I’ve been having periods since I was 12. I remember the day vividly. I’d spent the whole day with my grandma. For most of the day, my stomach was hurting and there was a lot of pressure in the lower half of my abdomen. I kept thinking I needed to use the bathroom but nothing ever came out. It wasn’t until we arrived at my grandma’s home after running a few errands that I went to the bathroom again. I sat down and pushed. Nothing. I pushed again. Nothing. However, the pain had intensified. I gave up on poopgate and wiped myself. All I saw was pale pink. I almost freaked out and then I remembered my health class lessons about how once a month womxn have blood profusely flow out of their vaginas for a few days. I was officially a member of the club. The tale goes that once a womxn has her period she is a now officially a womxn (which is also gross as fuck because what that really means is she can bare children and like…NO that is not what the fuck this is supposed to be about!) However, at the time little Bri felt happy and special to be a part of the Crimson Wave club. So I proudly marched out of the bathroom and learned I was going home. I bounced into my house and went to the bathroom again to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Nope, all I saw was pale pink once again. I was officially on the rag. I told my mom who loving paused her phone call to say, “Okay get one of your sister’s pads. I’ll have to take you to the store this weekend.” Her lack of excitement blew my high a bit, but now when I think back on it I know in my heart that that was a fuck you to the patriarchy and once again Aquarian’s are ahead of the times. Way to go mama!
I’ve been through many a years having periods. I’ve had the killer cramps, the sore tits (honestly this post isn’t about my worst symptom being my sore tits but that is also another thing that needs to be discussed. Sometimes my boobs swell so badly I can’t even lay on my stomach. Why aren’t there any establishments we can burn down over that shit because that is a cause I’d put my $2 behind!), I’ve had it all okay! But nothing, NOTHING prepared me for the worst fucking symptom of all time. Depression. Period depression is the worst fucking symptom of having a period and I will die on that hill.
I started recognizing how drastically my moods would change around my period when I was in college. Before my period would come I would get a lil lethargic, irritated easier than usual, and I would crave sweets and junk food. This month I was on a hot Cheeto kick for about a week. My low points happening before my period are pretty manageable. It’s during the actual menses that my mood will plummet and send me into about a week or so long semi-functioning depression. It’s honestly a level of sad I’ve never felt before and I’ve been dealing with depression since I was a pre-teen. This is different. This level of depression is intense and hits me like a semi-truck. It comes out of nowhere and next thing you know I’m too depressed to think. I’ve seriously had some of my worst moments while dealing with period depression. By now you may be like “well this sounds serious!” Yes, it is but this is the tricky part. Once my period is over, I’m fine. My hormones regulate themselves and I’m back to my version of normal.
I’ve googled periods and depression and the results are kinda sad because even with what I found on PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and PMDD (premenstrual dysmorphic disorder) the results still don’t yield many helpful solutions or even information. I did learn that PMDD is a more intense version of PMS. I’ll leave you to research further on your own because I am not a doctor and tbh some of the terms in the articles just went over my head. One thing I did read online on multiple sites is that if you have a history of mood disorders you are more inclined to experience PMDD during your reproductive years. I’ll link the articles I read below.
All in all, my searches yielded so little results and information on something that is so difficult to deal with. There are few non-invasive options for ridding yourself of a period at a young age so that means I’ll be having one of these once a month for a long time. I can deal with that fact if it means I don’t have to deal with the side effects of depression. Of course, suggestions like eating better, exercising, doing things to keep you uplifted, etc. do help to an extent, but it is not a cure. I can eat greens until I’m blue in the face, that still won’t take away my depression. I understand that this is something I have to deal with and work through and that’s fine, but it would be nice to do this with the proper resources. This period symptom is harsh, invasive, and scary. It’s also not something that can be cured with an Advil.
It’s funny how periods were and still are believed to indicate that a girl is now a woman. Everyone is excited at the idea of a girl being able to have a child but not about her physical and emotional health. Periods are more than just having cramps and craving junk food. When I tweeted about this the other day I didn’t expect so many other gxrls to feel the way that I felt. Going through depression on your period can make you feel crazy (speaking for myself) because you’re fighting something that you know is temporary, but in the moment it feels like your entire world is dissolving around you. I’m not expecting a cure, but I also would like more than a shitty google search on this. Yes, OBGYNS are a thing but what about gxrls who can’t afford to see one, or gxrls going through this in a pandemic, or gxrls who like me thought they were going crazy when they noticed how out of wack they were during their cycles and were afraid to say anything about it? Sometimes a google search is all we got.
Also, I would suggest getting a period tracker if you do not already have one. I use Period Tracker lite. It was the first one I downloaded on my iPhone way back when and it has all my info so I still use it. I’ve heard good things about the Clue app as well. Tracking your period, symptoms, and moods can help you when speaking to your doctor about your reproductive concerns and it will also put you at ease. I know when I’m feeling a little off and I can go to my period tracker and see where I am in the cycle process, I feel a little better when my suspicions of once again being on the vag bleeding brigade is coming soon.
I’m sending love to all my womxn friends out there who go through this! I know how hard it is and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy! Stay strong loves and remember you can always reach out to me if you need an ear…or two.
Links to articles I’ve read on period depression, PMS, and PMDD (these links are not endorsements, they are just credible sites that I found in my search)