It's All in my Head
The one about PMDD
**I'm in a rambling mood so please bare with me if this post is ridiculously long or just plain unintelligible. Also, please check out the links I will have listed at the very bottom for more info on PMDD, especially if you think you or a loved one may have it. The sites are very insightful... Sorry about that.**
Since I missed work today because of it, I figured this would be a great time to shed some light on this monster. PMDD stands for Pre menstrual dysphoric disorder or as some of us women refer to it, Pure Insanity. It has a tendency to resemble Bi-Polar disorder and can often go misdiagnosed although, if you think you may have either or both of these illnesses, please talk to someone you trust about it and reach out to a professional. PMS on steroids is how some sites explaining the disorder describe it. PMDD is a mental illness affecting about 8-10% of women around or during their menstrual cycles. It is not a simple case of PMS. It's horrendous and makes life a living hell for about two-three weeks out of every month. Sometimes, for me, it lasts an entire month. But what is it? I call it a shift in my brain, my hormones, everything. Everything about me shifts and I become this other person, or that's what it feels like. This awful beast gets released from its cage and locks me in it. It strips me of my flesh and masquerades as me but those closest to me see the lie. The change is so noticeable, in fact, that I have given the extreme switches in my mood names and at times, my mother jokingly asks me to whom she's speaking. Hilarious.
Dot is what I've given to the side of me that feels rage and anger for no reason (other than hormonally) and Bubbles is the name which best describes me when I'm feeling euphoric and energetic and peppy and hyper. Often, the shift happens suddenly and for no apparent reason, like flicking a light switch. I could be feeling amazing and refreshed one moment and the next my energy is being drained from every part of me. When "Dot" is around, ordinary sounds such as a ticking clock, birds chirping, people talking at normal volumes, etc. become overbearingly loud as if I'm hearing it all from a megaphone from inside my ears; I carry around ear plugs in my purse for those days. My job starts to feel like the hardest thing in the world. Paranoia and fear will follow me and make me dread what's around or could be around every corner. Anxiety becomes intolerable and I'll feel terrified to be alone in my own home. I could have sudden crying spells and feel weepy. I become antagonistic and bully-like, picking fights and creating them, responding with venom to every statement sent my way. I will rage at the wind for blowing on me and will be destructive to things around me. I will feel as if no one cares about me at all and my world will feel totally dark and void. Depression envelopes me as if I were in a pitch black cave and suicidal thoughts fill my head space, wooing me with temptations of permanent peace and tranquility. My mind races and spins and I feel as though I am going crazy. As much as I will not want to be alone, I will seek it because not only will everything be entirely too much for me to handle but I know that the best way to keep everyone safe from "Dot" is to be as far away from me as possible. I can see and am aware of everything that's happening and I know what I'm doing. I just feel powerless to stop it. It would be better for everyone if I really were locked in a cage. Or in solitary confinement. The guilt following "Dot's" actions are overwhelming and I really do try to keep the damage to a minimum. I take special notice of my internal world and try so hard to behave rationally and calmly. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen so I've learned to give people ample warnings, keep my mouth shut and stay by myself when possible.
But when "Bubbles" is around, let the good times roll. What was complex and difficult to do with "Dot" has now become easy and even fun with "Bubbles". A great day becomes an amazing day filled with laughter (a lot of it from me over small things) and love. Sometimes a little too much love. "Bubbles" makes me very clingy and touchy feely. I am constantly telling my loved ones how much they mean to me and how much I love them and I want to spend all day with them. I'm very talkative, I get a new energy and want to do everything right now. If you didn't know me, you'd think I was high in the moment. I will spontaneously jog around the house or do exercises in my room, not because of my eating disorder (though it doesn't help) but because of all the wild, pent up energy I have flooding my veins. And there have been times when my sister has actually accused me of being on drugs during visits from "Bubbles". Even though I'm not under the influence, I do feel a high of sorts and it feels amazing. Until the crash. Then I'm back with "Dot" and the cycle repeats.
And let me not forget the physical symptoms of crazy. The nausea and vomiting and diarrhea. The intense cramps and aches/pains in my head or back or joints. My gums get extremely sensitive and I will sometimes have vision changes; I have no idea why this happens but it is the weirdest part. My wrists will ache and hurt when I bend them, I'll have either ridiculous insomnia or extreme fatigue that is never quenched no matter how many sheep I count. I become very forgetful and find it challenging to concentrate. You'll hear me apologize a lot due to my newfound clumsiness, migraines render me useless, my body will be uncomfortably sensitive to touch which means not only can you not hug me but don't even look at me because I will feel that too. And then there is my favorite one of all, the bingeing. Ah, yes, the hungry bear syndrome which I affectionately call HBS. I feel as if I am about to go into hibernation and must store up enough energy for the winter. I eat everything in sight but no matter how much I eat, my black hole of a stomach does not cease in growling until just a few days leading up to the Day of Red. The wonderfully yet dreadfully anticipated Day of Red which has the power to scare Dot and Bubbles away. But only for a few days. Then it's hell all over again. This was in no way an exhaustive listing of what goes on with PMDD for all women or even myself. Just a glimpse into what "PMS on steroids" looks like.
So yeah, this is why I missed work. Can you imagine me telling my boss this? Hi, I can't come in today because my mind is having a meltdown and decided it would like for me to go crazy. Oh, and I threw up. Mmm, somehow I don't think I'd be needed for future work. Nope. I'll stick with the general "I'm sick" statement, at least this way I get to keep my job. Thank God for medication and His help , here's hoping tomorrow will be better.
Amazing sites on PMDD: