I assume you’d probably find comfort in thinking that someone who’s dispensing hormone cycle studies and tips every day doesn’t experience premenstrual meltdowns–you know, the kind with screaming, crying and the flinging of random object that happen to be within reach.
However, I’m still human. Which means I’m subject to the same effects of hormone fluctuations as anybody else. And even I can ignore my own wise advice–like eating regularly and cutting back on caffeine–that helps reduce premenstrual irritability.
I say all this because this weekend I had one helluva premenstrual meltdown. For real. I think I scared Douglas.
But, you know what? It’s okay.
Not just because a premenstrual explosion is normal (though, seriously, I definitely should not have skipped meals and or downed all that caffeine–bad Gab!).
But, also because sometimes premenstrual irritability and frustration are just the motivators you need to pursue a goal or fix a problem or overcome a long-standing challenge you’ve been facing.
See, during other weeks of your cycle, you can be lulled into the kind of complacency that lets problems linger. Maybe it’s because rising estrogen in your Week 1 and Week 2 is making you overly optimistic that a problem you’ve been facing will somehow magically resolve itself on its own or this rosy-hued hormone has you convinced that you’ll definitely, totally, one day stop procrastinating about finding a solution. Or it could be that sedating progesterone in your Week 3 is making you too physically and mentally sapped to tackle anything more arduous than unwrapping a candy bar.
But, your premenstrual Week 4 is when the proverbial poop hits the fan: Plunging estrogen is making you fed up with yourself, your life, your inadequacies, your excuses and your procrastination, which can lead to a real sink-or-swim moment.
And that’s exactly what happened with me: Not to bore you with too many details, but because of my heavy workload (and the incredibly sad old-lady fact that I can no longer force my body to stay up past 10 pm), I’ve been stalled on three projects on my to-do list that are important to me. This has had me pretty bummed–and in my premenstrual stupor, I was ruminating about it.
The more I tried looking for ways to fit them into my schedule, the more it seemed impossible, which only made me angrier and more frustrated…till I reached the point where I just boiled over. (Once again, I’m reeaallly sorry about that, Douglas!)
Anyway, three handfuls of chocolate- and salted cararmel-covered popcorn later (I know, I know, you’re not supposed to eat your feelings, but I think I get a premenstrual pass on this one–and, besides, research shows sugar cools off a hot temper), I realized I was sick and tired of being stuck in this rut of a problem. And, I was even more sick and tired of hearing myself whine and complain about it.
That’s when I realized some fixes I’d ignored or discarded–like changing my work schedule and recruiting Douglas to help (which he readily agreed to despite–or maybe in fear of–my premenstrual meltdown)–could finally move me forward.
Within one day, I’d taken the first steps in working on two of the projects–and the third (fingers crossed) will be completed later this week.
Talk about major progress, right?
Best of all, my premenstrual irritability pretty much vanished after that.
My goal with these Hormonology newsletters and my Hormone Horoscopes is to teach you about your hormone cycle and how to harness it to make every day better. Most times, I do that through studies I report on. But, sometimes, I think simply sharing my own hormonal experiences with you can be an even bigger help.
So, I’d like to recommend that the next time you’re flaming out in your premenstrual week, give yourself time to cool down–for instance, by taking a long walk, hopping in the shower or right-hooking a gym bag. Then, use your frustration to force yourself to think of ways to move your life in the direction you want.
You may end up thanking premenstrual plunging estrogen for giving you the kick in the behind you needed. I know I did!
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