Nobody wants to talk about it, but the truth is period poops are a thing. They’re the embarrassing best friend of your agonizing period cramps, a special guest star that everyone hates. They’re what happens when you jinx yourself by saying, “I couldn’t possibly feel worse than I do right now.” They make you wonder if you should just set up shop in your bathroom for the next day or two and surrender yourself to the toilet.

Period poops come in all shapes, but only one size: gigantic and seemingly endless. When they happen, you automatically wonder how your body can even contain such mind-boggling quantities. If you’ve had a period, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s not pretty, and goodness knows, it isn’t fun, and since there are no real words that can properly do it justice, let’s get real about the 20 mortifying stages of period poops in as few words possible. Take it away, GIFs….

1. You’ve got your period, so you know what that means…

That’s right! Your body is currently hell-bound by menstrual cramps and nausea, and all you want to do is swaddle yourself in blankets and watch an entire season of GLOW in one go.

2. Except now something else feels wrong too.

You desperately try to ignore it. You tell yourself that this time could be different, that if you can just pretend like it isn’t happening, then maybe it won’t.

3. But then you realize that your tummy feels like it’s full of ferrets.

Your guts are running speed trials against each other. Or there’s hundreds of tiny earthquakes erupting at once within them. Either way, the period poops are coming, and you haven’t got much time before they do…

4. No matter where you are when it starts to happen, you panic.

Will you make it to the bathroom in time? If there’s people around, will they know exactly what’s happening? Will they hear you? Smell you? Will this become front-page news tomorrow?!

5. And if you’re in public, you hope nobody sees you going into the nearest bathroom stall.

Preferably you’ll find one that has a working toilet and isn’t that gross.

6. And then you wait…

The tension is palpable. And very uncomfortable.

7. But then it begins.

At first, it’s bearable. Let’s just get this over with, you think.

8. Until it quickly escalates to apocalyptic proportions.

This is how the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a seemingly endless session on the toilet.

9. How is my body capable of this?

I don’t understand.

10. In fact, it almost feels like you’re in the midst of a possession.

Can we get a priest up in here, pronto?

11. You desperately try to compose yourself.

But you’re also bracing for more because you know the fight isn’t over yet.

12. You start to plead for mercy.

At least the karmic value of this experience should be worthy of something great, right?

13. At some point, you just zone out.

Think happy thoughts. Think happy thoughts. Think happy thoughts.

14. And then… the ordeal is over.

Wipe that sweat from your brow and prepare to do a victory lap, champ.

15. You should be enjoying this moment of peace, but instead you feel really strange.

There’s nothing left inside of you but sadness.

16. But then you can finally leave, feeling completely reborn.

Hopefully nobody knows what you just did, and nobody ever needs to.

17. But the moment you relax, of course, you start to worry that it’s going to happen again (and it might)!

The struggle is real.

The truth is that on the first day or two of your period, The Poops can happen whenever and however they like. You have a hormone-like compound called prostaglandins to thank for that one, which also happens to be the monster that causes your menstrual cramps and nausea. It’s the absolute worst. So be sure to treat yourself like a goddamn superstar before, during, and after your period, because hell like this? It deserves a few treats in return.

Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, blogger, and musician based in Liverpool, UK. She’s the co-founder of the irreverent pop culture blog and podcast Clarissa Explains F*ck All and the bassist for d-beat punk band Aüralskit. She’s currently working on her first novel and slowly completing her debut poetry collection. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.