Happy snowy Saturday folks! This one will be a brutally honest chat about female stuff. I am unsure why something that’s completely natural (sort of…my endocrinology professor had a lot to say about this but for our purposes….) and happens to roughly 50% of the population is such a taboo subject, but I’m kind of over that. Life would be easier if we weren’t all desperately trying to pretend your oven’s cleaning cycle is this hideous, disgusting thing that couldn’t POSSIBLY be happening.
If you’re wondering why in the world anyone would bring up such a massive turn off of a conversation starter there are a few reasons. 1. My oven just finished up with its self-cleaning cycle and I’m still a little bitter about it. 2. A friend of mine sent me a link to an article that made my brain juice start pumping. 3. I am seriously bamboozled at the fact even hinting about a menstrual cycle makes everyone cringe.
Things I think should be discussed.
- Birth control and the fact it can make you lose your mind.
- PMS can also make you lose your mind.
- Neither of those is fun.
- Thinx is the best thing I’ve ever bought. Seriously.
- Maybe, if we weren’t all annoyingly prudish we would save others a ton of misery. And money.
The first time I tried birth control I didn’t think anything of it. I had horrible skin, my cycles were miserable, and that’s what you did when you didn’t want to have a kid. There was talk about the fact I would probably gain weight, but when you gain weight just smelling food you kind of assume you will gain weight when you take anything. On the upside, my cycle might be more regulated, less of a burden, and less painful. All of that sounded like the cat’s pajamas.
I have a weird habit every time I cycle. I decide that whatever relationships I’m in (romantic for the most part, but I’ll aim at friendships or family in a pinch) are falling apart and we should probably go our separate ways. Even knowing I have that tendency I am convinced, every single stupid month, that things are going horrible and everyone hates me and I should just move into a broken down car under an overpass somewhere and wait for death. It’s super dramatic. And not without logic, I am not completely irrational, there’s enough truth in it to make it feel completely justified. I take small, normal issues and magnify them and obsess about them until I can’t stand myself. Now, to be completely fair, I have been in some pretty shitty relationships. I am extremely lucky in friends; I’m extremely stupid in romantic affairs. It’s a balance of sorts. So there were plenty of times I was absolutely right to be dead serious about trying to get out of relationships. But as soon as the storm passes, I just go back to the same old and the entire thing cruises on autopilot until my hormones go wonk again. All that to say, sometimes I’m right, but the trigger to the extremes is always my cycle. I hoped the birth control would ease the hideously strong cramps and the bizarre need to completely melt down every single month. It’s exhausting knowing you’re not really “you” and even though you know it will pass, the highs and lows and emotional roller coaster is exhausting. This gives me an extremely high amount of empathy for those with any sort of mental disorder. Fighting like hell just to be yourself is the worst. I’m lucky that I only have to do it ¼ of the month. Full time would take strength I’m not 100% sure I have.
Fast forward a few months. I’m regular like clockwork, but everything in my mind is muted. I don’t care about anything. At all. I’m sad but it’s like I’m experiencing it through a filter. Nothing dramatic, not yet. Just this muted hopelessness. I didn’t notice any of that. I was just doing the usual, going to work, going home, trying to pretend I wasn’t in the worst relationship in the world, pretend everything is okay, etc.
All of that seems like red flags now, but then it didn’t even strike me as abnormal. It happened so slowly. I just got used to the fog. I was considering the best speed to drive my truck into a tree when I realized something was wrong. I was too numb to be very worried, but it sidetracked me enough to distract me from the tree. I didn’t actually have any thought about suicide, I just found myself aiming toward the tree with no emotion aside from very mild curiosity.
A lovely friend sent me a link to an article about a woman who went for years thinking her mental disorder was her own, only to find out decades later that it was the birth control. I stopped taking the pills the same day I almost played tag with a large pine. I woke up, surfaced from the fog, and refused to touch them after that. It breaks my heart that years of emotional anguish could have been spared the author if she’d known. I wonder how many teenage girls and young women are diagnosed with disorders brought on by birth control.
The same friend also sent me a link to an article about male birth control studies being canceled because of the side effects. The same side effects that are widely considered acceptable/minimal for women to live with their entire reproductive lives. Life is rich sometimes.
I am too scared to get the arm implant. Any systemic hormonal change worries me. It’s such an insidious change I am scared I won’t notice that I’m losing myself again. Not until it’s a bigger problem than I’m equipped to deal with. And I don’t fancy digging an implant out of my own arm in a panic.
Another fun part of hormonal mayhem is migraines. A few years ago I was to the point of having debilitating migraines every month. Horrible pain in your think-melon and your back (I rarely get typical gut pains, my cramps almost always scream through my lower back) make for not much fun at all. When I spoke with my doctor he mentioned an implant placed in the uterus to avoid the systemic hormone implications. It would last for 5 years, minimize the migraines and cramps, and might even make the whole kit and caboodle go away! Oh, say it ain’t so! Sign me up! Notice, I wasn’t worried about procreation, birth control can be used to treat a wide variety of issues. Some of us are going to be hormonally challenged no matter what. And despite my concerns about the impact on mental health, I am not in any way saying birth control is a bad thing. It’s not. It’s a total game changer. I’m just concerned about the side effects. For most people they are minimal. For folks like me, they are subtle but incredibly impactful. Mental disorders are not socially acceptable on the best days, for girls and women in the prime age to develop/manifest mental disorders, how often is the birth control even mentioned as a possible contributor? Maybe it is, all the time, and because I didn’t seek help for my depression I just don’t know. I hope that’s the case.
Anywhooooooozle, let’s talk about the fun stuff for a bit. Thinx! Or whatever brand, that just happens to be the brand I’ve used. I am so very sorry I didn’t try them sooner. I wish I’d had them from the time I started this whole stupid business. I’m still a faithful disciple of the mind frame we should just lay eggs and have the whole process be simple and less messy. Alas, messy is just how things go. And for those of us with ovens who clean with gusto, hideously embarrassing leaks are part of life. Pads are gross and unreliable. Tampons are impossible for me and have health risks of their own. Not to mention the cost associated with buying these products like clockwork. And if you have any of a miasma of health issues that create extremely heavy cycles for long durations, those costs add up.
I’d seen ads for Thinx online and was pretty sure it was a gimmick. No way could something that awesome exist. It was too good to hope for. So I ignored it. For years. But I read every article about someone trying them, all the reviews, etc. One particularly horrible cycle I decided to buy one pair just on the off chance they even sort of work. I have never been so excited about a pair of underwear in my life.
I love them. LOVE THEM. At the time I worked retail and was on my feet constantly, working the floor, unloading trucks, ordering product, whatever. I couldn’t take bathroom breaks all the time. It was like a new lease on life to be able to sleep all night during that “time of the month” and not be extremely uncomfortable in a mini-diaper nor having to soak and wash the bedclothes. I washed them and took them to work, to try them out on a truck night and see how they handled it. It was fantastic. I wasn’t, again, uncomfortable in a thick, cumbersome pad. I also didn’t have to try and sneak off to the bathroom concealing a giant pad. No one could tell anything was going on at all. I wasn’t uncomfortable or nervous about leaks. I could completely forget I was cycling. Which was miraculous.
Since that point, I’ve staggered purchases of Thinx until I have several pairs and can just use that and it is such a wonderful purchase. I wish I’d had access to these when I was a child (yes, that’s right, I started cycling at 9 and that’s super ridiculous). These are fantastic for young women to avoid embarrassment at school. These are perfect for women at work, whatever that work may be. These hold up to abuse, they are well worth the money you spend on them, and they’re comfortable. If you are a chick, or know a chick, or parented a chick, or may do so in the future, keep these in mind! They are the best purchase I’ve made, like, bar none. We spend much too much of our lives just trying to get through the not-at-all-fun experience of menstruation, these make it easier. Get them! BTW, just in case anyone wonders, I am not in cahoots with Thinx (although I totally would be if they’d let me be!). They don’t pay me, I bought everything at full price, etc. I just love them. Especially for women with really ridiculous ovens.
So, that’s all I’ve really got on this at the moment. If you have questions about Thinx, no matter how nitty gritty (I tried to not be in any way offensive with this…which is hard because I’m naturally offensive), ask them! I am a crazy Avon lady with these things, I’ll discuss at length and in great detail should anyone want it!