End of story. Period.
March 16, 2012 6:42 PM   Subscribe

Menstrual rage or something else?

I am cringing right now. I did something rash in regards to my job. I quit quite impulsively. I am a 45 yr old female. I know how to handle things better than I did. Looking back on my crazy decision I realize that this freakout coincided with my period being 3 weeks early. The pure rage that I felt seemed perfectly clear at the time. White hot rage. Now? I feel like a fool. I am now in a state of shame and anxiety. I don't want to leave my house. I am not eating and have lost 10 pounds. I am not taking any birth control meds nor have I been sexually active for 5 years. Looking back and trying to understand why this happened, it occurs to me that I have been (almost) just as reckless in the past (period time) but it seems to get worse as I get older? Other data points: My periods have always been pain free and invigorating. I never have any cramps and I get a ton of stuff done...it is like hormonal adderall. BUT, I am potentially very bitchy and bitter with those close to me. Most of the time I am a happy more productive person while on my period. When it is bad, which is more frequent, I am self destructive and angry and crying and vindictive and irrational. (fuck the oxford comma). I have been a member here for many years and I am looking for advice. I currently take Zoloft (50mg), and Tramadol as needed. Is this menopause or something else? Once again, I would like to reiterate the blind rage that has crippled me with this last episode and has left me so shamed that I don't recognize myself. Any insight? Oh also, no kids or SO.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
i don't have insight, neccissarily, but, i have empathy. my periods are intense - painful, heavy, emotional, horny, hungry, depressed mess - i thought for years that i was just insane. a trial of birth control nearly had me committed when i was 19.

in the last few years i've been tracking my period (and ovulation) like a hawk. i started noting behavior patterns - journal for this if you need to. in fact, there's a app for that, lots of them. mine has a lady in the window (i don't know the name of it, it just says PT on app list) and it comes with journaling options and keeps a history. it takes 3 or 4 months to actually track correctly, but it's useful for "and on this day of my cycle last month i also screamed at a commercial for pissing me off."

i also think this is exactly the sort of thing to bring up with either your shrink or gynecologist.
posted by nadawi at 6:53 PM on March 16, 2012

IANAD, and also I'm a dude. About the only thing in this that I have any experience with is Tramadol, which I take, and which is supposed to be relatively mild.

As to all the symptoms, don't feel like a fool - go see a doctor. Now. Please get some help. It's not your fault.

I don't know if you quit like, today, or a while back, but if it was sudden and recent - as an employer myself I'd rather you came back and sit down and talk if you worked with me. I'd rather keep an employee who's otherwise productive and see them get help than write them off. Give it a try.
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:54 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

it sounds like it could be menopause. It hit me at 46, earlier than I'd expected, and it made me pretty crazy for a year, total personality change, etc. The only thing that helped was walking several miles a day. I went to a therapist who was half my age and clueless, she decided I was bipolar. I wasn't. I know there's been a lot of research on it since I went through it and doctors have a better sense of how to help. If you don't have a good doctor go to your nearest Planned Parenthood or other such clinic and get help. Don't feel embarrassed.

I think I really understood just how much chemistry could impact my emotions when I was given a shot of adrenaline for an acute asthma attack many years ago and I instantly wanted to punch out everyone in the room even though I had no reason to be angry at them.

I hope you find some peace soon. Take good care of yourself.
posted by mareli at 7:01 PM on March 16, 2012 [8 favorites]

If your period was 3 weeks early, something is going on with your hormones. I'd talk to your doctor.

I am the same way going into my period--very energized and alternately super-friendly and super-bitchy. It has gotten more pronounced since stopping birth control, which makes me think it's hormonal.
posted by elizeh at 7:17 PM on March 16, 2012

I'm 51, female, and I also vote for menopause/perimenopause. I never had hormonal mood swings till I hit my mid 40's. I would definitely make an appointment with Planned Parenthood or a gynocologist of your choice.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:20 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just want to tell you that the burning shame and anxiety you are feeling right now WILL go away. I had a similarly regrettable incident a little over a year ago (not involving my job, but something else of equal importance to my life) that I'm now able to wryly refer to as my "Dick Cheney moment." What made it possible to recover is that I sincerely apologized, expressed my desire to have a friendly relationship, and went on to act that way in all future interactions. I don't think the target of my wrath has actually forgiven me, but that's now her problem. I've done all I could to make it right and I feel okay about it. Everyone has their little pecadilloes.
posted by HotToddy at 8:35 PM on March 16, 2012

Definitely see your GYN. There could be an underlying physical problem (not to freak you out). In any case he/she can help you out!!
posted by DoubleLune at 8:58 PM on March 16, 2012

My mom went through menopause around then, and she was a complete and utter nutcase. Super emotional, irrational, totally out of sorts. It all made much more sense when there was an obvious cause... she went on hormonal replacement and was much better off. (Though I know there is disagreement with the safety of that... just saying it helped her not unravel.)
posted by barnone at 9:15 PM on March 16, 2012

Sorry, hit post too soon!

That isn't to say YOU are a nutcase!! Just that if you feel like this beyond your usual response to things, and it seems like it is, then having a more concrete answer might help you come to terms with it.

And if that comes to pass... it wouldn't be that strange to write to your employer, and without drama, explain the situation. People are human. Many bosses even know this! You might be surprised.

In the meantime, hang in there. You've gotten this far, and you've got a long way to go yet! Be nice to yourself -- what would you say to a friend in this situation?
posted by barnone at 9:19 PM on March 16, 2012

I would go to a doctor - it is more than likely hormonal. Unless something specifically happened at work...?
posted by mleigh at 11:19 PM on March 16, 2012

When I was on Zoloft, I would notice that some days, it would "run out" and I would feel similarly unbalanced. The real problem, I think, was that I'd "run out" of serotonin because it always coincided with a time that I hadn't been eating enough protein. Worth a shot?
posted by gjc at 4:30 AM on March 17, 2012

I'd add my vote for the perimenopause camp. I started noting more severe mood swings, including occasional feelings of complete rage around my mid 40s if not earlier (hard to remember) and it's still going on. Thus far, despite being in a far from ideal job situation I have only just managed to bite my tongue although I have said inappropriately bitter or ragey things to colleagues, but since they all hate the place as well, thus far it hasn't bitten me in the ass. But it's as if I have no control. I know as the words are exiting my mouth that I should ratchet things down a few notches, but I'm powerless. It's as if I am outside watching myself and cannot intervene. Long way of saying that I could so easily be where you are now and I empathize with your situation.

I will say that thankfully I do not experience this with every period and the boring old advice of exercise, getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods does help. But if it doesn't help, don't feel down on yourself or that something is wrong with you. Find a sympathetic and knowledgeable gyn or primary care physician. I know that HRT is a red button issue, but it also seems that since the medical profession became aware of the potential problems, they have developed safer ways of administering it (lower doses and staying on HRT for shorter periods of time). It's certainly something that you'd want to research carefully, but if all else fails and this is having such a negative effect on your life, it might be worth exploring.
posted by kaybdc at 1:09 PM on March 17, 2012

First thing - GYN appointment. Get the basics checked out, and then start talking about hormones and menopause.

I'm in my early 40's and I'm dreading menopause, because the only thing that's controlled my rage flashes of premenstrual syndrome was starting taking Seasonale birth control and not having a period at all (I skip the placebo month). I can't imagine what actual menopause is going to be like.

My doctor says I'm safe doing taking birth control all the way up to menopause, which is a great relief. There were a few times in my 20's and 30's where I had to walk away, biting my tongue bloody, because the overwhelming flash of rage - I would actually see red - made me fearful I would hurt someone.

My father once stated he didn't "believe" in PMS, that it was just an excuse for women to behave badly. He did this while I was PMSing, and that's a mistake he never made again. I verbally lit into him so hard, my mother came running because she thought I was going to physically strike him. I don't know if he still believes that, but he never says it out loud around me!

As for feeling shame, here are a few things I recommend:

Put what happened in perspective - did anyone die, or get injured? Do you think you emotionally impacted anyone's life (besides yours, of course) beyond the day that you quit? Imagine a friend doing what you did, how would you think about them? Be as kind to yourself, as you would be to a friend going through a rough time.

Take a walk. Even if it's just to the mailbox, or around the block. Breathe deeply, get some sunshine on your face, get your heart beating a little faster.

Take a warm shower or bath, give yourself a neck to toe scrub with a little sugar and olive oil mix. Physical cleanliness is always a nice reset button for me, and makes me feel a lot better.

Eat something healthy and delicious. Give yourself permission to have a really good meal, something you wouldn't normally indulge in.

Above all, be kind to yourself. Your body may be starting to go through it's biggest change since the onset of puberty. Treat yourself as you would a beloved friend or family member that's going through a tough time.
posted by lootie777 at 5:45 PM on March 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you do think that you are perimenopausal/menopausal, you might find this fairly recent AskMe helpful.
posted by kaybdc at 6:54 PM on March 18, 2012

« Older How to save my house from being demolished due to...   |   Spotting between periods Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.