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Monday, 17 February 2014

My Battle With The Pill


Today I have decided to address a more serious topic through my writing.

Around 100 million women use 'The Pill' as a method of contraception worldwide today. All hospitals, doctors and family planning units provide them and they are a 'safe' way to prevent pregnancy.
A year ago I made the decision to start taking the combined oral contraceptive pill.
I have decided to share my story about my experience with the pill with you because I feel that my experience is not something that all girls are told about. I feel it needs further addressing and that more females should be made more aware of the other side effects from the pill, aside from the physical. I certainly wasn't aware of these side effects when I began taking the pill.
I actually didn't do it for pregnancy prevention, I was recommended it by my GP to help aid my painful period pains, but of course it did act as this as well.
I was told by my doctor that the pill would help to ease my pains and reduce the amount of prostaglandin chemicals that my body releases each month, resulting in a 'lighter' time of the month.
I was pretty happy with this and couldn't wait to start being pain-free all month round. I was really good at remembering to take it - it was always in my makeup bag so I was reminded each morning and did it almost religiously.
I took the pill for around six months.
After around a month and a half of being on the pill, I started to notice some changes in myself. Yes, my time of the month was a lot better and my pains did ease - but my mood began to drastically change. Over a few weeks I gradually found myself feeling less and less happy. There was no specific reason as to why I felt unhappy, I just did. I would get home from school and go upstairs to my room and just cry. I honestly couldn't explain why I was crying - often I just felt that crying made me a feel a tiny bit better. I started to feel down in the day too; sometimes I'd put off seeing friends and doing things just because I preferred being alone where I could openly cry. One minute I'd feel fine, and the next I'd be crying again. Over the next few months I spent lots of time alone in my room and even more time sobbing into my pillow. My life was perfectly fine, so I couldn't work out what was making me feel so down and low. I had Oscar, my lovely boyfriend, who was so supportive throughout the whole thing. Lots of the time I'd take things out on him - shouting in anger and then crying my eyes out, telling him I didn't know what was going on. He had no idea what was going on either, but sat and listened to me anyway, telling me that things would get better. I would talk to him about feeling down, but I could never tell him why. I literally didn't know why myself. I often felt like I was looking at the world through grey-tinted glasses; it seemed dark, lonely and gloomy, and to be quite honest I wasn't sure if it was a place I really wanted to be at that time. I fell out with my family more because they couldn't understand why I was so upset and what was troubling me so much. They tried their best to be sensitive to me and my feelings, and to understand what I was going through but truly I knew that no one understood. I didn't even understand it myself. My mood swings were out of control, sometimes I'd be so angry about the tiniest things and other times I'd just weep and weep. I thought there was something wrong with me - that I was turning into a crazy, depressed and lonely person. Lots of nights I cried myself to sleep and when I woke in the morning I felt empty and not ready to take on the day. Getting up and doing normal, daily things suddenly felt like a struggle and I didn't want to do them. I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster, carrying massive weights on my shoulders. I didn't feel like talking to anyone about it anymore.
That's when my mum said she was taking me to the doctors. She was worried, and finally said that it had to stop. Although I felt relieved, I was scared that the doctor was going to diagnose me with something drastic or tell me I wasn't normal. I felt embarrassed about my emotions because I couldn't explain them, and I hated hearing the word 'why?'. I didn't know why I felt like that.
So I went to the doctors with my mum, feeling nervous. When I went into the doctors I was asked to explain how I was feeling and of course why. I explained to my doctor that I felt down, low, depressed and unhappy. I told her about what I was going through and she and my mum sat as I explained my unhappiness and began to cry. Again. When I had finished, my doctor leaned back in her chair and thought for a moment. 'I'm not sure if anti-depressants would be the right thing for you,' she said to my mum and I. I felt my heart drop a bit, thinking that there was no way to treat these feelings. The thought of feeling like that forever scared the life out of me. Then my doctor asked, 'Are you on any medication?'. My immediate reaction was 'no', but then my mum mentioned that I was taking the pill.
Suddenly my doctor said, 'That's it. That's why your feeling like this.' I felt a feeling of relief wash over me; hearing that there was an actual reason for my unhappiness made me feel somewhat normal again and so relieved!
The doctor explained that depression/anxiety was a common side effect from the pill and strongly recommended that I come off it immediately. She said that my hormones were clashing with the hormones in the pill, resulting in my mood swings and severe unhappiness.
The very next morning, I woke up and didn't take my pill as I usually would. I was worried that my pains would return but decided I would rather a few pains than feeling like a crazy hormonal wreck.
After just a few days of not being on the pill, I felt my mood starting to lighten and for the first time in a while I began to feel genuinely interested in life again. After a few weeks I felt like I could laugh and smile again without feeling false, and I didn't feel like crying anymore. Life started to appear more desirable again and I became more motivated in my coursework and exams. I began to enjoy doing things like I used to and started going out to see my friends more. I felt like I had been released of my heavy weights and finally felt free and, amazingly, happy.
Coming off the pill has been one of my best decisions yet; I feel like a real person again and am able to enjoy and experience the happiness from the little things in life again.
Although I do understand that the pill is an extremely successful contraceptive method for lots of women, my experience is something that I wouldn't want anyone to go through. When learning about the pill, you often read about side effects such as nausea, headaches and weight gain, but most of the time you are not told about the mental side effects too. I was completely unaware of the mental effects that the pill can have on a person and don't feel like I was given enough information on this.

So I have decided to share my story with you in hope that it will raise more awareness and maybe some of you can relate to it. Girls need to know that depression is normal and that they shouldn't be embarrassed about their feelings or emotions. If you are on the pill and feel any sort of unusual happiness or depression just know that you are not a crazy, abnormal outsider and others have been there too. You are normal and it's ok. I wish someone could've told me that at the time.
Amy
xxx

10 comments:

  1. aww thankyou for sharing your story!
    Every girl is different, so the pill isn't perfect for everyone xx

    LauraThinksAbout

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    1. Exactly, I just want girls to know that it's ok if it doesn't work for them.
      xx

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  2. Well done for sharing. I've been on and off the pill for 10 years. I have also noticed that my mood can become unbearable at certain times but most of the time I put it down to anxiety or stress from work. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. I was put on the pill for the same reason, I suffer from severe cramps and often if I come off the pill my time of the month then turns into time of the fortnight, not fun. I put myself through it but I've told myself that I'll find an alternative this year as I've had enough of being on it :/

    Tamsyn-Elizabeth
    Peach Pow XO

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    Replies
    1. That's awful and exactly how I felt. Coming off the pill was one of my best decisions, I feel so much better as a person and there are other ways to deal with cramps and contraception. I respect that for some women it's perfect, but for others it's not. I wanted girls to know that there can be mental side effects as often you're not told this.
      xx

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  3. My mum was like that when she was on the pill. Just after she had me, with two other kids as well she demanded my dad go and get the snip because she HAD to come off the pill. She said she got that bad she yelled at us (not that we remember) for making a little noise and could have "quite easily have murdered my father..." it's mental how a tablet can make you like that.

    Thankfully I've not been the same. I was put on the pill for the same reason - my periods. I was having 3 week periods none stop, they had to do something as I was so ill from that, I thought I'd turn out like my mum was on the pill, thankfully I don't. Just a little grouchy every so often, but everyone is entitled to those days. xD

    It must have been so horrible for you to feel like that and not know what was going on - especially trying to explain to others. Definitely good on you for sharing this experience, because my mum told me about her horrors I thought it was common knowledge the mental side effects it can have, but it's always good for people to share their story and let others know that they're not going loopy - it is the pill that's causing it. :S

    Juyey Xx

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    Replies
    1. Your mum's story is horrible - but so understandable and relatable. The mood swings that people can suffer from are horrific, and even worse if you don't know why you're body is stressing out. It's really scary.

      That's lucky that the pill works for you! Unless you know someone who has suffered from the mental effects, you don't really hear or read about it. Or at least that's what I've found! I just thought that by sharing my story I may reach some girls, even if it's just one, and let them know that crazy mental side effects are actually normal from the pill.
      Thank you very much! :)
      xxx

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  4. i have been on the mocro pill for 15 years and a year gone september i stopped using them, i have a fear of taking meds that are not needed , but i put on weight, and my moods stopped, i dont feel as lathargic no more and although i have an extra bitta weight i feel better for it

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  5. Many years ago I went on the pill and put on a massive amount of weight. I really ballooned so I came off it, lost the weight and vowed never to use it again. I was 18. From that day on all I ever used was condoms and had no issues or accidents. I think more people react to the pill than the general public are aware of and many don't even realise they are reacting to the pill.

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  6. I am just too scared to use pills and this makes it more scary.

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  7. I can relate to this so much. I genuinely went through almost exactly the same thing in my first year of university, except I was taking mine for a medical condition so doctors were far less happy to recommend I stop taking them! Everyone insisted it was just homesickness but I knew something was off and the day I stopped taking them I immediately felt miles better, it was so weird. I eventually got a mirena coil fitted instead, which I've had absolutely no issues with. So important to talk about these things as I had no idea that that might happen before I took it either!

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