Glass Houses: Living with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

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So much joy surrounds me. I need to leave.

I hate that my mind refuses to acknowledge the happiness that envelopes the people closest to me. But if I stay here for another minute, I will crash. I must leave before people get a chance to see it. Even if the onset started way before I walked into the room. But I grew annoyed.

I lowkey snapped on someone that I care about.

Them: “Why aren’t you dancing?”

Me: “Because I don’t want to.”

Green light. Go home.

It followed me into the morning.

I stare blankly into old Post-It notes. It makes it look like I’m doing something. Truthfully, my mind is blank. Maybe borderline harmful. I do not want to be here. I rather be in my bed walking the line between tears and tantrums. Calls will go unanswered, texts will be ignored. Would love to tell others to not take it personal but I really don’t care. “I’m not feeling well”, my default response. I’m here because I’m called to be and for nothing else. If I could leave, I would. But I can’t. So I hide in my office until I’m needed. Even still, you can see it in my face that my physical presence can’t carry me all the way through.

I’m out when I can. Sooner rather than later.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) debilitates me and up to three million women every year. Think about it as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) on steroids. It goes beyond just the general effects of PMS (bloating, mood swings, etc.). It morphs into depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, overeating and other destructive behaviors. Fatigue turns into sleep deprivation.

For me, I develop severe depression and an extreme lack of sleep. I lose my appetite but also result to binge-eating. After, I will not eat for days at a time. For some women, PMDD can cause extreme happiness and an increase in drive.

I am not one of those women.

I first discovered that I suffered from PMDD close to a year ago. Every time I would have an intense swing of depression, it would occur a week before my period. I always thought that to be coincidental, I never thought there to be a relationship between the two.

I would wake up with extreme temper tantrums, throwing pillows and crying through screams. Not eating for days at a time. Irrational decision making. But when my period would start, I would almost feel delighted. More productive. Smarter. Clearer. It would freak me out.

It still freaks me out. So I hide to ensure that I won’t hurt anyone.

I hate to be okay just twenty-five days out of the month. But that’s where I stand.

Periods bring shame and that bothers me. But I also realize that informed my decision to hide this disorder from the people I love. You don’t want to be one of those women. One who can’t be trusted to make decisions because she bleeds once of a month. You don’t want to show that it sometimes rings true. You want tomake smart decisions or remain productive because that’s you.

I felt that way. Until I had to confront it.

I’m writing this in the throws of my PMDD. Cornered in my office, praying that no one needs me. I feel hunger pains but I don’t want to eat. I’m thirsty but to move to get water is too much. Not because I’m in physical pain but rather because I don’t want to speak to people.

Everyone notices it. And I feel like they’re scared of me. I’ve known for being kind. I don’t have that in me today. I try not to be rude but even that takes energy that I don’t have.

I know I’ll get better as day turns into night. But I know I won’t sleep either, so what’s the point?

The solutions are many. Medications are available and lifestyle changes do help in reducing or eliminating symptoms. If I work out, I tend to feel much better. If I’m intentional in getting enough sleep, that helps as well. While I do not take any medications, I would not be opposed to it. One month, I’m okay. Next month, I would crash and burn. It swings like the moods.

I’m not writing this to excuse my behavior. I follow a faith where community is sacrosanct. Intentional separation seems antithetical to living. But if I need space to keep peace, there’s nothing wrong with that. This is just the foundation as to why.

And hopefully I’ll feel better soon. I know I will in a day or two.

This is part of my attempt to write every day in July. You can follow the series here.

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