Saturday, September 22, 2007

Warning: Uncomfortable Material Ahead!

I'm sorry...I'm gonna do it...I'm gonna talk about that thing nobody wants to talk ready? I am in the throws of one of my major dips into the dark pool of PMS. Was that so bad? Okay, perhaps it was.

I never wanted to think or talk about my PMS...I guess I still don't want to think or talk about it. In the past, I was one of those typical women that could freak out once a month but GOD FORBID somebody suggest it was PMS...especially a man! Whoa. As for men, I imagine the three letters PMS fill them with dread, fear and confusion. Trust me, guys, you don't get it. Trust. Me. I have known many wonderful men who have tried but no. You don't. Stop trying.

For most of my life, my PMS was minimal. A few days of tears with no good reason, sure, but it wasn't every month and it usually passed pretty quickly. After my second transplant, however, my PMS became brutal. (I can only imagine it has something to do with the meds I take and how they interact with my hormones.) About once a month, I would have two days of depression and suicidal thoughts. Yes, that's right, suicidal thoughts. I tried taking some anti-depressants to help get through the rough patch and they helped. However, they made me so nauseous I ended up spending the day on the couch anyway. Eventually, I went cold turkey and found that, the farther out from transplant I got, the less intrusive my PMS became.

I pretty much had put the whole stupid issue out of my mind by the time I met my sigoth (significant other). We had only been together about six months when he mentioned to me that he noticed a pattern in my behavior. Once a month, for about two days, I would talk endlessly about quitting my job to do something more meaningful. During that time, I would also declare that I was coming down with something and should make an appointment to see the docs. Now, Jason is smart. He didn't mention this observation when I was in the middle of a tirade. He mentioned this when I was calm and sensible. I thought it was an interesting idea but not something I gave much thought to.

Over the next few months, Jason started tracking my moods without me knowing. When he had enough data, he let me in on his research. It was astounding. My PMS was quite consistent in its manifestations but just subtle enough that I most likely would have never noticed. My most depressive time happened a week before I began my period and so, when I did start, I never connected the mood with the bodily event. I started paying attention. Jason continued tracking. It got to the point that I would call Jason when I was feeling low and ask him if this was part of my cycle. Usually, it was, and he often followed the confirmation by predicting the future; "And on Thursday and Friday you'll want to quit your job." Sure enough, he would be right.

The result of this understanding was an ability to recognize when I was feeling feelings and when I was feeling hormones. I still feel blue or agitated once a month but I'm able to feel it without acting upon it. In fact, during those two days, acting upon my emotions is strictly prohibited.

So here I am today, with all this warning and PMS experience, and I still feel like I'd prefer to jump out of my skin.
Sometimes it's bad. Today it's bad. I don't want to speak. I don't want to do anything but I don't want to lay around either. I want to be productive but nothing I try to do works out. I have tried sitting inside and I have tried sitting outside. It doesn't matter. I can actually feel the part of my brain that is sending out the gloom and doom signals. I can actually hear the part of me that wants to be happy and I can feel it for a fleeting moment. I visualize taking a lasso and wrangling the PMS part of my brain right out my left ear. I visualize scooping it out with an ice-cream scoop. I feel trapped in my own mind, scratching to get outside this prison that I know doesn't really exist. Nonetheless, I can almost feel my fingernails scrape against the concrete walls.

I know this is PMS but it doesn't stop me from searching my mind for something to alleviate the emotional discomfort. "What can I do? What can I do?" I keep saying in my head and I have to remind myself over and over to just relax and wait for it to pass. At least I know what's going on. At least I'm not trying to fix something in my life that is not actually broken. I'm am grateful for that. Even still, I wish I could just sleep until it's over.

There. I did it. I told you about my PMS and we all survived. There's one more thing to be grateful for...

Note: Jason has always handled this issue with great respect for my feelings. He knows that, no matter the cause, the emotions I have are overwhelming. He doesn't try to argue with me or tell me that I'm overreacting. When I'm in the middle of it, he simply listens to me and supports me. When I calm down, days later, we talk about the role of PMS in my tirades. Because Jason tracks my cycle, he knows what is coming ahead of time. He braces himself and does everything he can to be helpful. Jason is very smart. And sweet. I'm grateful for him too.


JC said...

I do believe Jason should call Neil up and explain to him just how hard it is to control the emotions some of us feel while on our cycle. Neil seems to think I like being a bitch randomly [once a month really]. He doesn't take into consideration the cramps and emotions running high thanks to hormones. Granted, he is still young. Maybe there is hope?

This is a really interesting story though. I have never tracked my own behaviour during my cycle. It's rather hard to on your own.

Jill Mertens said...

Don't hate me, but ... I love this story!

I find it very ironical how the level- headed, scientific approach helped to give you such insights to such an emotional time and such irrational thoughts and feelings!