If you’re a man, and you’ve encountered times when your perfectly normal girlfriend regularly seems to transform into a hysterical demon who accuses you of elaborate conspiracies against her, for example: having secret orgies with co-workers, cheating on her with her sister, and a long list of times when she believes you lied or neglected her, and you want to know what on earth is going on, then this article is for you.
Similarly, if you’re a woman and you’d like to find a way to manage runaway negative emotions like jealousy and loneliness without taking medication or going to professional therapy sessions, consider my words and advice.
The demon at the origin of these relationship-destroying calamities is premenstrual syndrome. Yes, it’s really that simple and unclimactic. But wait — before we succumb to the usual jokes about how all women’s irrational behavior and crazy ideas result from their periods, let’s look at the facts because PMS does need to be taken seriously, and requires efforts from both men and women to lessen or completely negate its symptoms.
75% of women deal with PMS, and 8% with its more severe version called PMDD. This means that every month, for about 1-2 weeks, women have to brace for the following disruptive emotional changes:
Sadness, hopelessness, or feelings of worthlessness
Variable moods with frequent crying
Persistent irritability, anger, and conflict with family, coworkers, or friends
Decreased interest in usual activities
Fatigue, lethargy, or lack of energy
Changes in appetite, which may include binge eating or craving certain foods
Excessive sleeping or difficulty sleeping
Feelings of being overwhelmed or out of control
Breast tenderness or swelling, headaches, joint or muscle pain, weight gain
It requires a degree of self-awareness to be able to navigate past these irrational emotions — and let me tell you, they can hit your brain full force like a truck when you least expect it. I’ll never forget the time last year in the summer when I took a jog around my neighborhood, and I saw a girl around 12 years of age, and she was walking a cat on a red harness. The harness even had a little bell that rang when the cat walked. It was the cutest thing ever. I smiled at the girl, then I took about ten steps past them and burst into uncontrollable tears. It literally felt like a gunshot of emotion. My heart was racing, and my mind was flooded with abstract thoughts on the futility of life, the cruelty of time… how the poor cat would certainly be dead or dying in a decade, and this touching moment could never be relived, and possibly wouldn’t even be remembered by anyone. I headed to the nearby riverbank and cried my eyes out over a cat on a leash. Afterwards, I continued my jog, but felt on edge for the rest of the day.
Thankfully, I’ve reached the point where I am self-aware and don’t take these gunshot feelings seriously, but that doesn’t mean I still couldn’t burst into tears at the drop of a hat.
Allow me to describe in more detail how maddening PMS symptoms can be.
Imagine: one day, you’re confident and excited for the future. You’re happy in your relationship, and you’re faithful to and trusting of your partner. The next day you wake up and you feel a weight in the deepest pit of your stomach. It’s a sensation of deep despair and mourning. Like when you learn a loved one has unexpectedly died, or your cat was just mauled by the neighbor’s dog. Your throat feels constricted like when you try to hold back crying, and your face twitches or feels hot for no reason. You view the world in a more abstract way, you hardly have any energy to get up, and it’s easy to get caught up wondering about the meaning of life. Is reality real? What is the purpose of rules? What if we just go ahead and welcome refugees and bomb Syria? You then feel like a horrible, heartless person, and you’re reminded of every single time you made a mistake or hurt someone’s feelings. You could literally spend the entire day wallowing in these guilty feelings and crying over that time when you were in middle school and you told a nervous 12-year-old pudgy boy who finally mustered the courage to admit he liked you that you weren’t interested in him because he was a fat dweeb. Oh, the agony!
Thankfully, I’ve never been the type to become aggressive, angry, or jealous (these are the most socially destructive PMS symptoms and require the greatest attention to overcome). During my hormones’ monthly attempt to hijack my sanity, I mostly just feel sorry for myself, brood over existential questions, and wander around in the nearby forest like a member of a black metal band who got lost during the recording of a music video.
“Will this forest still exist after the race war? What will it look like? Maybe scavenging subhuman tribes will be right here 100 years into the future, and my battle-hardened grandsons will be fighting a desperate war to keep alight the last flames of European civilization…” — those are questions I asked myself a few weeks ago. Since I’m already a sensitive, introspective person, when PMS hits, I’m about one step away from Solomon Eagle and those crazed religious prophets who screamed about the end of the world and impending eternal hellfire during the London plague epidemic of 1665. To be fair, at least I know I could be the author of a pretty good post-apocalyptic novel, considering all the inspiration these musings provide me.
Before I move on to the “advice” portion of this post, I want to mention that every experience provides an opportunity to learn, and every struggle has a silver lining. When it comes to PMS, I accept it as a natural aspect of being a woman instead of a vicious, unfair battle I must charge through every month. Sure, the self-doubt and heightened feelings of loneliness are tough to handle, but it brings out the most sincere, caring side of women. The side that loves our partners and children so fiercely that it causes physical pain to be parted from them. The side that appreciates beauty, nature, order, innocence so deeply that such sights clutch our very souls until we are overwhelmed and left feeling almost insignificant amidst the wonders of Creation. This boundless ability to care for the wellbeing of others is a great quality of women and the primary force that motivates us in providing a clean, orderly household for our husbands and children…
…and yet, this is also precisely the reason why women should NOT be in high levels of politics or business, with very little exception. Sharp decision-making and leading societies belongs to the realm of men, as it requires sober analyses, quick calculations and turning off emotions. I hate to say it, but our overly feminized culture is partly responsible for the weakened morals of the West, as well as the support of illegal third world migration.
Returning to the individual level, I would first like to give advice to men. Please take PMS seriously. Do not belittle your girlfriend. Sure, she may be accusing you of taking a secret flight to Amsterdam for one day to have sex with a distant Facebook friend even though you were actually sitting in your office all day working and that’s why you didn’t respond to her text messages, but understand that she does genuinely need a bit more caring and attention. Just as if she were to have the flu, treat her with some extra kindness to help her feel better.
Also, do not underestimate how much power you have to positively impact the mood of your girlfriend or sister or other female friend just by being more thoughtful. I have said this before, but I cannot stress it enough — the number one thing women want in the world is security. Men, as the stronger sex, are providers of security, the builders and guardians of civilization, as it is ordained by God. The best thing you can do here is listen. Just be there, be present. Provide security by your presence. You don’t need to buy gifts or hover around your girlfriend like some kind of servant.
Just recently, I remember feeling so lonely that it seemed like invisible hands were dragging me to the ground. I was about to go on a jog in the forest to clear my headache. Then I got a text message from the person I really like, and I kid you not, I literally felt my negative emotions draining. It was like a bucket of cold, soothing water had been poured over my head, or a poison drawn out of my body, and I remember standing before my house, cellphone in hand, staring in perplexion at the sky, asking myself: “What the hell just happened?” I suddenly felt completely happy and normal again while moments ago the apocalypse was dawning. (In retrospect, I’d like to add this was not ideal behavior on my part since I was placing way too much reliance on another person, and the best way to calm down is to find meaning and purpose within yourself. Reading books, especially the Bible is another excellent way to feel better.)
Men, you really do have a great ability. To create, provide, and protect. Women need you, and even a simple text message can do wonders to combat PMS. Be warned: I am not giving men this advice as a “hack” which they may use to “up their game” in picking up women. This information is for men who genuinely struggle to understand their partners and want better communication.
As for women, my advice is to accept that your emotions are often playing tricks on you. Accept that you are the weaker sex, and be forgiving of yourself and others during this time. Treat yourself with kindness, and trust your partner. Learn to love every aspect of your nature, all the foolish worries, and then laugh about them afterwards. Don’t forget to exercise (this is a medically proven way to combat PMS symptoms), but let yourself have some extra food to eat. Most importantly, be suspicious of negative emotions and ideas during this time. Be certain if you want to argue or bring up a complaint to your partner while you’re PMSing. Do not let your emotions master you. Crying is ok as it is a natural, honest release.
These suggestions don’t mean you should ignore actual problems. My heart goes out to people who genuinely have troubled marriages, whose partners really are unfaithful to them and lie regularly. This is a different subject for another time.
My last bit of advice goes to men again. PMS is often seen as a sign of weakness, of shame, and women are usually embarrassed to admit they may be suffering from it. If your girlfriend’s hysterical antics are causing a lot of trouble, try to patiently make her aware of the underlying problem. If she still remains aggressive and unreasonable, then it’s up to you to decide whether the relationship is worth pursuing (at least without proper medication).
A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 2 Peter 19.
Be the master of your emotions.