During my transitional period of post-graduation into the real world, I decided to test out other aspects of psychology rather than the traditional path of higher education blah blah blah. I began working for the largest psychology non-profit in the country (part-time) and would volunteer at another mental health non-profit near me. My volunteering consisted of:
Sitting at a desk, answering calls for consecutive hours
Lingering, waiting for someone to give me a ring
And as dull as it may sound, it wasn’t. If anything, it was one of the most constructive experiences of my brief life. Because these calls left me feeling an overabundance of strong emotions but allowed me to be aware of a massive, not often discussed, issue we have.
The HelpLine is a free national service in which anyone in need of mental health resources, assistance or simple conversation can call. Most calls consisted of patients, parents, or friends looking for resources pertaining to finding a nearby psychiatrist, mental health insurance, or clinics. Simple, easy search in our resources binder.
In the ’80s, the Italian journalist and author Tiziano Terzani, after many years of reporting across Asia, holed himself up in a cabin in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. “For a month I had no one to talk to except my dog Baoli,” he wrote in his travelogue A Fortune Teller Told Me. Terzani passed the time with books, observing nature, “listening to the winds in the trees, watching butterflies, enjoying silence.” For the first time in a long while he felt free from the incessant anxieties of daily life: “At last I had time to have time.”
I have decided to discuss a topic that no one ever wants to talk about. Periods. Let us not shy away from it because it happens.
To the men reading this, periods are not a walk in the park. See, periods are expensive. Ladies you know the deal walking into CVS and having to drop fifteen bucks on the good stuff, you know Always or Poise. Periods are painful. Yeah, 7 days, 168 hours, and 604800 seconds of excruciating pain. (no exaggeration) Periods are uncomfortable. Vomiting, nausea, and back aches all come in the period package.
Where am I going with this? See, what I like about America is that pads and tampons are easily accessible and most pharmacies carry them for a somewhat decent price. Medications are also readily available to ease the pain during menstruation. As a woman making minimum wage, I can afford these feminine products. But imagine living in an environment where you make less than a dollar a month and you have to decide between tampons or dinner.