Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) is something women are taught to dread.
You have cramps…
DON’T COME NEAR ME!
That’s how I used to feel about PMS. I used to feel like it was a hormonal imbalance that occurred every month in the days leading up to my period and that I could expect to feel sad/mad/angry/frustrated for no reason. I was just crazy.
I was PMS-ing. I was out of control. Best to hide away for a few days so nobody is subjected to my displaced rage.
Now that I’m older, I think of PMS differently. Sure my husband and I argue more during this time but what I began to realise was that we weren’t arguing about things that didn’t matter. I wasn’t upset over nothing. I was just more upset over things that I could usually hide my true feelings about.
PMS stripped me of the ability to bullshit, to appease, to coddle, to protect, to keep the peace regardless of how I was feeling inside.
During PMS I become incapable of hiding how I truly feel about things. I am forced to stop and consider what is working in my life and isn't working. I am compelled to speak up about those things that bug me and upset me and make my life harder.
In this regard, PMS is a blessing, a unique opportunity to tweak my life and the people in it, in a way that makes me happier and more fulfilled.
My husband gets it now. He no longer dismisses the subjects I bring up during "that time of the month". Instead he now sees it as a unique opportunity to find out how I really feel about things. He now knows that usually I try and be the family peace-keeper, the one who does whatever it takes to keep everyone else happy, leaving myself at the end of a very long list.
In the movie No Strings Attached, Emma and her roommates all get their periods in sync and that's when her sort-of-boyfriend Adam shows how awesome he really is. Article continues after this video.
He said, "This is the only time I can get you to tell me how you really feel."
The rest of the time I'm trying not to "sweat the small stuff". The only problem with that is it builds and builds and builds until it is no longer small. Then I'm forced to address it. It can be problematic because during PMS your feels can be dismissed by those who think you are just being irrational.
You're not being irrational. You're finally addressing all the things you have been putting off. You are communicating all the things that make you feel like crap, with no filter.
Going through PMS, having my thoughts and feelings heard, allows me to feel sweet, sweet relief during those first few days of my actual period. That's when I become a little quiet, but not sad. It's more of a peaceful feeling.
Everything's going to be okay. Now it's time to rest.
I lie down, snuggle with my husband, my kids, my dog, my water bottle, waiting for the cramps and bloating to dissipate, feeling closer to them than I have ever felt before. I am raw, open, stripped, unkempt. I am a more authentic version of myself.
PMS shouldn't be treated like a joke.
There goes a crazy lady with her PMS.
I'm not crazy. YOU make me crazy.
Sure there are the pimples and the sore boobs and the over-eating but it's all temporary. Sometimes it's just a lovely excuse to lie down, to skip the cleaning for one night, to watch a movie, to accept help from others.
Embrace it. Look forward to it but most of all respect it, and explain to your loved ones why they should respect it too. Carefully explain to them that PMS isn't some kind of natural disaster they need to brace themselves for. Instead they should just listen. If they care about you, if they want you to be happy, if they want to help you live your life better, they'll take note.
And you won't be left feeling like an unreasonable shrew who needs to be soothed with chocolate and tea, although both will be much appreciated.