(This may well be a bit TMI for some people. If you’re not mature enough to talk about contraception or “Girl Stuff” without being a dick, please just don’t read this at all. Thanks.)
After struggling my whole life to take pills like painkillers, I didn’t think that taking The Contraceptive Pill was going to be much different. And it wasn’t. Even though the Pill is literally the smallest thing ever, I struggled with swallowing it. It wasn’t for me. But, as people close to me (mainly women, would you believe) told me, I needed some kind of safety method.
I’m obviously not going to go into detail about my personal life, as that’s just a bit too TMI, even for me (and pretty much anyone who knows me knows that I’m too much of a blabber-mouth to keep my private information private…oops). So, after doing some research and consulting my GP (which you should always do, children), I decided to go with getting the contraceptive injection to keep myself… you know… not pregnant.
The Injection Itself
Here is a link to the NHS info page on the different injections if anyone is thinking of starting some kind of contraception, but the one I got was the Depo-Provera injection. This is administered every 12 weeks through a large muscle mass (aka I got injected in the side of my butt. Yes, I had to get my arse out in front of a lady-doctor. Not fun) and it works by slowly releasing the artificial hormone progestogen which, in a nutshell, stops someone with ovaries from ovulating. Ergo, no egg, no baby. Brill.
From my research and talking to my GP I was aware that I may have some side effects such as weight gain (which I don’t mind), loss of bone density if the injection is used for longer than two years (so they suggest a break after this time) and that was it. When I actually went to get the injection, I had to take with me a negative pregnancy test to prove that it was OK for me to receive the shot, so if you do this they may ask you for that. I was also told that I had to be within the first 5 days of my period to have the injection for it to work straight away, which I also did by planning ahead and booking the appointment a month beforehand. So I gave them the test, proved I was baby-free, signed a form, and they poked my backside with a needle (it really didn’t hurt at all, the muscle is obviously quite large (oi, no big butt jokes) and I barely felt a thing. And I was on my way, sorted for the next three months. (and here’s a lovely stock image of the process, you’re welcome).
My Experience // Good Stuff
I had the injection done in late November and it is now mid-January. IT will run out at some point within the next few weeks, however I will not be getting it done again. Therefore I have no finished my first experienced with it, the hormones are still in my system and things may change before it is finished, however I have already made up my mind about this.
For what it’s worth, the Depo-Provera injection did its job. I haven’t been pregnant, and as a wonderful side effect I have not had my period since I started it. Which, unfortunately is not going to be easy to go back to. For practicality, the injection was great. I didn’t have to worry to take a pill every day or find other uses of protection (however if you are being intimate with someone please use a condom even if you are on other methods just to be safe about STIs, unless you are 100% sure that the other person does not have any). So for those reasons, it was very effective.
My Experience // Bad Stuff
But (and this is a big butt) (told you), the reason I will not be continuing with the injection is that I suffered other side effects that I was not warned about by my doctor.
As a person who already suffers from depression and very mild anxiety, it was very apparent to me quite quickly after receiving the shot that both were was getting worse, and the times correlated quite closely. My depressive episodes got far more frequent, and a lot more severe. I would find myself getting into catatonic states over the smallest inconvenience, and my motivation for college and my attendance suffered horrifically. I was having arguments with those closest to me left right and center because of my moods and most of the time I just didn’t feel anything remotely good.
Not only this (TMI warning) but my sex drive went below radar, it was non existent after a while and sometimes even kissing was unappealing, I just felt so off-balance with myself physically.
The other noted side effects such as breast-tenderness and headaches, I didn’t notice but to me, the hormonal influence on my already chemically-imbalanced brain just made everything so much worse, and I feel that if I carried on with the injection I would not last very long.
I am not saying this to try and put off anyone who is considering it, however I would like anyone thinking about contraception to keep this in mind and do your research. There is a chance that if you already suffer from mental health problems that hormone-based contraception may not be right for you. Personally, I’m going to keep looking for the method that works for me best.
Thank you! Stay awesome,