I Invited My Boyfriend To My Period Calendar To Save Our Relationship From My Premenstrual Dysmorphic Disorder

My period is worse than other women's, and it turns me into someone I don't recognize.

Selfie of happy couple Rebecca Jane Stokes | Facebook

While for some women PMS means feeling crampy and moody and being all, "I just want to stay home and watch TV and eat candy," mine is more of the "it would be really easy for me to just step directly in front of a bus right now" variety.

Forget bloating. I become legitimately clinically depressed due to a little condition, that medical science, like to call PMDD, i.e., premenstrual dysphoric disorder.


In a nutshell, my period has always sucked. Until I started taking birth control, my periods were so painful they made me throw up. For an added dose of fun, my menstrual cycle was completely irregular, so it was almost impossible for me to predict when the damn thing would arrive to torture me.

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Most people I know do what people normally do when women complain about PMS, i.e., give me well-intended but utterly useless advice.

"Lose weight!"

Yes, because it's so easy for me to lose weight and keep it off, and also that's not already a struggle of the mind, body, and spirit I've been engaged in since I was literally 7 years old. right?


"Try name-of-any-period-tracking-app-calculator-or-calendar-you-can-think-of on your phone!"

See, while I get that those kinds of calendars are helpful for women who have a monthly cycle that runs like clockwork when you're irregular like I am, you'd just drive the little computer brains inside of those apps crazy as they relentlessly hound you. "Did you get it today?... Eight days from now?... Never?!... IDFK what to tell you, babe."

Besides, it's not that I need a friendly reminder on the day my period is expected to start.

I need a bright red warning sign alerting me and those I care about when my period is officially one week away.

For approximately three weeks out of every month, my anxiety and depression are well managed with medication and therapy. Throughout the fourth week, however, everything is terrible. I see myself as a fat, unlovable monster for whom death must surely be the only possible escape.


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I've often wondered whether, if I was finally able to pinpoint when my period was coming next, I might be able to prepare myself in advance, or at the very least remind myself beforehand that no, I am not insane, I'm just one week away from my period, which means this is when I should fully expect my hormones to be unmanageable.

When I grew sufficiently frustrated about this, I finally sought help from my doctor.

She put me on birth control (praise Jesus and feminism and puppies and the Based god), which ratcheted the pain down a notch, and for the first time in my life, my period actually arrives at predictable intervals! I now know that by the time I hit the brown row of pills, I can expect it to start.


This still left me with one problem, however. I'm not a particularly observant person, nor is my memory very good.

Yes, I took my pill this morning, but I could not for the life of me tell you which color it was or how many days I have left before my mood change is likely to strike. My period is more regular now, but I still have a hard time remembering when The Darkness (as in the mental state, not the band) is going to overtake me.

Then last month, I decided to do something unbelievably simple.

I looked at my pills, figured out when I'd be a week away from my period, and added a calendar reminder for myself on my phone.

Next, I sent my boyfriend an invitation requesting his presence at the event, which I fittingly titled thusly: "Your Period Is In A Week: You Aren't Going Crazy, Hooray!"


I figured it would be kind of me to include him in this way given that throughout the year and a half we've been together I have been known to have major meltdowns during these times of the month.

And it's not just the meltdowns that are the problem. It's that I typically only realize they are period-related (and not due to some unforgivable behavior on his part) after my PMDD-induced week of irrationality has passed.

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Am I aware that in doing this I am handing him a heavily-armed weapon he could potentially use to undermine anything I say or do during one week of each month? Oh, absolutely.


But guess what? My boyfriend is evolved and he is not a douchebag, so frankly, I am much more interested in the fact that receiving this notification on a monthly basis will provide him with a helpful context that may just serve to keep our relationship from crumbling into ashes.

This first month, at least, it worked like a charm.

I've told my friends about my idea and they've certainly been intrigued. It's one thing to chart your period for yourself, but sharing that info with people in your life really is a novel idea.


If you think it might work for you, I highly recommend that you give it a try.

And if you think it will blow up your relationship and/or drain it of its sexiness, you live your life, boo. 

I'll be over here sipping margaritas and merrily whistling about knowing full well that my current feelings of self-loathing are merely chemically-induced and will be gone in a mere matter of days.

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is an editor, freelance writer, former Senior Staff Writer for YourTango, and the former Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek. Her bylines have appeared in Fatherly, Gizmodo, Yahoo Life, Jezebel, Apartment Therapy, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, SheKnows, and many others.