Feminism India

Who else has a weird period story?

Happy Wednesday, everyone! It feels great to address you guys once again on the day before the release of our next episode. There has been a gap of two weeks since we last interacted and before I even think of moving on to more serious topics, I should address why I didn’t turn up as promised last week. Wait. I feel ashamed for having implied that my reason for not showing up was not “serious” enough. Because what I’m about to tell you is of utmost importance to me and through this piece, I hope to communicate with at least a small subset of you who might be able to relate to my story.

As you might be already aware, last week, we discussed the topic of periods on our podcast. We touched upon the level of awareness among young adults in India regarding the subject, shared our personal stories about the onset of periods and even brought in the male perspective of my husband Shane to shed light on the importance of educating young boys on the topic so that they grow up to respect the cycle. But personally, one of the main things I shared was that I never go through any of the usual physiological discomforts that women and young girls experience around the time of their period. My pain was almost always emotional.

You could say that I have the dream cycle. Although I kept emphasizing on the podcast that your menstrual cycle is not like clockwork and that it’s impossible to predict when exactly you could be confronted by Aunt Flo, I almost feel the urge to say that my cycle pretty much is clockwork. I’m hardly ever late, my left breast goes tender three days before the onset of my period and oh, I go batshit crazy a week in advance. And by batshit crazy, I mean ‘will sit on the living room floor/bathroom floor/commode crying for no apparent reason’ crazy. And except around the times when I neglected my nutrition for long periods of time, this has been the pattern and it’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. I don’t know a single person who relates to my story and what worries me even more is the fact that the mood swings seem to be intensifying with every passing month. They’re pretty extreme and I’m not fun to be around when it happens.

Now that I think of it, it’s such a coincidence that I should have been PMS-ing hard (sitting on the livingroom floor bawling my eyes out because “nothing was going right/getting done/ticked off the to-do list”) for the two days before the release of our episode on Periods. And yes, not being able to sit in one place to type out a piece for this little blog was on the top of that godforsaken to-do list. Last Tuesday was so horrible that I cried myself to sleep at 9 p.m and fell asleep despite all the self-inflicted stress about deadlines because I was exhausted from all the crying. On Wednesday, I sat on my couch all day long without even brushing my teeth, typing out a furious rant for my website, and binge watching Grey’s Anatomy. I would occasionally take breaks to grunt at my husband who would tip-toe around me. Come Thursday morning, and I was already feeling better after having slept in. What further improved my mood was the kindness of strangers. By Friday, I was back to being normal.

I described my entire work week to you, not because I wanted to bore you, but in order to show you what a miserable pattern it is. People congratulate me for not having to curl up in bed with a hot water bottle pressed against my abdomen. And while I have no intention to take part in any sort of pain olympics, I just want to put it out there that the emotional wreckage that happens to me is pretty much like a nice kick to the nuts, not that I could ever find out what that feels like. I imagine it might leave one sitting on a living room floor, crying for a few hours.

Speaking of nuts, I think I got lucky and landed a guy who is understanding of my plight around the time of my period. Our media has influenced young boys and girls to trivialise these hormonal fluctuations and on many occasions, I’ve heard people ask the question, “Are you on your period?” as an attack to shut someone up when they find themselves stuck on the losing side of an argument. The period for most women is a mentally and physically stressful time and people making light of the pain is incredibly demeaning and disrespectful. Maybe try to gain some brownie points instead by getting the woman in your life a nice cup of tea?

So now you know why I didn’t show up last Wednesday. And now, it’s time for you to reach out to me and let me know that I’m not the only woman on the planet to experience this. Like I said, I don’t know a single other woman who relates to my story, so please do reach out if you’re like me. It would be even better if you had any tips to deal with extreme hormone fluctuations and resulting moodswings. And to those (most) of you who don’t relate to my story, I would still love to read your period stories. Every woman’s experience is unique so please do share with our community what you go through during/before/after your period. This forum is your blog as well because each “comment” under this thread is treated as an individual blog post. We purposely designed this space such that everyone could blog their views on the things we put out here. So do take full advantage of this space!

We will greet you tomorrow with ‘The Talk’. Until then, goodbye!

Ankita Narayan

Edinburgh, Scotland | http://ankita.ink/

I'm a blogger, podcaster, wife and feminist. I record snippets from my life on my blog, tackle social issues on my podcast and work with my team of fellow feminists in this space.