ISSUES THAT KEEP ME FROM WRITING
Writing this week has proven several things to me. First, I have to set a goal on Sunday for a post every day and publish that goal where everyone can see and hold me accountable or I’m going to have difficulty writing daily posts, especially when I get in one of my “pootie” pouts. Second, I’m not ever going to be able to write posts on my preferred topic until I clear my head of all the things that keep me from writing. And third, what I was thinking was OCD/ADD blahs and anxiety keeping me from writing the other way was actually sleepiness, brain fog, clumsiness, and irritability brought on by a 40+ yr. old woman’s PMS. Lastly, getting all the demons down first may just give me time to ruminate over them as I cover them with prayers that the Lord removes these difficulties from my life, or at least makes them easier.
On Monday I completed, and published a post about my anniversary and being married to the greatest husband in the world. It took me all weekend to write because when he is home, I don’t write and try not to do too much technology, and generally give him, my Precious service dog, and our home most of my attention. Tuesday was spent feverishly trying to complete a post I promised my SoulSister I would write the week before on a daily blog challenge that got away from me due to unforeseen circumstances and a major PTSD anxiety attack meltdown that took a couple days to recover from. That was the start of my week that blocks and issues continued to keep me from sitting down to write.
Wednesday started the problem I thought was OCD/ADD. I made sure to go to sleep early Tuesday night so that I’d be fresh to write Wednesday morning. BIG MISTAKE in my book. It seems like every time I try to sleep early and get more than 5-6 hours of rest a night the next day is spent even more tired than if I had just let insomnia keep me up until midnight as usual with only 4 hours of sleep to wake at 4 am to get MyHusband ready for work. Being asleep by 9:30 pm Tuesday night led to me over-sleeping and not waking until 4:30 with seven hours rest. By 11 am Wednesday morning I was going down for my fourth nap of the morning because I couldn’t seem to drag myself off the sofa to get anything done in the house or on the computer. Most of the day was spent in a feeling of constant aggravation with myself without understanding why, actually saying to myself & Precious “I don’t know why I’m so aggravated, but damn I’m in a mood.” Not a productive environment for writing. The actual catalyst that got the blog post started, and finished was getting supper ready for MyHusband. Which gave credence to the idea that I was having ADD issues as I multitasked cooking and writing so I wouldn’t stray too far from the stove.
I didn’t think about female issues until MyHusband pointed out, yet again, that I usually only get like this when our lunar clock is growing toward a half-moon and my “friend” usually “visits” during the half-moon phase. Sometimes I think he knows my body better than I do, but I forget that I spent many years on birth control therapy that allowed me to have only four “visits” a year if I wanted. It just irritated me more to feel like my body was betraying me by physically reacting to simple hormones because I no longer had control over them. Remembering how effectively hormones are able to take teenagers hostage with my 9th graders gave me the reality check that said it wasn’t just emotional and sometimes the crazy in me has a legitimate physical cause, and not just my crazy alphabet disorder.
When a woman is allowing her body natural menstrual cycles and not under the control of hormone replacement or birth control she is subject to fluctuations in the levels of several different hormones and may metabolize them differently resulting in mood swings, cramps, diarrhea and breast tenderness. The mood swings that come with the slightest hormonal change often become the focus of what we feel as PMS. While we cannot change the way our body reacts to the cyclical hormonal changes we can change our lifestyle so that we are better prepared for our menstrual cycle, which leads our bodies and hormones more favorably and can ease many PMS issues. In the late 30s and early 40s, though, women experience a drop in egg production that can allow hormones to take on a life of their own as their bodies change from the easy hormonal changes of their reproductive years to perimenopause which can take her straight back to the uncertainty, and overwhelming feeling of losing control of her own body that she had during puberty.
Although many women relate the “out of control” feelings to the sudden drop in estrogen levels from the decrease in ovulation, it is the combined changes in estrogen levels along with a drop in progesterone that lead to most of the physical symptoms of perimenopause that add hot flashes, night sweats, memory problems to the mood swings and sensitivity of PMS. If a woman doesn’t learn to control PMS issues in her 20s and 30s, it will come blaring through her 40s as a PMS attack monster that can last quite a while. They say about 20% of women aware of the middlesmertz pain that occurs during ovulation, some can feel it every month and others experience it intermittently. I am aware that the months I experience painful ovulation often come with the most debilitating PMS. The days after feeling that certain lower abdominal pain on one side usually lead to 7-10 days of anxiousness, confusion, forgetfulness, clumsiness, dropsies, and general irritation; mostly because I’m irritated with myself for forgetting something or not being able to complete simple tasks without dropping something. As MyEx-Wife-In-Law is often saying “I’m so aggravated I’m getting on my own damn nerves with this shit.” Something I’m sure most women can relate to, at least most of the ones I know.
As I do with every ache and pain, I looked to SoulSister for some holistic advice. I did the OCD thing this morning and researched every bit of her advice, plus all the reasons PMS happens in the first place. The hours of research I do before writing comes from the teacher mind and OCD brain that says I must have proven facts to write about what I know even though I already know everything about it anyway because I’ve been living it since I turned 40. SoulSister was there for those calls too, “The Dr. says I can’t be on the pill any more because I’m 40 & I smoke.” I’m pretty sure I remember her telling me then I should be aware of how I am with the hormone battle and what steps to take to keep it from making me crazy. It didn’t interfere with this writing, then so I know I just didn’t take proper heed because those issues didn’t feel real because I had been under the hormonal control of the “pill” for so many years. As I have aged it seemed each year brought with it even more exacerbation of my crazies to the point that I can no longer ignore the effect they are having on my writing and work.
So here’s the lowdown & after hearing it a second time I’m listening and sharing so that other women fighting the same battle no matter if she’s 15, 25, 35, or 45 is prepared with the proper natural healing that keeps her sane and healthy without introducing unnecessary chemicals into her body.
If possible, take a nap. Not more than 2 hours because you’ll spend all day in bed. I’m thinking 1 ½ hrs would be good as most people naturally sleep in 45 minute REM cycles. Timing a nap near the end of one allows us to wake naturally without feeling overtired from being woken by an alarm in the middle of one. I’ve found that I remember feeling better and more rested sleeping 3 hrs. when I was tending bar & teaching school than I ever felt if I were able to get 5, 7 or even 8 hours of sleep. Resting 3, or 6 hours keeps the body and mind in the rhythm of that important sleep/wake cycle and it feels better to wake up, even with an alarm, when your body and brain are already on the verge of a waking cycle and not shocked out of a dead-sleep in the middle of a sleep cycle.
Magnesium, magnesium, magnesium. She has been telling me I should take magnesium for years to help with insomnia, anxiety, and especially when I was dealing with High Blood Pressure, and Restless Leg Syndrome. Magnesium deficiency can be linked to everything from headaches, anxiety, and depression, to Fibromyalgia, ADD and Autism, along with Osteoporosis and Diabetes. Adding magnesium supplements can impact the body in much the same way as prescription drugs, but since it is an essential mineral our body already needs but cannot produce our body doesn’t have to process it like the chemicals and toxins introduced with pharmaceuticals. When our bodies get enough magnesium in our bodies on a daily basis, the body will begin to store it up for future use because it is beneficial for all of our cells and systems without impacting the liver the way chemical drugs that usually treat only one symptom does. SoulSister’s recommendations were 500 mg morning and evening daily and during PMS up the dosage to 750 mg to keep from depleting the amount already stored in our body because stressful situations cause the body to require more magnesium to create energy, build hormones, and maintain cells and body movement.
Getting some sunlight, exercise, and fresh air is always given in SoulSister’s list of things women should do daily in order to feel “whole” but are important in the PMS battle also. Sunlight is not only an important source of Vitamin D that helps with calcium absorption it also releases “feel good” hormones called endorphins and raises the serotonin levels needed in the brain to fight depression and other symptoms that are a result of the hormonal fluctuations related to PMS. Regular exercise will keep those endorphins released by the sun flowing, but if you can’t make it to the gym or even outside, then she says you should crank up the music and dance through household chores to keep the body moving and the feel good hormones and serotonin flowing.
With holistic medicine and her famous hippie-like attitude comes a list of things we should and shouldn’t eat and drink, especially herbal teas like peppermint tea, dandelion tea, and a special PMS tea that can be purchased at a local Walgreen’s. She also strongly suggests to avoid eating carbs because they often exacerbate sleepiness and cranky moods as do salty and fried foods. As always, though, chocolate rules, which explained why I ate the whole bag of Hershey Caramels Wednesday and was quite upset not to find more when I went to Wal Mart.
There it is: The Writing Wife’s Life List of Four All-Natural Remedies for PMS, given by way of SoulSister and fortified with online research that puts each one at the top of the list of things to do when battling hormonal PMS.