For me, the neediness feels like a kind of ravenous emotional hunger. A hunger for validation, for love, for a sense of wholeness and value as a person, maybe even more specifically as a woman. The first time it happened to me (in my "Life 2.0" after 10 years of feeling dead), the sweet man who was with me had that deer-in-the-headlights look in his eyes. "I don't know what to do," he said. He wanted desperately to help but felt completely incapable of doing so.
What I've learned now, over several recurrences of this mood, is that when the neediness happens there IS NO satisfying the hunger. It is bottomless.
And it seems that the very best those who love us can do when this happens is simply to be there, to actively show and express their love, their concern and caring, until it passes.
For those who are lucky enough to have romantic partners who love them and are willing and able to help them through these moods, maybe continuous lovemaking would suffice to fill the need or at least quiet the craving temporarily. But for some of us, even that wouldn't be enough. Even given the most tender and passionate affection, we would still need to hear different words, we'd need different actions, we'd need "something other" than what we have, something more...we would still be drowning, grasping for the life preserver because this crazy sense of need cannot be quenched.
The good news is that if it is hormonally fueled, we can at least wait for the particular combination of hormone levels to pass. And if we are manipulating our hormones through birth control methods or hormone replacement therapy, we may be able to adjust our regimens or switch to other forms or dosages that minimize the neediness.
In tracking my hormones, I have found that my needy days typically come when I do not have enough estrogen in my system to properly process my progesterone. (Our bodies need a spike of estrogen in order to ensure that our cells can take in progesterone.) In the case of my first psycho-needy day, I had accidentally used 1/3rd less estrogen than usual, then I used the normal dose of progesterone. My other, milder, needy days seem to come around the same general "time of the month" when progesterone levels are highest and when I may not have gotten enough estrogen.
If you are still getting periods, that time would probably coincide with the middle of the luteal phase of your cycle, or about a week before your period. Whenever it occurs, if you see that it comes and goes with certain phases of your cycle, all you have to do it wait and it will pass.
If you are on birth control hormones (whether the pill or a product like the NuvaRing or hormonal IUD), the challenge is a lot more complicated. You may be feeling needy because the combination of hormones that is keeping you from conceiving is also keeping your hormones in an unnatural balance. If you struggle with a lot of needy days and they are ruining your life, you may want to consider a different kind of birth control.
If you are post-menopausal and are using HRT, you may have a little more control. Like me (and with your doctor's supervision), you may be able to calm these needy periods by ensuring you get that initial surge of estrogen before you add your progesterone.
Be aware, however, that many doctors may say you don't need the progesterone at all if you've had a hysterectomy. That's not true. You still need progesterone for your brain, bones, muscles and heart, and to calm or prevent autoimmune conditions. But perhaps most important, you need progesterone to balance the effects of estrogen in your body. For example, estrogen promotes the clotting of blood; progesterone thins the blood. Estrogen build cells that bring fluid into the breast; progesterone builds cells that drain fluid away. Estrogen promotes rapid cell division; progesterone slows it down.
In any case--whether or not you happen to be in a position to alter the underlying conditions, whether or not you can "out-last" the mood--I think it helps to at least know this "need" you feel is chemically/hormonally induced. You are not crazy. You are not psychotic, though you may feel that way as you grab and grasp looking for that one last thing that will make you feel full, satisfied, safe, or whole.
And in the meantime, you can try to manage your moods through natural means like diet and exercise, meditation, self-talk or even acupuncture, or by directly altering your hormones.
Just remember that this extreme neediness seems to be related to an overexpression of progesterone, the primary hormone of pregnancy. And in evolutionary terms, this neediness may have served to make females cling to their mates during pregnancy to ensure a provider would be there for the baby.
I know, it doesn't help evolved creatures like ourselves, especially when the neediness is likely to drive away all but the most devoted and patient of males. But if you can expose your own patterns, discover what times of the month are most likely to send you into those needy moods, and figure out how long they last, you may be better able to prepare for them and to help you and those who care about you to cope with them.