It’s a joke all over the Internet, TV, movies, and books that a woman loses her mind during PMS, menopause, pregnancy, etc. I’ve laughed at the jokes, mostly because I’ve been there and understand exactly how the woman feels/felt. I’ve also giggled at the truth of the joke–hormones out of whack can make you angry or sad, even if there’s nothing to be angry or sad about. There’s a Modern Family episode, where Phil Dunphy freaks out because all 3 of the women in his house (his wife and 2 daughters) are having their periods on the same day–for the first time ever, the women’s periods have synced. It’s also LEAP DAY, which he loves to celebrate, and he is devastated that the females in his life are having female issues on his special day. It’s funny. I’ve laughed out loud at it:
Phil Dunphy: “It happened! Satan’s trifecta! The day I most dreaded falling on the day I most loved.”
Claire Dunphy: “Phil, is this what you’ve been teaching our son, that women are some sort of unclean lepers that should be hidden under sheets for a week? Do you have any idea how offensive that is?”
Phil Dunphy: “I do, honey, and from the bottom of my heart I am so… scared.”
You are laughing, right? Or at least smiling. Many critics didn’t like this episode for the reasons I’m writing about here; but when I first watched it, I didn’t mind it. Claire eventually speaks up and states that she just wants a little sympathy from Phil. After all, does he really think she wants to be acting crazy?
The thing is: these feelings are not funny.
For a good part of 2016,I’ve felt my hormones and emotions were out of control 5 out of 7 days a week. I’ve said things and behaved ways that make me feel embarrassed. I’ve thought about my behavior the next day and felt mortified. Whether I was a total bitch because someone was too slow at a checkout line, cried during a meeting because someone didn’t agree with me, or freaked out on my friends for doing something that was not that big of a deal (saying something I didn’t 100 percent agree with or being late or canceling plans for a valid reason)–it sucks. It sucks when the tears start to fall down my face (I cry when I’m sad, frustrated, angry, misunderstood–you see where this is going), and I can not stop them. I also can’t exercise much without pain from the cysts, bloating, enlarged uterus and endometriosis–except walking–so the endorphins that usually help from exercise are not helping other.
I’m extremely lucky to have forgiving and understanding people in my life. I’ve been straightforward about what is going on, so that hopefully they excuse some of this behavior. I try to get enough sleep and schedule time to relax, as this also helps, and I try to limit myself from going out and drinking with my friends, although sometimes I fail at all of these.
I’m sharing this with you today because I’m sure I am not alone. As a woman, if you have gone off birth control pills after being on them for a long time, you may feel like I described here. If you are going through menopause, you can feel like this. Hell, if you are 14 and have bad PMS, you can feel like this once a month for a couple days for 40 years. I tell men how I feel and again, I’m lucky to have understanding ones in my life because they nod and say: that must suck. When I tell a woman about my hormones and PMS symptoms that I deal with a majority of the month, she always says something like, “Oh God,” which means HOLY SHIT! That must be the most awful thing in the world. It’s not. I can think of many more awful things, but it is really hard to deal with and exhausting.
Again, I’m happy I found a doctor who believed me when I said: I need help, and she is operating on me this week. I have friends and family who are helping me with the recovery from the hysterectomy since I am a single mom. I trust this doctor to help me get my hormones right, and I am ready to take charge of my life.
If you need some resources or someone to talk to about this, please leave a comment below OR message me on the form to the right, which says: CONTACT ME, because that is completely private.
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Cartoon photo above found on Flickr.com by Shaheen Laken (brainblogger.com)