(My gentlemen readers- be not afraid. You can use the information in this post to help support the women in your life when they feel like this. If you’re really brave, you can apply it to your own emotional frustrations.)
For most women I know, there comes a time in their cycle when one or more of the following happens:
- Words of frustration and anger seem to somehow accidentally start falling out of our mouths (why did I say that?!?)
- The silent scream happens several times a day, and sometimes it’s not so silent
- Our fantasy life revs up (no kids, different partner, better job: pick one) because responsibility just seems hugely overwhelming and boring; and/or
- The urge to kick/scream/choke someone comes on full force.
You know it’s part of your cycle, and yet- it can still take you by surprise. And these feelings never show up at a time when you can stop and breathe or take a nap or get out of the office. It rushes in when you’ve got a big presentation or planned a nice night out with your partner.
And so, the bumpy ride through PMS towards your period begins. This ride might feel like hitting a few potholes some months. Other months it feels like someone else is driving the car and you have no control. And if you’re in any part of menopause, the feelings can go deeper and longer- because your engine is moving from oil-based to hybrid.
When these feelings come up we may want to completely re-do our lives (hence, the fantasy). But if you’ve ever been inside a car when the tire went flat, or the brakes went out, or the engine choked and sputtered you know: it’s just the car letting you know something needs attention.
We might not know exactly what part of the system needs attention, but we can find out. It’s the same with our cycle. When our hormones ebb and flow during our cycle they can direct our attention and our emotions to things that need fixing.
Here’s how to get in touch with what you need when you want to scream/kick/choke:
Know that estrogen is the engine, and when it makes noise, we need to listen.
Estrogen is the most plentiful sex hormone in women- it drives us to become women physiologically through breast and genital development. It also creates our psychology- women are better at listening and juggling multiple emotional priorities, among other things.
When the levels of estrogen change, so does the function of our brain and body. Just like when an engine revs at a higher or lower level a car is capable of different actions and activities. When our estrogen levels change we may be better or worse listeners, or unable to juggle so many priorities. Our needs may unexpectedly demand to be higher on the priority list.
Hormonal changes provide insight into the needs we may not be aware of.
Cars generally run well on gas and oil, but there are times they also need wiper fluid, a new battery, or antifreeze. We know these things are needed because of the way the car runs- or doesn’t.
When we feel like screaming, or we say something we don’t mean (mostly), or we wish we lived in a gleaming new house it is not just ‘hormones’- it is our mind and body asking for something, showing us what it wants and needs.
Find out what you need by thinking like a mechanic. It is possible to find out what your deeper self wants during this time of your cycle. Try these three tips:
1. Recreate the problem. My car dude won’t change a thing until he can recreate the problem I brought it in for. When you feel like screaming/kicking/choking notice what’s happening – in your mind, in your body, and in your environment.
2. Get messy and creative. I have never met a mechanic with clean hands. They get into a machine and get dirty. They also get creative poking around in the innards to find the problem. Do the same with your emotions- find a safe space and see if you can write, dance, sing, draw the feelings that come up and how they came about (see step 1).
Recognizing that it was ‘my stupid boss’ fault’ is totally legit, but you can also dig deeper into issues such as ‘lack of appreciation’ or ‘not enough sleep.’
3. Change the part. Sometimes when we feel frustrated we’d like a new life; take out the old engine, put in a new one. This is rarely possible. What is possible is to change a part. One new valve and your car can rev back to life.
When you find what is underneath the urge to scream/kick/hit, you can also begin to look at what might alleviate the problem.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, getting to bed early is going to help. If you want to be appreciated more, asking for a polite ‘thank you’ from family and friends may be key. One small change can make the difference.
Taking care of yourself, especially during difficult parts of your cycle, can be a challenge. But your body will let you know exactly what it needs. If you can make and take the time for some ‘scheduled maintenance’ you’ll find your body, mind, and spirit running more smoothly.
Want to ask questions, talk about this, or add your own insights? Please do- leave a comment!