My relationship with the pill

In less than a few weeks time I’ll be turning 26 (agh!) This notion started me thinking; what has been a constant in my life? Thankfully all my family members, certain friends, the fact people still ask if I’m a Christine and the pill.
Since the age of 16 I have been putting a tiny little, usually yellow, pill in my mouth every morning and then skipping out the door without really thinking about it and the potential repercussions for my body. 
I was actually initially put on the pill for my acne (no really). I had pretty bad skin from around the age of 14. That story is for another time though. Microgynon was my first ever pill. This is basically the rite of passage pill for any teenage girl. Nearly everyone starts out on it because it’s the cheapest to produce. However, almost everyone seems to experience problems on it. I suddenly became prone to fainting and having extraordinary mood swings. It was also doing very little to help my skin.
So back to the doctors I went. Next up was Dianette. The pill you can only be on for about 6 months because you become susceptible to blood clots. Surely, this should have rung alarm bells? However, I was so desperate to have bump free skin I went along with it. Again, this didn’t really do anything to help my skin, if anything I thought it made it worse. I also unexpectedly started gaining weight. Age 17, my usual athletic body (not tooting my own horn here) was slowly morphing into a doughy blob that I didn’t really recognise and nothing but my pill had really changed. So now I had a multitude of problems on my plate; (really) spotty, getting a little chubby and hella moody.
Finally we found Yasmin and I’ve been taking it ever since. By that point I had become sexually active, so thankfully managed to avoid any awkward questions with the parents about asking to go on birth control. I was already covered. Although, not entirely out of choice. My skin with Yasmin and regular dermatology appointments was slowly becoming less angry. The spots that were once mountains were now hills, tiny mounds even.

I’ve always been vaguely aware that being on the pill and for so long probably isn’t that great. Through research I discovered, the contraceptive pill was originally designed for men to take! It was shifted over to women when the men being tested complained of a multitude of serious side effects and depression. I also read quotes from recent studies such as ‘Period pain is almost as bad as a heart attack’. Although I’ve never experienced any pains quite that bad I can see why many women 'back to back' their pill and don’t have a period for months on end. Which legend has it also isn't that great for our bodies. I've been there, it is so easy to just stop our bodies having periods, there is always a weekend away, that big event or a holiday that you don't want to have to deal with it for, that you end up avoiding having a period altogether.

I know the pill goes a long way for women’s reproductive rights and I am all for us ladies having complete control over that aspect of our bodies. However, what scares me most is that I’m not sure I know my body and who I am without the contraceptive hormones in my body. Depression, depressed mood, mood swings and decreased libido are all recognised side effects of the pill. Would I be a happier person off it? Would I have developed the anxiety and panic attacks that I suffer from? Could it be contributing to the gut problems I have? I’ve always sort of written these things off as me being a moody teen, or an unfortunate illness but thinking about it these ‘symptoms’ have never really gone away.
Top - Topshop Boutique
Dungarees - H&M (similar)
Hat - H&M
Shoes - Vans
It’s not something that tends to be openly discussed. The double taboo whammy of sex and mental health seems to always put this conversation on the back burner. People are vaguely aware there are potential problems, urban myths of that girl that went 'crazy' when she had an IUD implant. So I wanted to open the floor to discussion. I haven’t entirely made up my mind what I want to do with my findings. I’m in a healthy relationship but I don’t want to be having children any time soon. Therefore, natural contraception really terrifies me. I am however going to start having these chats willingly and honestly with my friends. If I do have a daughter I want her to be fully educated on everything so she can be armed with enough knowledge to make her own well informed decision and choose to go on it. 

1 comment:

  1. I just posted this comment but not sure that it worked? So here it is again haha! This is so interesting! I went on the pill two years ago now and have been on 3 different types. The first gave me problems with anxiety/panic attacks, the second one gave me migraines and now I'm on the mini pill, which seems to be working out fine. I think the worry is, will being on the pill long-term affect my body? Apparently not, but there is something niggling the back of my mind every time I think about my plans for the future (having a family etc). Thank you so much for sharing!!x

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