Coming off the pill series (3/7) – Days 12 to 16 of charting my cycle while on the pill

If only I had known…

Sometimes I wish that we could be born already knowing the stuff that we are going to learn on our path on this beautiful planet.

Today there are two things that I wish I had been born already knowing:

  • That you cannot change the fundamental shape and metabolism of your body for the better (and you can certainly change it for the worse) by dieting and exercising and eating nothing then eating tons of rubbish then eating nothing again, feeling deprived, exercising like mad, being angry with yourself – which all only lead to having low self-esteem and making your poor body ill in the long term.
  • That you should never be put on the pill or any other kind of synthetic, artificial contraception (IUDs, IUSs, patches, injections, implants, etc.). Or at the very least, that you should educate yourself first about all the potential side effects and long-term damage these pills, devices and injections can cause (unfortunately, until recently, such information was scant or non-existent, and the alternatives not really known in the medical world, and they mostly still aren’t).

But we are born virgins in every sense of the word – virgins of the mind, of the brain, of the body. Pure and innocent. Avid to learn. Eager to receive all the learnings we are meant to receive during our time on Earth.

And so I only found out when I was 23 years old that it was futile trying to lose weight and reshape my body by dieting (especially when the aim is to feel beautiful and loved), and I only found out when I was 40 years and 3 months that the pill is a scam (in the sense that it only masks your symptoms such as irregular cycles, heavy periods and acne) and dangerous, and the most probable cause of all my discomfort and fatigue of the past 9 years, in particular of the past 2 years.

I have now read over half of The Pill by Jane Benett and Alexandra Pope and I am continually stunned – my jaw drops, my eyes well up, my mind boggles, my neocortex whirrs as it awakens to all these completely-new-to-me ideas.

Two days ago I was scared of coming off the pill and wondering whether I would actually be worse off. Many questions kept popping up in my head, such as ‘What if I’m even more tired? What if my boobs are even more sore? What if I can’t function for months? What if I end up going back on the pill because all my symptoms are even worse?’

I knew I had to do it, ‘to find out whether all this would happen or not’, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I did go back on it, but I was quite concerned nonetheless.

Today, I know for sure that I’m doing it, and it’s all happening in less than 2 weeks’ time (I will not start a new packet on Saturday 25th February, and by then I will already have taken the last 4 placebo pills from my last packet and will probably be bleeding, signalling the first day of my brand-new, off-the-pill cycle).

Today, I absolutely can’t wait, even if I know it’s not going to be plain sailing, and I am fairly convinced that I will never go back on it afterwards, considering the list of risks I read about today, mostly breast cancer and the whole havoc caused to our hormones, which can be balanced and restored to their glorious health with the help of alternative methods such as acupuncture (my next appointment is on Tuesday 21st).

Current symptoms

I would like to list all the symptoms I currently have, so that we have a baseline for the future:

  • fatigue
  • sluggishness
  • nausea approximately 3-5 times a month (this is a relatively new thing – maybe for the last 6 months or so)
  • dry skin (very dry around the mouth, my upper lip, nose, eyes and eyebrows, in particular in the second half of my cycle – the condition of my skin has only worsened over the past 4 years, post-pregnancy)
  • itchy skin all over (not just my face – also my back, my thighs, my tummy)
  • dry eyes (someone in the book is reported as saying she couldn’t wear contact lenses any more – that’s how it would be for me if I was wearing them)
  • unexplained tears and very low mood, when this hadn’t happened for years
  • some kind of fibromyalgia – also fairly recent, also getting worse
  • dizziness – also recent
  • loss of muscle control/clumsiness (a bit like in pregnancy!)
  • sore breasts more and more often
  • no improvement on the normal symptoms a woman has when she is not on the pill (sore boobs, mood swings, low days, days of fatigue) (so what is the point of being on the pill if even those symptoms aren’t alleviated?!)
  • headaches (including a really bad headache on the first day of my period, pretty much every month, that nothing shifts, and that I never used to have before 2016)
  • fast heart rate and/or palpitations (a very new development)
  • insomnia
  • mild anxiety at times
  • increased sensitivity to noise
  • indigestion (bloating, acid reflux)
  • swollen abdomen
  • food sensitivities like the papaya, kale, wheat or/and gluten, maybe dairy, maybe peanuts
  • water retention
  • asthma – this is the newest development. I NEVER have asthma apart from during the hayfever season, during which I have severe allergies to certain flowers and trees for several months and asthma for about 6-8 weeks, depending on the pollen count. For the past few weeks, I have had asthma on and off. I find it a bit scary.

At this point in time, I would say that the only benefits of being on the pill are:

  • pretty reliable contraception (I’ve never been pregnant while on the pill – it was hard enough to conceive my two daughters, after 10 years on the pill, that would have been a miracle!) – though, reading The Pill, I now know how completely imperfect it is as a means of contraception and how much people lie and how much aura it is surrounded with, the Holy Grail of contraception!
  • very light and short periods apart from the heavy bleed of the first day and sometimes second day (this is the only thing that has improved over time)

Having found out about the extreme effectiveness of fertility awareness methods, especially when combined with barriers at fertile times of the month, today I have absolutely no reason to stay on the pill.

Now, I have to state the following.

Maybe I would have had all these symptoms without the pill.

Maybe they’re just age-related.

Maybe they’re more to do with motherhood and sleep deprivation than the pill.

Maybe they’re more to do with the Epstein-Barr Virus (see this post).

Maybe they’re more to do with the fact that I did diet for too many years and literally buggered my body (even though I never did extreme diets such as Slim Fast or protein shakes or 500-calorie diets).

Maybe they’re more to do with the fact that I’m a bit overweight.

Maybe they’re all to do with my thyroid. (The last tests I did a couple of years ago had all come back normal, as they had been for several years, but you never know, things change fast, and also, it appears that the normal TSH, T3 and T4 tests come back normal even if you do indeed have thyroid problems – called ‘subclinical hypothyroidism’ (see this article by Dr Christiane Northrup).

But I’m willing to find out if coming off the pill helps at all.

I HAVE to find out now.

I can’t carry on living like this.

I feel that my whole body needs to be ‘reset’. I am pressing the ‘reset button’ and that will include coming off the pill as well as dietary changes, to help the process.

Days 12 to 16

As for charting my cycle, the last few days, Days 12 to 16, have been quite good. I have felt creative (so much so that I have revamped my Nesting Mums website and streamlined my offerings while broadening my client base, and that I dreamt last night that I was giving birth vaginally (I have only ever had two C-sections!)! It was like the head of a baby coming out, beautifully, slowly, smoothly, but I knew it wasn’t a baby – as soon as I woke up I knew it represented the ‘fruits of my labour’ with regards to my website and my offerings!), I have had more energy than usual (apart from today as I was recovering from an interrupted night with a poorly child the night before last) and I have been very excited about my discoveries while reading The Pill.

Which now beckons again, so I will leave you with these thoughts:

  • Do you know how harmful any kind of synthetic contraception is or can be?
  • Do you know what the long-term risks are?
  • Do you know how much damage it can cause?
  • Do you know about fertility awareness methods?
  • Do you know how much Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)/acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, homeopathy and naturopathy can help with balancing or rebalancing your hormones?
  • Do you have any idea how well and happy a woman can be once she has healed her hormonal imbalances with the above methods and once she has got to know her body and her cycle better, and how this enhances all her relationships, mostly of course her romantic ones, and her life in general?

Read The Pill. So enlightening (have I already mentioned this?!). (And no, I’m not on commission!)

The pill. I’m now SURE it’s not for me (any more).

This is the third blog post in the ‘Coming off the pill’ series. Read the first post, ‘Making the decision’, here and the second one, ‘Days 1 to 11 of charting my cycle’, here.

See you soon for an update!

Click here to follow the rest of my coming-off-the-pill journey.

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