COMING OFF THE PILL AND LEARNING ABOUT MY BODY

by - 7:51:00 AM


So this post has been playing on my mind for sometime now, 9 months ago I decided to stop taking the Pill, I wanted to share this post about my experience and an app that has helped me through this journey.

Let me add here - going off the pill has to be something you want to do and for reason that fits you and your lifestyle. Its taken a lot of time and thought to sit down and find the courage to write an honest account about going off the pill and this is a personal experience, I am not a doctor or a medical professor I just simply decided to listen to my body.
I am not opposed to new forms of contraceptive nor do I think they are all bad, for many people they make life a lot easier, they assist with women who suffer with terrible period and ovarian problems and have helped women in different ways. Modern day contraceptive is a luxury that many women don't have access to and from a feminist stand point, I am sure its been pretty revolutionary. Again, I am not an expert and I have read many a debate and interesting article (which I am sure many of you have and I am not going to rehash or retell what many have already expressed with full honestly) around the pill and contraceptive but for me, after more than a decade it no longer felt right and it was a personal choice.

Intuition is possibly the most powerful tool we have and yet, we have been taught not to listen to it or even entertain it in some cases - this has got to stop ladies.

About a year ago my intuition basically kicked up every possible sign it could throw at me that it was time to take a much needed break off the pill.

Having gone on the pill at age 17 for a pretty bad (ish) skin problem, the thought of going off it literally made me feel ill. So as any good modern day lass would, I spent a solid 4 hours lying awake one night googling what would happen if I stopped taking a tablet I had taken for more than a decade - worst. mistake. ever. Never google anything because honestly the internet is beyond depressing and not one person had anything positive to say. Everything sounded devastating and catastrophic (I kid you not) which scared me even more, what had I been taking for so long and what had it done to MY body?

 I decided to speak to a variety of friends and people I know who had also been on the pill and either stopped or were considering stopping it.

I had always been pretty proud of the fact that after years of being on the pill I just simply didn't get my period, la la la la wonderful! No hormonal symptoms really, Wonderful! No PMS and mood swings or period pain - horrrayyy! But in theory I started to actually just feel 100 percent out of touch with my body and everything female that I wanted to connect with and understand. I started noticing (and please internet police chill here) that during each month I experienced pretty intense pain in my calves and legs and my ankles started swelling - odd as the pill I was on is know as a diuretic right, well no - it just didn't feel right.

I am ashamed to say, I had been the person to eye-roll at women who have in actual fact had medical complaints from the pill. Well now I can understand there are always two sides to a story and everyone's personal experience is exactly that - personal and real to them, so massive respect to all the brave women out there!

Why I decided to go off the pill
  • I felt out of touch with my body 
  • My anxiety was getting worse and I could not pin point my emotions
  • My weight went up and I felt demotivated (no necessarily from the pill)
  • I experienced symptoms like swelling (something that is not genetic or in my family) my ankles and feet became puffy
  • I no longer had a period which felt weird and unnatural (although convenient)
  • I stopped using sleeping tables after three years and wanted to be "pill free" for a while 
  • I realised that my body just needed a break, I literally could feel my body telling me it was time for a change
  • My skin had never really gone through the pubescent stages it needed to and I didn't want to wait until I was wanting to fall pregnant one day, going off the pill and experience every possible hormonal change as well as bad skin
  • I didn't understand my emotions and felt like I didn't have control of them 
  • I just didn't feel ME and I felt stinted, stuck, plateaued and average
After talking to tons of incredible, supportive and objective women I decided to stop taking the pill. I prepared myself for the worst - never getting a regular period, full blow acne and a life of misery and every other privileged complaint I could fathom from google.

 What I happened when I stopped taking the pill in September 2016 

(also not necessarily linked to stopping the pill)
  • To my surprise my period regulated straight away (different for every woman) 
  • My skin did a full reboot of me being 16 and basically jumped into borderline adult acne mode (mainly at a particular time of the month) BUT in saying this, my skins healing time has improved drastically and taking zinc tablets does help (the skin issue has been the hardest part for.)
  • Weirdly enough my sleep cycle improved too
  • My energy levels improved
  • My ankles, feet and calves no longer felt painfully swollen 
  • My various emotions in a month now made sense - hello hormones
  • I started reading articles about hormones and how to balance them: Mind Body Green is a helpful source of info
  • My weight stayed the same - but my motivation for exercise started coming back and I stopped having so much water retention and feeling swollen all. of. the. time.
  • I felt far more conscious of my body and the different things it was experiencing during the changes and transition which felt like a huge positive 
  • I actually feel a lot happier and healthier in general
When I decided to stop taking the pill after the first month I went straight to my gynie and expected a long winded lecture and instead I was met with a lot of support and comfort. I showed my gynie an app I was using and he said he highly recommend all of his patients track their periods and cycles.

So which amazing app is it? I downloaded an App called CLUE that a friend introduced me to. ladies this app is a game changer. seriously, even my gynie said it is important to track your period even if you take the pill, information about your monthly cycle says a lot about your health as well.

So what is CLUE? Other than the most empowering female apps out there (in my humble opinion) it is the best way to actually understand body and your emotions.
  • You can use CLUE  to track your period, ovulation / fertility and PMS. 
  • You can use it even if you are not on contraceptive and if you are, they list pretty much every single form that is out there
  • Clue generates cycle reports each month and emails them to you
  • It tracks everything (see examples below) 
  • You can track emotions and habits even when you do not have your period
  • You can link CLUE to your friends: really helpful when you are ugly crying on the phone and your bestie reminds you that you are smack bang in the middle of hardcore PMS
  • It helps predict the future - clue starts learning about you, so when your next period will be fpr example
  • Clue offers something called "cycle science" to help you understand your symptoms
  • The list is pretty endless when it comes to using this app!  
  • It has a meditation option and a host of other cool emotions you can plug in to help track your emotions
 Here is an example from my app:








 How clue and stopping the Pill have helped me:
    I have been off the pill for 9 months and I can safely say its been an interesting journey.
    Using CLUE has helped me gain a better understanding of body and what it is going through. I feel more self aware- more in tune with my body than ever before.

    During my fertile window I feel great, my skin clears up and my confidence is at an all time high.  The week before my period - emotional, insecure and tearful (but at least I know why).
    Instead of trying to "fix" the tough things I am going through my cycle, I have learnt to start embracing them, understanding myself, building self love rituals and focusing on being kind to myself - I mean hello, women are pretty badass and can dominate the world whilst having a period. 

    WE are freaking magical!

    Overall I now have a better understanding of what my body does each month, I am interested in understanding hormones and my emotions and CLUE has helped me stop feeling like weight loss is a major goal in my life and my focus is now about my overall health, well being and building healthy habits with love and respect for my body.

    Stopping the pill has made me want to explore a more holistic approach to my health, body and skin care which I plan on elaborating on it the future. 

    Using an app like CLUE can help you understand your hormones, emotions and habits, plus its actually a really nicely designed app that is just cool to interact with :)

    Trust your gut and instinct and listen to your body and what it needs and wants. Do your research, talk to people, speak to your gynie and do what is right for you! It is your body and it's pretty damn amazing, so treat it well!

    Please feel free to add your thoughts and input to this post below in the comment section

    xxx


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