Red Flags In A Friendship

Hi you lovely lot, I hope you’re keeping well. This weeks chat is all about red flags in a friendship. It was a topic requested via my instagram and I’ve found it such an interesting one to write. One factor I hate about getting older is change. It’s inevitable, i’m well aware of that, but learning to accept and love that fact is hard. I especially, over the last few years, have found it unbearable to see that change swept in and affected the friendships in my life. It’s heartbreaking to have people you thought would be bridesmaids at your wedding or be sat next to in a caring home one day walk out of your life, often without explanation. It’s also heartbreaking when you realise that somebody you used to hold dear has now become a negative part of your life. It’s a difficult conversation to have with yourself let alone the other person. I’ve tried to cover as best I can what I would define as toxic characteristics of a friendship. For the person that requested this, I hope this helps you in some way.


It breaks my heart to say it but, over the last two years i’ve lost more friends than I can count on my fingers. I do think that when you leave school and head off to university, losing friends is natural. Yet, it doesn’t stop it hurting horrifically. I find it really difficult to go from knowing everything about a person to them becoming a stranger seemingly overnight. I take it really personally and I find it hard to adjust to that new distance between myself and them. I would always rather stay friends and hold people close to me. That’s why, more often than not, I keep people around when they add nothing but toxicity to my life. I would much rather, sometimes, put up with people being shitty with me than having nothing to do with them at all. I’ve always been scared to lose people thus, letting people go is one of the hardest things for me to do. Over the last two years I’ve realised that if I’m to move on with my life and become the woman I want to be- now is the time to cut those ties. However, i’ve also been the friend that’s been cut off by another and my argument would be- if you’re going to severe that friendship, ensure there is definite reasons behind it. I see it as a complete last resort. There is a HUGE difference between cutting people off and, just becoming distant from friends. Distance is a natural thing as you get older, it’s the side effect of having much busier lives. University, work, families- they all become priorities. It doesn’t mean you love your friends less, it’s just a case of balancing everything right. Today I thought I would list my ‘red flags’ in a friendship and what it takes for me to cut somebody off. I also want to clearly define the difference between somebody deliberately shutting you our of their loves and, somebody just trying to balance everything that’s now taking up their time.

Knowing the difference between ghosting and, somebody’s struggle to reply.
I am the worst replier of all time. Often I see messages, reply mentally but forget to ever forge out a physical reply. Or, sometimes I just don’t feel up to replying. I know that sounds so crap. It’s not because I don’t care or that I don’t value my friends- often if I feel down in the dumps, no matter how much I want to talk to someone, my brain just says nah. When I left for university I became completely overwhelmed. It took me a long while to adjust to Durham University, I felt way out of my depth. I was really bloody homesick and, felt almost embarrassed that I just wasn’t settling into uni life. I didn’t want to admit to friends, who I watched through social media seemingly having the times of their lives, that I wasn’t enjoying university or felt inept compared to my peers- so I started to reply less and less. I take it on myself that distancing myself wasn’t the best thing to do but that was my natural instinct with how overloaded my brain was at the time. I didn’t stop caring, I just had to put myself first for a short while. I had friends also beginning at university in new cities who equally stopped talking in group chats and to my texts. Trying to balance a new city, your finances, your cooking, your studies, meeting new people, keeping in touch with home and perhaps a relationship is HARD and I think those of us who got it gave each other some slack. I never push people for a reply because I know full well how difficult it can be sometimes. If I notice someone is appearing quiet in messages or on their socials I tend to send a message just to check that everything is okay, or have a little chat with them in person. Every single of us gets to a point where we just need to be left alone- it’s normal and it’s okay. With every year I grow older I realise more and more the importance of empathy. It’s a harsh lesson for some to learn but the world really does not revolve around you. Everyone has shit in their lives and as you get older that becomes far clearer.

I mean, we’ve all pretty much been ghosted to some capacity in our lives. It’s bloody hard and you have to learn to shrug it off and accept they are likely better out of your lives than in. To me, ghosting in a friendship comes when the friendship is completely one sided effort wise. This is where the boundaries between the above and ghosting become slightly hard to navigate. My advice would be always give people a chance. As I said before, everyone has crap to deal with and sometimes a simple ‘look i’ve noticed you’ve been a little bit quiet recently I just want to check that everything is good with you at the moment. if you’re struggling with anything, i’m always here to help! take your time, talk soon’ is needed. I think if it comes to the point when you notice that person friendly with everybody else around you but not yourself- a rethink needs to happen. I came back for my first holiday from university and cried myself to sleep on two occasions because someone I classed as my best friend wouldn’t reply to any of my messages but publicly displayed herself out with everybody else, including the rest of a friendship group. That was when I realised that this was much more than being a simple ‘i just don’t feel that up to replying right now’. Purposely not replying, avoiding your contact whilst happily showing to you that they’re out with everyone else is an appalling move. A bright red flag should wave in your head and the scissors should be on your mind.

Equally, if you’re the one who is not being active in messaging or contact- you deserve to be checked on. Friends who call you out without any ounce of empathetic judgement on the situation or, who call upon you to explain yourself as if you’re standing in front of the high court are not your friends.

Rule one, friends should never make you feel like shit.

Being made to feel inept, stupid or not valued.
Our friendship group in sixth form was founded upon roasting each other. We were all sarcastic, all witty and used that to crack each other up in stitches every day. The thing was- we all knew that it was a joke. We knew that everyone there found it humorous and it was a group where if someone didn’t find something funny they’d speak up about it pretty damn quickly. I think that I was so used to that specific groups dynamics that when I went to university and heard people talk to me in a similar manner, I didn’t bat an eyelid. At university I made ‘friends’ with people who would completely shut down my ideas and beliefs (academically and just in day to day life), making me feel like complete shit. As you get older you’ll notice that you’ll begin to have completely different values, goals, beliefs- that’s all part of growing up. That change in attitude will naturally mean that you do clash with friends over specific topics.

However, there is a MASSIVE difference between having an open conversation about differences in opinion and, completely shutting someone down. One conversation that really sticks in my mind, as an example, was about our plans for the future. Personally when I envision my future, it’s having my own little family. I want to be a mum more than anything else in the world. I want to create a family and have that little hub of love, that’s all I ever have and ever will want. However, I’m more than aware that my ‘ideal future’ is not ideal for everybody. Others just want that complete freedom sought through travelling or no commitments, others are career driven and are striving hard for that top career goal. If we were all the same, life would be boring. As a grown adult I think it’s only right that you distinctly understand that. Everyone will have a different vision of life to you, everyone has differing values, opinions, thoughts, understandings- do not make someone feel less because they just differ to you. If a friend is making you feel invaluable, incapable, inept, silly or, unnecessary- they are not your friends. Learn to know the difference between a friendly difference in opinion and, somebody completely dismissing your points as inept- obviously context plays a huge part in this but within the majority of situations I would label this as completely toxic.

Being there for your friends with no sense of relief.
There is nothing wrong with being there for your friend/ going to your friend for advice, help or comfort. Yet, when you’re being constantly ladened with another’s issues a red flag starts to crop up. You may have friends with severe mental health illnesses or a friend with a huge change in circumstance who needs heightened support- i’m not saying it’s not okay to comfort I want to be so clear on this! However, if you’re constantly being asked to bear the brunt of every single problem with no return or no compassion for any problems you may have- there’s an issue my lovely. Friendships, like any relationship, require two people’s energy. No relationship stands a chance if there’s no balance. You are as entitled as they are to receive support in your worst of times and, in your best of times. You’re meant to be a little team. No team is going to win if only one of the members is putting in all the effort.

Competition holds no place within a friendship.
This is a bold bright red flag that has haunted me for a long while. If you’re friends, you support each other through thick and thin. Your friend is not somebody to compete against- unless you love a good tennis match together. Jealousy is natural, we all feel it from time to time. If green eyes are the foundation of your friendship, it needs to swiftly exit your life. Competition within academia, with relationships, with money, with jobs, with anything- it’s not healthy and does not belong within a friendship. It holds no place at all. A friend who sees you as a competition is thriving off of seeing you fail. Friends exist to support you. Without friends we would all be very bloody lonely. Friends are there to kiss your bruises, set you on your feet again and genuinely shine with happiness when they see you succeed in any aspect of your lives.

Trust.
As in any relationship, without trust it’s nothing. I’m completely settled knowing that my friendship group may have narrowed down to a number I could count on my fingers yet, they’re people I would trust with anything. They’re people I can depend on. For years I had people in my life, people I classed as my best friends who knew nothing about who I was- because I could never trust them. I didn’t trust them not to disclose things I told them. I didn’t trust them to not laugh at me if I was truly myself. I pretended to be something I was not in order to keep people in my life who shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Know you’re worth. Trust deeply and if that trust is truly reflected back, you have a friend for life.

You are not to be depended upon.
I hate money. I hate how it can destroy relationships. At the end of the day, people do take advantage of others and often in friendships money is apart of that. It’s okay to support your friends and help them out. If it becomes a regular occurrence with no gratitude returned- cut it. One thing I promised myself when I entered my twenties- I would not let anyone walk over me again. Enough is enough. Have value for yourself. You will know when people cross over that fine line. Do not let them take advantage.

Apologising is not a sign of weakness.
Saying sorry can quite often be the hardest thing to do. We all know that. Yet, if someone can not admit that their actions were wrong and take accountability for them- red flags all round. We all make mistakes. Everyone’s said something they may have not meant, everyone’s upset a friend before. It’s crap, we don’t mean to. Oh gosh, do not let stubbornness destroy a good thing and, don’t let it destroy you. Friends who refuse to ever apologise for their actions should not be allowed to use ‘oh i’m just stubborn’ as an excuse. If you hurt someone- you apologise. A friendship rarely exists without a few arguments here and there. Yet, in my books anyway, I find it unforgivable if a friend cannot hold their hands up to me and say sorry when it’s genuinely needed.

Anything else?
I could type for days listing countless of ‘red flags’ to look out for but, they’ll always be something I would miss. At the end of the day, my best advice would be for you to trust your instincts. You will know when something no longer feels right. You will know when that delight at seeing somebody’s name pop up on your phone turns into that tummy flipping moment of dread. You know better than anyone else the friendship that you are in. Trust your instincts and go with what you believe. It’s okay for me to say on here that these are all the things that are toxic but, at the end of the day these are just what I would class as toxic characteristics. You need to trust your own judgement and, you need to trust in your own worth.

Learning to value who you are will do wonders for you life. Once you can clearly see your worth and find true value in yourself you’ll be able to quite clearly see who aligns perfectly into your life and who sits on that outer edge. I’m not encouraging you to suddenly wipe everyone in your life out of the picture. I am telling you that it does not make you a bad person to cut people out of your life if they are not adding any form of value to it. We need to get rid of that sense of guilt. What is the point of having people who cause you angst, upset, anger, stress, who take advantage of you or make you feel inept in your life???? Answer- there is no point at all.

See this post as your reminder to value who you are and who you have in your life. Your twenties aren’t spent on a school playing ground. This is not the decade in which you need to have people in your life just for the sake of it. Accept that change is natural and, it is more than natural to see friends come and go. It is sad. It is is beyond heartbreaking when people you thought would be in your life forever leave. But, lovely, it’ll be better without them. Focus on creating a happy life, a life where the people in it are the best bloody people in the world. Don’t settle for anything less.

Lot’s of love,
Al

Coffee Chats | The Importance Of Saying NO

Not to spoil the illusion but at the time this is being published to the world, I will not be sat with a coffee but rather with a pint of diet coke and a pizza with two of my best girlies in Sheffield City Centre. The last couple of weeks have been a little bit tough to get through. I haven’t been feeling my best. In fact- in two weeks i’ve had about two full nights of sleep, my head has been filled with that much worry and stress. I think i’ve just reached a bit of a wall. I’m ready for a fresh start which will come with beginning my final year at university in September. I cannot tell you how excited I am to regain some of the independence I feel i’ve lost during lockdown. Originally this week’s chat was going to be a whole other topic but, with how i’m feeling at the moment I chose to do a switch up in my plan and share with you something i’m trying so hard to practice currently. A lot of my upset stems from the fact I get too scared to speak up about how I feel about something. I try so hard to please everybody. Most of my time i’m juggling several people’s wants and needs, trying desperately to find a solution that will keep everything spinning and everyone happy with me. The reality that’s dawned on me dramatically, specifically this year, is that it’s impossible. I cannot continue to place myself at the bottom of the pecking order. It’s time to begin taking more value in what I want- how can I expect to grow if I don’t?

I’m hoping that this week’s coffee chat gives you that little kick up the arse needed to begin recognising your own self-worth.
The necessary little word that unlocks that journey?
no.


I am a self-certified people pleaser. I would quite easily sacrifice my own mental wellbeing if it means doing something to please another. The word ‘No’ barely passes through my lips. I never want to let people down and, if I ever do it plagues my mind for at least several months- no joke. I cannot bear letting people down but, one thing I’ve had to learn over the last couple of years is that unfortunately you cannot avoid it. It’s impossible to please everybody. Impossible thus, to an extent, there is no point trying. In my first year at university I ripped my mental health to shreds because I was trying so hard to please a ridiculous amount of people. I sacrificed my own mental well-being yet, I still didn’t succeed in my mission to please everyone. That was a huge wake-up call for me. I wasted a year of my life feeling constantly exhausted, hiding from social events, studying to the point of breakdown to please people who walked out of my life anyway. It was a necessary and important life lesson so, obviously i’m going to share it with you.

Firstly, let’s just establish. Learning to say say no is you as an individual firmly understanding your self-worth. Do you recognise how valuable that is? To be able to have the confidence to refuse shows the value you’re willing to place into your self. Once you begin to build rather than break down your self-worth you’re opening yourself up to a multitude of opportunities. I have always been dependent on how other’s perceived myself in order to define my self-worth. Not being able to respect, value, love yourself means that you are already engaging in a losing battle when it comes to pleasing others. How can you live for others rather than yourself and expect to be happy? That was the question I had to repeatedly ask myself. I would put myself up for events, take part in conversations, go places, agree to things that made me feel beyond rubbish expecting that somehow that act of self-sacrifice would propel me into a state of feeling valued and happy as I was doing it for the benefit of others.

Not to sound horrifically dramatic but, my insistence to please led me down a path where I became too poorly. My mental-health has been in shreds for the last few years and a lot of that is down to the fact I was too afraid to say no. I let myself destroy my own wellbeing because I was too worried about what would be said about me if I did actively refuse. I think this frame of mind was built within school. Peer pressure is a killer and, I didn’t feel comfortable enough to open up to the people I was friends with about the reasonings why I may say no. In school those relationships are the centre of your world and, you think nothing could be more terrible than risking breaking them in any way. The thing is- I left school and those relationships fractured no matter how hard I tried to save them. Those relationships dying was inevitable, we were only ever friends out of convenience (sounds harsh but it is true). I just wish I could have had the power to foreseen that at sixteen, maybe it would have let ‘no’ tumble off my lips more often.

I’ve been practising (practising being the key word, i’m not an expert at it yet) saying NO for the last year or so and the major benefit noticeable to me has been that i’ve cultivated much healthier relationships. Having the confidence to admit no, that’s not for me allows you to deter all the angst that would have come if you had forced yourself along. By that I mean that inevitable guilt, worry, anxiety, frustration, stress that comes with that whole day of trying to force your way through the event. It allows you to engage in a much more open and honest conversation with the friend/family member/partner about why you don’t want to go/do whatever they’ve asked. In most cases, for myself, i’ve found that more often than not it leads you to doing an alternative option which makes you feel much more comfortable and builds on that relationship- removing the fear of how ‘no’ could break down the relationship.

In professional circumstances saying ‘no’ when you really feel you cannot do a job well or you do not feel comfortable shows your own integrity. Recently (literally last week) I refused an extra day of working because I just did not feel that I suited the child I would have been working with. I knew that another one of my colleagues would have been (and was) a much better partnership. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skill sets and, with a job as essential as the one I do (during holiday’s i work as a children’s support worker) I felt it was necessary to say no. I heard the words come out of my mouth and instantly my brain was in overdrive panicking about disappointing my boss, if I came across rude, if I was inept. All these thoughts spiralled round my mind to the point where I nearly didn’t hear my boss say that’s absolutely okay and, a smart suggestion. I was praised for my insistence to collaborate with work colleagues rather than accept a job I would have been worrying about all day. The praise I got afterwards gave me an overwhelming sense of empowerment.

As i’m getting older I’m realising more and more every day the importance of trusting your own instincts. Nobody knows yourself better than you. Trust that voice somewhere inside of you that’s telling you that for some reason or other- you do not want to do this thing. Trust yourself, empower yourself, value yourself. Until you begin to do so, you don’t even realise the amount of doors you open to yourself as you shut that single door behind you. Focus your time, energy and motivation on yourself just that little bit more. I’m not saying with this post that for the rest of your life you should never compromise or make a sacrifice again. I mean- you have to pick your battles. However, I strongly feel that so many people do not understand just how valuable putting yourself first will be to every aspect of your life.

I just wish…oh gosh, I wish so hard that i’d just started to say no years ago. The amount of unnecessary upset I actively put myself up for, especially throughout my teenage years, which I never received any sense of gratification for doing. I always told myself, just suck it up and do it- something good will come from it. The majority of the time though, it never did. All it left me with was upset, stress and a whole load of baggage i’m still trying to hack my way through today. There are still occasions where that instinct to please kicks in but, slowly but surely i’m learning. Slowly but surely, that little word is working it’s way into my vocabulary. I’m hoping that after reading this, the same will happen to you.

Coffee Chats | Contraception

Ah, hello loves- welcome to my new little series. ‘Coffee Chats’ is exactly what it sounds like, except i’m not forcing you to drink coffee. Tea, Hot Chocolate, Water, Wine- whatever tickles your fancy. Grab your beverage of choice and settle into a comfy spot. Picture in your head, we’re out in a cosy little cafe (or a bar for those of you who opted for rosè) and we’re going to get d e e p into conversation about everything and anything. Each week we’re going to meet up and (hopefully) debunk all of those essential conversations that are often seen as perhaps ‘taboo’ or not the usual discussions. To kick it off with a bang, we’re going to have a natter about contraception.

Contraception | My Experience

I got my first contraceptive product in August 2018. I opted for the contraceptive implant- this is a small plastic tube that gets inserted into your arm. The implant constantly releases hormones meaning that you don’t have to do a thing. By that I mean it removes the stress of remembering to take your needed daily dose. The procedure- not as bad as you think it will be. It’s an injection that takes no more than 30 seconds. I, thankfully, didn’t experience any troubles with bruising or discomfort. My only initial issue was that I became very squeamish over the fact there was something alien within my body. The main decider for myself to get the implant fitted was that I entered into my first proper relationship. I wanted to ensure that I was in control over my body and, protect it as best I could from harbouring a baby. However, there had been multiple discussions for nearly a year beforehand about getting the implant fitted due to my h o r r e n d o u s periods. A doctor had suggested that the implant would reduce bleeding and eradicate all of the side effects that came with my time of the month (sickness, diarrhoea, headaches). However, the little bugger (for me) did not do anything at all to help my periods. In fact, it made them 1000X worse. Now, i’m not writing this to scare you. I got my implanted fitted at the same time as a friend and, for her the implant stopped her bleeds almost entirely. My body didn’t react well at all- I bled pretty much constantly for five months. Although I no longer have any pain or sickness the daily bleeding was not for me. So, January 2018 I got the implant removed.

For years i’d only ever heard horror stories with regards to the contraceptive pill. Stories such as it reducing fertility, instantaneous weight gain, horrific migraines- the list was endless. I was terrified of the pill so it took a lot of persuasion for me to agree to start taking it. I was given the brand Maxeni and despite all my fears- it’s worked like a dream for me. I feel quite lucky to say that I found the perfect ‘fit’ for me on my second try. Contraception is extremely personal to the individual, nothing will settle the same way as another. Unfortunately, contraception is more intrusive for women than is it for men. In fact, ‘more’ seems a wrong word. Contraception is intrusive for women, not for men. I think there is this unspoken pressure for girls/women to rush into quickly sourcing a long term contraceptive solution when they enter into a relationship. That’s fine, it’s smart and allows you to have some form of control over your body. However, this ‘pressure’ should not force you into making rash/sudden decisions about contraception and should not make you feel pressured to stick with it if it isn’t working for you.

Speaking UP About Contraception.

The most important conversation you can have when you first enter into a relationship, no matter the age, is one about contraception. Never assume. A discussion needs to take place with regards to expectations, preferences, health, how comfortable you are. As in all aspects of a relationship- a compromise needs to be reached. I’ve listened to countless friends tell me that their partners ‘hate it wrapped so we just risk it’ or, that they’re suffering extreme discomfort with their contraceptive device but will not get rid of it due to not wanting to disrupt or make their sex life ‘awkward’. If this sounds familiar to your own situation- alarm bells should be ringing.

Discussing contraception with a partner can be quite a nervy topic of conversation especially when you are new to having sex. However, it shouldn’t be. It should be as open a conversation as deciding where you’re going to eat that night.

I was eighteen when I first entered into a relationship and, I felt that I was old enough to manage sourcing contraception etc on my own. There are, however, lots of people who enter into sexual relationships much younger than eighteen. I can imagine that if I was having sex at sixteen or maybe even younger I would be far too nervous/embarrassed/scared to reach out to my mum about contraception. I think the idea of asking a guardian about contraception or where to get it from is so horrifically daunting. I’m not sure how good schools are now at providing information but, I really had no clue at that age where I would even go. I understand that our generation has the benefit of google but, with something as personal as contraception I really feel strongly that it should, where possible, be something discussed with a guardian or at least a friend.

Even at eighteen I felt this sense of embarrassment as I sat across from the nurse questioning my sexual habits. It was a can the floor just swallow me up moment. I still have those moments where I mention the pill or take my pill around my mum. It just makes my tummy tense. If this is how I feel at twenty- i’d have been too nervous to say or do anything in my early teens. What I do realise now is that no matter the age- a guardian would much rather you were safe and protected than to be taking chances.

However, I still realise it’s easier said than done. If like hypothetical young me you’re in a situation where you need contraception, have no clue where to start but, feel like you can’t speak to a parent, sibling etc. I’m here to help you out. Even at eighteen I’d have loved to stumble across a blog that told me exactly where to get contraception from and, explain to me in simple terms some of the options available to me.

Where Can I Get Contraception?

My top recommendation for when you’re first getting contraception would be to go to your local Sexual Health Clinic. Until you’re twenty you can attend the Youth Clinic, where you have access to free contraception. Just google your area’s local clinic and, double check their opening times- often it’s only for a few hours on certain days. On arrival you’ll give your basic details to the receptionist who will offer you a numbered ticket. After perhaps a little wait you’ll be called through to have your height, weight, blood pressure checked by another nurse. There are potential risks that come from taking the pill, as one example, so it’s really important you are checked by a professional beforehand. After that, you’ll have another little wait before being called in by another nurse who will source/fit whatever contraception you’ve asked for. If you aren’t too sure you’re more than welcome to have a chat with the nurse who will find the best option for you. It’s a friendly service whose main aim is to make sure you’re being as safe as possible. The nurse will also offer you to take a blood test and a swab (completely optional) to check for any sexual diseases.

Another option would be to visit your local GP. This is something that I never personally did but, I have many friends who got their pill via this way. I think the main benefit by getting your contraception from the GP is that you’ll receive a prescription. I ran into a wee bit of a problem this summer when I couldn’t physically go to the youth clinic (due to Covid 19) but, as i’m registered to my university doctors I couldn’t pick up my pill from a local GP. With lockdown I couldn’t travel up to Durham so, I ended up having to buy online my contraceptive pill. It was a bit of a nightmare so, on my to-do list when I’m back in Durham is to go get a prescription so I never have the same issue again!

I want to stress to you that if you visit either of the above practices your visit will be completely confidential. Equally you can still access and obtain contraception from both establishments if you are under the age of 16. You might get asked a few extra questions just so that the nurses can ensure you’re being safe however, they are legally not allowed to tell your guardians. The only time they would reach out to alert somebody would be if they had strong reason to believe you were at risk of serious harm such as abuse.

Mini Guide to (some) Contraceptive Devices (note: I am obviously not a professional so please consult NHS guidelines if you are from the UK or, your own country health services listings)

Condoms | Made from a very thin latex condoms act as a barrier method. Can either be worn by men or female condoms can be placed inside the vagina. 98% effective if used properly. Things to check for are any potential allergies to the latex material, if the condom is on correctly.

Contraceptive Diaphragm | A circular dome made of thin, soft silicone that you place into the vagina before sex. Again acting as a barrier, protecting the cervix from any sperm.

Combined Pill | Containing artificial female hormones (oestrogen and progesterone). Females take one pill every day for 21 days. Some pills can be taken continuously whilst others include a 7 day break for a bleed.

Contraceptive Implant | Small plastic rod that’s placed under your skin in your upper arm. It releases progestogen into your bloodstream, lasting for 3 years.

IUD | A small T shaped plastic and copper device that’s placed into your womb by a medical professional. It releases copper to prevent pregnancy and lasts between 5 and 10 years.

The NHS website ( https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/ ) offers much more detailed explanations of each of the above devices and more. The website also includes a page where you can identify what device may work best for your body.

Wrapping Up (hehe, get the pun…)
Contraception was actually a requested topic from a follower when I first mentioned I was beginning this series. It’s a funny old subject because, the reality is pretty much all of us in our society will use contraception at some point in our lives. Yet, it seems such a hushed subject. Especially online I’ve noticed there is a gap within the blogging community with regards to having open conversations on contraception. I personally had no clue about contraception. I picked up the knowledge I have from conversations with friends, TV and, one very brief sexual health lesson when I was fifteen. Maybe it’s just me who was completely naive to the subject but, I doubt it. What makes me worry is that I know for a fact out there they’ll be girls who don’t feel confident enough to go to a clinic, or the GP but will be equally to nervous to refuse their partner. I think by bringing the topic of contraception into a wider field of discussion- specifically within the blogging community and on social media- we’re ensuring that there is that education available for those who cannot seek it elsewhere.

I went and had my implant fitted thinking that it would work like a dream. I had no idea of the reality of how personal contraception was to the person. Contraception is so much more than just a quick fix to not getting pregnant. It’s a choice, a sensible choice, but that can and likely will have repercussions on your own body and your own mental health if it’s not the perfect fit for you. For nearly five months I put up with constant bleeding and migraines without saying a word because I just assumed that was normal. I really wish there was something I could have watched or read at the time that would make me realise how much of a trial and error event sourcing contraception really is.

I feel like this is a real meaty topic of conversation so, in the future i’d be more than happy to revisit it. I feel like there’s so many factors i’ve missed out or could have expanded on but, I think that’s going to be the case for all the conversations we’ll be having as part of this series. As I’ve said throughout, I really want this to be a conversation. If you don’t feel comfortable publicly commenting, please drop me a direct message if you have something to add or want to discuss things further. My messages are always open. I hope you’ve enjoyed the first instalment of this series!! Same time next week?

See you then lovelies,
Al x