Would you believe it when I say that at one point, I’d barely talk about my period? That if I did, it would be in hush-hush tones, with code names, with shame, and only to a few close friends (barely even wanted to talk about it to my doctors!).
But yes- it’s true! Periods were often presented to me as taboo. Even with the episode of "Degrassi" where Emma first gets her period and changes into oversized gym shorts- and then has to present something in class and someone commented on the shorts. Well- she decided to just share the news! Which if you think about it- that’s a pretty powerful message- especially for the time. I just thought how brave- I could never share information like that.
My periods were miserable, and I kept it to myself. My periods caused chaos for my blood sugars. I kept that to myself and tried to figure out how to manage diabetes during my period.
I've always been very honest about my diabetes ever since I was diagnosed. I was always ready to educate the world around me- about diabetes in general, but also my experience with diabetes. I never held back, I was always ready to correct people and stick up for myself. However, I didn't apply a lot of this to other aspects of my life. I didn’t start being more open about my period until college. I decided to approach this like I did with diabetes. I started talking about diabetes and the impact of my period, and then I started talking about the period by itself. I really started talking about my period online and publicly right after college via the diabetes online community. Then when I got my new diagnoses of PCOS and endometriosis about a year ago, I started talking about it on the regular and without shame.
Being honest about diabetes taught me that it's easier to find people who get it. It taught me how to stick up for myself in a medical setting. It taught me that it might not always be A+B=C. It taught me that I might have to fine tune and try different things that work. It taught me to make sure I took care of myself. (Honesty about my diabetes really has taught me so much that I can apply to chronic illness and life!)
I don’t hold back. I won’t be quiet or talk about PCOS and endometriosis with shame. I’m going to be relentlessly open and honest about it all- just like I have always been with my diabetes. I'm going to talk about how it impacts things like my diabetes and mental health. The costs of it. How there are a lot of things going on.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a 13 year old girl adjusting to this apparent gift we get from mother nature. It doesn’t matter if you’re a medical professional trying to downplay what is going on or telling people that the main concern for women with diabetes is thyroid issues (yeah- no). It doesn’t matter if you’re a middle aged businessman or politician either (honestly- that’s where I’m going to push the conversation more).
If I hadn't shared my new diagnoses with the people around me, I wouldn't have heard from people who understood what I was going through- not just PCOS/endometriosis- but people who also had diabetes and those diagnoses. I learned tips and tricks from them- how to work with my endocrinologist- how to be kinder to myself regarding management- the fact that fertility will probably be the focus- and the fact that until things are figured out, my blood sugars would be more of a roller coaster than usual.
My new diagnoses of PCOS and endometriosis explained a lot of things to me and made diabetes and other things easier to manage. The best option for my mental health and diabetes is to not have a period. The pain and unpredictability make it incredibly difficult to plan for it and to manage it. Not having one the past several months, has made taking care of my diabetes a lot easier.
I still cannot believe I didn’t start talking opening about my period until college, but I am glad that I do now. I'm glad that I'm open about my diabetes and other chronic conditions. And I'm glad because it helped me decide to write - and self-publish - a book about my experiences with all of those conditions and my mental health.
Mindy is self-publishing an honest book about growing up with chronic illness and mental health. She wrote the content before rose-colored glasses impacted her experiences too much. To help this book get published, you can visit the crowdfunding page to learn more, back her project, and help spread the word. You can also follow Mindy on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and her blog “There’s More to the Story”.