3.5.18

I Can Finally Breathe...

Warning this is a post that contains a bit too much TMI. If you are not a lover of TMI then it may be best to go and read something else. As I am going to be talking about the P word. The word that come to think about it isn't really talked about that much. Periods. But I am going to focus mainly on the dreaded PMS that comes along with it. Something that for the past few years has ruled my life. Been in the back of my mind constantly and has reared it's ugly head for 10 days each and every single month. Sometimes in the most terrible and upsetting ways.

I have chatted about PMS before. My friends and I jokingly call it 'The Red Mist'. During certain days of the month it is as if a thick fog descends over us. It clouds our judgements. It infiltrates our thoughts like some evil spirit from a horror film. Whilst I have always had mild PMS, I found after having my second child it became almost unmanageable. It seems quite embarrassing to talk to people about it so really only confided in a few close friends. Who could sense when the mist was arriving and helped me guide my way through it.

I will chat about some of the symptoms I got during these days. Firstly there was 'the rage'. An anger that would control me. The simplest thing would see me flipping out. I would throw plates. I would scream at my poor husband for an hour over the mashed potato not being quite right. I can't express it but it was a physical feeling that overtook my body. I couldn't calm down. I would shake. I dreaded this feeling so much that days before my PMS was due to arrive I would start to worry about experiencing it again. The school run seemed impossible as I didn't want to shout at the kids. I had to avoid certain situations for fear of screaming at friends and family.

PMS

And then would come the inevitable self loathing. Which was really hard. Followers who have known me for a long time will know I am a pretty confident woman. I like grabbing life by the balls and living it the best I can. But not during these days. They were dark times. I would lie in bed sobbing. I would see something on social media that would send me into such a tizz I wouldn't be able to sleep. Irrational texts would be sent to friends. Me picking over each word they sent back. Worrying they hated me. Because why wouldn't they. I was a terrible human being. I was an awful Mum. Useless at my job. The worst kind of wife.

I was exhausted. Probably from the worry of the rage and the nights lying awake thinking the world hated me. Some afternoons I would lie on the couch and just sleep until the school run. Creatively I struggled to write and find the words I wanted to say. I knew it wasn't depression as the day after my period started the mist would go and I would be elated. So happy I had a fortnight of feeling 'normal' before the process started again. But a few months ago after some particularly dark thoughts I knew I couldn't go on like this. So with the support of Stephen I went to the doctors. I was embarrassed as PMS feels like a made up thing. Something that some men use as an excuse if a woman stands up for herself or disagrees with them.

PMS

She prescribed me some Vitamin B6 20 mg to be taken twice a day*. I just thought it was a fob off. But now three months later. I can finally breathe. I combined the B6 with some other basic self care. I walk the dog each day. I make sure I step away from social media at 8pm. The days before my period I ensure I take time to watch my favourite TV shows, have some of my most loved treats in and take an early night. I also use the 'Clue' app which is life changing. As I can look at and think "oh no it's fine I'm not losing my mind it's just the PMS". I feel happy. Almost like a hysterical happiness because I can't remember what life was like before PMS. I don't have to worry about work meetings during my red mist anymore. I can shrug off an instagram I think is aimed at me. More importantly I can take my kids to school and not lose my sh*t just because we can't find a rogue shoe.

Everything has changed. And I am not saying that B6 would work for you. But there are things out there that you can do. Firstly accept that if anything is harming your mental health, even if it is just for a few days every month, then you need to get help. Secondly go to the doctors and have a chat. PMS and hormone imbalance is just something we are conditioned to think is part and parcel of being a woman. But when it goes from feeling a bit grumpy to wondering if the world would be better without you. That is not the case. People have commented recently that I've looked a bit brighter in photos. A bit more shiny. I'm not living in fear of that week in the month anymore. I am happy. And. It. Is. Glorious.

*I now take 50mg once a day and you can buy it in Holland and Barrett.
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