16 Apr Experiencing premenstrual symptoms? Saying *this* to yourself could help….
This morning while watching the news on TV, there was a report about an elderly driver going the wrong way on a highway near where I live in Florida. (A surprisingly and scarily common occurrence here.) Anyway, no one was hurt. The lady didn’t crash. No other drivers were involved. All in all, it was a very tepid news segment as far as TV news goes.
But, tears welled up in my eyes and I started crying. So silly, right?
Well, in a moment, I knew it wasn’t due to the news story or anything sad going on in my life. I’m in my premenstrual week. So, I realized it was just descending estrogen triggering waterworks by creating an imbalance of serotonin in my brain. And that has the potential to make even the most slightly sad story trigger tears. (Seriously, just try to bring up Puff the Magic Dragon in conversation during my premenstrual week and see what happens.)
Anyway, as the tears flowed, I told myself, “This too shall pass.”
And it did. In just a couple of minutes, the tears dried up, I had no more urge to cry and I went on my merry little way.
Then, about 15 minutes later, out of the blue my heart started racing and I was experiencing a bout of mild anxiety. Nothing had happened to provoke it–I wasn’t doing my bills (which is enough to make anyone need a Xanax, right?) and I wasn’t thinking about how much holiday shopping I still needed to get done (though, really, why didn’t I start this earlier?).
I knew it wasn’t related to anything I was thinking about or doing. It was just plunging estrogen again prompting another uncomfortable side effect. And I told myself, “This too shall pass.”
And, in a few minutes it did. My heart rate went back down to normal and I went on my merry little way.
Then, about 10 minutes after that, I experienced a bout of dizziness. I wasn’t doing cartwheels or stringing lights around the Christmas tree (anyone else totally lose their balance like me after going round and round the tree?). And, I was pretty sure I wasn’t suffering from vertigo or a head trauma.
So, I chalked it up again to plunging estrogen. And I told myself, “This too shall pass.”
And, in about a minute it did. The dizziness disappeared and never came back. And I went on my merry little way.
Why oh why am I telling you all about the minutiae of my morning?
Because I want to stress that knowing how your hormones impact you day-to-day in your cycle is fun, it’s educational, it helps you predict your day and plan your life. But, it also gives you peace of mind.
When you feel a hormone-related symptom–like crying or anxiety or dizziness–you no longer have to instantly be afraid something drastic is wrong with your health or well-being or mistakenly attribute it to something in your life, like your job or relationship.
You can just chalk it up to your hormones and think to yourself, “Within a few minutes, this too shall pass.”
For me, this is a pretty freeing concept. It’s helped me just let go and not get caught up in the premenstrual symptom or make more out of it than what it is–a temporary reaction in my body that happens as a result of estrogen levels decreasing.
Sometimes, just acknowledging this is enough to help me get through whatever symptom I’m experiencing. Other times, I know I’ll need a coping mechanism to deal with it till it passes. For instance, to avoid letting anxiety symptoms intensify–which is exactly what happens with me when I focus on them–I distract myself with something that requires my attention, like flossing my teeth or braiding my hair.
So, next time you experience a temporary side effect of plunging estrogen in your premenstrual week–be it weepiness, anxiety, dizziness, nausea or a temper flare–try telling yourself, “This too shall pass” (or something like that–maybe you’ll think of phrase that sounds a bit cooler, like, “Suck it, hormones!”).
Then, notice how much easier it is for you to get through the symptom to the other side.
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