Years ago, I had a mild mental breakdown in the bathroom of the all inclusive hotel my brother, my mother, and I were staying at.
Here’s a bit of context:
To say that I had low expectations for this family trip would be an extreme understatement. The entire week before our planned flight to the Dominican, I had the unnerving feeling that I was going to die. Not of an illness, or a disease, but from a plane crash. I had a quasi-psychic feeling that this pre-planned, three person, “family” trip was going to end right after we were to board the plane for our destination. I voiced my concern over this belief and- while counting down the days until takeoff- I read, breathed, and looked at every piece of nostalgia I could find in photo albums or old desk drawers, intent on revisiting old joys before my “inevitable” death. Thoughts flitted through my mind like, “I will never get to finish Pride & Prejudice” or “I will never see the season finale of Gilmore Girls”. Clearly, I had my priorities straight, right?
A brief side note- before I get on a plane, or utilize any mode of long-distance transportation- I like to scan the rest of the passengers, just to get a feeling of who I would die with, if any sort of mechanical failure or crash were to occur (I realize how morbid this may sound). Eventually, I usually spot a cute senior who reminds me of my grandmother, or someone my age who seems as if they have had a successful and lucky life. Then I feel comforted, reminded of home, and sure that with such an array of fabulous people traveling with me, I will surely be spared from disaster.
Before our plane took off for the Dominican, I sensed my surroundings in this way. There was a young boy behind me, and a couple of older couples, and I thought something along the lines of “maybe we’ll be spared”.
Our plane was indeed spared (due to excellent piloting, ofcourse) and we arrived at our resort on the beach. Soon after arrival though, I got my period.
Yes, this seems like a trivial issue. However the vacation was weirdly timed- my parents had divorced that year- and the whole situation (coupled with my raging hormones) seemed forced and unreal. I spent the first couple of days in bed for the most part, partly because I wasn’t in the best mood, and partly because I was scared to go swimming; I had never used a tampon.
Eventually my mother had enough with the situation (I don’t blame her, who wants to see their money and time wasted?) and she convinced me to try and squash my hypochondria-induced fear of tampons. Alas, I found myself in a hotel bathroom, in the Dominican, about to force something that seemed alien into my body. But of course I had to read the ‘warnings’ on the box before I actually attempted anything. That’s when I learned about Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Ever since then, I have always been obsessive when it comes to monitoring myself when I’m using tampons. I never use a tampon in the evening, especially when I’m drinking, out of fear that I might forget to take it out. As well, I always make sure that I have a 5 hour time frame in which I can remove my tampon, keeping me safe from any of those rare side effects. It’s stressful sometimes. Occasionally, I will get paranoid about forgetting to take my tampon out and sometimes I will become paranoid and wonder if I took my last tampon out before I put the next one in. I don’t always trust my brain (specifically, my memory, in this case).
Because I had no one to relate to when I was growing up, I wanted to write this post. So to any young hypochondriacs out there who are struggling with puberty and these sorts of issues:
Don’t feel pressured to do things you’re not ready for. But if you happen to be on a beach somewhere, even if you’re with your family on vacation, don’t be afraid to go swimming and live for just a moment. I did end up enjoying myself, and even though man-made, factory produced products can be scary things for hypochondriacs, not a plane crash or a tampon has yet to be the death of me. You just need to trust yourself.