**warning – this post contains some sensitive issues**
I have been on the pill for at least 6 years of my life. I am 21.
All this time I never really questioned my issues with anxiety, panic attacks, getting out of bed in the morning, weight gain and lack of libido. However, these are all side effects of the pill.
I started not for the sole purpose of contraception but because of period pain and control. When I was first prescribed the pill I believe not enough information was given to me about what I was truly doing to my body.
For my first couple of years I took the pill Rigevidon. Until it made me feel sick to even think about taking it. The nausea was bad but I never really thought about my mental health at that age.
Then, I swapped to Gederal 20/150. I had very low moods on this. Only now have I realised. As a teenager, adults always go on about how your hormones are all over the place so I never questioned it. I also didn’t have the happiest time at school so I never even thought to blame the hormones I was taking for how I was feeling. I would’ve loved to know if my school experience would have been any different if I wasn’t on contraception.
Then off I went to university. The NHS doctor at my new surgery in Newcastle decided to put me on the mini pill Cerelle. She said she changed it was because of the risk of blood clots, which I have no family history of. I googled it later and it turns out it was a lot cheaper for the practice to swap me onto mini pill from Gederal 20/150. I actually found my mood to be worse than it had ever been before. Getting up in the morning was a struggle. Every morning I had thoughts which I now realise are not normal at all. I was truly unhappy. But I always thought it was just me. And how I can’t possibly have depression when so many people claim to have it nowadays. I knew my life wasn’t actually bad compared to others, and I should be grateful, of course, so I just took life day by day not stopping to question why I was having these thoughts. However, the impact of this sadness if my life started to become obviously apparent to the people closest to me in my life, as I eventually couldn’t avoid opening up to my boyfriend. We discussed me getting help but the thought of that just gave me anxiety. I read some articles about how people had come off of the pill as it was effecting their mental health. So for months I debated coming off. ‘But its so convenient’ I would argue. Trust me. Give it up if you’re unhappy.
I took a break from all those hormones. After the first few months of settling my body back into its natural routine, I had never felt like more like me. My friends told me they hadn’t seen me this happy in such a long time – probably to do with my hormones in addition to a much-needed relationship break up!
I am now trying out the combined patch because non-hormone related contraception doesn’t fit my lifestyle yet. I’ve told my flatmates to keep track of my mood swings and general wellbeing because its easy to lie to yourself about how you really feel. Also, just because people are more down than you, or have more obvious anxiety related issues, does not mean your mental health is irrelevant. Its ok to put yourself first sometimes. Take that day off. Watch that Netflix series in one sitting.
I wrote this blogpost to draw attention to a less talked about topic. To let you know, if you’re struggling, you are NOT alone. And guess what? You can do something about it. Go see your doctor. Be honest with them about the issues you are having. They are there to help you. And if you are worried, speak to your family or friends. It’s more than likely someone else has suffered with the same kind of issues, the conversation just needs to start with you. I want to raise awareness to the effects of the contraceptive pill so that no one has to accept the less bright side of life, like I did, without realising I was in control all along of making my own happiness.