Xiaoyu (alias) is a 15-year-old high school boy. Every month, he experiences a few days of low mood and irritability, feeling like being alone. He reached out to the school’s counselor and asked if there were any methods to help him break free from these cyclical bad moods.
The counselor found it strange that Xiaoyu’s emotional fluctuations were so regular, occurring on a monthly basis. After all, Xiaoyu was a typical boy. If he were a girl, the counselor would not have found this situation unfamiliar. There is a specific type of depression called Premenstrual Tension Syndrome, in which patients experience emotional changes on a monthly cycle. Some women gradually enter a period of low mood, initially characterized by physical fatigue, sleepiness, and drowsiness, which later turns into tension, irritability, or sadness, until the day menstruation begins and their mood rapidly improves. The worst mood symptoms occur 2-3 days before the onset of menstruation. Some women become extremely irritable and argue with others over trivial matters, while others become cold and distant, tormented by headaches, lack of concentration, and other issues.
In subsequent counseling sessions, Xiaoyu mentioned a situation that provided a clue. From childhood until now, Xiaoyu has had a close relationship with his mother, to the extent that even at the age of 15, he still sleeps with her most nights. Xiaoyu’s mother is someone whose mood fluctuates month after month.
Following the counselor’s suggestion, Xiaoyu’s mother went to see a doctor and was diagnosed with Premenstrual Tension Syndrome. Xiaoyu’s mood changes were related to the emotional contagion from his mother.
In modern medicine, with the discovery that many fatal diseases are transmitted through microorganisms, humans have become particularly cautious about bacterial or viral transmission. “Cleanliness” has become one of the basic qualities of civilized living, significantly reducing the occurrence of infectious diseases. Most deadly infectious diseases are now far removed from us, largely due to our vigilance regarding microbial transmission. However, in daily life, it seems that humans are less sensitive to the “contagion” on the psychological level.