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Periods and the pandemic

Firstly, I’m aware the title of this piece sounds like an indie band from the noughties, I can totally hear myself saying ‘let’s check out periods and the pandemic on the NME stage’ at a festival.

Secondly, I know people get embarrassed talking about periods and menstrual cycles, you know, that thing none of us would be here without. People by and large do not want to talk about them, but I don’t care, I need to get this off my chest.

So, anyone else finding their cycle, PMS and the whole period business a complete nightmare during this? Is it in my head or are other people finding all those lovely ‘period problems’ to be much worse, in the middle of a lockdown? Please, tell me I’m not alone in this. 

I should point out I’m not exactly blessed when it comes to pms or period problems anyway but the past few months seems to have been much worse. For a kick-off it feels like 30 seconds in between each period, which is odd considering a month feels about 10 years long at the moment.

Here’s what I’ve found.

My boobs hurt.

Like, really hurt, for about three weeks out of the month. They’re tender, swollen and bigger.  Somewhere 14-year-old me is thrilled at actually having boobs. 34-year-old me wants to go for a run – actually that’s not true, I just want to be able to run upstairs without having my arms crossing my chest. It does not matter what bra I put on, the act of going up and down stairs is causing me problems. This isn’t a new period problem for me, I’m just pretty sure it only bothered me a few days a month, not the majority of it.

Sugar cravings.

I’m outing myself here, I’m not a massive chocolate fan, I’d rather have a giant salt vinegar disco than an Easter egg.  At the minute, in the days leading up to my period I could quite happily eat my way through a warehouse full of Lion bars, swiftly followed by the contents of a Toffee Crisp factory. I’d never really got the whole period equals chocolate thing before, now I’m mainlining it, maybe it’s a result of there being nothing else to do apart from eat. The real kicker is that the NEED for sugar, doesn’t help with the next problem….

Period Pain.

I might as well have a hot water bottle surgically attached to me. Make that two, one for the relentless cramps and another for the back pain. This one is a real arse, it taunts you for a few days before hand, creeping up on you with the odd ache here and there before hitting like a comet crashing to earth, draining any energy I have, making me want to sleep even more than usual. 

Period pain has always been an issue for me. I had a car crash over a year ago, it wasn’t a bad at all, but a few days later I had back ache and thought I’d done some serious damage to myself in the minor bump. Instead I got a ‘surprise’ period that afternoon and the cramps started, I’d rather have done some serious damage to myself in the accident. Normally, life dictates that I just have to put my big girl pants on and get on with it, eat a few bananas and forget about the pain. Hard to do that when you’re sat at home.

I know all the advice is exercise, it’ll help, sit ups help. The adverts for Tampax and Bodyform show us that we can go skydiving, water skiing and roller blading – fuck off, I want to stay on the settee, in my dressing gown, with my hot water bottles, feeling sorry for myself.

Moods…

Oh, the moods. I know this is worse because of lockdown. I am the epitome of bad tempered and irrational. I hold my hands up. Let’s take this week as an example.

I had a very weird Monday morning. I was awoken at 3:00am (40 minutes before my alarm I might add) by what sounded like a possessed cat wailing. The noise outside just did not stop. It turned out a badger was attacking a hedgehog on my doorstep – the hedgehog was screaming, who knew they made noise? Anyway, I was furious that said hedgehog had woken me up and still wouldn’t shut up, never mind the fact something was trying to eat it. 10 minutes later, instead of furious, I was irrationally upset at how cruel nature is and worried Neil (the name given to the hedgehog) was going to die from his wounds in the box he was now recovering in before I got home from work – he didn’t thank God.

Then someone told me that another office wasn’t expecting to have everyone back in as normal until February and I swear it took every inch of my being not to throw myself on the floor and cry at the thought of this weird half living, limbo going on for another 8 months.

Other things that have provoked an extreme reaction…Charlotte sending me a video of my Goddaughter saying, ‘dolly Sarah’ (she’s named her doll after me) I welled up and I wanted to give her a cuddle. Running out of milk – apoplectic with rage; an order I’ve been waiting weeks for is delayed again – frustration; watching Normal People – complete emotional breakdown and ALL the feelings; banging my knee on the desk – ‘why God, why?’. All ridiculously extreme and massively over the top, I know this, but I’m completely unable to contain my mood and when I’m not going from zero to a hundred on the rage metre, I’m just flat and tired. 

I know I’m probably like this every month, the point is it’s heightened by the general lack of control in life. There’s no escaping or ignoring period problems, mine probably aren’t any worse than usual, just more noticeable.

I feel much better for ranting – thank you 🙂

radiosarahc View All

Journalist, writer, traveller, music lover, collector of hats, news addict, bookworm

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