PMS pretty much sucks.
September 28, 2008 8:17 PM   Subscribe

How do you deal with PMS, especially associated anxiety and paranoia?

I'm on hormonal birth control, and getting off is not an option. I'll do really well for months and months, but then will get hit with sudden intense melancholia combined with nearly intolerable anxiety and depression. The most mundane actions of my worthy partner are suddenly interpreted as him about to break up with me, work troubles escalate into mental mountains, and I'm antsy, down, and miserable for days and even weeks prior to my period. Needless to say...this sucks!

Aside from the hormones, I haven't been able to track the source of this shift in consciousness (though I do notice that months with lots of off eating tend to trigger bad PMS). So I turn to you, the good ladies of Metafilter.

How do you deal with your PMS symptoms? How do you convince yourself that your paranoid delusions are, well, just delusions? I'm looking for your tried-and-true tips, creative suggestions, and calming mantras. (I am aware of this post but wanted more advice specific to anxiety and paranoia.)

Thanks in advance!
posted by mynameisluka to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Since you're on hormonal birth control, one option would be to just "stack" your pills. Skip the placebo week and go straight from one pack of pills to the next.
posted by Violet Hour at 8:57 PM on September 28, 2008

Yep, skip the periods. I've been doing that for over 6 years, and I feel so much more level emotionally than back when I had periods. It's huge - it has changed my life for the better. Just check with your ob/gyn (mine does this herself, as do most of the women in her office), have regular checkups, and enjoy life without the hassles caused by menstruation. Here's a question about it.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 9:14 PM on September 28, 2008

I was doing what violetk describes to avoid my terrible PMS, and now I'm off the pill and happy with my hormonal fluctuations. I get the bad PMS again, but there's an upside too, you know? So, anyway, I learned that women with predispositions to anxiety/depression are also more likely to have PMDD symptoms, so I'm looking into going on an SSRI isntead. Apparently, some women are prescribed them just two weeks out of the month.

Anyway, besides that, I just give everybody warning, and hope they might be able to go the extra mile to comfort me and be patient with me. It's worse than could be assuaged just having a little ice cream or something, you know? It's real depression, hormone induced.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:15 PM on September 28, 2008

ERP! Violet Hour!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:15 PM on September 28, 2008

Oh and beer. I drink beer. Works for me.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:17 PM on September 28, 2008

There is a new birth control pill that is supposed help control PMS. It might help.
My worse problem on the pill was that i got extremely moody - burst into tears at the least cause. My doctor recommended that I take extra vitamin B6, which definitely helped.

My other advice would be to create your mantra of what you need yourself to know when you are feeling paranoid. For example, "My feelings are leading me astray. My husband loves me with all his heart" For work, it might be "Don't be overwhelmed by small problems. Everything will be OK." But it should be whatever you will find convincing. Then, as often as feel yourself start to get overwhelmed, take some deep breaths and repeat the appropriate mantra until you calm down. If you aren't used to doing any meditation practice, try this when you are OK - maybe before you go to sleep at night.
posted by metahawk at 9:18 PM on September 28, 2008

This sounds more like PMDD than PMS--the reason you may have more trouble with this stuff than many other women you know is that you may have a much more volatile hormonal balance.

My guess is that the "avoid having a period when possible" might be a good strategy, combined with some of the other suggestions offered.

There does seem to be more research into PMDD as of late, so more interventions might come along. I know someone who has very good results from acupuncture in managing her quite severe PMDD, for what that's worth.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:29 PM on September 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

My doctor also prescribes SSRIs at very low dosages to women with bad PMS.
posted by fshgrl at 11:38 PM on September 28, 2008

See your doctor, that is not 'normal' PMS. n'thing that it sounds like you have PMDD. I'm on the mini pill (so no placebo pills) and that has helped loads with mine.
posted by missmagenta at 11:55 PM on September 28, 2008

Three things that work without fail

Frenetic physical activity - whatever floats your boat - sex, working out, cleaning, painting the house, rearranging the furniture, biking across town - WHATEVER you can do to get the hormones pumping OUT - not in.

2- consuming tehini. Just eat it.

3 - consuming barley as much as you can. It's comforting and there's something in it that does the trick of turning OFF the insanity with all of its manifestations.
posted by watercarrier at 12:42 AM on September 29, 2008

The BCP Yaz helps with PMDD.
posted by Ruki at 5:00 AM on September 29, 2008

My gyno put me on Lexapro for two weeks of every month starting at about mid cycle and it helped tremendously. I wasn't on birth control pills though (give me migraines, also, I smoke) so YMMV, but it completely altered my life for the better.
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:53 AM on September 29, 2008

While going off of the hormonal birth control is not an option, there are lots of different choices between them, and you really should talk to your doctor about how seriously the hormonal fluxes are affecting you.

I know "talk to your doctor" advice is a pain in the ass, but sometimes it really is the right thing to do, and you do sound like someone who is very affected by hormonal shifts. Take it from another woman who is the same way and be pro-active about it now rather than later, you will save yourself a lot of trouble in the future.

If you can't change your pill, then skipping your period may be the best option for you.
posted by misha at 9:18 AM on September 29, 2008

Taking calcium & magnesium at night then ten days before my period starts has virtually eliminated my PMS. If you have PMDD, not sure.
posted by Riverine at 6:16 PM on September 29, 2008

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