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Driving alone down King Street I am crying in my car. Not enough that I need to pull over, but enough that tears are slowly falling down my cheeks.  The reason for my tears is an ambulance that drove by with its flashing lights on. I began thinking of the reasons for the flashing lights: a car accident, a heart attack, a shooting.

This crying has been happening to me lately over things I would not normally cry over: a commercial, a song, an ambulance! In general I do not think of myself as a “crier” or an overly sensitive person, and there could be many factors leading to my new crying episodes, but I am almost certain that it is the result of my hormones. A mixture of my own hormones and the artificial hormones that I put into my body in the form of birth control.

I am 40 years old and have been using hormonal birth control for over half my life, at first for preventing pregnancy and later to help alleviate some of the symptoms of my endometriosis, such as extremely painful and heavy periods and abdominal and back pain. Without the hormones in birth control I would not have been able to function for the past 20 years. I know this because I would occasionally stop taking birth control to see what would happen. What happens is the inability to go to work, school or even out of the house at times.

And so I have made a decision to continually take hormonal birth control in order to live my life. There are many people who take birth control for reasons other than pregnancy prevention. The hormones in birth control can alleviate heavy periods and cramps, suppress periods, regulate periods and decrease the symptoms of other ailments such as endometriosis. However, although they often eliminate symptoms, they usually do not address the problem. But we live in a world where the pharmaceutical approach is the norm and so pharmaceuticals it is.

Hormones — both the hormones our bodies naturally create and the ones we put into our bodies — have the ability to change your energy levels and your moods, making you more or less tired, motivated, sensitive, angry, sad and irritated.

I have taken many forms of hormonal birth control over the years. One type regulated my moods so effectively that I basically stayed in the same mood at all times. Not angry, or sad, or too happy, just kind of blah. I did not cry for five years! I was referred to as a cold hearted bitch on more than one occasion, and then I switched birth control and became a crier! What’s a person to do?

I am left contemplating. What is my true mood? My thoughts and reactions? I don’t think I will ever know, and so I have decided to accept that whatever my reactions, my feelings, my thoughts, I will simply go with them and respect them as they are. Hormones are a strong force, whether natural or synthetic. They are worth thinking about and learning about. If you have questions or concerns about your hormonal health, your moods, your feelings, ask a health care provider.