The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

Pill and Perplexity: My Journey Through Birth Control


When I think back to when I was 18, it marked a significant turning point in my life, both mentally and physically.

The me at 18 is barely recognizable compared to who I became at 21.

But isn’t life about self-evolvement? Self-growth?

But what transpires when change unfolds, and we struggle to discern in which ways it did?

What happens when change is completely unintended?

For me, everything shifted because of one little pill that I decided to take: the birth control pill.

Sure, for some, it might sound trivial, but for us women who rely on birth control, we know it’s serious business.

All my life, I’ve grappled with acne, the scars of my high school years etched deep into my self-perception and body image.

I was obsessed with my skin.

I couldn’t help but wonder why I, who was so healthy back then, would experience acne.

If you have never gone through acne, you don’t get it.

The emotional and mental toll it takes on you is indescribable.

A glance in the mirror can ruin your entire day.

As I got older, my skin improved, but acne never entirely left me alone; I couldn’t understand why, even with a healthy lifestyle, it kept coming back like that ex who just won’t quit.

I was frustrated, and frustration led to desperate measures.

Doctors said it was hormonal, so I went to a gynecologist, and the doctor prescribed me birth control.

Birth control nowadays is used by dermatologists to help with acne. The pills that contain hormones such as estrogen and progesterone help reduce functional androgen levels, therefore reducing sebum production, which is acne.

It was a big step in my life; I was away from home, making decisions independently without my mother’s input for the first time.

For my very religious family, using birth control was considered a sin.

In more conservative cultures such as Hispanic ones, anti-conception methods are still taboo, and sadly, having that option is still a stigma.

But I didn’t care. I went for it.

 My skin cleared up in just three weeks.

But my thoughts weren’t.

My mind didn’t feel the same.

Back then, I couldn’t understand why I felt so down all the time or why my body seemed different.

I suddenly started seeing changes in my body that weren’t feeling like myself.

I started evolving.

Suddenly, my likes and dislikes were making a turn. I couldn’t comprehend.

Nowadays, I wish I had known about the possible side effects before I started taking the pill.

I was so desperate to get clear skin that I neglected the bigger picture.

I’ve noticed in the United States, it is more common to take birth control at early ages, such as 12 years old and so on. Don’t get me wrong, many women take birth control for other reasons than preventing pregnancy.

Like me, I just wanted clear skin, but now I don’t know if I could return to the way I was before.

I can’t remember much of who I was before birth control; you may wonder why I care or why I even wonder, and it is because I wasn’t aware of the natural side effects this pill can have.

Sometimes, I wonder if the decisions I’m making are purely hormonal or critical thinking decisions.

I’m scared of one day leaving the pill and realizing what I’ve done has nothing to do with who I truly am.

I have all these thoughts in my mind about if I’m depressed, or if it’s just the pill messing with my head.

I must admit I’m outwardly confused most of the time.

It’s hard for me to understand and process my emotions. As I try to be more aware of what I’m putting into my body, I’ve learned a lot about the side effects of birth control.

Let me tell you, I was speechless afterward.

Nausea, headaches, breast tenderness, weight gain, irregular bleeding, blood clots, and mood swings.

I could keep going. I’ll spare you the details. 

If I could go back and clear my skin differently, I would. But would things be different?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for sex education and access to birth control for everyone.

 But what scares me is that many of us start this journey by ultimately not seeing the bigger picture; some blame ourselves for our  overt-thinking.

Most of my girlfriends share that journey with me, and I can tell you we all feel changes by it; we think we are misplaced sometimes.

It’s a weird feeling because they are your hormones, your body speaking to your mind.

Remember – you are not alone in this.

And if you are trying to leave the pill but find yourself scared about the aftermath.

You are not alone in this.

I’m scared of leaving the pill. Sometimes, I wonder if that’s another one of the side effects.

I’m scared of getting acne again, and bringing those changes in my body and mostly my mind.But if you are considering taking birth control, be aware of the changes it may cause to your mind and body.

After all, a clear head is worth more than a clear face. 


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About the Contributor
Carla Gradiz
Carla Gradiz, Associate Editor
Carla Gradiz is a sophomore at Mercy University; she is an international student and majors in Journalism with a minor in Psychology. Carla comes from Honduras, Central America. She is passionate about where she comes from and focuses her writing on real issues her community faces and the issues she has to face as an international student. With much curiosity, Carla likes to explore different cultures, loves traveling to meet new people, and wants to impact the world positively. She believes writing is a powerful form of expression and a way to leave her mark. Carla writes a column titled You Can't Handle It,  in which she bravely shares real-life experiences, addresses critical issues, and raises awareness about topics she believes deserve more attention. She's passionate about using her writing to shed light on these issues. She can be reached at [email protected].

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