08 August 2008

PMS is Back With a Vengeance!

PMS is back this month with a vengeance! And it's all my fault.

It's not so much the physical symptoms (although I do have some fluid retention around my whole body and breasts), it's more the emotional symptoms that have come back. Grrr!

But it's my own fault really. I know I have to do everything I need to, in order to make myself better, but this month I have not been doing everything. I have been eating well in general, but I haven't been eating at regular times. I also have done absolutely no exercise (its freezing here and winter makes me so apathetic in terms of exercise) and I have been doing no meditation and no self-massaging. And, on top of that, I have been under some stress, which is not helping. So what else am I going to expect?

I am feeling all the classic symptoms this month so much more than usual:
  • wanting to cry
  • feeling angry
  • feeling easily irritated
  • hating everyone
  • isolating myself
  • no energy
  • very apathetic
Great set of symptoms huh? No wonder men get so scared when we utter those three letters - PMS and now PMDD.

But, what I have been doing to make myself feel better is the following:
  • When I feel any negative emotion boiling up I simply tell myself "it's only PMS" and that seems to make me feel better. If I don't know why I am feeling bad, then I usually take hold of whatever is annoying me and making it so much bigger and more horrible than it really is and then I just feel worse and worse and worse, with the negative feelings feeding on the PMS and then I fall into a pit of despair and depression, which is not helpful for me. So by telling myself that "it's only PMS" it means I am cutting off the negative emotions before they spiral out of control. It's basically a reality check I decided on trying (I don't even remember how I came to think like this) to make me realise that these negative emotions were not real (or really ultra exaggerated) and only a symptom of PMS. Seriously, it's amazing (almost magical) how well it works. Just now I started to feel like crying (for absolutely no reason whatsoever) and I told myself "its only PMS" and that emotion went. But I warn you, some days (like today), I have had to say that little phrase at least 50 times and some days it could be more, so it's that simple to get rid of the emotions as they tend to come back again and again (those hormones again), but if you persevere, I am kind of re-training my brain a little to the point where my emotions do not feel quite so out of control, as I know they will pass. If I tell myself this same phrase over and over again, it seems to help me, because it makes me realise its not me going crazily emotional over absolutely nothing, it's just PMS/PMDD

  • Whenever the irrational thoughts come into my mind, I take a big breath, take a stand back for a second and tell myself why I am being irrational with irrefutable logic, as many times as I need to, or as long as I need to in order to get my mind into being rational again. I know how hard it to rein in that negative and irrational and highly emotional thinking, but I have done it, so you can too.

    To give other women a good idea about just how irrational/highly emotional I can get and even though it is quite embarrassing, I will give examples about the seemingly silly things I get irrational about when I have PMS/PMDD, so that other women know they are in good company: (1) I went to a food court for lunch and I got so upset that I had tears in my eyes and wanted to cry so bad (I stopped the tears before they came out, but if I wasn't in such a public place, I would have bawled like a cry-baby) because one food vendor had no food without butter. I am lactose intolerant and I cannot handle dairy products. And it wasn't like there were no other food vendors around, because there were, but I just was so upset that this food vendor had no food for me, as if they hated me - I just took it so personally. Just one example of total irrationality. (2) It was Christmas one year with my family and just before everyone was due to open up their presents, I went to the toilet. When I came back everyone had already unwrapped their presents and were looking at them or playing with them - and I had only been gone about 1 minute. I got so upset that my family disregarded me that badly that I told them I hated them (I was in my early 30's and not a teenager!) and ran to my room, where I proceeded to ball my eyes out with those great hiccuping tears, rather than tell them off for being so damn impatient (like they couldn't wait one minute), like a normal person would. They had to coax me out of my room and apologise profusely before I would emerge back to the lounge room and finally open my presents. Ah yes, another embarrassing example of my extreme emotional ride at PMS time. I could go on, as there are so many more examples, but I will leave it at this for now. But suffice it to say, a lot of people around me tell me that they used to be on tenterhooks when I had PMS in the past, afraid to say anything to upset me (as basically just about everything did) - and we are talking about 2 weeks of PMS out of every 5 weeks or so that I used to have. That's pretty bad. So what I am saying here is that my tips really work.

  • I use some herbal teas to make me feel more relaxed - the one I use has chamomile, lemon balm and peppermint. It's organic (of course) and really nice. I also use to it to relax me before going to bed

  • This evening, I am going to do some meditation, as that seems to help even more than any vitamins or herbs to dissipate both the emotional symptoms, but also the physical symptoms (such as bloating)

  • I am also going to have a lovely bath with some rock salt and some lavender - that always seems to make me feel better any time

  • I really need to eat food more regularly, as that will raise my energy levels and give me less reason to feel bad

  • What I would really love, is a massage every day - as that would definitely put me in a better mood, but alas I am not wealthy enough to do that
Today is like one week prior to my periods and I am feeling the PMS (or rather PMDD) rather acutely, so I started my action plan (as above) last night and it has helped a lot. I have basically been using points 1 and 3 so far in the last day as I am still within the rational realms. I haven't had to use point 2, which is reserved for those exceedingly irrational days and hopefully this month I wont have to. The thing that is important is to cut off those negative emotions before they take hold, because if you try when they are at their worst, it is so much harder to get back to normal.

Its all about controlling your mind. Seriously. Our hormones start of in the brain, in the pituitary gland. Our hormones work very closely with our emotions and I really believe that PMS (once it does take hold, when we are not doing the proper nutrition, meditation, massage) can be controlled by your mind. I have proved it to myself time and time again. You have to tell yourself that these emotions are not real (or an exaggeration, which again means they are not real) and that you are ok. It really is that simple.

So remember (me and every other woman who reads this):
  • Cut off those negative emotions/crying/irritation/etc before they take hold
I am still sighing somewhat (really big sighs where I am trying to get some air as I am not breathing properly enough), but I don't feel so much of the negativity by relieving my mind of the PMS symptoms a little as I have listed above.

So I just wanted to show other women that no matter how bad it is, there is always something you can do to make yourself feel better - if I can then anyone can!

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