Photo by Krista Cucarese @ kri.sta

Photo by Krista Cucarese @kri.sta

In one of my last few posts, I mentioned that sometimes I have seemingly bad days when I'm on my period even when it doesn't seem like I am having any major problems. PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is real and symptoms vary from woman to woman. While this is an extremely personal topic I figured why not write about my period on this blog? After all, I wrote an entire series of posts dedicated to my dating life perhaps the most personal pieces of writing I have ever done. If you are squeamish don't worry I am not going to talk about those kinds of details. I am going to focus more on my emotional state of being when my cycle comes along.

I have had almost every physical symptom during different cycles (most of the time multiple ones at the same time). If you can find it on WebMD I probably had it. So yea my cycle does not treat me well or most other women for that matter. And having emotional stress are also common symptoms that are listed. I'd honestly rather have all the physical symptoms and no emotional ones. I tend to have high pain tolerance when it comes to certain types of pain but emotional pain is the hardest type I have to deal with.

And let's get one thing straight: when we are on our periods and we are experiencing a bad mood it's not that our feelings are not real and therefore somehow invalidated because "we are on our periods". It's that our hormones are making our already real emotions more heightened than usual. When it comes to myself anything I am angry, sad or happy about is always real no matter what time of the month it is.

I have had people (mostly men) ask "why are you so upset? You're on your period right? That must be it." Anyone else share this frustration? If you are a man that pissed me off during my period, it's not that my period is making me crazy and therefore I am upset at you. It's that you did something to annoy me and now you are going to feel my full wrath of annoyance rather than the controlled emotions that women are taught to express all the time.

I feel less in control of my emotions when I am on my cycle. I feel more hopeless about the negative emotions I experience, like the feelings will last forever. Of course, when I'm not on my period and I experience negative emotions, I tend to be a little more rational depending on how bad the situation is.

I have gone through depression (two major times in my life), and getting my period put me in the worst emotional state I have ever experienced. I already felt hopeless the times I was depressed so when it came to that time of the month the emotional pain was excruciating.

But now that I have thought about this concept a little more thoroughly and now that I have been in a non-depressive state for a while I realize that I can be more in control than I think. Writing helps me of course but knowing that it is normal to feel this intensely during that time of the month is probably what makes it a little bit easier. Just like during normal non-period bad moods that I know will pass I am starting to realize that yes, these period bad moods will pass too. Have I been able to have this thought process during every single period in the past few months? Absolutely not. Sometimes I'll feel like I am at square 10 and other times I feel like I am not even back at square one but something even before that (square -10 perhaps?)

The first step is always self-care. I make sure to take care of all my physical symptoms as best I can. This means finding a balance in eating my cravings and healthy foods that will nourish me, changing up my asana (physical yoga practice) to combat certain pains, more pranayama (breathwork during yoga) and more meditating. Using a heating pad, drinking herbal tea, taking medication, and taking more time to sleep and lie down rather than exercising like I usually do are all on my list too.

And then I deal with the emotional pains. Sometimes, especially lately, I have been getting better at thinking more rationally.  But sometimes it's just too hard. So what's a woman to do? I cry. I cry and let myself feel the emotional pain. I used to avoid it because it hurts and I don't like feeling hurt. But the more I avoided the less control I had over my emotions. If it's possible, it's the most painful yet cathartic process I have ever gone through. And always feel better afterward even if it's only a little bit.

And sometimes when nothing seems to work I find that another way to feel better is to talk to someone. This is a common way to feel better in a lot of different situations, not just during your period. Sometimes during my cycle, I feel extremely socially withdrawn and I won't reach out to others. I don't force myself to reach out because being forced to do anything never feels good. But the few times I do feel the need to ask someone to listen to me makes me realize how helpful it can be, and I started feeling less and less withdrawn.

These are my experiences with PMS. If anyone would like to share their experiences (whether it's physical or emotional) please reach out because I would love to talk. And to my male readers tell me your thoughts as well. If you didn't already have these concepts explained to you what are your thoughts now? I'm always curious to find out. Thank you all for reading.