“Beep….. Beep…BEEP! The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for the following counties: please take cover”

If you live in Michigan, this means, it’s time to hit the basement, or or the closet or bathroom for your safety. What an awesome warning system we have. Lives are saved, due to the Early Warning System.

I appreciate the heads up. Really, I do.

But- I’m just wondering, with all the technological advances being made, why haven’t they come up with a National Hormone Warning Service? Research shows, that when living in close proximity women’s cycles “sync.” If pressure systems can be detected with radar, why can’t it  (or some kind of  homeland security bomb sniffing- type device) be used to detect the hormone shifts of a general locale, and then issue a warning?   I suggest it interrupt Oprah and all sporting events, to be sure and alert those most at risk.

It could sound something like this:

“BEEP BEEP BEEP The National Hormone Warning Service, has detected a change in women’s hormone levels in the following counties: Wayne, Oakland and Macomb. PMS is about to begin….TAKE COVER, save yourselves! Hide the children! Hold your tongue! BEEP BEEP BEEP”

I know my family would  appreciate it.

See, I have this PROBLEM. It’s called: PMS. (Actually- I have PMDD- which is pretty much PMS, on crack.) It’s a dangerous storm, trust me. If it were a tornado it would be an F-5. I’ve learned to recognize most of my own “storm signs,” and can usually protect those I love. But, an early warning system would take the pressure off me, and make life better for those around me. Our news guy constantly warns that it’s important to keep “an eye on the sky” because you can see most storms approaching. I suggest the same to those who know me…. I’m pretty consistent in my storm build up:

I do things, like: leave cat puke on the steps, to test and see if my family is still suffering with vomit-blindness. (They are- apparently I am the only one who can see it. FYI? It is easier to clean up once it’s dry… EWWW. I also fly into a rage about it for hours.) Another sign of impending doom, is when I am bent over- yelling into the dishwasher: “I am sick of being the ONLY one, to put things away. What is wrong with you people? “ I also get overwhelmed, by a normal days’ tasks. If you hear the phrase “I can’t do everything by MYSELF!” RUN. It’s the thunderhead at the edge of the storm.

I rarely drop or break things- but- about once a month- I get clumsy. I average one broken coffee cup a month. I also stand at Meijer’s, locked in turmoil, because I am suddenly unable to choose a brand of toilet paper. (All decisions are hard…. I go from decisive and confident to a weepy-toilet paper turmoiled soul. It’s miserable.) I struggle to get off the couch. I suddenly turn from ADHD activity levels to lethargy. I’m not tired- I’m exhausted. I get a headache. (Cluster headaches– which are kind of like stars exploding in your eyeballs.)  Sounds bother me. (ANd ironically- make me yell at those who make them… Yup- I’m crazy like that. ) Even my my nose rebels. It typically smells almost nothing, (since a nose-job at 16) but, suddenly awakens to a world of obnoxious scents. (Funny, I don’t get sensitive to good smells!) I don’t just crave carbs- I binge on them like a closet, drunk.

What I can normally “blow off” makes me “BLOW UP.” (We’re talking nuclear events, here.)

While for some, the symptoms can be simply annoying- PMS (or – in my case PMDD) can also be serious.

It makes an otherwise logical and rational woman, act crazy. The truth is, for years, the entire second half of my cycle was one big “storm.” I tried dietary changes, supplements and  exercise. I pray, I read the Bible. I considered attempting to having an exorcism, but couldn’t figure out what to wear.

Finally- I went to the doctor. I cried. I described my symptoms and their severity. While I laugh now- the truth is- I was barely functional. For 2 weeks out of every month.

The doctor introduced me to a new friend: “Hello, Zoloft, nice to meet your low-dosed self. My name it Tracey and I need help.” Finally, I found relief. I take a low dose, every day. Zoloft has changed my fortnight’s long PMD, into a 1-2 day spring storm. I still get moody, but- I can function. I can even laugh at the symptoms, (AFTER they pass) and I don’t feel defined or ruled by them. There is a trade -off though- the meds have made weight management  harder.  But to me, it’s worth it. I have to choose- thin and crazy? Or fat and sane? For the benefit of those who have to tolerate me, I choose chunky.;)

For a longtime, I was embarrassed, by my need for a prescription for “meds.” It felt like some moral/spiritual failure. I spent years as a pastoral counselor…. I know how to manage depression, anxiety and anger. I have the skills…. but just couldn’t use them. At least, not for that second half of my cycle. When I first I stooped to “drugs.”  I worried that maybe I wasn’t fully relying on God.

After much prayer- and talking with my friends, Hubby, and my doctor, I’ve come to a different conclusion. I need glasses, in order to see clearly, and avoid headaches. Basically, my PMDD meds, function in the same way.They make me able to see well enough to function.

Not every woman, who struggles with PMS needs medication. And the truth is- meds don’t work for everyone. There are also side-effects to consider. They aren’t the only treatment option, but after some experimentation with different ones, and adjusting of dosage-they are working for me. ANd I’m glad.

Of course…I still think a NHWS would be a helpful, life saving organization. ;)

Oh— BTW………there should also  be a cancellation announcement….like for the NWS..

BEEP BEEP The National Hormone Warning System has cancelled it’s warning for the following counties: Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties: you may come out of hiding, but bring an offering of chocolate and chips and salsa, just to be sure! BEEP BEEP…. we now return you to your normally scheduled programming!”

If you are struggling with PMS or PMD I suggest a prayerful visit to your doctor.

Chocolate and chips, don’t hurt either… (well, not too much!)

My personal PMS PMD verse:

“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do” (Romans 7:15-19).

Dear Lord- I know you have created women’s bodies (and men’s) in an amazing and wonderful way, there are so many things that we cannot yet even understand, I pray for those suffering with PMS/ PMD whether directly, or indirectly, that they would find help, first in your love and acceptance, then in your direction and guidance in how to handle their symptoms- I love you Lord- amen!

Tracey’s practical tips for PMS

1) “Be careful little mouth what you eat”… excessive salt , sugar and refined flour are “fuel for the fire.” (ouch hate that.. the things I crave are not so good!)

2) Sunshine and fresh air (UV rays have a positive effect on lowgrade depression)

3) Exercise (yeah* GROAN*) exercise can help alleviate many symptoms— you’ll hate it- do it anyway)

4) Watch for the “approaching storm” (know your signs and symptoms, I keep a calendar- so I know when the next storm system is on it’s way)

5) Plan around it where possible. (I try NOT to schedule big decisions, or aggresive projects rt before my period)

If your symptoms are hindering your LIFE (or the lives of those around you) make a doctors appointment!

Finally- remember that you’re human. God’s expectation is not perfection, but affection. Love God- then, deal with your hormones, as He leads!