Quarantine Diaries #5 – Being on My Period Does NOT Invalidate My Emotions

By: Mariam El Naggar

I lost a chocolate bar yesterday. In normal circumstances, I would’ve just found another one. But in the strange condition self-isolation has left me in, not being able to eat my chocolate was enough to make me burst into tears. It definitely wasn’t the first time I cried that day, having sobbed into my pillow after watching The Pursuit of Happyness and at the sound of my brother’s voice over facetime. I’ve become accustomed to the unstable emotional state quarantine has left me in. But I’m not just sad, I’m also a lot angrier than usual.

I’m frustrated with my family members.

I’m fed up with zoom calls.

I’m mad at the government response towards the virus.

I’m pissed at the people not wearing masks. 

I’m pissed that there’s a reason to wear them at all.

And I’m sad thinking of the life I once had. 

I know I’m not the only one feeling this way and what’s happening right now is a lot to digest. Me being angrier or sadder than usual is an unconscious attempt at gaining control in what seems like the most uncontrollable situation ever. But for us girls, sadly, it doesn’t stop there. In the middle of all that shit, you have to deal with your period and all its emotional baggage. Random outbursts of emotion as a result of quarantine suddenly become fueled by hormonal fluctuation. 

You’d think that having such drastic hormone changes would mean people would acknowledge your emotions and provide you with support. But for some reason, many of us have become accustomed to “oh, she’s on her period” – as though that’s a reason to bluntly dismiss the way I’m feeling. Hearing that infuriating phrase is just the cherry on top of the shitty sundae 2020 has been. 

The stigma surrounding female menstruation is far from new but it’s gotten to the point where I’m not allowed to be expressive all the time, and when I am it’s only because I’m not on my period. And even when I’m not on my period I’m still hearing the “why are you so emotional, are you on your period?” As though being on my period would make my emotions invalid.

Yes, being on my period makes my emotions heightened. Yes, I may not be in the best mental state during this time. But NO, the way I am feeling is not unjustified. And NO, you may not dismiss my expression of those feelings because of my period. The way I’m feeling is still real. My response may be stronger due to my hormones, but this in no way means they should be disrespected or put aside. 

I’ll never quite understand how the hormone cycles of half the population have become a flippant dismissal for emotion? And frankly, I shouldn’t have to try to. Wanting people to acknowledge and support the way I feel shouldn’t be a desire; it’s an essential right.

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