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Confessions of a Screamer


What's PMs Got to Do with It?

Let's face it: Even with all these tricks and techniques, there are certain days of the month when nothing seems to work. I noticed that my yelling and sulking were much more acute the days before my period, and it was making everyone unhappy. At a checkup with my ob-gyn, I told him that my PMs was getting so intense that I was considering checking into a hotel the week before! I needed a solution that had a shot at working. My doctor suggested I take Sarafem, a very low dose of an antidepressant, fluoxetine, that you take only the two weeks before your period. I've never felt comfortable with the idea of medicating my problems away. But when the stress of shuttling the boys to school in the morning left me crying in the parking lot after dropping them off, I realized I needed some help.

I called my doctor back and asked for a trial prescription.

Three months later, I'm here to evangelize about how I've become a better wife and mother through chemistry. Don't worry -- this is not a Stepfordian lobotomy, where I walk around the house saying "That's nice, dear" and "More homemade biscuits, dear?" and "Would you like me to seduce you now, dear?"

No, my husband, David, can attest to the fact that it's not like that at all. I haven't gained weight. My sex drive hasn't changed. I sleep normally. I still understand nuance and irony, and I can even feel bitter if I want to. But what's gone is the dark spot on my heart: that angry place where I'd go from zero to sixty after asking the boys for the third time to stop hitting each other. When David says something like "Gosh, we're low on groceries," I no longer take it as a personal insult that I can't get anything done fast enough. There's an emotional cushion to buffer the everyday situations that could set off an anger spell, and the screaming switch that used to go all the way up to 11 now goes only as high as 6. I'm grateful to have figured out how to turn down the volume of my mood swings. I've even stopped feeling ashamed about having to take a pill, because Sarafem, in combination with my newly learned techniques, has put an end to the screaming, full stop. And I'll take happiness over hollering any day.