Dear Teenage Mindy, I Need to Talk to You About Your Period,
Hey you- yes you, teenage Mindy, from the age 13 on (and honestly into the early 20’s)-
It’s a strange time my friend. There are a lot of things going on in life and will be going on throughout your teenage years, including you period. You thought you had a complete handle on this whole diabetes thing, but then hormones said hello while pushing themselves through the door.
I wish I could tell you so much. I wish I could give you heads up. Honestly, I wish I could stop you from having to experience this so I wouldn’t have to write this letter to you.
Please keep being your weirdo self, even though you might not want to share it outloud because it adds to your not cool factor (you’ll find your people, I promise!). That’s okay! It does get better. It really does! Just like you thought and relied on the fact that it would- you were right!
Even your period gets better. It doesn’t seem like it now, but it does- when you have the answers and a way to manage it (for the most part).
There are some things you should know:
First of all, your sex education sucks and will continue to suck, but that isn’t your fault. You’ll eventually learn more in college- maybe not from the best sources. You’ll be just as empowered to learn about and talk about your period like you do with your diabetes.
As you know when you’re around 10, the acne started to the extreme and required prescriptions and you noticed the hair growth and became self-conscious. You’ll do all you can to figure out ways to hide or get rid of the hair and acne, but it feels like- and in all honesty is- a losing battle.
The weight will keep coming on once you start your period especially in the past few years of high school. You’ll become self-conscious and try off and on during high school to lose it. Especially because the weight focuses around your midsection. In college, you’ll completely change your lifestyle- significant changes. You’ll start running and eventually run half-marathons. You’ll start eating healthy (moderation of course). You’ll see the change in how much insulin you need and how you feel, but the weight won’t move to your and your endo’s confusion. Doctors will keep commenting on your weight and so will bullies. Eventually you’ll find a provider that measures the comparison with muscle mass and you’ll come to accept and feel good about yourself. Trying to lose weight was a losing a battle. Trying not to gain it becomes a constant battle.
Each month around your period, you will have nights where you just cannot sleep. You’ll be in pain- to the point where you cannot move- where you might have to miss school- where you might be hospitalized. You will feel like the world is going to end in your mind and you have complete freakouts that are uncontrollable. Even when you start anxiety and ADHD medication, this will still happen. This isn’t your fault. Also, this isn’t normal.
But knowing what is going on will take over 10 years to figure out. Finding what works to manage it for the most part will take even longer.
You see teenage Mindy, you have PCOS and endometriosis. So much of this is out of your control.
I am so sorry providers just blamed the diabetes. I am so sorry that the taboo nature and shame of your period surrounded you at the same time. But you’ll get past that and never shut up about this, just like your diabetes. I am so sorry that no one looked into this in more detail- that tests weren’t done- I am so sorry.
Being self-conscious about weight, acne, and hair growth is not what you want during the teen years. You kept trying to figure things out and find solutions, but it was a losing battle. I wish I could hug you and tell you to love yourself and your body- that there are things going on inside your body causing all of this.
Once you reach the decision to not have your period again and find a birth control that helps to make that happen and works for you, you will see the pain, freak outs, and sleep issues fade away. But due to some stressful things going on in your life, you won’t see all of the changes that happen without your period. Eventually though, right around as I’m writing to you- you’ll see some major changes.
Without your period:
You’ll become more sensitive to insulin. Then you’ll have to remind yourself to put less insulin in your pump because you aren’t using as much.
The hair growth won’t be excessive anymore even though you reached a point where you just didn’t care- mostly out of laziness.
The acne will still come around, but nothing like it was. You won’t need prescriptions or extreme routines just to have the acne still be extreme.
The weight will start falling off without any other change because unlike what some of the doctors thought- you were doing what you needed to do to be healthy. And at this point though, you’ll be slightly irritated that you need to buy new clothes. But you should know, you’ve reached a point where you are more confident and know how strong your body is. You’ll love yourself and your body.
These are things you don’t want to deal with as a teenager. I am so sorry that you had to deal with it. That you would feel judged, especially by doctors. But I want you to know it’s not your fault. It was a losing battle at the time, but you’ll see those healthy habits shine through other ways and later on. I won’t tell you to not feel that way because there are so many images around you and it’s what happens in the teen years (unfortunately).
Like you thought so much would get better, so does your period. You’ll have some bitterness towards healthcare and gender norms, rightfully so- but you’ll turn it into something constructive.
I want to stop this all from happening to you. It’s not fair. I wish I could change the past, but we don’t have time machines yet. I want you to know that you have PCOS and endometriosis. I want you to stop the periods now.
I promise it gets better- sometimes it doesn’t feel that it will- but it does. You’ll be okay. You’ll be in places and doing things you never even thought of, but it will be more than you can imagine and without a period.
Future you without a period
Hey you! Yes, you!
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