I talk beauty & mental health

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

My Experience Coming Off The Pill

Stopped Taking Birth Control

I've been off my birth control for about 3 years now and I have to say that quitting probably was one of the best decisions I've made in my twenties. Even though it was a great method to prevent pregnancy, for me personally, I started to feel things weren't 'right' anymore at some point. I couldn't really pin point as to why but considering I had been taking the pill for already a good 8 years, I figured that it wasn't actually such a crazy idea to maybe stop taking it. At that age, I was 24, I also started getting worried about the effects of taking the pill on my reproductive organs as a whole. I just wanted everything to be okay. Apart from my boyfriend, I didn't actually have a lot of support when it came to quitting the pill. Not from my doctor and not from my family. Everyone thought it was weird, why come off the pill if you don't want to make babies?

I want to preface this story by saying that I have been in a long term relationship for almost 6 years and that my partner has absolutely no issues using condoms as a contraceptive. Being with a person whom I trust 100% made it much easier for me to stop taking the pill. My boyfriend was very respectful of my decision and considering that he also saw that things just weren't 'okay' at the time, he thought why not. I had been dealing with a bunch of weird symptoms already for a while. I wasn't sick but I just didn't feel good. I had backaches, migraines, I was struggling with pelvic pains, thrush, bladder infections and I was crying almost all of the time. My mental health wasn't at its best either - that I admit, but it was becoming very obvious that my hormones were all over the place.

Every time I would google my symptoms, somehow the pill was always a subject that came up. Loads of other women with the same issues recommended to quit taking the pill. I don't encourage self diagnosing on Google, obviously, but my problem was that whenever I asked my doctor for advice and if any of these things could be triggered by my brith control his answer was always no. I found it strange and it honestly made me very sad. I didn't feel heard or cared for and when I talked about this with my mom, she just gave me a weird look. When it comes to birth control I think people focus too much on the aspect of preventing pregnancy and not on how the pill can affect you as a human being. I started taking the pill because I had very heavy periods and painful cramps that would make me fold in half. The pill helped to relieve all of those issues but it also kick started many others, in my case especially mental health wise, and I was never told or informed about those kind of side effects. I don't believe that taking the pill doesn't have any consequences long term on your body also. In the end, it's still medicine you are taking - every single day.

Coming Off The Pill Side Effects

I decided it was time to listen to my body and to quit taking that shit asap! I was very relieved that my symptoms lessened in the first few months, I felt better. I wasn't nearly crying as much and my back pain was gone. I never really thought anything of that back pain until I didn't have it anymore. I was so used to it that I didn't think anything of it. I'm not sure if this is something that is very common. I don't want you to think that if you take the pill and you have back pains that it is for sure related, I don't know, this is just my experience. My periods have also been normal ever since. They didn't become less or more painful, there wasn't any less or more flow. It all pretty much stayed the same, like when I was on the pill. They also come on time, every time. My cycle now is about 30 days, I use the Clue app to track it. I highly recommend using an app because even though my period didn't change, I did start experiencing ovulation pains. I have cramping in my lower abdomen every time I'm due to ovulate. At first I thought I had more bladder issues, but using the Clue app it was very clear it was just my cycle doing its thing! I know the Clue app is being heavily advertised among influencers at the moment but it's honestly a great one, especially if you have mental health issues like me because you can also track your mood. When I'm feeling low it usually (more often than not) has something to do with my cycle. To me, this is very reassuring when it comes to my struggle with depression because I realised that I confuse the two. Tracking my mood truly became a supporting tool in my recovery.

I have to be honest though, in those 3 years that I 'quit' I did go back on another pill for a couple months. After the previous pill was completely flushed out of my system I started getting really bad PMS, to the point where I became suicidal. The new pill helped a lot to balance out my mood swings but it did bring back some of the physical pain I described earlier so I was faced with a difficult decision: either keep on taking the pill and deal with the pain, or deal with my mood swings. I chose the second one and made sure to inform my therapist that I was doing so. I also talked about my physical pains and she said that we would work on those as well. I don't remember how long it took for me to feel good, okay and safe during my PMS moments but my boyfriend says not long, about 2 or 3 months. I'm happy I did it. I do take a vitamin C supplement when things get tough or when I'm simply not feeling myself, it helps with my mood. I also make sure to eat a lot of legumes then and to practice extra self care.

It was only recently that I told my gynaecologist that I stopped taking the pill. She was very surprised, which I found kind of unsettling. She asked why and I said that it just didn't feel right anymore. This is not the same doctor that I talked about before because I have moved since then.  I guess I just wanted to include this last thing to say that it's okay to make your own decisions, to follow your intuition and do what is right for you. I'm very happy I quit taking birth control. I felt like it was messing with me a lot near the end and I'm just so relieved now. My body feels a lot better as a whole, it also changed a little after I stopped, for the better I would say. I'm not a curvy lady at all but I did see my body become slightly curvier than before. Not heavier, but curvier.
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4 comments

  1. Ugh I could talk about how shit the pill is for days. I went off it at around 22 and am now 25 and am still dealing with repercussions from the artificial hormones it put into my body for 7 years. So glad you're feeling better now after being pill free! I think in the medical industry the pill is prescribed WAY too quickly. Heavy periods? Take the pill. Hormone imbalance? Take the pill. Acne? Take the pill. It's scary how easy it is to get on it!

    Sharni | www.agirlandgrey.com

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    1. I also think doctors don't really bother prescribing the right pill, I was simply given the most commercial one available at that time. I'm sorry you're still struggling, I hope as times goes on that everything will improve :) <3 XXx

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  2. This was such an interesting post. I've been really doing my research on the pill lately and I'm very surprised to see that a handful of women (from the ones that are active online at least) have experienced similar symptoms to yours. What I'm more surprised to see is that there are almost no doctors that talk about symptoms where there are clearly some that can occur. Thank you for sharing your experience, it was really insightful!

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    1. I agree, I do think it's something that flies under the radar because the symptoms can be so diverse and the number of women that experience issues maybe isn't big enough to make it clinically significative :/ Thank you! Xxx

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