Friday, August 13, 2010

That time of the month.

PMS cartoon
Originally uploaded by

As those of you who read my blog know, these past couple of days have been difficult for me. I have been keeping myself busy, and even enjoying my solitude each day. Yet as the day comes to an end, or during unexpected moments, I have found myself in tears, and feeling extremely sad. Today I found that I have allowed myself to fall back into anger about Michael having to die. I get so frustrated when I get like this, because I know that nothing will bring him back. But that knowledge does me no good in the moment.

Right now I am visiting my parents for a couple of days. In their bathroom I found a book called "Married for Life, Inspirations from those married 50 years or more." Now I don't begrudge those who were fortunate to reach this milestone, but why do books like this have to exist? And if they must, why do I have to come across them?

Anger again.

Now some may say that I am being overly sensitive. If your one of them saying this then you don't know my kind of loss. In fact, you have no clue. Can you tell that I am feeling a bit irritable, maybe even wanting to be out of control?

As the kids and I were driving to my parents this evening I was listening to some of my favorite CD's. I was singing along, seemingly enjoying myself, then suddenly something in one of the lyrics caused me to lose my breath. I tried hard to fight back the tears, as it's kind of difficult to drive at night with tears in your eyes. I started to wonder why I was feeling like this, and then it hit me. It's that time of the month!

Okay ladies, don't get angry at me. Don't get overly sensitive about this. But I often forget, or try not to place too much importance on, anniversary dates. Yet, even with this in mind, I often do find that my internal system is hardwired to begin feeling those things that I try to put out of mind. Today is the 13th, and Michael died on the 13th of September. So if we look back on the past couple of days, and how I have been emotionally all over the map, it can only be one thing. I have PAS, pre-anniversary syndrome.

A quick google search for the emotional symptoms of PMS gave me this:

The most common mood-related symptoms are irritability, depression, crying, oversensitivity, and mood swings with alternating sadness and anger.

Am I on to something or what?

Okay, can we now have a conversation about bloating?


  1. I would not be at all surprised if dates are triggering feelings of anger. For me, I have a general avoidance of looking at calendars - I just have one and it is buried somewhere under a stack of books - so dates mean much less to me. For me, my triggers have more to do with such things as the weather. Crappy weather - crappy mood. Also, the darkest part of the moon cycle seems to be in synch with my darkest moods. Both of those conditions pre-date Don's death, but since his death, my stormy moods are much more volatile than before. One thing I do notice though - and this isn't attached to date so much as season - but that is that I find summer sad now - as I associate it with Don's final summer at the farm and his decline to death on Sept. 6th.

    My more serious anger triggers have to do with reminders of Don's illness and hospitals. I'm better now, but for well over a year, the sight of bottle of Boost in the grocery store, someone who was obviously bald from chemo, the wheelchairs by the courtesy desk at the Home Depot, tabloids with emaciated cancer-sick movie stars by the grocery store check-out, and a bunch of other esoteric "symbols" having meaning probably only to me - could trigger depression and more often - a sense of extreme anger that often tipped over into rage. I'm better these last 3 or 4 months -- really, since coming here to Nova Scotia to work on the old house. I still feel the same pain to look at these "trigger objects" and purposefully avoid looking down the aisle with the Boost, or turn my head away from the wheel chair corral at Home Depot, as I just don't like upsetting myself repeatedly - like picked at a scab on a wound. Why do that to myself. No doubt, in 10 years or so, maybe Boost won't be the object of my fury, but then I just sort of got over feeling that way about it 10 years after my dad died, so I'm not so optimistic. I believe that our triggers will remain for many years, or perhaps forever, but that we gradually become desensitized to them over time. That is an important part of the healing process.

  2. I think you're on to something! PAS is absolutely real, and I often find is more overwhelming than the date itself (not always, but often for me). I think you need to trademark PAS. You are a genius!

    I hope today is better for you. Enjoy your time at your parents.

  3. Are you referring to the bloating of the eyelids due to an unbelievable amount of crying (the eye area trying its best to retain any moisture at all, lest the body dry out completely) Or perhaps the bloat of being unable to eat anything but the occasional exceptionally bad for you pepperoni pizza from up the street? Perhaps another kind?

    I think PAS is brilliant as well. It's the sundays I pay attention to, but for some reason, the actual 12th smacked me yesterday. One year and one calendar month. With incredible rage. Sometimes I feel like rage is the only energy I have, the only structure left standing in me. And then I get even angrier, knowing I wasn't an angry, raging person before, and I'm angry that now my life is angry...

    I also wonder about "new life backlash" - after we talked about my cooking/catering, it took up my thoughts for almost a whole day, and then I crashed - "seriously? You've been thinking about cooking? You are aware matt died?" I wonder if that gets thrown into the PAS and all the other factors mix -

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  5. megan - Sometimes I feel like rage is the only energy I have, the only structure left standing in me. And then I get even angrier, knowing I wasn't an angry, raging person before, and I'm angry that now my life is angry...

    I felt like that for months last year. I went through an extremely hostile period that just went on and on. I think it's probably finally over with (I hope!). I would get ideas of things I'd like to do - even just a painting or drawing - and then think, "Oh, what's the use!" and just be back to my usual angry self. Very unpleasant. Btw, I laughed at your mention of "bloating of the eyelids" - I had that for a pretty long time last year too! (-:

  6. Word, on the dates. About six months out, around the 7th or 10th of the month I would suddenly think, oh, maybe I am getting better! I haven't cried for maybe a whole day!
    But then it would come creeping around to the 17th again and I'd be done for, and starting the same damn cycle over again. Last month, July 17th, was one year. Of course that was tremendously fraught, and other people in my life were paying attention to the date, too. Not sure if that helped or hurt, but at least they cut me some slack and expected tears, so were not concerned that I am STILL crying! (after all this time) <--sarcastic, if you can't tell. So now it is coming up on 13 months, and I'm not sure that getting past the one year mark is doing anything "good"...