Usually my period runs like clockwork. Sadly I do not mean that in the sense that it arrives promptly at the same time, the same day, every 28 days. Once it does decide to arrive however, a mandatory four hours of intense cramps are to be expected on the time table, pushing all other commitments aside. This has been the case since forever. That is if the 12 odd years since Period made its arrival into my life can count as forever.
From having to sit out classes and have my dad come pick me up from school, to being in the extent of pain that one has to throw up in nearest kitchen sink whilst at work. (This, of course, in the midst of serving customers.) Strictly speaking, my period has caused me lots of tears, given me fewer hours of education and less hours of work…
Like anyone needs that already living in a patriarchal world?
Despite the disturbances that my period bring into my life on a monthly basis — it all feels scarcely mild in comparison to the pattern of events taking place beforehand. The seven, sometimes ten, days leading up to the grand finale when my period has that, very literal, kick off right in my uterus. During these days my chest is a nest housing a little lump of anxiety. Metaphor wise, it is like being visited by a demon for some time each month. One that transforms you into a hunch of inflammable sadness and the world around to a sizzling minefield.
During days like these, I am utterly convinced that people who seemingly like me are all part of some grand conspiracy. Be it friends, co-workers or in-laws. Life is the Truman Show and in reality, they all hate my guys. Things I normally let pass with a shrug crawls under my skin, forming into a little army of tears ready to attention at any given, or non-given for that matter, moment. At times me and my partner cannot even dwell in the same room without me having a fit at how loudly he eats a peach. In one fabulous summary; I question my work, my life, my creativity, my capabilities and my relationships. — All whilst planning the fastest escape route to Mars.
However, and I suppose this is what I wish to underline with all this, is it not capital-letter-CRAZY how I, and so many women akin, have undergone all of our compulsory education; education that includes biology and a paragraph of time particularly aimed at sex ed, yet know so very little about PMS as a phenomenon? Imagine if we could learn early on about its symptoms, get it treated for what it is rather than popping antidepressants all days of the month, and better yet, how we can learn to ease its symptoms?
Because — and I kid you not; a lot, if not all, of my awareness on this topic is thanks to popular culture and social media. Of course, how can I be expected to be informed on an issue in my primal education when this is not even brought up in medical school? There is so little funding going into research of topic like these. Not because there are no professors willing to tackle it, but simply because nobody is interested in providing funds for an exclusively Female issue.
I mean, did you guys see that article from some time ago on (effective, mind you) male contraceptives that are being held back because 20 men, out of 320 (!!!), thought the side effects were unbareable? Side effects such as aches, mood swings, depression? Compare these side effects to what women have been putting up with to avoid unwanted pregnancy since the launching of the pill in 1962. Sounds familiar?
Then again, one must not forget that we live in a society that strives on women’s self doubt.
PMS is good for business.