Manage It Monday: Part 1: PMS and MSG…When the Letters In Your Life Don’t Spell Happiness

Do you suffer from PMS?  Does any woman not agree that this is one of the great curses of modern womanhood?  But, is it just a modern phenomenon?  Or did our grandmothers and great-grandmothers have to suffer through it, too?  And, is it possible, that some of what we are blaming on PMS, is actually something else?


Grandma’s Heartbreaking Story
On my grandmother’s wedding day in June of 1904, it was a beautiful day. My grandmother was marrying a wonderful man, and nothing should make her unhappy. But, there was one thing to mar her joy.  Her mother was not able to attend the wedding.  That was because my great-grandfather had committed his wife to an assylum.  He, my great-grandfather, called her “that crazy woman.”  But, she was not crazy.  It must have been the saddest day of her life to miss her daughter’s wedding.  She was only about 50 years old.  Her picture taken earlier shows a beautiful woman, but with a haunting sadness in her eyes.  Would her plight be the plight of future generations of daughters?


Is It PMS?
When I was only 10, I joined the rank of womanhood in which a certain time of month dictates one’s life.  My mother, as I was growing up, would often warn me of letting my nervous system and emotions control me.  Though I did experience a very sad childhood, I also suffered at a young age from PMS and my emotions would routinely go on a roller coaster ride prior to my period.  During my teen years and into my early twenties I suffered off and on from depression, and it continued to occasionally plague me into my thirties, when I was having children.  By God’s grace, I have learned how to be able to manage this (that testimony of praise is for another post).  Probably no one knew how severe it was at times.


Growing up, my mother would tell me the story of her grandmother. How sad my great-grandmother’s story is to me. I am convinced, from the facts told, that she was going through her “change”–menopause–but her husband thought she was going crazy, and he had her committed. Saddest of all, she died there in that awful place just a few years later. I’m sure she must have died of a broken heart. Her husband would not allow her to be buried in the church cemetery, but had her buried outside the town’s limits.


Not surprisingly, her daughter, my grandma, did not want to talk much about it when my mother was growing up.  It bothered my mother, knowing what had happened to her grandmother.  She has always been concerned that she would not suffer in the same way as her grandmother, and if she could help me, if there was anything that could be done, from a “human perspective,” she wished to do it.  Mom had difficulty with PMS and menopause. I had difficulty with it.  We both are emotional women.


PMS, PMS-related depression, and emotional problems during all of one’s reproductive years is nothing new, and is a fact for many women.  But, is it always PMS? Or could it be something else?


Symptoms Which Could Suggest Something Else
I have come to realize it is not always PMS.  Besides struggling with depression in my 20’s and 30’s, I began in my 40’s to experience other symptoms that were very troublesome to me:  strange symptoms.  First, that I noticed, my lips began to swell and blister badly.  I didn’t connect depression and my lips blistering at all.   I knew nothing to help myself, and could not find the cause.


A Light-Bulb Moment
A couple of years later, standing in the grocery store before the frozen juice case, I was buying the grape juice for our church’s communion service when a light bulb went off in my head–my lips swelled every Sunday, and we celebrated communion every Sunday, drinking grape juice.


A second light bulb moment: after a week where the only fruit in the house had been apples (I generally don’t like to eat raw apples), and I had eaten whole apples three days in a row, my lips blistered and peeled–the worst they had been.


Intolerance or Allergies?
I went to an allergist, convinced I knew that I was allergic to a few foods anyway.  Results?  I was allergic to Nothing!  Disgusted, I sat before the allergist, who assured me that, though I was not allergic to anything, I most definitely did have symptoms, which indicated an intolerance.


I began experiencing another symptom which deeply concerned me:  heart palpitations.  I experienced skipped heartbeats and swollen ankles, accompanied by sheer exhaustion.  It became worrisome enough to me to finally go in for a stress test.  Reassuringly, they found nothing but a strong heart.  I passed with flying colors!  But, what was causing my symptoms?!  I still didn’t know!


Please Click on “Part 2: PMS and MSG–When the Letters of Your Life Don’t Spell Happiness” to find out some answers (and links) which may help you, too!
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8 Replies to “Manage It Monday: Part 1: PMS and MSG…When the Letters In Your Life Don’t Spell Happiness”

  1. Thanks, Carrie, for your kind comments. I'm so sorry to hear that you have had to go through this suffering. What a wonderful example you are to all when you can be “praising Him even when life is rotten”.
    I hope you will come back and visit again soon,
    Blessings,
    Wendy

  2. Carrie @ comfortedbyGod.blogspot.com

    Hi, Wendy!
    This is my first visit to your blog…I truly love your obvious joy in the Lord. I dont have PMS but I do have a crippling chronic illness that has turned my life upside down. Ive learned a lot of stuff about leaning on the Lord and praising Him even when life is rotten. Thanks for a sweet post!

  3. Steph,
    It is so sad, I know! Writing her story made me feel for her so much! It struck me in a deeper way, somehow, as though I went back through the words I wrote to where she was, living it. I could almost imagine how she must have felt, and it just broke my heart. I pray that women will go back and read the information, and try what they say at the links. So many women have these symptoms, and there's help.
    Blessings,
    Wendy

  4. Lisa,
    I think MOST people have not heard of this, but many are suffering terribly from it! I think many, many women are thinking, Man! I'm a wreck today! (and blaming it on hormones) but it's the diet pop, or Grandma's hotdish, or Caribou's or Starbucks(!) that put them over the edge! I hope hundreds read this, and tell their friends!
    Blessings,
    Wendy

  5. Very interesting…I have never heard of this before. I will tuck this good info away for future use! Thanks, Wendy!

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