Now Is Not The Time

Today, I want to talk about hormone poisoning.

No, not my broke-ass thyroid induced “sometimes I’m energetic, sometimes I’m sleepy” thing. We’re tackling the once a month, “maybe it will be a meltdown, maybe it will be OK” thing. Buckle up!

hormone poisoning: the monthly moodiness, food cravings, and motivational slump caused by girly hormones (or the annoying lack thereof). See “On Being a Girl.

In my post “On Being a Girl,” I complained about the cramps and the dropsies that make even ordinary tasks seem impossible for a week out of every month. I used to be surprised by the bashing of my elbows into doorframes, or the glasses and plates that seemed to fly from my hands of their own volition. Then I read the book 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals About Your Love Life, Moods, and Potential. This little book was a revelation! Based on what’s happening hormonally in a woman’s body on each day of the month, the author offers predictions about how we might be feeling, physically and mentally, on each day of our cycle. It’s like a hormone horoscope for every day.


After studying its pages, I started marking my calendar with key days: Day 28 (Blech. The official start of tampons and pads.). Day 1 (Start the countdown clock to next month.) Day 23 and 24 (Descent into PMS.)

The action I failed to take until recently, however, was to change my plans and behavior based on those horoscopes. I’d write DAY 23! DESCENT INTO PMS! on the calendar and warn Dave that I might not be feeling too chipper that day… then I’d carry on with normal life. Which lead to some terrible business meetings, botched workouts, meltdown-level conversations with family, and every dress in my closet thrown into a pile in the middle of the bedroom floor because “nothing fits and I’m ugly and I’m just donating these and never wearing anything but black yoga pants again.” (Cue loud nose-blowing and wracking sobs.)

I’m not sure why I was recognizing the information I had at my fingertips, but not acting on it.

This month, I got a little smarter. I’m trying two new bits of behavior to make hormone poisoning more manageable:

1. PMS Blackout Days

I put a banner on my calendar across Days 22, 23, and 24 — the days I know to be the worst for moodiness and emotional sensitivity. When the need for business meetings came up during that week, I scheduled around those PMS Blackout Days. But the Blackout isn’t just for interactions with other people; it’s a reminder to myself, too… to go easy, to remember my hormones are playing tricks on me, to give myself mini time-outs if I need them to do a short meditation or to lie on the couch to watch Jeopardy!

2. “Now Is Not The Time”

One of the great gifts of meditation and yoga is that I’ve learned I can acknowledge and recognize my emotions without being sucked into and swirled around by them. Why, hello, Disappointment! You’re being a right bitch today, aren’t you? (For more on that, read my post “Oh, Yeah? Observe This.”)

I’m using that trick to help me manage the lies that my hormones tell me during the PMS Blackout. Throughout the days and nights (thanks a lot, stress dreams! of Days 22, 23, and 24 of my cycle, I fret. It’s faux fret, induced my chemicals firing or not firing in my brain — but knowing that isn’t always enough to stop my feelings from attaching to those thoughts. Hence my new approach: when a faux thought enters my mind, I firmly say to myself, “Now is not the time.” I take the faux  thought, attach a label, put it in a faux box, and throw in on the top shelf of the faux closet in my noggin. When Days 25 and 26 arrive, and I’m back to an even keel, I can unpack those boxes and see if any of the thoughts really need to be addressed. Most of the time, they don’t. Because most of the time, they’re lies.


The Top Three Lies I’m Told by Hormone Poisoning

Before I dig into the f*cking awful things my hormones whisper to me, I need to acknowledge that since I switched to paleo and eliminated all caffeine and added sugar from life, my periods have become much more manageable. Days 22, 23, and 24 used to be debilitating; now they’re mostly just inconvenient — and physically, the cramps and flow are less like a horror movie and more like an unfortunate incident.

Hormone Lie #1: You’re ugly and fat.

On Day 21, I can look in the mirror and think, You look pretty good, 44-year-old lady. Keep on doing what you’re doing, ’cause you’re doing great!

On Day 23, the monologue goes more like this: Was my nose always this big? I don’t remember those bags under my eyes; is that why I look so terrible in photos now? GOD! Why is my left arm so fat? And I look like a freakin’ linebacker! Could my stupid boobs and shoulders be any broader?! Nice back flab, too. I really should cut my hair; it’s stupid to have this long hair. But then I’ll be chubby with short hair and maybe I won’t look girly enough. I HATE GETTING OLD. [And… scene.]

The trick: This one is hard, no lie, but I just make myself stop. I firmly say “Now is not the time” and walk away from the mirror, then I actively think about something else. This month, it’s been crossword puzzles. Over the last few days, as I’ve been berated with hormone lies, I’ve crawled into crosswords. It’s impossible to hear the taunting when my brain is working on a 14-letter answer that will unlock the entire right-hand side of the crossword grid.

Hormone Lie #2: You should eat a chocolate chip cookie because you deserve it and nothing you do matters anyway.

It’s been a long time since I had to battle cravings on a regular basis, thanks to Whole30-style eating about 90-95% of the time. It’s been years of transition and tweaking, but I’m at a pretty comfortable place with my eating habits. I eat in a 12-hour window every day and generally don’t snack any more — I eat three or four times a day and each meal keeps me going for about four to five hours. We usually have a little dark chocolate in the cabinet, and most days, I can take it or leave it. Until the hormones start talking. Then they don’t just want me to eat the dark chocolate — all of the dark chocolate — they want me to put on my shoes, get in the car, go to the grocery store, buy a box of chocolate chip cookies and a gallon of 2% milk, and eat the cookies while driving home because waiting the 5 minutes until I’m back inside the house is just too f*cking long.

Yeah, I’m not doing that.

The trick: Again, I firmly say “Now is not the time” and stay out of the kitchen. I use all of the tricks I described in my post about true hunger versus emotional appetite — and sometimes that means I just have to white knuckle it until the feeling passes. In anticipation of cravings this month, I did buy two Larabars, just in case I fell prey to my hormone thoughts. So far, the Larabar wrappers are intact.

Hormone Lie #3: You’re worthless and your life sucks.

The worst moments of Days 22, 23, and 24 are when I know in my heart that I’m not really upset, but my body is reacting with a full-blown sadness reaction: snotty nose, hot tears, pouty lips. It’s a truly whack out-of-body experience. I’m not really sad, but the tears flow anyway, and the rational part of my brain is, like, What is happening here, people?! Get it together. You’re not really sad.

And while the tears are flowing, two soundtracks are playing at once.

The first is the brat tape, the one that says I’m useless and nothing ever works and you should just lie on the couch and give up because you’ll never be successful enough or pretty enough or smart enough.

The second tape is the smart tape, the one that says I have a great life filled with kickass friends and smart, devoted readers… I have a supportive, loving family… I have Smudge… I’m not a superhero yet, but I’m strong and fit and mostly healthy and all I need to do right now is ride out this hormone-induced emotional wave and everything will be fine.

The trick: Honestly, I usually just give myself over to a big-time tantrum of crying and snot and tear-soaked, snotty tissues — a good, old fashioned, messy, wet, hot, feel-so-sorry-for-myself indulgence. It usually lasts about five or 10 minutes, and then it’s over.
Most of the time, I’m all good with being a girl. Let’s face it: our clothing options are better, eyeliner is fun, boobies are pretty — and we have the beautiful ability to be athletic and feminine and strong and sensitive and silly and smart, all at the same time. But right now, I’m feeling a little Day 23-ish, so I’m going for an easy run around the lake, and then you can probably find me later, thinking “Now is not the time,” while I watch Jeopardy! on the couch with Smudge.


Practical Tips for Managing an Unruly Period

Period Matters
Kathleen Shannon, the brilliant designer behind Well Fed and a smarty-pants blogger, recently published a kickass blog about period matters. Highly recommended read on the practical side of period management, plus some frank conversation about delicate matters.

Clue App
I’m old school, so I rely on that little 28 Days book and keep a copy in my makeup cabinet in the bathroom. But I also use the app Clue because it’s totally awesome. It tracks mood, physical symptoms, flow, ovulation, PMS, and more. LOVE IT! Learn more about it right here.

Do your hormones tell you lies? Do you get the dropsies? Get it off your chest in comments. (Guys welcome, too!)

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  • Kristin says:

    you are hilarious! definitely had one of the “every dress in my closet thrown into a pile in the middle of the bedroom floor because “nothing fits and I’m ugly and I’m just donating these and never wearing anything but black yoga pants again.” (Cue loud nose-blowing and wracking sobs.)” nights last night. clothes are literally still on the floor…. probably should go pick them up. this is such a great article with solid advice. thanks for helping me feel not alone!

    • Julie Macino says:

      This post has opened my eyes a great deal! After 3 years people are still config it which is great!keep up the good work!

  • Lauren says:

    Thanks for the reminders, great post! Slightly off topic (or off point rather)…Have you ever tried a Diva Cup? I haven’t used tampons or pads in about two years, and I’ll never go back! The cup is super economical (up front cost of about $40), more environmentally friendly, and I’m pretty sure much safer than tampons.

    • Whitney says:

      I second the diva cup. Amazing. Definitely worth looking into.

    • Marcy says:

      I wanted to use the Diva Cup; found out my uterus is tipped. Not precisely sure what that means except I can’t use these sort of devices and also if I don’t use the overnight style of back-up, I ruin clothes. Every single month.

      Also my period is completely unpredictable. It jumps back and forth between 28 and 35 days. Hopefully I’ll get that straightened out one of these days. I have similar days I go through and I wish they were as predictable as yours.

      Still loved the strategies you shared for dealing with all that.

      • sarah says:

        so, i have a lot of uterus related issues … i recently went for a “mayan abdominal massage” which is a lot about the location of your uterus (mine is “back,” whatever that means.) she uses massage to increase circulation and even get your uterus back in alignment. i’ve only been once so far but i highly recommend it if you can find a practitioner near you!

        p.s. yes, at first i was really skeptical of going to someone who talked about my uterus as a “she” and thought it was all pretty hippy dippy. i still think it’s hippy dippy, but in a good way.

    • strah says:

      Another Diva cup fan. This is my first cycle with it and I already feel that it’s a great improvement. I’ll never go back to tampons and pads.

  • Jen says:

    PMS is usually insufficient progesterone (which happens as we age, as egg quality diminishes). I *highly* recommend the book “Natural Hormone Balance for Women” by Uzzi Reiss — it’s well written, and clearly explains the hormone (im)balances going on during different phases of a woman’s life, and what to do for it.

    And for cycle tracking, is awesome, free, and they have an app.

  • Kelly says:

    You just described my life. I’m so glad to know that I’m not alone in this embarrassing tempter tantrum state that I find myself in every four weeks. And also that I’m not the only one who has things involuntarily fly out of their hands. Ahhh, it feels good to know I’m not crazy.

  • Andrea says:

    I had a partial hysterectomy in 2007 (I still have my cervix and ovaries) so I still have a “cycle” although I am having a hard time figuring out when it is…I used have it down pat and could tell when all the phases of my cycle still were but things have changed in the last year or two and I’d love to get it figured back out…anyone have any suggestions on how to do that without an actual period to mark the occasion?

    • charis anne says:

      Toni Weschler’s book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health” has great info on tracking your cycle by using signs like cervical position and cervical fluid, basal body temp, etc. I would think that those signs would still work for you since your ovaries and cervix are still intact.

  • Tammy says:

    Thanks for this very truthful post. It usually takes me about two days to figure out that I am hormonal, after I’ve subjected myself some combination of the episodes you describe. That short hair, fat lady dialogue? Yep. My second favourite is that I am in a helpless descent into suburban mom status, and that I may as well succumb now. Lol – thanks again!

  • Heidi G says:

    I can so relate to all this. Thanks!

  • Rebecca says:

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. Last night I went into hormone rampage mode with tears and “I suck at…” I could hear part of my brain going…WTF?
    Now that I read this and checked my calendar, it was a lightbulb moment…Thanks for the great insight and useful resources I plan on looking up…for my husband’s sanity. 🙂

  • charis anne says:

    thank you for sharing your Plan of Action with us! i have the same issues with PMS and nothing else derails my super-clean Paleo lifestyle like PMS moods and cravings can. its sooo frustrating!

    this cycle I will implement some of your well-thought out tips and see if i can keep from bingeing on sweet potatoes, pork rinds and dark chocolate 🙂

    you are the tops!

  • Tory says:

    I’m so glad you brought up the dropsies! After 4 years with an IUD, I’m still figuring out my true-life cycle, and the last few days (prime lady-time) have been full of banged elbows, running into tables and doorframes, and dropping dishes. I thought I was losing it, but it’s coinciding quite appropriately with my cycle, now that I think about it!

  • Meghan says:

    What about women without periods? I’m breastfeeding my 9mo-old and my periods have not resumed (aka, lactational amnorhea). Yet I still have good days and bad days like you described. But without ovulating, can there even be a hormone-induced pattern? Thoughts?

    • Ms Jane says:

      Yiu produce all kind of hormones when you’re breast feeding and I know for me every time my baby dropped a feed it would be a ‘period’ of hormonal adjustment similar to pmt.

    • Kimberly says:

      I would think so. I know I often felt really hormonal. Beware the crazy time after you wean as well. Holy cow.

      • nuttmegs17 says:

        Cup of Jo actually had a really great post re: hormonal issues after weaning- she suffered Post Partum Depression essentially but it was only after weaning…not something people often mention or hear about!

  • Kelly R. says:

    Last week I said to my mom, “Remember when the whole family would stay out of your pathway when you had your period b/c we were afraid we might get attacked? Well, I get it now.” Emotions cannot be controlled even when we know we are being ridiculous. And to top it all off, my body convinces my head that I NEED cupcakes and pizza.

    “Now is not the time” is my new mantra.

  • Heather says:

    Thank you for sharing! I’m extremely irregular (working on it with my nutritionist) so my hormonal rages are typically hard to anticipate. The key is recognizing when the hormone rage starts and keeping the “Now is not the time” phrase in my head. I think my husband was about to put me out of the house last week from all my complaining and rage!

  • Emily says:

    Does the book offer suggestions for those of us with shorter cycles? I run about 21 days and a lots of things like don’t work because of the short cycle. It sounds super coo though-I’d like to check it out!

    • Kimberly says:

      I am a 23 dayer and wondering about this as well.

      • Lydia says:

        Short-cycle fistbump.

        I’ve been working with my acupuncturist for about a year to lengthen my cycle and lessen my cramps. I’ve gone from 22 days to about 25, and I haven’t had to take ibuprofen or any other analgesics since September.

        The reviews on Amazon seem to indicate that the book makes some accommodations for shorter and longer cycles.

  • Tina says:

    Great, funny, useful post. I can totally relate. Will have to check out that book.

  • Kathleen says:

    Hell yeah, cycle chat.

    One of my clients was telling me the other day (because I discuss my hoo ha even with my clients) that she read about a writer who schedules her work flow around her *ahem* flow flow. I think she said something like we’re most creative around ovulation – so we should use that time to do our most creative work. Which totally makes sense.

  • Walker says:

    I too don’t get periods, but after reading this (an finding that it speaks to me!) am encouraged to start right NOW to keep an emotional diary for 60 days. I suspect if those of us without a “marker” so to speak would identify patterns if we did this.

  • Emily says:

    SO relatable. Whenever I descend into the “you’re fat and ugly and out of shape and you’ll never get out of debt and you suck at your job” self-hate monologue, it somehow seems my period starts just a few days later … And yet I never seem to make the connection! Funny, that. Thanks for this revealing post!

  • Ms Jane says:

    I’m still laughing at the 2% milk!!!!

  • Kimberly says:

    I am living this. Thanks for writing.
    I about about 1/3 of the way through my first Whole30 and I started my period today. My family probably wishes I would move out. I would, but I would still have to be around me wherever I was. U.g.h.

    This was a good reminder as to why I totally almost quit the W30 yesterday. And last night. And today. This will help me to keep moving forward.

    I have read about people adjusting schedules to their schedules. I think I will start as well.

    I started out gung-ho this morning and walked seven miles and now I feel like a slug. I am pretty sure it’s the period and not the walk. Glad I can look forward to normal in a few days.

  • Mel says:

    Hello, everyone! I WANT desperately to reply to your comments, but I’m on Day 23 today, and I seriously just had my hands hovering above the keyboard and my mind went utterly blank. Like, completely. Like, I have no vocabulary.

    I’ll get back to all of you in a few day when I can think properly. LOVE this conversation. Hugs to everyone who’s hovering around Days 22, 23, 24. Hang in there!

    And if you’re doing a Whole30, too… eat a little extra fat, drink extra water, and try to get extra sleep.

  • Melissa says:

    Oversharing – I’ve been on continuous bc pills for 6 years (and on bcp for 25+ yrs now) and occasionally I still get breakthru of blood OR hormone whackiness. Since I don’t have a cycle, there is no counting days and knowing ahead of time or warning people. Perimenopause is a B…. and not in a good way. I figure the swings are overriding the stability my bcp (and thymeds) provide. It is annoying and humbling to feel like I’m just a passenger and the body’s in control. (cancer treatment was like that too) Mostly I find myself suddenly depressed/weepy/self-abusing or enraged and looking for a target. I try to pay attention so I notice mood swings before reacting (much) or behaving based on them (but I’m sure I don’t always succeed). I too try to talk myself down/out of them “2 hours ago, everything was fine, nothing has happened or changed, so this is just chemical”. Like riding out a thunderstorm. Sometimes there is nothing for it but to isolate oneself with whatever make you feel better (TV, books, even occasional carbs) and beg the understanding/forgiveness of others – who, after a couple of run-ins with the hormone-poisoned one, are usually much happier to let one go into the cave for a while. I know calcium and magnesium can be helpful, helps with sleep too. Hang in there all!

  • Melissa says:

    Ok, I just read today’s – start with Monday 6/18 and read each day (select day below comic) – today’s is SO on target for this blog post!!

  • Lady A says:

    I reckon I should start charting my monthly rollercoaster. Typically, I’ve been on the kiddie ride, not too many scary peaks and valleys, but lately I feel my hormones ramping up at odd times of the month. Don’t you just love the “want to cry for no good reason” episodes? Besides the sarcasm, there is something really healing about letting out a good cry.

  • Treefit says:

    Thank you!!! This came at exactly the right time for me. I’m having hormone issues and they are driving me nuts. Peri-menopause SUCKS! I could totally relate to the “lies” and “dropzies”. Right now hormones are causing me to gain weight so those nasty body image lies are really coming to the front.

    Hang in there! You can make it through this.

  • nuttmegs17 says:

    Yes, Yes, Yes! Funny enough, it was my husband (poor guy) who noticed the “pattern”….and once it was pointed out that my “I’m ugly, I’ll never feel normal again, my like sucks” days were literally at the same time every month, it was very freeing. I do the same thing, I know to expect it, sometimes it’s better than I expected sometimes worse, but it helps me talk myself off the cliff and feel in control again. I think its a great idea to plan meetings/interactions etc around that. I know I will be using it when we vacation plan (hmmmm bikini during THAT week? not gonna happen…)

    I’m doing much better. Like you, I’m in the process or regulating thyroid and my other hormones (on thyroid, hc, and bio identical testosterone and progesterone). Its been a bumpy road but I feel and look loads better than I did last year. Hang in there!

  • Michelle says:

    I recently decided that I will now start calling my period my monthly girl club payment (in my head but probably not out loud to anyone that doesn’t already understand that I’m adorably quirky). Because it’s awesome to be in the girl club, but awesomeness is not always free.

  • Beth says:

    Ever since having a baby- six years ago now- I get all the usual PMS symptoms PLUS my mind deluges me with images/scenarios of horrible things happening, mostly to my son. Now on top of the PMS I’m anxious for 3-4 days a month. Arg.

  • Laura M. says:

    I totally relate! I came up with the same basic shelve it and look at it later system for getting through the Days of Doom.
    I find that I also have imaginary arguments with (usually my boyfriend. sorry, babe!) in my head while I’m doing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom or somesuch. These feel similar to the Days of Doom. There is some mild basis in reality but really, it’s not as bad as my brain is making it. Tricksie brainses we have.

  • Tricia says:

    I’ve been using that period tracker app for over three years (give or take) and I love it. I’ve never been super good about tracking, but this makes it super easy. Now if I start crying during a Folgers coffee commercial, I can open the app and say, “Oh yeah, its that time”. Plus it keeps a running record, so you can see whats what and have it on hand at the doctor’s office.

  • kait says:

    Love Love Love this, I relate on a hundred levels.

    I know when pms starts every month because the same thing pops in my head…you look like a man. Now that I’m 40 it’s you look like an old man. What? And then my pants are too tight.

    And then the mad sugar cravings begin. Two lara bars would just make me mad and start an avalanche of eating… when I try to satisfy my cravings with nut butter or coconut butter it’s good but I’m still chasing that sweet taste and can’t get enough…I’ll hoover through a bag of raisins or dates and nuts until I’ve got gut rot. Last month I made a disgusting smoothie out of frozen blueberries and a full can of coconut milk….that I drank anyway but still needed more. I can plow through a whole 85% chocolate bar and still need more because it’s just not sugary enough. Nothing is sugary enough! And then the guilt begins. Stupid hormone lies!

    This month I just said F*** this Sh** and bought fruit juice sweetened blueberry oat bran muffins, maple brown sugar shredded whole wheat, goat yogurt, honey, almond milk, bananas, and ciabatta bread and went all food festival for a whole day. It was awesome. I didn’t eat any meat and very little fat, wore yoga pants and had all of my old stand by “healthy” carbs and I felt like I was in heaven.

    I think I will incorporate a F*** this S*** day each month if I get the cravings and treat all of the sugar honey grains and carbs I ingest as medicine for my food neuroses.

  • gogo says:

    There was a roller girl named ovary action. That about covers it.

  • Nonnie D says:

    I am 55 years of age, Nonnie to my 8 grandchildren. I had a hysterectomy in 1998, but have one ovary. I started doing Paleo in January of this year, and Whole 30 during the month of February. I wasn’t losing weight , so my daughter, who is an RN, suggested I stop taking my hormone meds. I did and was able to lose some weight. Since I have stopped taking them, just for the last three months or so, I have been having the usual menopausal symptoms. The hot flashes, insomnia, irritability, acne breakouts, unable to concentrate, forgetfulness, etc….. I have maintained my weight, but I still need to lose at least 30 more pounds. What I would like to know is, whether or not my hormonal imbalance is NOW keeping me from losing more weight. Should I start taking my meds to counteract this imbalance, or continue without them.
    I love your blog!!! Thank-you!!!

  • Carrey says:

    Love this post! I’m actually super close to being in the depths of this same sort of situation, which is not handy because I’m at work at a fire station as I type this, but I’m not close to “girl time”. I just started a Whole30 6 days ago, and have been feeling like this since. WTF?!? This is my 4th, and this has never happened. Usually I perk right up when I’m filling the body with healthiness. This time? Blecchh and grrrr. Weird. Fat’s not helping, either. Hoping it will run it’s course soon.

    (You are awesome, though, Mel. Don’t listen to those hormones!)

  • Anna says:

    This sounds like me on the pill. It also sounds like me off the pill, but in my late 30s. My PMS worsened at that point, but since I was off the pill, it was only for “Blackout week” and not every day. Have you read Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Wechsler? This book will tell you everything. It will all make sense after you read it.

  • Trish says:

    It seems that in regards to my menstrual cycle I made some pact with Satan circa 2000 (I’m now 45):

    Satan: Okay, here’s the deal–you won’t be hormonal, you’ll rarely if ever get cramps. You’ll just bleed. That cool with you?

    Me: Sure! (thinks) Wait, what’s the catch?

    Satan: Buy Kimberly-Clark stock, because you’re gonna pretty much singlehandedly keep them in business.

    It’s like there’s a tap in my uterus that once a month someone turns on full force. At its worst (like today) a super-plus tampon will last maybe half an hour. I always wear an overnight pad as well, but I tend to bleed towards the front which is why I only wear dark pants in case the pad reaches its limit. When this first started happening I flew to the gynecologist, who cheerfully reassured me that “this is nothing, you should hear my patients who’ve had kids!” Dear Cthulhu, they must not be able to leave the house for DAYS. Menopause can’t come soon enough.

    • Debbie says:

      Lol…..that sounds like me too! My cycle is so unpredictable and seems to be getting longer and heavier every month! Im changing outa a super plus within 20- 30 min on days two and three. I think I’m gonna bleed to death…..ugh. Then I remembered I wanted to try the diva cup, so I went straight to whole foods. AMAZING!!!!! Best investment ever! So much more bearable….especially at work, i work in foodservice, not easy to run to the bathroom every 30 min! On amazon I found for about $25!

    • Ms Jane says:

      Trish I too had made a deal with Satan. I used to bleed so much I ended up in hospital having iron infusions. Finally found a gyno who would listen to me and I ended up having an ablation. Put simply they scar the lining of the uterus and this stops the bleeding. Magic!!! I had zero period for about 6 months and now I bleed for about three days but it’s a trickle instead of a river. It has changed my life! The only catch is you can’t have it if your planning on having kids. It took me about a week to recover from the op but it meant I kept all my bits (every other doc wanted to give me a hysterectomy). Hope this helps x

  • Anna says:

    That sounds like me TOO! But I’m already using the diva cup. And I have to change it every hour the first day, and every couple of hours the second day. Turning on a tap indeed – I’m glad to find out I’m not the only one! I remember what they told us back in high school. The entire menstrual cycle comes out to only a few tablespoons in total. As I emptied cup after cup I wondered, how can this be possible??

  • AustinGirl says:

    LOVE this idea!! I started tracking my cycle last year and was actually relieved to see that my “I’m fat, I suck, my husband thinks I suck and my boss wants to fire me” feelings were tied into my hormones. The rest of the month, its all beer and skittles, then suddenly BAM! I am The Worst Person Ever to Walk the Planet. Now, when those feelings come, out of the blue, I push them aside as much as I can and its really helped me. I’m going to use your “now is not the time” phrase too.

    Thank you for being so helpful to the rest of us out here on the interwebs. Fabulous recipes and fabulous advice too! You rule, Mel!

  • Hope says:

    Okay. Two things:

    1. You’re a Super Shero to ME!

    2. I am waaaaay post-menopausal, although I have phantom periods that I recognize now and then… But one thing I did for myself, back then in my bleeding days, was to make myself a couple of pairs off POWER UNDIES. I bought plain old undies at Target (I picked RED for POWER and also for leaks) and decorated them with those fabric paints and fake jewels and embroidery.(Michael’s has all that stuff.) I painted lightning bolts and spirals and other cool shit on them. I outlined a glittering triangle with radiating lines in the appropriate spot. I wrote empowering words.Then I wore them. It was like having a secret weapon, just under my clothes. Only I knew I had on my POWER UNDIES and was invincible. When I had to deal with people, or even with just myself, I would think of my POWER UNDIES, hiding just below the surface, shielding me from Craziness and emanating strength and BADASSNESS! I also used my POWER UNDIES on non-bleeding days, when I had to do battle, face confrontations in the business world, protect my vulnerable self, etc.

  • Sara says:

    Thanks for posting this with such open-ness! I can totally relate to pretty much everything you said here, and I appreciate that you gave some tips to help combat the ill effects of hormone poisoning. 🙂

  • kayell says:

    Today I am grateful for … menopause! This is GREAT advice and commentary.

  • Nicole says:

    Just wanted to drop a line and thank Mel for “now’s not the time” and thank everyone else for the info about the Diva cup…now IS the time for that! I had never heard of it, but I did research after reading this blog and aside from cramps, I’m having a pretty good bout of hormone poisoning! Thank you! Feel much “cleaner”…looking back at this post and trying to decide if I should post this…aw WTH 🙂

  • Emma says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I am around days 22-24 at the moment and was standing on the train and we were in a tunnel so I could see my reflection in the window and I started thinking things like “oh my god, look at my hair! Everyone else on the train looks professional and well groomed and I look like I just rolled out of a haystack and why am I wearing this top? My arms look like giant watermelons with hands on them.. etc. etc” and then I remembered this post and forced myself to face the other way and not look in the damn window because my hormones were lying to me! Thanks 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Good girl! I’m so glad for you that you told your lying hormones and lying reflection to F off. YAY!

      This is hilarious: “My arms look like giant watermelons with hands on them.” I know just how you feel 🙂

      I had a conversation with my friend Stef the other day and told her that when during those days, I stop looking in the mirror — and it really works. I mean, I feel FINE just sitting here, then I look in the mirror and feel bad?! That’s ridiculous.

      YAY for you. Thanks for stopping back to share.

  • Heather says:

    So sorry your period is such hell! At least you have a sense of humor and practical ideas about how to deal with it.

  • tirzahrene says:

    Menstrual cups FTW. My go-to for days when everything makes me cry is just to watch something poignant on Netflix (Flashpoint does it for me, for whatever reason) and hole up with kleenex until I’m done for a while.

  • M says:

    Way late, but thank you for this. I’m week two into my second whole30, and day 28 hits. Or whichever day, because gee, it would be nice to be able to plan… I appreciate the idea of the mantra, and the extra fat, and just hearing everyone else’s stories that it’s NOT JUST ME and I’m not the only one convinced that they’re horrible, fat, incompetent, and squishy because I cry at cute cat commercials. Thank you Mel, and the rest of the posters here. I needed that.