January 15, 2020

How I Transformed my Periods: Rituals for the Highly Sensitive.

I’ve been struggling with emotionally unstable periods for as long as I can remember.

After going through multiple doctors who checked and rechecked my hormones and blood, I was diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and a hormonal imbalance.

Going on birth control that was selected specifically to even out my hormones was life-changing. I stopped experiencing bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts before my periods, knew the exact day my periods would come, and was always prepared.

Despite all the positive changes, I still had excessive mood changes and could easily hurt myself by starting a conflict with someone I care about. I’d already given up on ever feeling better during my periods when I suddenly realized I’ve been tolerating and even enjoying them without realizing it.

Coincidentally, it’d been around two months since I’d started an intensive therapy and joined a weekly skills group for patients with Borderline Personality Disorder, which was designed to help us navigate our emotions and underlying issues.

As it turns out, people with personality disorders experience most of their symptoms much stronger around their periods due to high sensitivity to any hormonal changes.

No wonder I was experiencing the strongest suicidal thoughts, depressions, and mood swings exactly a week before my periods.

Navigate Through Your Mental Health

Trying to approach mindfulness as a way to cope with my deepest issues and emotions, I didn’t notice how I’d started implementing this way of living to everything in my life, including my periods.

Suddenly, I learned to appreciate this time of the month and the energy my body is releasing.

I observe everything that my body is going through, and the more I navigate through my mental health, the more I learn to understand my periods and build a healthy relationship with them.

Listening to my body shows me the beauty of my period . Just think about what your body is going through and all of the energy it’s releasing. Somehow, it feels renewing and exceptionally empowering.

I believe that our mental health has a significant impact on our periods and the way we process them. It can be a painful and emotional time of the month, but it doesn’t just come out of nowhere if you’re aware of it.

Periods make us more vulnerable and therefore highlight and let out everything we’re trying to suppress in our daily life — anger, rage, doubts about the future, insecurities, and our deepest fears, which leads to depression, conflicts, and fights.

I know that my vulnerability, at this time of the month, comes from the changes that my body is going through, so now I’m letting myself cry or feel sad, knowing that it’s not connected to my daily life, relationships, or work.

That said, I don’t panic or overthink my sadness to the point where I feel desperate and unhappy anymore, but simply observe my emotions and surround myself with comforting things instead of suppressing my feelings until they pile up and get out of control.

Cherish Yourself

Dedicate some time to observing your relationship with the outside world and find the little things to cherish in your soul and body.

Become more aware of the things that make you feel better when you most need it and surround yourself with them. Observe the smells that calm you or the materials that comfort you every time they touch your skin.

It can be a warm bath with some sea salt after a stressful day, the loose-leaf tea brewing in your cup that warms you up from the inside, or sandalwood candles on your nightstand while you’re reading your book. These little things seem so obvious, yet play a big role in our hectic daily life, and can truly recharge and comfort us when we most need it.

Make your bed in fresh linens with the smell of your favourite fabric softener, make sure you don’t schedule too many unnecessary tasks, and put on your most comfortable clothes whether or not you’re staying at home or going to work.

Being present is the only thing that matters now, so let yourself enjoy every moment of it.

Know Your Periods

Due to my hormonal imbalance, I haven’t had an established cycle for most of my life. It was hard to recognise the upcoming changes in my emotional state and to know for a fact whether something was wrong, or I was simply getting close to my periods.

Taking control of my health and going on the right birth control helped me to build up my cycle like a clock and know the exact day my periods are about to come and interfere with my mental health.

Knowing your cycle makes it easier to explore a mindful approach to your periods and be aware of the upcoming changes. You know that your work didn’t suddenly become a nightmare, instead of your passion, your friends or boyfriend are not trying to hurt you — you’ve just gotten more sensitive to these things for a while.

Closing Thoughts

Don’t try to suppress your feelings and thoughts, because there’s nothing wrong with having various emotions, especially when you’re experiencing hormonal changes.

Paying attention to your body and mind can not only improve your experience with periods but actually let you reconnect with yourself and feel the energy renewing inside of you, bringing fulfilment and harmony to your body and mind.

It might sound unrealistic, especially to those who’ve been struggling with emotional and painful periods just like me, but when you truly listen to yourself and acknowledge your emotions, you can use your vulnerability to get to know yourself on a whole new level.

Let yourself cry if you want to, let yourself take a break if you feel exhausted, but take responsibility for your actions and don’t let them hurt you.

You can always choose whether to shift the blame on someone else or focus on yourself and your needs in order to make yourself happier.

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