This is a winning entry of our writing contest on ‘Periods and Mental Health’, by Namitha N

The happiness, joy and excitement in welcoming their little sunshine to the world…the mental and physical preparation in becoming a father and a mother! Kriti and Ashish were without words to describe this little piece of heaven that God had gifted them with. This was their life six months ago, but things as of now are a little bit complicated with Kriti.

Ashish is very worried about having no idea what Kriti is going through. It’s been 2 weeks since Kriti started showing abnormalities in her behavior; she is struck with mood swings often, and bursts into anger for the littlest of things. She is also unable to concentrate on anything that she is into. Ashish took it to be those common mood swing attacks that she was suffering from, as she told him that she got her first postpartum periods. Even so, it’s been three and a half weeks past, and her condition has only been growing worse.

It was then that Ashish happened to discuss Kriti’s current situation with one of his colleagues, Karan. “Ashish, I think Kriti wants someone to open up her mind to freely, maybe Pooja could help you, ” said Karan. Pooja was not only Karan’s wife but also a well known psychologist in the city. “I was confused about what to do. Thank you so much Karan, ” said Ashish, feeling relieved. “Get Kriti home tomorrow, we will see then.” The very next day, Ashish took Kriti to Karan’s home.

“Welcome Kriti and Ashish, we were waiting for you people, ”said Pooja, welcoming them warmly. By the time Ashish and Karan got into their casual conversations, Pooja enquired after Kriti’s problems. Kriti relayed her problems to Pooja, hoping she could find a solution. And then, Pooja explained to Ashish about what she had said: “Ashish, so far, I couldn’t figure out any serious mental disorders associated with Kriti, but yes, she is so tensed and stressed. I think these symptoms are associated with her periods. As we all know, she is going through one of the most critical stages of life, so her mental and physical health should be given the utmost care. I want her to be diagnosed by a gynaec as soon as possible. I will refer you to Dr. Priya, and make sure that she’s comfortable around you, ”said Pooja.

This conversation with Pooja made Ashish take things to the next level and as per her advice, they went to seek expert help from a gynecologist, Dr.Priya.

The doctor enquired about their problems. Afterwards, Kriti was asked to go through some hormonal tests. By this time, the doctor had a rough idea of what the reason was behind Kriti’s current situation and started to explain this to Ashish. “Ashish, Kriti is actually going through a very critical period in her life. She is mentally and physically evolving as a mother. But there are many barriers all along her path. I hope you are able to understand the seriousness of the situation?” she asked. “Yes doctor, I can…what is her actual problem? Is it completely curable?” he asked. Ashish was curious to know what the doctor was trying to say. “Yes, yes…I appreciate that you didn’t delay seeking expert advice on Kriti’s mental state. So let us get into the matter. Kriti is actually suffering from a hormonal disorder called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), and this is in its primary stage and is completely curable, ” the doctor explained. “What about her health, doctor?”Ashish asked.

“Physically and mentally, she has common Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms or simply what we call mood swings and related headache, bloating, severe cramps and so on but what is to be noted is that this is her first period cycle after delivery, and this may be heavier and more painful than those before pregnancy. And as she said before, at times, she is not able to withstand the pain and stress and ends up getting angry, distracted and so on. PMDD is actually a severe, often disabling extension of PMS and if not diagnosed and treated, may even end up causing depression.”

“So what are the medications to be followed?” “The greatest medicine that you can provide her with is love and care….drugs are secondary. Make her feel comfortable when speaking of menstruation and related problems.” Meanwhile, Kriti had come back with the test results. “So Kriti, how do you feel now?” “Much better, doctor,” she replied with a smile. Doctor Priya then checked the results and said, “Hmm…as I said before, her body is showing many differences from normal hormonal levels. Now Kriti, I know you are strong enough to battle this situation. Believe that you are completely fine and I will provide you with a routine that you will have to follow for the next few months.”

“Yes doctor, I will follow them as you insist,” Kriti said. “Okay. First of all, you will have to bring about a considerable change in your lifestyle from the very next day. Follow a caffeine free diet, exercise regularly, engage your body and mind in healthy activities, and also make sure to keep a diary with you in which you record your progressions, diet, daily chores and even failures as this can help you improve yourself. In addition, I will prescribe counselling sessions by a psychologist – this is necessary for you to manage stress and improve your mood. The rest of the job will be done by anti-depressants and related medicines.”

“Which means, we ourselves are the medicine for our mental and physical health. Thank you so much for explaining in detail about all these concerns doctor. I didn’t have any idea that periods can actually cause such dramatic problems in one’s life, if not properly maintained, ” said a grateful Ashish.

“That’s right, and don’t forget to share this knowledge with everyone around you. The major reason behind why periods often end up causing severe mental disorders is the lack of open and free conversations about one’s problems. There is nothing to be shy and uncomfortable about in speaking about periods. People stick to such taboos and create more problems.” “Yes doctor. We will try to spread this message as far as possible.” “That’s so kind of you. Here’s your prescription. Don’t forget to stay with Kriti during this time – she needs your help. Take care.” “Thank you, Doctor.”

And finally, Ashish is now free of all his tensions. Kriti has started showing great positive changes in her health. Ashish is always with Kriti, without letting her down, and as promised, they are trying their level best to spread positive thoughts on periods and mental health.

Author: Namitha N

Namitha is a  2nd year degree student from Palakkad, Kerala. She is an admirer of change makers and is currently into getting stigmas around her changed. Interested in reading and writing. Instagram Id: @nami_padma

Edited By: Divya Rosaline