The First Day
Today is a the first day of my cycle and historically I’ve avoided writing on the first day of my cycle but today I feel like it’s okay.
For me, and many others out there, the first day is a hard day. It’s hard for me in a few different ways including physical pain but mostly because it’s a mentally low day - the result of a drop in estrogen which triggers depression. I can always tell when it’s coming because the two or three days leading up bring sudden urges to cry with absolutely no reason attached.
I’m feeling like it’s okay to write about this today because I am seeing the cycle with some clarity. Sometimes it’s really foggy and I try to attach all the reasons to the sadness. Sometimes those reasons stick really well. I blame the conflict that I had with a family member. I blame myself for not being stronger. I blame the food that I ate the day before. I blame capitalism. (I always blame capitalism.)
But today I can see that there’s no reason for the sadness, no real purpose or intention or sequence of events or life circumstances that are specifically making me feel this low. I can name it for what it is: the beginning of my period during perimenopause - an acute drop of estrogen that causes my brain to be sad, along with a host of other rather unpleasant physical symptoms to boot.
Being able to see this with some clarity means that I can remember to be gentle with myself today; don’t take on too much work, eat lots of comfort foods, don’t make any commitments, try and stay away from things that usually cause me anxiety, stress, or panic. Warn my family! Drink a lot of fluids. I think this is called self-care, although I recognize that self-care on the first day of my cycle will look a lot different than self-care on other days.
Why is it so hard to be gentle with ourselves in this way? Why the heck did it take so long for me to be able to see what is happening with my body with any level of clarity? Why don’t we talk about this shit?
Even more than these questions: why the heck can’t we make room for people to have these days and why in the world do we think we can push through them without doing further damage to ourselves?
I think back to where I was a year ago and I am so grateful to not be there anymore. I’m glad that I can hold this day as a day for rest and know that I will likely feel better tomorrow. Those long hauls are so hard.
If you are struggling, or know that the first day is coming up for you, I hope that you’re able to take the rest that you need and find the self-care that works best for you. I hope the lows pass quietly and quickly and you see them clearly without attaching blame or significance; knowing that the causes aren’t always what they seem. I send you much love and support. Go make some tea, put on some comfy clothes, watch your favourite anime, and snuggle up with your loved ones. <3