It’s not even 9am and I’ve already cried twice today. Once because I picked a fight with my mum, and another time because my partner didn’t answer his phone so I could talk about the fight I picked with my mum.
There is only one reason why this would happen. And that reason has three small yet powerful letters: PM-effing-S.
My PMS is awful. It’s two to three days each month that are so violently different than the other 28 I have often wondered if I’m losing my mind.
These few days are characterised by a few symptoms.
“Woe betides the person who parks in the parent and child space without kids/walks through the door I’ve held open without saying thank-you/provides less than impeccable Customer Service.”
Firstly there’s what I like to call ‘the rage’, an anger that comes from deep inside and is so unlike anything I feel at any other time. It’s an anger that’s feral, it’s powerful, it’s terrifying: I could quite literally lift cars when I have the rage.
Woe betides the person who parks in the parent and child space without kids/walks through the door I’ve held open without saying thank-you/provides less than impeccable Customer Service. I will unreasonably take my frustrations out on you and I’m sorry.
(Though not that sorry if you’re parking in a parent and child space without a child. You should, quite frankly, know better).
I’m not sure I can name anyone close to me who hasn’t felt the force of ‘The Rage’ at least a couple of times. I hate the fact The Rage makes me so mad at the people I love and once again, mum and Shaun, I’m sorry.
The thing is, hindsight teaches me that I am indeed vexatious and contrary for absolutely no reason at all. But in the moment, when led by The Rage, it all feels so darned real. Hulk-level real.
My PMS Is Awful
The second symptom I experience is a sadness that encompasses my whole body, a sadness that is less emotion and just a complete sense of absolute emptiness. I feel like the world is about to end, a sense of impending doom so bad that I can’t see past the next couple of hours: it’s just me, my heavy heart and a whole lot of void.
It’s different to a reactionary sadness and I know again it comes from somewhere in me, but by god once again it feels so bloody real. Like my life will never again afford me a sliver of sunshine piercing the darkness of my cold heart. It basically makes me feel like a dementor, but less fun at parties.
It’s hard to have a life (or a job) when I have PMS. One of the most obvious symptoms is a horrendous fatigue and, when coupled with said rage and darkness, it’s quite simply safer to retire to my bed during this time in the manner of a consumptive member of the Victorian-era aristocracy. But because life doesn’t work that way I generally have to Just Keep Going, come hell or high water (or high rage). Which means lots of cups of tea, lots of sugar (I don’t even like sugar), lots of hand-wringing and an extreme amount of self-pity.
It’s not that I don’t like being a woman. Patriarchy battles aside, my femininity and enjoyment of all it entails are some of the loveliest most fun bits about life. And yet, by god, at this time of the month I sometimes so wish I could feel relaxed wearing a pair of white jeans.
When my PMS is awful I do a few things to minimise the effects of the rage, the emptiness, and the feeling of my uterus turning itself inside-out. A hot water bottle permanently clutched to my abdomen like a Kangeroo carrying her joey (a heating pad when pain relief needs to be a bit more portable). Agnus Castus and magnesium, to try and halt the sadness, rage and awful boob pain (I don’t know if it’s the placebo effect, but it seems to help). Cycle tracking apps so I can at least anticipate what’s to come (Clue pops up with a chirpy message around day 28 to advise me to expect my life to implode with PMS, which is fun).
My PMS is awful but I still feel proud I get through it every month. One of my favourite sayings when it comes to my period is “I can do anything you can do bleeding” and I stand by it: when you think about it in these terms we are warriors to be able to go about our daily lives while our insides and brains are in turmoil.
I’m not sure PMS is what Geri Halliwell had in mind when she coined ‘Girl Power’ but sod it, I’m taking my end-of-cycle ‘strong woman’ badge of honour and running with it.