I guess if you are someone without a uterus you may be thinking that this post is not for you Stop right there! This maybe more useful than you think especially if you have any people in your life that have periods. So carry on dear reader and prepare to be enlightened!
For the last few years I have been receiving a monthly visit from the menses fairy. I say the last few years because prior to that I had been on the contraceptive pill and hadn’t had the monthly menace for a hell of a lot longer. After being on the pill for such a long time, I struggled to remember what they were like for me. In some ways I was looking forward to having them again. Sounds strange I know, but the particular pill that I was on had contributed to adult acne and I am far, far too vain to continue on that path. When my GP suggested a break, I leapt at the chance. She said it may help my skin, and lets be honest, my mid-thirties were in the rear view mirror and we decided together that it may be worth moving away from the pill.
Fast forward a few months and shark week appeared for the first time in years. It was painful. That sounds like a no-brainer thing to say, and I’m sure all of my fellow sufferers will be saying ‘No Shit Steph’ and quite right too; but let me tell you I had obviously blocked out how hideous the pain was from my younger days and these ouchies were not welcome.
At first I didn’t really experience problems with my moods, or at least I just didn’t notice them. Let’s recall that I already have BPD and this messes with my mood many, many times all the time. I think I started to really notice it a couple of years ago, and I was discovering that my mental health was declining regularly from a week or so before my red days until after they had ended. I had become a liability to myself during those times, emotional regulation was just a pipe dream. I had to, must, tell people every thought, every emotion, regardless of how this made me look or made them feel. I gave all of myself away in those moments, and I have made apologies every month pretty much ever since.
On my last two psychiatric appointments I had told my psychiatrist that I am at my most unstable during my periods. I expressed that I was at most danger from self-harm because on top of handling my BPD I just hadn’t got the skills or – and more importantly – the mental energy to deal with it all at the same time.
Let me tell you reader, he didn’t attempt to help me once. Not at all. Nada. Zip.
The first time I mentioned it I thought that I just had to carry on regardless, that there was nothing we could try. I felt helpless and I continued on like that for the next three months. All the while my periods getting worse and worse. So I mentioned it again on my last appointment. More stressed this time, and yet again he listened but brushed it away just as swiftly as he had the first time.
I ended up calling my GP instead and after a lengthy conversation she explained that I was having Pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder and Menstrual psychosis, but the diagnosis is of relatively little importance than the fact that there are things we can do to help me escape from the four-weekly terror. First things first! Back on the pill! As of today I have started a progesterone only pill which will stop my periods, so bye bye cramps and bye bye heavy flow days. This particular pill is apparently the safest to use when you are over thirty five so a word to the wise. If you have similar issues and you are worried about the risks, this may be an option for you to consider with the help of your clinician of course.
One thing is for certain, and that is that I will continue to fight and learn about what is best for my mental wellbeing.
Thanks for reading guys
Love to you all x