Saturday, September 12, 2009

The one where I use the word "period" a lot and it has nothing to dowith punctuation.

I used to think I had been spared the ordeal of God's little accident PMS (except for one major case of cramps when I was fourteen that was so awful I had to lie down on the floor of a ladies room in Las Vegas... or vomit), except it turns out that I got the kind that makes you want to LEAVE YOUR HUSBAND.

Last night I finally saw our therapist. I told her about The Funk and how, for the last two weeks, every time my husband moves I want to kill him. How every time he puts on those flip-flops I want to fucking commit murder. Or if he so much as dares to look at me wrong or, God forbid, smile, that I will be sent away for a very long time for the awful things I might do to him.

Then she called Twilight soft porn and recommended a book which basically means that I paid her $75 to make me feel bad about myself and Dr. Amen $17 to actually diagnose my problem. (Yes, Amen as in thank God I don't have to worry about prison time now.)

There's a quiz in the book. It says that if you score five or more symptoms with a 3 or higher, there's a high likelihood of deep limbic problems. Out of twenty symptoms, I scored a 3 or higher to fourteen of them. Then I read the chapter on PMS and it was as if I was reading a book about my life.

These are from the book:

On three separate occasions, Michelle, a thirty-five-year-old nurse, left her husband. Each time she left him within the ten days before the onset of her menstrual period. The third time her irritability, anger, and irrational behavior escalated to the point where she attacked him with a knife over a minor disagreement. The next morning, her husband was on the phone to my office. When I first met Michelle, it was several days after her menstrual period had started and things had significantly settled down. The severe temper outbursts were usually over by the third day after her period started. In my office, she appeared to be a gentle, soft-spoken woman. It was hard for me to imagine that this woman had only days before gone after her husband with a carving knife.

A friend's wife has a fairly severe case of PMS. He tells me that during the first week of her cycle, she looks at him with love and affection, and almost anything he does seems to be right. She is more loving and affectionate. Ten days before her period, things are dramatically different. She doesn't want to be touched. She "has a different look," which he describes as a combination of a scowl and a "don't mess with me" look. Little he does is right. She emotionally colors most events in a negative way. Then, a few days after her cycle starts, she's back to being more positive, loving, and affectionate.

I have seen two PMS patterns, clinically and on SPECT, that respond to different treatments. One pattern is focal increased deep limbic activity that correlates with cyclic mood changes. Hotter activity on the left side of the deep limbic system is often associated with anger, irritability, and expressed negative emotion. Increased activity on the right side of the deep limbic system if often associated with sadness, emotional withdrawal, anxiety, and repressed negative emotion. Left-side abnormalities are more a problem for people with whom the woman interacts (because of her outwardly directed anger and irritability), which right-side overactivitiy is more an internal problem.

(I feel obligated to point out that if you're at all interested in the scientific explanations of the Deep Limbic System and how the brain is affected, you can read more here. I don't want to bore you with two much at once.) (I can hear you saying "too late," don't think I can't.)

You might be wondering at this point (if you're still reading, that is) why I didn't catch the connection sooner. Because I've been irregular my entire life. It isn't uncommon for me to go two or three or even four months without having a period.

And how I experience PMS is always different, too. Sometimes my boobs get so effing sore that I refuse to hug The Husband. Sometimes I get incredibly bloated. Sometimes I have an uncontrollable urge to eat the house. And it lasts anywhere from a day to two weeks.

The anger and irritability and the feeling of wanting to walk out on my marriage isn't always present, but I can see now that the times I've experienced those feelings in the past have been times when I've been about to start my period. Like now? My boobs got sore and I started imagining a divorce at the exact same time.

It has not been easy living like this. I've been going back and forth between thinking this is it. I hate him. I need to leave... To thinking this can't be normal. People don't just suddenly hate their spouse. And when I say "suddenly," I mean one day I was in love and happy... and the next day I couldn't stand to be in the same room with him.

It feels great to finally understand the cause. Unfortunately, I have yet to start my period, my therapist (who thinks Twilight is SOFT PORN, did I mention that yet?) and I are just starting to discuss options for treatment, and I still feel like maybe someone should lock away all sharp objects before I succumb to using them.

Let's just say it's a good idea The Husband went to play golf today.


  1. Oh man! Hopefully the therapist can be helpful but....Twilight is soft core porn? Is she crazy?

  2. Your therapist is a moron. You know why? Because Twilight is so far from soft porn that I question whether or not your therapist knows what sex is. Seriously, did you look up the book I told you to look up? Now that is soft porn, put the two books together and Twilight looks like a Dick and Jane book. Minus the Dick. Now the PMS making one instantly homicidal? Oh yeah been there done that. And yeah, it changes over the years. Oh and for the love of gawd don't go to you ob gyn to get help. They'll try putting you on random bc pills and play Russian roulette with your hormones. Deadly man, deadly. I used to have the same problem and I don't know what changed other than time. Good luck with that!

  3. I agree that your therapist is totally crazy - has she even READ the books?! While others have expressed concern over birth control pills I do have to say that my best friend was, in her own words, "a crazy b****," during that time of the month. She got put on Yaz and now her family don't fear for their lives! :) She's been really happy with it. Hope I don't sound like those stupid commercials but I would hate for you to have to continue to have such unhappiness in your life. Oh and get a new therapist - one who isn't a moron.

  4. omg I hear ya on the being crazy while pms-ing thing!! Except there is ALOT more crying than hating in my case. One time we ran out of baggies and I lost it. Let us know what her treatment is...maybe It could help me too? oh and btw I havent ever gone to a weight watchers meeting. I'm a little nervous about going with a bunch of stangers. What are they like?-L

  5. I think that seeing the connection is good. I don't experience large mood swings, thank goodness, but knowing what is causing me to feel sad, angry, whatever, does help a little.