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~Seek first to understand, then be understood~
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I have a "friend" who shows up once a month. She turns my world upside down, over and over again.
I am a good person, caring and sweet, but when she comes to visit, I could rip off your head.
She takes no prisoners, foul words she does spout, I try to keep the words in, she lets them come out.
People don't understand me, or what this is about, to have this creature inside my head.
I despise who I am, half of the time, I feel sorry for my daughter, family and friends.
There's no way to describe it, for those who don't know, it's a living nightmare, she really needs to go.
~Neysia Manor, Rest in Peace

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Voices of PMDD, Bearing our Crosses

My marriage of 15 years is one in which my wife has only in the last five years realized that this "might be PMS," and only discovered the identity of PMDD in the last two years.  In hindsight, I can see elements of PMS or PMDD even in our dating relationship but over the years we both attributed those elements to something more akin to an assertive personality.

After the birth of our last child, a time that coincided with some family financial distress, she began losing her ability to hold on to reality.  Whatever the first cause, I am losing my ability to hang on too.

Her statements speak of great, deep darkness.  She can see no hope.  She speaks of a switch that goes off and on but she is often unable to identify that it is on PMDD for several days.  By then much damage has been done.

As honestly as I can assess the situation, I am not an "unsupportive" husband.  I have learned, however, that support is not usually offering solutions.  She mostly needs someone to listen and be present with her.  Being present, though, means reminding her by my mere presence of the multiplicity of faults and results in my being berated and hearing about how I have made everything hopeless. 

I try to serve but in these times everything is wrong including what I might choose to do to help.  I have gotten to the point where my mind is swimming and I cannot focus on anything much at all in or out of PMDD time.  She has a switch, I do not.  She goes back to normal and wonders why I am so moody.  In her better times, she is sympathetic and apologetic.

We are both working on it.  She is trying to find solutions; I am trying to stay close as long as possible and take as many blows as I can without crumbling.  We are both bearing our crosses.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Voices of PMDD, A Guest Post on Shattered Dreams

Continuing with my Summer of 2014 Voices of PMDD series, here is a post written in 2012 by a woman with PMDD that addresses the reality that what you see/experience of PMDD from the outside, as a partner, friend, colleague, or family member, is only the tip of the iceberg compared to the devastation that is going on inside the mind, body, heart and spirit of a woman with PMDD.  
Aside and apart from the episodes of PMDD themselves, there is no way on earth to measure/account for/quantify the cost of the shattered hopes and dreams of PMDD women (and our loved ones) due to our PMDD.  The fallout from these broken dreams is something a woman with PMDD has to deal with every single day of her life--not just during an episode.  The weight of our perceived failures, while staggeringly heavy when we are not in the PMDD zone, can prove unbearable during an episode.  This, I believe, is a good part of what leads to suicidal thinking. 

That said, I give you "The Hidden Injury of PMDD"

“I wanted to quit because I was suffering. That is not a good enough reason.” – Ted Corbitt
I almost decided not to write about PMDD.  The thought of sharing what is considered a mental weakness leads to an automatic assumption that I am a little off my rocker.
No one intentionally judges someone with bi-polar disorder or depression.  It is a slight shrinking away from the unknown and the unstable.  PMDD is similar to being bi-polar.  The difference is the consistency.  PMDD will hit every two weeks like clockwork.  About every third cycle, in my case, it is so severe I have to talk myself out of suicide.  My muscles and joints hurt so bad I feel my bones will crumble if I move too fast. Typing hurts.  Rolling over hurts.  The sadness is so deep there is no hope, no joy, no future.  It is only darkness for days and days.  And right as the pain is going to consume my mind and body, my cycle begins and the world is turned upright again as if the previous two weeks never happened.

It is vicious.  It is destructive.  It is painful and it is never ending.

I am told by those around me I am outgoing, extroverted and can do anything I set my mind to to. That is until they see me fall and wonder what happened.

I was just as confused until September 2011, when it became clear there was a pattern to the insanity.

My husband and I were in the middle of trying to start a photography and real estate business when it became clear we were facing something much bigger than we could have ever imagined.  I would soon discover my ambitions would be pulled out from under me like a ugly, worn out rug.

Up until then, I had hope I would one day shake whatever it was that tripped me up so much.   We thought it was connected to the abuse from my childhood or maybe my walk with God was really weak or maybe I was just a weak person in general.  Maybe, just maybe, if I tried harder, or prayed harder or exercised harder or ate better or something!!!!!  There had to be something I was doing wrong.

After we narrowed the diagnosis, I began facing the fact, I couldn’t do everything I dreamed of doing….and that pain is another post entirely.

I knew something was wrong, but I had no idea the symptoms grew worse and worse as you get older.  It made sense though, as I was moving into my 40’s, why the intensity was growing.
Friends only see me when I can leave the house. I venture out when I have energy and drive. This causes so much confusion when I meet new people.  I am vibrant and joyful at first and when I am pressured into social situations during the “luteal” phase, they see a quiet, sad often “sick” stranger they don’t recognize.

I can’t imagine how it is interpreted.

I cancel coffee dates, go two weeks without answering my phone, drop out of obligations I make during my good weeks.  I’ve since learned the crash will come and I have no business volunteering, working, serving or reaching out to anyone.

I’ve lost jobs, quit jobs, started and quit businesses, started and quit homeschooling over and over, lost friends, went on uncontrolled spending sprees, started arguments and walked away from relationships to save them from myself.

I wish at times, I had a physical ailment.  A limp, a scar, a broken bone or even cancer.  At least then, when someone met me they would have evidence of my disease.  They would be able empathize and process the injury in their own mind.

Instead, the injury is inside my mind.  It is not visible unless you live under the same roof.
It is hidden behind a mask I wear everywhere I go.  I can’t escape from the betrayal of my mind and body every month.  It is always taunting me…always waiting silently to paralyze me yet again and destroy everything I begin to build.

I’ve learned not to build anymore.  That is what hurts the most.