Lately, I’ve been hiding from you. Well, really, I feel like I’ve been hiding from myself because it’s been a weird two months for me. I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not I wanted to share this publicly (I’m an introvert by nature and try to keep things as private as I can and not overshare), but it hasn’t seemed natural to NOT talk about it so here we are.
Two months ago, I went off birth control for the first time in 14 years. I started taking birth control when I was 18, somewhat for skin reasons but mainly because I had my first serious boyfriend. I didn’t really do any research about what type I should use and just trusted my gyno about what I needed. This seemed to really work out for me because the birth control I started using was great. I didn’t really have any major issues. No weight gain, no nausea, and no upset to my regular periods. In fact, my periods were super short and light, which was a huge plus. I am very much a rule follower so I was very responsible with taking my pill each day. About a year or so after I started taking birth control, I got my first cyst on my face. I had struggled with mild-ish acne in high school but nothing that seemed out of control by any means so this cyst was shocking (it was probably about 1.5 inches big). It was huge. I was completely paralyzed from embarrassment. I didn’t want to go outside, I parted my hair differently so that I could kind of cover it, and I would only talk to people from my right side so that I didn’t have to worry about anyone staring at this cyst. It was so terrible that my mom eventually took me into the doctor to DRAIN it. This was probably the most painful thing I had encountered in my 19 years on this earth and I remember my mom holding my hand through the entire thing and cringing in pain. This was the start of my adult cystic acne complex.
If you don’t know, cystic acne is hormonal. There is nothing topical you can do to stop a cyst once it has started to surface on your skin. No miracle pimple creams will save you. Before I had educated myself around what caused cystic acne, I tried everything I could to get my acne under control. Nothing really worked and it was terrible. I still struggle with it to this day and it sucks, guys. It SUCKS. Over the last five years, I really started to wonder if my birth control could’ve been the cause of my hormonal acne cysts. I talked to my OBGYN about it and she didn’t believe they were linked since it was such a low hormonal dosage. However, in all of my research, hormonal acne is caused by hormonal imbalance and, in women, this is often triggered by excess testosterone (hello birth control!). Before I go any further, you should know that I am not an “all natural” girl who is opposed to medical drugs at all. It was just something that sort of came to me over the course of my hormonal acne research. Also, if this wasn’t already obvious, I am not a doctor. These are just my own thoughts.
ANYWAY, Jonny and I have been talking about starting our family (yay!) and one of the things that was necessary for this next step was going off birth control. Overall, I loved being on birth control. Everything was on schedule. I could time my period to the day it was going to come and knew it was going to be short, cramp free, and light. So, going off birth control seemed like a scary idea. It was as if I was jumping off into the unknown. One thought I did have was about my skin. I wondered if my skin would start going back to “normal” now that I wasn’t taking birth control anymore, especially since I had been thinking about how it could’ve coincided with the start of my hormonal acne so many years ago.
Little did I know, going off birth control was going to send me into an emotional and physical whirlwind. I have now been off birth control for two months and it’s been a rough two months. I have been feeling more emotional than usual, none of my clothes fit the way they used to, and my skin has been an absolute nightmare. One of the main things I have been concerned about is my weight. I can’t help but feel that I have gained weight (or I am retaining water) ever since I’ve been off birth control. I have literally changed nothing about my diet and exercise routine, both of which I attend to regularly and diligently. I have been very down on myself (I know I’m supposed to love myself no matter what but I don’t feel like myself) and I have been feeling uninspired to post anything because of this. I hate how everything looks on me and I honestly feel like nothing makes me feel good about myself. Jonny keeps telling me that I don’t look any different but I feel like it HAS to be more than a mental fixation because my clothes aren’t fitting. Is this just age? Is my metabolism slowing down in a major way or are my hormones so out of whack from being off birth control when I’ve been on it for 14 years?! AHHH!!!
In the grand scheme of things, I know this is not a HUGE problem to most. Yes, there are worse things that could happen to a person and I understand that in the grand scheme of my life, this is not a life altering event. BUT it has been affecting me and my overall self confidence in a major way. I have never really experienced a prolonged feeling of sadness and overall lack of confidence in myself for this long. Right now, I’m having a very difficult time loving myself and my body in particular. I am really hoping that this is all an adjustment period to going off of birth control so that I can start feeling like myself again. It’s crazy to think that my body is trying to re-regulate itself back to “normal” after having been on birth control, which altered my hormonal regulation.
So here I am, laying it all out for you guys. Why I haven’t been posting as much, why I’m feeling uninspired, and why I have been feeling off these past two months. I hope it can provide more of an understanding of what I’ve been going through so that if anyone else is going through something similar, they won’t feel so alone.
And because I know someone is going to ask, no I am not pregnant…yet.
Tamryn! I can’t thank you enough for sharing this post! My husband and I have decided to start growing our family too, so after 16 years of birth control, I am about to start my journey without it. I have worried about the side effects of not being on it, and this post helps shed some light. Thank you for being you, and sharing your experience! And please don’t hide too much, I need your fashion inspo!
I have had a long convuluted journey with birth control which one day led me to a nexplanon implant and a high dose oral contraceptive. Essentially I would not stop bleeding with the nexplanon because the dosage was too low for me. One day I had the implant removed and stopped all oral medications for an IUD. My mood shifted immediately and I felt like an absolute mess. Interestingly I got the best explanation from my psychiatrist – he explained to me that since I had been on all these medications for so long and such high doses etc. that my body had essentially put itself into a temporary menopause. My mood was off and my body felt strange because I suddenly took away my body’s supply of extra hormones. Unfortunately my journey is not over but my body did adjust. Strangely I still feel a bit more irritable than when on oral bc’s but hey maybe I’m just an irritable gal. Best of luck on your journey!
Tamryn! So many things come to mind- thank you for being so open and honest, for sharing thoughts that I think more people than we know go through. I remember going off bc before we had Nolan and it was terrifying as well- I had really only know. My “adult” self on the pill! I remember saying to Tim “what if I’m a completely different person mentally or physically off the pill?” – it was like meeting a new self if that makes sense! I’ll tell you though, it gets easier- your body will know what to do to even itself out! Excited for you guys to start a family! I’m always here to taken if you need! Xoxo
I am always so thankful to have you in my feed. You are beautiful inside and out. I can’t thank you enough for always being real and relatable. You are not alone! Lots of love your way 🙂