“Are you PMSing or what?”

I sigh and ignore the comment I’ve heard way too many times as a girl. No, buddy. I’m not PMSing at all. In fact, I got done with my period just day before yesterday. But because you found me in a bad mood, you assume that I’m probably going to start leaking any second.

Certainly, my irritability has everything to do with my hormonal situation. How could it be anything else? I don’t want to indulge in people bashing here, but using a medically recognised condition as a taunt when you can think of nothing better to say becomes a drag after a while.

It’s like the casual use of the term ‘depression’. Not every person who is sad due to a particular reason or state of mind is suffering from depression. This demeans those who genuinely deal with depression and offends those who are unnecessarily reduced to victims.

Source: personal

Having said that, a great number of people don’t even know what PMS stands for. No surprises there. It obviously isn’t talked about much, thanks to a conservative culture wherein any reference to menstruation or related topics is pretty much a taboo. I always find it funny when men say, “Okay, stop! That’s too much information!” whenever they hear anything on the subject. Are your ears going to start bleeding too, just like my vagina? Here, take a fist bump!

But why so shy? What's so bizarre about it? I really fail to understand. You’d rather be ignorant than embarrassed. Sure, have it your way. But I think it’s time we discussed the matter a little more blatantly and understood the impact it has on women around the world. For those still interested, by all means, read on.

Source: zeenews

PMS means Premenstrual Syndrome, and yes, it’s a real thing! It refers to physical and emotional symptoms that occur in one to two weeks before a woman's period. It begins after ovulation and ends with menstruation. It is most commonly existent in women in their late 20s to their early 40s. As many as 3 out of 4 women experience PMS at some point during their menstrual years. It varies from woman to woman though.

I had never faced these so-called ‘problems’ till a year ago. I was always fairly comfortable with my monthly cycles. But I had grown up seeing girlfriends doubled up with anxiety, clutching their sore breasts, helplessness reflecting in their eyes, desperate for some, any kind of relief. Damn, that scared me. I remember vigorously thanking my hormones for being nice to me.

Source: nytimes

But all good things come to an end. So did my happy pre-period phases. As it happened, I experienced certain symptoms that went ignored initially. I started snapping randomly, my clear skin was suddenly infested with acne, I felt low on confidence, and my body was a mess, slumped back and all. This would happen every time till Red Day dawned upon me.

When I finally noticed these consistent changes in my body and behaviour, I knew something was wrong. I followed the pattern and saw a gynaecologist. I was diagnosed with PCOS, one of the most common hormonal disorders amongst women. This, in turn, kick-started the grueling process of PMS in my system. Alas. So much for being one of the luckier few. It was time to start popping pills.

Source: mamamia

I don’t want to get into more details but I can tell you that it fucks you up bad. The thing is, there is no real diagnosis for PMS. It is usually confirmed by the presence of both emotional and physical symptoms. One can't be without the other. There are more than 200 recognised symptoms associated with PMS that include stress, despair, anger, insomnia, social withdrawal, lethargy, joint pain, headache, constipation, diarrhoea, etc. Damn.

One of the most agitating parts, according to me at least, would be the mood swings. Wham! An emotion completely contradictory to what you were feeling a minute ago comes slamming into your brain before you can blink. Losing control of your feelings becomes overwhelming after a point, making one even more agitated and helpless than before. It is totally involuntary and can be misunderstood as a personality trait. It can screw up your days and piss off other people because they don't get where that shit is coming from, which sucks!

Source: hellogiggles

The cramps, on the other hand, are like taking sledgehammer blows to your lower abdomen back-to-back, leading to unfathomable anguish in extreme cases. It can even lead to losing consciousness. Unless the pain goes on without a break and you wish to be dead. And yes, women do take leaves because of this. 

How are we supposed to sit in a professional environment when our systems are breaking down? That desk is empty because its occupant is probably busy cringing at home, holding onto a hot water bottle for dear life. It isn’t a bloody excuse.

It gets worse. PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) is a more severe form of PMS and affects 3-8% women. This disorder can result in alarming psychological turbulence, forcing one to resort to anti-depressants. Doesn’t sound very pretty, does it? It isn’t. It’s more like a nightmare.

Source: storiesofworld

Unfortunately, this plight of the female gender has become the butt of insensitive jokes. That woman you’re making fun of is probably going through shit you can't even imagine. Give her a goddamn break. We didn’t ask for any of this. Even we would rather live normally. We take it all because this is how we’re made. We're brave. We bleed so we can make babies. It's all for the continued existence of the human race, you know. Show some respect, will ya?

So, before you go around accusing women of breakdowns or meltdowns, bitch fits or cranky spells, laziness or partiality - think again. Nobody wants your pity or sympathy but a little consideration won’t hurt. Don’t shame or blame us for what you don't understand. It’s not cool. Any woman will tell you the same, only if you ask her.