What PMS really stands for

Image  by Ohmega1982, freedigitalphotos.net

Image by Ohmega1982, freedigitalphotos.net

I used to think that PMS was a myth.

Like fat free cheese that doesn’t taste like plastic, the Loch Ness Monster, celery having negative calories, and conditioner that repairs split ends-I was convinced that Premenstrual Syndrome didn’t really exist. I would secretly snicker to myself when my girlfriends complained that the turning of their hormonal tides meant the churning desire to bite someone’s head off was nearing.

While I had heard that PMS stood for “People Must Suffer,” “Pissy Mood Syndrome” and “Pass My Sweatpants” in other households, ours stayed relatively serene. Sure, certain times of the month I might crave a little more chocolate, and then salt, and then chocolate-but I wouldn’t morph into a drama queen the way my friend Rose did when she banished her teenage daughter from the house after she ate the last Kit Kat left over from Halloween. (“Provide Me Sweets”)

What kind of crazy family has leftover Halloween candy in November anyway?

And I certainly wouldn’t yell, “You moron. It says 15 items or less. Can’t you $%@&$%@ count to 15? Each of your %$#@$ 11 jars of prunes counts as one,” to an elderly man in the grocery store like Tia did, on a particularly gloomy day. (“Pass My Shotgun” or “Potential Murder Suspect”)

What was up with these “Particularly Moody Sickos” anyway? Why did otherwise sane women turn into stark raving lunatics? (“Perverse Mean Streak”) I seriously didn’t get it. But I was smart enough to run for cover, and make a few notations on my calendar.

When my otherwise awesome (and sane) friends turned into “Perfectly Mean Sistas” just because a few “Pimples May Surface” I steered clear, and privately wondered if they might need counseling.

Then I turned 40. “Pardon My Sobbing.”

The mood swings came on gradually. I woke up one morning wanting to kill my husband because his breathing was so annoying, (“Plainly Men Suck”) got up, took a shower and felt better.

The next month it felt like a gunpowder and Redbull cocktail had been injected into my bloodstream. A clerk at Long’s was humming an off key version of “Please Men Shut-up” as he stacked a display of Rosarita Refried Beans, and it took every ounce of my self-control not to ram my cart into his vocally challenged face.

I wrote it off to stress, and self-medicated with bon-bons and romance novels. (“Praying Mood Subsides”)

It took a few more months for me to acknowledge to myself that I was starting to feel touchy, stressed, and well, sort of bitchy on a regular basis. Perhaps PMS wasn’t a myth after all. I was just a really, really, late bloomer. Lucky me.

It took another year to admit to my husband (“Punish My Spouse”) that I might possibly be experiencing some minor monthly mood swings. Perhaps hormones might be causing a few of my increased emotions and incoherent thoughts, i.e. extra tears and crazy rantings.

The relief on his face was palpable. I had finally entered the “Please Make Sense” phase of my cycle. He said, “Really? I hadn’t noticed.” (“Perfect Man Sarcasm”) – but then smiled, and asked if I needed supplies. We’ve both finally figured out that “Pinot Means Serenity” and “Peanut (Butter M&Ms) Mean Smiles” as well.

Tell Leslie what you think PMS stands for at Leslie@LeslieDinaberg.com. Originally published in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound on June 24, 2011.

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