As I typed the title of this inevitable swearing rantfest, I could feel any male readers I had just flung their computer out from in front of their face. Yep, it’s a period post. Tough. If you stay, though, I’m sure you’ll love how much my body likes putting me through.
Now, you are catching me at my worst with no filter, so I’m warning you now that below is some Sweary McSwearpants content.
Some, she says.
Sitting here, writing to all of you right now, I have a microfibre hair turban on my head, with one side pulled down over my left eye as I sit in a dark room with my computer monitor on the darkest the screen can possibly go. The new neighbours on the other side of the house sound like they’re in my house, just outside my door, with their screaming baby just punching the shit out of my eardrums. The highway that – in a straight line – is possibly less than a kilometre away from me seems like it’s outside my damn window.
I did not sign up for this shit.
The first few years I started having periods I didn’t have any other unwelcome visitors. No migraines, no cramps, just a slight dull ache in my lower back or stomach, but it was manageable enough that I could get on with my day. Then as time went on, Maggie-fucking-Migraine from 102 Ya Gotta Be Shittin’ Me Avenue kicked down the door and decided to headbutt me. Not just at random times of the day, but like fricken clockwork, every time I had my period. Not only was coughing a potential down-under Jackson Pollock painting in the making or some Alien projectile, but now I was completely incapacitated in the worst way.
Try to do something while you have your worst hangover. Actually, every hangover you’ve ever had, have them all at the same time and make it worse.
I was useless. My migraines had the power to render me completely immobile; I couldn’t walk most of the time, I could barely hold a plastic cup of water, my coordination was terrible – and that was just the start. There was also the inability to speak coherently. Silently weeping into my pillow as silence itself was so deafening was such a thrilling pastime. It was common to be lead or even carried into a bath (with no scents, no lights, no noise) and helped out of my clothes. Oh yeah, I’m a real catch.
Maggie-asstit-Migraine doesn’t come without a friend, though. Within the last ten years (yes, all of my 20s), a sidekick has come along and her name is Debilitating-Fucking-Cramps. Let’s call her Soul Crusher.
You know how was talking about those little aches I would have? It’s the little ache I’m sure every single woman who has or has had a period knows. It’s the cramps that might be featured in an ad. Like-
[A girl walks down a lane with upbeat music in the background. She suddenly grabs her abdomen and the music halts with a record scratch]
Narrator: Oh, no! ~That time of the month just started, huh?
[The girl winces slightly but still manages to smile at the camera. She tilts her head to the side and gives the camera a cute shrug]
Soul Crusher’s ad would be more like –
[A girl walks down a lane with upbeat music in the background. She suddenly grabs her abdomen and crumples to the ground, the music halts with a record scratch]
Girl: AHHHH, FUUUCK!
Narrator: Oh, no! ~That-
Girl: SHUT THE FUCK UUUP!
[SLAYER plays as she tries ripping out her insides with her bare hands. It sounds like a demon is coming out of her. Maggie Migraine enters and grabs her handbag, beating her about the head before running off with said handbag. Every woman within a mile radius hears their fellow sister’s cries and spring into action. Agatha, the old lady so happy she doesn’t have to deal with this shit anymore gets the hot meals and her homemade pills ready. Jen, the mother of eight children that never shut up tells her older kids to grab the SOS pack full of chocolate, Agatha’s homemade greenery, heat wrap gauzes.]
[Cut back to girl still on ground, holding her kidney in one hand and her intestinal tract in the other, still screaming and now talking in Latin]
Soul Crusher definitely lives up to its name. It feels like gravity is piercing its talons into you and pulling from the gut down into the core of Earth while deciding to crush your will to live.
Oh, and I know what you’re thinking right now.
“Apparently if you-”
If you think that any woman going through all this shit every month like clockwork for years hasn’t tried every free and cheap remedy, I have one for you right now, it’s called Shutting The Fuck Up. There are two remedies for it! You can either place your dominant over your mouth, followed by your least dominant hand, or (my favourite) before typing or clicking your mouse to link me to some remedy made of turmeric and the heart of the first born son, you place your hands in front of you on your desk or wherever you are, grab a mallet and start crushing your fingers. Trust me, it’s much more helpful.
I have been so desperate that I have tried almost everything except doing my own surgery to remove my reproductive organs and crack-cocaine. Oh, if you think I wasn’t joking in the Soul Crusher ad and women wouldn’t try illegal substances to rid themselves of cramps, you are painfully wrong. If I saw a paper that had even a tiny shred of evidence that crack will get rid of my migraines and cramps, I would be dragging my pained ass to the nearest train station or wherever the hell you go to get drugs because I am naive about that shit I have no fucking idea.
This is what happens every month until I either die (from self-surgery, I’m sure) or my body one day goes “Enough now, toots, this ole machine is done with your baby-making phase. Menopause time!”
Before I end this incredibly explicit post, I want to leave you with some little tips. I know, after saying ‘don’t give me advice while I’m giving you advice’ sounds like a dick move, but these are tips for men or fellow women that might not get these particular issues and still want to try to help.
- Remember the Shutting The Fuck Up rule from above. Unless it’s new research, study or some sort of real damn proof of any remedy, drug or sacrifice, chances are we’ve tried it or it sounds really fucking stupid.
- Be aware that any sound or touch can make things worse. Sensors go out the damn window and become haywired. Always ask before giving your possessed human pets and always ask where you can pet.
- Every migraine sufferer has their own way of trying to deal with the pain and possibly have their own ritual. Find it out and help. Even if it means running a bath (the sound is pure hell, so someone else doing it for us is a huge gesture).
- Whether suffering from cramps and/or a migraine at the same time or in succession, have chocolate or favourite snack on supply, or at the very least petrol in your car to grab supplies.
- I know it’s really fucking TEMPTING, but suggesting to exercise will summon Satan himself. Even he isn’t stupid enough to suggest that to someone’s face. Remember the Shutting The Fuck Up rule as well as number 3.
- Don’t ask them to go out, even up to the grocery store. It tells me that all the fucking pain I’m in is bullshit to you and your name will be given to Satan. If I don’t murder you first.
- Listen to them or just ask. Some people want to be comforted and their feet wrapped in cool cloths. Some want Deep Heat slathered onto their lower back. Ask if we need anything, but mostly-
- Leave. Them. The. Fuck. Alone. There’s so much shit already happening to us that pushing a bottle a water towards us with a really long stick is enough interaction we want to have with you. Don’t interact with us, don’t leave us in charge of anything.