Posted in Let's Talk Contraception

Let’s Talk Contraception: The Pill

Hi guys,

As a young woman growing up in the world the word ‘contraception’ has always been flying about.

It’s true that men are told to wear condoms but from my own experience the responsibility and caution has always fallen on young woman like myself to ensure safety.

When I say this I’m not being critical and I’m not saying that this is the same for everyone. Just that in my own personal experience it’s always been considered my job to ensure that I’m having safe sex.

When I go to my GP I am almost instantaneously bombarded with leaflets asking me, “Are you on the pill?” and repeatedly advised to use a different form on contraception to condoms which are considered more preventive no matter what it is I initially went there about.

I honestly am not opposed to the idea but at the same time it’s terrifying. I mean, you hear so many horror stories and side effects that it makes your shirk away from the idea.

So, I thought that as a young gal who is sexually active I would delve a little deeper and take you on a journey to consider all the pros and cons of today’s contraception together cause damn is it a confusing and tricky decision. confused.gif

Personally, the only form of contraception I am using at the moment are condoms. Yes, I am being very frank in this blog post because I want to discuss with you what I have been discussing with doctors, parents and friends for a while now.

And that is: What form of contraception is the safest?

Let’s start with ye olde classic- ‘The Pill’. This is the most common I think apart from condoms and one that I’ve actually tried… twice!

Essentially I’m going to outline my own personal experiences whilst on the pill and then take to the web to get some other opinions.

The first thing would be that hormones really do fuck with you. The pill effects everyone differently and for me those effects were awful. The first one I was on caused me to have severe clusters of migraines that lasted for around two weeks. I get them anyway and also have very poor circulation which all attributed to the fact that the pill had been causing my blood to not flow quite as well as was usual and was clotting thus causing the migraines.

My GP therefore decided to take me off of it and put me on a different one.

And this is where it gets interesting…

The next pill they put me on made me extremely depressed, paranoid and essentially just a mess. I still believe it related to my later issues with depression and anxiety that caused me to go on anti-depressants (also awful) and seek help from a Cognitive Behavioural Therapists. It was a very artificial feeling as though I was sucked into a mist of lowness that I knew was chemically induced but at the same time I couldn’t do anything about it.

It’s scary to think that one little pill can alter your body so much! And this is the reason as to why I am so hesitant to try the pill again. Like I said, they’re all different and it may just be a case of finding out that works for me but the experience was so awful that I’m trying to consider all my options before turning my body into a crash test dummy once again.

So let’s see what the interwebs thinks of the pill…

But imagine taking your birth control pill, feeling depressed and then taking an antidepressant to handle your mood swings and hypersensitivity. Adding an antidepressant could then contribute to even lower libido, which would surely be noticed by you and your partner.

The above is via https://bodyecology.com/articles/dangers_birth_control_pill.php and accurately describes what I was trying to explain from my own personal experience.

The article also lists migraines and blood clotting as side effects of using the pill, again,  something I experienced with the previous one. I was seventeen at the time and the fact that this seemingly innocent pill was making such drastic changes to my body is honestly terrifying. I am under the impression that the different forms of contraception should be explored in Sex Education in schools more with the pros and cons weighted so that young girls and boys can research it better.

Another blogger also challenged whether the pill was safe or not stating that;

One study looked at healthy Danish women over a 10-year period and found that birth control pill users were twice as likely to experience a blood clot compared to women who did not use birth control pills. While the risk is still statistically small—approximately 6 out of 10,000 women—it’s still a risk, and it’s a life-threatening one.

dr whoR.E https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10932/14-things-i-wish-all-women-knew-about-the-pill.html who has clearly done a lot of research on the topic. She too discusses the general consensus that young woman today just assume that because the Pill is on the market and pushed at us that it is therefore completely safe to use. The reality is that the effects could impact our bodies long term with some irreversible consequences.

The Pill was something that was considered revolutionary. This is something that the bloggers above have picked up on that I’m not disputing. It is amazing that we can now get on with our lives and freely do what men have been doing since time began and have sex freely and without the consequence of an unwanted pregnancy (however STD’s are still a thing). It is also highly convenient and can even lower your chances of getting ovarian cancer. Periods can become a thing of the past, no more will they creep up on you or happen at all if you take the type of pill that doesn’t have a break. But it still begs the question of what happens when you mess with your body to that extent?

What’s more is that the female pill is a shocking 57 years old! Whilst the male contraceptive only came out in 2016 and as most of us know was retracted soon after.

Over a year-long trial, the injection was effective in nearly 96 per cent of couples. However, researchers said more work was needed to address the treatment’s reported side effects, which included depression and other mood disorders, muscle pain, acne and increased libido.

New Scientist, ‘https://www.newscientist.com/article/2110729-male-contraceptive-injection-works-but-side-effects-halt-trial/’

Hmmm, unusual that the side effects cited above appear to be exactly the same as the female pill which is still on the market. Despite the male pill being taken off of the market for this reason it’s amazing that progress is being made in this field and as the article states, 75% of the men on the trial would have continued to use it had it been available.

Bottom line, I think the pill is a wobbly subject filled with grey areas and despite it taking a while – it is amazing that more options are becoming available for men so that the responsibility isn’t solely falling on women.

However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s side effects are still extremely terrifying.

I’m not protesting to be an expert and by no means is it my way or the highway. The pill is perfect for some people and maybe I might still find one that works for me.

Despite this, I think the moral is that everyone should do their homework when it comes to contraception and always consult a doctor on what form would is best for them as an individual.

Anyway, I was thinking that this would be a series that I would do on my blog. I’m honestly interested in learning and researching more about the different forms and contraception out there.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional but rather a curious gal looking to research for my own benefit. As I said before please do your own further research and consult a doctor on these matters.

Cheers for now!

-E

Other References: 

The Pill: Woman’s Best Friend?, ‘http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-health/7728971/The-Pill-womans-best-friend.html’ , 16th May 2010 via The Telegraph

The Male Pill is Coming- and It’s Going to Change Everything, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/the-male-pill-is-coming—and-its-going-to-change-everything/’, 24th October 2016 via The Telegraph

What is the Male Pill?, http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/contraception-guide/Pages/male-pill.aspx’ Last Reviewed on the 6th November 2014 (due to be updated)

Featured picture by JT Morrow.

 

 

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Posted in Diary Entry, life update

Daily Update: Prawn Crackers, Deadlines and Goodbyes

Hi again,

I appear to be doing a lot of journal-esque posts as of late. It’s because I’ve been working so much and have other deadlines that this blog has been a bit barren. But I hope my ramblings are sufficient entertainment for you all!

The last two days have been glorious because I haven’t been working. However, there was still a lot of low points which I will cover, but, also a lot of highs.

Yesterday didn’t have a fantastic start. It was riddled with misunderstandings which led to two very upset people. Although, in the end it turned out alright. Me and Ian headed to the canal and down into a tiny nook which was hidden away right next to the river. We sat and talked for a while and it was lovely and exactly what we both needed.

I think the problem was that I got so caught up in trying to please everyone that I forgot that I can actually put myself first. This is a core lesson that I’m still learning and although I found it difficult to communicate my annoyances and upsets- it was crucial in the end. The rest of the evening was spent with us eating Chinese and watching Outlander (something I got him into).

This morning was glorious. I had another lie in which was much needed after a week of waking at 7 am and we snuggled in bed and…. did other things until about half one. Then we got up and finished off some leftover takeaway for breakfast before then getting showered and dressed.

We also watched more Outlander.

It was quite sad though, because today was his last day with me as he was catching his train at half seven to go back to Brighton. I’m now not going to be seeing him for almost a month.

I have literally just written a sad poem on my other blog about saying goodbyes, if you haven’t already seen it here it is; https://goandcatchafallingstar.wordpress.com/

Moving on to more positive vibes. I responded to a couple of emails this morning and the result was a short story deadline for a Nottingham based magazine as well as some books that are being sent my way to review.

I am soooooooo excited, my fingers are already itching to write my story and I have two weeks or so to get it done. I have also just had another short story published online and have sent off an article on visiting Virginia Woolf’s house.

I might do another post and link it to my short stories online if any of you are interested?

I still have my father’s short story to finish as well… it looks I am going to be a busy gal!

Anyway my day finished with me walking back along the canal to get home chatting with my dad on the phone. I also met one of the old tenants again and chatted his ear off too. He seemed in awe of how the house had been transformed and gave me and Ralph some pro-tips on keeping it in a  liveable state.

So, although I am melancholy about Ian leaving I have more than enough to keep me occupied.

Ohhhh I just remembered I have university reading to do as well. I better crack on then!

See you tomorrow,

-E

Posted in Diary Entry, life update

Daily Update: Falling Off Bikes, Eating Noodles and Trying to Become a Writer

Hi again,

It’s me. This is just a short one to keep you updated on my shambles of a day.

I went to work this morning bright and early and was instantaneously  whizzed off my feet by non-stop phone calls, park rangers and new duty managers.

All this week I have pretty much been in the museum, a lovely Tudor house filled with intricate mazes and blocked off passageways. I intend to write a short story about it.  Anyway, my day didn’t drag as much but it was a thousand times more stressful- putting it lightly.

I think I handled it pretty well, after the billionth call in regards to Andy’s Dino Day was returned and my heart rate had gradually returned to normal.

However, I did have a lot of trouble with a pricing gun at one stage and ended up with my little finger caught in the damn thing and with my face, hands and arms covered in ink. And at the end of it all I couldn’t even get it to work…

When you’re a student you’re in this weird in-between stage of not being a child or teen anymore but also not being mature enough to consider yourself an adult.

I am nineteen years old and have no idea how to refill a pricing gun and still get puzzled when I get addressed as “Miss” or the “Nice lady.” I find myself looking around in shock, half expecting one of my supervisors to have been standing behind me the entire time.

Anyway, at the end of the day I was late getting out and after being a bit too eager on my bike made it barely a meter before flying off and landing on the gravel with a dull thud.

A man and his son came to help me and after seeing my bleeding hands and broken bike (the chain had fallen off and the breaks had broken) the man helped me put it all back together and asked me if I needed a hug.

And not in a creepy way. In a fatherly way, if that makes sense.

It was strange.

Yes, the fall fucked my knee up pretty bad (it’s still hurting even as I type this) but it was more the feeling of not wanting to be older.

I wanted to cry and have my parents patch me up, I didn’t like having responsibilities all of a sudden. Just for a moment, I wanted to forego all the debt and  bills and shifts and insurance.

I wanted summer to be what it used to be.

Childhood summers were never ending. I could read Mates, Dates and Inflatable Bras to my hearts content. Or make garishly pink and poorly constructed cupcakes in the kitchen (making a mess which me and my friends would later regret when my mother walked through the door). I loved those times.

Now there was never enough time to get the infinite number of things done. Juggling everything at once; earning a wage, saving money, university reading lists, normal reading lists, writing, blogging, short stories, networking, socialising and much much more.

Work has been good for trying to get writing stints. The key is to just keep chatting to everybody. Like I said in my previous post a lot of people turned out to be writers and I hope that I’ll get the chance to interview them and learn more about what they do.

Anyway, I am now lying here, very bruised and cut up from falling earlier whilst my lovely boyfriend makes me instant noodles.

Last night I fell asleep very early and he took my makeup off for me and put me to bed. He really is a good egg.*

*FYI that’s the best egg you can be.

Speak soon tomorrow,

-E

Artwork by bikeyface.com

Posted in Diary Entry, life update

Daily Update: Dinos, Tutoring and Opportunities Galore!

Today has been a very strange day in which everything seems to have happened at once for me. I really hope some good comes of it too because I am so pumped for this now.

I was working in the museum today at Wollaton for the dinosaur exhibit. This meant that I arrived at 9.15 am for a meeting and then proceeded to clean the hall before The Public arrived.

That always makes me laugh how the staff say that, it sounds a tad like the title for Stephen King’s latest thriller novel.

Moving swiftly on…

soew

I was chatting to Mick, my mentor for the day who is also a writer and does a lot of events in Nottingham such as plays and storytelling nights. I said that it sounded interesting and would like to review it sometime which he seemed more than happy about.

 

Me and him had some lovely chats today. That’s something that strikes me about the people that I work with. It’s that they really don’t go home and live mundane lives- rather they always seem to have a myriad of interesting hobbies and other projects on the go. Quite a lot of them are writers in their spare time actually which is lovely to hear because it means I get the opportunity to get advice on how to progress and some opportunities to network with them as I did today.

I honestly just love chatting with people which is how this day spiralled into opportunities galore for me.

The next one came from a volunteer called Ghezel who I had never met before. She’s a really elegant looking woman from Iran who lives on my university campus with her husband whose a researcher for schizophrenia.

I told her I was doing an English degree which piqued her interest and then went onto say that she was looking to improve her English (although she sounded extremely fluent to me) and asked me if I would tutor her.

She insisted on paying me which I feel quite bad about and I did say that I may not be the best person to ask as I specialise in Literature rather than linguistics. Although, she refuted this by saying I was easy to talk too and very kind and she would love for me to give it a go anyway. She even invited me to come visit her!

Anyway, we exchanged numbers when her shift ended and I said I would message her when I get the chance to sit down  and schedule something.

This day is already looking good, eh? But wait there’s more!

About an hour or so later a group of teenagers came up the stairs armed with microphones and tripods to film the hall and interview people. The latter included me I am amused to say.

networkI got talking to their teacher and learnt that they were part of a journalism course from Trent University for 15-17 year olds as a pre-university thing to boost CV’s. I explained that I was jealous of the opportunity that they were getting and went to UON myself doing an English degree. I said that journalism was something I was hoping to get into and told him that I wrote for the university magazine whilst I was studying.

Reader, I am not lying when I say that when I asked for volunteers we exchanged email addresses and he said he would be in contact with me to maybe be a part of a lecture or help with future projects.

WOW. I HAD A GOOD DAY FOR NETWORKING.

Anyway, I’m going to head to Tesco to treat myself to instant noodles and sweeties before continuing to do more writing tonight! Basically I have a heck of a lot of writing to do in general it would seem!

See ya,

-E

 

Posted in book reviews, books, reviews, TBR

Book Review: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Oh this book is just something else! Words just do not do it justice, but I can honestly say that this is my new favourite book. That’s how good it is.

How can I best describe it? It’s like childhood summertime in the English countryside. It reminds me of growing up in my home town and I find it a goddamn shame that I only just discovered it now because this is something that younger me would have really needed.

It’s a coming of age tale about two sister Cassandra and Rose. However, the books perspective is from Cassandra and it is her journals that we are reading from. They are very much the thoughts of a seventeen year old. She lives with her quirky family including the vivacious and extravagant Topaz (her model stepmother) and her father whose been suffering with severe writers block for several years. They live in an old tumble down castle in the Sussex countryside and endure an interesting but poor life. That is until two American chaps come to town and sweep the girls off their feet.

There are a myriad of other characters involved in the framework as you travel through Cassandra’s first experience of the real world and adulthood (other than what she’s read in Jane Austen novels). You go through it all with her and get wrapped up in love triangles and late night swimming.

Like I said I cannot do this novel justice enough so I shall leave you with a couple of quotes, snippets of my favourite lines from the novel.

The thought came to me that perhaps it is the loving that counts, not the being loved in return- that perhaps true loving can never know anything but happiness.

-Page 267 : Realisations about the nature of love.

And I knew she was gone forever… she makes me think of the corpse of a dressmakers doll.

-Page 294 : In reference to losing imaginary friends from childhood, when reality ensues.

It is part of a follow-my-leader game of second best we have all been playing… It isn’t a very good game; the people you play with are apt to get hurt.

 

It isn’t enough to give. Not for the giver

– Both from Page 406 : Cassandra understands the cruel nature of unrequited love and how each of us falls victim to it at some point or another.

As you can see it is a very thoughtful novel which manages to be both witty, wise and real with the theme of love. I am in awe of Smith’s writing and intend to read more of her book, especially her autobiographies.

This would also be a good novel for anyone doing Love Through the Ages at A-Level for your coursework or even to use as a comparison in the exam for unrequited or lost love.

5 stars all round!

-E

 

Posted in Book Hauls & Book Shop Recommendations, book reviews, books

Brighton Book Haul & Where to Go!

Hi again!

I told you I had a lot of posts to crack on with.

Anyway moving swiftly on I thought I would do a quick book haul with some recommendations of places to go in Brighton if you’re a big bookworm like myself.

My second day visiting my boyfriend saw us going into the city centre in which I attacked every bookshop I could find. My finds for the day included Alain de Botton’s ‘The Romantic Movement’, some short stories by Kate Chopin and Night and Day by my absolute hero Virginia Woolf. The shop that I bought all of those from was called The Wax Factor – a record and books shop which is just off of Tidy Street. It had a really lovely atmosphere and the guy behind the till was absolutely lovely.

I was actually looking for Alain de Botton’s ‘Essays in Love’ but couldn’t find it anywhere, not even in Waterstones. Anyway, this book looked similarly interesting and I can’t wait to read it. There’s something about understanding the psychology of relationships which deeply intrigues me. The same goes for Night and Day which is Woolf’s second ever novel. It questions attitudes towards love and marriage and what they mean to us. I didn’t realise I was on quite a trend until now- because the third book I picked up – the Kate Chopin one follow a similar wave length. I read one of the stories in it ‘The Story of an Hour’ at A-Level which was about a Victorian woman who is overjoyed to learn that her husband is dead because it means she’s finally free. I won’t give away the ending but let’s just say it’s comically dark.

Some other bookshops I recommend would be the Oxfam in Kensington Gardens and a shop called Raining Books which is so cluttered and piled high with books in no apparent order but is truly fun to sift through. It did appear to have some gems but it’s the kind of place that you need to dedicate an entire afternoon of sifting.

The next place was in Lewes, Sussex which is a twenty minute train journey away from Brighton if you hop on at the London Road Station. The Fifteenth Century Bookshop (yes that is it’s name) was beautiful and where I got my next finds. It varies in prices but I was extremely happy to find an 1897 Tennyson collection for £6.50 with a lovely inscription inside as well as a 1946 copy of The Waves by Virginia Woolf published by the Hogarth Press before it disappeared entirely. That was only £7.50! I was in awe at the prices especially if you compare them to London bookshop prices. When looking at reviews online I could see that a lot of people had marked it down because they found the woman (perhaps the owner) to be very rude when  they visited. This was not my experience at all and I actually had a lovely chat with her about books and she even offered me a bag for my newfound treasures. I don’t know if it’s a different woman or they just had her on an off day but I found my experience to be completely delightful. Five stars!

Anyway, that’s all for today I think but I will probably do another post like this on books in Nottingham that are worth a look at. I hope you enjoyed this style of post and I have a lot more to upload – so keep an eye out!

I’ll love you and leave you (as my mother would say),

-E

 

Posted in life update

Life Update: Brighton, Virginia Woolf’s House & Pride Weekend

Hello boys and girls!

Yes, I am aware that it has been a very long time and for that I thoroughly apologise for not updating this blog more often. It’s been a busy time at university and with work over the summer but I have finally taken the time to sit down and write.

Last Wednesday I rose from my coffin (a.k.a my bed) at approximately 2.30 am and like one of the walking dead proceeded to get ready for my seven hour coach ride to Brighton.

It was quite a bizarre morning to say the least. I failed to lock the door to my room after angrily banging it closed for about five minutes- waking up my poor flat mate- and then shimmied downstairs with my array of bags to where my equally tired taxi driver awaited me.

I had overestimated how much time I had before the coach arrived and therefore had an hour of shivering in the morning mist before boarding my coach. There was a homeless man snoozing behind me peacefully and a strange old lady with a crooked neck that kept staring at me. After about half an hour of doing this, she finally hobbled over to me and asked me in a voice similar to nails on a chalkboard where the train station was. But before I could even deign to give her an answer she abruptly cut me off, “NEVER MIND! You obviously don’t know!”

Reader, it was right behind us.

Moving swiftly on, the coach ride itself was pretty uninteresting other than some woman literally waking me up so that she could sit next to me, forcing me to lug my huge bag onto my lap. I wouldn’t have minded, but a quick survey of the coach showed me that there were plenty of more convenient free spaces available making it completely unnecessary.

*Pauses to grab journal*

Right here we go-

Wednesday evening saw us all going to Ian’s parent’s friends house for dinner. Their names are Crawford and Rose, a dainty couple – one Scottish the other Cornish with a beautifully kitsch house in the middle of Brighton. They had two cats and the dinner was exquisitely set and prepared. I especially liked the fact that she had used a giant pencil sharpener from Tiger to shred the carrots into tiny spirals. Later, we played a game not dissimilar to Chinese Whispers but with pictures where you had to guess what the person beside you had drawn. Let’s just say I ended up with gassy goose wearing a party hat…

Thursday we went into the city and I bought lots of books from a myriad of charity shops. I also bought a lovely golden mirror from a antique shop (which I then had to lug all the way home to Nottingham the following Tuesday). We also got some free Sprite.

Friday was one of my favourite days in which I might do an additional post on. We spent the day in Lewes- a little medieval town that I had been too with him on my previous trip before we were together. It was where he went to six form and also where Virginia Woolf lived. I wore my yellow and white pinstripe skirt with flowers cascading down the side and a white sleeveless shirt. I felt very summery. We caught the train there and first stopped off at a lovely little bakery and bought panini’s that we ate up near the resident castle. Next we visited the bookshops and I bought two more books. A lovely Tennyson from 1897 I believe and a 1941 edition of The Waves by Virginia Woolf*. After that, we went down to some old ruins and sat underneath the same tree we had the time before. Except then it had been covered in apple blossoms and now it was full of apples. I might right a short story on it for my other blog so stay tuned. We sat under there for a long time just snuggling and occasionally being hit on the head by a falling apple.

Saturday saw us doing some gardening which I thoroughly enjoyed. There’s something so relaxing about gardening, you feel accomplished and organised. I had a lovely chat with Ian’s mum, we spoke about books and the plans I had for my future. She’s a very intriguing woman in which I see a lot of Ian in her. I get very nervous around parents after past experiences going a tad awry but she was very warm and welcoming. They both were in fact! Anyway, it started raining so we stopped for the day and me and Ian went to go and meet with my sister in the city. She had come up for Pride and we spent a brief time showing her around some book shops before then nipping off to grab something to eat. We then got waffles and headed down to the beach, passing vast amounts of festivities and drunkenness. I have never seen a more lively city!

Sunday was possibly my favourite day, because that’s when we hiked to Virginia Woolf’s house! I cannot even begin to explain how excited I was and still am upon remembering it. The whole idea was to make it look as though her and Leonard had only temporarily stepped out for a walk*. It was so sunny too and getting to see where she wrote and sat and just existed made me even more determined to keep writing! That day we also stopped at a pub to get a drink and I accidentally threw mine all over the bartender by accident. I know, what even am I. The evening saw me meeting Ian’s godmother Anna who was quite a character! I absolutely loved her. She was so vivacious and lively. We all spent the evening playing Port Royal in which we were all conspiring against Ian. He won anyway but it was funny.

Monday; my last full day in Brighton. Me and Ian slept in and then headed down to the shops to get some baking things. We then made brownies, which turned out more like blondies because Ian failed to take my advice and put more cocoa in. They were still very good though. Nom. I also met his best friend Patrice who seemed to be a male version of myself. He works as an apprentice journalist for the BBC and we spoke about books and our love for Shakespeare and writing. It was marvellous and I hope he comes to visit Ian in Notts so we can talk more!

So, that was my time in Brighton! I don’t think I’ll bother including Tuesday because it just saw me going into town and catching the coach back home.

*** I’m going to do another few posts about things that happened in Brighton including a book haul and a more in depth review of Monk’s House.

-E