I Suffered In Silence For 3 Years Before Talking To My Boss About Period Pain


That Day arrived again.

It arrived.

It arrived, whether I wanted it to or not.

It was 6: 10 a.m. on a Thursday morning.

I awoke to intense pain.

I didnt even have time to lament Why today? as I seemed an uncontrollable cold sweat running over my body. With fright, I noticed I had no EVE( my usual ache aid drug) close at hand.

Ever since I was 13 years old, Ive had a pro boxer living in my uterus. He likes to come for his once-a-month practice sessions only at the most inconvenient of days. I cant help but seem reluctance in writing about this sort of delicate topic. I seem embarrassment, too. So, Ill refer to this boxer as Sam.

When That Day goes, Sam fires off forceful punches right into my uterus. While withstanding ache so intense I want to cry out, I essentially crawl my behavior over to my drug, take it, and wait intently for Sams practice session to calm down.

I havent shared the ache of Sams punches with anyone except for those I am very close to. Sams fists are so strong, Ive had to take off work a number of days. Ive had to turn down summons from people I care deeply for, had to hurry to the school infirmary in the middle of tests, and had to give up on attending looked-forward-to concerts. Ive had myself examined to see why the ache is so bad, but they found nothing wrong with me.

On the day in question, I took the morning off and then headed to work with my face still white as a sheet. The reason I made for my late arrival was poor health. What a useful phrase. Having that phrase, I need not reveal Sams existence to anyone. Feeling that I absolutely did not crave my boss to know, I utilized not for interval time off but for paid time off.

Little by little the drug kicked in, and Sam went into rest mode. When I got to work, my boss( male) came over to me, seeming concerned.

Are you okay?


Have you been to see a doctor?

No, I havent. Does my face look that bad? I replied, with a laugh.

That was the end of the conversation. No thing how much I trusted my boss, I couldnt talk to him about Sam. I had to try and hide behind a bit of joking. Not being able to tell the truth, I felt that I was betraying my boss, and at the same day felt that I was betraying myself.

A World Which Doesnt Know about Sam

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As I worried about these things, I had a sudden actualization. There are lots of women with frets related to their periods, and period-related ache.( By the behavior, and perhaps its late to explain this, but Sams punches refer to my menstrual soreness. And, of course, there are currently women who enviably are not troubled by such soreness ). But among those women, how many have set their ache into terms? Even I, who have openly spoken about a variety of things, could not tell my boss about Sam.

Embarrassment is one of the major reasons, but I also did not want to sacrifice my job. I had a fear that only by speaking of Sams existence, perhaps not as much work would be left to me to manage. I imagined because Sams practice was only once per month, it was best to put up with it. It was best to simply wait for it to pass. It was best to feign it hadnt happened.

It was I who had deleted Sam from “the worlds”. It wasnt only my bos defect that he didnt understand the ache of Sams punches. It was also my fault for not, in good faith, trying to tell my boss about Sam.

My Boss and I, Facing My Period Together

Kenji Ando Myself with my boss Editor-in-Chief Yuichiro Takeshita

I retained on worrying about Sams turbulent practice sessions, and finally decided to speak about them to my boss. My boss is not a medical doctor, so the thing I wanted to consult with him on was my longing for an environment that was easier to do work in. We talked about Sams once-a-month practice sessions, and the small changes that could be made to cope with them.

I think it was a difficult thing for him to understand. It was probably also the first time one of his employees had come to discuss this sort of topic with him.( It was a first for me, too !) The ensue of our debates was that when Sams practice begins and running becomes difficult for me, I will have options for how I do my work. I can do remote work( work from home ), I can rest, or I can go into a neighboring( relatively unpopulated) chamber and loosen as much as is possible as I work.

Its not that that discussion with my boss will alleviate Sams punches. The days when I have to put up with ache will surely continue providing. As Ive said before, my boss is not a medical doctor , nor is he a wizard. Nonetheless, I do believe that my life, about 40 of the next years of which I must spend with Sam, will change a great deal now that that discussion has been had.

Just by mitigating a little of my once-a-month ache at the agency, I seemed much lighter. More than anything, I was happy to see my boss trying so hard to understand. He even told him that he seemed ashamed for not knowing about these things, and wrote a post about it on his blog. In that minute, I gained a great ally in my isolated battle with Sam.

Im assured that every boss in “the worlds” is not like my boss, and there are probably even some female bosses who indicate no understanding with regard to these matters. If that is the case, it is best to talk to a coworker or senior laborer you trust. Because I talked to my boss about Sam, one of my female coworkers sympathized with me and told me privately that she suffers from menstrual ache. Even when her stomach doesnt hurt, she gets persistent headaches. When that happens, I make sure to get blankets or heating pads to her, or painkillers if she requires them. So perhaps it is indeed the right thing to do to muster ones strength and try talking to someone. From your employers perspective, it is important that you be in an environment that is as easy to do work in as it can be.

Japanese People and Periods, and Pain

According to a survey conducted cooperatively by the womens health care app Clue and an NGO called the International Womens Health Coalition, Japan is one of the countries in which people find talking about periods to be the most difficult.

The survey is from 2015, involved about 90,000 people, and targeted women in 190 countries. In answering the issues to Can you talk to your girl classmates or coworkers about periods? only 76 percent of respondents told Yes( Japan ranked third from last for this question, following Qatar and Russia ). In answering the issues to Can you talk to your male classmates or coworkers about periods? only 12 percentage answered Yes( Japan ranked last among the 190 countries for this question ).

Additionally, in a 2011 survey conducted by Rohto Pharmaceutical, Asking 800 men and women in their 20 s-5 0s about the nation of ache for Japanese people, about 80 percent of respondents replied that It is in the national character of Japanese people to put up with ache. The level of awareness of the notion that Putting up with ache has harmful effects was a mere 20 percentage. In the section on menstrual ache, Take painkillers was the top answer( 56.3 percentage) for coping techniques, with the second-to-top answer being Put up with it( 52.8 percentage ).

With all the clamor that goes on about national societies of gender equality, I dont want to imagine one in which about half of the peoples of the territories go about their work while stifling concern about their periods. I wouldnt want to make anyone talk about these things unless they wish to themselves, but I do feel that only by speaking to my boss my life has become a little more relaxed. Some may say I am exaggerating. But for me, that talk was a life-changing event.

Will Openly Talking about it Change the World?

Kenji Ando At the Huffington Post we have launched a new project called Ladies Be Open with the aim of becoming a society in which we can talk with more openness about womens torsoes

Even aside from periods, there are still many other taboo topics related to womens torsoes. PMS, sex, pregnancy, childbirth … There are lots of people who dont would like to speak about or dont want to hear about these things, and at the same day there are many negative consequences to not talking about these things. This is particularly true of ache, which can be a sign of illness. Continuing to put up with ache may lead to regret further down the line.

I would like us to become as open as is practicable, and to be a society where we can threw all of our heads toward believing up answers. As Ive said before, if half of society is continuing to put up with ache, surely there are people out there who are simply overburdened. To counter this, the things I am able to do right now are alleviate my own ache as much as is also possible, and make it easier to go about my job and my daily life. Talking to my boss about Sam was my first step toward this goal.

This post was part of a new series on HuffPost Japan called Ladies Be Open, based on the desire to foster more openness, confidence, and consolation in discussions about womens bodies.