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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90 days

I cannot believe how long it’s been since my last post. I have been spiraling out of my healthy living routine; daily juicing, exercise and sleep patterns have been erratic. Work life balance nonexistent! I have not been taking care of myself in the way I’ve learned works best for maintaining an agreeable disposition.  My pmdd is like a disease waiting for me to not show up so it can take the lead.  When this happens, I am the spinning top whose thread has been pulled and the momentum that spins me out of control will not dissipate until I bleed.

Disappointed in myself and afraid of how I might behave socially, I lean in into my friends with much trepidation. Overcoming the fear of revealing my vulnerable PMDD self was at the forefront of my decision not isolate. I was afraid of being judged or doing something or saying something unforgivable. However, I really didn’t have a choice not this month. I got tired of PMDD winning; robbing my moments. I know my friends love me, especially this one particular non-judgmental friend that I decided to experiment with. I dug deep and mustered enough courage to allow myself to be “off,” “scattered,” “hyper” or even “bitchy” in front of her. I exposed my PMDD in a way in which I had never done outside of my home safely in the company of my daughter and partner. Despite the voice in my head screaming that no one understands me, I am alone and that I am annoying people with my problems. I pushed passed her and broke through a barrier. Perhaps my exposing myself was what I needed to do this PMDD.

We managed to go to dinner and a movie. She nick named me TAZ and at that moment I was a little embarrassed but willing to embrace her perspective. Yes, I wallowed in self-pity for a bit and wondered if my friend thought me too crazy and perhaps thought less of me. I not only ask her about it, I also shared my fears with her. imageHer explanation of me really was no different than how I normally am. Maybe more anxious, but that conversation with her reminded that this PMDD is an inside job for me. I must get out of my way and push past the ideas, thoughts and self-doubt.

This post is to say that a lot of what I go through in PMDD that is not physical is definitely psychological. I am not dismissing how exhausted I am in PMDD. I am a bit lethargic and not as limber, but honestly more than anything, I am severely uncomfortable in my own skin. I must learn to quiet the chatter. I already know that I am not perfect. I embrace what I need to work on as I am human. Therefore, I strive to be honest and simply can’t continue to close my eyes and wait to bleed and hide from my community. I am here and want more than anything to be alive and a part of, engaged in my life and the lives of those I love. I want to create memories and suffer less in PMDD.

My friend is still my friend. I must get back on the beam of healthy living.  Loving myself enough to change where I am for the sake of getting healthy is really important with this affliction.  I have to take care of me and when I feel I cannot, I have to allow others to help me through and to show me what they see. Show me the way back to being decidedlySane

 

 

 

 

PMDD- a hellish vortex of emotions

There is a hellish vortex of emotions battling within me today. I am looking for my next rant as I carefully go from one activity to next in my endeavor to be #decidedlySane. However many disappointments I’ve had today, there is a sense of accountability that I must face. I have placed much too much weight of my own happiness in the hands of others. In my PMDD I look for consistency and when there is none…it is a trigger. I don’t care if this seems irrational…it is what it is. If someone I care for calls me on a daily basis and I don’t get the call…it makes me wonder why not and my colorful imagination begins to paint a picture. If I can’t connect with people who are imagegenerally easily accessible, it is a trigger and I reconsider the relationship because I feel lonely and dismissed. If I reach out to a family member and don’t’ get what I need it’s an emotionally charged trigger!

Today has not a great day to say the least, but I am not going to fight with anyone. I am going to “quietly” keep it moving…

I read many complaints about partners of women who suffer PMDD being unavailable, unsupportive or too clingy and I get it…I had someone in the beginning of my PMDD and without tools it is was tough to navigate and I hated having to share my PMDD space and explain where I was inside of the vortex. I hadn’t the vocabulary to describe any of it. Today armed with tools there’s been a shift. Ironically, in PMDD I now want love, comfort and attention. I brave so many of these storms alone and despite wanting to be in the passenger’s seat for a change, today I’ve no recourse, but to fill my day. Moving my body relieves the mind. I began my day with a spin class, followed by a healthy breakfast, a green juice; a lovely lunch with a friend. I am writing this post and am going to Bikram for more relief; like a top, if the thread is pulled I will spiral out. These activities are keeping me grounded.

Illogical at times the emotions in #PMDD make for a lot of suffering. There is a certain kind of dread and sadness that like the theater curtain comes down and all is black and can seem bleak. Being in action brings momentary relief and the realization that no one is purposely trying to hurt me. I believe that it is important for the sake of this community to honor the emotional escapade, validate what comes with the affliction and take accountability in order to become self-aware. Finally, when at all possible, take no prisoners. No need to start something because of a feeling that may be fleeting. Off to Bikram I go….namaste

#decidedlySane

 

 

Keep it moving

Keep it moving...decidedlySane

Keep it moving…decidedlySane

The unresolved past has a way of creeping into my present moment. Every 3rd week in my cycle I lose faith in myself. I revisit the journey along my path up until this point and analyze where I believe I should be. It’s painful to live this way, carrying a load of regret and self-doubt. I get carried away by nostalgia and fantasize about an old flame. I think about how I ruined my career because I didn’t know how to handle existing with PMDD. I get caught up in how i shoulda done this or that or a maybe if this hadn’t been said or done and eventually it ends with…I just didn’t have the tools.

Today I am filled with a certain kind of sadness. I want a hug. I want to be told that everything will be ok. I want a voice to soothe me and give me that assurance, because I feel alone. Even with all the people I surround myself with, in PMDD and no lover, I feel alone. I have to dig deep for inspiration. The saving grace for me in PMDD today is that I know the difference between what is real and what my ego is screaming about. What is real is that I am a force to be reckoned with and most of the decisions I’ve made are done. My ego however is holding on to a dream deferred, an old idea of what I thought happiness meant.

It’s easy to say keep it moving, but it’s really hard to sit still with these feelings. Keeping it moving can seem flippant, but it’s something I tell myself to not be bogged down by hurt and propel myself into action. This month’s PMDD hasn’t been an easy journey at all. Once I decided to stop screaming, raging and treat myself the way I would my children with love and compassion, then this PMDD became more manageable. I know for a fact that the constants in my life allow me to keep it moving in a healthy way. Diet, sleep, exercise and surrounding myself with positive people really IS key.

If a happy and productive life is cut short for many of us with PMDD, why should we allow ourselves to be miserable one more day than necessary? PMDD actually helped me learn to deal with fear; self-loathing and suicidal ideation by allowing me the space to change my lifestyle, identify the bullshit of my stinking thinking and to become accountable.  This month my keep it moving meant being ok with the decisions of the past and more importanlty being ok with missing someone I once loved immensley.  It meant being ok with walking away from whatever I walked away from with a clear conscious so I could be decidedlySane.

Where is the wound?

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Suicidal thoughts like ninjas swoop down from the sky and slice the joy from my spirit. I am left wading in a pool of self-doubt and insecurity. I was captured by surprise this PMDD week. Whilst walking from one room to the next of my colorful apartment, the thought took me over in an instant. I went from enjoying the cross breeze of the spring air freely circulating in my sprawling space, to having my sanity mugged by my thinking. Surprised and hurt by the hostility, I wondered why I would I want to escape my life today? The thought hadn’t entered my mind for some time.

This morning was particularly special for me as I had recently gone through some heartache, but was feeling hopeful in my realization that people will often times disappoint. It’s been my experience that relationships are difficult. Many people are driven by or trapped in fear so they don’t allow themselves to grow in relationship and some lack the integrity of being honest. Moreover, I’ve found myself in relationships that were an ill fit and despite the obviousness of it, letting go had been my struggle. However, this morning I woke up feeling optimistic, as I had awakened with my hands wide open and ready to move on.

The fear of the idea of suicide immediately sent me to take stock of my life. I eased into defense mode which quickly turned to anger, my default mode. This thinking is an assault on my very existence and all that I’ve worked on this past year and a half on being “decidedlySane.” I’ve grown to love myself even whilst enraged and angered in PMDD. Hence, I am perpetually in action as is my sick brain. I know that my thinking is a symptom of the unresolved pain of loss and fear.

My ego is up in arms because at the end of the day, I feel like I’ve failed. Even though this end is for the best, my spirit has been bruised. My inner voice is screaming that  I’ve created a life of accountability in this affliction. Reminding me that I’ve chosen to play a role in this PMDD community and so I am responsible to find a fucking solution that does not involve taking myself out!

This thought was seemingly unprovoked and came rushing in swirling in my mind like a vortex of emotions spiraling down to one demand. It was a painful concept. Of course, I understand that the end of a relationship is a certain kind of death and we mourn. However, my PMDD wants me to rid myself of this body, this mind and this life!

2015/05/img_0329.jpgExhausted, I’ve come to realize that thoughts of suicide are simply thoughts. I can get caught up and offended if I want to placate the bullshit, but I’ve got to reach in and grab on to the belly of the issue; the trigger to off myself is pain. Pain has many layers in such a tiny word; there is abandonment and disappointment, betrayal and not feeling important enough. I realize that I have some work to do around the end of this relationship. Like a bird with a broken wing, I need to mend. I need time and the suicidal thoughts need to be redirected to me asking myself, “Where is the wound?” I must change that idea of suicide as a solution to again asking, “Where is the wound?” Finding the wound and mending is the solution. Living life in flight above the ninjas and beyond my wildest dreams is the solution.

If the thought of suicide is circulating in your brain, know that you are not alone and that thoughts are fleeting, but finding the wound is necessary work.

#decidedlySane

Just enjoy life ~ PMDD is a tenacious affliction

2015/05/img_0173.jpgThis PMDD had me a little confused about my feelings and what course of actions to take in response to the numerous disappointments of the month. Instead of bullying my way through PMDD, I traversed different paths with no prisoners. Instead of pushing myself to write, I sat in silence or I read. Instead of pushing myself to wake up early and be on the move, I slept in whenever I could. Instead of making plans to make sure I wasn’t isolating, I walked the city and allowed myself to linger around different circles of friends. I basically simply decided to enjoy life, despite my PMDD.

In myPMDD the wind in my hair used to make me rage, however, now that I have allowed myself to drift along, there is very little rage. Bikram has definitley helped mitigate that rage. Holding poses in such great degrees of heat acts as an opposing force that ironically creates quite the perfect storm. There are moments when it feels like my pmdd is melting away from me and onto the mat. It’s glorious!

However tenacious this affliction is; betwixt emotions I am not clinging on to or to pushing anything along.  I am self-aware and maintaining a sense of calm and inner peace. I let it all go into the wind that no longer bothers me as it is relentless as is my desire to be decidedlySane.

 

Sell-awareness is a force to be reckoned with.

self-awareness - decidedlySaneIn my darkest hours of PMDD I was distraught suicidal and inconsolable. I acted out in ways that made my partner feel insignificant and for days after the veil of rage lifted I spent weeks trying to make up for someone else feeling badly and helpless about my affliction.

Several years have passed since my PMDD was diagnosed.  I’ve gone from feeling entirely alone to now having an amazing digital community (#NAPMDD) of women sharing about their PMDD, their family life and how they cope.  It’s been incredible to watch this #PMDDAwareness explode in this past year. It’s allowed me the space to feel useful. I am ever so grateful for the opportunity to be able to share my story and to have helped some women along the way get through their dark hours.

Self-awareness is what saved my life. I knew that I really didn’t want to kill myself.  That just wasn’t an option. I know changing my lifestyle and changing my language in regard to myself was going to save me from the wrath of my PMDD because many parts of my story derive from the dark thoughts and my inability to communicate my feelings. The thoughts that beg me to undo all that is good in my life had to be quieted. My thinking was flawed and I began to seek comfort from people that were kind to me while I couldn’t love myself. People who lived a lifestyle that I wanted. People that didn’t take ownership of my affliction, but instead allowed me a space to travel on to the other side of it.

I began to take actions that made me feel better about myself.  I began to write about my PMDD and journal about what I was experiencing.  I began taking stock in my life outside of PMDD so that I could see that my life is bigger than my PMDD; remembering who I am is key. I am not simply someone who suffers from PMDD.  I am an amazing force to be reckoned with and I have PMDD and so I must manage that part of my life head on – with self-awareness and compassion.

Today, if I am in PMDD and I can’t deal with a scenario. It’s ok. I press pause when I can or I push through when necessary. It is not effortless, but it is not impossible either.  I was diagnosed nearly 8 years ago but I know I’ve always had PMDD. It’s taken me 3 years to get to this point in my life where not only am I aware am of whom I am outside of PMDD,  I have a general self-awareness that breeds love and compassion and that has become my safety net for my entire life.

If you are suffering from this affliction I challenge you to dig deep to find yourself and to love yourself through and beyond PMDD.

PMDD: Pull the weeds and plant the seeds

In my 20’s a lifetime of incongruent ideas about who I was and what I would become had eluded me a million times over. It would be in these early years that I began to realize symptoms of severe PMS. The person I was dating noticed a shift in my temperament around my cycle and suggested that I look into it. The opportunity to finally have an excuse for being who I had been was very appealing to me. Until this point on the inside, I was a generally irritable and discontented person. On the outside, my saving grace was that I was really funny, pretty (although I didn’t believe it), gregarious and very generous and supportive of those that I loved (constantly distracting myself) and in return people loved me. Hence, there was a different perspective of who I was that was intimate and meaningful and although it wasn’t born from a spark within, a fire had been lit.

The more I thought about my cycle I realized that my sleep patterns would change and my desire to escape, be in avoidance and proclivity for living dangerously were insatiable. I was raised being told that my personality was like the taste of vinegar. I internalized that to mean that my personality was a required taste as were the people a decided to associate with.

IMG_4466.JPGSomeone who cared for me more than I was able to care for myself saw me and noticed it and it made me take a look at my history not only with my period, but my life’s story. I began seeing a therapist, it was the early 90’s and it seemed the thing to do when burdened by life. It was very avant-garde of me. I didn’t know anyone in my Puerto Rican family that had ever gone (although they should have) nor any one of my friends had ever gone to therapy. Albeit, my family life from a very young age was quite unmanageable and I at least armed with that knowledge decided to perhaps try to begin peeling the layers of this newly discovered person through what appeared to be PMS.

Years of dissecting my life from understanding where I stored my trauma and where I perpetuated behaviors that would inevitably result in more of the same I would find myself diagnosed with PMDD. At first I was afraid as no one else really was talking about this, but eventually I have found my way with it and I can now with absolute certainty say that what ever issues of insecurity, doubt or unresolved feelings I have will manifest themselves in my PMDD. I’ve discovered that reconciling my life and allowing myself to be healthy in relationships, mind, body and spirit definitely helps my PMDD.  As I continue to pull the weeds and plant the seeds, of healthy living I watch my life blossom.

#decidedlySane

 

PMDD – The beginning of the road of a painful journey

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6 years ago in NYC I was at work and suddenly felt like my brain was shriveling. I held my head in the palm of hands trying to understand what was happening to me. I wanted to run to the ER but making a decision was impossible and confusion was abundant. It was not the first time I had experienced this, but in this moment I thought that something physiologically was happening to my brain. I imagined my brain a dry sponge impervious to logic. I felt my brain pulling away from the walls of my skull and in between my ears was the incessant sound of the tearing of fabric. I could feel the pull and tug in between my popping ears and my mouth-dry. In an act of pure desperation and fear of dying, I hopped in a cab to the nearest ER.

Upon my arrival curious attendants in blue scrubs were at first eager to assist me, I notice they pulled back their shoulders as they became skeptical of my intensions once I rattled off my accounts. I was asked if I had been drinking, if I were on narcotics or if I were on medications of any kind. Discouraged to share any more information, as it seemed to be a discrediting me. I fought back the tears as the words spilled from my lips in a hushed tone, “I am sober. I don’t use drugs and I am on Prozac for my PMDD.”

What’s PMDD?

No One asked.

I offered the explanation.

It fell on deaf ears.

The doctor proceeded to scan my eyes, my blood pressure and of course listen to my breathing. I left undiagnosed. I was told to go home to rest and to call my primary doctor. I left the ER with my head hung low. I walked away feeling like i had exposed myself to be judged and ostricized.

I had already done the research. My gynecologist said I was premenopausal as I had a hemorrhaging cycle that would last at least 14 days. My primary doctor who would offer me b12 shots to help with my fatigue from bleeding for half the month had me tested for numerous things from CT Scans to Hormonal Imbalance testing — the result of which she proscribed Prozac for my PMDD and suggested that I see a nutritionist. Gluten free diets were trending and it was suggested that I consider becoming a vegan and stay away from processed foods. Finally I met with a Gastroenterologist as I was also diagnosed with IBS or Crohn’s Disease. Somewhere in the middle of all of these doctors and screenings I was seen by an internist who at first glance, saw my mouth curved downward on the right as it does when I am in PMDD-she visually diagnosed me with Parkinson’s. That was the moment my life had been reduced to a less than shitty hand to deal with in my mid thirties. (Insert the onset of suicidal thoughts here.)

Painful Road in PMDD - NYC 2008After all the testing it was revealed that I didn’t have Crohn’s and not only did I have IBS, I had also developed allergies to many things from dairy to watermelon. The Prozac and Lo Estrin birth control became part of my daily survival plan until I had to stop the Prozac because I was afraid of what I would do to myself. I had begun to entertain suicidal scenarios. I changed my diet and exercised as often as I could get on a treadmil to run away from my mind…however I continued to have the same symptoms feeling as though my brain was shrinking and I began to isolate around these times as there was no relief to be sought from anyone. No one knew about #PMDD and I thought I was loosing my mind as it was suggested that I may have been Bi-Polar.

I’d like to wrap this part of my story in pretty little bow that offers hope and a solution, but this was the very beginning of the road of painful travels for me on my journey in PMDD and becoming #decidedlySane.

I do however continue to wonder if anyone else ever experiences this brain shrinking feeling in PMDD. That’s a question that I’d like to have an answer to someday.

I share these details because I don’t want anyone to suffer alone as I did. There is a wealth of information to be found today on the internet as there are digital platforms and there is the NAPMDD. An amazing resource and advocate for those who are suffering.  This advocacy also offers a support group for partners of the afflicted. There is strength in numbers let us all embark on the journey to becoming #decidelySane