Isn’t it crazy how we can feel amazing one day, and then horrible the next? Like literally nothing in reality needs to change, but if I go through an internal shift, the exact same LIFE can mean something totally different to me. Obviously, sometimes there are real issues that need to be solved or discussed to resolve that feeling of distress, but quite often, I see in my own life, that I’m just in a sh***y mood and it’s distorting my perception of reality.
I can’t speak for every woman, but I know that many women feel like the monthly hormonal roller coaster (which only gets more intense with pregnancy and birth), is a serious game-changer in how they are feeling, and therefore how “happy” they are overall with life. It’s an awkward topic sometimes because if someone asks “How are you?” and I’m in the throes of PMS, quite honestly, I’m probably awful. I’m most likely feeling insecure, self-pitying, anti-social, and fat. I’m probably quicker to anger, picking fights with my (freaking incredible) boyfriend, and not interested in doing the fun and energizing activities that I “usually” love to do. So what I WANT to say is “How am I? I’m broke, my dirty dishes reek, and I hate everyone.” But… that’s not really an appropriate response to the poor friendly soul who’s asking. So I try to make my run a little longer those days, indulge myself with some secretly stashed chocolate, and do my best to avoid innocent bystanders.
Is that all we can do? What about the loving and supportive men who are scrambling to keep up with us? What about being in control and self-aware? Do I just have to put that whole mission on the back burner while I PMS? I’ve discovered a little bit about those specific emotions that I, and many others seem to universally and consistently experience each month. They usually are primal and basic emotions that make sense considering that I’m a female mammal after all, and my brain is doing its best to straddle the complexity of human awareness, and the animal body that is mine. So for example, I’m more jealous and possessive of my boyfriend. I’m more protective and feel more threatened in regards to my children. I’m more internal and less social with strangers. It’s an overall kind of me vs. the world mindset that seeps its way into my overall well-being. I really want to learn to live in peace with my pre-period-ness! I want to say “Girl, chill out! Have some wine and stop being crazy!” But when I’m in it, I am seriously engrossed and consumed by my own weird little reality and the absolute WORST thing someone can say is: “Is is that time of the month?”
Lately, I’ve been trying to be less combative with my hellish week and learn the specific ways in which I can soothe those primal fears. Exercise, as we all know, gives us the endorphins boost, causing a lovely production of happy chemicals (like serotonin and dopamine). The affects are undeniable. But dude, it’s so hard to work out when all you want to do is eat french fries wrapped in a blanket.
So I’m pushing myself a little. Pushing to explore those emotional patterns — acceptance and compassion for myself is important – but trying to not wallow. I’m trying to not use Auntie Flow’s imminent arrival as an excuse for being snappy at my children, partner, and everyone around me.
I figure if we are in a time of emotional health awareness, then we can at least be open and honest about what happens every single month to so many of us. I might inevitably be more reactive, but then I think I need to own it and push myself to take responsibility and apologize. I can be more direct without being mean. I can tell my partner that I need a pajama/Netflix session instead of going out and getting mad at him for making eye contact with other females! And to the men… be nice, be compassionate, and stand your ground in the least combative way possible. I am consistently blown away by how forgiving and accepting my partner is, and I think being open about what my period does to ME goes a long way. The more we check ourselves, and keep our partner/close friends in the loop, the more they can be a sounding board for reason and objectivity, and not be the enemy. And the great news is, you have an opportunity to be more conscious of it next month. And the month after that. And the month after that…