I have been doing great over the last couple of weeks. I’m not 100% sure why. I do know it’s a significant change. Gradual significant if that makes any sense. It has been a long time coming, but I recognize a sudden shift. Certain events this weekend were extremely difficult and hard to deal with. I was angry, frustrated, and sad – intensely so. Throughout, when the events themselves were not going on, my mood stayed stable. I had no urges to act on maladaptive behaviors. I talked to my psychiatrist. He saw a difference in me right from the moment I entered his office. He said it was the first time since the ‘bad days’ started that my affect had matched my mood. I was mostly serious, but not excessively so. I smiled when I explained my accomplishments. I was ‘normal’ (my thoughts, not his words), whatever that means. I felt normal. I do not even know when the last time I felt like that was. Several years I think. Even as I was pushed to what would have been breaking point for me this past weekend, although strong negative emotions arose, I never thought of self-harm, alcohol, overdosing or suicide. I did not even feel depressed in the slightest.

My period was due on Saturday. It is coming today, two days late. Not quite here. Girls – you know what I mean. The pain has started, but not yet in ernest. I’m sure by morning I’ll nearly be crippled. Apart from all that, a few hours after I realized it was coming, the sadness came in. Not bad enough to be depression, and it doesn’t just appear by the hour. Well as an expert in the field it can actually, but generally when you’re in an episode of it. I sat in my chair, head in my hands. How could an itty bitty thing like a period cause such havoc. I was actually starting to worry I was pregnant. First of all each day that’s late is a concern. I know it was only two days late in the end. I usually know the day before I have my period because of intense mood swings. I bawl crying the evening before almost every period. I’m usually puzzled before I remember why. You would think 28 years of periods would make you familiar with the phenomenon. Anyway when I didn’t have pain last night I assumed it was another day of no period. I was starting to worry about pregnancy which would be disastrous for me. My heart condition precludes pregnancy. Anyway – as I sit here with slight abdominal pain increasing, and mood gradually dipping, I think how different men’s and women’s lives are. No matter how we harp on about equality, there are and always will be differences: physical, mental, and emotional. I feel like most men don’t understand what some women go through during their period, or they don’t care. I hope this latter category do not have girlfriends, wives, sisters…. Many women have not problem with their period: three light days with no pain or mood changes, every thirty days like clockwork. No leaking. Of course having it at all is an inconvenience, but not much more for them. For women like me, I get seven days of bleeding. The last few are very light, but still need some kind of feminine product. I am in emotional turmoil the night before and sometimes some of the first day. Bawling crying and finding it extremely difficult to function and speak to people. Day two and sometimes day three I tend to be in agony. It also effects my bowels, given a hybrid of constipation, diarrhea, and flatulence. Between my intestines and my womb, and the feeling my vagina is going to fall out of my body, well it feels like a serious illness for 8% of my menstruation life. I have never vomited during my period, my sister has. I used to take day two of my period off school or college. Once I started working and realizing I couldn’t do that, I would sit at my desk, bent over double, popping pain pills that didn’t even scratch the surface, running to the bathroom to try to shit, or void your bowels in an explosive agonizing burst. For some of us our assholes hurt. Ache. Nothing to do with the poop situation. It’s like God says – “Here. Have this period shit and womb cramps, and shit your pants (if your lucky).” Then – “Oh. Wait, wait, wait. I’ve another great one for the laugh. Have a pain in your butthole. Come on. It’s all in fun.” Yeah – not having fun.

I don’t know why wine and chocolate feel necessary. Or tea and chocolate if you’re me. I’d don’t know if it does anything, or maybe it’s just a distraction that makes us notice the pain a little less. I don’t know why sweat pants become necessary and a tank top. It’s just the period uniform. And couches. We have to lie sideways on couches. If we have sensitive men, then they are sometimes helpful by snuggling with us and rubbing our tummies exactly as they have been told to. Then when we tell them to get the fuck away from us, they should do so quickly. Maybe women should get one extra day off a month. We can even call it a menstruation day. Or if that’s too embarrassing for the men of the world it can be another nebulous ‘personal day’. You know periods are damn personal. Bastards. I don’t know if I mean periods are bastards or men are. Maybe both. I have my period. I can think what I fucking want!!!

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