Hormones and dissatisfaction

“Please stop screaming!” is the worst possible thing to tell a child who is screaming. I know that now. Knowing this doesn’t stop me from saying it, however, because it seems like the most logical thing to say to someone whose behavior I don’t like. It seems like the most respectful thing to say, so that at least I have made an effort at being calm before I start screaming, too.

In reality, though, this is right up there with telling someone to “calm down” when they are upset. It doesn’t help. In fact, it often just makes things worse.

The worst possible offender in this line of uncompassionate and useless response to irrational behavior is something I remember from high school. I was irritated about something, and someone said, “Oh, she just has PMS.”

I do believe I blew a fuse on that person.

Irrational behavior has its source in something irrational. Logical arguments, truthful statements, rational discourse is going to miss the mark on this kind of thing. The best of intentions can backfire and everybody gets hurt.

Leaning in

A while back, I said I wanted to examine my “coveting” behaviors (in the “I want to buy something I shouldn’t” way, although I was not opposed to the thought that there might be other manifestations of this) and see if there was a hormonal element to it. Obviously, this is all anecdotal, but if I could discover something, anything, about myself and these urges, it might help me figure out how to deal with them.

I’ve been tracking my monthly cycles for years, so I was accustomed to the idea that a certain amount of fluctuation in mood was going to happen at certain parts of the cycle. It has been months now since I started specifically making notes on the urges. My diary reads like a page out of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Dissatisfaction ahead!

Teasing out what is situational and what is hormonal is complicated.

Remember, I committed to buying no clothes and no accessories in 2021, and I wanted to learn how to stop coveting and wanting things I couldn’t or shouldn’t have. I’ve taken an extreme approach to this, so if my little examples seem wacky, it’s because, well, I am a little bit wacky.

It starts with a fact: for example, my cute little white sneakers are wearing out or I was down to two pairs of socks. Very often, I could just acknowledge these realities, joke about it with myself, check to make that the thing was on my list of “I will need to replace this in January” items.

From time to time however, those facts began to feel like things I needed to do urgently something about: I might start browsing on Amazon for replacement sneakers or consider going to the store to replace my socks. (Remember, for a normal, non-wacky person, or even, for me in a non-buy-no-clothes-in-2021 year, these things would be perfectly acceptable to actually do!)

A fact could very quickly feel like an imperative. And my little anecdotal research found that during certain parts of my monthly cycle, an imperative could lead to coveting–wanting something that I couldn’t have (due to my commitment to buy nothing this year.) Coveting lead to intense feelings of dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction made me miserable.

Heading off hormonal irrationality

I am now in the phase of my anecdotal research during which I need to start finding ways to redirect these thoughts of dissatisfaction. I mean, there is nothing I can do about facts. It should not cost me my sanity to acknowledge a fact, no matter what part of the month it is. Even acknowledging an imperative, by writing down the fact shouldn’t leave me feeling dissatisfied.

However, there is a moment at which a choice is made: the choice is made in the wallowing. The choice is made in the coveting. The choice is made in the dwelling on the fact that I have an unmet want. Obviously, dwelling on an unmet want is going to cause dissatisfaction.

I need, Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde-style to figure out how to impact the choice. I need to recognize the moment at which I am about to make that choice and make the right choice.

I am going to fail

I can still feel the resentment I felt at being accused of having PMS as a teenager. But, as I always say, if I feel defensive about something, then I should really examine why. In this case, it’s because there was probably some truth to the statement.

I have waited a heckuva long time to start examining this. I know I am going to fail, and yet I so desperately want to stop wanting things I can’t or shouldn’t have. This is one of the greatest barriers to contentment, and to be content with my life is the one thing I want more than anything else.

My research continues, with the hopefulness that I will come away with some small pearl of wisdom…

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

3 thoughts on “Hormones and dissatisfaction

  1. ABout the “Please stop Screaming!” Pre-2008, I was a KG teacher. When I had eaten my last Xanax, and the day wasn’t over, but my patience was, and I couldn’t get the children under control, I said at my desk, and almost go into a trance, just staring, and chanting in my head, “I’m dead. Therefore I can’t hear anything, cuz I’m dead.” When I told my grown daughter this, this year, she was horrified that she hadn’t known how bad my mental health was 13 yrs ago. In Nov of that year, I had my 4th, and final nervous breakdown, and left teaching for good. Best decision of my life!!
    Sorry, TMI, when all you did was mention screaming.

    Liked by 1 person

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