I hate what PMS does to me.
In recent years, probably over the past decade, I’ve become a more anxious person. I’ve learned coping mechanisms to deal with anxiety, but it’s an exhausting state to be in. PMS takes my base anxiety levels and shoots them through the roof.
The good thing is that I’m aware of this and that helps me mentally manage it. The bad thing is that I have to live through a state of inner turmoil caused by high-wired chemicals and hormones.
How does one explain what it’s like?
When I’m PMSing, it feels like there’s a small electric undercurrent moving through my body. I feel the slightest bit nauseous. It feels like something bad is about to happen. Since I don’t know what that bad thing might be, my brain wants to identify something bad for me so that I can put logic to the way I feel. That means my brain starts acting all stupid. It’s like a computer is turned on in my head that starts sifting through all the data of the things happening in my life and it then lights up certain data in particular, deciding these three things must be the cause of how I feel.
When I’m not feeling anxious, when I’m not PMSing, those three things won’t even catch my attention. But when I’m anxious and PMSing, they turn into huge issues that need to be dealt with and need to be resolved.
The good thing is that I’m usually conscious of all this so I do my very best to process the data and put it into its proper context. When possible, I’ll wait for a few days to deal with certain matters so I can see them for what they really are. Otherwise, I’ll go out on a run or on a bike ride. Whenever I’m running or cycling my brain goes almost blank. I find it very difficult to run/cycle and think at the same time. What that always shows me is that the things I think are huge problems in my life aren’t huge problems at all if they vanish from my mind within a few seconds of starting a run.
I had tons of thinking time on my hands while I was cycling across Europe on my own a couple of years ago. One day, I told myself that I’d use that time to go through all the huge problems that were present in my life and try to find ways to solve them. At that time, I had some real – as opposed to imagined – issues that were causing me lots of angst. What I discovered was that every problem I had was already being dealt with in the best possible way and that what remained was me needlessly worrying about it all. It took me about three minutes to go through all my problems and come to that conclusion. That was a real lesson for me; one I’ve kept with me and I recall whenever I feel the anxiety taking over.
You know what PMS is making me think? It’s making me worry about how I’m going to be when menopause arrives. If I’m like this now, I’m going to be in a living nightmare when I’m menopausal. I’m worrying about something that hasn’t come, that I have absolutely no control over, and that could actually turn out to be perfectly fine. My worrying won’t change the outcome either way. It’s just affecting my quality of life now over something that might or might not happen later. How absolutely ridiculous is that?
I know it’s ridiculous. I’m thankful that I’ve learned to process through this despite that undercurrent of messed up emotions. I’m thankful I have means to make that undercurrent disappear temporarily. And more than anything else, I’m thankful for the gift of writing. Words are like magic bubbles that take all the worries and incessant thoughts and fly far far away with them.