This is a new topic for me, but one I’ve been trying to find the courage to write about for sometime now. And yes, it’s all about “that time of the month” and the three letters we all dread hearing and will kill our partners over mentioning. It is PMS (in the UK, I know you guys call it PMT… but I’m American and grew up calling it PMS so hope you won’t mind if I use that anagram throughout). For me, PMS is terrible. I mean next level, I become a different person and feel like the whole world is falling down around me terrible. I’ve been dealing with it for about two decades now and the people closest to me all suffer in silence. Well, some of them. Others more or less tell me to get a grip and blame anything and everything on those few days. Obviously those people are no longer in my life. You see, I don’t get angry, I don’t lash out at other people, I don’t become a monster to anyone else but myself. So when I say people suffer in silence, I mean they look on and see that I’m struggling and have come to realise that no amount of telling me “everything will be alright” actually makes anything alright. PMS, for me, is period of time every month where I well and truly hate myself and question every single decision I’ve ever made. I go into a tailspin and I stay there. And then, 72 hours later, I’m free of it, the world is back to how it should be, and time moves on.
I’m writing this now, in the thick of it. I woke up this morning not wanting to get out of bed. I flashed over to Instagram, saw a picture hadn’t gotten as many likes as it would normally. Note: on a normal day I could care less… I just want to be proud of what I’m sharing and don’t look at numbers as a direct correlation to my success in life. But on a PMS day, that little number in the left hand corner tells me I’m shit hot or just shit. Then I get up, head into the bathroom, undress to take a shower and catch my reflection in the mirror. I spend a good 60 seconds examining what is now and reminiscing over what used to be. My stomach is flabbier, I have bingo wings, my thighs are dimpled and when did my boobs discover the right way to turn was downwards? And how much money will it cost to take all of this back 15 years? Then, I hop into the shower, and because I have time to think, I start to think about where I would get the money for that plastic surgery. I’m screaming towards 40, have no kids, no husband and I’m a blogger. At the age of 38, I’m a blogger. How am I even going to tell a potential boyfriend that? Surely he’ll believe I’m some 38 year old thinking she’s 23 and living in a digital Barbie’s world. Then I sit down and try to write, try to deliver a message to people that doesn’t say, “I’m having a day where I wish I could just go back to bed and not see a single soul.” That’s probably the hardest part, staying positive. Every single little thing becomes a gigantic disaster. People not paying on time, more bills coming in, jobs booking then jobs cancelling, not enough jobs coming in at all. I can see the spiral slide in front of me and my feet are dangling and ready to go.
And when I sit on my couch, and try to find a way out of it, all I can think is that I want someone there to just hug me, make me a cup of tea and understand, without saying a word, that this is my cross to bear. That for at least 27 days out of every month I am the picture of positivity and for a few, there is this speed bump that looks like a speed bump for most, but for me it resembles Mount bloody Everest.
So, why I am writing this? Well, the reason is two fold. First of all, I started writing this for other women. I wanted you to know you aren’t alone. That if this is you too, we’re all going through it together and we all know, despite not being able to see it, that it eventually clears up and goes away, leaving no trace and usually no warning (at least for me) when exactly it will strike again next month. But then I started to think, maybe it can be written for a man too, to better understand what it is that could be going through your wife/girlfriend’s mind at this time of the month. If I act a bit unsettled, and can’t find the words to explain why, it’s because it really is impossible to truly explain, and dealing with it over the course of a lifetime ain’t easy. But let me give you a little piece of advice, never ever EVER blame anything on “that time of the month.” I’m pretty sure you guys learned that early on in life. Yet it seems there are still a few of you that missed out on that day in “being a man 101.”
And for those who will say there are remedies for the problem, thankfully there are for some. I’ve seen gynos, GPs, psychiatrists, psychologists and the lot. And yes, there have been suggestions through time that have helped and coping mechanisms I use to make it through that time every month. I find meditation is a godsend – use Headspace, its a miracle worker. Sadly, Headspace isn’t there as I pass my reflection in the mirror or when I’m on a phonecall where I’m hearing I’m not skinny enough for this campaign and not big enough for another. But, it is there to help set up and end the day with a positive light, and for that I am thankful. For many of my friends, birth control pills have helped greatly with this problem, for others antidepressants are the answer. For me, writing about it has always and forever helped in some way or another. I have always kept journals and surprisingly it is almost hilarious to read back at what I wrote on the bad days. I am truly a different person in the way I see myself, the way I see the world and the social hermit that I become. I’d love to share one but that, I’m afraid, is just too damn personal. Just trust me when I say there’s a lot of self loathing going on above and beyond what I’ve already shared here today.
So what’s the best way forward? Well the honest answer is, I don’t know. If you came here looking for a solution, I’m sorry to disappoint. My answer has mostly been to be up front about it. If it gets noticed that I’m a bit off, I’ll usually let close friends and family in on what’s up. Sadly, for everyone else I just end up admitting it’s an off day and I leave it at that. I’m still a pretty big prude when it comes to talking about this stuff. I blame my southern upbringing. Some things just aren’t meant to be discussed out in the open. But, mental problems as a result of hormones are, in this case, something I felt truly compelled to discuss in an open forum.