Ladies, Don’t Underestimate Stress!

The past two days caught me off guard.  Especially today.

I started looking for work on January 1st.  For the past 16 days, I’ve had to learn the new system for applying.  The last time I turned in a job application, it was in person and you had the chance to look someone in the eye as they took your resume.

Not now!  I have to make myself look brilliant on paper after 12 years as a homemaker and homeschool mom.  Thankfully, I’ve volunteered in the community over the years and had my own Photography business on the side….sorta.

But, these applications take a couple hours each and when you push send, there better not be a mistake.  And to add pressure, I don’t want a job.  I HAVE to have a job.  Our monthly outgoing does not match our incoming and we will not be able to sustain much longer.

After being at home over a decade, stepping back into the workforce is intimidating…no, it’s terrifying.

Unfortunately, I’m now in luteal phase.

Even though most of my symptoms have been pushed down, I’m still not 100%.  Still fighting a little brain fog, tiredness and a bit emotional.  (Of course that is what’s on the surface.  Deep down, I can feel PMDD trying to bust lose right now)

Since it didn’t break though  in the last few months, I thought there was nothing that could trigger it again. But then I realized….

For the past three months, I’ve been either preparing for my husbands return from Afghanistan or enjoying him in my arms again.  There has been very little to be stressed about until the job hunt began.

“Real life” had cut me a much needed break for a change.

For two weeks, I have been floundering, trying to send applications, will little response.  And...sending my life out into cyberspace, losing all control of who sees it and how they will respond, does not sit well with me.

The out of control-ness is starting to break through my very sensitive PMDD nerves.

Yesterday, I was dropping off a few applications in person even though that’s not the norm.  I was hoping to stand out by being bold enough to do it anyway.

I had to pull over and sit on the side of the road because stress began to slither into my veins and it was choking the breath from my lungs.

By the end of the night, my head was pounding, I was yelling so much about the endless online applications I messed up, my husband had to walk away.

He left me alone.  I was so alone with only my thoughts that were starting to shift into paranoia and assumption.

Today, I woke up to PMDD sitting on my chest.  An old enemy I thought, I…know God, had slayed.  I thought the monster was at least tame, like a newborn kitten.

When it roared back into my body and mind over the last 24 hours, I didn’t see it coming.

By 10am, I alienated my family, caused so much tension in the house, I decided to go back to bed.  It’s 3:30pm and I’m just getting up.

I feel like a truck ran me over a few times and I had a bottle of wine last night even though I had nothing to drink.

Stress was the culprit.  And not even “normal” stress.  Just the kind of stress the cripples those of us with PMDD.  Mostly, out of control-ness and unknowns. 

Those two things will break my Spirit and will invite PMDD back into my life.

Thankfully, the magnet kept depression at bay.  Today could have been much, much worse.  Instead of waking up at 3:30, I could have finally crawled out of the fog in about 10 days.

What a lesson today.  I don’t like the lesson, but it was a valuable one none the less.

I have to learn how to process out of control-ness and unknowns.

I have to let God comfort me the second I feel the stress creep into my mind.  I know what it feels like.  I can tell it’s coming, so….somehow, it cannot be allowed to grow.

It’s like those little sponge toys that are really tiny when dry and get creepishly large when they get wet!

bigtoy

Somehow, when it’s still tiny and dry, we have to learn to separate ourselves from it and filter it through God, Truth and the peace I know is there for us.

Each of you are in my heart and on my mind daily.

I pray, together, we can find the answers each of desperately are searching for…. xxxx

Advertisements

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…..

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!

Insomnia and Beautiful

Did I mention insomnia is part of PMDD?  I can’t remember.

Of course, I never do anything productive during these sleepless nights.  I’m so flippin’ glad I can write about this now.  It feels like I’m doing something worthwhile.

Not that watching Ellen and X-Factor highlights all night is not productive, but I’m not sure how much scanning YouTube on my iPad is contributing to my forward progression!

I stay tucked in my bed because, somehow, it doesn’t feel like I am handing over the reigns to insomnia completely.  I am still in charge if my feet don’t actually make contact with the floor.  Right?

I really need to  “embrace the suck” as my army wives have appropriately labeled this deployment.  Maybe I should make popcorn and settle in for a few chick flicks for the rest of the  night and stop pretending I will drift off anytime soon.

When the sun begins to rise in a few hours, I will have a surge of determined energy to begin the day head on.  I will set my mind to stay up all day in the hopes I will be too exhausted to stay awake again.

But around 9am, the determination will begin to fade.  I can’t have caffeine since that is a disaster waiting to happen with PMDD, so I will start to give in to the weight of sleep as it rests on my shoulders, then moves down my chest and arms.  It will work it way into my breathing, my brain will feel like a prize winning watermelon at the fair.  My eyelids will ultimately betray me.

 And I’ll have to say goodnight to my children for at least half the day while they begin theirs.

They are so lovely.  They are so understanding, but they never get the best of me right now….

___________________________________________________________________________________

On a completely separate note, in my hours  of perusing X-Factor videos tonight, I ran across this:

It made me think of the sweet ladies fighting the fight of PMDD I’ve gotten to know all over the world.

In this song, she says “No matter what they say”.

We fight more with what we say to ourselves and about our self worth.

We are beautiful woman with PMDD.  We are not PMDD.

And God promises over and over to make beauty from ashes…. He has not forgotten.

Night and Day

I will not write posts daily.  I can’t .

Today is a really good day though.  My body is almost free from the last round of  poison the doctor prescribed and about a day away from my luteal phase.

I am in this small window of hope, joy, butterflies, cotton candy and puppies.

In the next few days, my faith will die.  My joy will be buried beneath the weight of darkness.  Puppies will become rabid dogs and cotton candy will be a rotted potato forgotten in the pantry.

I used to believe days like today might just be here for good.

Oh, the plans I would make on days like today!!

  • Why, yes!  I’ll volunteer to coordinate that.
  • Yes!  I’d love to meet you next week and we’ll probably be best friends.
  • Sure!  I’ll start another new business!
  • Homeschool?  No problem.
  • Teach Sunday School full of 5 year olds?  Pshhh.
  • Run a daycare?  Of course.
  • I accept!
  • Cook a month of meals?  Yep.
  • Exercise?  All day long, thanks.
  • Super mom.  Just sayin’

A week later:

  • No!  Don’t answer the phone.  I can’t talk right now.
  • What?  It’s time for that again?
  • I’m sorry…I have to cancel.
  • How did I spend that much?
  • I’m sorry, I need to step down from that position.
  • I quit.
  • You might need to go back to school….
  • What’s for dinner?  Cereal.
  • P90X?  Whatever.
  • Schizo mom? *sigh*

Every two weeks.  

I will not make the plans I used to make.  I will not make promises I know I can’t keep.

I will however love my children.  I will remind them today that we can still laugh.  My kids have the most amazing sense of humor…

I will remember today to thank God for being able to see all that I have not yet become.

I will learn to enjoy the days like today and rest in them.

And I will believe that there is a reason for the path God has given me.  I will still pray He take the thorn out of my side…but only if it is His will.

And if he chooses to leave it, in my darkness, as I forget today and forget the laughter….

I will think back in the recesses of my mind and remember He is suffering with me and He is somehow teaching me how to love as He loves.

This last year has been especially hard. I had “Faith” tattooed on my wrist to remember I do, indeed, believe in God when the time comes and darkness takes over.