Today I have found myself not able to really get into anything. I’m in that strange place where I know my period is coming because it pretended to start a few days ago, and now I’m just waiting for it to make it’s full appearance. It’s the limbo of the menstrual cycle. I find as I get older that I’m less willing to accept that I’m a difficult bitch, but actually PMS is a real thing. So I’ve turned to the internet once again (as upsettingly so many of us have to) to finally learn about something I should have been taught already. Wouldn’t it be nice if physical education was really that?
90% of women have PMS
On Googling PMS and scrolling down for a quick review of the results I saw a figure which astounded me. Healthline state that more than 90% of women suffer with PMS. This is incredible. If around 50% of the population in the UK is female (there abouts), that means that 45% of the total population of the UK are affected by PMS. And yet at no point does anyone throughout our education think about telling us that it’s a real thing. If we educate people about this then women will stop thinking there is something terribly wrong with them, and start realising that there is something actually going on with them. We need to start understanding our bodies as much as our emotions as the two are linked. Your body can tell you that something isn’t right as much as your emotions.
What is PMS?
The next thing I’m surprised at is how it’s described. PMS is something which affects us emotionally, physiologically, and behaviourally. When you think about it this is obvious. But if someone would have asked me I’d have just described it as hormonal. Yes it’s a rise in certain hormones which is physiological. But those hormones can go on to affect your emotions. Similarly to how we all know that dopamine makes us happy, serotonin can make us feel stress. This is why we can feel anxious. So the feelings are real. And then those feelings can of course change your behaviour. If you suddenly feel very stressed by things then you undoubtedly behave more on edge than you maybe would normally.
If you have an increase in hormones, one of which increases your stress levels, and then put on 4 pounds so none of your clothes fit properly and your left boob is constantly in pain and trying to escape from your bra, then yeah you may feel pretty shit about things for a while.
This can all start up to 11 days before your period begins, right up until it starts. That’s a third of a month. A third of your life. So it’s imperative that we begin to understand not just PMS, but how it affects us individually as everyone will experience this in different ways. Some women may suffer with a migraine so you can learn to avoid certain foods on those days to help ease them. Others may suffer from low mood/anxiety/depression for a few days so you can learn to say no to drinks on those days and maybe arrange for the following week when you’ll be able to enjoy it.
PMS is real
The worst thing about PMS is that even other women make you feel like you’re a crazy person. If you’re a woman and show any emotion that is on the extreme side immediately people will ask “Are you on your period?” Well actually no, that’s not what it’s about dickhead- PMS happens before that. And actually maybe I do have PMS and you should be a bit more fucking understanding.
Spending all your energy in your meeting just trying not to cry until you can get into the toilets is not a laughing matter. Neither is finding yourself lying on the bedroom floor crying into your carpet for no apparent reason. Nor feeling like you want to get on the next train out of town and never come back because life is just too difficult to get through. PMS may be an easy joke, but it’s certainly not an easy thing to live through. I know, because all of the things listed above I have been through.
So do some research today to learn about yourself and others. And then maybe we can use that to be more caring and understanding of other people. Because yes, maybe that person giving you a hard time does have PMS, and maybe just once it would be nice for someone to ask what’s wrong and care about it rather than state it as a brush off and a joke.