Last night was the first time I’ve ever been awakened in the middle of the night by Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS). Really weird and not fun. Today in my scripture study I decided to look for scriptures that could help me endure PMS well. (Does this seem like a topic that is not blogged about by polite LDS bloggers? Well, hang with me; I’m going to try to make this as edifying as I possibly can.) Anyway... so the following is what I found.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
PMS is a certain kind of tribulation. (What? Are we women supposed to glory in PMS? Evidently we are…) PMS for me is like the beginning of an insurrection. The usually compliant natives suddenly start murmuring for no reason and begin fomenting rebellion. I just have to have patience to get through it and I have to pray for self-control. The patience brings experience of knowing it is possible to bridle my irritability so that I don’t hurt the people around me or beat myself up. Experience brings hope that with God’s help I can become a better person even when my hormones seem to be working against me.
Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. (James 5:11)
Job didn’t have PMS, but he had a lot of terrible things happen to him, so he is known for patience. Even if we aren’t enjoying peace with PMS, enduring well through it will bring happiness and satisfaction… afterward. Also, the Lord knows all things and will not withhold His tender mercies from us if we ask for help.
One of the ways that I think Heavenly Father has helped me endure though PMS in the past is by giving me a heightened awareness so I notice when I’m about to say something hurtful and ornery. And I keep my mouth shut and then think about whether the irritant is something that usually bothers me or not. And it usually isn’t, so I know I should definitely keep my mouth shut.
Is any among you afflicted? let [her] pray. (James 5:13)
How could it possibly be made clearer what we should do when we have PMS? We can pray that we will overcome our hormonal afflictions and that we will not be overcome by the irritable or aggressive or saddening impulses that come upon us.
And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon [Michaela and her sister Saints] were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. (Mosiah 24:15)
Okay, so I put us women in there to apply it better to us.
One of the difficulties I have when troubled by PMS is that the irritation is an underlying current in my subconscious and when I want to have peace, I have a hard time feeling it; I’m just rumpled inside. I want to feel the peace of the Holy Ghost inside when I’m doing my callings or reading my scriptures, but with PMS sometimes I can’t feel it. This scripture teaches me that I can still submit cheerfully and with patience to the will of the Lord even if I don’t feel the peace yet. It also assures me the Lord can strengthen me to bear my burdens with ease, to bear the little irritations that pop up and which suddenly seem maddening.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to [woman]: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Cor 10:13)
This assures us we are not alone when suffering PMS, and we will not feel it forever. God makes a way for our bodies to bear it. I’ve found a number of ways by which I find some relief. When I’m feeling irritable and aggressive, it really helps me to go running, or do hard housework or to work in the yard, or to play hard fast songs on the piano where I can just pound away. The energy needs some place to go, and there are good things I can use it for.
The odd thing is that after doing one of those things, I feel satisfaction for only about five minutes and then I get irritable again and have to do something else. It is a queer feeling to tire myself out all day like this and still have an irritable feeling fighting with the physical fatigue of having worked so hard. At least the next day the PMS is gone and I can finally feel satisfaction for all I got done. How do you deal with it?
O Lord, my heart is exceedingly sorrowful; wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ. O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me, because of [my hormones]. (Alma 31:31)
Alma anticipated afflictions coming upon him because of the people’s wickedness, but I thought his prayer was appropriate for PMS just by changing those end words a little. With enough experience with PMS, we may start to anticipate the afflictions from hormonal imbalances and we can ask for our souls to be comforted in Christ. Might it be possible to have a “soul” comfort that goes deeper than biological pique or sorrow?
When my PMS is of the weepy variety, I often look at myself with chagrin saying, “Self you really don’t have reason to cry. You’re life is a very good one right now. You have all these blessings.” In the past I have gotten frustrated myself for the mismatch and irrationality of the sorrow, but maybe I can just accept that sometimes I will feel that way and let it happen, knowing deeper down that God is in His heaven and all is right in my world.
But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions. (Alma 34:41)
I wonder. Will we have to worry about hormones in heaven? Or is that just part of mortality?
Here are some other scriptures and even a hymn that are applicable:
All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” (D&C 122:7)
My people shall be tried in all things… (D&C 136:31)
…thou didst bear all these things with patience because the Lord was with thee. (Alma 38:4-5)
Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
(Be Still My Soul, hymn 124)
Do you have any scriptures that particularly help you when you are going through PMS? How do you deal with it in a constructive way?