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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

PMS Pre-Menstrual Syndrome or The Day the Earth Stood Still

For many years I simply thought that I was just not a very nice person. I thought that confirmed, when in the first years of my marriage, sadly, I kept fighting and arguing with my husband. It was always emotionally so strenuous that I never got enough of a bird´s eye view in order to find a very predictable rhythm to it: The days before "my days"... My husband´s gentle and persistent confirmations that I was a good person finally formed the belief in something going on with me and the wish that I would not have to argue anymore, that I needed to DO something about it. Anger management came to mind. However that solution seemed still a little off target (particularly since it came up one of these special days, sobbing, potato chips packet in one hand and the chocolate box in the other, wearing comfy bunny slippers). Then, one day I read an article in the newspaper about a murder trial. A woman got a milder sentencing for MURDERING her husband because she was UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF PMS! Wow, if a judge and with him the juridical system cut a woman some serious slack for that because she was hormonally challenged, I figured I might as well go easy on myself and at the same time have a closer look at this special time that comes again every 4 weeks! If you think about it, only one day of PMS per cycle makes 13 days of insanity a year. That is practically a forthnight; and I am not so lucky as to be done with my nuttiness with on only one day!

So what is it all about this PMS? Another article truly opened my eyes: Finally a study has been done on how women experience the world during the pre-menstrual days. There it was, an extremely tricky contraption: Women don´t only feel cranky, have low patience and feel like the sorrow of the world is on their shoulders. They - WE - are CONVINCED in that very moment (through hormones just getting loose all over the body and creating a new reality) that this is the new world that is HERE TO STAY FOREVER!! WHAT? Not even the supersmarts of womanhood is gonna outsmart this (well at least not as long as we are not aware of it). So we don´t go ahead and say "yes I know it is my period coming up, I just need some quiet time and I will be fine. The world is still okay, I am still okay" No, all that is experienced in that moment, all the loss of patience, the crankyness, all the sad and bad news that suddenly pop up from everywhere (okay, just seeing a lost cat notice on a neighborhood lighting pole can have me sobbing and thinking the world has come to an end) are HERE TO STAY! We experience it and fully believe it that this WILL NEVER CHANGE AGAIN. Doomsday is here to stay. Now, that opened my eyes. The good news is that just knowing what happens chemically in the brain, truly is the first step to overcome it.

Of course there are other things that mess up the hormones more than others. So I try not to do the more and to make sure I do the others. For me, least possible intake of chips and other fatty or sugary food. Caffeine seems to do double duty during this specific time as well, so I go easy on that. Another tricky result from the study said that this need for nesting and being kind of slow paced makes many women stop doing their exercise, which increases PMS symptoms. So I do not ask myself whether or not I want to go for a run, I just go and do it. The study also showed that women are more introverted during the second half of the cycle (towards the period). So I don´t expect myself to be all too chatty during that time. Also, the way I recognize that "my days" are approaching is, when the 5th "idiot" in a row is coming my way in traffic . Then I know it is time to slam the brakes and cut myself (and the others) some slack. The reward is, no arguing anymore with my beloved husband and I almost always learn something about myself. Now I enjoy it when the earth stands still for me for a little while. So far, my husband still recognizes the oncoming special time before I do. I used to vehemently refuse that he was right. Now we get a good laugh out of it. After all, I could get away with murder AND I know I am a good person....

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