Friday, 21 October 2016

Periods Suck.

Periods. We've all had have 'em. Well those of us who are (cis) ladies. And for most of the men I’ve met, you’re pretty familiar with them too. What you men are not familiar with however, is the awfulness that is periods. Except for having to endure the mood swings of your partners, treading on eggshells and possibly extra chocolate-buying once a month.


Periods have also been in the news recently for a couple of reasons. The free-bleeders protesting the tampon tax; the candid interview that a Chinese swimmer gave at the Olympics where she mentioned she’d been on her period (but it was not to blame for her performance); And the fact that more and more companies are now offering woman paid “Menstrualleave” to optimise their productivity in the work place.

But I know for most of us It’s still a very “eeeewwwy” inducing subject and I’m pretty sure that includes MOST men. And I understand why. It IS grim. It’s a grim event that often makes us ladies hyper paranoid about personal hygiene and body odour. Let’s face it, it’s a disgusting odour.

It is as baffling to me as the fact that we have to IN THIS DAY AND AGE endure 9 months of *gestational hell, that we still get to suffer the indignity, emotional roller coaster, grossness and outright pain every month for the majority of our lives. WHY? Why has there not been some brilliant, side-effect free procedure that kicks these things into touch until they’re needed? I am beginning to seriously resent them.

*I didn't have very good pregnancies and admit this is not everyone's experience! 

I was lucky in that mine didn’t start until I was 13. But when they started, boy. I knew about it. They were pain city. Sharp as needles stabbing pains right through my lower abdomen. I would have to go and lie in the sick bay with a hot water bottle on a regular basis and that might be the only time I was grateful my formative years were spent in an all-girls school.

But you grow up, and you find ways to cope that make your life more “liveable” just like the cringe-inducing Bodyform adverts of the 90s implored you to do. I found painkillers that worked and switched from “perfumed” pads to hide-it-away tampons. Side note…. Perfumed pads? Gagfest more like. Nothing is gonna make that smell more pleasant, buster!

I have also spent my entire adult life, whilst not duffed up, stuffing Evening Primrose or Star-flower oil down my gob in an effort to ease the symptoms. Doctors actually used to prescribe them to me before they started to regulate alternative medicines but I still know 100% they make my hormonal life better. And actually, save a few really rough occasions, I didn’t have an awful time of it through most of my adult life. A bit of pain and some wild mood swings but nothing that majorly affected my everyday life.

Until I had kids. Wow. I was in no way prepared for how awful they would become post kids. Pain….oh god the pain. When it’s not a dull ache that feels like your lower back is trying to split apart from your torso, then it’s a bloated feeling of cannon balls rolling around your lower abdomen. Or the very worst… (graphic description warning)…. Lead weights being attached by wires to your lady flaps pulling down, down, down….ooooooooow! Or, just the normal stabby-needle in the ovaries. Take your pick.

Then there’s the mood swings. For the WHOLE month. Tears over NOTHING. Actually weeping in complete confusion because things are brilliant but you just feel SAD. Terrifying anger that makes you feel like the biggest, most impatient, hell-fire bitch. But also totally justified in your ludicrous irrationality at least until the hormones sending you mental settle and then the guilt. The awful guilt. Or just the wobbly, anxiety feeling that stuff doesn’t feel right. Again for no apparent reason.

The days when it’s actually arrived and you feel sick, woozy, dizzy, clumsy and weak. It’s hard to concentrate. You just want to lie down in quiet room with a hot water bottle and make it go away.

Finally the grossest bit. (Squeamish, look away now) The blood. The bleeding through the super tampons in half an hour, the acute paranoia of going out in public without layers of pads and tampons etc. etc. It feels like the world is falling out of your foof. And it sucks. Big time.

And thanks to the fourth wave, it’s being discussed more openly now than ever before. I know it has to be a conversation too. It’s why I’ve written about it. The tampon tax is completely absurd and there is definitely an environmental impact too. I don’t know how I feel about freebleeders, I get their point but I am still pathetic enough to be grossed out by the hygiene issue. And I shamefacedly admit this is why I won’t try using a moon cup either. The thought of fishing it out, not spilling it over my clothes and washing it in the work toilets' sink is a step beyond for me right now.

I've written this whilst completely incapacitated by one. I've had to cancel uber fun plans which involved wine, good friends and family. I don't take kindly to this kind of inconvenience. It's made me a pathetic, sofa-bound, weepy baby today with no boozey fun to look forward to at the end of the day (because it makes me pukey whilst I'm bleeding). 

But we need to keep talking about them anyway. Making them less taboo, try to get over the grossness factor and realise that they affect a lot of women’s lives, a lot of the time. Periods Suck. There I said it. 

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