September 16, 2008

contraception

Why I Went Off The Pill

At first, I went off by accident. I spent a month in SoutheastAsia this winter, and I didn't bring enough packs, so for the last two days of my trip I was off the pill for the first time in well over three years. The crazy part was, however, that despite having gone on the pill with the promise that it would regulate my period and make my PMS less severe, rid my face of all acne AND keep me from getting pregnant, I felt way better once I stopped taking the pill accidentally, and so I didn't start again.

At 18, my mom MADE me go on the pill. I wasn't having sex then, and I'm not sure if she knew that, but I think she felt better sending me off to university infertile, just in case. The particular pill we chose was Alesse, famous for fewer side-effects, but I also took min-ovrum at one point, when there was randomly a world-wide shortage of Alesse. At the time I started, I was a moody, anxious teen. That was my personality. It didn't change once I was on the pill. It didn't get any worse, but what I realized at 21, when I stopped taking it, was that the pill prevented me from getting any better. Between starting the pill at 18 and stopping at 21, my disposition had become sunnier and mellower, but I hadn't noticed because the pill had artificially kept me in a state of teenage angst. Without it, I felt like a grown-up who was sad sometimes, but didn't go around feeling morose as her default emotion.

Not only was I less depressed, but my skin got better. While on the pill, I use to get terrible festering blemishes in the middle of my cheeks rather frequently. I had never broken out in this region before, and now that I no longer take the pill, I don't break-out there anymore. These three years of break-outs that closely corresponded with me taking the pill, however, have left marks on my face that are still visible if you look closely. I had been told the pill was supposed to make your skin better, so I am pretty bitter about this. Yes, I am a superficial bitch. I am vain. I accept this and I don't regret it.

The pill also did not make my period any lighter. I mean, it didn't make it any heavier, but it didn't live up to the hype that my periods would magically become more manageable. Yes, it did regulate when my cycle began and ended, but it so did not make the flow any lighter. Even on the pill, I was still my regular anemic self.

So, in the end, the pill made me depressed, it made me break-out and it didn't make my periods any lighter. It was not the form of birth control for me. For more info on the pill's downside, go here. This link talks about the links between the pill and depression. Unfortunately, I couldn't find much about the pill and break-outs, so all I have to go on are my own hunches there based on my personal experience that the pill can sometimes make acne worse, not better.

Anyway, I would never say that women SHOULD NEVER take the pill. All I'm saying is that it's presented by so many as the best possible and most convenient contraceptive option, but perhaps it really isn't, depending on what you're looking for....

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