Before we get into the dark ‘truth’ about these Monday to Sunday pills, we should get ourselves familiar with the back story. Basically, society want to have sex without getting pregnant and without the restriction of condoms. The condom part is largely male driven because let’s face it…. women just want to feel erm…full. Pardon my crudeness. Interestingly, the pill was only initially available to married women when it was released in 1961. God forbid we should be caught with our knickers down if we didn’t have a husband. ‘That girl ought to be ashamed of herself!’. This rule lasted all of six years because the pharmaceutical companies realised ‘Hey there is a large profit to be made here!’. Hence why your doctor prescribes meds for everything instead of encouraging natural ways of healing…but that’s clearly a blog for another day!
Now, according to this article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15984258 , the contraceptive pill has been called the greatest scientific invention of the 20th Century. Which it probably is…for men. This article also states that 70% of women in the UK are on the pill or have taken it at some point in their lives. Now that is scary. As you have been patient in reading this introduction, all shall now be revealed. Side note: I felt it important to share this in case other women are struggling and they can’t figure out why.
I have been known to my family as RUTH. Short for RUTHLESS. Not a very endearing name to say the least. From the age of 14 years old I went on the pill to regulate and reduce the pain of my period. Had those side effects been the only ones I may still be on it now. For the next ten years of my life I would have a cloudy, angry mind, an extremely short fuse and endless migraines. The migraines were unbearable. The longest was 28 hours and I couldn’t leave my bed or come out from under the covers. Painkillers didn’t even dent them. I literally thought my brain was going to explode. During a shift at the bookies one day, my vision went blurry, I couldn’t speak and I couldn’t add up. I fell off my chair and pulled myself into the toilet and turned the light off until the duty manager arrived. On reflection, the symptoms suggested a minor stroke but because I was 19 and naive, I dismissed it.
It’s hard to say which was the most difficult, the migraines or the moods. If I was calling a company about a bill I would end up flipping even if the advisor I was speaking to was giving world class customer service. But to me the inconvenience of having to take 5 minutes out of my day to make a premium call to a company I don’t want to speak to was torture. Even during dialling I would hyperventilate with anger and just wait for a reason to start screaming. After these types of calls I would just sit and cry out of frustration and bae would be like ‘seriously though what did you get out of that’ and the guilt would set in.
Other instances have included calling my father derogatory names and telling him to get out of my life, ripping cables and wires out of walls, destroying my own possessions because being destructive helped rid me of the energy that took over my body. Because I had no rational thought I would spend my wages without a second thought and leave myself without basic needs such as food. Shopping also made me feel better…. which is ironic as I knew eventually I would destroy what I bought in a rage with my bare hands. The worst habit I got into, which I still do today but much more diplomatically, is tell people uncomfortable truths. If my comments upset my nearest and dearest I would just say something like ‘well the truth hurts…. bitch’. How awful! When I think back to how I felt during those years I could vomit in disgust.
Whilst there were hundreds of occurrences like this, there was one thought I had which still makes me shiver now. The strong deep-seated feeling that I wanted to slowly tear somebody’s limbs off. I’d pray for a woman (or a man!) to start something so I could get into a scrap and rid myself of the strong feelings that were coursing through my veins like snakes. Had my love not loved me so much, I may have never recognised that I had lost my shit completely and needed to find a way back to rational thought. Neither of us considered the pill was the root cause so I tried exercising, eating healthy, getting more sleep, changing my surroundings….and alas nothing changed.
The penny dropped when I started to become conscious of what I was eating. Watching programmes like ‘The Sugar Documentary’ opened my eyes to what chemicals in foods do to the body. Consuming the parasitic chemicals in processed food could lead to serious illnesses such as cancer, as well as restricting day to day life due to the internal reactions they cause. Once I cleaned up my diet, I was devastated to find the feeling was still there lurking in the background. It was like a shadow that started at my feet, twisted up tightly around my body and finally made a permanent evil settlement in my brain, squeezing the life out of my rational thought.
So, after one particularly bad day of wanting to murder the world and smash up my house, I happened across the leaflet of the contraceptive pill I was taking. I’d never really given the side effects a thought before and my interest in how chemicals impacted on the brain and body roused my interest. In my contraceptive taking lifetime I used Microgynon, Yasmin and Cilest so I decided to look at the side effects in more detail (on an actual PC because phones didn’t have standard internet then…lol). The points below are the side effects I personally experienced from taking the contraceptive pill and these are listed in their literature-
- a change in the pattern or severity of migraine headaches
- Increased chance of blood clotting
- Rise in blood pressure
- Disturbance in liver function
- Mood swings
Serious Side effects
- sudden and severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance
In the case of Yasmin, 6.7% women were discontinued from the clinical trials due to an adverse reaction and yet this product is available to young girls and women around the world!
After some discussion with bae, I decided to just stop taking it. I didn’t go to my doctor as I didn’t feel they would take me seriously. Every time I discussed contraception they tried to convince me to get the implant in my arm. Having heard and seen horror stories about the implant, I told my doctor I didn’t want to be asked about this again and I asked him to make a note of this on my file.
Well, what can I say…a week in with no pill down my neck and I felt like a phoenix rising from the flames. My mind was clearer than it had been since my school days. My brain went to the laughter function quite easily and never strayed into angry thoughts. If it tried to, I could acknowledge them and send them away. I was rational again! The heavy cloud of being misunderstood and miserable floated away to find some other poor soul. Bae said it was like he’d met me for the first time all over again. Then that got me thinking, how many relationships have fallen apart because of this? How many women were feeling worthless, misunderstood, depressed and/or suicidal? From that moment on I told myself I would never put my reproduction system in the hands of a man made chemical again. Inhibiting my eggs for years at a time was not natural to me and the thought of potential damage to my cycle consumed me. Luckily, everything settled down after around three months or so. Experiencing a proper period after 10 years was hard going but I took joy from knowing my body was functioning as nature intended, not as a man in a lab intended.
Since my experience, I have seen other women go through the same struggle. During a camping trip, my usually kind hearted and fun friend was in a foul mood. Her temper was so short she threw a bag of metal pans at her brother! Immediately after she felt so consumed with anger, regret and upset she even exclaimed ‘what’s wrong with me?!’. She too stopped taking the pill and felt rational and happy after just a week too. So, whether you agree with the pill or not, the struggle is real for many women and they are better off using the natural method. If this story sounds familiar to you, I urge you to stop taking it for just a few weeks and I guarantee you will feel a million times better!
People want to be heard and they use words and gestures to achieve this (duh). If they do not receive the response or attention they want, they may raise their voices louder and make grander gestures. Whilst this is an obvious point to make about humans, it is often forgotten that silence can be even more powerful.
A typical example is bartering. A proposition is made to buy something for £10. The proposition is declined and a counter offer is made of £20. This is declined and the buyer asks to meet in the middle at £15. The seller pauses to consider this and a silence is created. If the buyer assumes in the silence that the seller is going to say no, he may break the silence and say, ‘what about £17.50?’. The seller is immediately happier as the price is nearer to his original asking price. Had the buyer let the silence hang in the air, the seller may have concluded that it was in fact reasonable to meet in the middle at £15. This art of negotiation can be used for anything, as long as silence is utilised effectively.
If you ask someone a direct question, always leave it to them to break the silence, otherwise you disturb their thought process and inadvertently end up where you didn’t want to be. Silences like this can be majorly uncomfortable, although once you see the rewards of staying silent, you will find things go your way more often and it is easier to do. The reason for this is that the respondent often feels pressured to answer a direct question quickly and are therefore more likely to please in haste. In a sense, it is ruthless, however, this skill is beneficial in official settings such as debates, business and protests.
Another way that silence is powerful is when someone or a group of people are attempting to tear you down, either mentally, physically, or both. This behaviour is mainly rooted in jealousy. Jealousy is just as powerful as silence, but it is a negative emotion that can be destructive. If someone calls you a name or spreads hate about you, the worst thing you can do is respond. As soon as that response is made you are in the same categories as them, petty and childish. Remember…
‘Queens don’t leave their thrones for peasants throwing stones’
The people who know you personally will not pay attention to such comments anyway and any external people who feed hateful behaviour are not worth your time. We live in a politically correct yet judgemental society which is for the most part ‘noisy’. This means silence is now our greatest power. Show people how to behave and progress by focusing on enjoying and furthering your own life. Don’t brag just live! We’re not all born with thick skin but we are born with the ability to be indifferent. In time, the negatives will realise that they are not going to get the response they want from you and that they look more and more ridiculous each time they attempt to strip you of your worth. Let them show the world who they are. Your silence speaks louder than their voice ever could.
This is applicable to other situations, such as people trying to engage you in negative conversations. If Sandra tells you that she can’t stand Sharon for X, Y and Z reasons, but you like Sharon, don’t sell her out just for the bants. If you stay silent, Sandra will be forced to reconsider if what she just said was appropriate or not. She may continue venting in your silence, or she may pause, think and then break the silence by back tracking, ‘but Sharon’s alright really’. Lols. Engaging in negative conversations about others does not result in positive outcome for yourself. Your circle is representative of who you are, so use your silence to reveal people.
Silence is also an educator for children. It can be majorly frustrating when a child misbehaves or simply won’t listen. Many parents get into the routine of telling their kids off and even arguing with them to stop bad behaviour. The easiest tool to use is…silence!
This must be backed up with all the willpower you can muster though. Children want attention and they do that by making noise. If you stay silent they will get louder and if you give in at this point then silence can no longer be your weapon of education. However, if you stay silent and let the child’s noise levels peak (even if they’re screaming!) they won’t be able to sustain it in your silence.
No words, no eye contact, no moving them or yourself away. Just still silence. As children’s attention spans are short, they will eventually move on to doing something else. Stay silent until they show a positive action or say positive words. Doing this consistently builds into the child’s consciousness that if they do positive things they will get a positive response. If they do negative things, it will isolate them. Let’s face it, that’s how it is in the adult world and if they grow up with this skill, they will use it effectively in their adult lives. Win win!
So, there you go, a few ways to make silence your all conquering friend.
Today is my birthday. (Edit…it was two days ago)
Born 9th April 1988, on the 100th day of the year, on the 142nd Grand National Day, just after 1pm. My dad lost his bet…a great start.
Throughout my twenty-nine years on this earth I have pretty much had as much freedom as I have wanted. What a beautiful thing. Reflecting on that, I admit I did not use that freedom wisely most of the time, which is selfish when considering how much some people would simply like freedom. On turning twenty-nine I still unashamedly enjoy some of the same things as I did when I was 9 or 19. I feel I have also learned a million life lessons…but I didn’t feel like that when turning 28…
It is a common notion that knocking on thirty’s door is a time of growing up ‘properly’ once and for all. No more excuses for bad behaviour or for not looking after yourself. Spontaneous drinking sessions with friends fade and those annoying things start to batter at your walls…
As the big 3 0 looms closer, there are suddenly one hundred and one expectations placed on us. ‘When are you having kids?’ and ‘When are you getting married?’ …are the most frequently asked questions if you haven’t already done those things. Of course, millions treasure the idea of domestic bliss…but not all. There are still those who are happy to embrace the opportunities that arise from simply being one with oneself. The absence of responsibility and obligation is its own fairy-tale and it’s not one that we can all give up easily. It is a little bewildering as to why some view this as unusual or horrifying; ‘time is running out if you want to settle down!’. These kinds of responses can push us in to thinking we must act to keep up with the ‘norms’ of society, instead of growing old alone in a cardboard box somewhere as our heart really desires.
Even when you do embrace a life other than the domestic one, it won’t be good enough for everyone. If you haven’t completed their imaginary list of things to do before you’re thirty then you’re a big fat failure. When our minds cloud with other people’s expectations and ideals we ultimately lose ourselves. And that is the key to happiness at any age. The relationship with Self. Living in the moment by doing what you enjoy as an individual will attract what you truly want in life. Any energy dispelled on people who can only give you negative opinions, rather than adding value to your life, will only hold you back in the long run. They will make you second guess yourself, go against your gut and before you know it you’re knocking on the door of the next decade wondering where it all went wrong.
People with expectations about how others should live have little going on in their own life (or they’re insecure so they pull others down with them). Let them do that while you do you with a happy mind, whatever your age. The moment you allow yourself to chase life validation you begin to fight a losing battle. Only misery and disappointment will ensue, simply because you’re not living your own truth.
So, in this last year of my twenties, I solemnly swear…to be myself. Young at heart with my mind closed to the expectations of others.
The purpose of the well intentioned is to appear to do good
Understand the pain of others and help them out the mud
Kindness is prevalent in the moment yet it is fleeting
People soon realise it’s their own problems they should be greeting
The purpose of the do-gooder, is to appear full of hope
At the same time, they pull you up they strangle you with the rope
Understanding is there when no consequence is around
But where consequence lives is where the selfish are found
The purpose of the lover is to love without condition
Deep in their heart they’re concerned only with their mission
Remorse should be shouting from the mouths filled with guilt
When the finger is pointed it’s towards me their hats will tilt
The purpose of the free is to do as they please without restrictions
Once freedom is mine I will be making some convictions
Redemption did exist until it floated out to the sea
Now it’s on the horizon for my lonely eye to see
The purpose of forgiveness is to make peace and grow in strength
So why am I weakening and everyday feeling tense
Commitment cannot exist in a world overrun with self
Sometimes you must stand to see the view from the shelf
The purpose of writing is to make sense of a jumbled mind
My jumble needs the spirit of a like-minded mind
The physical and the spiritual inhibit a different space
Maybe that is why I cannot find my peaceful place.
This week alone I have seen
Five unwanted cats
I must wonder if
These people know the facts
Firstly, it did not choose you
You wanted it badly
For you or your kid
You took that cat home gladly
It settles in and feels happy
The cat has found its feet
Every morning when it wakes
It is you it wants to greet
After some months or years
It cannot believe its luck
That it has found a home
Which is better than a pig in muck
Tail high it wanders round
Basking in your love
Rubbing on furniture
And giving you lots of hugs
Then you decide one day
You can’t have it anymore
Moving house or a new baby
Makes the cat become a chore
Suddenly you want rid
For your own selfish ends
Why take it in the first place
And make this pet your friend?
Pets are your family
Not a toy to be thrown away
Just because it can’t speak
Doesn’t mean it’s not in pain
That animal is a spirit
That wanders just like you
And now you have broke it
It doesn’t know what to do
A new home means
New people and new smells
The feeling is overwhelming
Your ex pet becomes a shell
It is looking for you
Upstairs and down
But all it sees is a stranger
With a concerned frown
That’s just the lucky ones
Who get a new home
The others go to cattery’s
Where they feel more alone
The next time you decide
To get yourself pet
Remember it is for life
It can’t be dumped at the vet
There is only one time
Saying goodbye is okay
When you can’t afford to feed it
And it will end up a stray
That pet treasured you
You fit it like a glove
I hope you aren’t thrown away
By someone you love…
Do you ever feel, that if you must say, hear or feel one more thing then your brain and body will just explode out of frustration?
If yes then you have the stress.
The problem with chronic stress is that it can take some time to identify if you have got used to coping. Unless you have very close caring people around you who see the subtle changes in your mood and looks, others will attribute them to you just ‘having a bad day’, ‘being out of sorts’ or ‘having a late one’. It is quite concerning how much stress is brushed off as something minor. Even if you recognise it in yourself, you may be reluctant to make anyone aware in case they accuse you of being unable to cope or that you’re being melodramatic…it is okay to feel this way! The emotion needs to come out eventually, although it should be in a constructive way.
A little bit of stress can be beneficial such as helping you run away from danger, completing tasks under pressure or making a difficult decision. It becomes an issue when it is the only emotional response you are experiencing over a prolonged period. When the body detects stress, it releases hormones and adrenaline, a fight of flight response if you will. Being stuck in this state for a long time will send your body haywire and ultimately strip your immune system of its strength.
Whilst I try to err on the side of mentioning myself in these blogs, I have experience of this unforgiving feeling. Forcing myself to cope with stress resulted in following ailments for nigh on six weeks-
*Cystic Acne- A real confidence destroyer. Scientists can only speculate why this happens but they assume the high hormone levels promote oil production. Cystic acne is deep within the skin and can take months to heal. The face feels tender and pressurised. Picking it will make it stay, trust me.
*0-100 Irritability- Reacting to comments and situations literally faster than lighting. Shutting down negativity with aggression because you just can’t bear to hear anymore from anyone. Every noise sounding like an atomic bomb. People’s voices sounding like nails on chalk boards. ‘Burn them all!’ is my Cersei phrase of choice. FYI- If you don’t watch GOT that sentence will mean nothing to you.
*Broken sleep- Sleep is my first love and if left alone with it, I can easy do a peaceful ten-twelve-hour session. Stress took this pleasure from me and said I can only have 4 hours a night…in intervals of four. Thanks.
*Unable to fall asleep- Turning off electronics, lighting incense and melts, audio books, massage, working out late, none of it helped. Sleeping for a few hours then tackling a 12-hour day just spells disaster.
*Unexplainable rash/hives- As I have resilient skin in that I can use any washing powders, soaps etc. I was surprised when I developed hives on my arms and behind my ears. If this happened to you it is your immune system telling you ‘we’re done, good luck!’. An anti-histamine will only sort it in the short term.
Lethargy- Walking into the gym ready to do a heavy weights session, feeling pumped. I try to warm up and feel my body rejecting the exercise. Muscles seize up, mind clouds over and suddenly I can barely lift a dumbbell, never mind the 55kg squats I usually do. Sad and defeated I blubber my eyes out in the sauna, feeling like a big fat failure of a woman. My body and my brain had given up on me.
Migraines- These are prompted by all manner of things from lighting to food to lack of sleep. Nonetheless, it is also a characteristic of stress. Your brain is trying to force itself through the cloud of raging hormones and stress to think clearly. The blood vessels are under pressure and the stress increases. Then boom you’re in a 24 hour migraine that medication can’t penetrate.
Feeling alone- This is the worst part of chronic stress. The reality of this world is that most people are only concerned with themselves. We all have that right and I am true believer that you must look after yourself first and foremost. Nonetheless, showing kindness when someone is projecting a negative feeling can go a long way to helping them.
Getting rid of chronic stress is doable if you are willing to ask for help. You also need to learn to draw the line in all aspects of your life. People pleasing, taking on too much, feeling singled out, resentful feelings, confrontations, making assumptions and all other destructive behaviour/feelings will ensure you burn yourself out. Don’t be afraid to speak up and tell people you are stressed, or if you think that they are being inappropriate and it is impacting on you. Most importantly, it is about choice. What you choose to listen to and how you choose to respond will shape your response to stress.
On some occasions, you will simply have to re-evaluate your environment and you may conclude that it needs a complete overhaul. This could be moving house, changing job, ending a relationship or cutting off toxic people. Remember that it is your right to live in peace and if you’re stressed you’re not living at all.
Take a step back, breathe and look after yourself…FIRST!