Your body tells you it’s time for another monthly cycle before it starts. Every woman’s body handles PMS in different ways. Stomach cramps, lower back aches, bloating, and of course – the mood swings.
For a long time, I hated the mood swings – particularly the way something small and insignificant would manage to spark unwanted tears. What normally bothered me suddenly deeply upset me to the point of anger or sadness. And no one (particularly me) has the time or patience for crying bursts at random points in their day.
I figured out how to adjust to the PMS physical pain, such as taking ibuprofen so back aches don’t greatly affect my daily activities or finding the right foods to soothe the pain. But when it came to the emotional turmoil, it was harder to battle against this part of my monthly Aunt Flo visit.
I’ve been told that it’s best to work through your feelings, even when you can’t identify what they are. If you start crying, let your body continue until it’s ready to be done. Cutting it short can only intensify the built up emotions later and catalyze more unexpected rush of feelings. It can be overwhelming and distracting and potentially detrimental depending on how you normally handle upsetting or nerve-wracking situations. So instead of constantly fighting with myself for its unwanted mood swings, I started to welcome them.
Recently I began my period at the same time I learned an old romantic partner was with a new serious someone. While I wanted to be happy for them (time had passed, we were both amicable by now), a part of me was hurt by this news and I couldn’t figure out why. Instead of trying to run around trying to identify where all of these feelings were stemming from, I decided to utilize this space to feel without rationalizing each shift in my mood. Of course, the range of emotions was consistently changing due to my menstruation cycle. I let myself feel jealous, then excited for him, followed by lonely and strong and nostalgic and joyful. I felt everything all at once and then separately.
It was difficult at first, but finally seeing my emotions to the end gave me comfort and a new understanding of self. I felt so much better afterwards, no longer needing to hold onto any of those thoughts or feelings. It was incredibly beneficial for my overall mental and emotional health. Going through all the emotional aspects of something that is affecting me makes it easier to move on afterwards in a positive, healthy manner. It doesn’t mean that the hurt or the sadness will fade away completely, but I found myself a step closer to my being and where I stood at the depth of my feelings. I was able to let go of that moment easier, and better, than if I had pushed and pulled on those emotions as they came and left.
Sometimes sinking further into them while my mood swings were at their high during menstruation became an advantage that I used to connect with myself and create a stronger sense of self-awareness. I connected to each feeling and understood where each one came from without the fear of one-dimensionally identifying them. I knew that my emotions were awry due to my body changes during those two weeks, but I also knew how to better accept and handle all of the feelings that came my way.
It’s healthy to let yourself feel sad or angry or confused without overthinking the why of those emotions. Let yourself feel it out. Instead of pushing away the pain because you don’t want to accept it, let the feelings consume you and flow through you, and then release them. Don’t linger and hold tight to them, but don’t shove them away either. It’s rejuvenating and invigorating. The next time your PMS creeps up on you and you want to scream or cry, do it. Don’t shy away from allowing yourself to feel fully. Isn’t that one of the most wonderful parts of being human – to be able to feel?
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