It all started with small rashes under my armpits. They grew bigger. They were fiery red. They burned. I couldn’t itch them since they burned so bad. They flaked. They were embarrassing. I didn’t know what they were. Then they showed up on the crook of my elbow and on the top of my right hand. I thought it might be due to a gluten or dairy intolerance, so I changed my diet. It helped temporarily and my rashes didn’t hurt as bad and weren’t as red. But diet changes weren’t enough. I was devastated. My rashes remained for MONTHS!
Then the "fluff" showed up around my belly and hips. Maybe the start of winter contributed as well; either way I swear my pants used to fit me way better…
My hair started falling out. In chunks! I’d always had some hairs come out when I washed my hair, so I was used to it. But not to this extent. I knew something was going on.
My acne became out of control, almost to the extent when I was in high school. Red, painful, cysts that I just couldn’t resist picking. And here I had spent all these years at the dermatologist “healing” my acne for it all to come back with a vengeance.
I was in tears at least once a week. I felt hopeless. I felt so alone. No one could relate besides one girl I followed on Instagram. My boyfriend was supportive, but how could he understand though? He had no idea what I was going through.
I took a deep breath, wiped my tears and trucked on. Then the next week would start all over again with a meltdown because I was fat, my hair was falling out, my acne was returning, and my rashes burned SO. FREAKING. BAD. I was angry, frustrated, confused & hopeless.
I had heard that stopping birth control could come with some pretty gnarly symptoms. And I thought I was ready for whatever would happen. But I didn’t realize how mentally and emotionally challenging these symptoms would be.
Like many people, I started taking birth control in high school. I took it mostly for my acne, but pregnancy prevention was nice too. My hormones were manipulated for over 7 years. The birth control was prescribed by my doctor, so why would I ever question how it was affecting my body?
Turns out, I had NO idea just how much it affected me. All of me. It wasn’t until I read this book that I understood how much my body was impacted by these synthetic hormones that I didn't even realize were synthetic at the time. How hormonal birth control can be prescribed to “treat” certain conditions, yet it’s really only a bandaid fix. I didn’t want that bandaid fix anymore and I wanted to heal myself naturally. So I took the leap and ditched my birth control.
Aside from some of the challenges of getting off birth control, I noticed a whole new world of positives that came from it. For the first time in my life, I actually had energy! I no longer needed to sleep half the day away. The mental fog was gone! My mood increased, as well as my libido, which I swear was gone for good. I finally felt like I was in control of my health for the first time. Truly healthy and truly better.
My goal is to be that shining beacon of light for you if you are struggling with the decision to finally get off hormonal birth control. You are not alone in worrying how your body will react. You are not alone in this transition and your experiences. It might be challenging. But we are strong. We are healers. We are self-advocates. And only we know what’s best for our bodies.
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