I am in the midst of week 4.
All the ladies know THE WEEK.
This is the week where there are irrational outbursts, parenting failures, threats that sound like desperate pleas, and late night conversations about “us.” This is the week with random rants starting with two words – “You people…” This is the week where I beg forgiveness before and after the tirade and the barrage of angry words. Woe to the person who decides to complain about their life this week and who doesn’t listen the FIRST TIME. This is the week I feel like my skin crawls and where every night for 5 days straight I wake up with hot flashes. THE WEEK.
Week-freaking-4 kills me each month and severely affects my family’s mojo. I’ve probably alluded to this week in a lot of my previous posts. It’s like a switch turns off in my head and I can no longer see the things in vivid colour – only in stark contrasts – like the black and white Kansas scenes in the Wizard of Oz. Home, life, and the world are drab and I am just irritated at having to interact with any of it.
I have documented this week in past months and have noticed that the week begins rather benignly and I just have inklings of doom in the back of my mind. This first day gives me a chance to sound the alarm and proceed to “Yellow” on our own Homeland Security Alert System – an elevated risk of mom losing her marbles today.
In the past, the first day of week 4 has gone so surprisingly smoothly that I am lulled into the deceiving fairy tale that I have conquered my hormonal hurricane. The eye of the storm has passed. Yippee! Life can go on as per usual.
That’s normally when Day 2 brings me back to my senses with a body slam.
Day 2 – I crash. I am a walking fireball burning everything in my path. I begin to throw out everything that gets in my way – precious belongings, clothes, lone socks, shoes that I trip over, that stick that keeps popping up in my line of sight. GONE. Today is the day that the sound of my children bickering detonate the ticking time bomb inside my head. I simultaneously lash out and beg for a ceasefire. If we are all lucky, I have a moment of sanity and warn everyone to clear the room, a grenade is about to be thrown. They are casualties of the war inside me – my raging hormones trying to pit my me against the world.
Day 3 – This is the peak. RED ALERT – Mom is definitely going to lose her marbles all day long. This is the day that I should be sequestered and prohibited from contact with all living things. I want to crawl in bed and stay there until the feelings of irritability, which transition into frustration and anger, subside. I should also stay off the internet, especially Facebook, where I just become critical and judgemental. I refrain from emailing and phoning up people that push buttons on a good day even though all I want to do is to pick a fight. Today is my fight club day. And the only sound coming from me is a deep and guttural growl – just ask the UPS guy that came to the door on Day 3 (This is the customs and duties fee? Are you *bleeping* kidding me? It’s more than the purchase!!! Get the *bleep* out of here. Yes, off my porch. Grrrrrrrr….)
Day 4 – I feel a little lighter but we are still on orange alert – Mom is still acting like a crazy lady just without the yelling. By this time, I am a ball of tears. I am emotional because of the destruction I have left in my wake. I feel like the last few days have been a nightmare that I am just waking up from. Today I am more aware of my thoughts and my feelings. But the feelings are very strong. I feel guilty. I feel worthless. I feel helpless. I feel sorry for myself. I regret my behaviour over the last few days and make a conscious effort to begin anew. The rage is replaced with sorrow and exhaustion. I wallow, wallow, and wallow some more.
By Day 5, I am ready to re-enter society. I am ready to go outside and breathe again. I go slow. I am cautious because the week is not quite over yet. Maybe there will be one last loop-de-loop in this roller coaster of a week. I am back in control and for the first time in 5 days, my perspective shifts. My head, body, and spirit are re-aligning again. I start to pick up the pieces figuratively and literally because sometimes dishes end up as casualties too. I mend broken relationships. I make profuse apologies and sincere promises that I will try harder next time around. I still try my best to hold it together as I am not fully out of the danger zone.
(Day 6-7 brings the physical symptoms like increased hot flashes at night and a headache or two, but my mood has settled and I can focus again.)
In case you are wondering, today is Day 4 so I am still orange alert. I can’t completely step back and see the big picture. But I can observe that I am slowly regaining my sense of humour. I was able to laugh on the phone with a friend. I still feel sorry for myself but at least the sun is out. It’s still moment to moment in this house. I am too exhausted to get mad. Instead of butting heads with my almost 5 year old over or refereeing another fight with his sister, today I play along. I let him “secretly” tie up my feet and try to trip me:
Then I had to hop around while he tried to pull me down. Cue laughing.
The mood lifted and I set up the paints. Have I mentioned how paints save my life??
All is well (for at least the next 10 minutes).
Only through documentation have I been able to pinpoint this pattern. This has helped me communicate with my family and my friends. Recently, a friend had recommended to plan my month according to my hormone horoscope. I used some of the site’s suggestions this week. I indulged myself a little on Day 2 and took the kids out to eat some Vietnamese soup as a treat and to help with their sore throats/coughs. I asked for help from my husband with the kids – this is huge. I always felt that I could handle it all and he has been patient with my outbursts and keeps trying to give me supportive hugs even though I walk past him. I stretched out my workouts this week because I just don’t feel as strong.
Every month I had tried different things in order to conquer this week – changing my diet, exercise, over scheduling, under scheduling – but I always ended up feeling frustrated because they would always seem like futile attempts.
This week I gave warnings to friends and family. This week I yelled and then apologized as soon as my blood stopped boiling. This week I knew that this week would not last. I didn’t embrace this week but I didn’t fight it tooth and nail either. I rode the steep decline hanging on for dear life. I explained that I can’t always be happy and patient. I explained that I have faults and flaws and I am not perfect, especially in Week 4.
My husband, Ever-Patient, reminds me that my childbearing years/nursing years spanned over a decade. My hormones never had a chance to regulate. My son is only turning 5 this year. I only stopped nursing him when he was 2. It has only been 3 years without putting my body through a huge upheaval. It is still finding its normal. My job is to ride it out and to be patient with myself (and pray that my family will continue to be patient with me). It doesn’t make these few days any easier. I just plan, expect the worst, and brace myself.
And now I remember to make time for reparations and reconciliations after the storm:
Mama/Rozanne is back. I love you no matter what. I’m sorry for being a pain. Can we try again?
Anybody having these types of days, weeks, months, years? What do you notice? How do you pull yourself out?
Tomorrow I will talk about the one thing I do when I am in a funk…