Ditching the Oral Contraceptive Pill
Last weekend was much like most of my weekends: nothing particularly extraordinary happened. But there is one little thing that usually does happen that did not and perhaps - I thought to myself this morning - it is not as much of a nothing as I initially gave it credit for. Perhaps this is actually quite an extraordinary moment in time for me because this might be the moment, not where I spontaneously turn pregnant, but where I allow my body just do its thing.
No more roadblocks and detours. No more chemical interventions. It will be the first time in 14 years that I am not on this little harmless looking, sweetie impostering pill.
I started on Triphasil at 16, went on to Yasmin at 19, then Monofeme at 21, then a generic version of Monofeme (Eva) for about a year at 24 during which time I became quite depressed (went off the subsidised 'exactly the same pill' pill and miraculously became non-depressed), and started to pay for Monofeme (very pricy). After another year Monofeme was completely discontinued in New Zealand so I went onto Levelin during which time my acne returned in full force. After about a year on this (6 months after my 27th birthday) I asked to change as I read somewhere that Levelin is a terrible option for those prone to acne. The doctor decided to not just to change my pill to Ginette-35 (in some places called Diane-35 I believe) but at the same time to put me on Accutane (worst decision of my life by the way). I've been on Ginette for just over 2 years. My mood has been very stable all things considered. And by all things considered I am referring to the battle with several aspects of my health + the usual personal life dramas. And since last week, during my 29th year on this planet, I am now taking nothing...
I have been so scared of not being on The Pill - yes, for the obvious reason - but also for a less obvious reason: acne. I developed acne as a 14 year old and have lived with constant outbreaks until I was about 18. Actually, outbreak is not the word as it was pretty much ongoing. There was no break in which the outbreak could happen! It was just all the time. From the age of 18 it was more of an outbreak situation with severity and area of the body changing. At 27, starting just before my wedding and continuing up to 6 months later, I had a terrible onslaught of very painful breakouts around my jawline.
They were probably more like cysts. All I know is they were very deep, very hard to 'resolve', and very noticeable and I had no idea how to gain some control back over my skin. It might sound dramatic to say that it wrecked so much of my life but it is all in your perception and that really is how I experienced it. I let it influence many decisions, quite significant ones too. I'm not going to go into that any further. My point is simply to get across that I lived in terror of returning to those acne ridden times where you could mop my self-esteem off the floor, I couldn't make eye contact, wouldn't leave the house, go swimming, do my hair up in stinking hot summer, or buy anything that could reveal some skin. Easier to deal with as an adult for sure, but the traumatic emotional memory is still attached to this condition and it has stopped me from ditching The Pill.
As you might have read, I've been on a bit (understatement) of a health awakening, and I suppose my next step is to come of synthetic hormones. I have so many problems when it comes to my body and I have no idea which problems are a result of which actions. I still have the melasma on my face that suddenly developed right after the wedding, maybe that will improve? My eyes sustained a lot of damage about a month after starting the duo of Accutane and Ginette, and over two years later I still struggle to wear contact lenses which I'd worn for almost 10 years straight!
Anyway, with the realization that going off the pill after 14 years is probably a big enough deal to mention in my blog, I am making my first entry after 1 week officially off the pill. Maybe this could be useful to someone else - you never know.
Lets end this blog with: To be continued. And now we wait...