I was grouchy and short-tempered again last night, totally fed up with the kids and their favorite new activity that consists of running around shrieking until someone sustains a head injury, and while at least I wasn’t outwardly behaving like a goddamned harpy I could actually feel my brain shearing away from the confines of my skull, apparently attempting to escape out a nostril or ear-hole before lurching, grey and gelatinous, towards the microwave in order to self-immolate.

What is my problem, I kept wondering. I mean, sure, home life is chaotic lately, and it sucks that we can’t go outside to blow off energy, but have I just up and lost every single coping skill I was once in possession of? I’ve been exercising, I’ve been eating well, so why do I all of a sudden feel like I’m clinging to the last shreds of my personal sanity? What’s with this unfamiliar black cloud hanging over my head and the pervasive feeling of doom? Why am I so convinced everything would be a thousand times better if only I mixed salt, butter, sugar, and flour in a bowl and ate it until my pants ruptured? What . . . what’s my . . . oh.

Oh, RIGHT.

You know, I never used to have problems like this during my . . . Special Lady Time. There was the requisite puffiness, snackiness, and maybe the occasional surprise weepies attack during a sappy commercial (damn you, Gerber, and your emotionally manipulative “Anything For Baby” campaign), but I don’t remember feeling like there was a weeklong hormonal Whack-a-Mole game where my mental stability used to be.

I’m vaguely wondering if Teh Crazy might be a side effect of the Mirena, although I’ve had it for two years with no ill effects. Well, except for the first few months, and all I’ll say about that is IF you get a Mirena right after birth—or in my case, as part of the surgical hoedown that is a C-section—your uterus will shrink afterwards, which will lead you to the shocking discovery that your Mirena has STRINGS, and I’m not talking about soft strings, I’m talking about something more like fishing wire, and these strings will need to be repeatedly trimmed while they are in your personal body, unless of course you LIKE having fishing wire in your Girl Parts.

Or maybe I’m just getting older and my brain is more susceptible to fluctuating chemical imbalances. Or maybe parenthood is enough to drive anyone out of their freaking skull now and then. Or maybe this is why you can buy those tubs of pre-made cookie dough, so you can apply medicinally as needed.

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Melissa
Melissa
12 years ago

Personally I think it’s a combination of parenthood and age. I get ridiculous cranky now, and I didn’t pre-children, and I’m not on any birth control anymore.

april
12 years ago

I loved the Mirena, but I did have to go get the strings trimmed, and every once in awhile my hubby would tell me that he could feel them which made me seriously self conscious. But i loved not having to think about birth control, and once the current fetus is out I will be going back to it before I accidentally end up with fetus #3 or something :)

Sorry about your PMS! I stay away from Lifetime movies these days.

Kaitlyn
12 years ago

Oddly enough, I wrote a post about this today, too. I don’t have Mirena, but my dr told me that birth control can affect your PMS level. I got a prescription for a different kind of pill, but was reading Master your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels and she mentioned “severe PMS” (which I would classify myself as – hello depression, anxiety, and wallowing in self pity!) as one of the effects of having your hormones imbalanced. Anyway, I fell asleep after that part, so I have no conclusion. Only that it got me to thinking maybe it’s *not* the birth control, maybe it’s something environmental.

Nicki
Nicki
12 years ago

I don’t have the Mirena (yay for husbands who ran to get a vasectomy), so I can’t state as to whether that is a factor. BUT, I will tell you since the last child and being 37, the PMS is bad, so very, very bad so I guess it is an age thing. As a frightening harbinger of things to come, my mother ended up having really bad rages as she hit the perimenopause/menopause phase and the only thing that works for her is Cymbalta. I’m really not looking forward to that. Now that I have frightened everyone, hope it gets easier for you.

Wink
12 years ago

Well, look at it this way. You’ll be so busy fretting about your class today, you might forget all of the Mirena-induced PMSy type stuff going on. Good luck, we can’t wait to hear all about it!!!!!!!!!!!!

Evita
Evita
12 years ago

I pulled my Mirena out myself because I got so sick of the moods (the @*$%^ strings were at least good for that). And promptly got pregnant the ONE time we went without something. Nonetheless, having a 5th child was better than the frickin’ Mirena and I have NO REGRETS. It was definitely something that got worse the longer I had it – I kept it at least 18 months.

Evita
Evita
12 years ago

Um, the Mirena mood swings were worse the longer I kept it, not the 5th child. He’s an angel, except for the days that he is 2.

Lauren
12 years ago

Been there, though I don’t have a Mirena to blame it on. I thought I was going to commit bodily harm to some of my family members on Sunday. Then, surprise of all surprises, I checked the calendar. Oh, you mean there’s a reason I screamed (shrieked, really) at my brother that morning for having the TV too loud?

You’d think I’d learn. Sigh.

Sonia
Sonia
12 years ago

My OB/GYN diagnosed me with ‘Second Degree PMS’ a few years back. (Which? MUST be a badge of honor, right? Like having a second degree black belt?) She put me on a particular birth control pill that has mellowed my shit RIGHT out. And it doesn’t interact with my anti-depressant. This little combo has kept The Crazy at bay quite nicely for me. My husband is as thankful as I am for that. ;) I am petrified of IUD’s, not for any particular reason. But reading your experiences recently, and some of your commenters before me, I think I’m right to be weary! Good luck Linda. Lady hormones are a biaaaatch.

jody
12 years ago

A friend had the Mirena and was convinced that it did lead to The Crazy for her. Not sure if it was that way all along, or only after time. She had it removed and said she felt like herself again!

[That said, nothing wrong with having a bit of “the crazy” from time to time. So glad you are here to remind us that it happens to all of us.]

kootnygirl
12 years ago

Okay, you’re starting to scare me. I only found your blog today, and the first 2 posts I’ve read (this and the one prior) are carbon copies of my life.

The day after my bad day? Telltale signs of Aunt Flo. I say “signs” because since I had my Mirena put in 18 months ago, the old aunt doesn’t come around too often.

Like you, I never had issues before, and like you, I’d never really considered that the Mirena might be the culprit.

Next time I feel myself going crazy, I’ll try to remember why, and I’ll try to hope like hell that it makes some kind of difference.

Meggish
12 years ago

Ooh and don’t forget about fishing wire that stabs the captain’s … figurehead.

My husband always looks pointedly at the calendar when I wonder aloud why my skin is suddenly going crazy. It’s kind of sad when HE remembers but I don’t ;]

lindsay
12 years ago

This business about wires is more than a little unsettling. And the TRIMMING of the wires? Well that is just some typical bullshit, like women don’t have enough grooming to do.

christina
12 years ago

Dudes! If you’re going to deal with the pokey strings, why bother with the added hormones? I have the copper one, which “makes your uterus an unfriendly place,” and not just for that awesome tagline. I have had no issues for 6 years, which unfortunately means for me, that my hormone changes are farging natural dammit. Shit. Anyway, ya, go copper, and cut the strings so you don’t feel like one of those matrix ships is shooting out of you.

ps – I rarely post, but I love your writing, and know from Ashley that you are awesome in real life too. Keep Rockin’ in the Free World!

Julie
12 years ago

Holy cow, I had the same revelation today. Completely stressed out and showing it and then, oh yeah, count the days, carry the 1, bingo. I’m going to have the blame parenthood for disabling my common sense and self-observation ability.

Case in point: even after the light bulb went off, did it stop me from having a total breakdown when my computer seemingly stopped working, only to have the Hub jiggle the DSL connection and fix it? No, it did not. My mom always said her kids sucked out her brain power, and I’m beginning to think it’s hereditary.

Erin
Erin
12 years ago

You know, you think we’d all pick up on the symptoms at some point. This weekend while grocery shopping, I actually teared up in the aisle because I couldn’t find the product I was looking for. I mean, it wasn’t anything important…apple juice…but seriously? And then I returned home and figured out what was going on…oh boy!

Jenny H.
12 years ago

Holy freakin’ crap. I so wish we had had this discussion about TWO years ago! I had my Mirena removed last year in order to have bebe number three, because I am INSANE. I am currently pregnant with said bebe, another boy, who is quite possibly going to be godzilla. Anyhoo, I was thinking about going BACK on Mirena but decided to get my tubes tied insted. I liked it a lot, or so I thought! After reading this post and all the comments it’s like a light bulb has just gone off over my head. There was definitely rage involved,and mad PMS. I never connected it to the Mirena though. My husband deserves some sort of medal, or maybe a somethin’ else for putting up with my lunacy…

Erin (Snarke)
12 years ago

I might be in the minority here but my special lady times were VASTLY improved by my b/c method… now that we’re trying to get pregnant I am NOT looking forward to the return of the pain and crazy.

Though now that you know what it is, you can work through it better! Good luck!

Crystal
12 years ago

I’m afraid of hormones, most of my family also fears my hormones, so I went Paraguard. The copper IUD. LOVED IT. No complaints. The strings never bothered me. 2 of my friends had the Mirena and both hated it and had it removed. (years after insertion)

I since had my paraguard removed to get pregnant, and I am now 35 weeks.
Getting another one as soon as I can evict this baby.

Faith
Faith
12 years ago

I’ve never had an IUD, but I did find that after a couple of years of being on the pill, it started to affect me differently. Certain symptoms only popped up after I’d been taking it sort of long-term. So it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that the Mirena could do the same. The power of hormones is just not to be underestimated. Here. Have some cookie dough.

Rach
Rach
12 years ago

I totally think it’s the Mirena. I’ve had one since my daughter was born 2.5 years ago, and I’m just now starting to think it’s been the cause of my craziness. It’s good to hear I’m not the only one.

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

I had the Mirena for about 4 months, and while I don’t remember it making me crazy per se, I did think it made me really itchy all over. It’s listed as a rare side effect, but it must be pretty rare because when I told my doctor, I think he thought I was crazy. Anyway, as soon as it was out, no more itching.

Judy
Judy
12 years ago

I had to google Mirena, since it’s been about 10 years since I had any special lady times (even though I am always a special lady). It brought back memories of my experience with the now-infamous Dalkon Shield which seemed catastrophic at the time, but later did give me a $750 settlement in the class action and I had a good time spending that.

I think a lot of it is age. I always blithely skipped through the SLTs all my life, nary a cramp or a grump, but in my late 30s began to experience a phenomenon which in some ways indicated that I was either not too bright to begin with, or in early stages of dementia. Every month I would have ONE OF THOSE DAYS (or two or six) where I would be irrationally angry about everything. Events that I would normally shrug off became life shattering crises. And then the next day Aunt Flo would show up and I’d go “Ohhhhh, that’s why.” What makes me wonder about my mental capacity is that I never recognized it when it happened, only afterward. This went on for years.

I regret the sagging boobs, the dry skin, the softened jaw line, the gray hair. But I do not miss my special lady times in the slightest.

Shelly
12 years ago

I’m not on any birth control, but my pms has gotten a lot worse in the last year. So I think age has got something to do with it. Lovely.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

My OB/GYN recommended extra calcium pills to counter “mood swings”. I tried it and the husband says he can tell when I am not taking my calcium. Apparently I snap about things more and quicker- that was his polite way of putting it.
I take a calcium pill in the a.m. w/ my daily vitamin and in the p.m. w/ my iron (borderline anemic so I take extra iron).

birdgal (another amy)
birdgal (another amy)
12 years ago

Ever since I had my second child and resumed my..Special Lady Time… I’m an absolute basket case the week I ovulate (with a lesser crazy during the actual SLT). Case in point: the last two months I have ran my car aground on the lawn while trying to back out of my driveway (leaving nice muddy ruts) AND have backed into my husband’s car, causing no damage to his car but singlehandedly causing $2000+ damage to MY car. Both of these incidents occurred during my ovulation week (separate months). Apparently, I should not be allowed within 100 feet of car during this time. I have also noticed that I’ve just become more hormonal in general when it comes to Aunt Flo, so much so that I’ll start shaking when I’m upset (I can almost feel the hormones coursing through my veins). Dude, it must be something about getting older (and maybe having kids?) that throws us out of whack.

Sarah
12 years ago

Much as I hate to feed into the “all women are crazy before their periods” stereotype, I am all the sudden the POSTER CHILD for that little myth. I feel like a hormonal roller coaster my whole cycle long, basically- while ovulating I am CRAZY, er, EAGER, if you get my drift, and then the week before my period, bam, all sex drive is gone, my boobs hurt so bad I am always convinced I’m pregnant, exercising makes me feel wiped out and unable to move the rest of the day, and I can barely speak without yelling at people. This is WAY worse than it ever was in high school, when the most that happened was that I cried once a month the day before I started, like clockwork.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

um..eek?

Thanks, all, for the insight to the next decade…

Linda, perhaps the recent “I’m going to eat less processed food” kick is adding stress to the “normal” pms-crap-o-rama?

I didn’t eat much processed food growing up, but my bf did, and when we moved in togther, I picked up some of his habits…lemme assure you, those cravings can happen independently of pms. Refined carbs (eg white flour) play havoc on your blood sugar. As does corn syrup and plain ole white sugar.

Personally, I found it took a month of being uber strict. no white flour; absolutely no corn syrup (brown rice syrup=ok). After that month, your taste buds can guide the way. Although I profess compete slavery to diet coke. and kashi “twig” cereal.

Sandra
Sandra
12 years ago

I have had so much fun reading all these comments…I too have a Mirena and I’m getting that b!tch out next Thursday! But you know what is going to make it Extra! Special! Fun!? It’s being done surgically under General Anesthesia because I too had the pokey strings problem and I got them trimmed too much so now two different ob/gyn’s haven’t been able to remove it via the strings and guess what? The IUD has grown into my lining so not only do I have raging PMS, I also have weekly spotting! Daily Pain! and did I mention Surgery! and Anesthesia!

Whew..now that I got that off my chest…Linda, I do think you’ve got so much on your plate right now. A marathon, fulltime job, two young kids (I have three, I know from whence I speak), a husband. It’s tough girl, I know. You’re an amazing woman and I really admire all that you’re doing and Will Do. But cut yourself some slack! Take some time for yourself…

MelV
MelV
12 years ago

I love your writing so much…that first paragraph? It defines so many nights at my house.

Ali V
Ali V
12 years ago

I think the Mirena contributes. I’ve had mine for 3 years and I love everything about it except the crippling rage and woe that overtakes me 3-4 days a month. I never had period-related crankiness before, and now I am just floored with dispair every time. The worst part is the complete frickin lack of perspective. When I’m just normally frustrated or tired I can take a step back and know that none of this really matters and tomorrow will be better, but with mirena-rage I can’t get beyond thinking all is doom forever and ever. It’s ridiculous but I’m unsure what to do about it until we get to a point where kids are an option. So that said, you’re not alone, cold comfort as it is.

Maria
12 years ago

I’ve read your other posts where you’ve mentioned PMS issues before, and I wondered if you were on Mirena. I have been on it for just about two years myself, and I noticed almost immediately that I would go through cycles of inexplicable emotion, usually bordering on rage, eventually ending in outright sobs. I went back and forth about it, but because I have medical issues resulting in a great amount of pain that is produced during “special lady time”, I actually choose the crazy. I love not having to worry about birth control, I love not having a period, I love not being doubled over in pain on a monthly basis. My family might not enjoy it so much, but Senora Psychopath usually goes away within a couple of days.

beekeebear
12 years ago

I hadn’t heard of Mirena before, but just went and looked it up and I see that it does give you doses of hormones, just like birth control pills do. One of the possible side effects of such hormones is depression. The Mirena hormones mixed with your own monthly hormone fluctuations could be causing you these bouts of what sounds to me like a version of depression–or at the very least it’s making you Very Pissed Off. Either way, not Happy Mommy.

I have never ever had a problem with depression or mental illness, none of that in my family at all. But when was on birth control pills, I ended up in a psychologist’s office because I was avoiding all my friends, only wanted to be alone, and cried myself to sleep every night. The first thing he told me was to get off my pills–I did and it was like flipping a switch. I never had to see the psychologist again.

As an aside, my best friend is a physician’s assistant (PA) and even though she swears by medicine and what it can do to improve our lives, she has never ever taken birth control pills because she doesn’t think it’s right to mess with your hormones.

So… I know every person is different and has their own experiences and is free to make their own choices. I just wanted to share my experience with you.

I love your blog(s) and have been a faithful reader for years. :)

Helen
12 years ago

I am maybe thinking that Mirena removal may be a good idea… 6 months of permanent period slimmed down to maybe two periods a month, with cramps… and it goes without saying that I am the crazy. I do have 2 and 4 year old kids though, so there is that. How come they are so popular when such a huge cross section of people are having problems?

Helen
12 years ago

PS MAybe it is an awesome method of birth control? Who knows between the bleeding and the cramps and the crazy, I have no need for such things

Redbecca
Redbecca
12 years ago

Just want to add my .02, especially for the posters who complain of short cycles with heavy bleeding, or those who go long between periods and get sluggish and depressed. Get your thyroid checked. Mine was out of whack just a bit and since getting regulated with meds my cycle has evened out to where it was when I was in my 20s. I still get some of the crazies a few days before she shows (including the “Honey! I’m home!” migraine triggered by the progesterone drop), but the worst symptoms and frequency issues have mostly disappeared, thank goodness.
Also? You now have me totally craving cookie dough!

Kim
Kim
12 years ago

It seems others have said this, too, but let me be another voice of “it’s the getting older thing.”

I never had problems with PMS (mild, nothing serious) until about mid-thirties when all of a sudden, tampons AND pads (together) occasionally proven inadequate to the task; soreness, cramping, and bloating got out of control; my emotions were completely out of control. It all completely sucked, esp, since I had never had these problems in the past.

I don’t need to be on birth control bc/my husband has taken care of that aspect of things, but I started the pill again just to ease the misery. It worked. Thus, I expect that I will be on the pill until I die if that’s what it takes to control my monthly Friend.

SK
SK
12 years ago

How about a big ol’ side of “I just started back at school again after a long hiatus and I’m outside of my comfort zone big time” with that? Hang in there and take it easy on yourself – this too, shall pass.

MEP
MEP
12 years ago

I sympathize. I can’t do hormonal birth control because of the crazy and other physical problems. I’m not sure if I’m done having kids yet, but when the time is right, I’m looking longingly at this procedure which is basically tubal without the surgery.

Kristi
Kristi
12 years ago

I’m having this problem too with bad PMS and I don’t know what is going on, as it never used to be this bad. I’m 31, had my first baby about 2 years ago…was on the pill after her birth but went off it months ago, as I thought that was what was making me all crazy.

But no, I still get so SAD before my period. It’s awful. I never thought of myself as a moody person, but I start questioning our decision to try to have a second child, questioning my relationship with my husband, etc. It’s pretty f’ing depressing.

Judy
Judy
12 years ago

Oh god, Kim. Oh yes.

For some reason, the word “menopause” seems to imply a gentle ebbing away of the process, the breath of cherubs, the stroking of a feather.

I had always had 2-3 day Monthly Friends with no cramps, no problems, and so light I think one tampon would have done it. Suddenly there was this raging, like my body was possessed. Twice monthly periods, lasting 8-10 days and so heavy that I had to give up tampons totally (probably TMI, but the blood clots pushed them out) and in spite of wearing hospital-size pads, two at a time, managed to bleed on everything I owned, and I didn’t learn until afterward that peroxide takes that shit out. So I ended up with everything I owned being stained, not to mention that I looked at my wardrobe one day and realized I had not bought anything but black clothes in years, because the blood didn’t show up on them so badly.

This went on for TWELVE YEARS! I went to every sort of doctor. One gave me a shock dose of hormones which were supposed to kick my body into a normal rhythm but instead kicked me into a two month period. Another performed an endometrial ablation (which my teenage daughter referred to as “Mom’s abortion”) and called me at work to announce cheerfully that I was totally normal and should be starting my period next week (when I’d had one the week before). Another did a telephone consultation and wanted to perform a hysterectomy without examining me first. I steered clear of him! Nobody would prescribe The Pill because I was in my 40s and a smoker.

Finally, at age 53, it stopped. I had one period that last year, then nothing for 13 months, then one final hurrah (which almost sent me into panic when I saw it, I was like “OMG what’s wrong, I’m BLEEDING!” because I’d forgotten that I used to do that) and then it was over. Forever. Thank God.

Kimalim
Kimalim
12 years ago

wow, there’s a lot of talk of hormonal drama here. I love that we all can say, “Yeah. I get bitchy. F* it.” Obviously women EVERYWHERE endure it. I think it should be one of the things that medical marijuana is prescribed for. Don’t nobody fight on grass.

Jenny
Jenny
12 years ago

Hi Linda,
I asked my GYN about the increasingly crazy PMS symptoms that I started experiencing around 35 and she said that definitely happens as we progress through our 30s. Do you feel the exact opposite around ovulation time? I had observed very noticeable peaks and valleys – the peak is great but the follow up valley sucks. She said we just get such a bigger surge in hormones around ovulation that when they leave around PMS time, we’re left with nothing. I now text my husband before the PMS weekend starts, letting him know that I will be a raving lunatic the next day but won’t admit to it being PMS at the time. It has helped him at least realize that he should take the boys and head for the hills for the day and just leave me in my ridiculous state of despair.

kristi
kristi
12 years ago

’round here, we’re BIG fans of medicinal cookie dough.

Amy
Amy
12 years ago

I am rolling! My body is wracked(sp?) with laughter and it’s late in the day so no one is here except my boss right next door. Trying desperately to maintain while tears run down my face……..I love you!

Emma
Emma
12 years ago

Oh, and my husband got a vasectomy. End to the crazy hormone pills. Start of crazy hormone natural body state. Ugh.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

You might find this interesting:
http://www.girlsgonechild.net/2010/01/hairless-friday.html#links
My best friend just got it taken out for the hair loss and freaky craziness that even I couldn’t put up with. When your closest friend can’t deal with you, it’s time to get it yanked!
I also convinced her to get her dog neutered because he was nuts (not anymorezzzzzz0.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Oops – my toddler was clinging/screaming/making me lean on my laptop so I didn’t really need all those extra letters.

T
T
12 years ago

Oops – my toddler was clinging/screaming/making me lean on my laptop so I didn’t really need all those extra letters.

T
T
12 years ago

Sorry again! I’m crazy without Mirena – any suggestions besides tying my kids up?