It has been startlingly difficult the past few months. Not due to PMDD. That is long gone and for that, I am forever grateful. I must say though that my experience with PMDD, the psychosis, all the doctors, the ignorance, the rejection, all of it, has left a lot of damage to my psyche. I’ve discovered a lot of new things about myself in the past few months, some I love, and some I really wish would just disappear.
I need to say, I did not expect to come out of PMDD unscathed. Growing up I learned about PTSD and the fact that being sick can cause PTSD. I didn’t know until last year that it had its own term, complex PTSD. I also know that you can suffer from complex PTSD even if you weren’t the one sick if you were only around the one who was, it can impact your life so much, can be so traumatic, that it imprints on you. Again, I did not expect to get out of PMDD unscathed, I did not expect my family to get out unscathed and I think that set me up to accept the issues that have arisen since my surgery better than I had expected. Just because I accept it though doesn’t mean that is has been easy to deal with. My anxiety is as high as ever. I have sleep issues because I am simply afraid to sleep, I’m scared of the nightmares every night, scared of not waking up, scared of the unknown. Emotionally, I can have abrupt mood swings and be over emotional still at times. I can gain better control, faster, and I also do no go into rages or deep suicidal depressions like before.
I am able to see a therapist and actually work on my issues that existed before, during, and after my battle with PMDD. Something I have never been able to do until now. Going in I did not have expectations that therapy would actually be any different than before, that I would feel they weren’t listening to me and that it wasn’t worth my time. I concede my attitude was not conducive to therapy before but I believe my attitude was created not just because of my PMDD but because I had experienced harm by the hands of doctors and therapist, thus a form of protection. I can let those walls down now. Therapy hurts though, just like physical therapy to learn to walk again after a bad accident, it is painful and requires a lot of hard work on things that are going to make you very unhappy, sad, or angry. It brings out feelings and thought patterns that inevitably make me cry every time and after an hour session once a week, I feel utterly exhausted, like I’ve run a marathon.
Hormonally, I face challenges to keep it straightened out. I need blood tests to see where my levels are and if I need to add stuff in, but all of that takes more time, energy, and resources than I have right now. I’m on high amounts of estradiol daily which keeps me pretty stable, but if I mess up the timing then my moods get messed up. I hate being this susceptible to fluctuations, but that is life when you suffer from PMDD.
My life post op, post PMDD, is life. It is full of challenges, full of ups and downs. I get sad some days, I get angry some days, I get happy some days. Some days I can’t function and some days I do wonderfully. Some days I look in the mirror and think oh how ugly and other days I look in the mirror and say oh isn’t she pretty. Life has never been and will never be perfect or normal for me and I have no expectation that it will be. My family and I do not live an ordinary life. There is nothing ordinary or “normal” about any individual in my family and we thrive on that. It does make life harder in certain moments though.
I may have solved the PMDD issue but I still have to heal from it and I expect that it will take years to do so. My family still needs to heal from it. We have all developed patterns, systems, and behaviors that now need adjustment due to me being PMDD free.
I would like to note, that upon research and diagnosis of my youngest daughter’s autism, that I discovered that I shared the same traits as she does and would likely receive a diagnosis of autism myself. This does not upset me, not like it might have before, no it actually explains why I do the things I do, why I think like I do, and why no matter what I have tried to do in my life I never fit in and people instinctively knew this and pushed me out. Sure it adds to my issues in my recovery process, but many of the accommodations and supports I have learned that assist autistic individuals, including myself, have actually helped in my recovery from PMDD.
I would like everyone who is battling PMDD or knows someone who is to realize that even once you get the PMDD problem resolved (by any means, not just surgery) there will be lingering effects that must be accommodated and supported. You will not just wake up one day and life will be happy and normal and blissful. There will be bad days, there will be anger, there will be pain, there will be sadness and depression, but all of these things are NORMAL. My advice is live the life that you want, that best suits your needs. Forget everyone else’s definition of normal. Develop your new normal, your new life but knowing that there will always be struggles, accept them, embrace them, you will be all the stronger for it.