You’re cranky and difficult, and if someone even looks at you funny, you burst into floods of tears. The X Factor‘s auditionees’ stories are “just so heartbreaking”. And your boyfriend/co-worker/boss/sibling/parent is wrecking your head. You take everything out of context and twist it so it’s clear to you that there’s a conspiracy against you and your kind. In between arguments and sulks, you inhale Galaxy bars and Hunky Dorys. You look in the mirror at your bloated belly and convince yourself that you must be pregnant even though the last guy to inspect your nether regions was the gynaecologist a year and a half ago. Your boobs hurt so damn much and as for the back pain… You’re just about to check yourself in to a mental institution before you kill someone, ruin all your dearest relationships, go up a number of dress sizes, and fly into a fury not too dissimilar from Nicolas Cage in most of his movies when you take a look at your calendar and it all makes sense. You’re pre-menstrual.
Follow these simple steps as you ride the rough terrain of pre-menstrual syndrome (it’s called a “syndrome” so this is a serious matter):
1) See it for what it is
You may be baffled and terrified by your mood swings but recognise that there’s a reason for them. Your hormones are all over the place at the moment. So, give yourself permission to shed some tears over the latest evictee on Project Runway and to let go completely as you throw a tantrum over dropping your fork. Get it out. Treat yourself like a bold child. Allow yourself to scream and wail. You’ll tire out eventually.
2) Get on with it
Some medical professionals argue that PMS is a socially constructed disorder. If they knew what was good for them, they probably didn’t drop that bombshell when there were any pre-menstrual women around. As real (and horrible) as it is, don’t allow it to take over your life for a whole week every single month. It’s there and it’s awful but you know why you’re feeling this way. However, the more you focus on it, the bigger it’ll become. So, just get on with things.
Gentle exercise will help with the mood and with the cramps. Take a long walk by the river. Go for a jog. Get down the gym. Yoga/dancing/martial arts also work a treat. And the activity will take your mind off of the horror of THE SYNDROME.
4) Natural remedies
My mother swears by Evening Primrose to keep her body in balance. It helps with breast tenderness, cramps and dips in mood. Vitamin B6 and Magnesium are also beneficial.
5) Don’t make any important decisions
When I was a teenager and not yet used to the onslaught of this crazy syndrome, I wrote in large letters on numerous pages of my diary: “Sharon is not here at the moment. Do not make any important decisions when you’re due your period.” You’re not thinking rationally at the moment so remind yourself of this when you’re considering breaking it off with your long-term boyfriend or handing in your notice at work. In Muslim law, one male witness is equivalent to two females. Apparently, this is partly due to the emotional disturbances, lack of concentration, memory loss, and slow-mindedness that women are said to experience once a month. This probably infuriates a lot of you but, just in case there’s the slightest grain of truth in it, why not hold off on putting your annoying dog on Buy & Sell and emigrating to Dubai?
It’ll all be over soon so just go with it and relax. Take a long soak in a bubble bath. Put on your favourite relaxing music, light some candles, and pour yourself a large glass of red. At least you’ll keep yourself out of trouble for a bit, plus you’ll be giving your nearest and dearest a well-deserved breather.
PMS is uncomfortable, infuriating and confusing but, luckily, it does come to an end. And the more in balance your body is, the less these symptoms will affect you. Good nutrition, exercise, relaxation, and natural remedies will help. Also, understanding why you’re feeling this way will make it more bearable. And don’t worry, you’re not the only one acting like a maniac.
For all you guys out there, don’t think you’re getting off lightly. You act like spoiled children every now and then too. Man flu, anyone? If Michael Douglas was a woman, his meltdown in Falling Down would probably be put down to PMS.