For the uninitiated, first thing’s first: you are not uninitiated. Maybe you’ve never identified your condition as “period brain,” but trust me, you’ve experienced at least a handful of the symptoms that emerge at the helm of menstruation for at least a week every month. Unless, of course, you haven’t, which might mean you’re pregnant, so…congratulations!
The symptoms in question are occasionally revealed as relentless fatigue. No matter what time you went to bed the night before or how fulfilling and satisfying your night’s dream may have been, the following morning blows chunks of disappointment.
Often, too, these symptoms are presented as inexplicable anger. I’ve been known to bang my head against a wooden surface should I come to learn I forgot to buy paper towels.
Or you might not. You might simply face the most acute of your period’s symptoms and for a week every month feel stupid. Hugely idiotic. There is a bright side though, and that is the satisfaction that comes with finally realizing that you are not dumbing down with age or because you watch too much Bravo TV. Your brain — the matter on which your opinions and therefore identity is founded — is simply in a temporary (keyword, people) prison cell being run by your ovaries.
But then again, understanding that doesn’t make it go away. I’ve been suffering period brain for as long as my eggs have been dropping and as far as I can remember, I all but waltzed through the walls of my education, tampon in tow. Today, I near contemplate suicide during that one nefarious week when I stare my computer in the face and it blankly stares back and we have nothing to exchange. No. Thing.
I have, as a result, committed myself to combatting period brain and these five methods are the ones I am trying.
1. Read stuff you probably wouldn’t read if you were just trying to relax. Like Dostoevsky. Just kidding — but try a news publication that might be denser than what you’re used to. I like to think this will force your mind to start breaking out of the aforementioned jail cell and formulate new opinions that are informed and temporal, thus making your conversations better.
2. Hang out with smart people. Talk to them. This will challenge you to process their inflections and likely even retort where necessary because it’s rude to remain silent if someone asks you a question.
3. Listen to NPR. Or Oh Boy. Or Monocycle. My friend Lara is really good at passing along the most valuable of the This American Life loot. If you give me your e-mail address, I will see to it that you and lady menses over there are placed on this e-mail chain.
4. Listen to NPR while you’re exercising. You won’t feel the burn as saliently and you’ll probably start enunciating your words better.
5. Just exercise. It releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy so even if this doesn’t aid your period brain, at least you’ll be too happy to feel dumb. It’s true what they say, you know? That ignorance is bliss.
Also, though, I once saw a diagram displaying a brain that was seated on a couch next to one that had been walking for twenty minutes and the latter one was all red a.k.a on fire as opposed to the former one which was yellow a.k.a mucus. I’m making these descriptive properties up but you get the point, right? How do you combat period brain?
Image via Vogue Italia.