I have been on the pill since I was almost 16.
I know what you're thinking. Either a) wow you convinced your doctor to get pills, b) you hid them from your parents, and/or c) you were having sex pretty damn early.
But guess what? I didn't convince my doctor to give them to me, he suggested them, my mom was in the room when he prescribed them to me, and I wasn't having sex. I was on the pill for one reason and one reason only: my nightmare of a period.
I got my period when I was 13, and in those years before I started the pill, I was miserable. I would get cramps so painful, I would stay home from school to wallow in my bed, hot water bottle strapped permanently to my abdomen, praying for them to pass.
I would take HANDFULS of Advil, completely ignoring the warning labels on the side of the bottle advertising possibly burning a hole in your stomach and silently praying the next 18 pills I took in the next two hours wouldn't cause me harm.
Even when I took medication, the pain would sit silently in the background, a dull pounding that never really left.
And then there was the blood. Do you know what it's like to use the highest absorbency tampon when you're 13? It sucks. Plus, because my mom and I both are members of Greenpeace, we both cared about the environment so we weren't using the plastic kind.
Enough was enough.
I talked to my mom about options and we went to the doctor together. Since puberty was bashing my metaphorical knees in on a daily basis, PMS hit me like a brick and my skin was broken out too. My doctor brought up the pill and told me about how I would see relief in my period pain and clear up my skin.
It sounded like a miracle, and it was for a while.
But as I got older, what I needed in my contraception changed. My body became more sensitive to the pills. You're supposed to take the pill at the same time every day. But my schedule in college is crazy. I couldn't take it in the morning because I got up at different times every day. I couldn't take it in the afternoon because I was either at my internship or in class. Even nights were hard because I had clubs, night classes, and studying.
I ended up with a phone alert that rang at 4:00 PM every day and a pack of pills constantly in my backpack. I became so sensitive to the pill that if I didn't take it within only 30 minutes, I would get my period automatically. That means I was permanently attached to my pill pack. What was once supposed to free me from pain and symptoms felt more like a ball and chain.
I was a prisoner to the pill.
From not being able to even go out for an outing without my pills to having to explain and take them in front of my internship supervisor which is just embarrassing, my life felt like I was playing a game of Russian roulette, because even when I was taking my pills correctly, I could still get my period randomly.
I finally booked a gynecologist appointment and told my doctor that I wasn't living a lifestyle that worked for the pill, and she agreed. We went over all options of birth control before we settled on the Nexplanon implant. It was covered under insurance so it was free, would minimize my periods and cramps or I would stop getting them completely, and best of all, it lasted three years.
While the pill wasn't right for me, it could be what's right for you. I was taking a medication that was supposed to take away my chronic severe pain, yet I was living in constant stress that the pain would come anyway. I couldn't be more happy with my implant, and I'm so glad I made the switch. I no longer need a phone reminder and I don't have to worry about carrying around my medication because it's under my skin always.
If something doesn't feel right about your body, I highly recommend talking to your doctor. It's your body and your life, you can take control.