The life before and the life after puberty for a woman is so different isn't it ? That one day when you shouted from the washroom ,"Mom I guess I'm dying , there's blood in my pee !" and your mother laughed out loud ! "You are a woman now sweet heart!". The hard times starts now! I will always remember the day after which my life completely changed and took a drastic turn. I was ten years old when I menstruated for the first time . The days, the months, the years which followed after that were not good for me. I was one of the many teenage girls who got diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) right after it started and now newly added endometriosis (an often painful disorder in which tissue similar the endometrium lining the uterus — grows outside the uterus). The pain, the anxiety, the uneasiness , the inability to explain the problem that you are going through to people who have no idea about it or have never gone through the same, all of it was too much for a eleven year old. Majority of my friends didn't have their cycle back then , I was probably the first one in my group, I started gaining weight and puberty hit me really fast right after I started menstruating. I could feel that the sudden prominent changes in my body made people look at me differently. There were many days where I had to skip classes in school and run down to the matron's room for some rest due to extreme cramps. I could sense the curiosity growing around me. "What's wrong with her?" ,"Is she alright? Is she dying ?" And by that time my very Indian upbringing had taught me not to discuss much about the "P" word openly. I couldn't talk about my pain with anyone , neither could I share the deep fear that grasped over me after my eleven year old self had learnt that I had cysts in my ovary. I was missing school, distancing myself from my friends, not attending dance classes quite often and I was hating every bit of it. I hoped and hoped and hoped that it would get better with time but it didn’t. For the last thirteen years I couldn't get myself accustomed to the "habit" of painful irregular periods and it's various added issues. All I knew is life had changed for me from that very day. I used to feel severely low all the time primarily because the 'not so normal, often never ending menstrual cycle' was extremely hard to cope with and affected my lifestyle gravely. The extreme sudden weight gain, the growing acnes on my face made me feel ugly. People were clearly moving away from me. From a front row performer I was gradually shifted to the back rows because I had to take pause at times, and was definitely getting visibly heavy . I was not good enough to be a front row dancer anymore and it broke me morally, the only thing I was extremely passionate about was gradually moving away from me.
All these years , from school to university, to lowering number of peers ,to growing desires in my biological clock I have always felt uneasy. My partner had basically rebuked me due to my extremely low libido and reluctance in intimacy due to this constant uneasiness and pain that I was going through all the time. The hormone pills, the contraceptives for regulating my cycle made me sick, tired, lazy, sad and most importantly severely low and anxious. I hated my body , I hated my skin, I hated everything about myself. There was a point when I was starving myself to lose weight and had stopped looking at the mirror. But after hating myself for days, falling out of a relationship, devastated and judged for my appearance over and over again, I finally realised that I need to step up and survive. The realisation dawned on me that I wouldn't ever feel comfortable around anyone, anywhere ,in any outfit or any makeup, if I am not happy with myself and accept myself the way I am. I had to give myself a chance. I couldn't let myself get disregarded for things that were beyond my control. I start feeling comfortable in my own skin, I accepted the previous problems and newly added gynaecological issues and included them in my lifestyle otherwise I would never have been able to survive. Accepting a disease that you have is important in order to get better. You are trying, you are following regular check ups, taking meds, you are trying to work out, do everything to make your health better. So that's all you can do. And the most important thing to do is accepting your body your flaws and loving yourself the way you are. A huge amount of anxiety , mood changes, helplessness, depression is involved around having gynaecological issues which is clinically stated . The side effects of the treatment pills are real. They include depression as a major side effect and everything that you are facing on top of it validates it enough. All the problems are real . And we have got to deal with them with a smile. We are special in a way aren't we? And if you're depressed just play Megan Trainor's "All about the bass" and dance to it because "every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top ". Tell people that you are in pain. Tell them that period cramps are severe and you are a strong woman to bear them all. No one can make you hate yourself if you love the way you are. Accept! But don't compromise. Your partners and peers should learn how to deal with your issues, accept that you have miserable breakdowns and mood swings. If they are not ready to deal with it, you really don't need them in your life. Fight back bullies if you want or let them go because they don’t deserve your time or energy. Always tell yourself that you are a beautiful woman. Those acne scars are your power, the cellulite cracks on your body are symbols of your fight with the pain. You'll come out as an extremely strong person after easily bearing so much of pain .And that strength makes you a beautiful woman.