Life has a lot of twists, both up and down… it is important to become very familiar with how you feel/react when your hormones are going crazy. For me, it feels like something is either closing me in or wants to explode out; regardless, it is some unknown pressure that suddenly builds to the point that breathing becomes forced and my body wants to shake, but I don’t scream, I refrain. Why? Because I am familiar with this feeling and I know that there is nothing to be this upset about. It’s PMS and my hormones are raging… uh oh, here come the tears, I mean “why is it, I have to suffer through so much injustice?” Why? And “NO, I do not want to talk!”
Maybe some hot tea would be good… and a tissue, and maybe a few Cadbury Chocolate Eggs I got early for Easter. That’s good, but I think I would be better on the couch with that blanket around me. Big breath… and another big breath; I am so broken, “NO,” I won’t go there! I just need love… “doggy, come here”!
A little while later, after much dog loving and tears, I slowly unfurl on the couch and seem to have survived another hormonal storm; a little worn-out from the ride, but ready for human interaction again… if I can find my family, I think they’re hiding!!
We all have our own stories regarding PMS and puberty, and my best advice is to give yourself the respect you deserve when going through the heavy times. Understand your cycle, know your timing, get at least eight hours sleep and eat nutritiously to help off-set some of the symptoms. It is also my opinion that we are given the gift of menopause to have something to look forward to in old age; so you’ve got that to look forward to!!!
Until then, we can rest in the fact that we now know far more about the affects of hormones than we did just a few decades ago, and I wanted to share a blurb from Michael Gurian’s , The Wonder of Girls:
“Thirty years of human biochemical research has taught us that in order to accomplish the completed adolescent-to-adult transformation of the female body and sex organs, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and other lesser hormones must also direct emotional, psychological, and mental transformation; they take primary control of these human functions for a period of a few years of a girl’s life, while she (especially her brain system) gets accustomed to their effect on her, and learns to manage the self. We know also that, even as she grows accustomed to these hormones and learns to work with them, they still play a large part in her adult story, in a monthly cycle, until menopause (and even, in some ways, beyond). In other words, hormones change everything, not just a few things, and they don’t just change a girl into a woman, they are, to a great extent, the woman herself.”
We all know the basics but I found that blurb captivating; especially the idea that our hormones control our emotional, psychological and mental functions for about three of our teen years. Gurian further explains how this translates to our girls having little control over the following areas:
- her mood
- words she uses, speed of conversation, need for conversation
- how she’ll do on tests at a given time of the month
- how much she’ll eat
- how she’ll relate to people nonverbally
- how she’ll feel about the people she loves
- how she’ll see herself fitting in
- her self-esteem
- her level of competitiveness
- her social ambition
- her aggression
- her primary emotions – like anger, joy, grief
It isn’t easy accepting this long list but I can’t argue having experienced the teen years myself and now watching it first-hand. I suppose if it weren’t hormones it would be something else controlling us… and maybe that’s the hidden acceptance of abuse. Since we are controlled anyway, why not do some of it on our own, with alcohol, drug & food addictions!!
Enough of the dark-side, instead, let’s look at the control we can have to brighten our down-days; starting with the obvious, get out and move daily! People who regularly get exercise are more likely to maintain a healthy weight, less likely to develop certain diseases and more likely to feel good in mind and body. I don’t like to label what you do for exercise or for how long, I just think it best to get up and move, preferably in the great outdoors and somewhere beautiful (but walking my neighborhood is often my choice).
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for everyone; eight hours for adults and nine for teenagers. Too little sleep can lead to mood swings and behavioral problems.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol and refined sugar… eat whole foods with lots of vegetables, beans & seeds. Besides helping to regulate weight, healthy eating helps to regulate your moods (by maintaining stable blood sugar). It is no secret that foods rich in vitamins and minerals have been associated with an overall lower risk of depression, as have foods rich in omega-3 fats, such as nuts, salmon and other fatty fish.
Hard to argue against living a healthy life-style when combating hormones, you don’t have to be a teenager to appreciate increased energy, more stable moods, better sleep, and greater ability to focus thoughts. And don’t forget the most important part of any day… go ahead and cheat a little, it boosts your mood and makes you smile – that’s healthy too!!