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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

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Voices of PMDD - Don't Wait Until It's Too Late

Day 100. 100 days since I have had my menstrual period. I’m 54 years old and finally heading into menopause. After a lifetime suffering from PMDD you would think this gives me joy, but all I taste are the ashes of my family, my ambitions, and myself. For decades PMDD has taken a monthly flamethrower to them all, and now I can only sift through the embers and mourn.
This disease has done terrible damage to everything that I wanted to be, and the person that I thought I was. Even though my husband understood the illness, my monthly insanity finally broke him and he was in the final stages of leaving me a year ago when leukaemia struck. Now we live together but separate, as I help him through the long dangerous recovery. We get on well enough but the loving intimacy is gone. He can’t tolerate me touching him, even as a comfort. Too late. Too late.
My grown sons love me but despise my behaviour. I’m sure I have ruined trust in women for the youngest one.
I work hard and am mostly appreciated at the office but it’s clear that my regular loss of emotional control has permanently stalled any career advancement.
I was a bright and positive young woman who truly believed I had a shiny place to make for myself and my family in this world, but this disease has made me betray the little girl that I was, the one who believed she was good and would do good things.
So I urge every one of you to fight, fight harder than I did, look for answers and for care that actually works for you whether it’s SSRIs, birth control, supplements, cannabis, diet, exercise, or therapy. Don’t get complacent. Don’t give up. Don’t assume your family can put up with this forever. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Too late is closer than you think.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Voices of PMDD: Sharing our Struggles

Today we have a guest post from a woman who has taken what I think is the very healthy step of naming her PMDD.  Naming your PMDD helps to separate you from your disorder.  You are not your PMDD and that is what we all need to remember when PMDD strikes.  We are more than our PMDD, and better than our PMDD.

I call her Agatha. 
Some of you may have met her unknowingly. Her presence is noticed only by my few nearest and dearest...and even most of them don’t understand her. I’ve decided to talk about Agatha because I spend so much time as/with her, I am tired of trying to explain myself, or feel guilty, or desperately sad that things annoy me when they shouldn’t even make a shadow. 
Agatha is my PMDD...or who I am for up to two weeks out of the month. Yes...EVERY month. I have PMDD...Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Have you heard of PMT (or PMS if you’re American)?  Well, PMDD also has to do with the menstrual cycle, but is a million time worse. Maybe a billion...at least. After I have ovulated and the hormone levels change, so do I. I become someone that has taken me years to recognise, and more to understand. I describe it as having the ‘Dementor’s Kiss’; Harry Potter fans will of course understand the reference. For the rest of you, that is when all of the happiness you have ever felt, experienced, or hoped for, is sucked out of your soul, leaving you with no choice except to dwell on every bad thing that has ever happened to you...in the deepest pit of despair. 
I now understand it has got worse the older I get, because I have more experiences. So there’s more happy to be sucked away, and more pain to be left with. PMDD doesn’t just mess with your mind and soul, it likes to play with your body too. Any pre-existing conditions are highlighted and heightened...luckily for me, I have a back condition, so usually I am in considerable extra pain in the lead up to the bleed. I also get a barely-controllable eczema outbreak, and permanent, draining headaches. Then there’s being so tired, that I’m not sure if I’ve been to sleep. And I’m pretty positive that the world tricks me by deciding to speak a different language to me...because I haven’t got a clue how to distinguish between words, let alone decipher what they are saying. It’s all very confusing, and delays cause you to feel very silly; therefore, it’s better not to talk to anyone.
Ah...but wait! Why would anyone want to talk to you anyway? You are nothing, and nobody. Your past experiences have shown you that, right? There’s no hope for you, so stay put and don’t move, because nobody wants you. Your children can’t stand you, you’re so irritable, and their noise hurts your oversensitive ears. They also want you to come out of your dark, safe hole - they want food, they want to talk to you, but they are far too loud for you, and they would be better off without you...right? You’re lucky your back is screwed, and your muscles are aching in every area, because then you can’t drag your unwanted, pathetic self into the road for some juggernaut to put the world out of its misery, fed up of having to have your unworthy ass live in it....no one could possibly want you around, and you should probably top yourself to do them a favour. Everyone you know would have a greater life without you in it. 
The disillusionment of the world eats you up, the unfairness of “the system” has you physically aching for the world to end. You dislike your family, you don’t want to talk to your friends...and there is nothing but pain and despair.
And then one day, I wake up and something feels different. I have a harsh stomach cramp, but that’s nothing compared to the aches and pains of the previous week. I smile at my text messages, and I kiss my husband - it feels nice. Everything feels nice, and everything looks nice. I go to wake my children up with the biggest hugs and talk about upcoming plans for fun things. Oh wow, I also need sex. Like NOW. I want sex ALL the time (see, there is an up side to imbalanced hormones!) my mind and body are depraved instead of in pain. It feels good. And I wake up the next day feeling the same...and so on. I have a wonderful two weeks of coping with everything and having big smiles, and then something happens that will either irritate the crap out of me, or a loud noise hurts my ears, or I wake up and can’t move because of back pain...so I check the calendar - shit, it’s Agatha time. 
I gave the person I become a name, so I can fight myself, tell myself ‘it’s just Agatha, she’ll go soon, just hold on’. This is my most recent tool for the battle - after exhausting diets, exercise, herbal treatments, vitamins, finally giving in to my Doctor and attempting anti-depressants. Nothing works. So it’s me against her.
She’s getting stronger, and I can feel her on her way. I’m not ready, I’m still not over last month’s visit. I want to keep smiling...but no, time to batten down the hatches, because she will be here by the weekend; I will be forced to face every demon I have ever encountered, and I’m scared.
Can’t give up though, I have to keep fighting. I can now differentiate between who I am, and what is caused by her. It’s me against her....
.....c’mon then bitch.