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  • This is a Vulva

I take lots of pills and I'm trying to be okay with it

I take quite a few pills. I take them for depression (Citalopram), being a 35 year old with acne (Spironolactone), untold number of migraines (Pizotifen, Sumatriptan and Dolovent) and PMT and month-round unexplained abdominal pain (Eloine, a contraceptive pill). I also have the Mirina coil fitted. And recently I’ve been taking a probiotic because I had a dodgy tummy that wouldn’t seem to shift.

A few months ago I stopped taking Eloine and started reducing the Citalopram. I have a girlfriend so I don’t need the Pill for anti-pregnancy reasons, let alone a double anti-pregnancy protection. And after a rough 2022 I have been feeling much brighter and wanted to reduce my citalopram dosage from the highest level to, hopefully, no pills at all.

But also, my girlfriend takes no pills. There’s literally nothing wrong with her. She’s emotionally stable, has periods that barely ripple her life and has nothing medically wrong (if you (by which I mean I) ignore the high chance of her getting breast cancer at some point). I found this harder than I think I should have. We would wake up together and I would have to start popping out various pills from multiple packets and making jokes about me rattling like a pill bottle or being a hypochondriac or just generally being a fucking mess and needing medication to get through the day. Jokes she wouldn’t laugh at. Jokes I made so that I was the first one to say anything about all the pills. As if she would ever make a comment on the pills I was taking.

So I thought hey, let’s take less pills. Who needs the contraceptive pill in a same sex relationship, forgetting that I wasn’t taking it for contraception but because my PMT is so awful that I feel like a completely different person each month. That it makes me feel like I’m falling back down the deep dark hole of depression each month. That makes me feel like picking my feet up off the pavement to take each step is a fucking mammoth battle that means I get to work exhausted already by just having made it in. The PMT that brings back those feelings of not wanting to kill myself but wishing that I just had never existed in the first place so I wouldn’t need to inconvenience anyone by dying, I would just have simply never even been here. Never been here to ruin holidays and nights out with my moods. Never been here to be snarky and make you feel like shit. Never been here to take up your time by you having to check and see if I’m okay for months on end when I’m not okay but no one can make it better either. Not to mention that the Pill stops the random but regular sharp pains I get in my abdomen all through-out the month. The pains that I’ve been told might be endometriosis by one doctor and definitely isn’t endometriosis by another. Pains that multiple doctors and multiple trips to A&E at its worst haven’t been able to diagnose. Pains that were mostly but not completely stopped by having the Mirina coil inserted.

This last week I’ve had PMT. I was on holiday with my girlfriend having a wonderful time. And then I wasn’t. I was irritable. I wanted to be on my own. My brain was saying cruel things about me and about everything around me. I thought I was hiding it but I wasn’t. I was ruining the end of our holiday. We got back to London and I felt worse. I wasn’t feeling like I wanted to have never existed but I felt like I was edging closer again and I was terrified.

This morning I had therapy. I talked about how embarrassed I am that I have to take so many pills. I feel like the boy that cried wolf. I feel like a hypochondriac. I feel like I’m being over-dramatic and exaggerating everything. I feel like people are talking about me and saying I’m ridiculous, I’m wasting doctors time, I’m making a big deal out of absolutely nothing. I talked about how my girlfriend doesn’t take any pills and I want to be like her (side note: I discovered on holiday she takes an iron pill once a day and I felt so HAPPY that she also took pills). I talked about how I’m so worried about what other people think of me that I don’t want to take the pills that I know make me feel better. Because what if it looks pathetic? My therapist said ‘it sounds like you think there is this perfect person out there and you’re comparing yourself to them’.

This has come up in therapy many times before. I wish I was someone else. Not all the time but around 85% of the time. I wish I didn’t need antidepressants. I wish I didn’t have bad skin. I wish I didn’t have a billion migraines. I wish I hadn’t made that stupid joke. I wish I had kept my mouth shut. And my friends remind me: we wouldn’t be your friend if you were that person in your head. We wouldn’t want to spend time with you if you were actually that person. But it can be hard to hear them over the me in my head screaming ‘They’re lying, they have to say this to you’.

My PMT has always been an issue. At college I almost lost friends because of how unhappy I was and how unpleasant this made me. I didn’t have the energy to make any effort and nearly got kicked out of college for missing classes. I didn’t know how to put what I was feeling into words so I was just a grumpy teenager and a shit friend. Later on, relationships suffered because I would become a monster each month. I was nasty and miserable and monosyllabic. It would last for up to two weeks before my period. Turning my month into two weeks of being a monster, a week of bleeding and a week of normality. It was exhausting. My mum tentatively sent me an article about PMDD. Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder. It’s basically PMT on steroids. It can make you feel suicidal. I’ve not been diagnosed. To be honest, I don’t want another thing to add to the list.

I left therapy this morning and rang the pharmacy to order the Pill again. I tried not taking it and it didn’t work. And that’s okay. I don’t want to lose my relationship because I thought taking an extra pill a day made me look pathetic. I don’t want to return to having one week a month of feeling like me. One week of feeling like I can smile and lift my head and walk lightly on the pavement. I’m pleased I tried but it didn’t work. I need the Pill to cope. And that’s okay. Not to mention the glaringly obvious fact that my girlfriend doesn’t care how many pills I take, so long as I’m happy. Something that I somehow forgot or couldn’t see or overlooked.

As for wanting to be someone else, I’m still working on it. But it’ll be a hell of a lot easier now that I have more time in the month feeling stable and happier. Maybe I’ll get caught up in the anti-Pill conversation again in a few years time and try again, trying to be the All Natural Woman that social media makes us want to be. But for now I’ve remembered that the Pill has plenty of positives and it makes my life inconceivably better.

I’m not a doctor. And if you’re not, I don't want your opinion on what I should do. I’ve tried ‘sitting in my winter phase’ and it literally makes me want to die. I do therapy. I have an active job. I eat well. I’ve tried all the lifestyle changes suggested. Sometimes medical invention is simply the right thing to do. Western medicine, most notably the contraceptive pill, has taken a real knock recently and whilst there may be times when it’s over-prescribed, I am beyond grateful that it exists to make my life bearable.

I wrote this to find others out there that struggle with the mental aspect of taking multiple medications, to help me feel less alone. I know that there will be many, many people out there that take a hell of a lot more pills than I do. I’d love to know your thoughts. I’m trying to be happy being me, the me that takes multiple pills, but I think I need your help.

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1 opmerking

26 jan.

Oh my god I so needed to read this! I stopped taking my head meds and HRT and had Mirena removed in the summer to ‘sit in my winter phase’ (brilliant phrase btw 😂) and I’ve spiralled into a really dark place. I was so angry with myself for needing to restart head meds last week (and possibly HRT too as my dreaded PMDD symptoms are also back) but this has helped me see things differently. Thank you 🥰🥰🥰

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