like things were fine but looking back see that I was not handling stress as well as I normally do. At the time, I was chalking how I felt up to lots of things hitting at once: expensive vehicle repair, numerous deaths of dear friends, etc…
In January, the feeling like I wasn't handling stress well kept continuing & I was feeling negative about a lot of things. I've always been a pretty positive person, what friends call "stress proof", and am someone who deals with things in a very grounded fashion. Once again, I told myself that it was just that there was a lot going on: flu that held one a long time, unexpected changes in work schedule that made money a concern, etc..... and my period was definitely heavier and a few days longer than normal.
I early February, things started getting really weird. Instead of bleeding like I was supposed to, I only had one day of a small amount of very dark dried blood. I figured this was the spotting that they said might happen and didn't think much about it. THEN, three weeks later, the same dark brown dried blood happened for 4-5 days followed by over two weeks of extremely heavy flow which went into early March. I was also starting to feel more and more irritable and short tempered. During this time I was attending a sort of conference of old friends and colleagues who work in my same field. My schedule had not allowed me to make it to that conference for many years and I was excited to reconnect with a number of people; however, I found myself feeling very tired, withdrawn and detached and was having trouble engaging with people and instead of spending the evenings socializing found myself barely able to get through my workshops and crawling into bed early most every night! I see now that this was really my body telling me it hated the IUD
After only about 6 or 7 days of not bleeding in mid March, I once again started bleeding super heavily and it kept going for more that 2 weeks! I was at another conference when it started, once again feeling super super exhausted, barely able to handle stress and struggling to get through each. This is also the first time that I remember having difficulty making decisions which is something that got way worse later on. I was also dropping an incredible amount of weight really quickly and my hair was falling out a lot. Immediately after that second conference, I finally was able to see my naturopath and she was very concerned. She said that it was like my life energy was getting drained, gave me some herbs that would help slow or stop the bleeding, some others to help stress and told me to try to rest as much as I could. I asked her about the iud and she said to give it at least 3 or 4 more months and that it would all normalize.
I had obviously been feeling like I needed to rest and had been resting as much as possible while also adapting my future schedule to give me some time off. I travel a lot for work but realized that I needed to take a few months off to recuperate my energy and normal way of being.
Unfortunately, I didn't make it there. After seeing the naturopath, I went home and had two weeks where I didn't need to travel, but I was committed to help organize a big event at the end of the month along with a workshop the weekend before that sort of led up to it. My thoughts were that since I had two weeks to do what was really only 3-4 days worth of work, I would relax and sleep as much as possible and just keep the ball rolling. The main trouble was that I COUDN'T SLEEP! My mind was full of racing thoughts about the workshop and event and I found myself laying in bed wide awake; so I would get up and do some work on the computer. Even though I was super exhausted during the day, I would lay down to take a nap and find myself just laying there thinking.
I did prepare for the workshop (in a pretty confused state) AND hadn't slept for well over 9 or more days before it started. The workshop was a pretty interactive hands on thing in which the participants need a lot of technical and emotional support but I had called in a lot of volunteers and assistants who were there to help set up on Friday. One thing I clearly remember from that day is that I was very tired and having a lot of trouble making decisions and coming up with detailed guidance on what they should do. Another thing is that I started bleeding again super heavily.
Nonetheless, things went pretty well on Saturday and several assistants had previous experience and were super helpful, especially considering that chance would happen that I was also needing to simultaneously manage two other tasks for the event the following week. On Saturday night, I was feeling positive although very tired and went to bed hopeful that I might be able to sleep that night. I didn't and the next day sort of fell apart. We were exploring a topic that was fairly new, even to me, and none of my assistants had any previous experience and I felt like I was losing my ability to think. I had run through what I was demonstrating a few days before BUT COULD NOT REMEMBER most of it. What I did remember, I wasn't communicating very well. I felt like that morning demonstration had been a complete failure but we made it through the rest of the day doing more successful things and the students left satisfied.
I once again didn't sleep at all that night and woke up in the morning feeling extremely anxious and nervous and super exhausted. In doing my final pack-up, I realized a small mistake that had been made in one of the preparations that I had been managing and immediately felt like it was THE END OF THE WORLD, contacted my event co-organizers and told them about my fears and they responded that I sounded like I needed to rest and that it wasn't that big of a deal and that it was something that they could correct. This is when I realized that my anxieties were not really normal.
After another week of moving around, not sleeping or eating well, my mind racing with thoughts and memories that my anxieties would latch on to and fixate on, I ended up at my parents house and that next night experienced a huge amount on anxiety which felt like lightning bolts shooting through my chest and into my left eye across my left forehead area, as well as a general tingling sensation all over my head and a soreness behind my eyes. For the next few days my anxiety was so high that I was pacing around the room and my mother took me to see a doctor and psychologist who told me that I was experiencing a "breakdown" and that I had high levels of cortisol running through my brain. They tried several medications to make me sleep which I stopped taking because it felt like I was having a reaction to them because I was having a very difficult time swallowing and my mouth was super dry. I finally ended up with prescriptions to Ativan and Paxil. Unfortunately, I stated taking the Ativan first because it did help me sleep for a few days but after that it just made me feel like I was in a sort of dream. Everything felt very unreal and didn't make sense and they diagnosed me with GAD & depression. I really didn't want to take the Paxil which is an antidepressant and which my friends were telling me bad things about. In general, I was super agitated, super scared, unable to think or make decisions and barely getting through each day.
During this time, I also started seeing a chinese medicine practitioner who used herbs and acupuncture for several months. The herbs helped me sleep a little but other than that, not much was changing; so I finally broke down and started taking the Paxil and was able to stop taking the ativan. It took about 6 weeks but I finally did start to feel it. The biggest thing that happened is that things looked and felt less bleak and instead of being agitated and pacing around all the time, I am now more calm externally. Internally, however, I feel just as agitated and bad as before. I always have a huge tightness in my chest, I am anxious about everything, especially seeing people or talking to people that I know and think that I actually have SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder), and can barely make myself leave the house or communicate with friends, which I'm told is called agoraphobia.
My hair is falling out in fistfuls, my menstrual cycles are irregular, often very heavy, often with dry brown blood for days on end and sometimes with an extremely foul odor. My urine has an extremely strong smell to it, I am often constipated, my mind races constantly and I barely sleep (no more than 2-3 hours per night) and what sleep I do get is fitful. In the past month I have started having some dreams which I am remembering because they wake me up. I am super exhausted most of the time but when I try to rest find myself in this type of place of semi-consciousness. My mouth is always dry, I often have difficulty swallowing and I am gaining weight. My vision had deteriorated rapidly and most things are a little blurry, my eyes are often dry, bloodshot & itchy, the connective tissue in my eyes seems thick and yellowish. I always have a slight headache, there is constant tinnitus ringing in my ears along with this sort of melody that changes words and tempo but is always similar in some way. My nails have ridges in them, I have lots of twitching and restless leg syndrome especially at night. I have a really hard time focusing on things and retaining thoughts. The list goes on and on but just in general, It feels like my body is falling apart!
My business of 23 years doing hands-on educational programs for kids that was flourishing is now hanging by a thread because I have had to cancel all of my scheduled programs and events and if it were not for the support of my loving family, I have no idea where I would be now.
I got the iud out and am reading up on how to start a detox program.
I would so very much love to have some semblance of my old life back. I would also so very much love it if it isn't just what they have been telling my for the past 5 months......"there must have been something in my mindset that set this off" or that "I must not have been happy with what I was doing and this was how my body was telling me that it needed a change".
My body was telling me something..... that it wanted that piece of copper out!