I was on birth control for 15 years straight. Seriously. 15 years without a single break. Is it any wonder I was a bit worried about going off of it for the first time in my adult life? I’d contemplated it for a while beforehand because I was curious to see how my body might change, but I was always in a relationship and I didn’t want to deal with using other forms of contraception.
Then I became very, very single, lost my insurance, and forgot to get new birth control pills before it was too late. I figured since I wasn’t having any sex anyway, I might as well go for it. It was as good a time as any to decide whether I wanted to stay on the pill long-term or not.
It was weird. Really weird. Honestly, about three months in, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. Obviously my body was completely confused about what was happening. I felt fat all the time and my hormones were completely out of whack. My PMS was ten times worse than usual and I hated the fact that I actually got a period again, even though that’s what my body is naturally supposed to do. I hadn’t had to buy tampons in years.
I was an emotional wreck. At the end of three months, when nothing had improved, I told myself I would give it one more month and then I’d give up and go to Planned Parenthood. I’d be having sex again at some point anyway, and I hated feeling like a total crazy person. It was affecting every part of my life adversely. I wasn’t productive and there were entire weeks when I was too physically and emotionally exhausted to even exercise. I didn’t understand my body anymore.
Then a miracle happened. The fourth month came and went, and my moods evened out. I didn’t even know I was going to get my period because I had no PMS whatsoever. I seemed to drop whatever bit of water weight had been lingering, and I noticed that I was more emotionally level than I had been in several years. I also realized that I never got cold sores anymore. I had been on medicine to prevent them because I got them so often that I spent more time treating them than living without them.
I still have a few side effects of living with my natural hormones that I’m not used to yet. I’m definitely smellier than I was before, and that weirds me out. My sex drive is even higher, which sucks when I’m not getting laid. Overall, though, I’m really glad I did it. I feel like myself and my body behaves like it should, for better or for worse.
I’m not sure what I’ll do when I’m dating someone seriously again, but I think I’d rather not get back on the pill. I’ll have to figure all that out when it happens. I will say that I do recommend trying to get off birth control if you’ve been on it a long time – it’s rough at first, but you might be surprised at what happens eventually! I’m glad I stuck it out.