Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hello, world! I have PMS!

Honestly, I'm not sure why it's considered inappropriate for a woman to admit to people that her temporary insanity is largely due to hormones. This weeklong distortion and amplification of emotions is a fact of life, and the sooner a woman (and the world around her) learns to live with it, the better.

As a Christian, I'm learning that God allows women to go through PMS to learn how to manage their emotions. Not every emotion that comes along is wrong to feel (i.e., anger). It's what you do with it that matters. For me, I know that for about a week or so, I'm going to be more irritable, arrogant, anxious, and overall unstable than usual. It's a time when God seems to be farther away, so I need to be aware that it's probably because of the hormonal fog in my brain. I'm going to have a bigger appetite (so fried chicken or a burger will probably be OK), and yes, chocolate becomes a drug that mysteriously helps me feel better! I'll feel more fatigued and just overall bla, so I shouldn't necessarily feel guilty about feeling tired or sluggish. If anything around me seems more annoying than usual, it's probably the hormones. And since my judgment is clouded, I try not to make any major decisions during PMS! The night before it ends, I'm probably going to have a mini-meltdown, cry a lot, and reevaluate my life.

Of course, if I mess up -- act like a total witch around everybody or make really stupid decisions or pig out unnecessarily -- I'll need to be responsible for my actions. (If I offend anyone, I'll need to apologize... and people will need to call me on that. :">) But it's good to be aware that this mini-war will rage inside me temporarily, and everything will be OK in the end.

I think I'm so into mastering emotional awareness because in recent years, keeping my emotions in check has been a MAJOR challenge that I've had to learn (and am still learning). In the past, I've taken out my crap on people and allowed my brain to fry in the heat of some uncontrolled emotions (i.e., anger, rage, anxiety, jealousy, you name it!). I, uh, learned a lot in my visit to a psychiatric hospital and follow-up therapy several years ago. :"> The antidepressant they put me on was SO nice because it numbed me back to normalcy. After I tapered off the drug, I started feeling my emotions WAAAY strongly! (I wasn't just happy, I was REALLY HAPPY!!! I wasn't just scared, I was REALLY SCARED!!!) Learning how to control them without medicine has been an adventure (understatement!) and a rewarding journey.

Now, I can even recognize emotional PMS changes in other women, and being sensitive to that is helpful in getting along with them. (Of course, anytime a woman fails to control her temper doesn't automatically mean that she's got PMS. :">)

One of my favorite episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond is the one where Ray tries to get Debra to see how crappily she treats him when she has PMS. He says, "This isn't Debra! This is the woman who shows up once a month to rip into me like a monkey on a cupcake!"

Mmm... cupcake. Yes, world, as I write this, I do have PMS. If you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go raid my kitchen for some chocolate. :o)

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Thanks for keeping it real, Tirzah!

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