Well, what can I say, it’s that time of the month again for me and my “raging bull” (that’s how I call it) is back full force. I feel less than great, and before I know it, I am back on that all too familiar emotional roller coaster ride, switching back and forth between feelings of wanting to cry all day and wanting to murder everyone in sight (well, not really…or yes actually!).
My fellow sisters out there, you feel me, right?
For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about – bless you. It’s called premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and typically kicks in about a week before your period, turning you into the she-devil.
While not every woman goes through it, most of us do and yet hardly anybody talks about it. It’s a shame, because I feel we could support each other more as women, by talking openly about the subject, instead of keeping it behind closed doors. I sometimes feel like I am the only woman experiencing this every month (although, realistically speaking I know there are others out there just like me).
The symptoms differ largely from woman to woman and may include mood swings, cramps, bloating, water retention, food cravings, low energy – just to name a few. Contrary to what some might believe, this is not just a imaginary “thing”, but an actual hormonal change happening in our bodies – in our brains – which causes these symptoms.
Going through this on your own is bad enough, but having to endure a clueless partner in the process, is more than most of us can handle during these critical days, am I right? Come to think of it, surviving that time of the month probably applies more to the man in your life than yourself, really. I know this to be true for my relationship.
I am a soft-spoken, kindhearted person by nature and my husband actually fell for that loving, sweet side of me. Imagine his terror when he experienced my “raging bull” for the first time, a couple of months into our relationship. Poor soul, didn’t know what hit him: I can go from angel to beast in a matter of seconds over something as trivial as not finding my house keys, or him just simply “standing in my way” when I want to go to the kitchen to fetch a glass of water.
Unfortunately, according to my doctor this is something I simply have to deal with, and since I don’t want to take any mood medication, I guess I am stuck with this raging bull of mine until I hit menopause – and who knows what wonderful surprises mother nature will have in store for me then (I can hardly wait…Not!). Anyway, I have to accept this about myself (after all, what can I do?) and on good days, my husband and I even lovingly joke about my “raging bull” sound asleep on the days when I am not PMSing.
I have yet to find the cure or some sort of remedy to this unbearable condition. Sure, exercising and sleeping helps up to a certain point – but let’s face it, it’s not like I can sleep and hit the gym all day long. What about when I am at work or at home with my husband?
When dealing with PMS in a relationship, I find that the best way is not to dramatize the situation. I accept it as the temporary condition that it is, in which I may be “out of order” for a couple of days and, which will pass soon enough. It may have taken us a couple of attempts but with the years (yes, sadly, that’s how long it took us) my husband and I have learned to manage the situation by not taking it too seriously in the first place.
My husband has become a pro in anticipating the critical days and knowing exactly when I am PMSing even before I do. That gives him sufficient time to brace himself, to possibly retreat and to give me some space. Not that he abandons me completely, but he’ll go out with his friends more on those days, which is just as good for me. Giving each other space is important as we’d only end up in each others hair, as I am capable to pick a fight over anything at any given moment.
Not taking everything that I say and do during those days too seriously is another coping strategy. Sometimes we even laugh about my “temporary insanity”. It may sound like a cliché, but laughing it off always helps to lighten things up (for more on this, see my post Laugh with each other! (the power of laughter).
Another thing that I find helps me a great deal, is when my husband hugs me. It instantly calms me down. However, I’ll also admit that hugging a person who is constantly lashing out at everything and everyone in sight can be a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, my husband has learned to look beyond the aggressive behavior and is always willing to hug me, no matter what. I honestly don’t know how he does it, without feeling the need to put on a full body armor first, but he just does and it works wonders every time.
I am curious to know; how do you cope with your PMS? What are your experiences on what helps, especially with regards to mood swings of all kinds? Any special remedies or advice you are able to share on this, is greatly appreciated.