health

'Why does PMS always take me by surprise?'

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By JO ABI

I am 36 years of age and I have had my period for approximately 20 years.

And yet PMS always takes me by surprise.

You know the feeling. I’m sitting here this morning feeling angry and wanting to cry, I started to wonder why. I’ve had an AMAZING week filled with rewarding work and brilliant family time. I’m happy. But I just want to stay in my Snuggie, drink coffee and read all day. My head is throbbing…

Then, like a light-bulb, I realise I am ‘due’ on Friday so I’m obviously in the midst of full-blown PMS. I feel a bit better after making this realisation but not much.

Why do we get PMS? Isn’t life hard enough? I hate having my period. I know it is part of being a woman and it gifted me my three beautiful children but it just seems cruel to me that added to the chaos of my day is now bloating, fatigue, grumpiness, irritability and tears shed over running out of smooth peanut butter (crunchy gets stuck in my teeth!).

I met a very brave man once, who suggested to me (after I had thrown a folder of notes onto my desk at work in frustration) that PMS isn’t even real. He said it was just an excuse women come up with to explain their bad behaviour. Stunned silence was my first reaction, followed by a glare that I managed to deliver so effectively that the colour actually drained from his face like in a cartoon. He left my office quickly – never referring to his comment again.

Do you think I want to be irritable and mad and grumpy? Do you think I CHOOSE to feel like this?

I have tried to lessen the impact of my PMS on my family. I visited Dr Google and discovered that in the lead up to a woman’s period she is often deficient in several vitamins that could make her PMS much worse. I can’t control the effect of my radically shifting hormones, so I began to diligently take a PMS vitamin formula as well as additional vitamin B and iron and for the past few months I haven’t noticed any severe mood swings (although my husband probably has but isn’t suicidal enough to mention them). All I’ve needed once a month is a block of chocolate (Top Deck is my favourite at the moment) and a hot drink. Solved.

But this month I feel like I was standing in the middle of my house looking fab, smiling, feeling great and a giant wave came and knocked me off my feet, leaving me on my arse, dazed and wondering what on earth had just happened.

That’s the best way I can described the PMS effect when it happens to me. There’s not enough Top Deck in the world to get me through this, I fear.

I just need to lay low. I keep repeating to myself, “Everything is fine, this will pass, it’s just a feeling, it isn’t real, stay calm, don’t worry, it’s all fine, everything is just fine.”

Talking to myself…another symptom of PMS?

PMS is real, thank you very much. Do you want to make something of it?

Jo Abi is the author of the book How to Date a Dad: a dating guide released by Hachette Livre Australia. You can follow her on Twitter here

Does PMS ever take you by surprise? Do you struggle to keep your emotions in check during the days before your period is due? How do you deal with it?


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