If You Ever Had a Doubt….

OMG! I was updating the app on my phone today that helps me keep track of my cycle.  As I began searching for the symptoms I am having, I began to laugh.  Out loud.

Not a hearty, full laugh…more like a nervous giggle I guess.

I imagine I looked like a loon laughing at a menstrual app, now that I think about it…..

As I began picking from the various choices, I noticed it took quite a while to scroll to the bottom of the list.

Take a look at what the choices are:

SYMPTOMS

  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Acne
  • Anxiety
  • Astriction (Huh?)  Turns out that is a nice word for constipation based on the picture they chose to use.  Gross.
  • Backaches
  • Bloating
  • Body aches
  • Breast sensitivity
  • Breast tenderness
  • Cervical firmness
  • Cervical mucus
  • Cervical opening
  • Chills
  • Confused
  • Cramps
  • Cravings
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dyspepsia
  • Fatigue
  • Flow
  • Gassy
  • Headaches
  • Hectic Fever
  • Hot Flashes
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Itch
  • Migraine
  • Moody
  • Muscle Pain
  • Nausea
  • Neck Aches
  • Night Sweats
  • PMS
  • Queasiness
  • Rash
  • Shoulder Ache
  • Social Anxiety
  • Spotting/Bleeding
  • Stress
  • Tension
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Vomiting
  • Weight Gain

MOODS

  • Angelic
  • Angry
  • Anxious
  • Assertive
  • Bashful
  • Blues
  • Bored
  • Confident
  • Cranky
  • Depressed
  • Disappointed
  • Distrustful
  • Dynamic
  • Embarrassed
  • Emotional
  • Evil
  • Excited
  • Exhausted
  • Flirtatious
  • Forgetful
  • Frisky
  • Frustrated
  • Furious
  • Sad
  • Grumpy
  • Harsh
  • Homy
  • Hopeful
  • Ill
  • In Love
  • Indifferent
  • Industrious
  • Inspired
  • Jealous
  • Happy
  • Jubilation
  • Lonely
  • Mischievous
  • Misery
  • Bad
  • Nesting
  • Neutral
  • Normal  (No such thing)
  • No Patient
  • Panic
  • Peace
  • Playful
  • Good
  • Proud
  • Pure
  • Satisfied
  • Secretive
  • Sexy
  • Shame
  • Silly
  • Smug
  • Stressed
  • Stunned
  • Surprised
  • Tense
  • Torment
  • Unsafe
  • Weird
  • Worry

When you witness a symptom of PMDD in someone, it is only the tip of the iceberg of what is actually taking place inside.
Be kind to yourself and each other.

So, ladies, it is no wonder we are so irritated (I mean, complex….).  These are not just words listed in a post.

These are deep emotional roadblocks and can be a destructive force to everyone around us.  I think words can be used too loosely  to describe pain sometimes.

Take the word “stressed” for example.   You probably hear people say they are stressed all the time.  “Oh! I’m so stressed”.  Really?  Are you really that stressed, or are you doggone annoyed life is not going your way at the moment and you’d rather have a different outcome?

When a woman with PMDD says “I’m stressed”.  Her body hurts so bad she can barely move.  Her brain and body shut down.  Exhaustion overtakes her and there is no choice but to put her head down.  The stress paralyzes her mind and body and she cannot take one more second of misfortune or she might decide it is no longer worth fighting with this world anymore.

So what reaction do you have to stress?  Next time you hear your wife, daughter, mother or friend with PMDD say “I’m stressed”.  Listen more to what she is not saying and what is lurking under the surface.  She doesn’t have the strength to tell you the rest.

Guys, be patient.  Be kind.  Be love to your partner in this life.  These symptoms and moods are for the most part out of her control.  Truly.

Over time, we can recognize the symptoms if we are fortunate enough to realize what it is.

We can excuse ourselves when we become acutely aware of our mind and body during this time….and 90% of what you see, hear and even feel is not personal.

One last thought.  Ladies, we also cannot use PMDD as an excuse to lose control.  We will lose control, but over time, learn from it.

Learn your own symptoms so well you can spot when you end and PMDD begins.

Embrace it, even, and know the people around you are important enough to fight for.

Fight the urge to say what is on your mind and just walk away from conflicts when you know it’s not you talking.  It isn’t how you really feel anyway.

No one knows the depth of your pain.  They cannot know unless they’ve experienced it.  I know you want desperately to make everyone understand you are hurting.

I understand you don’t want to be alone in your rage.  It is a frightening place to be.

Learn your own methods to pull in your words, actions and feelings for a split second so you are able to excuse yourself.

Educate those around you.  Have conversations when the storm is calm.

Let them know when you do leave, you are not mad at them.  It is important for them to know they’ve probably done nothing wrong or at least their offense is minor compared to how angry it’s making you.

PMDD is a bully.  But it is does not have to win the fight in the end.

Don’t give up.

You are stronger than you know.

We will figure this out together…..

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What Do You Have in Your Cabinet?

In addition to what I have in my own cabinet, another wonderful woman I know who is working through her own PMDD has shared what she has found works for her own teenage daughter:

“A multivitamin should be a first – take it in 2 halves twice a day for better absorption if it’s a tablet . B complex and D1000iu and as minerals – Ca, Mn250. I would add Omega 3 as it’s also supposed to be a mood boster (like the B6 in B complex) Also, St John’s Wort – but not together with 5HTP/anti-depressants. My daughter did well with Lithium Orotate – a supplement, not pharmaceutical grade. Works way better. (on depression, not on anxiety). LiO can be combined with either 5HTP or St John’s Wart. Also, if you don’t take any hormone medication, you may want to check out Maca root or Castus Agnus (Vitex).

Thanks Zoia!

Helping Friends and Family Understand PMDD

I found a video that paints a visual picture of the struggle.

Interesting to see this make the news at all.

Let’s get the word out there.

Mother/child conflicts, broken marriages, teenage girl “rebellion” and so much more can be explained with more awareness.

Misdiagnosed bi-polar, personality disorder and depression is an immeasurable casualty of PMDD as well….

Let’s figure this out together!

The biggest source of information is from Cat Hawkins. She’s been working on public awareness for 5 years.

I highly recommend going to her website: Meet my PMDD

Sodium, PMDD and Anger

The house is quiet this morning.  The kids aren’t up yet.  I’ve started brisket in the crock pot and had a hot cup of tea already.

And I may have had a few helpings of the pre-made cookie dough in the fridge as well….ironic, since this post will be about nutrition.

As I begin writing about what happened yesterday, I am struck by the stark contrast between yesterday and today.

These days, I am shoving every vitamin I can find into my system.  Every herb or natural pill I’ve read about is in my cabinet or will be as soon as I make another trip to Whole Foods.

I am taking something that is calming me down a bit.  I can feel it.  The drawback is feeling a little dazed and confused.  I’ll take it though.  I’d rather forget what I was looking for or forget what I was going to say than have my children encounter their mama the way they did last night.

The other major change (experiment) to my diet is sodium intake. 

Regular iodized salt cannot be found in my home.  It is poison for anyone, not just women with PMDD.

It is proof “FDA approved” means absolutely nothing.

Our bodies need salt, but it needs healthy salt and in low doses.

For years, my family has had an ongoing joke about my feet.  We gauge how healthy a meal is based on how much my feet swell afterward!  No kidding.

For the past year, we’ve only used Sea Salt or better yet, Himalayan salt.  Our bodies can absorb it properly. 

Since we rarely go out to eat anymore, I’ve had control over the amount and kinds of salt that enter my blood stream.

Yesterday, after church, my kids and I decided to eat at a popular Mongolian grill.  It screams SODIUM from the parking lot, but I was feeling so good and I really wanted to let my kids experience having their food cooked in front of them.

In the back of my mind, I knew I was doing a little experiment on myself too.

Maybe the sodium isn’t THAT bad for PMDD.  Maybe I was being a little too uptight about it. I’m accused of being too strict about food.  You’ll see why….

And besides, my kids would be so grateful if we could order pizza again.  The sodium ban has cramped their style a bit!

Before church, I was almost joyful.  The world looked bright.  My quiet time that morning produced amazing insights and I was feeling grateful for my life.

After church, we had a few errands.  The kids and I were laughing and really enjoying one another.  My daughter even made a comment about how shocking it was I was doing ok right now while we stood in line at Costco.

It was shocking and I’ll take it!

Around 3pm we decided to eat out.  For health and financial reasons, we simply don’t normally, but I felt a little adventurous (PMDD makes you want to spend money you don’t have…but that is another post entirely)

We started home around 5pm after running another errand and I noticed the world began to look ugly.

The beautiful road I drove down on the way to church looked worn out.  I saw every pot hole.  My mind began reeling:

“The weeds are growing in all the cracks.  Ugh!!!  Why don’t they fix this damn road!  Why doesn’t anyone care here?  How embarrassing  it is to tell people where I live!  Why the hell did we buy a house over here?”

I recognized the shift right away and tried to remember how I felt only 5 hours ago.

By the time we were inside, I was picturing the scene in Spiderman 3 when Venom began to creep over Spiderman and he was turned into the evil version of himself.  I even looked up the scene on YouTube…

By 7pm…my last words to my kids were: “Maybe I’ll die soon.  Maybe I’ll die soon and this will all be over!!!!”  as I stomped upstairs and went to bed for the night.

Needless to say, they did not come check on me.  I miss my husband on days like today.  He would have held me whether I wanted him to or not…

There were numerous exchanges in between Spiderman and the final assent upstairs .  My agitation and anger was sitting on my skin.

The look of hurt and confusion on their faces was so painful, but I could not stop myself from being angry.  It took over my body and my mind.

I still feel unstable and unsure of which direction today will go…but I feel calm right now.

The kids aren’t up and of course, that will be the test.  Human interaction. 

What will today bring?   I am sure they are wondering the same thing. 

The point of telling you what a monster I became yesterday, is to make it perfectly clear:

Nutrition matters.  Excess and specifically, Iodized salt can be poison to women with PMDD.

(I don’t think it’s coincidence doctors tell heart patients to stay away from it, or patients prone to high blood pressure…iodized salt probably contributed to the condition in the first place)

Salt is just a piece of the puzzle.  It is not the answer of course….but if you are feeling angry.  Take notice of how you are feeling after certain meals, especially during the two weeks prior to your period.  There is probably a connection.

Let’s figure this out together!

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 comments please…

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’ve been 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.

I will begin a journey to discover answers.

***Nothing has worked so far and in another post, I will share what I’ve tried and the results……

Sleep much?

I slept ’till 4 today.  4pm.

My husband is in the Army and he had a rare day off.  Because we’ve been married 14 years and we’ve identified my issue just recently, he knew to stay in another room.

Today was supposed to be fun, cuddly alone time.  Maybe we could have made a run to Starbucks and to the movies while the kids were in school.  Maybe we could have gone shopping for the kids Christmas presents.  Maybe we could have worked on a project together before he deploys in two months.

That is not what happened.

He stayed on whatever floor I was not!

He wanted desperately to hold me, comfort me and help me somehow.  In the past, we would have fought all day because I would be irritated with him for dumbest things.  Everything hurt.  My emotions, my body, my brain.  If he touched me, there was no comfort.  Only sadness and anger.

It wasn’t about him, but until September he didn’t know that.  I didn’t know that.  It was about me.  He had his own issues over the years that certainly didn’t help matters, but now….today.  It was about me.

The only way out of my exhausting thoughts was to sleep.  And boy did I sleep.  At 4pm, sadness lifted from my brain and I got up.

I could smile and talk to the kids.  I was able to cuddle while we all watched a movie.  Two hours prior to that, I had to fight the urge to leave this world behind.  I had to talk myself to sleep so I wouldn’t bury myself deeper into madness.

Madness.

What character can you relate to the most.  Me?  The Mad Hatter.

Why the hell can’t I relate to Alice.

My kids would probably say the Queen of Hearts.

Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.  That’s a great one to relate your life to…

Have you seen The Beaver.  I get that movie for two weeks of the month.

I hate that I get it.

Right now I am sitting here typing.  Able to lift my arms.  When I am at my worst, I can barely lift my arms from exhaustion.

I am grateful that at 11:36pm,  I am able to write clearly.  Think clearly.  And express myself clearly.

Each moment of clarity is becoming a gift, because I don’t know anymore how long it might last.