My hormonal shifts are like a day trip to London. I am in a euphoric, happy state when I am above ground, then the tube ride symbolises the worsening of my symptoms before the final rush of relief.
Day 1 to 15… (approximately!)
I am up early and have already done a million jobs. I am above ground, ready and excited for the day ahead. I am looking at the famous landmarks and drinking in the astonishing history and culture; reading everything, hungry for knowledge and experience. The weather is chilly, but sunny and the hustle and bustle of commuters and tourists is interesting, purposeful, comforting, inspiring. I go clothes shopping and everything fits; looks stylish, trendy and flattering. I have lunch with friends; I choose a healthy selection of foods and I feel empowered and happy. I am intelligent, chatty and funny; I smile at the world and the world smiles back. I walk with my head held high and a confident swagger, secure in my life’s purpose: proud to be British, proud to be alive.
Day 16-day 28… (approximately!)
I descend the steps to the underground… people push past me and I trip, dropping my handbag and a million different painkillers spill out (none of which work), along with a lipstick which looks ridiculous on me anyway. Seriously, can you WATCH WHERE YOU ARE GOING YOU TOTAL IDIOTS!? Does this little old lady NEED to be walking in front of me right now?
Calm down I tell myself… they’re just people… going to work, going shopping, doing all the same things they normally do- it’s you that’s changing. I descend a few more steps…. Phew! Why does it have to be so HOT down here, seriously what is WRONG with the world??
I fight the crowds to purchase my ticket… how much?? That CANNOT be right, surely? Oh and when did this dress get so tight? My boobs feel like they’re going to explode. Everyone is looking at me and wondering what the hell I’m doing here, I don’t deserve to be using this service…just look at me!
I stand on the platform; everything goes into slow motion. I am alternately hot and cold, anxious and fidgety and nauseaus, angry and fighting back tears…. Oooooh look, a vending machine!! I NEED CHOCOLATE NOW!! It’ll make everything better, it couldn’t be worse. No-one cares if I put on weight; no-one fancies me or likes me anyway. What are you staring at??? Sod off… you’d eat chocolate too if you had my rubbish life.
Looking at the digital countdown on the clock, next tube in 2 minutes… I am relieved and scared at the same time. What if there’s a big push? I can’t handle being squished between strangers with BO and trendy skinny girls with their exciting lives and amazing shoes. 1 minute 30 seconds… I can literally feel time passing.
The tube arrives, I’m not ready for it. I don’t really want to go there anyway… I try to turn back but my way is blocked and I have no choice but to get on. Oh the NOISE!! The pain of the screeching brakes and the flashing lights. My head is going to explode! I feel panic rising and I do not know what to do…
Then it all goes quiet, the tube goes through a tunnel. Everything is black and cold, like the end of the world. I feel like I’m on the Hogwarts express and the dementors are feeding off every happy memory. Well, at least you don’t have to go through this every friggin’ month Harry!!! I want to cry and cry and I have no idea what for. I can’t even see or hear another human being; I am all alone.
The train begins to slow, the lights flicker on and faces emerge from the darkness. They are kind, friendly and familiar. My breathing returns to normal and I start to take an interest in my surroundings. Oh fab, I’ve just found an apple in my bag. I do like my hair like this, it’s looking nice today. Slowly, gradually, normality returns and I leave the tube station, emerging once again into the light.
There… that wasn’t so bad….was it? I enjoy a blissful few hours in the sunshine before I have to go home again. But how? Maybe I can take a bus? A boat? Steal one of Boris’s bikes? Mount a zebra from the London zoo and bareback it up the M25? No… there’s no option, it’ll have to be the tube.
I psych myself up… ready? 3…2…1…