Monday, March 3, 2014
Yikes...The PMS Monster
I've been feeling incredibly ashamed lately.
Not about my outward appearance but by my behavior.
My Premenstral Syndrome has become a menace so after many years without it, I went back on THE PILL.
I tried Chaste Berry, I increased my calcium, started eating meat after being Vegetarian for 23 years and tried many other therapies before finally going to my doctor who is trained in Integrative Medicine.
I trust her not to push medications that are not needed (when I got the flu she told me to make some tea with honey and go back to bed ) so when said to me in the gentlest way "You have PMS Depression and a mild dose of hormones might help" I agreed to go back on birth control to regulate my hormones.
Months of mental and emotional torment made me realize that no amount of meditation, asana or journaling could erase the undeniable fact that a week before I bleed I become overwhelmed with sorrow. I have tried faking a smile or breathing deeply but nothing seems to help me swim through the flash flood of panic that overwhelms my entire body, brain and spirit during this time of the month.
I have been out of control.
My brain, my thoughts, my emotions may be things I've learned to be aware of but when they are so strongly full of real pain and a desire for harm well...that's a problem.
A big one.
A few months ago I sent my boyfriend a flurry of texts accusing him of plotting to love me so he can break my heart and then contemplated about who might be able to care for my son if I were to run my car off the road and into a wall.
I needed help.
Once a month I'm depressed.
My mother has struggled with physical and mental illness most of my life and she has never taken the initiative to care for herself and as much as I love her and try not to dwell in resentment over it, the possibility of a similar burden falling upon my son is unbearable.
My nervous system is a nervous wreck but I am breathing, I'm looking in the mirror and trying to have appreciation for all that I have accomplished in my life, my ability to set goals and meet them, all the people I help through my work as a yoga and meditation teacher and most of the time I am happy about it and a little in awe of it but lately those moments of feeling dark and heavy have turned into storm clouds that just won't break.
There is no relief from a tremendous cleansing downpour happening.
The sky doesn't shake and scream and then suddenly clear out to reveal a rainbow...it just remaines pregnant with a feeling of doom.
I know that the darkness makes us appreciate the light more but the light has seemed more like a beacon in the distance that I have to squint to see with clarity and I've come to understand that my need to do it all on my own can't be the only way.
There is absurd pressure for most women to do it all and I'm tired of feeling like I have to be strong all of the time.
I know a lot of this is self imposed but it's not without a strong influence from society that has influenced my belief that there are 2 types of folks...
those who do and those who wait for someone else to do it for them.
I've always defaulted to the first.
I am not going to regurgitate the social pressure for women to look a certain way...
I'm still waiting to see Heidi Klum naked, beautiful and unphotoshopped after 4 kids but let's not forget the equally unhealthy pressure for women to BEHAVE a certain way.
In fact, a conversation that only seems to stress self empowerment through an accepting body image only maintains a focus that as women our value is still being banked on our physical form.
I won't apologize for my emotions of anger or frustration when they are legitimate...
I do not think I am or any woman is a bitch for standing up for themselves when they have been disrespected but why is the fluctuation of monthly emotional turmoil something that still lingers in the shadows?
We don't talk about it.
We might say it amongst friends but we also act as if it isn't actually debilitating for some of us.
It's just something to endure and hope that we can find a partner that will put up with the monthly bout of 'crazy'.
Aren't we lucky?
Well... you know what?
Being a woman sucks, sometimes.
Be beckons of compassion, light, joy, inspiration and self acceptance.
No...I'm a complex system of bones, connective tissue, energy, thoughts, desires and hormones that make me feel wacked out and question my sanity, sometimes.
The reality is that much of what comes up the week before my period are REAL life annoyances and concerns but the elevated level of a need to react is what becomes so frightening.
I understand that men's hormones fluctuate and maybe part of the issue I'm having beyond the sadness and suicidal thoughts (not trying to devalue that, at all) is the need to make excuses for them instead of living in a society that takes this part of being a woman into consideration without making it a hinderance.
Women have long been excluded from positions of power because of our monthly cycles...maybe not outright anymore but we still get labeled as 'emotional' and ''unreliable'.
Would a female President push the button just because she was PMS-ing?
That's the fear, right?
Men can go to war with mere knee jerk reactions to save their father's honor (George W Bush...I'm talking to you) and then get a larger group of people worked up to frantically justify the need to have a temper tantrum and not only do they maintain their positions of power but they are praised for their strength and ability to 'act'.
I'm a bundle of hormones.
I'm complex and usually I love and adore being a woman but the fluctuation that creates such extreme thoughts and suffering isn't something I need to be ashamed of.
I've got cellulite, I have stretch marks, I have a saggy belly and serious lines between my brows and it feels good to say that it's ok to love my body but it's only the external.
I know that my body will only get older and I can accept that pretty easily.
I'm struggling to love and accept the internal...the part of me that makes me tired, achey, nauseous and wanting to cry as if I'm in mourning because someone honked their horn at me because I got distracted at a red light...
That part of me...
I am having a hard time loving it unconditionally.
The past month that I have been on the pill I have crossed my fingers and paused to observe how things play out and it was a bit easier...
I was able to catch myself pre-meltdown and recover from the few moments of insecure freak outs with much more ease.
I have had far fewer prideful needs to justify my crappy behavior but I still feel isolated.
I'm not crazy...whatever that means.
I'm just ME having an experience that Mother Nature made part of my life as a woman and I have decided to ask for help.
I'm not less than a woman because I have chosen to end my suffering.
I am ME but a bit more calm and a little more bright than I have been and I am celebrating that.