9 Things Only People With Proper Period Pain Understand

You will be sick with pain. A lot.

Things Only People With Proper Period Pain Understand

by Rhiannon Evans |
Published on

There’s nothing quite like meeting someone who understands what it’s like to go through real, proper period pains… a genuine wash of relief that comes over you when you realise that someone else truly understands what it’s like not to be able to stand because your whole body is shaking with the pain of your lower abdomen. ‘I once took eight painkillers and nothing happened!’ ‘I used to vomit it was so painful!’ you shout at each other, like long-lost soul sisters.

Because, not to diminish the pain that anyone goes through during their time of the month, there is a difference between the kind of cramps that’ll disappear with a casual paracetamol and the type that stop you going to work, not so you can curlup on the couch with a boxset and some choccy, hun, but because your face is buried in a pillow ready to receive screams.

So, in case any of you out there need some validation for your pain, here are some things only proper-period-pain-getters like you, will understand.

1. Paracetamol is about as much use as rice paper

Don’t even COME at me with a paracetamol on that agonising first morning. A couple of 18p paras aren’t going to do anything for this kind of pain. ­ It’s insulting. Do I look like I’ve got a touch of a headache coming on? Only if you’re offering them to me in the same hand as a couple of ibuprofen at the same time, are you forgiven (take pills responsibly kids).

2. Medicating yourself is a fine art

The day I found out you could take two paracetamol and two iburprofen at the same time, was one of slight mercy. This lovely combination, after a couple of hours hugging in the foetal position, can start (I always find, after coming around from a drowsy nap) to bring some relief. But there are also dangers. Obviously you are NOT up for eating, so many a time, I’ve woken up, crawled out of bed and swallowed a load of pills within six minutes of getting on the tube in my baggiest clothes. Only to start feeling really, really sick.

I once had to stop and vomit in a secret cupboard in Stockwell Tube station. Doubled over, sat on a paint can while staring into a sink I presume was usually reserved for the mop bucket’s dirty remains as a nervous TFL workedr looked on, was a definite low point. And then you’ve lost your bloody painkillers and you aren’t sure if you can take anymore. Nightmare.

3. You can be sick with pain

I have to admit, I’m mostly past this now, but at least once a month as a teenager I would just sit in the bathroom curled up in increasingly bizarre positions, occasionally vomiting, mum occasionally sympathetically knocking on the door while my poor lovely Dad sat downstairs pretending there was nothing wrong when I emerged and walked downstairs, doubled over hours later.

In fear of vomming, I’d opt not to take the painkillers for as long as I could… which made the pain even worse.

4. Nobody should touch you

At all. Everyone will describe their pain differently… for me, it genuinely feels like someone is occasionally stabbing me in the stomach and then pulling, really hard, down. Back pains rarely come for me, which is nice.

But no matter how your pain manifests, nobody should be touching you… a stroke on the back, a cuddle, a well meant pat on the back ­ nothing is going to help and in fact just seems to make things worse, especially as you have to snap at someone and then feel bad.

5. There are three positions, max, that will bring you comfort

Why does stuffing the duvet into my stomach, wrapping my legs around it and tensing really, really hard combined with opening every window in the house until it’s at below freezing help? I don’t know, but it does. And if you find any position that brings you comfort, you should stick to it, no matter how weird you look.

6. YOU ARE NOT HUNGOVER… even though you look it.

Having taken two hours off work last week with a round of severe cramps, I stumbled to the Tube station and blessedly managed to find a seat, what with it being mid-morning. Stuffing my bag into my stomach, I doubled myself over, and hung my head with my hair resolutely sticking to my increasingly sweaty head. Looking up to check the stop, I realised a few people were giving me judgy looks. Suddenly I saw myself from the outside ­pallid, looking vomitous and doubled over pouring with sweat ­ and realised they thought I was horrendously hungover. On a Monday. Well a) there’s nothing wrong with that, and b) next time you see someone looking like that, don’t always assume it’s because of Jager.

7. YOU ARE NOT HUNGOVER… even though your boss might think you are

You come into work displaying all the symptoms above ­ the boss looks at you suspiciously and you want to shout in their face I AM IN PAIN. You come into work a couple of hours after calling in, writhing in pain, looking a bit sheepish ­ the boss looks at you suspiciously. You can medicate and pray, and a few hours later, feel suitable to come into work. Not great, but suitable. And then the next morning, have the same problem again. It is a thing. Once, on my actual school report (that I think people might dig up one day if I become Prime Minister) my Geography teacher complained, because I’d had to walk, well crawl, out of her class with killer cramps to take up residence in sick bay. A few hours later, she wrote, she’d seen me walking into another class. Actual school report. And I got an A at A Level, btw. Hardly a skiver. God forbid modern drugs might actually have some effect on you, and you try and go about your day, hey?

8. There should be ‘Period Cramps on Board’ badges for public transport

On the day of The Stockwell Vomming, I spent the stops before my time in the cupboard wondering constantly ­ was it OK to ask someone if I could sit down, what I would say, would I have to tell them I was on my period, should I ask a woman etc etc? A badge would make all of this easier.

9. No-one takes you that seriously, not even doctors

You may feel like you’re being stabbed, but there’s no wound unfortunately for everyone to see. And since loads of jokers have used period pain as an excuse to get out of PE/have a duvet day/take a nap, you’re likely to get a bit of an eye roll when you talk about your cramps especially if, like me, you’ve probably been telling your friends about it for more than 15 years.

It also says something that most months since I was a young teen, I’ve been suffering this kind of pain and no doctor has ever really taken me seriously enough to do anything about it that has helped, which is a nice feeling. For now let’s just all help sales of ibuprofen skyrocket, I guess.

Like this? Then you may also be interested in:

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Let's All Get Over Being Ashamed Of Our Periods Shall We?

Follow Rhiannon on Twitter @rhiannonev

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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