By Petra Andersson
This is an easy one for me. Sure, I would miss the possibility to quickly transfer money from my savings account (hello student life) but the app I can’t be without is Period tracker – an app I recommend everyone with a uterus. I first downloaded it in 2014 after recommendations from my friends. I was sceptical, but it only took me three months to pinpoint what that sudden despair that I’d experienced once in a while ever since my early teenage years was – PMS.
PMS is of course, like the rest of the menstruation cycle, stigmatised and something we never really talk about. PMS is for weak whiny women who make life miserable for everyone else – it’s the modern form of hysteria. We usually talk about third world countries when it comes to the stigmatisation of periods, but the stigma is still very much alive here in the west. I didn’t know anything about menstruation until I turned eleven, and by that time some girls have already started bleeding. Young girls still wake up in 2018 and think they’re dying because no one has told them what menstruation is.
This is such a shame because talking openly about menstruation, PMS and endometriosis (which can be lethal) would have saved me, and many others, from a lot of confusion and pain. I can still remember how my mood as a 13/14-year-old dropped to misery. I felt lonely and confused and tried to reflect on my life for hours to figure out what was wrong. I became more and more desperate, but no matter how much I tried I never found a solution.
There’s nothing more horrible than the feeling that everything is wrong, but not be able to understand why.
I never told my friends or parents because puberty was supposed to be a rollercoaster of emotions. But this felt more severe. Sometimes it lasted for a couple of hours, sometimes a couple of days. It happened often enough to be noticeable, but it was too long apart to recognise the pattern. These mood swings made me think that something was wrong with my hypophysis in my early 20s since my puberty never seemed to end.
My mood still swings once a month between everything from a slightly bad day to minor-depressions. How low I feel depends a lot on my current mood and overall well- being. If I’m low the PMS hits me harder than when my mind is in a more cheerful state. Either way, it becomes much easier to handle when I know why I feel bad, and also know that it’ll pass. However, I still forget every once in a while.
This week has been rough – I’ve been sick for most of it and the brief that I put a lot of time, tears and effort into failed miserably. I cried on Thursday night, felt horrible on Friday and cried several times during Saturday. In the evening I checked my app – 8 days before my period. The worst day of my menstruation cycle. But knowing made it much easier to handle, and to be kinder to myself. Today I feel comforted to know that I’ll soon reach my second day of bleeding – the day when the hormone levels will be at their lowest.
Things are slowly changing, and I hope that more and more women will feel comfortable to speak up and that more parents (that includes fathers) will start talking about
menstruation from an early age with their children of all sexes and genders. If you want to support my passion project and end the stigma by flaunting a pair of pants with hand- embroidered bloodstains, then please let me know.