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Mandi's PMS Bad Attitude & Feeling Irrational: In Her Words*
by Dr. Daniel J. Heller
This is the story of Mandi’s premenstrual symptoms, and how it has affected her life. Although we’ve changed her name, these are her actual words, taken from a transcript of an interview conducted at the beginning of our PMS study.
Mandi is 39 years old and an administrative assistant.
Her Worst Symptom: PMS Irritability
Her PMS symptoms: Irritability, Feeling Emotional and Irrational, Depression, Mood Swings, Appetite, Back Pain, Wanting to Withdraw from People and Avoid Social Contact.
What She Says About How PMS Affects Her Life: "When I have PMS I am irritable, I am emotional, I am irrational. I have mood swings, and my appetite increases."
What Are You Like When You Don’t Have PMS? "Without PMS symptoms, I am a people person, I’m happy and joyful, and pretty much carefree. But with PMS, I am the absolute opposite. It’s like I’m a different person when I’m PMS-ing from when I’m not."
In Her Words: Mandi talks about PMS: "With PMS, I isolate; I stay home because I don’t want to be around people. I feel like PMS has made me—not quite suicidal—but sometimes I just don’t want to live, I get so depressed. Every month is different with my PMS, but sometimes it gets really bad ... just really dark and it’s not good; and that’s not how I am normally. When I have PMS it’s the total opposite of the real me.
"PMS affects my life dramatically, because I have to literally make my schedule around my cycle. That’s because not only am I am in pain—I have bad back pain at that time of the month—but I just get super crazy and snap at people, and I’ve gotten fired from jobs before, and I’ve almost gotten into altercations when I’m in my car. It’s just not good.
"When I was first dating a boyfriend, he kind of couldn’t handle my PMS. He didn’t break up with me, but I’m sure there have been guys I dated, when I was around my PMS time, that just never called me back. I don’t know it for sure, because I never got a chance to ask them, and it would have been way too embarrassing to ask them anyway. But I really think there’s a good possibility that I probably was acting not like myself, and they just never ... they saw the bad side of me and were, like, "Forget that."
"One job I had as a receptionist and when I have PMS my attitude is really bad. I basically told a customer on the phone where they could go, and I ended up getting fired from that job. A few years after that, at a different job I again had a bad attitude because of PMS and they let me go. So ... I’m fairly certain that’s why, and if I hadn’t had that bad attitude and it had been a different time of the month or I didn’t have PMS, there’s a good chance I’d still have that job.
"PMS takes away my joy, time with friends ... it actually takes away a healthy life, because I’ve gained weight because of it, too. I eat more when I have PMS. I especially crave fatty foods and sugar and chocolate for about a week straight, and that’s about all I eat. So PMS takes away my health as well."
Mandi’s story, and her description of her symptoms, is especially striking for a couple of reasons. First, she says, "When I have PMS it’s the opposite of the real me." I think Mandi is expressing in just a few words the whole essence of what it’s like to have PMS or PMDD, and what women experience and suffer from with these conditions. When you’re premenstrual, irritable, moody, in pain, headache-y, and short with those you love and work with and bloated and not thinking sharply—that’s not the real you! PMS and PMDD take over, and all your best qualities go underground for a few days or even a few weeks. It is amazing how monthly hormonal imbalance can undermine and disturb all the efforts you make the rest of the time to do things the right way, and treat people the right way. But any woman who has tried to deal with PMS and PMDD knows what it’s like.
Another striking thing Mandi says is that PMS "takes away my health as well" because of her uncontrollable PMS food cravings. Of course, eating healthy and keeping one’s weight under control is an important part of health. But I think Mandi is expressing a very common belief, and that is that mind and body are two separate things. In this view, health equals a healthy body: healthy weight, eating healthy, healthy cholesterol, exercising, not smoking, and the like.
Holistic health, which includes all of you—we believe that true health is holistic—extends far beyond just your physical health. PMS and PMDD impact your health when they impact your social health, your work productivity, your family health, your mental health, your sexual life: in other words, PMS impacts your health when it touches any part of your life, and not just your physical health. If you are in a terrible mood, and your children and significant other are walking on eggshells, and you’re cancelling social plans with your friends, and your co-workers or clients wonder what’s gotten into you—that’s not healthy! Being truly healthy means your body, your emotions, your mind, and your social connections are all working as harmoniously as possible. Our goal here at PMS Comfort is to help you—all of you—be as healthy as possible.
*"In Her Words" come from interview transcripts of those participating at the beginning of the PMS study. They are individual experiences, reflecting real life experiences of those who report PMS symptoms. Some In Her Words have been shortened. In other words, not the whole message received is displayed, when it seemed lengthy or not the whole In Her Words seemed relevant for site viewers. PMS Comfort changed the names and any personally identifiable information to ensure confidentiality of the participant.
PMS Comfort is not responsible for any of the opinions or comments posted to our site. PMS Comfort is not a forum for In Her Words; however, it provides In Her Words as a means for online users to learn the experiences of those participating at the beginning of the PMS study. To prevent against abuse, all In Her Words appear after they have been reviewed by PMS Comfort.
Additionally, these In Her Words are not intended to make claims that PMS Comfort products can be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information and the contents contained on this Web site has not been evaluated by the FDA.