I admittedly bristle at the conversation that happens about women and their hormones. “What, is she on her period?” And then I stab someone.

It drives me bonkers. I can have a passionate response to something without it being tied to anything in particular beyond the reason for said response. And yes, hormones… sometimes i cry more because of hormones. Why is this such an annoying thing for you, oh greater society? Is it because you have a penis and like to pretend that you are not affected by hormones? I bet you are (just ask your penis).

I’m digressing. This happens when I get on a ranty roll of rolling rants.

Women and their hormones. Right. Pregnancy and hormones. Yes. Everything about what I feel from day one of getting knocked up is pretty much 100% hormone related. The nausea, the exhaustion, the inability to poop like a normal person, the ever expanding tummy, and oh… yeah… the kid. Hormones!

And this is where I come clean about this one thing that has happened to me twice. At first I wasn’t sure, I thought maybe it was a fluke. But then… the second time rolled around and I knew for sure what it was: Hysterics.

Have you ever laughed so hard you’ve cried? Have you ever cried at a commercial or a movie that wasn’t supposed to be sad, but you found it sad anyways? Ok so take these experiences where you came away and were all like, “Oh for chrissake, me, get a grip,” and then times them by 1000000. Hysterics.

I have not been struck down by sudden fits of pregnant rage, though I do feel a little more irritated than usual… especially at work… but I can generally keep that under wraps so that I don’t lose my job. What happened was that something was funny. Really funny. Ok, maybe not really really funny, but pretty damn funny. And it just got funnier. And then pretty soon Kamel and I were laughing at each other laughing, and then this weird thing happened where my laugh was no longer “ha ha ha” but instead was this weird, very high-pitched, wail. Before this I had never made this sound before, but there I was making it. It sounds a little like this: “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” Which, you know, is funny. Especially to me… especially while I have no way of making that noise stop.

This noise is the first sign that I have tipped right on over the edge. I know this now, but I didn’t realize it the first time, and only got it after-the-fact on the second go-round. My body no longer knows what to do with itself. Kamel was still laughing, things are still funny on the outside, but on the inside some switch got flipped on and I’m “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE”-ing and laughing with tears springing from my eyes and then just like that I’m sobbing. Like the ugly cry, full on. And it’s kind of embarrassing because I don’t know why I’m crying, I’m not even sad, I actually think the whole thing is absurd, but I no longer have control over my face. I sort of dance back and forth for a while from laughing like a normal Lauren and doing the “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” thing and sobbing like a crazy pregnant Lauren.

This is what hysterics feels like.I realized this on Saturday and it scared me a little. It’s real. That thing that women used to catch before they learned about orgasms… it’s real.

Eventually I stopped sobbing and laughing when things stopped being funny and were just weird and sad. But for a while after the experience I find I’m very tender to any and all expression of emotion. The slightest joke, the slightest funny remark will send me right back over the edge again. I literally turn into a lunatic. It is the weirdest out of body sensation I have ever experienced and I am officially not a fan. But it’s also kind of fascinating even though I would prefer to not have it happen at all.

Have you ever had this happen to you? Have you ever seen someone else go through this? It’s super bizarre… and maybe on some level something everyone should experience once.

16 thoughts on “Hysterics”

  1. Oh yes… this has totally happened to me. Laughing uncontrollably and then crying for no reason. And also overreacting because of the hormones. Yea. It’s awful. A friend used to say… girls think they can control their reaction to hormones, but actually hormones control their reactions, and at least in some moments it is true.
    But yeah…. when people use it against a girl’s reaction to anything, it’s not nice or polite.

  2. When I was in high school I used to have hysterical episodes every now and again. It’s been an awfully long time since that’s happened, thank goodness. It’d start the exact way you’re describing – laughter that somehow devolved into a loss of control and an inability to control whether I was laughing/crying/screaming. What bothers me most in hindsight is that I was always just brushed off as “acting inappropriately” instead of anyone being able to recognize that at that moment something was seriously wrong and I was not in any sort of control of myself. It’s a scary thing.

    I hope the hysteria episodes don’t continue, and that if they do that you’re around people who can love and support you through them when they occur.

  3. Yep, periodically. I never picked up a hormone connection, it always seems fairly random. Also, brushed off for being “weird and vaguely inappropriate,” but that’s also how I wrote it off myself. It’s always kind of alarming, but in an “oh, wow, I guess the whole feeling-pretty-good-lately thing was a fluke and apparently I’ve been repressing things perhaps?” way. And then I would feel depressed and terrible and go to sleep and then feel fine the next morning and not do further investigation.

    1. I’m going to call it hormones for now – only because I have no other reason for these little overly manic episodes. The feeling of not being in control is really disturbing.

  4. Yeah – I’ve totally been there, and like dragonflytype, never connected it specifically to hormones. It usually happens when I’m overtired though and starts with laughter that snowballs and accelerates until I can’t breathe and i’m tearing up and still laughing. And it doesn’t take much to bring it back once I’ve started.

    1. This is my experience, too. Thankfully, I haven’t experienced the teeth gnashing, screaming, crying (other than tears from laughter) version.

    2. Yeah, this happens to me when I’m overtired/stressed to the max. Doesn’t seem to be hormone related for me. I remember one time very clearly: my classmates and I had taken a really early train from London to Paris (& I was still jet-lagged from flying to London), and we decided to cram as much site-seeing into one day as we could. We got to the Louvre less than 3 hrs before they closed, and we practically ran through it–we saw EVERY SINGLE GALLERY (some by accident, when we got turned around). And all this on an empty stomach, but we didn’t want to stop and eat until we’d seen everything. As they started closing up, we burst outside and crashed on the sidewalk, leaning up against the building. Something struck me as funny, and all of a sudden, I was having a laughing/crying fit that *I could not stop* for a full 5-10 min.

  5. This totally just reminded me that Chad and I started cracking up last night because a Gamefly.com commercial came on and Chad was like…..Omg, thats Kamel!! Baaahahahaah! I died. Because it totally was. The guy in it was trying to trade in his game, and they only wanted to give him $9 for it, and he threw a fit and was like ‘IT WAS $60!’, and then theyre like ‘do you want a coupon?’ and hes like ‘NO I DONT WANT A DAMN COUPON!’. Hahahaha. Totally random. I have to go find it now and post it to you or Kamels FB. And PS..I would be so lucky to witness one of your hysterical episodes. I would laugh with you, and then pretend to cry with you too, while im really still laughing on the inside. Lol. Just kidding. I know its serious and scary stuff. Love you! Hang in there! XOXO!

  6. This has happened to me pretty frequently since high school. People close to me have all seen it, it involves silent laughing and wheezing after a while and I wind up fanning myself to feel like I have some control? But, while it’s frustrating that it won’t stop, it usually gives me a happy rush, so not all bad!

  7. Once in a while, the grief takes over and I have to emote. And it’d be crying except it’s crying at a Whole Other Level where I’m not sure I’m actually breathing and perhaps I have temporary gills to assist now?

    I won’t point to hormones because personally I can’t honestly do that – I have no real evidence that it is that. But I think it’s something biological or chemical. Something is clearly on here, triggering something.

    Thinking on your new experience here, plus this other stuff, I can only imagine *eyeroll* how wonderful this year would have been if I had also just gotten pregnant because why-the-hell-not, like my totally insensitive relatives of in-laws insisted I should, post-funeral. Eesh.

    1. Oh GOD. Yes, please spend a year being an extra mess in un-anticipate-able (it’s a word, really) ways on top of being a mess on the daily. And then! as an added bonus! you get a helpless human at the end. Weee!

  8. Wow!! this is very interesting – I’m not quite sure I’ve experience the efull extent of what you are saying – but I do so very much know the feeling of that moment during the laughing/crying fits that it almost becomes painful, like a weird tinge of pain bc I realize in my mind that I have no control over it and its this repetative no breathing stuff that stops being fun/funny. Most of the times, that has been with laughing – so the happy surge balances that fear out. But with the crying ones, the only hope is that eventually the body will tire. But wow!! So interesting to see how that is happening for you as a pregnant lady. I’m sorry if its scary 🙁

    ps: your description of this really made me laugh, like ALOT (bc I know that eeeeee phase that you do, I know it well!). Is that wrong, that i laughed? or is it ironic or is it perfect? I’m not sure.

    1. Hahahaha YES! You were supposed to laugh. Because even though it’s weird and a little bit like “who am i?” it’s bizarro and absurd and funny. Kamel even attempted to video tape it but he stopped when he realized something had gone awry. haha.

  9. Oh Lord, I was a weeping, wailing mess watching Bridesmaids at the cinema when I was 7 months along. The poor lady next to me had no clue what was happening. It’s the strangest feeling in the world – especially when you KNOW something is funny… and you think it’s funny… but it turns into tears instead.

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