What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
I woke up this morning with horrible cramps and I've never been so relieved.
You see, for the last week or so, I've been hyperfixated on my body size. I've been afraid to put on dresses that I wore last week, convinced that my stomach will now stretch and pull at the seams, if I can even get them over my head. I obsessed over a photo taken with a very thin intern in which I was convinced I appeared to be at least 3 times her size. I've been catching my profile in reflective windows and screaming FAT FAT FAT to myself. I had myself convinced, truly, that I was growing larger and larger by the day, blowing up so quickly that I'd surely be obese by next week.
Last night, I even had a dream that I had to take my clothes off in front of a room full of people, all of whom were intently studying my flabby shape. I felt the dream self-consciousness acutely as I squeezed my dream eyes shut.
But now I know that it's just my impending period, bringing along its usual grab bag of crazy. Every month, I reach in, close my eyes, and pull out a new fun symptom -- extreme depression? uncontrollable rage? distracting hyperarousal? And now, just for funsies -- severe body dysmphoria!
The worst part is that it NEVER occurs to me until I start bleeding that whatever horrible feeling I'm currently experiencing is anything less than COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED and OBVIOUSLY PERMANENT.
In recovery circles, we talk about HALT -- Hungry/Angry/Lonely or Tired, all of which are circumstances in which we are likely to feel triggered. Do I want to drink? Or do I need to eat a sandwich? I might ask myself. I've long felt that for women, PMS really ought to make the acronym. Because no matter how well-adjusted or generally sane I may be these days, those monthly hormones come along and it's like I've never had a day of therapy. I'm a hot period mess. (I know, that sounds disgusting Keeping it.)
Does anyone else find themselves plunged into a Nightmare World of funhouse mirror body issues right before their period? What's your worst PMS symptom? Curse at God in the comments.