Whereas most schools promoted learning how to put a condom on a banana, which was of course followed by a series of childish giggles, my experience at a Catholic state school was the opposite. We didn't have any sexual health classes, our PSE lessons were composed of learning about drugs and alcohol. I was never shunned if I was to go on contraception, but we were never encouraged to do so for our own sexual health.
There is an overarching stereotype of women who are 'on the pill' as being crazed, tearful lunatics , but in reality women who are using hormonal contraception genuinely do face severe backlash side effects to mental health.
I began doubting myself, thinking everyone hated me and that I wasn't good enough
Whilst I was on the implant the natural hormonal balance in my body was interupted which contributed greatly to the emergence of issues like anixety and low mood- I would worry constantly over things I shouldn't even be worried about and I would stress that no one liked me - to a great extent these thoughts do still cloud me daily. I began to put on weight and started to dislike who I was, I began doubting myself, thinking everyone hated me and that I wasn't good enough.
After contacting my doctor about these problems I was told that I was 'a beautiful girl, with the whole world ahead of me' from an actual NHS certified practioner with a degree in medicine. How the hell is that an acceptable response to a young girl coming to you experiencing horrible thoughts? My problems were belittled and made out to be nothing.
I had tried various forms of hormonal contraception for my own sexual health up until this point including various pills, an injection and the implant, and now I'm on the Mirena Coil and things really have hardly improved.
I think there needs to be more awareness and support for the side effects to hormonal contraception
Of course I'm not going to stop being on contraception for the forseeable future where I do not want to have children, however, I think there needs to be more awareness and support for the side effects to hormonal contraception. And not only is it my mental health that has been affected - acne, weight gain, and I virtually have no periods anymore, and whatever is yet to come.
From such a young age, many women are exposed to the harsh chemical imbalance caused by hormonal contracetpion - entirely their choice, granted, but little were they aware of the severe side effects that will impact them, and although I know how to manage my side effects (just about) so that they don't bog me down too much, many don't. Many never will.