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Don’t forget to take your Agnus Castus.

Or do, you know, if you’re a guy or if you’re a girl who’s not bothered by bouts of depression and sudden rage during the build up to your monthly visitation. If you are…TAKE YOUR GOD DAMNED AGNUS CASTUS. For the love of humanity. You owe it to yourself and everyone around you.

I used to slip through my monthly cycle as if it was nothing. Four painless days and no mood swings. Did I mention no pain. (I don’t have cellulite either, do you hate me yet?). Then I had children. Two children. And I started getting old. Now I spend a couple of days feeling like someone is trying to knife me in the lower back and lower belly simultaneously and I turn into a ball of near homicidal rage and/or depression during the week before. I might be exaggerating but the change in me is so pronounced that the children and I have a name for it, I am visited by the horrible hormone monster who is angry, sweaty and shouts a lot. I hate that mother******.

The worst part about it all is that I have found the hormone monster’s kryptonite. It is a wonder pill called Agnus Castus. If I take my Agnus Castus I feel like I’m 22 again, laughing and rollerskating my way through my monthly like someone in a body form advert. I jest. I haven’t tried rollerskating since I was 16. Just not my bag baby. Far too bookish and nerdy for anything fun like that. When I was 22 my favourite place was with my nose in a book. I digress, the point I was trying to make is that I forget to take the thing. I forget to take it and then I turn into something from the Exorcist, my head turning 180 degrees and suddenly spewing high decibels at the poor children who I had been completely happy with mere seconds before.

I am fully aware that these are the kind of things that women are not supposed to talk about but I’m too honest by far and finding humour in my problems can probably be credited with keeping me sane for the last…forever. Gallows humour my friends. It is the hidden saviour of mankind.

What scares me the most about my sudden hideous PMT (or PMS if you’re American) is that it might signal the build up to the change. The change. It’s been talked about far more than it used to be but somehow that is only making me even more terrified. Like looking at real post partum bodies when you’re pregnant. I’m looking into the future and it’s a future I would fondly like to avoid. Nope, I’ll do without the anger and the hot flushes thank you. Dropping collagen levels? No, no, you can keep that too. Gaining weight around the middle. Are you kidding? Good as I am thanks. Where’s a vampire or a possessed painting when you need one? I acknowledge my skills as a parent may be compromised by my becoming a blood sucking member of the undead or a soulless, immoral, party girl but can a compromise not be reached?

I comfort myself in the knowledge that bizarrely long reproductive lifespans are apparent on both sides of my family and that I could well still be fully functional (not that anyone, including myself, would really want me to be) by the time I’m pushing 60. Having said that, rather like aging, putting it off is not the same as preventing it. At some point that oestrogen crash is coming and I’m going to have to navigate it. Possibly while parenting teenagers.

Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, must go through it. Shouty, sweaty, shouty, sweaty. But, apparently, when the come down is over and the body is no longer craving the drug that it has come to know and love, there is a kind of peace. The knowledge that, this is me now, no longer compelled by biology. Free from the hormonal compulsion to reproduce. Finally able to live in my body rather than being ruled by it. Maybe. Maybe there is a silver lining to the looming cloud.

For now, I will set an alarm on my phone, take my Agnus cactus and keep hoping that getting very much older is a destination a long way from here and that I am only as old as I look.

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