A year ago, I never would have believed I would be sharing this with you. I was in a very bad place, and I was very closed off from the world. I like to think I’ve come a long way and I want other girls and women to know that they are not alone. Even if you can’t relate, maybe you’ll get something out of this.
Now this post is mostly for the ladies. I’m going to share a breakthrough I had with my personal health that won’t really pertain to guys. I’m nervous to be writing this post, with the intention of publishing it here, but I feel strongly that someone has to. Why? Because years ago I hated how my body was changing. Because I still struggle with this. Because I never spoke up.
This is me speaking up.
Let me begin by going back a few years…ten to be exact.
Ten years ago I was 13. It was a new and exciting time in my life, and at first 13 treated me well. Then I got my first period. And felt scared, confused, and alone.
I was homeschooled, so my mom was right there. It’s only in looking back that it seems so easy. It should have been so easy to open my mouth and speak. I felt paralyzed though. And in some ways I felt like this was my burden to carry alone. There was never a lot of talk about these things in our house, especially since I’m the oldest girl. In some ways I felt I was forging the path for my sisters to follow. (Thank god that’s not true.)
The bleeding would go on and on. Ibuprofen (when I took it) didn’t do much to quell the pains of severe cramping. I felt like I was imprisoned most of the time. I was sad and scared. I remember the excitement I felt at first, and then the dread set in. I found myself preparing for days of being laid up inside.
Over time I became depressed, and along the way I also discovered tips and tricks to help cut down on the pain. They never really worked though…until one did.
I tried exercising, first to help relieve cramping, and then I became obsessed and everything started to count.
Thirteen, and counting calories burned. Counting calories consumed. Then it became a game. See how few calories I can eat, compare them to what the treadmill says I am burning, hope I come up negative.
All of the days of running and counting paid off. It felt like a good thing at the time, my dirty little secret. I was no longer becoming a woman, I was a child. Preserved at thirteen forever. But it wasn’t that simple. I couldn’t literally reverse what was happening to my body, but I could press pause. So I did.
For years and years. How silly, right? However, it’s bigger than that for me. Those months of almost incessant bleeding and pain made a huge impact on my whole being. So much so that once I realized I was controlling my body, I didn’t want to give that power up.
Of course, over time I went on autopilot. My brain knew what I wanted from it, and did what had become habitual: starvation. Starvation, deprivation, shame. I developed anorexia and a phobia of menstruating (it’s real, look it up).
For ten years my body was stuck in this sort of limbo. In some ways, my brain was too. I was consumed.
I remember running in the rain. The LED display on the treadmill. Crying because my mom was so worried about me that she wouldn’t allow me to deliver newspapers in the winter. (Thank you, mom!) So much misery.
When I began gaining weight, I knew my body was likely to pick up where I forced it to stop. And eventually, it did. This was a very rough time for me, in several ways. Coming to terms with this natural thing my body was made to do, it was hard. I panicked.
This time I reached out. I talked about this “taboo” thing, and I got help. I went on birth control to see if that would help me deal, and in some ways it has. My period still brings a sense of dread with it every time though. I have a feeling that is about to change though.
I’d heard some good things about menstrual cups, but never had cause to try one out. I was getting very frustrated with conventional hygiene methods though. So, I decided to give one a try. I chose one called “Athena cup” because the price was right, and the reviews were positive.
At first, I hated it. It ended up sitting in my bathroom, untouched. I tried using it again and got even more frustrated, so I packed it away again.
I used it a few times with good results, but I still wasn’t convinced it was for me. Then this last monthly I began using it right away.
I have never had a better period. I’m hooked. No matter what size, tampons always leak. Maxi pads too. I’ve had horrible experiences with both, and I hate them. This cup doesn’t leak, and I swear it helps with lessening cramps. I barely even knew I was on my period.
This is a huge deal for me. That’s kind of why I’m writing this blog post. I’m also writing it to help end my own personal shame. My body is not shameful. Your body is not shameful. It’s hard to put this out there, but most females are going to menstruate, and this invention is genius in my opinion.
I encourage all the women who read this to check out this profuct, or products like the Athena cup. I love it and it’s literally changed my life!
Want to read more about my menstrual cycle? I’m sure you do! Click here.