We only have to look to nature to observe the cycle of things. The earth orbits around the sun to give us our seasons. There’s a season for planting, for harvesting, for dying. The moon cycles round the earth to give us our months. And as women, we cycle through our own process of menstruation. For much of the recent past, women have been taught to view their menstrual cycles as an inconvenience, as something to be ashamed of, as another barrier to living in a community geared toward men. As Dr. Christiane Northrup talks about in her blog post, Premenstrual Syndrome, disconnecting from your own body’s wisdom can often lead to physical and emotional discomfort.
the body speaks
So often the body is communicating with us. It’s relaying important information about emotions and psychological states of mind. In our culture we’re often too busy to slow down and take time to listen to what our bodies may be trying to tell us. Sometimes pain during sex can be an indicator that there’s difficulty in the relationship. Other times inability to sleep is connected to deep fear and anxiety that has yet to be attended to in waking life. These messages can also be present with the discomfort that can accompany a woman’s menstrual cycle.
what is my body saying?
In order to understand what your body is telling you, you need to pay attention to what it is saying. One way to begin paying attention to track your cycle and the physical symptoms and emotional experiences you encounter. You can simply keep a journal or you can use an app such as Clue: Period and Ovulation Tracker for your phone. After a few months you may begin to notice patterns in your experience that correlate with where you are in your menstrual cycle. Oftentimes women feel energetic and outgoing during the first half of their cycle and introspective and withdrawn during the second half. Understanding that this is a natural part of your cycle allows you to anticipate it, embrace it, and care for yourself rather than berate yourself for feeling “out of sorts.”
silencing the outside voices in order to listen
Unfortunately Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) have become a common occurrence for women today. Society responds to the menstrual cycle with disinterest and confusion. Women have been taught to fight through the discomfort, because “it’s just PMS.” However, it’s important to remember the body is often trying to communicate with you. Perhaps it’s time to silence the outside voice and listen to what your body is saying.
embracing the body’s wisdom
The body carries a lot of wisdom and when listened to is an ally rather than an enemy. If you experience any of the symptoms associated with PMS or PMDD, perhaps it could be helpful to consider what your body may be trying to tell you. If you think you may be suffering from PMDD talk to your gynecologist about how to track your cycle and consider seeking emotional support from a counselor.