whoever you want to be…

A red mist

I was 10 when I first got my period. I’m 41 now. 31 years of periods and yet it still comes as a surprise almost every month.

I wrote in The Daily Mail (I’m sorry. I won’t do it again) (No, really) about how PMS almost ended my marriage and that particular issue is no longer a problem, not because I’ve beaten him into submission with a rolling pin – a rolling pin! – as the Mail would have you believe, but because once I realised PMs was the cause, the issue seemed to take care of itself. So you’d think the same would be true of other symptoms, wouldn’t you? As it turns out, not so much.

Just last week, for example, I said, “I feel weird. A bit spaced out and fuzzy…” A couple of minutes later: “Oh! I know. It’s cos I’m on.”

Cue husband smacking himself in the forehead. Repeatedly.

Me: “What?”

Him: “Every single month!”

He’s got a point.

I can’t stop eating and I don’t know why. People on Twitter get right on my nerves. I feel restless, like I need to chuck everything out of the house and start afresh. Or chuck the house as well and go travelling. Or just – cue whiny voice – dooooo something diiiiifferent.

Every month. Now I’ve talked to friends about this and they have the same problem so I know it’s not that I have the brain of a goldfish, so what is it? Some sort of protection mechanism? Do our bodies/brains actually want us to pay attention to these feelings, which is why they fail to remind us that they’re period-related? (I once heard Dr Christiane Northrup say that the emotions we experience during PMS represent our true selves and should be listened to, which doesn’t say much for the state of my marriage…) Or is it just another example of wilfully ignoring what’s going on with our bodies? Anyone?

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About K

YA writer. Voracious reader. Feminist. Home educator. Addicted to tea and Twitter.

6 comments on “A red mist

  1. Jacqueline Christodoulou
    November 11, 2012

    You and me both, Keris. I know exactly what you mean.

    But no one knows for sure what causes those feelings as PMS has never been properly researched. There are many theories, one of them which I would love to do a study on is that the feelings you describe are ‘withdrawal symptoms’ of a particular hormone.
    I know when I stopped smoking, I was often in denial about why I felt cranky and lied to myself that one more cigarette couldnt harm. I even managed to convince myself I could be a social smoker! In my professional research capacity I’ve spoken to women who have given up street drugs/prescription meds and they agree that the denial stage of PMS is a lot like mild withdrawals both mentally and physically.

    So all we have to do now is convince the medical world to fund research into which hormone we are withdrawing from.

    When I have PMS I often feel like issues that slightly bug me normally, but I tend to brush aside are magnified by a million, but afterwards I’m usually really happy I haven’t acted on them! If I had, my life would be very different now! But they do usually contain an element of what I actually want/don’t want from life.

    • Keris
      November 11, 2012

      Yes, that’s just it. Think there’s some truth in the monthly feelings, but the reaction to them is totally out of proportion. It’s so frustrating that the research isn’t being done, because it’s fascinating.

  2. annemarieflan
    November 18, 2012

    Keris – It’s a shame the medical profession don’t have the funds (or regard it important enough?) Reckon you should research whatever info is available and cover it in the media sense (a book even?) you could help lots of us.

    • Keris
      November 20, 2012

      Thank you. I think my friend Jacqui is on it, but I’ll definitely keep it in mind. x

  3. Kirsty Higginson
    November 21, 2012

    My mood swings were so bad that I had to mark down on the calendar when I am due on because two weeks before it, everything goes down hill. I think acknowledging it solves half (well maybe a diddy slither of a cake) the problem as now my husband knows what it is, as do my children. In the build up to my period I can feel so helpless, that everything I touch is stupid and/or wrong…and I’m falling further into a pit were every other problem piles up and seem 100 times worse than it would on a normal day. Making a note of it doesn’t magically make it better, but it does make me realise what it is.

    • Keris
      November 21, 2012

      Gah, sorry to hear this, Kirsty. It’s just so rubbish, particularly since it’s not take seriously by the medical profession. Acknowledging it does definitely make a difference – I realised a few years ago that if I thought “I can’t cope” in relation to the kids in particular, that was a sign.

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