T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 107555
posted 05-22-2013 11:20 AM
I wasn't entirely sure where I was supposed to post to ask about this kind of thing, so I apologize for having posted this earlier in a thread that I later realized wasn't the right place. I'll now put it here and I hope I'm not too confusing or convoluted when it comes to this topic.
While I don't really experience any tremendous pain or cramping I have some other problems which are connected to the period. I usually just get a bit of cramping the first day, which I take no painkillers for, and I just have a cup of tea, a hot water bottle and a relaxing day. I have to admit that I have been rather desensitized to pain and that I am overly careful with painkiller because of my migraine. During high school I would get them as often as 6/7 days a week and about a quarter of those would leave me unable to do anything but crawl back into bed and shut the world out. Needless to say I took a lot of painkillers. Far too high an amount and far too often. Which is why I am now being overly careful. Sidetrack, sorry... My point is, physically I'm not too bothered about my menstruation. I bleed for about 4/5 days and I have mild cramping and pain the first day. I don't bleed excessive amounts and I have always used pads and been happy with that. I would also just like to say that I'm not grossed out by it, troubled by it or anything else in that category. My problem is (possibly?) related to the hormones and emotions that go along with it. As someone who identifies as agender I'm not particularly happy about my monthly visit in the first place, so I don't know if this is mainly a hormonal thing or it's just my own feelings on the matter. Regardless; I get kind of depressed through those four or five days. I do hesitate to use the word "depressed" as I have been through a proper depression before. A couple of them in fact. This isn't quite that bad and it does only last while the bleeding itself does. That's my main problem. The other part is that I do notice quite significant mood swings and such through the month. Exactly on the month. I have been EXTREMELY regular ever since my first time. It's always a Saturday and always a month. At least it has been for the past couple of years. It did shift a day or two to start with. So I think I can plot it down quite well if anything is related. I have a couple of days right in between the bleedings where I go into complete apathy. I still fulfill my duties, but I loose any and all will do do anything. I don't feel anything, I don't want anything, I just don't. This is extremely frustrating for me. About the week before I start bleeding I go on to have far more energy than I should and end up being rather aggressive for it. No, I don't really get angry or anything like that, I just have a tendency to make rash decisions, do things I wouldn't do otherwise and generally be an *** to everyone. Which I'm not too happy about either. I have no idea what to do about this and I honestly don't know who to ask. I will say that I have been considering surgery for the longest amount of time (since I was about 15, a couple of years after I first started) because it bothers me quite a bit as agender, but I have more or less decided to not do anything like that. Then I heard about suppressants, which might be an option for me. I do need to read more up on that and actually talk to a doctor though. I just heard about it a couple days ago. I really don't want to go around where half the time I'm either snarky and bitter or depressed and gloomy. It's not good for anyone, myself included.
Member # 3
posted 05-22-2013 11:26 AM
You know, for me, personally, I don't see menstruation as something gendered. I totally get that it IS by a lot of the world, but a) since I know plenty of people of a range of gender identifies who menstruate, b) I personally have never really attached menstruation to me gender identity and c) gender really is a social construct to me far more than something physical, with some of this, I just might not be the right person to talk to.
That said, only a healthcare provider is going to be likely to help you sort out what about menstruating that's painful or uncomfortable for you is physical and what's about your feelings. same goes for sorting out mood swings during the month and figuring out what, if anything, they have to do with your menstrual/fertility cycles. So, have you started by first talking with a healthcare provider about all of this? or any of it? If not, you could start with a general healthcare provider or an OB/GYN, whichever you prefer. Since it sounds like a lot of this is about mood changes which may or may not be related to menstruation, I'd suggest starting with a general practitioner, as it may turn out that the care/help you need is mental healthcare, not OB/GYN care or address.
Member # 107555
posted 05-23-2013 03:27 AM
Thank you for the quick reply!
While I do see your point and I can even agree to parts of it, for me it feels like once a month mother nature just punches me in the stomach to say "Hey, you're still female!" I usually use a chest binder and my clothing style is more or less neutral, but whenever I get my period that kind of messes up the image I have of myself, if that makes sense. The pain/discomfort I can live with. I have no problem with that. Apart from the regular mood swings I'm very stable and I somehow doubt that my down periods are cause only by my feelings on the matter. I have been blaming my hormones for a couple of years at least, but I'm not saying anything for certain. Maybe it's all in my head. I have talked to various people up trough the years about parts and bits of the issue. No one really seemed to take me very seriously. I talked to the school nurse several times during high school to let her know I was feeling depressed and needed help, and that it was worse once a month. That got dropped a few times until I gave up. I did talk to a healthcare provider a couple years back about not being comfortable in my own body and that I might want to do something about it. As I was "too young" and might not know what I wanted it was more or less dismissed. I have also talked to a psychologist (for three sessions) at the end of which she concluded that it was important for me not to show emotion, that I had experienced some sort of sexual trauma as a kid and had now suppressed it, and that asexuality was something I had made up so I didn't have to deal with anything. None of which I agree with. My road through this has lasted for a while and it has been rather bumpy. I have tried several times, which is why I'm feeling very uncertain about who to talk to. I have been dismissed a few times too many.
Member # 90293
posted 05-23-2013 06:29 AM
I'm sorry to hear that your concerns have been dismissed by people you trusted to listen to you. Unfortunately, there's a really pervasive idea out there that young people, particularly those in their teens, aren't to be taken seriously. This is a problem, and particularly so when someone is sharing observations and feelings around their own mind and body. For what it's worth, I think that psychologist was out of line in making such determined pronouncements after talking to you for such a short period of time. That's more about her, and about her theories and philosophies, than it is about psychologists in general. As someone who has experienced pretty significant hormone-related mood problems--significant to the point where I believed things that didn't make sense and, once the hormonal phase had passed, I knew weren't true--I can sympathize with how uncomfortable that part of what you're talking about here can be. I also know that many medical professionals are aware of, and sympathetic to, the fact that this happens for some people. I can understand your reluctance to trust medical professionals. Do you currently have a doctor or other provider you see whom you feel any level of trust with? While it's not right that this is the case, it's quite possible that you'll be taken more seriously now that you're older. This may sound a little strange, but I'm also wondering how you think it might work for you to, when it comes into your mind, to challenge the idea that your period is a mean reminder from Mother Nature that you have what many people would think of as a female body. How do you think it would work for you to try thinking about this as something annoying that happens, and that you have to manage, but that you're not obligated to attach any significance to?
Member # 3
posted 05-23-2013 08:49 AM
atypical: on the gender and menstruation issues, I wonder if checking out someone like Thomas Beatie might help?
He's a really good example of someone who clearly has thought about/thinks about his fertility and reproductive system very differently: http://definenormal.com/PregnantMan/Home.html
Member # 107555
posted 05-23-2013 06:24 PM
Heather, thank you for the link! I'll make sure to check it out and have a read.
Robin Lee, that's the impression I have gotten as well, about teens I mean. Regardless of how persistent I was it was still never take seriously. It has actually crossed my mind that it might be easier for me to go to some medical professional and not be dismissed as I'm no longer a "teen" and I have been feeling this way for several years. Thank you. I really did need to hear that. While I found the rest of it more or less ridiculous it really hurt to have a "professional" tell me that asexuality wasn't a real thing. It is very much real to me. I do have my regular practitioner. While I have only been to see him twice, just a matter of meeting up, he does seem like a doctor that actually listens. While I'm not afraid to try again I'm not entirely sure how to word myself. I'm a bit scared of ending up not having said what I wanted to say and then be misunderstood and dismissed again. Thank you for the advice. That is what I try to do most of the time. I really do see it as a nuisance more than anything. While I don't go around thinking about it constantly, when I first notice the start of it I just feel this sudden pang of sadness. I don't even think it's for a specific reason or such. I just get really down about it effective immediately. And then my mood doesn't swing back up until a few days later, at which point I kind of get annoyed with myself and my period for making me feel this way. I just want to thank you both for great advice and for listening. It really does help to be taken seriously for once.