The way I feel, it’s still real, isn’t it?
That’s what I’ve been sat here thinking for the past few hours. That these feelings brewing, bubbling, erupting, they’re not totally made up. Are they?
This month, right now in-fact, I’m feeling alone. More isolated than I’ve felt in years, when oddly I’m surrounded by more people than ever. I feel like I couldn’t possibly be loved, that everyone has a secret task to catch me out, trip me up, make me look a fool - nobody likes me and I couldn’t feel less important.
It’s about the only time I’m ever close to being called a bit ‘crazy’ - because my hormones are wreaking havoc and ‘it’s just not me’.
When actually, I think it is.
I’ve started to take note of these heightened emotions, digest them and take stock of what they might really mean. I know that being a little more sensitive just goes hand in hand with that time, but since coming off the contraceptive pill earlier this year after ten years of taking it, I feel like I’m seeing myself more clearly.
I’m learning that when this time comes around, I need to take break. Perhaps it is coincidental that everything is going wrong at once, but perhaps I shouldn't let it. If I know I find it difficult to cope in those few weeks, well then maybe I should just do less. Give myself time and not overcomplicate something I already find tricky to manage. That’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of knowing.
I'm scheduling work so that those weeks are freed up. I'm not putting too much in the diary. I’m writing down the particular emotions that stand out to me and seeing how they relate back to when I’m feeling more ‘normal’, if they’re as poignant or if I’m simply sprinkling them with extra sadness when my mind lets me.
The older I get, the more I realise it’s unhealthy to bury bad feelings. To pretend everything is okay when it isn’t. I don’t want to feel afraid to be sad, or question things that don’t seem right just because it might upset the apple cart or distort a happier view people may have of me or my life.
Sometimes I struggle to make sense of my life - and sometimes I think it's important to pay a little more attention to where our mind lets us wander when that dreaded time is looming.
No-one wants to feel sad, or alone, or worthless. But perhaps if we take note of why we're feeling the way we are, we might just learn something about ourselves.
Photography by the wonderful Alexandra Cameron
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