Hormones, Hot Flashes, and Hot Tempers
Shiloh and Friends
When you are having PMS, or even just the week before your period, try not to make major decisions or schedule critical meetings, at all. And remember that no matter how many times you tell yourself, this is how I really feel, and the rest of the time I am just glossing it over, it is not true. While there are truths to be realized during PMS, it is not the whole truth and should be used as a viewing tool, not as a tool to dismantle things.
Since you probably work with other women, know their cycle too, put it on your calendar. And if they call you and start ranting and raving, gently remind them that it is their cycle time and you’d like to talk next week. This is not silly girl stuff. This is wisdom. How many times have we regretted things we have done or said? And what if our friends, family, and associates knew us well enough to say, let’s talk later. No judgment. Just, this is not a good time to have this kind of conversation.
Also, know when your BEST time of the month is—usually, right after ovulation for me. And schedule BIG things and meetings and planning during that time. I simply do NOT schedule workshops and vacations and important meetings during that time. I schedule other things that are GOOD for me.
An important note: The whole week before and during the days of your period, do not stand in front of the mirror too long. Just don’t do it. Look later. And, have a few of your favorite outfits ready to go, matched up and dry cleaned. So that all you have to do is put them on without thinking too much about it. Prepare for your best times and your challenging times.
And please, please (if your periods are challenging and painful) try to schedule a two-three day window to take time off, lay in bed, eat ice cream and stay in a fluffy pink robe watching old movies and calling your grandmother to tell her you love her. I like to have one rest day, and then one day to leisurely do things that are important to me that I don’t give myself permission to do. Like research health websites on the internet, paint a painting just for me, or just paint my toe nails, write letters, take baths, braid my hair, gaze out the window, make a bouquet from my yard, cuddle with my cat, make an alter, make soup for my guy—homey kinds of things. Then you are not only rested, but nourished and ready to go when you get to the other side. And if you feel good enough, going out with girlfriends can be truly nourishing even if you drink a martini. Olives are vegetable right? My grandmother Davis always uses to say, while eating pie a la mode for breakfast,
Everything in moderation….
Additional Words of Wisdom from other women on this subject…
I went through all the craziness at 35, never imagining that menopause could hit at such a young age… if you are feeling crazy, having periods that flow like rivers, want to divorce your husband (which I almost did) and can’t stop crying or find any joy, wonder, happiness or delight in your life… you might want to look into the possibility of early menopause…who knew? Save yourself from the horror of losing your mind…. you may just be going through, what they called in the olden days, “the change.” PS – once diagnosed, I was given what I needed to subdue the horrible unknown. It was given a name and a cause. I was able to salvage my marriage and get on with my life; assured that I was NOT crazy, didn’t have aids, and was not a worthless, horrible, terrible waste….ie, the craziness of hormones run amuck.
I would not trade my old age for youth if that youth included periods and all that comes with them, like PMS and bleeding. Though I tried to get with the glory when, during the 70’s, feminists were romanticizing all things female, including menses, I just couldn’t get there. But maybe it’s just me, since after two years of jogging I never got the “joy of running” either. I feel that those who do have a hard time with periods or menopause should, if possible, follow the good advice to take a break instead of breaking our butts trying to pass ourselves off as sane (or by trying to jog) during these attacks. As for hot tempers, with or without flashes and hormones, I get a lot done when I’m angry. I once took part in a seminar where we had to act out enrolling someone while coming from a specific emotional state (such as joy, irritation, depression, love, enthusiasm) that was written on a slip of paper that we drew from a basket. The emotional state I drew was anger. Hey! Right up my alley. I was so enrolling that I got a standing ovation.
I remember the day my stepdaughter Mercede got her period and she phoned me in tears – in pain – and scared not knowing how this “curse of womanhood” would affect her life, and angry about the unfairness of it all. Being the wise sage I counseled her about the wonders of being a woman and how that began with your menses and the strength it gave us, the joy of being able to welcome new life – yada yada yada – how could I justify telling her this crap when for most of my life I suffered pain, anger and the indignities of bloating, blood and overflow on a monthly basis? The fear when my period was late, the anguish when it wasn’t. Men’s crass comments about “you must be on the rag” and their assumption in the workplace that you couldn’t make rational decisions “at that time of the month.” And yet when I looked into her beautiful face, tense with the anxiety of this new world being thrust at her, I was so happy to be with her in that moment reveling in our “sisterhood.” Her – not so happy.
I think I was 24, living on Catalina Island (as an earth day performance piece that wasn’t sponsored by Shell or Chevron), when I realized that something gets born every moon cycle. If it’s not a baby, it’s a new born part of yourself. At least that’s how it seems to me.
And being a woman means having a menstrual cycle. It means managing the vortex one becomes in the space of being used (by spirit? by God?) for the bringing forth of new life. And being a powerful woman means having a space and grace about one’s moon time. You remember how much you loved The Red Tent when you read it—and the idea of having a place to go off, away from everyone, to experience the rush and flow of bleeding woman? Even though we often can’t escape our surroundings to take ourselves away from our lives, we can move consciously and prayerfully through this gift of time. This requires a presence of mind, a consciousness of time,
a space for being kind and good and thoughtful of one’s self. I like to curl up with “chick flicks” and let myself cry. I like to indulge in chocolate as medicine for the duration. I like to take LOTS of hot baths and read some precious book I savor for these kinds of moments some delicious, self-indulgent fiction—not self-help. I like to put the top down and drive through forests or find a favorite rock and sit on it—thinking of how women in centuries past would have spent their week bleeding onto a rock—and their sacred cycles would have been honored as such. I like to color in Shiloh’s journals and coloring books, or draw like I did in high school—simple black line drawings that fill the page with hearts and eyes and rainbows. I like to sleep deep and indulgently—knowing that my dreams and the rest they provide will get me to the other side. When I remember to notice, or feel the swell of uncomfortable emotions, I like to warn my beloved—just mention that my period is coming. It helps when we both know what is going on….
For me, the challenges of menses and its uninvited participation in my breakdowns and breakthroughs wasn’t about the heavy periods, intense pain and other major discomforts that many face. My challenge was feeling that I was in vivid high-definition technicolor via IMAX screen EMOTIONAL PMS for about three weeks out of each cycle. I agree that we need to adjust our schedule in order to align with our cycle, but this wasn’t an option for me working in the corporate world, and primarily with men. In reflection, PMS was even worse than “The Glass Ceiling.” I am surprised that I was able to become successful. Maybe it was through my “Denial Serving Its Purpose” program that I was able to appear present and intelligent while faking some semblance of sanity. A woman has to compensate on the outside so that the guys they work with don’t know what’s going on in the inside. Actually that’s not so hard ‘cause they never know anyway. Where did that term menopause originate anyway? Because they paused in shock and had nothing to say? When PMS or womopause comes into play, you gotta jive to survive and stay alive, and keep others out of harms way. Wait! I think I just wrote a poem! My main recommendation for both PMS and ?opause is to write poetry and spend as much time with women as possible. Women aren’t impossible to be with in the first place. No even during PMS. Also, focus on “Strong and Brave, not Weak and Afraid” with every breath you can take. If you actually find time to breathe—let me know about that. Are we ever free from horror-mones at any point in our lives? I still, thank you Pasty Cline, feel like a “Kitten Caught Up a Tree” I also feel “Crazy.” I love you Pats. You make me feel normal. Speaking of normal, when I hit menopause, or should I say it hit me, I never did go back to meet with the boys. So in the end, I guess I did adjust my schedule.
Hormones, Hot Flashes, and Hot Tempers – Excerpted from Heart of the Visionary – which is a visionary book on business for women, you might wonder, what PMS has to do with women in business – if so – you must not be paying close enough attention! Tehe.