Hi! I’m a toilet cleaner working in a college, and I am here to tell you all about how my job is affecting my mental health.
It is my duty to clean toilets every day, to keep them clean and tidy. Since the past many days, while cleaning girls’ toilets, I have been observing that used sanitary napkins are not being disposed the way it has to be.
They lie on the floors without being wrapped with a newspaper or any paper or cover of any sort. Sometimes, they are found on the toilet seats and not surprisingly, sometimes even inside the commode.
I see this; I see at least two pads which are used, being disposed in an unhygienic manner everyday even though dustbins are very much available.
Well! As I told you in the beginning of my story, it’s my duty to keep the toilets clean. I have to sweep the floor on which used pads will be lying without being wrapped and I then throw them in dustbins.
I have even picked them up with my own hands and disposed of them. The pain of cleaning all this is unbearable.
Every day after cleaning them – I’m not able to eat my food, I feel like puking,
I get a headache,
I scold myself for being in this position,
I feel sorry for myself and my poor economic status,
I cry often,
I feel helpless, disgusted, annoyed, irritated and stressed.
It is not only affecting my physical health, but also my mental health.
Girls, Please be sensible. Don’t you think it’s your responsibility to take care of your belongings? Just like how you safeguard your handbags, mobile phones, money and more, it is similarly your duty to be liable for your biological waste.
It is not only about your health, it’s about my health and our environment that also needs to be taken care of and given due sensitivity.
The best way to honour sad stories is to simply present them as such (Christianity Today 2000).
“Periods Through the Eyes of a Toilet Cleaner” is a true, sad story about a middle-aged and poor toilet cleaner whose duty it is to clean girls toilets every day in a degree college. She came up to me and told me her story and even requested me to educate girls regarding the hygienic ways of sanitary napkin disposal.
Every day while cleaning the toilets she used to see that the used pads were being thrown haphazardly on the floors, on the toilets seats and even inside the commode. Because her duty demanded her to keep the toilets clean and tidy, she had to clean all of them.
Even to this day, she sweeps them and has even picked them up with her own hands, throwing them in the dustbins by herself. She sits near the entrance of the toilet every day and tells each and every girl who enters the toilet to dispose their sanitary pads properly. All of these have made her weak, both physically and mentally.
Therefore, through this story I would like to request all the girls using toilets to change pads during periods, to dispose them in a proper, hygienic way. It might be disgusting for people who are responsible for cleaning them and also for others who may have to use the same toilet later. It may even lead to the spread of infections and disturbs both the physical and mental functioning of service providers.
Let all of us be sensitive, sensible and responsible for our belongings, and respecting of other people’s services to us. Most of the time, we focus on the physical and mental health of the girl who is menstruating and give lesser importance to the health (physical and mental) of the ones who are responsible for collecting our waste and keeping our environment neat, clean and safe. So let us be considerate and responsible for our behaviour.
Author: Megha S. Rao
Megha is a Psychology lecturer. She has worked as a life-skills trainer in different schools. Being a woman, she feels that it’s her duty to reach out to larger group of people regarding menstruation and its effects on the body as well as how irresponsible behaviour effects the environment. Megha believes in being considerate and responsible for one’s own behaviour, and often uses such themes in her writing.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/meghas.rao.77
Edited By: Divya Rosaline