I was sixteen years old when, not even a month into a relationship I would be in for three and a half years, my mum marched me down to the local GP to get me put on the pill. Bish bash bosh. A tablet a day for the rest of my life, unless I wanted to get pregnant and die.
At eighteen, I finally went to the doctors to get help for my anxiety and depression, which had begun at the age of sixteen. I was immediately put on Citalopram, which I had to take each day with my pill. At nineteen, my dosage was upped to 30mg, which meant two tablets.
So that’s three tablets a day. As well as vitamins C and D (also for my moods), and an Antihistamine. So let’s recount: 6 tablets a day. Also known as, a pain in the ass.
I changed pills to Millenet after about two years, as my PMS was out of hand, but to be honest I think it was just my general moods, no matter what time the month was. Each day was a struggle. Exercise helped, but only till I got home and was left alone again. I tried counselling twice, I tried yoga and meditation. I just wanted to feel ‘normal’.
In January, my world was turned upside down when my boyfriend of three and a half years and I broke up. Going from being in a serious relationship to not being was a bloody shock. Once I had got over the worst of the upset, I began to think to myself, why am I taking all these pills? What is the point? I realised that I didn’t really know my adult self without some sort of unnatural hormone inside me. So, four months ago I decided to stop the pill.
Its been fifteen weeks since I cut out the contraceptive pill. I have never felt better.
In four years I have not been so happy and content with my life, and I fully believe it is a result of my coming off of the pill. Admittedly, things in my life are pretty good right now. I’ve just started my internship which I love and am meeting new friends every day. I love living in Birmingham. But usually, my anxiety would find a way to ruin it all. I’ve gone from having a breakdown a week, to going stretches of 5 weeks without a single one. I feel positive about the future, motivated and at peace with life in a way I haven’t for four years.
I know I have no scientific proof that the pill caused my anxiety and depression, and of course I still suffer at times. But the fact is that I can trace my anxiety back to being put on the pill. I was put on Citalopram a year after the pill and, to me, the correlation is insane. I have even downed my dosage of Citalopram with the aim of coming off it altogether by next year. I would never have considered it 15 weeks ago, but now it seems so realistic.
I’m not saying this would work for everyone. I had a good chat with my doctor before coming off the pill to make sure I would be okay if I did so, and if I want to go back on it, which I’m sure I will eventually, I need to wait long enough so there is no risk of blood clots. A bit of a pain, yes, but I feel I know myself so much better than I did when I was on the pill, so it has been so worth it.