The 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