I have to take a post here for girl talk. If you’re not up for open discussion of intimate “women’s problems”, walk away now. Guys, in case you didn’t get that, I’m going to talk about periods – definitely TMI for 99.5 % of the male population, I would guess. Feel free to run away … Now.
OK… don’t say I didn’t warn you. Most girls have their first period story, an all of them that I’ve heard involve a dash of freak out, a huge spoonful of embarrassment, liberal helpings of discomfort and in some cases added panic. Here’s mine:
Summer 1994. Age: 12. I’d just spent a week or more on holiday in Denmark with my mum, brother and our crazy dope of a Gordon Setter Sonic. Here we were in Hamburg Germany. We we’re staying at the Hotel Ibis, making a necessary overnight stop in the long drive from Denmark back to our home just outside Liege in Belgium. We’d been in the car for hours and as we went down to dinner, I was not feeling bad, just overall uncomfortable with what I of course put down to a stomach ache. I remember I fought with my mum that night over the restaurant table. I’d asked for the room key so I could – ahem – go upstairs and use the bathroom. She was refusing, claiming I was a drama queen and I should just use the toilets in the lobby – toilets that at the time I couldn’t see. My head was spinning a little. In the end she gave in, but was rolling her eyes at me for the rest of the meal when I returned.
The next morning I woke up feeling worse and got the shock of my life. I mean it’s not like I didn’t know it was gonna happen. We’d had the talk, I’d been given the book, but somehow I was still shocked speechless by the site of my own blood. I remember screaming for my mum. She said “well at least I know you weren’t making it up last night”. I burst into tears. Real mature, eh?
I have no idea why we didn’t buy any products to make me more comfortable but for some reason we didn’t. I had to make do with scrunched up toilet tissue, just adding to the vast piles of embarrassment I was already feeling (something I quickly forgot, I might add, as the pain took over). We left the hotel and continued our journey to Belgium. Period cramps are bad. I have more experience now. These things are never anything but awful, but *sheeks* my 12 year old self was in agony – like someone was reaching inside me, grabbing hold of parts of me I didn’t even know I had, twisting them round their fist and trying to rip them out through my abdomen. It was all I could do not to scream. I couldn’t believe I was actually expected to deal with this monthly for YEARS! I mean what the hell – someone has got to be kidding me. Ok laughs are over – make it STOP! Finally, after about 3 hours on the road, we did stop. As I came out of the ladies room all the colors in the world started running into each other, sound seemed to slow down. I was so dizzy panicking because I couldn’t see the car. I passed out and spent the next several hours of the drive home sitting on a towel… trying to keep the over excited dog beside me from licking my face, my eye’s closed praying to fall asleep so I wouldn’t have to feel this anymore. I totally ruined my dress and have seldom felt so humiliated since.
It was a pretty bad experience as far as I’m concerned, and for several years my period continued to be the pain in the ass thing that I got to bitch about each month with my girl friends who all understood that men have it so gawd dam easy! I hated the bleeding just like everybody else I knew
I missed my first period when I was 16. I waited and waited… nothing. I took a pregnancy test alone without telling anyone and if I tell you that I didn’t actually have consenting sex till years later you might begin to grasp how mind numbingly terrifying that experience was. It was a false alarm, thank heaven, and I honestly thought that with that my nightmares with this monthly happening would be over. I mean it’s perfectly normal and possible to skip a period, right? Nothing to worry over… until one turns into two… three… four… you get used to life without. If you’re young and naive like me you actually think you’ve struck it lucky for a little while. I mean you get a break from the cramps something most girls around you are wishing for oh about every four weeks.
I lost my period totally for over a year in late teens and from then on I was lucky if I got 2 or 3 annually. I am AWFUL asking for help. If sticking your head in the sand was an Olympic sport I’m sure I’d be at Britain’s team try outs. It took me a long time to admit to my mum that something was wrong. Now I was longing to feel that familiar ache to be normal… somehow the fact that this was missing made me feel less feminine, a paranoia that was not helped by the fact that I now spend a considerable amount of my time and money trying to cover up the fact that I had more facial hair than my teenage brother. I tried and even succeeded to laugh about it, but I also cried myself to sleep at night
If you’re reading and this is at all familiar to you … your NOT alone pleeeease talk to somebody anybody… please… there’s help out there
That was then… prediagnosis and now…?
Well, now I have a name for my problem: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – PCOS. Actually in the past year I’ve had increasingly regular periods (cross fingers touch wood). This is GREAT news. I’m happy about it… really. The things are more painful now than they were before. There are days when I can barely get out of bed. I’ve been doubled over crying, more than once I’ve gotten to the stage of thinking I can’t take it anymore. Thankfully now I have a couple of people that I trust I know I can talk to about this and they get me through it
I’ve mentioned before that I do have a problem with mood swings. I’m a pro at PMSing too, only I never know when it’s going to show up. It’s not like I can even give you warning. I feel tense, angry and frustrated. My hormones are quite capable of taking down a fully grown man. I know I’m doing it but God I just can’t help myself. It’s stressful for me and everyone around me. I don’t like snapping at people, so I usually try to avoid them for the day.
I’m noticing that my cycle seems to be making an attempt at a come back. I have more little irritating symptoms now … more lower back pain, my thighs feel shaky like jelly, sometimes my skin just feels all creepy crawly. God help you if you try to touch me when I’m going though this. Don’t you dare give me that supportive hug – what’s wrong with you! As for my tits, I honestly think they have a mind of their own. I mean how is it fair that this is the time my tits actually look better? My nipples seem to be permanently hard which at any other time would be most wonderfully amusing. This Tingling Tits thing (my TT problem) has become a frustration. The world is mocking me because now the only thing I can think about is how come the fabric of my bra feels more like a cheese grater. My brain could not be further from letting anybody have fun with them.
I woke up bleeding today. I hurt A LOT. It took a considerable effort of will on my part, I admit, just to get out of bed and this feat was accomplished much later in the day than I had intended. I failed to eat breakfast today. On day one I usually can’t face food at all and end up throwing up. I’m ecstatic to report that I ate a full dinner. I didn’t make any of the calls I was meant to today, didn’t run any of the errands I had planned. I was just not feeling up to it. I would beat myself up about it but instead I’m gonna be proud of what I did do. I STILL went out for my walk today – in fact walked for around an hour… and I even took a few pictures too!
I mentioned in a prior post that I was going to start taking evening primrose oil to see if it would help with my mood swings. I’ve only been taking it for about a week so I don’t know if this is fluke or placebo effect or if the oil really works magic because I have to report I am feeling unusually calm. I am not having the same tense frustration today. I did not snap at any of the men in my life – not even once – and I feel no need to go into hiding. This is FANTASTIC progress. I’m crossing everything, touching wood and invoking the power of the lucky penny to ensure that hopefully this is not a one-off and will be a positive trend in the future.
I achieved a few things on my machine that I’ve been wanting to do for ages – little things that just hang around your to do list and don’t get done. Finally set up iTunes again so I can reconnect with the podcasts I used to follow. YAY!
And I even get to check something off my plan as of today – I’ve started tracking my cycle using mycycle.com
So, still being positive despite feeling decidedly YUCK. I’d say I was still on track my friends 🙂
K.S.: Found out I’m going out to dinner on Saturday evening!