Wednesday, August 09, 2006

PMS Blues

PMS. It's different for everyone, and different for me from month to month. In the details, anyway. Now bear with me cuz I'm there now and part of it is a distinct lack of creative energy.

This month my body feels heavy and I have molasses in my arteries. Sludge. Leaden syrup, moving like a mudslide through my body. I'm walking in waist deep ocean water, against the current. Not a strong, bowl-me-over current, just enough to have to strain and lean and put some effort into going the way I know I need to go. Just enough to have to keep part of my mind always on the current. Or it's as if I hadn't slept in a few days. Know that feeling? When you know you have to keep on going but you are soooooooooo tired. The sandman is constantly, insistently calling you, a low incessant nagging voice,
pulling you down, dragging at you. All you want to do is lie down and give it up, but you keep....on....going.

And that's just the physical part. Emotionally, I can go from relatively stable (in my progesterone-poisoned opinion) to a gloomy doomsdayer,
which is where I dwell most of these PMS days, ready to burst into tears at a perceived slight or a friendly hug, to a raving bee-yotch I claim not to recognize. And it's like someone else is totally in control, pulling my puppet strings this way and that, watching me jerk and twitch just for their own deranged amusement.

Dolly Parton did a wonderful song called "PMS Blues." If you haven't heard it, gals, find it and listen. She clearly knows of what she sings.

"Nothin' fits me when it hits me....Got those- -can't stop cryin', dishes flyin'--PMS Bluuuuuuuues...........................oh, whadda you lookin' at?!"

Watch it with the comments. I might smack you. But I'm not responsible, if I do. It's that demoniacal puppetmaster!



Bardiac said...

PMS sucks! /comfort /chocolate

I figured out a while ago that I'd spent 10% + of my life since 12-13 or so feeling semi-crappy (but healthy). It adds up big time.

may said...

i so hear you on the emotional part...which leads me to the physical part...craving. sigh. don't you wish men have PMS at least once a year :)

Mama Mia said...

Oh I so hear you. I could cheerfully kill anything that breathes or makes a noise. Chocolate and chips together seem to help, but less and less as the years go by.

anafaran said...

Good summary of a summarily lousy time of month leading to that time when it's just a mess. The good thing is once you go through menopause, it's over and you can so easily forget. I had cancer once in my mid 30's, which was followed by chemo which was followed by menopause. Well, thanks for reminding me about that which I don't miss too much but it makes me feel glad it's over. There are downsides to being post-menopause though as you would know better than me, Dr. Peg, am I right?

connery said...

You probably don't want to hear this today, but I think this is BEAUTIFULLY written, and EXTREMELY evocative.

I think MEN should be required to read this, so we can have half a clue as to where our women have been sequestered off to for a few days each month--Those of us who try in vain to understand the females of the species. Truly, as I read your comments, I imagined it in an Emily Dickinson-type book of poems.

Just like your Childbirth opus from a couple of months ago, the one with that memorable mantra about how "You can do this!" (I believe it was from around Mother's Day--check the Pegchives from May 2006 if you haven't seen this one, it's waaay worth it) that made me feel adrenergic and exhausted and as if I had my own uterus, your words were very vivid, and almost made me feel PMS'sy, if that's possible.

Gimme some chocolate, damn you!

Surgeon in my dreams said...

You wrote this about the time I was doing a search along the same lines.

I have suffered from Clinical Depression since 1992. The older I get, (I am 45) the worse the week before my period gets.

Here is a small excerpt from one of the articles I found - In a new study, 64% of women with major depression said their symptoms get worse five to 10 days before their period - it is located at if you're interested in reading it.

My PMS misery (which includes being incredibly clumsy and not being able to concentrate and cramps like I never had when younger) only lasts about 4-5 days every month, but it is horrible.

I am too old for this stuff!

Surgeon in my dreams said...

I'm sorry to repost, but the link did not come out in its entirety....

medstudentitis said...

I'm glad someone else gets that horribly sleepy sluggish feeling. I could sleep about 5 to 6 days straight right before my period comes - it's an unquenchable tiredness.

dr peg said...

bardiac - 10%! Yikes, you're right! I recently read a wonderful spiritual teacher with whom I agree on just about everything. He said premenstrual time is a wonderful opportunity for women to practice the steps toward enlightenment, because it's such a challenge. (I'm mis-paraphrasing him horribly I'm sure). This was the one time I just had to close the book and shake my head. Dude, you may be wise about somethings but you are CLEARLY not a woman. Get inside this body when I have PMS and THEN say that!

May - I didn't elaborate much on the emotional part, but really that's th e main part for me. Negativity, irritability, depression. Just an overall sense of a low-hanging heavy cloud of doom, bound to burst with a drenching, soak-me-to-the-bone downpour at any minute.

Mama mia- Great description of the thin veneer over anger and irritability. I feel that way too, too often! Just ask my poor kids. And have you ever wondered why we crave chocolate and chips? Why do we crave salt when we're so freaking bloated already? Why do we crave chocolate when our boobs are tight and sore already? What is that, some kind of a cosmic puppeteer's joke?

Surgeon - Interesting study, thanks. I do have to laugh, though, don't you, when Medical Science "proves" something with a study that we've all known all along!

dr peg said...

anafaran - Wow, no PMS since your 30's? Lucky you! I don't mean to be insensitive, since I'm sure you'd rather have PMS than cancer, but, as you said, it's one small benefit from a lot of bad.

No, as to post-menopause I must relinquish the expertise to you, my friend. Sure, I have patients that are there, but there's nothing quite like living through it yourself.

Thanks for sharing your story.

dr peg said...

Connery - You must have an X chromosome hidden away in part of your heart somewhere. PMS, labor pains...most guys wouldn't even want to know what that is like, much less be able to allow themselves to feel even an echo of it, the way you do.

You're a credit to the male race, and I'm not just saying that cuz you praised my writing.

Now gimME some chocolate, dammit! I need it worse than you.


Bardiac said...

Have you thought about skipping periods?

dr peg said...

Bardiac - Have I thought about skipping periods? Who hasn't? I'd trash the whole durn thing if I didn't love ovulating so much, and weren't so aware that my ovulation days are numbered (tick tock).

NakedTomato said...

Ran long distance in college...the amenorrhea was the best part! Well, right up until med school when I learned about the Female Athlete Triad, but hey...

Karen said...

Those who crave chocolate are not alone, but until now, the negatives that are in most chocolate can cause problems. Check out this website for a dark Belgian chocolate that has natural sweeteners with a low glycemic index, safe for diabetics, and many who eat 3-4 pcs a day are losing weight. I know, I know, it sounds like a commercial, but it works. It's called "Healthy Chocolate". Check it out at:
It's pretty pricey, but very delicious. Not only is it not bad for you; it's actually good for you. I lost 8 stubborn pounds & my husband lost 20 in 2 months. If you're going to crave & eat chocolate, why not have one that's good for you?

Anonymous said...

As for me pms is just terrible, but I've found few good tips to prevent pms, so now it's a little bit better!

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