PMDD held more sway over my life than I care to truly think about.
It wasn’t alone of course. With it was PTSD and OCD, depression and anxiety. Undiagnosed autism and ADHD. But PMDD was an unknown trigger for a great many of my struggles, I think even before my period actually started. Hormone fluctuations do start before the actual cycle starts you know and I think I was always sensitive to them.
So what kind of impacts did PMDD have on me? Well, I’ve always been a bit more awkward and impulsive, but hindsight is 20/20 and I can see a great many of my more tumultuous and impulsive acts started about the time I lost control due to hormones after my period started.
I was never comfortable in my skin and adding bleeding every month and insecurities it brought did not make it any better. The weight gain, the acne, oily skin, and just feeling ugly overall. I never felt or even wanted to be a woman. I didn’t want to be a man either. I wanted to be me and just me. So I hated I had to go through this process of “being a woman” when it was not something I felt remotely connected to. I did not want children. I did not want periods. I did not want any of it so it just felt like this was just there to make me suffer. I felt gross, dirty, and diseased. What I didn’t understand that this was my gender identity and anxiety around my self identity being brutalized by my own mind and body. All in all it really messed up my head and how I see myself. But I talked about this in my previous post.
This leads to my mental/emotional health. I have struggled from before I knew I had hormones. When menstruation started though I had such a sense of loss of control, loss of knowing what and who I wanted to be, I felt like I was in a pinball machine. The flippers beating me around and around banging into everything but always being dragged back by the gravity to a dark well, just to be shot out again month after month. I missed more and more school, I was suck more often and had horrible migraines and chronic headaches. I felt lost and alone and wrong. How could it be this damn hard and people around me still happy and able to cope! What was I doing wrong? Why was I such an alien to this world.
When you have mental health issues and are developmentally different anyways hormones can mess it all up more than most. When I was feeling my most well was at the days before ovulation. After that I always missed work, I always had migraines, I was always more irritable and anxious, I was always more sensory avoidant, I was always more prone to panic attacks and fearful obsessions. Always. Living in a cyclical state of despair and pain does something to one’s brain and soul. It scars it repeatedly, over and over. And that doesn’t take into account the constant self berating, harm, and should statements that circle around and around and leave lash marks all over our psyche.
PMDD/PME cost me and my family alot. In trauma. In grief. In health. In money. In stability. In relationships. In love. In every aspect of our lives.
I’m still angry. I’m angry because doctors didn’t listen. I’m angry because we all suffered needlessly. I’m angry that I didn’t have a name for it much earlier. I’m angry that my children are scared of puberty because of what their mother went through.
I’m sad at the career I lost. Dreams I’ve had to give up. Opportunities that I missed. The joy of my young children. I miss the relationship my husband and I once had.
I miss my self confidence. I miss my self esteem. I miss control. I miss emotions that don’t feel like tidal waves. I miss being happy and not being afraid that me being happy meant something was wrong.
What did untreated PMDD/PME cost me? School. Friendships. Family. Physical health. Mental health. Sexual health. Career. Confidence. Self esteem. Self love.
I learned something though from my battle. I learned to fight. I learned to not surrender. I learned just what I was made of and that I can get through it tooth and claw. I will pass these lessons on to my kids and to who ever I can reach.
Thankfully, PMDD is not life long and we just have to fight long enough to be free of it. It’s going to hurt. It’s going to leave scars. But keep fighting it. It’s worth it.
Hormones play a huge role in mental health, one we don’t understand much and one that there is not enough significant research into. Yet. The players are changing so I hope that changes too.