Things I have done under the influence of PMT…

The signs that your period is coming are plentiful, from sore boobs to bloating and cramps.  For me, it’s when my husband smiles at me and instead of seeing kindness, I see a condescending prick.

‘Are you looking at me like that on purpose? Just to piss me off?’

‘Like what?’, he pulls a puzzled expression. But I know his game.

 ‘Just a stab in the dark, but you’ve been cranky all day,’ he concludes. ‘You’re due on’.

I stand up with a calm and natural demeanour, refusing to take the bait, and breeze upstairs to my bedroom, where I close the door with a much louder bang than I anticipated. Just a stab in the dark? I’ll give him a fucking stab in the dark.

I’ve always been envious of those women and their physical symptoms to be honest. I’d prefer to have an actual physical headache than giving the whole family one due to my relentless ranting when the red mist descends.

Here’s last month’s example.

The first signs of irritation appeared when Karla in my work accidentally bit into my BLT sandwich instead of her meat free alternative at lunch, and instead of feeling pity for her honking into the nearest bin (she’s been a veggie since she came out the womb), I just sat boring holes into my computer screen for the rest of the afternoon refusing to look at her whilst the anger burned deep inside of me. By home-time, I’d began to have vicious thoughts about our other co-worker Marie when she continued to ask our boss questions despite the staff meeting ending 6 fucking minutes ago. And then when someone pulled out on me at the junction driving home, I might have broken the world record for stringing together the longest ever coherent chain of swear words.

Things didn’t improve when I found myself 4th in line to one of those ‘slow but friendly’ cashiers at the petrol station, and I had the overwhelming urge to leap over the counter and show her how to be a bit fucking less relaxed in her job. It was lucky that the fire currently burning through my insides didn’t literally fly out my mouth like dragon fire and burn the whole place down.

And then, when I got home that evening, I found that the basic things my husband needed to do just to stay alive, you know – breathing, drinking -where much louder than I felt comfortable with.  The sound of him chomping on that sausage roll and then licking his fingers was making me feel murderous towards him. I’d have offered him a fork but I couldn’t guarantee I wouldn’t have stabbed him with it.

He clocked me looking at him in disgust and when I tutted at him that he sounded like an actual pig, he looked a bit hurt and told me I was being rude. I muttered something about him being far too over sensitive and then went off and fumed in the back room, googling couples who stay married but live in separate homes.

The following day, I was completely overwhelmed that the kids were also living like pigs and I launched into an immediate confiscation of device bans until their rooms were spotless. The younger one protested and I snapped that it was now a 2 day ban, quickly escalating to a week and then the rest of the year. For every raised eyebrow or snort directed at my outburst, my threats became more extraordinary and ludicrous and sounded like a total con.  ‘A LIFETIME BAN OF ALL DEVICES IN THE HOUSE AND I’LL NEVER COOK OR CLEAN FOR ANYONE EVER AGAIN’, I announced loudly, like the Prime Minister in the house of commons.

To prove to the sniggers that I really meant business, I began pacing up and down furiously. Everything I could see that hadn’t been tidied away got hurled into a large cardboard box and there was a moment (a tiny moment, where they are watching me furiously sellotaping the box together with brown tape and furiously scribbling ‘lost property’ on the front in black marker) that I felt I might be over reacting slightly, but the rage inside me could not stop. 

My husband (a very nice man, I should add, who makes me tea every morning, loves me unconditionally and does more than his fair share) suggested I go downstairs and drink the cup of tea he had made for me whilst he takes over with the kids, and instead of feeling gratitude, I felt an immediate sense of injustice that they were all conspiring against me as I continued to rant all the way downstairs into the void. ‘Ridiculous’, I fumed. ‘You’re all completely and utterly ridiculous’.

As the oestrogen levels continued to fall, my ability to behave like a rational human being continued to fail.

At work, I struggled to concentrate on the simplistic of tasks but when a couple of work girls offered to take over, I was brutally wounded at their collective insinuation that I was useless and I fucking told them so . During quite a lengthy one-sided debate.  One of them grassed me up to my boss and I got hauled into the office to see ‘if there was a problem’.  

Oh God, I needed to run away immediately. (The last time I’d been in this situation the hormones convinced me that my boss was trying to get rid of me and I made the life changing decision to quit my job on the spot)

‘No. No problem’, I seethed glaringly.

When I returned to the office, they looked a bit hurt and gave me a wide berth. Two days ago I’d been as nice as pie and bought them a tray of pastries for breakfast and my abrupt switch to psycho bitch just didn’t sit well with them.

At tea time, still unable to focus on the simplest of tasks, I chucked a solitary tin of canned stew from the empty cupboards into a pan and when one of the kids said it looked like dog food, I lobbed it in the bin.  I bunged them into the car to set off for Asda whilst the oldest gave me an eye roll, and instead of choosing my battles wisely I became completely counterproductive by abandoning the whole trip.  I swore a lot. The husband swooped in to save the day with a trip to the drive thru whilst I lay slumped on the couch zoned out.

Any attempts from the bloke to offer me comfort throughout the rest of the evening were met with raging irritation.  Who the hell was this intruder and why did he keep patting me on the head like a dog?  I began to tell him, firmly, that I no longer loved him and that I wanted him to leave. When he didn’t react, I began to tell him that my feelings for him were completely dead and would never return. I believed this to be true with every fibre of my being. I felt NOTHING for him. Zilch. And I never would again. He seemed unconcerned, which confirmed that his love for me was also dead. I began to collect up his stuff and piled it next to his feet and I turned the tv off as a signal that it was time for him to leave now. There was a scuffle, which I welcomed, until eventually he told me he’d done listening to me and he plugged some headphones into his laptop like a child sticking their fingers in ears and going la la la la la.  I started shouting but my words fell on deaf ears, he turned the volume up on whatever he was he was listening to, completely stonewalling me.  Frustrated and bewildered and convinced in my reality that we are completely over, I flung objects all over the shop and fled upstairs for a hysterical cry.

Apparently, not everyone suffers from PMT. Which was news to me, because I grew up with a mother that could have opened her own pharmacy with the amount of medications she had tried,to deal with her monthly symptoms. My mum went missing every month but I assumed all mum’s were as mad as mine. It must just run in the genes.

I entered adulthood always presenting the best version of myself, but it wasn’t long before the mask began to slip.  I’d been separated from some friends in a club at the wrong time of the month and after traipsing frantically around  for an hour, I found them floating past me giggling.  The hormones (mixed with alcohol) made the critical and dramatic decision to denounce the whole friendship on the spot.

Several weeks passed until one of them reluctantly answered my call.

‘I’m er… sorry about that,’ I said. ‘I think I had PMT’. But my apology went nowhere.

‘You shouted in our face. You nearly screamed, in fact’.


‘You swung your bag and it nearly knocked Fiona out’.


‘Melissa started crying at the things you were saying. I’ve never seen her so upset’.


‘You were EVIL.’

I tried to reason again about the …er ‘PMT’, but apparently this was absolutely no excuse. ‘I’ve never behaved like that in my entire life’, she said bluntly, and hung up on me.

She hadn’t?  Weird.

Still, I tried to get some help. Took supplements, drank herbal tea and a contraceptive implant (subsequently removed after I presented to the GP depressed and crying like a baby) . More hormonal chaos followed.  

Fast forward a few years, and I was able to tap into the internet. A late night google search found a forum filled with an anonymous bunch of fellow crazies with hormones had caused them to chuck carrot cake out of their windows, grounded their daughters for snoring and considered strangling their husbands whilst they slept. I immediately logged in and began to reveal some of the things I’d been keeping shush about…

Initially, just some mild stuff about my relationships failing because of my mood swings and how I suffered from panic attacks regularly. ‘And now my ex is strategically posting bullshit quotes about ‘loving life’ ….No, of course I’m not spying on his social media, we’ve got mutuals, that’s all….Jeez’.

And then some other less than cheery stuff about how I lay awake in my room at night crying and unable to sleep whilst intrusive thoughts and unpleasant mental imagery invaded my mind. And sometimes, when I’d been driving, I’d been tempted to spin the wheel and hit a tree, just to rid everyone of the misery of me.  

There was a brief silence, like when you’re telling a joke and half way through you realise it’s no longer funny and you just want to discard the joke and say ‘oh, never mind’.  

Eventually, someone was kind enough to mention that this wasn’t entirely normal and she signposted me to some information about PMDD that she thought might be of interest.

PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder) is similar to pre-menstrual syndrome but is more severe. Some of the most common symptoms include irritability, panic attacks, mood swings, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, suicidal thoughts, insomnia, extreme mood shifts that can disrupt daily life and damage relationships.

To this day, I maintain to my husband that I do not have this disorder because ‘some months are an absolute breeze, aren’t they?’.  He begs to differ.

Anyway. Moving on.

The day after I have decided upon divorce, I spend grieving.  I feel like a failure as a daughter, a wife, a mum.  I can hear my husband and children around me getting on with their life as normal and I may as well be dead.

And then when wake up the next day, still slightly dull and numb, my period has arrived. I decide not to mention it to my husband just yet. But I think he may be suspicious when he asks me later that day if I am ok and instead of reeling off a million and one things that I am not okay with,  I offer him a polite nod instead. I sit next to him and put my hand on his knee and he looks at me as if I’ve got two heads – one for each of my personalities. And just like that, the fog begins to lift.  The birds are singing and not only can I carry a giant laundry basket over my head like superwoman, I can peg out three baskets of washing without losing a sock, or my shit. By tea time, I’m stood in the kitchen cooking steak with a smile and offering to whip up some desert for the husband like one of those tiktok Tradwives and when I tell him that I love him (because I really do) all he can say is ‘you’re really fucking weird’ as he gets himself a can out of the fridge.  At the dinner table, there is a meeting of sorts, like restorative justice. The victims begin to list all of my previous offences and me, the offender, am sheepishly forced to confront what I have said and done. I want to cry ‘dramatic licence’ and defend myself from their accusation that I tried to lob a plate of lasagne across the room but there’s a slight splash of orange residue on the wall as evidence and I am eventually forced to admit defeat. I apologised whole heartedly to them all.

I’ve got about another 10 year stretch of this hell, I reckon, unless I get off on good behaviour and the menopause comes early.  So far, I’ve avoided clicking on media headlines such as ‘The menopause ruined my life’ as that sounds a bit like recovering from hangxiety after a disastrous drunken night out and then being told that there is video footage of the night, and you know that even worse horror might yet to arrive.

And even if this all comes to an end for me one day, I have another thing to consider. You know how I mentioned that this thing must be genetic…?

I have a teenage daughter in the house…

God help us.


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