I happened to be at a friend’s house when she ripped into her mother for something that I perceived as a minor issue.  After screaming in a dialect that I couldn’t understand, she visibly forced herself to calm down and turned back to me.

“People really shouldn’t mess with me when I’m PMSing.” I smiled…until later on, when she directed her anger towards me as I was trying to pay her back for something she had purchased for me. Her voice dropped to a menacing tone:

“If you try to give me that money, I am going to stick it…” and then went on to tell me which of my orifices she would deposit my money in. Any other time of the month, she’s calm and absolutely sweet, but something just comes over her, and many other women, when hormones begin to rage. And while some women may worry that their feelings and thoughts during this time of the month are not normal, I can assure you that they are, and that you’re not alone. Here’s what data from our PMS Test revealed:

  • 53% of women admit that they cry for what seems like no reason (I get teary watching commercials about mundane things, like fabric softener).
  • 41% feel hopeless
  • 17% experience suicidal thoughts
  • 28% have difficulty remember things
  • 37% have difficulty thinking clearly
  • 33% have difficulty paying attention
  • 52% experience angry outbursts without provocation
  • 52% become argumentative
  • 34% admit that they have an urge to physically attack someone
  • 39% jump to conclusions or misjudge people/a situation
  • 41% start to have doubts that have no basis in reality (I was worried that if I left my key with contractors – who happened to be a perfectly honest people with a good reputation – they’d make a copy of my key and invade my home when I wasn’t there).
  • 37% make impulsive decisions
  • 51% obsess over problems in their life
  • 49% worry about things that others would consider minor
  • 49% experience inexplicable feelings of dread
  • 44% are overcome with feelings of guilt
  • 45% experience a significant drop in their self-esteem

“Got those moods a-swinging, tears a-slinging, nothing fits me, when it hits me, ranting, raving, misbehaving, PMS blues.”

Dolly Parton

Here are some tips to deal with the emotional and cognitive symptoms often associated with PMS:

  • Chart your symptoms. Taking note of the symptoms you feel during PMS can potentially reveal a previously undetected connection between your emotional symptoms and their repercussions. For example, some women discover that fights with their partner occur more often the week or so before they menstruate. By charting what you feel, you are better able to anticipate the mood changes that will occur and are more empowered to arrange your lifestyle accordingly (e.g. leave major decisions until after menstruation; postpone the discussion of emotionally charged issues with a partner, boss, colleague or client).
  • Go out of your way to relax. Whether it’s aroma therapy, meditation, or a warm bath, find ways to chill out. Your stress level will abate and so will your PMS symptoms.
  • Talk your way through negative thoughts and emotions. When you feel the urge to express anger or irritability in a manner that isn’t typical of you, get into the habit of taking a moment to put the situation in perspective. Separate your emotions from the situation, and talk yourself through it. “Is this really me or is it the hormones talking?” “How would I normally react under these circumstances?” “Is what I’m thinking plausible, or am I over-reacting/over-exaggerating?” Analyzing the situation can discharge the emotional “electricity”, pinpoint and counter irrational thoughts, and make it less likely that you’ll react on a hair-trigger.

Insightfully yours,

Queen D