What PMS And My Period Does To My Depression

WASH logoEditor’s Note: This post is a part of #NoMoreLimits, a campaign by WASH United and Youth Ki Awaaz to break the silence on menstrual hygiene. If you'd like to become a menstrual hygiene champion, share your story on any one of these 5 themes here.

I am writing this while on my period. The last few days, I have spiralled almost out of control – I have cried incessantly, with thoughts of me being absolutely worthless. My PMS is more like a pre-menstrual monster – and my feelings are its prey. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and anxiety earlier this year, but I know I have been suffering for over a year now. Each time before my period, the antidepressants fail, the sleep vanishes and the crying comes in – full blown.

I laugh at myself sometimes — how did I allow myself to become this person? This person who says ridiculous “poor me” things to her friends, is angry all the time, almost cancels an important trip, wants to run away from home…

I wonder – how does my mind have so much control over myself? People say they miss the ‘old me’. I have no recollection of the ‘old me’. I am who I am – broken, damaged, emotionally scarred – this is me. There is no old and there is no new. The present me is impulsive, and while PMSing, even more so.

My doctor says it’s a hormonal imbalance, a chemical imbalance that’s not in my control. How does one explain that to the people I have hurt, and to the guilt I feel? I need a mountain of validation to survive nowadays. “You are smart, Lipi”, “You are needed”, “You are entrepreneurial”, “You are a good friend”, “Heck, you are my best friend”. What made it become so bad? There is anger, there is frustration, there is a vast emptiness inside of me that I am getting restless to fill.

Sometimes, books help fill the void.

Last night, I cried myself to sleep while loudly telling myself, “You are bigger than your depression, you are deeper than these tears, you will get out of it.” When things are at their worst, I try and be more compassionate towards myself. My sister tells me, “Instead of why and how, ask ‘what’. What is making me feel so sad, instead of why am I always so sad?”

You know, I have read countless stories on mental health, I have met and interviewed people with mental illnesses, but today, when I am suffering, when I am speaking out, I realise the value of self-compassion. Self-compassion is understanding that my period makes me volatile and impetuous, it is understanding that PMS makes me feel like I am worthless, like I don’t deserve love.

This is a real as hell feeling — dark but real. Self-compassion is about really understanding that you don’t need to be rich or successful or have a partner or a great job to be happy. It’s about living in the present and trying to let go of the guilt of the past and the anxiety of the future.

As I bleed through my vagina, I also bleed mentally. Every month — non-stop. I want to break the silence around how real the connection between PMS, menstruation and depression is, and my heart goes out to the thousands of women who go through self-hatred every month for no fault of their own.

Through this post, I also want to apologise to the friends I distanced myself from because I had no words to say; to the work and the boss I was so unfair to, because I only cared about fear and validation; to the family who stood by me but whose value I didn’t realise until it was too late; to the books and the music and the adventures that went untouched because I was too sad…

I am trying to get better — I am trying to become a better person. I don’t know how long this recovery will take — but hey, my period is getting over soon! And to end this supremely dukhi post on a different note, cheers to self-compassion and to the last time (June 2017), when I felt truly happy. I conquered the mountain in this photo, I’m looking forward to winning over the mountain of my mind too. Here’s to climbing upwards.

Selfie maine le li aaj ⬇⬇

Let's ensure that no girl is limited by something as natural and normal as her period by making menstrual hygiene education compulsory in schools.

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A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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