A life as close to perfection as possible despite PMDD

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It’s an amazing realization when one experiences the essence of compatibility.  I have always struggled with willing relationships despite not being the right fit. From friendships, members of my family to partners; I’ve always believed that I should nurture every relationship even if they were unhealthy and so I willed them to continue to exist.  Perhaps I was afraid of feeling alone, as a child I had experienced my mother abandoning me time and time again…she’d disappear for stretches of time and I sat with the longing for her return.  Today we don’t speak because well, she hasn’t changed her ways and I’ve grown accustomed to her not being around.

A new thing about my today is that I have allowed my life to transpire despite PMDD in a way in which my relationships are all healthy, loving, and kind. There is reciprocity on all levels and allowance for imperfection. As many who suffer from PMDD know, being perfect is not only an illusion, but at the forefront of the affliction is the desire to assimilate some sort of perfection, be it simply getting out of bed and showing up for kids, work, friends …life. Not thinking negative thoughts that lead to suicide ideation is challenging and for some to simply be able to get through the day without harming oneself is as close to perfection as one can ask for. Early on in PMDD the simple act of brushing my hair would be the equivalent to perfection and for many that is still not an easy task to undertake.

Almost 10 years of being fully aware of my PMDD,  I can honestly say that the decisions I’ve made to pull the weeds in my social garden have paid off. This weekend I had the most amazing opportunity to go prom dress shopping with my daughter and unbeknownst to me I’d also be full on PMDD mode.  Initially I felt terror as I was afraid I would not be able to be present for her and I’d make the experience for her a dark memory. However, telling her I was PMDD and to be patient with me allowed her to go into awareness mode and at 17 her being able to shift her mindset is a true testament to how much she loves me, understands me, how to navigate her mom in PMDD, and a result of how I show up for her every other time outside of PMDD.  So people take a moment and reflect on that statement….those that love you and truly know you and appreciate you and your efforts, actions and love should have no issue with being supportive of you when you are struggling with PMDD, if you are honest, accountable and can handle being social.

We continued doing our shopping and when my partner arrived I almost lost my mind.  I was ashamed that I was PMDD and didn’t want to not seem perfect.  I asked my daughter to explain the situation as I couldn’t speak; I felt smothered and out of sorts.  I don’t know what info they exchanged outside of my PMDD, but it was a non-issue and I was in a safe space.  It was not addressed as anyone’s’ issue, a problem to be excused from or a damper on the occasion. Instead it was met with offering help and asking what was next on the agenda so I didn’t have to do anything on our list alone.  The topic of conversation was not my PMDD, but a quick catchup on where we were on the search for the perfect prom dress.  What a relief that was, to have someone just come in and simply stand by me in support and not take ownership or make a big deal out of something I have no control over.

We as a team continued our search and allowed the feelings to pass through me without issue. We had a meal and laughed a bit. We didn’t find the perfect dress, however I found that my life may have just gotten as close to perfection as possible. I was looked at lovingly, with care and given the space to eventually get through PMDD and finally say,” …it’s lifted for now.  Thank you.  I love you.”

Taken for Granted

thought we were done.  It had been 8 months of pure joy, last minute weekends trips and planned vacations without hesitation. I had been rigorously celebrating this new found freedom of being active in my life in every facet.  From indulging in SoulCycle at any time along my travels in every new city to dinners at a drop of a hat with friends and business colleagues.  Shopping for the latest trends without feeling insecure, bloated or psychologically fatigued had become my reality. This new life was extraordinarily different than how I lived.  I was so happy, felt so healthy and my body was connecting to my spirit in a way it had never done before…I actually felt safe in my skin and liked what I saw when I looked in the mirror.  I felt good and strong when I asked my body to tap it back at spin, to add the resistance for strength and when I pushed for speed my body, mind and spirit were beautifully aligned.

 

This new found oneness with my sense of self is no longer.  I’ve been on a horror ride. Everything has shifted and my life is riding on the breaks. I’ve been bleeding for the past 2 months.  I am still bleeding.  I have been placed on hormones and it’s not been a great time.  I am constantly choosing between, bleeding and coping with suicide ideation. There are days when I chose to bleed. I am perpetually lethargic and completely underwhelmed by life.  Life has become a chore again. I am pushing myself to partake in the activities of the life I’ve revved up to over a year ago.  I am feeling burdened in this moment writing this blog.  Hence, i will not edit. I will publish as is, because I am once again pushing myself to partake in yet another instance I’ve created in my life to share with those who suffer from PMDD. I want to be sassy and say you’re welcome……silver lining of PMDD….not caring what people think is a little bit of a gem 🙂

Ramble, ramble…. Here it is.  I am peri-menopausal  I have been for over ten years, but I think i am towards the end.  I stopped taking birth control in December 2016.  I was no longer in a relationship where i had to try to protect anyone from my PMDD and so I took a risk and stopped the pill…my world changed. I felt so great. I felt alive, energetic, less moody and overall elation. It was a miracle.  This lightness and liberation came as a beautiful gift at an amazing time in my life where I desperately needed change. I felt like I had been given the gift of life and so I began to live as I knew I was capable. I began to laugh more, sing more, love myself and  treat myself to things I used to talk myself out of, because I finally came to believe that I deserved what I wanted. More importantly, I can give myself whatever I want. 

But two months ago the blood came and my world is no longer on solid ground.  I am back in PMDD.  Insecure, paranoid, desperate and paralyzed. I am isolating, can’t drive, am absent minded, easily confused and exhausted. I am on progesterone. It’s gnawing away at my sense of stability.  I begged my doctor to get me through this right away, I cannot afford to regress. She was not concerned with my mood…she just wanted me to stop bleeding.  I had become anemic, very close to needing a transfusion and because everyone thinks i’m too strong to give in to the thoughts…I was taken for granted.

I met with her first thing last Tuesday, explained to her my morning.  Time has been ticking for me today and by 7:15 am I have considered the idea of suicide at least 10 times before blow drying my hair! It’s exhausting and I needed to get out of the door to come see you and then move on to work, where I will lead a team to negotiate business deals and be creative, and a pillar of strength and confidence…

I AM strong.  I AM a force. I understand why my doctor would take me for granted, knowing she’ll see me through this, but I am simply who I am and I have PMDD. So, I remind her  PMDD is dangerous and I am boxing with the demons inside of my minds eye.  I can cover it up well, but always think there is a tell. I know I will win, my heart is golden. I have more love in me than not, but i am in pain. I need relief and I need it fast.

She tells me that it will come.

I am having a procedure done  in a couple of days to stop the bleeding.  This will get me off of the hormones and hopefully bring me some relief.  Otherwise, I’ll need to have a hysterectomy.  This is all I can say about it right now.  I apologize if the words aren’t eloquent, but I wanted to document this….the hormones are not good for me.  THE HORMONES are not good for this body and I am in mental anguish over it and still bleeding. I wonder why this is my fate, however that thinking also gets me nowhere, and so if I can help another person suffer less, than there is some solace for me in that idea.

If you find that you are suffering as I am, talk to your physician and please do not allow people to take your strength for granted.  Do not feel ashamed for feeling afraid, angry or disillusioned. PMDD is still not a go to idea for physicians. They simply understand it as a mood swing, but the more we (the irony) educate our doctors on PMDD, the more awareness will ensue.

I am constantly refocusing on being #decidelySane

Without you

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The universe has a way of testing character. I have been single and on this self-care journey for more than a year and it’s been an amazing experience of intimacy and exploration.  I’ve become my greatest friend and supporter of my truth. I’ve become the person I knew of despite my PMDD and as I related to being a partner.  I’ve been able to be a mother to my children without scrutiny and have worked on my career unapologetically. I’ve declined and accepted invitations, have gone on mini trips, celebrated friends, treated myself to nice things and have been able to exercise as often and whenever I’ve wanted…I am simply living my life and I am feeling blessed.

To many people this is a normal existence, but to me this sort of life was but a fantasy. I was so limited in my experiences that I could not plan before my period because I was catching up to life and in pmdd and then would have to plan way beyond it, when hopefully I’d be feeling normal. Until the blood, there was little clarity. The stain on my existence seeped through to all of my affairs. My relationships.  I held on for too long to many toxic relationships, scenarios and ideas.  Always blaming myself and trying to fix myself to fit into someone else’s lifestyle, idea or illusion.  No matter, I felt like I’d never find another to love me, or think that I must have done something wrong for them to want to mistreat me and decided that I had to save relationships because I needed validation to be worthy.

PMDD was deeply nestled in my greatest fears and if one is prone to depression, addiction, and self-loathing to name a few, buckle up because the ride certainly will get bumpy.  I rarely cruised in PMDD…always a fight.  Mostly with myself. I fought to live.  I wanted to kill myself so I could stop feeling worthless.  I didn’t try to. Why? My children. I had no choice.  It was that simple. I just sat down and shut the fuck up. I began a journey of self care…exercising, creating a life I want to live,  and eating healthy.

After many years of searching for answers I am finally free. The journey has been both a blessing and a curse.  I’ve made some mistakes with people, career choices and hurt myself at times because I didn’t believe in myself and gave all of my power to PMDD. I’ve taken risks. Some losses and some wins.  Today, I am sitting here a winner…. the irony is that when I decided to believe in me.  When I decided to remove those ideas that held me back, my life began to bloom.

When I decided that I was worth fighting for, I began to stand up for myself, my beliefs, and my serenity. Dismissed PMDD as the excuse and decidedly, no longer engage in drama of any sort. I’m done trying to be anything for anyone other than who I am.  I no longer chase someone else’s dream or fight other people’s demons.  I am done clawing my way up and out from under the covers. No longer isolate. Today I linger in the moments thinking about the past with a huge sigh of relief and am excited about my future, because without you I am everything.

without you I am #decidedlySane

Hello

It’s been a while I know.  I’m back now and want to share something incredible.  I have discovered another side to me that I forgot about.  I have been able to really love myself, laugh out loud and be truly whole in every part of my life.  I began to recognize the me that had been hidden for so long.  I’ve been able to explore avenues in my mind as my heart has grown and I have become spiritually sound.  I no longer pray to be relieved, but more thankful than ever for the opportunities that are abound.

I began to say yes to anything that sounded like a good idea.  Any invitation received professionally or socially was accepted as an opportunity to help me move past the PMDD restrictive mindset….I am no longer stuck in a state of PAUSE.  Protecting myself from myself. Hiding from people that may trigger me or only having half the month to get it all done.  I want to say that I have been PMDD free for the past 6 months, but it feels so weird to say it…I truly believe that the symptoms have subsided.

How’d I get here?

My story shifted back in December when after a few emails and calls to my doctor begging to be relieved of PMDD, she had decided to not heed my request. There would be no talk of hysterectomy nor would she be removing my ovaries. Instead her first step would be a short list of things I needed to do first.  She asked me to seek therapy to help with my anxiety over my work, personal life and coping with PMDD. She asked me to continue with my workout routine and to stop taking the pill immediately.  She promised that if I did all of these things and felt zero change, then she would revisit my request to remove my reproductive organs.

I was most afraid to stop taking the pill.  I believed that it was the only thing that helped me stay somewhat sane, controlled my bleeding and helped me keep track of my PMDD.  I wondered if she sent me on a suicide mission, but I did my part and stopped the pill and by the 3rd cycle there was a shift.

I did not experience dread, rage or confusion, just a little fatigue around my cycle. I then hadn’t had a real period for about 3 months and thought I was going through early menopause as I was more bloated than usual.  I also thought I had just gained weight and this was my new norm.  It was a ridiculous idea as I work out like a maniac, but hormones are tenacious and DNA is what it is.  I thought I was going to be a bloated belly older woman from then on, but wanted another visit with my doctor before running to get a tummy tuck.  After a few tests she discovered that I was not menopausal but had uterine polyps and within a month I had undergone a Hysteroscopy.

After surgery, I decided to not keep track of my cycle so that I wouldn’t deal with phantom reactions. I didn’t want to be swayed by what I though should be happening as much as wanted to simply be whatever I was going to be for whatever reason in my cycle. 

Hello PMS 🙂 I no longer want to kill myself.  I have the capacity to love myself, get out of bed, work, be present and am free! Today, I get my period and there is a new norm.  I bleed for an entire week, which is annoying in itself but I am not depressed, enraged, confused, stuck nor trying to hide from the world.  I am simply annoyed by it all…it’s so amazing.

I can’t tell you why this is my story.  But it is what it is.  I am not on medications, I exercise, eat super healthy and take great care of myself.  I don’t smoke, drink nor do I indulge in recreational drugs.  I am just a healthy person all around and even if I am PMDD free for a short period of time and it comes back, I’m relieved that  I’ve had the chance to meet myself, explore and live for a bit in total freedom.

If you are stuck, talk to your doctor.  Take note of your lifestyle is there space to change your environment, your food intake, exercise habits? I believe that all of the pieces matter in order for us to live sound lives. I am not saying to get off of the pill, I am simply sharing my story. My experience is all I have to give here and I share it so willingly.  I have been away for some time I know, but now you know what I’ve been up to.

Today I can wake up before my period and everyday and say HELLO, rather than pull the covers over my head and want to die.

I am  #decidedlySane?

I woke up like this

Many mornings I awake looking forward to the newness of all that awaits. I generally know what to expect; my mornings are calm and full of prep and creating the intension to kick ass all day . I list the action steps for work, my overall attitude is to simply show up and be the best I can be. However, I never know how these experiences will shape me, illicit emotion, motivate me or inspire self-doubt.

I can say that despite PMDD, I am not so easily discourage by curveballs.  Like not getting a piece of business, loss relationships or personal goals not achieved.  I know that if I am showing up and striving towards the end result that not every win is a win by one action but by many and that not every loss is a complete fail. I don’t think that I was always like this, but recently I’ve been told that I am a warrior. This new year people from my past have been reaching out and telling me what I’ve represented to them and how I effected their life.

These accounts completely unsolicited; a gift from the universe.  In a time where there is great discourse and divide, humanity has the opportunity to embrace what matters. The words from people I loved growing up with,  who allowed me the space to  be myself, helped shaped my ideas about life and still hold dear in my heart today resonate with me this morning. They matter.

They told me that no matter what situation I find myself in, that I always rise to the occasion. I land on my feet. I am crazy in a good way. I am a good person, funny, beautiful and strong. I am loved and missed …

These words spoken to me from childhood friends and the friends from my younger life is a gift and a testimony to believe in myself despite the voice that is imbedded in my old thinking.  The footprint in my child’s mind is at the core of my adult thinking….It is subtle and insidious. It is powerful and can bring me to my knees if I allow the words to envelop me like a shroud.  I would be dead today if the warrior in me, the crazy in a good way person in me couldn’t muster the strength to collect the experiences that prove that voice wrong on a daily basis. 

My friends view of my outward personality is their experience of me.  My actions is my experience and that voice must be met with more outward action on a daily basis.  I tell myself that I must be the resistance.

I woke up this morning thinking that I was ready for the day and thought about the Women’s March on Washington and how millions of women marched in solidarity. Our voices needed to be heard. So much to march for.  I read a sign held by an elderly women that read “Can’t believe I am still protesting this shit.”

That sign hit me hard…because the truth is that people’s beliefs run deep.  Engrained in our existence is a demand to have that belief recognized. This patriarchal society we live in is the old school, privileged bullshit thinking that is rooted at the core of colonization. This thinking has shaped many generations and so long as people of power continue to abuse their positions there will be suffering in the masses and no space to move beyond this same shit and move toward new and relevant matters.

I thought about how these ideas effect me and my daughter and ultimately my son, but that day we thought about signs and we brainstormed what we were going to say and we narrowed down some ideas, but I couldn’t help thinking from the wombs of women people are born.  Many women have given birth to all kinds of people.  As a parent I have great power over my children’s minds and I can exploit that power and be abusive or I can raise powerful altruistic people.  As a mother, there is no way of knowing how the person you are raising will do with their lives and the impact it will have on others…

My daughters sign read “Young and Empowered.”

I however, decided to not have a sign.  My body was my sign in a sea of Pink Pussy Hats. I stood by my daughter and many strangers. I felt the strength of the men and women chanting their core beliefs and I felt proud and emotional because I knew I was giving my daughter the experience of democracy and empowerment.  She Matters.

I woke up this morning feeling motivated and as I walked around the neighborhood touching base with friends on social media, I caught a glimpse of myself and I thought,  I look old. I’m no longer pretty.  I am not skinny. I will never be good enough, successful enough. I will always be broken and I nearly began to cry.

This is the belief system at the core of me.  No matter how far away from it I think I am, this is the voice that finds it’s way to my consciousness. This is how I was raised to see myself.  I was taught that to be pretty,  I had to be skinny, not so smart and that my body was a distraction. I developed early and instead of helping me find my comfort zone, the women around me gave me shame.  I wasn’t skinny enough and I had breast.  I was smart, but it didn’t matter because I wasn’t skinny enough.  I was pretty, but because I had breast I was trouble.

This belief that was bestowed upon me is dangerous, yet has given me the fortitude to push back upon time and time again.  This belief had me unknowingly give my power away time and time again to people that would hurt me, take advantage of me and make me depend on others to make me happy.  I didn’t know my own strength or that I was worthy of having a voice that mattered.  I didn’t know I mattered.

PMDD loves to collect the demons that lay low in my mind.  So when the voices from old friends come in from the past to lift me up, I accept the message.  When I can stand in a sea of people and teach my children to stand up for their beliefs I run with it. When I am mugged from my serenity, I know that the voice that was planted in me by people who had power over me isn’t my truth.  So I have to continuously protest against this shit like that women’s sign read.  Until this goes away I am not done.

I have to look in the mirror and pick my battles.  I have to decide to ignore the voices in my head no matter how loud. I know it will pass.  I am not a prisoner of my thoughts, but I recognize where they are born from and so I must step outside of myself and realize I can no longer allow myself to be my oppressor! I matter.

I am loved and I’m not what I was told I was when I was young girl, but am who I’ve shown myself to be and I can choose to listen to either voice because I have self will.

I woke up this morning loving life. I’ll go with that…

#decidedlySane

The detox is real

The people who find pleasure in picking my world apart are
no longer on my frequency
. They no longer reside in my heart or my physical space. The past year has been a journey of elimination. I highly suggest people looProcessed with VSCO with b5 presetk at their circle of influence and make adjustments accordingly. I found that society became my mirror and upon reflection, there was no way that my life could continue being lived as it had been up until the very point of the decision to change for good.

2016 will forever be the year of recognition. I grew beyond and despite PMDD. I dedicated a lot of my time to issues that mattered to me in politics, on the board of NAPMDD and professionally. I experienced shock and heartbreak from artists who died in succession; Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Carrie and Debbie to name the few of the many who have influenced my ideas, shaped my creativity and are all imbedded in the soundtrack of my life. These artists coupled with the sad state of the world; Isis, Pulse, Flint Michigan, Black Lives Matter, the election and Dylann Roof.

The issues that had me, my children, friends and family experience feelings of dread, loss, grief and anger continuously revealed how precious life is. With all this going on in the world,  I had to recognize that PMDD generally wants me dead and if i am not careful, if I don’t take care the result could be fatal.  I had to consider, people are dying on the streets daily. Inundated by information,  trying to discern the truth from the lies became a daily reflection. I began to take inventory of my own state of affairs and decided that my circle of influence had to be evolved, loving and compassionate.

When my friends and family began to speak using language that I found offensive. When they started blatantly sharing their political views and overall feelings about gender, sexuality and where our nation had gone wrong. When the lies started to pile up.  I wondered how I became who I am and they who they are.  I wondered why they played the blame game and I had the hope to be the change.  I wondered why women had such contempt for other women. I recognized the different forms of privilege and fear people had appropriated. From race to religion, history has a way of repeating itself in the face of indignant insecurity.  I wanted to fix something that was obviously broken. I wanted to shift minds and views, but I realized that I hadn’t the power.

I endured great family drama, the loss of friendships and the overall theme of 2016 had become me having to let go of people that were not healthy for me. I had to embrace that who they are has nothing to do with me, my morals or my heart.  The things  I thought we had in common no longer held us together and I chose to walk away. I chose to  fiercely love myself as they chose to stand up against everything I believed in.  I set the boundary of zero-tolerance as they had on their side. I pulled away and decided to change the conversation.  My home had to be my sanctuary. My mind and emotional barometer had to recalibrate.

When I am in PMDD – it’s hard for me to do anything but try to get through the day. This past year has taken a lot out of me. I’ve had to fight a lot of battles to get where I am professionally, to get my family through really tough times and to ultimately clear the space to recognize that I deserve to live a life I want. I deserve to be successful. I deserve to be the parent I want to be to my children and I deserve to be loved. I believe that everyone deserves to be happy and that love is love, is love, is love.  I believe that everyone deserves a chance to be the best them possible and I certainly believe that PMDD has changed me in a way that has created more good than bad. I am very grateful that my kids are wonderful to me and that I have managed to raise a couple of really decent people. They help me walk a little taller when PMDD wants me six feet under.

I am ready and leave 2016 behind, not because it was a terrible year, but because I have grown beyond it. It served me a full life of experiences that helped me grow beyond my comfort zone. I am looking forward to my tomorrows. I have learned that resentment is the killer of joy and that although the change I and millions had hoped for did not see the light of day, the conversation has changed in my home and among my peers. I am happy to say that clearing the space of people who are not kind, supportive or adding value to my life has been a sobering experience. The detox is real. Ridding my life of toxic people meant I had to pull the weeds to make space for my life to grow and bloom. This has not been easy but thus far I have been living a wonderfully peaceful life. Truly rewarding.  

Showing up Despite PMDD

I have a very rewarding professional life and I am so grateful to be able to say that. I love what I do. I love the pace of it, the people I work with and by extension the opportunity I have to make a difference in the community. From creating, managing and executing – I am the Woman in Charge and although I believe I was born to do what I do, there are times when I dread showing up.

It’s 6 am and the alarm is sounding off. Upon opening my eyes, I am immediately consumed with a sense of dread. I can feel the bloat. My body feels heavy. I decide on wearing a dress today and that washing my hair will help my overall feeling. Not ready…I hit snooze. I cannot relax. My mind is racing about what lies ahead in my day and I get feared up. I cannot recall if I have all of my ducks lined up and I am sure that I have forgotten some things that need to get checked off of my list of things to do and people to call.
My boss is in town and I’ll have to drive around with him. Be in the car all day with him. Ugh, I wrap myself up in the blankets and squeeze my eyes shut as to shut my brain down from collecting the events of the day and the lack of physical space I have to endure. I breath a little more and I begin to pray…I roll off of the bed and onto my knees. Please God, help me get through this day. Help the tension dissolve from my face, my jaw is tight. Please help me remember to breath and how to walk, speak clearly — can’t be stuttering today and to drive. My boss is an edgy passenger … Help me keep my shoulders away from my ears and for heaven sake please help me not lose my shit today!

I can smell the coffee brewing…thank goodness for being able to program the coffee maker the night before…I tell myself to take a shower. It’s 6:45 am and I have a to do certain things to help me along the way:

  • Get cup of coffee
  • Fill the space with ohm
    • light incense
    • play yoga music for meditation
  • Make fresh juice
  • Feed the cats
  • Fill their bowl with water
  • Scoop the poop
  • Wash morning dishes
  • Send daughter to school
  • Shower
  • Wash my hair
  • Blow dry my hair

Sip coffee…sit still… breath

I am having a hard time breathing as I try to squeeze into my slacks. I decided on a power pants suit for the day instead of a dress, but that doesn’t work..I can wear that next week when I am not looking like I am in my second trimester.

Overwhelmed again this morning, I decide to surrender to the idea of staying home and calling in. I play the tape. Should I text like a millennial, email, the passive approach or pull up my big girl pants and call my boss who has a full day planned?

Where’s my dress?

It’s 8 am…makeup…drink coffee grab keys.

8:30am I am in the car and I am utterly exhausted but I am showing up for the day…

In the car, I shrug it all off. I get into my work head. I look in the mirror of the sun visor and smile at what I see. I look alright despite the war zone between my ears. Along the drive in I begin to wonder if anyone else goes through this? How many of us have to push when we don’t want to in PMDD. I begin to feel a little jealous of people who may not have to show up anywhere and who can be in the misery until the next moment. I feel so alone and in my head. I don’t have anyone to push me out of the door like I do my 16 year old. I send her to school lovingly. I get her going, but no one gets me going. I have to be my own cheerleader and for the invisible warrior that resides inside of me I have to march on so that my family, my life and my spirit can grow.

I receive a text…someone from the office is stuck in traffic. They will be late.

Drive to my first stop to collect Boss Man.  He jumps in the car.  I am happy to see him. His excitement is infectious and in that moment, I am so relieved, proud and feeling a bit normal.  I am relieved that the first part of the morning is behind me and that I get to be more than the wreck I was earlier and proud that I actually made it and showed up for my life despite my PMDD.

Off we went and although there were moments throughout the day where I was anxious, I pushed through. I would breath deeply when necessary, make sure I ate, had something to drink, connected with another PMDD sufferer for support and allowed my boss to run the day. I also decided that he should drive my car. It helped take the focus off of my driving which by the way nothing wrong with it, he’s just one of those passengers who likes to complain.  Most times, I think it’s funny but in PMDD it could lead to more anxiety for me and so giving him the keys was an opportunity for self-care and serenity.

Handing the keys over may seem like handing over power fro some people, but for me it was about taking control of my life so that I could be the better me for him, our clients and the day.  I am truly grateful for my life, my career and the opportunity to be able to share these sort of stories and not hold on to pain and suffering longer than I need to for the sake of my ego.  Living in the solution and showing up despite PMDD is my reality since becoming decidedlySane. Letting go of ideas of what should be and being honest with what is in front of me, my affliction,  my needs and limitations is the only reason why I am where I am today.  I have PMDD and I have to show up for life despite it and quite frankly probably because of it, my life is pretty amazing!

Living Beyond Doubt

imageThe affliction of PMDD permeates every aspect of my life; relationships, career and my health. Heightening feelings of insecurity, worthlessness and fear; sometimes diminishing the desire of self-care. I have spent the past 5 years rebuilding my life from a moment in time where I was overwhelmed by PMDD and made one bad decision. This decision led to the next bad move and the next and like a house of cards, my world fell apart and I have been picking up the pieces ever since.

I remember being overwhelmed with PMDD still undiagnosed immediately after I decided to stop drinking. I thought that my drinking was making me insane, enraged and depressed.  I’d black out, start fights with my partner, feel worthless and remorseful the morning after and so I thought – Stop drinking.  Soon after I stopped, there were feelings that would prominently come back every month like clockwork. Still in the haze of being newly sober, I didn’t think anything about it except that it was part of my recovery and that wow, I really didn’t believe I was that heavy of a drinker, but that it just affected me a certain kind a way.  However, these feelings of self-hate, rage and suicide left me afraid that I was literally mentally unstable.

I sought help, was not diagnosed as bi-polar, but I was definitely in an area of medical uncertainty. No diagnose would be had for months and I would continue to move on in my sobriety with much trepidation.  Don’t kill yourself is all I could think.  I had just started a new job and I leaned in like it was a lifeline. It was my lifeline for a long while and I became successful.  I had a career and 4 years in I had been diagnosed with PMDD, had tried a few different anti-depressants. One that did not work for me at all, in fact it was the worse time of my PMDD.  Suicide ideation was at the forefront on a monthly basis.  For ten days I was consumed with thoughts of suicide combatting thoughts of not following through. There was a tug of war in my spirit and I wanted to drink, but never dared to because I knew if I gave in to the drink, I would obliterate my life.  I would either self-sabotage or kill myself.  Neither was a great option for me. I loved my career and my life for fourteen days a month was amazing.  Out of PMDD I loved me. However, PMDD and no support network I ultimately gave in to self-sabotage and I quit my job.

I walked away from what I built because I thought everyone at work knew what was going on in my mind and I wanted to hide. I couldn’t perform. I couldn’t string words together to form coherent sentences.  I was a shell of myself and in my line of work if you cannot communicate, be social and engage at a high level of visibility you can’t do your job.  I thought I was losing my mind, I wanted to kill myself and I stopped taking the medication thinking that would help and although it brought  me some immediate relief as I didn’t want to kill myself, my life literally derailed.  I chose to live, but I self-sabotaged.

I was out of work for a year; I didn’t have health insurance and I isolated. I could have had a drink; I could have killed myself at any moment.  Instead I threw myself into service.  I helped people recover from addiction, became my own project of recovery. I began working out, I ran for a bit, I got into yoga, reiki, meditated on my life.  I became one with my body; I removed the toxins from my life many of which were people.

Over the past 4 years, I have surrounded myself with new people who are kind, gentle and emotionally supportive of me in and out of PMDD. Relationships can be tricky in general; one must discern between being in love or simply attached to someone. One must discern between a balanced relationship and a codependent relationship.  PMDD leaves a lot of space for insecurity, doubt and unhealthy attachments to ideas and people.  Today, I am back on track with my career.  I’ve just recently been promoted from sales, to management. When I knew I was going to be promoted. I cried.  I didn’t believe that I deserved it as sometimes I still feel like I am not worthy of such responsibility and incapable of following through.  Clearly, that’s not what I have been projecting and three months into this new position almost 9 years sober, and having been diagnosed 7 years ago a whole other career later I am on top of the world.

I exercise at least 3 times a week. I live a healthy lifestyle and do not engage in negative anything in my personal life. I have a wonderful network of people, I am healthy and so grateful that I didn’t give up on myself and pushed through life challenges.  My life is no longer the house of cards, it is on solid ground. I have self-worth, I am empowered by a network of really strong brave women who suffer from or have and have been affected by PMDD and are making a difference.  Sitting on the board of NAPMDD is a huge achievement for me as I remember sitting in the dark alone without anyone who understood what I was going through. Now we are holding our 2nd annual conference in Philadelphia and I helped organize it.  Yes, I am happy to be alive.  I am happy that I lived beyond doubt.

I am decidedlySane

I am

image

Inconsolable

slipping in and out of

Rage

Sifting through the creases of my mind

for semblance

Dismantling relationships

Watching

Attention

Tension

Cannot connect

Speak

Feel

Is this my vice?

The very thing that holds me together

is ill fitting

Tight

10 extra lbs

10 days

Truly

uncomfortable in my own skin

Need space away

my body… too much

Spilling over

Tears

Words

No words

Sleep

No sleep

Between me

Myself

my Non-PMDD self

my PMDD self

is dark as self-loathing is deep and insurmountable.

 I wish it would

Go

Away

Split

Find me

See me

Hug me

Please

I need to

see

feel

be

me

again

Too much

Rage

a need

I need

space

to sit still

until i bleed again . . .

PMDD doesn’t need to be a self-fulfilling prophecy

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Decidedly INSANE is not how I imagined I’d end 2015. I had done so many things that were beyond my wildest dreams. My career was on fire in a new city where I was making a solid name for myself. There was great love in my life. I felt wonderful about how I looked; thinking I was aging well because I was taking care of myself. I had this regimented life of self-care and because of it; I could gracefully get through PMDD more often than not. I was able to take my daughter on vacation despite my PMDD as 2016/01/img_0425.jpgwell as celebrate her 15th birthday by having her Quinceanera (Sweet 15); a party I had dreamt of throwing her since I first held her pink newborn body in my arms. I was literally on top of the world in September. I was showing up for my life and creating memories with my children, my friends and I hoped that my mother would come despite her telling me weeks earlier that she wouldn’t be celebrating with us.

This milestone is a tradition that although I never experienced for myself, I hope my daughter will pass down to her own daughter if she should be so lucky to have one. However an extraordinarily happy time it was,  I was PMDD and not only waiting to bleed as I celebrated, I was still hopeful that my mother would show up. My emotional inner turmoil was hard to manage at times as I carried in the pit of my heart the familiar feeling of sadness and dread that I had harbored as a child.

I watched my children celebrate each other. Their smiles expanded and their laughter and grace for each other eminated and was proud. I created an environment for them to be able to love and celebrate each other. My daughter’s friends were celebrating with people god had sent me who along the way have become more like 2016/01/img_0477.pngfamily to my kids and me than our very own blood ties. Still, I noticed surrounded by all of these people enjoying themselves, celebrating, laughing and dancing I could not quiet my inner child’s cry for her mommy.

Childhood wounds that were cut deep and not completely healed to say the least will painfully resonate.  My ego began to weave a story about my expectations around my family. I thought I shouldn’t be disappointed and that I had no right to be angry if they don’t show up because what’s important to me isn’t necessarily important to them. It’s my daughter and they don’t need to show up for her because I am. Telling myself these stories in order to compartmentalize my life is how I managed rejection and abandonment in my childhood. I had no idea that I would continue to suffer for the next few months, as these old destructive feeling came to surface after so many years of working on my life’s new story line.

Since the Quince, my mother has not spoken to me. She has decided that we no longer have to communicate. This is not a new story.  However, the message to me is that I should not question or desire of her anything she is not willing to give.  I pushed her to show up and she had already made up her mind.  The last time she made this decision, we didn’t speak for 6 years. While it’s a loss for me as someone’s daughter, I get it; it is really easy to fall into old patterns of behavior.  The insidiousness of the old story in my head comes in in a whisper …. even when you are healthy she throws you away!

And the psychic change erupted….

I began distracting myself as to not sit and feel the sting of rejection. My derailment began very innocently; indulging in food that i know I shouldn’t eat. I began to dismantle any semblance of structure i had placed in my life to be decidedlySane. The excuse of a knee injury kept me out of the gym for some time. I couldn’t spin and had no interest in doing anything else; needed the loud music to fill my mind. Avoiding the quiet, avoiding the intamacy led me to not want to practice Bikram in the winter because I told myself it wasn’t convenient when really it’s because I didn’t want to be able to sit in my head or be vulnerable with my feelings. Then, I decided that I hated my gym, it was always messy and the classes were a hit or miss (I only took spin there), so I switched gyms and am now going to a more expensive gym that is meant to take my workout routine to the next level. These are the stories I tell myself whilst running away from myself. It’s clean and spacious enough for me to get lost on any floor. The most recent excuse is that its literally too far away from my apartment and is really only convenient if I go before or after work. However before work isn’t going to happen because it’s too cold in the morning these days. I’ll do that in the Spring…I became the perpetual bullshitter! Setting up road block after road block…this is what my life used to look like so if I had failed at anything, it wasn’t my fault.  It was everyone else’s and my PMDD would begin to feed the demons.

The insanity spread now into the second core part of self-care for my PMDD and I stopped juicing every morning. l had been working too late and was too tired/lazy to get to the supermarket for fresh veggies and fruit. Therefore, not only can’t I juice, but also I order take-out because I haven’t any food or desire to cook.

I was spiraling out of control and old patterns of behavior were tearing down all that I had worked so hard to put in place for myself so that I wouldn’t want to kill myself in PMDD. Late dinners meant I got to bed after midnight which meant that I could not get up early enough to meditate any more. Not being able to meditate was fine with me because I was avoiding myself anyway, but it also meant that I wouldn’t have healthy breakfast. I began ordering something greasy from the diner and 10 extra pounds later my body is achy; I’ve only been to the gym 4x in 3 months instead of 5x a week! I am tired. I feel unhealthy and this is how I’ve gone into PMDD these past 3 months.

I am breaking dishes. I am screaming from the rejection. I am angry that after all these years she still gets to cut me out of her life and I have imploded.

Self-fulfilling prophecy!

After being in enough pain and not recognizing myself anymore. I decided to pull up my big girl pants! Why did I punish myself for wanting a normal relationship with my family, when perhaps this is actually quite normal?  It is what it is. In the end it is not worth me suffering and spiraling out of self-care. Rejection should not equate me abandoning myself.  My pity party lasted a little too long to say the least. No excuse, I went through my process and am very grateful that my partner didn’t run away from my insanity, but stood before me to help me not hurt myself anymore than I had already been hurt. I am grateful, I have such great love in my life. I have people that depend on me being healthy. I adore these people. They are the family that I’ve created for myself. I am going to have many more celebrations to share with those that care enough to show up and be in light and love. However I will not have much to celebrate if I stay stuck in old patterns of behavior.

I hope someone can relate to the feelings of self-worth being attached to an old story that we told ourselves when we were very young. That story isn’t necessarily the story anymore.

that was not me. I am decidedlySane

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