Selbstliebe, schlechte Laune und Depression vor Periode

About nasty Haralds and self-love

By Susan Reznik (text) & Silja Elsener (illustration)

There are days when I actually feel pretty okay the way I am. But there are also days when I really feel terrible in all aspects. Especially in the days before my days.

Not that I wouldn't be an absolute expert at it, yes, sometimes I'm a true master in the field of self-hatred. But most of the time this condition accumulates the week before my period. Then this feeling sometimes intensifies to the maximum. Most of the time the feeling is divided into 'too little': not beautiful enough, not talented enough, not nice enough, not enough good friend, sister, daughter, granddaughter, not enough good person. Or in ‘too much’: too much for others, taking up too much space, too much weight, not being able to do too much, too many construction sites. After that I start menstruating and that feeling settles back down to an “actually I’m pretty okay” state.

Hormonal rollercoaster

Although in these moments it always feels like I'm the only person in the world who feels this way before their period, many menstruating people go through these conditions before their period. This state of self-loathing is brought to us by a roller coaster of hormones in the lead up to our next bleed. This can be scientifically explained as follows: While the hormone estrogen ensures peak performance before ovulation, the estrogen level drops in the second half of the cycle and the hormone progesterone increases. The fact that we struggle with depressive moods before our period, for some even up to two weeks before the start of menstruation, has, among other things, to do with neurotransmitters in our brain that are out of balance. Why some menstruators react so much more sensitively to it than others has still not been researched to this day.

Sure, it doesn't sound particularly romantic or spiritually enriching right now to remember that, in addition to all our being, we humans are also “just” a biological cluster of cells with many complex processes that, among other things, depend on the release and absence of certain hormones can be influenced. But sometimes this thought can also help when nothing seems to be going right and we fill every fiber of our existence with mean statements and thoughts about ourselves.

Radical self-care

So what helps against these feelings? Radical self-care. “Oh, good old self-love. If only it were that easy,” you might be thinking. Yes, I know, it sounds like a truism and unfortunately, based on my own experience, it is more difficult to implement than expected. Pimples, water retention and any bloated stomach make us feel like an immobile potato, our breasts hurt and then there's the hormonal rollercoaster. It's pretty nasty that all these symptoms after the second half of the cycle make self-care and self-love even more difficult for us.

I personally find it helpful, in moments like this, when I fall into this maelstrom and seem to drown in the maelstrom of negative thoughts, to realize that although I can and should trust my intuition, I often don't trust my thoughts either must trust. Because you probably have a lot of beautiful, creative, enriching and important thoughts in your head. But also those who lie to you really badly and take pleasure in humiliating you.

My Harald

Let's imagine these mean, hardened, prickly beliefs and thoughts as tiny, disgusting, barbed monsters dripping with toxic slime. Everyone should imagine the color and shape themselves. It's best if we give them a name. Mine's name is Harald. (Sorry to all Haralds who found themselves on this blog. I am sure you are very sweet and sweet.) In any case, this Harald is a big fat liar! He is a liar, darling! Harald wants you to be mean to yourself. Harald feeds on your insecurities and the more you listen to Harald, the bigger he becomes and the more Harald babies he brings into the world (yes, Harald can reproduce himself). Of course, they find even more of your insecurities and whisper even more mean things in your ear.

So how do we deal with this Harald and his babies? By ignoring them? Goes very badly. They are stubborn, with their barbs. Maybe by hearing them but trying not to believe them? This is often difficult for us. What helps us personally best against our Haralds during these days:

  • Do yoga with Adriene

  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing

  • Fumigate our room with sandalwood
    The balsamic scent cleanses the air and not only drives away all evil from our room, but also all evil thoughts from our head.

  • Go jogging with the Nike+ Run Club app x Headspace

  • Turn on your favorite music and dance around the room in your underwear.
    Gives us a free feeling and releases endorphins. It works. Really!

  • Drink tea and take some rest for ourselves

  • Write our thoughts out of our head
    A good trick: Without thinking, simply write down what is currently in our head on paper or on the computer. Then burn or delete it again and thereby free up some air in your head and at the same time drive away a few Haralds.

  • Work out with martial arts
    This allows us to specifically release pent-up frustrations and tensions and recharge our batteries.

  • Do a Moving Meditation with Gabrielle Roth

  • Take long walks
    We take time to clear our heads and get moving. We love walking through the forest, listening to the birds whistling and breathing in the fresh forest air.

  • Eating ice cream until you drop, preferably this one from Alnatura

  • Meet our favorite people
    This is how we distract ourselves from our negative spiral and notice that we are liked, even if we can hardly stand ourselves at the moment.

  • Deep relaxation thanks to Yoga Nidra

  • Buy flowers for ourselves and enjoy the sight of them.

  • Hugging a cat

  • Follow our desire
    We treat ourselves to whatever we feel like - whether it's food, a hot bath or simply an evening in bed. It's good not to limit ourselves. Because we know that we have special needs these days and these are allowed.

  • Apply lipstick

  • Read the book that we have wanted to read for a long time, watch an entertaining series or pick out an exciting audio book and snuggle up comfortably in bed.

  • Masturbation for an extra dose of self-love, preferably with our orgasm oil for a lot of feeling

  • Make cycle knowledge aware
    It helps us a lot to be aware of what is currently happening in our bodies. This allows us to classify and understand the circumstances much better and we no longer judge ourselves for them. We can be tired and withdraw. It's okay that we don't like ourselves or our bodies right now - we know that it's just a phase and that it will pass.

Before our period, let's try not to be meaner to ourselves, but instead give ourselves a nice hug and whisper: "You're pretty okay. Yes, actually quite good, the way you are. Just the way you are. You wonderful person.”

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