Three Months Pill-Free - Major Mood Swings & Period Update

16 Feb 2020

If you've been here for a good few months, you'll know that towards the end of last year, I decided to quit taking the pill. There were a few reasons why I chose to give it up and there have been a few times over the past three months where I've thought, 'maybe I should start taking the pill again,' but so far, I haven't broken into my reserved packs. And I think I'm better off for it too!

Originally, I was planning on doing an update on my pill progress every month, but to be honest, I'm not sure that everyone needs to know about how my hormones are doing that often, so every three months or so, I'll be doing a little post like this... unless something major happens! I was also a bit iffy about doing a post every month because it felt like not a lot was changing within me, so I didn't have a lot to report on. But after three months, my goodness, do I have some updates!

Before I jump in and tell you all the gory details, this is the perfect time to sort of reflect on the past three months. When you're living in the moments, it's kind of like nothing is happening, but when you look back, you get a sense of 'holy moly, a whole load of stuff has happened.' I went through a pretty major break up, struggled an impossible amount with my work life and kind of fell into a new relationship. It's been a wild one to say the least and a lot of it has definitely contributed to the things that I'm going to talk about in this post, so I'm not saying that the lack of pill-taking is the thing to blame for all of these updates, but it's most likely everything combined.

My periods are playing up

I'm kicking things off by talking about my monthlies. You've got to set the tone and all that jazz, am I right? But periods were the one thing that were noticeably unchanging at the start of my quitting. I had expected everything to be thrown out of whack because that seems to be the common trend, but mine stayed pretty consistent, until very recently. It's almost like my body has very suddenly just gone, 'oh, wait a minute... where are those extra hormones we were being fed?' and it's gone into battle stations.

So my first period after during my first pill-free month was horrific. It was extremely painful and heavy, but it arrived when I expected it and lasted for my usual five days. The next couple were less painful, but still arrived on their designated day and lasted for the five days still. However, my most recent period (the 13th of February), came a day early, didn't have any pain or warning signs whatsoever, and lasted a single day. Sure, I've had some barely-there light spotting since, but a period that lasts one day... that just doesn't happen to me.

I'm intrigued to see how this plays out, but it's a little bit terrifying that I don't know when my period may strike again or how long it may last. I might be getting a little bit too ahead of myself and my period might just go back to normal in no time at all, but like I said, this hasn't happened to me before, so I'm on major period watch right now.

My mental health has been on a rollercoaster

Of course, this is one of those things that I referred to in my intro. I'm not saying that the pill has 100% affected my mental health because obviously the craziness that has gone on over the past few months plays a major part, but oh man, my mental health took quite the knock. I'm pleased to say that I'm on the road to recovery, but it's been a tough one.

At the time when I stopped taking the pill, I was in a bit of a low and I was hoping that quitting would help to improve that. I knew it would be no overnight success, but I had read that people had seen significant improvement within months. I'll be honest and say that after a couple of months, it really did feel like I was a little bit more free and my mind was almost lighter, but with all the chaos that has come my way, it's been a bit difficult to feel my usual happy-go-lucky self. I've had crazy mood swings and crashes that have left me exhausted and feeling downright rubbish. But there have also been days where I've felt so confident and like nothing can touch me - the balance has been all wrong.

While things have felt a little bit bleak over the past few months and I have been a bit of an anxious wreck, I'm taking steps to get back to me. Some days are better than others, but I'm starting to feel a whole lot happier. I know that being 100% happy is a little bit of a day dream and I'm not putting pressure on myself to get there, but I'm working on myself and fixing my dizzy little head a bit.

I'm still a chonk

One of my biggest insecurities at this present moment is my weight. I'm sick of having an extra chin, wobbly arms and a bit of a bulgy back, and after reading that the pill can make you gain weight. I was hoping that I'd see a bit of an improvement with my weight after stopping, but so far, I'm seeing none. In fact, I think I'm seeing quite the opposite!

Again, I reckon that this is something that hasn't been helped by my environment because I have definitely done a lot of comfort eating and there have been lots of food posts appearing on this blog as of late, so I haven't exactly tried. However, I am trying to make a change and I'm slowly but surely getting back into yoga. I've been picking up my weights again and had a bit of gym ache from a 10 minute weight lifting session for about a week, which gives you some insight on where my body is right now.

My skin has never looked better

By no means am I saying that my skin is perfect because it most definitely is not. I'm still quite an oily gal and I do get the odd dry patch, but in terms of blemishes, my skin has never looked better. I used to get spots pretty often before quitting the pill, particularly around my mouth when my period was due, but now, I get spotty once in a blue moon.

I haven't got a clue whether this is a side bonus of quitting the pill or whether I'm just having some good skin months, but whatever it is, I'm loving it! My foundation application has been looking kinda nice, I'm feeling a lot more confident about having a bare face and I'm feeling just a smidge prettier, which is major for me.

I think the overall moral of this three month update is that there is no one size fits all experience when it comes to quitting the pill. I did a lot of research and talked to a lot of other people who have stopped taking the pill, and while I heard their stories and knew that there weren't many similarities, I had kind of expected my experience to go along some common lines. However, this experience is mine and I'm happy to be sharing it, even if it's not full of drama or many exciting stories!

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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