We all know that PMS stands for PreMenstrual Syndrome.
(Or, Plain Mean Sometimes…Potty Mouth Screaming…Period Mood Swings…Pass Me the Shotgun…Perpetual Munching Spree…Puffy MidSection…Plainly Men Suck…Pimples May Surface…Potential Murder Suspect…)
My senior adult mom and I were watching TV together and an ad came on asking the question: “Do you struggle with PMS?”
Mom replied immediately. “I’ve never had PMS in my life!”
I looked at her in shock and disbelief. After all, I spent the first 20 years of my life in her house. I knew about her mood swings and I knew they were cyclical.
My reply? “What the heck? What do you mean you’ve never had PMS in your life? You’re joking…right?”
Memory after memory sprang to mind of her with PMS…scary….
Mom’s reply was: “No! I’m not kidding. I’ve never had PMS in my life – ever. Your dad said numerous times that he could tell when my period was going to start because I turned mean a few days beforehand. But, that was just him talking. I wasn’t aware of any changes in how I acted or felt. I do know that he got on my nerves more at some times than he did at others and I assumed HE was the one with the problem…not me. Certainly NOT me!”
I laughed…out loud…loud and long.
“What’s so funny?” she asked.
“You are!” I replied. ‘You’ve never had PMS a day in your life?”
“NEVER!” She insisted and then went on, “PMS is all hype. It’s an excuse for being yourself. It’s like when people drink a little too much alcohol and say and do things they wouldn’t ordinarily and they blame the alcohol. Women act up or act out of character and blame it on PMS saying ‘I can’t help it, I have PMS.’. In reality, they can help it, they just don’t want to help it. Maybe a change in hormones at that time of the month uninhibits them and allows the real ‘them’ to come out. Maybe they see it as a time to say what’s been on their mind all month long and set some things straight.”
She continued. “They simply don’t care.”
I stared at her as my mind recalled time after time after time of times when she said what was “on her mind” and “set things straight.”
“Simply don’t care, huh?” I asked.
“Yep,” was her reply.
“And, you’ve never had a moment of PMS in your whole life?” I quizzed again.
“Nope!” was her response. Then she continued. “I never blamed my actions or reactions on an acronym or on my hormones. I was who I was and I took responsibility for what I said. It wasn’t PMS talking. That was me. All month long, every day of the month…I was myself. I didn’t need to hide behind PMS. I was comfortable saying what I thought and being who I was all the time. And, if those few days before my period started freed me a little to be even more myself…then so be it. I welcomed it!”
I silently contemplated my mother’s words. Hormonally speaking, I was in the more agreeable portion of my cycle. There would be no argument…not from me. That’s not who I was that day.
That day I was in more of a contemplative mood…. This conversation happened several weeks ago – well before Christmas – and it’s still on my mind now.
Simply Don’t Care – is that what really happens to so many of us premenstrually? Do we really not care and use PMS as a cover for unleashing who we really are?
Hmmm…perhaps. And, perhaps not.
I do know that during those few days when premenstrual, I can be a bear (no put down to bears intended) and lash out at those I love the most. I can’t seem to help myself…stop myself… but the truth is it’s far easier to give in those feelings that seem/are so close to the surface, so eager to come up and out….
When I feel irritable inside…body and mind, I don’t mind spreading the irritability around. And, when premenstrual, oh, yes…I’m willing (if not eager) to share my irritation with anyone who rubs up against me…or rubs me the wrong way.
And, at the time I feel like I’m being my usual self and all the world has gone crazy. I feel more true to myself than at any other time. Now…that’s a scary thought!
Could I control myself? Yes. But, it would take effort and forethought.
Would I want to?
In fact, I wouldn’t even give control a thought. Easier to react than to act, I would choose to unleash the beast.
I could tell those around me, “I’m uptight and need some alone/quiet time” and seek space of my own to find solace and enable my mind to calm and me to regain control of myself, my emotions, my actions…my tongue.
Finding peace in the chaos of SDC or PMS is not easy, but I believe it is possible.
PMS should serve as a reminder of the need for a Pro Menstruation Management System (PMMS).
Before my hormones can send me into PMS overdrive and I SDC, I’m going do all I can to be pro menstruation and manage my intake, uptake (stress/rest/food/drink/medication/vitamins/activities/etc) and outflow systematically throughout my cycle by using a PMMS.
What does a PMMS look like?
Check back in a few days. That’s my next blog post!