I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life. Well, not my whole life, really since I was 15. I like to blame my parents for it, you know, because of my genetic make-up and the fact that they were so hard on me during my teen years.
In hindsight it’s probably a good thing. Who knows what would have come of me if I wasn’t grounded every other weekend of sophomore year and permanently grounded from sleepovers from 15 until I got kicked out of my house at 22. Yes, I’m dead serious. Grounded from sleepovers for life!
I remember walking around my house with a nervous stomach and loving going to work at Dan’s Pizza. It was my only saving grace. I would beg people to let me take their shifts because work and school were the only places I was allowed to go. And I preferred to be anywhere except home.
My parents scared the shit out of me. I wasn’t raised with hugs and time-outs. I was raised like an army recruit. Sir, yes sir!
You don’t sleep past 8 am on weekends.
You don’t swear in our home – and swearing includes saying ‘what the hell’…
You were never – ever – late for curfew. 1 minute late is still late…
You are allowed only 1 C per quarter or NO driving until the next progress report 3 months later. We strive for excellence in this house…
I’m not saying whether this is good or bad parenting. As a mother, I know that I will be tough on the Chiquita because I don’t want her to end up a 15-year-old prostitute working for crack. Yes, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but we have addiction in our blood, and I think that’s why I always steered clear of drugs. I knew if I tried it I would probably love it.
I think I’m like most kids-turned-parents in that I’ll take with me some things I learned from my parents and other things I just choose to go to therapy for. One thing I’ve learned since becoming a parent is that parents are only human. They are bound to make mistakes. I pray I don’t damage the Chiquita in some way, but I’m sure she’ll have some story to tell, just like we all do. We all have something that our parents did to us…it may not be abuse or neglect….but I’ve never spoken to anyone who says they’ve had absolutely the perfect upbringing.
And while I wish my parents weren’t so hard on me, and I wish they would have given me more hugs and encouragement from time-to-time I know I didn’t make things easy on them either.
I’ve always been a very emotional girl. Why do you think I started a blog? I have a lot to say and a lot of feelings to go with it. I needed some kind of an outlet, and a journal just wasn’t cutting it. I do journal, yes, but more out of necessity than desire; it’s a chore for me, something that I have to do. I put the really crazy thoughts in my journal…Haha.
But something that has taken me years and years to figure out is that I have PMDD. I have officially been diagnosed with PMDD, which is Premenstrual dysphoric disorder. I find that PMDD is relatively unknown. It affects 3% – 8% of women, and like PMS, follows a cyclical pattern.
According to Wikipedia: Emotional symptoms are generally present, and in PMDD, mood symptoms are dominant. Substantial disruption to personal relationships is typical for women with PMDD. Anxiety, anger, and depression may also occur. Click here for more information about PMDD from Wikipedia.
Why am I sharing this with all of you? For two reasons:
#1 because a lot of women thank me for my openness and honesty about suffering from and overcoming Post Partum Depression. It absolutely warms my heart to know that the hell I went through can result in me helping another woman get through it, too. Maybe someone out there has PMDD and doesn’t know what it is and why they are going bonkers.
And #2 because for one week (to 10 days!) out of the month – every month – I go absolutely bat shit crazy. Not normal PMS crazy, I go mad scientist crazy. Many of my friends know about it, and I’ll explain any more than usual craziness with a simple “It’s a PMDD week,” (Que nods and ohhhh that explains it…) but others (Facebook friends, for instance) don’t know why I become such a whack job. So here you have it – during a PMDD week I get very angry, crabby, inpatient, sensitive, emotional, feelings of being stressed or overwhelmed…basically for one week out of every month I’m just not myself. My evil twin, Jsux we’ll call her, makes her appearance.
Doctors are bad about diagnosing PMDD and would rather just say you’re depressed and throw you on antidepressants. I take a wide range of natural herbs and vitamins with hopes of controlling my mood swings during this time of the month. Some months are better than others, and some months are so disruptive that I find myself hibernating so I don’t lose all my friends.
There was a time when I hated my PMDD and hated that I got stuck with this weird and unknown disorder, like why couldn’t I just have something “normal” like ADD? But, now, I look at it like I look at the parenting thing. Everybody has something. No one’s life is perfect. I’m fortunate enough to have a great husband who is so supportive and loving that I really don’t deserve him, and obvs the Chiquita and my bonus daughters, and I have a good job, and I have a nice home and nice “things”, and I have a wonderful support system of friends and family who all love me and care about me despite my craziness, so I guess this is my thing. My thing is that once a month I go bat shit crazy and sometimes act like an insane person.
Here’s where if you could see me while I write this you would see I’m shrugging. That’s my “thing”. [Shrug.] This is God’s plan for me. Just like my PPD, which I will tell everyone about and shout from the sky to help other women (and maybe Book #2???), my “thing” is PMDD.
What’s your thing and how do you stay strong to overcome it?