I Can't Stand My Period!

Girl and dog watching TV
Some girls can’t wait for the day that their first period arrives. For them, it signals a beginning of an exciting new phase of their lives. For others, however, it’s a pain, a hassle, or even a little scary. It can be confusing to have these more negative feelings when other girls seem to have an easier time adjusting to this new reality. They may even be excited about it.

There are many reasons that periods can be overwhelming. Many of us don’t like the element of surprise that can be a part of the experience. It can feel as though there is no way to predict when and where you will start bleeding, and the thought of having a “period accident” can be particularly horrifying. Most girls and women find that over time they learn to read the “signs” that indicate that their period will arrive soon, which can include mood changes, bloating, and cramping. One way to minimize the “when will it start?” anxiety is to start wearing a panty liner as soon as you notice any signs that your period is on its way.

Other girls tell me that they find their periods to be kind of disgusting. From the time we are very little, we learn to associate blood with injury and pain; it signals that something is wrong so we try to avoid it. Girls are required to change their perception of blood when they get their periods – all of a sudden, we bleed once a month or so and it is a sign that our bodies are healthy and functioning normally. Even if you’re “grossed out” at first, over time it will become less and less shocking to see that blood on your underwear or on the toilet paper. If you have a more extreme reaction, such as a phobia of blood that interferes with your daily life, it’s time to speak with a mental health professional, who will help you effectively cope with these symptoms.

Finally, it’s not unusual to feel as though having your period is just a big pain, and the thought of dealing with this on a monthly basis can be a little overwhelming. If you experience PMS symptoms, it may mean feeling moody or oversensitive – crying at the drop of a hat or yelling at everybody for no good reason – for a few days each month. You may experience physical discomfort like cramps, headaches, or bloating. And then you have to worry about making sure you have period supplies on hand at all times so you don’t have one of those super-embarrassing leaks.

The best way to manage these stresses is to develop a plan. Keep track of the timing of your periods so that you can be aware of your mood changes and take good care of yourself during those times of the month. Here are a few suggestions:

•    Take a pain killer before your cramps start so that you can minimize your pain
•    Always keep a supply of pads, tampons, or liners in your bathroom
•    Stash a few extras in your purse, car, desk or locker

Starting your period means going through a phase of physical and emotional adjustment. Some girls find this to be an exciting time, and others find it overwhelming or scary. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others if you need help in order to feel more positive about your periods. Talk to your mom, a friend, or even a mental health counselor. The good news is that, with time and patience, your periods will become a normal part of your life. You may not love “that time of the month”, but it shouldn’t interfere with living your life!
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