I'm Sorry I Don't Have The Flu, But My Menstrual Cramps Are Just As Legit, I Promise

I'm Sorry I Don't Have The Flu, But My Menstrual Cramps Are Just As Legit, I Promise

When can we start taking periods seriously?

Earlier this year, I had gotten my period in the middle of the night– which meant that I was up all night experiencing heat flashes, nausea, and cramping.

Personally, my periods are always hell. The pain is something I thought was "normal" and was just the consequences of having a menstrual cycle. Feeling light headed, nausea, cramping that would stop me in my tracks, being over-emotional, and having migraines was what I believed just came with being a female.

Anyways, I had to work later in the morning, and ultimately knew I wouldn’t be able to sit through my shift knowing I was going to be experiencing those symptoms. My first concern was calling into work sick. My job HATES when we call in sick, but I knew this was the one time I could not tough it out. They obviously can’t say, “No, you have to come in anyways,” so they said “Fine, but you need a medical excuse.” This part was most stressful and irritating.

Why must we, as females, have to validate the severity of our period pain with a medical excuse?

So, like the good employee I am, I went into QuickCare not knowing what to expect. I don’t like going to the doctor’s, and it is not something I do often. Honestly, I did not really know how to be like, “Yeah, I just need a written excuse for my period, thanks!”

I got called back, did the normal routine, and eventually met with the doctor. My doctor was male, and if I am being honest, that made me eerie because they don’t feel the pain of periods.

I explained what I was experiencing and how I needed an excuse for work. Because I was experiencing nausea and cramping, the doctor proceeded by diagnosing me with what he believed was a Gastrointestinal Infection– aka the stomach flu.

I assured him that the symptoms I was experiencing was normal with my period, not a viral or bacterial infection, that could be cured with medicine. He went on with “educating” me with the differences between period and flu symptoms. I didn’t feel like putting up a fight, so I let him win, and proceeded with obtaining my medical excuse. You apparently can’t put “period pain” on a medical excuse, so I got an excuse that stated my diagnosis as "Gastrointestinal Infection.” I gave it to my boss next time I worked, no questions were asked.

I got my medical excuse and was not penalized for missing work, which I am grateful for; however, the situation made me reflect on how I have had to handle talking about my period and dealing with it.

Why is it that expressing period pain is so disregarded or discouraged?

Why can’t period pain be validated at a medical center– or maybe it can, just not at mine?

Why are many women left feeling ashamed of the monthly occurrence that makes us women and is the reason we can bring life into the world?

Why are some people so ignorant to the realities of menstruation and its consequences?

Why in schools, can we go to the nurse for any obscene issue and go home, but for a period the best we get is, "You can take ibuprofen and lay down for no more than twenty minutes"? Even though, you may not be able to sit up without feeling like your about to throw up or pass out from the pain?

Why do women have to think, "Am I just being a baby for complaining about my period pain?"

Maybe it's just me, but I believe period pain should be taken just as seriously as other medical conditions. Periods are not something women ask for– they are something we are forced to deal with. That means we are forced to deal with how minor or how severe the symptoms can be. Yes, there is medicine that can weaken the intensity of the symptoms, but medicine can't cure all of the discomfort that comes with it. It's also irritating to me that when we speak up about what we are going through, we are immediately hushed and told that it is an inappropriate subject to speak about.

I understand that not all work and medical establishments handle situations involving periods the way my experience did. What I spoke about what was simply my experience. Hopefully, my experience is uncommon and doesn’t happen everywhere. However, I find myself thinking about all of the other girls and women who do have to deal with professionals who treat periods and menstrual cycles in such an inhumane way. Hopefully, this will change.

***If you experience severe menstrual symptoms, make sure to see a gynecologist, a Planned Parenthood, or a professional specializing in menstrual health! Severe period symptoms are not normal and should be addressed to make sure there is not a more serious condition or issue!

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.


Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.


I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.


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