Since the first day of my period I experienced all the dreaded symptoms of PMS and pain during the bleed. My mother wasn’t able to prepare me for the harsh changes my body would go through as I became fertile and able to carry a child. This caused me to resent my menstrual cycle and my body for harboring my womb. An unhealthy relationship was born and would last for years and then take years to correct.
For the first years of entering into my womanhood I became the “worst case scenario” of negative effects caused by the period. I had awful PMS, sending me into fits of rage and sorrow to then feel immense guilt and shame. My period would come and I would grapple with intense pain, nausea, fatigue, self hatred and feelings of depression and hopelessness. I was 12 years old, had just entered High School as a unkempt, socially awkward loner. My Mom worked full-time, evenings and weekends to keep our family financially afloat, with my Dad as my main caregiver. I wasn’t able to receive insights, wisdom, or advice to becoming an empowered woman.
I began building a case against my body which caused me to turn to bulimia in an attempt to cure my body and self image issues. I felt fat, ugly, unliked, unloved, and unnoticed.
As an adult the symptoms of PMS ruled my mind and my intimate relationships. I often drank for days coming up to my bleed to deal with the powerful mental stress I was experiencing. I would break it off with my long time boyfriend in my fits of rage, to simply return to him a couple days into my bleed. I felt helpless to the process a woman cycles through approximately 450 times in her lifetime.
In my late twenties, during a time of gaining self awareness, and trying not to destroy my relationship at the time, I begun to pay attention to the patterns in my life, in my cycle, and in my body. Each month I attempted to wean myself off of the painkillers and destructive habits I had become so accustomed too. To no avail, the symptoms were stronger than I and I failed every month and felt more helpless than ever.
Another year past, I started writing blogs on the Huffington Post describing my experiences as a bleeding female, and practicing & reforming the education I had found on the internet about scheduling your life with the menstrual cycle. This resonated big time with me and I wanted to share it with all the potential women that had similar experiences, first or second hand. I used the information I researched and scheduled my life to meet and match my cycle. Though life improved, I was not yet living in harmony with my cycle.
A couple more years pass and I no the wiser and still living the patterns I created around my cycle as a young woman. My boyfriend, at the time, complained and pointed out my PMS, which angered me more because I had valid reasons to be upset, I just couldn’t find healthy times or ways to confront those reasons.
This is when it finally dawned on me to start tracking my cycle, day by day, by writing down the feelings I experienced each day. My emotions, mental state, pain, happiness, irritation, joy, open-mindedness, close-minded, my sex drive, or lack thereof. I immediately felt more in control of my life and on the same team as my body. This relieved a lot of the mental stress each month. And as I tracked, I gained a deeper sense of self, like I was finally getting to know “me”.
Two months of tracking and I had a clear blueprint, a roadmap of my month ahead. Almost to the T, every day, unless factors such as drinking, lack of sleep or exercise entered, did I experience the same physical & mental symptoms as the previous months.
I realized I was not a mystery, my body was not a mystery. I had the power and the tools to educate myself on “myself”, on the workings of the female body.
As a result I finally saw the contributing factors to the harsher symptoms I experienced and was able to change my habits coming up my bleed in order to have a softer ordeal, which I was beginning not to view as an “ordeal”.
I reinstated my goal to end the use of painkillers during my period and in my life. And to my surprise, it didn’t take long until I longer needed them at all.
I hadn’t changed many factors of my life or my habits, I simply lessened my stress, my need for control, and heightened my self love and appreciation for my body, and my womb. I also give myself a huge break, literally and figuratively speaking, during my PMS and the first two days of my bleed. I lessen my workload by rearranging my schedule and spend more time at home, being comfortable and getting extra sleep. I generally work for and with females and am very open with them about my reasons for taking time away. Some of them absolutely do not want to hear it, but more often they understand and share their experiences, creating a wonderful bond between us.
This has changed my life in a big and real way. My guilt and shame, my fits of rage, my body image issues, and so many more tribulations, melted away as I now understood why I had them and no longer needed the negative mental paths and patterns I had created as a clueless, young woman. I wish I could go back now and comfort my younger self in her times of deep anguish. All I can do now is show up for the world and share my experiences and hope to help as many women as possible.