I'm Officially Off The Pill - My Thoughts & Your Responses

22 Oct 2019

Cast your mind all the way back to August. It feels like such a long time ago now, but around the middle of the month, I wrote a blog post called 'Why I Want To Stop Taking The Pill'. Despite always trying to be as honest as possible, it was a big deal for me to share such a personal thing, and I wrote the post in the hopes of getting some responses, as well as to give me the push to actually go through with going cold turkey. So for today's post, I really wanted to talk about moving forward with quitting the pill and chat about some of the fantastic responses that my original post had.

On this lovely, autumnal Tuesday morning - October 22nd 2019 - I took my last Microgynon pill. It feels weird to think that I can turn my pill alarm off and stop worrying about missing one or remembering to pack them if we go on an overnight stay. It's also weird to think that I'll have to kind of re-wire my brain to forget, in a way, about this thing that has been part of my routine for over six years. It's a bit crazy when you think of it like that, isn't it? However, it's a change that I'm willing to embrace.

While I'm pretty positive about this new experience that I'm about to go through, there are a few things that I'm still a little iffy on. But before I get into those, let's chat a little bit about what my plan is with quitting.

What's the plan?

When I published the original post, I went on to have some fantastic conversations with other people who had also quit the pill. While there were a few consistencies with their experiences, it was pretty obvious that there was no 'one size fits all' story - each story was different from the last. While it was reassuring to have these people talking about their stories, the whole 'everyone's experience is different' thing was totally terrifying, so I wasn't prepared to stop taking the pill straight away.

Instead, I opted to finish the pack that I was currently taking. At the time of publishing, I still had two months to get through, which gave me enough time to do some reading and feel a bit more confident about quitting. I'm really glad that this was the path I went down because that extra time was definitely needed and while I wasn't happy about putting the hormones into my body after being so vocal about wanting to quit, it was necessary for me to boost my confidence just that little bit more.

I used to receive six months worth of pills and the pack that I was taking was a the first three months out of six, if that makes sense? Which leaves me with a three month pack still in my drawer. Now, I'm not planning on delving into this pack any time soon, but it gives me reassurance that if at any point I think 'I want to be back on the pill', I can do so without having to wait or struggling to get hold of pills quickly.

So to sum up, from today, I will not be taking the pill anymore. If I flake out, which I'm determined not to do, I've got three months worth of pills on hand. I've got absolutely everything crossed for a smooth ride, but I'm pretty sure you can't really predict this sort of thing, so we'll just see how it goes.

What am I worried about?

Overall, I would say that my positivity is outweighing the worries that I have, however, there are a couple of things that are niggling away at me.

I'm a bit worried that all of the things that I assumed were being affected by the pill won't actually change. For example, I'd been lightly pinning my mental health decline down to the pill and had hoped that once I'd stopped taking it, I would see some improvements. I'm worried that that won't be the case, which is probably a counter-intuitive thing to do (why worry when I've only just had my last pill?), but it's difficult to just switch off. I know that this is something that will only get better as time goes on, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to see some sort of improvements a month or so down the line.

One of the biggest reasons that played into me wanting to stop was my weight. I'm so unhappy with the way I look right now and yes, being a raging dessertaholic definitely doesn't help, but ever since I started taking the pill, my weight has fluctuated like nobody's business. While I'm worried about not seeing improvements on things like my mental health, I'd be most gutted about not seeing my weight go down. I'm absolutely not saying that quitting the pill is the only thing that will make me lose weight, and I'll still be keeping up my yoga and hooping, but I'm so worried that I won't see the changes that I'm hoping for.

Finally, the last thing I'm worried about is my sex life. Family, this section is not for your eyes, so please skip ahead! In a relationship, I really value sex as a way of communicating and being close with a partner. It's a real confidence booster for me because who doesn't like to feel sexy, right? I'm nervous that I've taken the pill for granted in a sexual sense because there's no extra effort needed, if you catch my drift. I worry that with the pill gone, my sex life is going to decline massively because more effort is needed to get the action going. I've been reassured that it'll be fine, but again, I think it's something that'll come with time (ooer).

With all of that off my chest, I'm really keen to talk about the gorgeous responses that my original post had.

Your responses

I have to say, one of the main feelings that came from the original post responses was a totally overwhelming sense of 'people don't talk about this enough'. While people were willing to share their stories and experiences, there was definitely a theme of people going into the unknown because it isn't something that's talked about as openly as it probably should be, even in the case of GPs.

Despite this, pretty much everybody I've spoken to since that post has said that they don't regret stopping the pill at all. I had a comment from Rachel from Teacups & Tartan, and she said that she went cold turkey after experiencing migraines, and even though it took time for her and her cycle to readjust, she doesn't regret a thing. I also had a gorgeous comment from Mary of Ramblings of a Writer, who said that while she doesn't 'see' much of a difference, she definitely 'feels' it, describing her mental state as much more 'free'.

When talking about the effects of coming off the pill, the most common topic was periods, of course! There was a resounding 'everything goes a bit chaotic' response, with people saying that it took months for their period to return to normal and some saying that it was only one or two before things went back to clockwork. I was hoping to see if there was some correlation between time spent taking the pill and how long it takes for your cycle to get sorted, but Becca took the pill for 12 years and didn't have a normal cycle for a few months, whereas Alice was one for a year and a half, but didn't see her period for a whole summer. So who knows what's going to happen!

As well as all of these public conversations that I've had online, I also received some lovely DMs that really cemented the fact that I want to turn this pill journey into a bit of a series. It's something that I think could be helpful and it'll give me a bit of a diary to look back on.

So here's to quitting the pill! I'd say that my general feeling is positivity with a few little worries that will surely be ironed out as the time goes on. For now though, it feels good to have finally taken my last one and I hope to be back in a month or so with a bit of an update about how I'm getting on.

If you're considering starting contraception or changing your contraception methods, please seek the advice of your GP or sexual health nurse.

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