PMDD – Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Here I am to keep it real once again. I do not care for certain prescription medications for personal as well as financial reasons, but it may be time to seek medical treatment for whatever I’ve been experiencing. For a long time I thought it was common PMS (premenstrual syndrome) experienced by a vast majority of women exasperated by my ADD (attention deficit disorder) and its tendencies to bring about brief periods of anxiety and depression.

However, after finally realizing definite patterns and the severity of the symptoms experienced, I truly believe I’ve been dealing with PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). Not only have I been dealing with it, but everyone around me has as well.

Today is day one of my cycle, and I feel a sort of malaise. It’s not really a “blah” feeling, more of a sort of internal buzz if that makes any sense at all. Progesterone is dropping rapidly and over the next several days, the rise in estrogen will have me on top of the world again. This is the time to schedule important projects! If I were to attempt such projects in the second half of my cycle, I would fail … miserably.

Days 14-20 took me slowly on a downward spiral with feelings of failure and worthlessness creeping in here and there more and more as the days progressed.

Day 21-22 had me feeling like giving up and hiding from the world. I attempted to make fudge twice. Both batches failed. I felt like a failure. When this happens, I look for things I can control, like keeping the fridge and pantry organized just so and keeping up with the dishwasher. This can also backfire because I get frustrated when I return in an hour and find something out of place, dishes in the sink, or crumbs on the table. Never mind that I have my own pile of crap on the end of the table. That’s beside the point.

Day 23 came with a little anger. It was Christmas Eve, and I was working a ten-hour day, which didn’t end until 6pm. Ever worried about providing excellent customer experience, the company I work for wouldn’t dream of letting it’s staff off a little early on Christmas Eve; yet, they added the day after Thanksgiving as a paid holiday starting this year. I’d rather be given Christmas Eve off. So yeah, I was feeling a little resentful that day.

Day 24 was Christmas. Christmas is hard enough as it is but combined with PMDD, and it’s an easy recipe for depression. My son was in another state alone, and my other son was sleeping at his apartment because he works nights. It was just the four of us Christmas morning this year with very modest gifts due to a tight budget. Of course I felt sad about that as well and wish we could have given more even though I know that’s not what it’s all about. Thank goodness for our tradition of a new game every Christmas. That was fun! Then our other son came over to watch the Doctor Who Christmas special with us. It was a very laid back (lazy) day, but still, after 12 Christmases here, I miss the family gatherings we used to go to.

Day 25 was a disaster. Wacky Wednesday again, and this was no exception. I even talked to a drunk guy that didn’t want to shut up. I finally talked him off the meat truck, though. Lunch was a welcome break until the end when I heard running water but no one was showering. Read about that busted water pipe fiasco here. That one had me in tears.

Day 26 – Day off. I took the girls to see Les Miserables at the theater. I already cry easily over movies and TV shows, and this was no exception. Since turkey making plans were ruined due to no running water the day before, I cooked that. Disaster. Where I took the temperature was wrong and after resting for several minutes, I realized it wasn’t really done yet. So I stuck the bird in the microwave! Yes I did! Feeling like a failure yet again, I wanted to cry. No, I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep until my estrogen returned!

Day 27 was yesterday. I felt resentful and tense at work. My breathing was shallow all morning, and my heart rate was faster than normal. Anxiety at it’s finest. We now have scheduled breaks and lunch times that we are supposed to adhere to. With M being home for winter break, it’s not a big issue yet. I’m very anxious about this new schedule when she goes back to school, though, especially with A not having a car and needing to use mine but only if her work schedule doesn’t conflict with when M gets off school. When that happens, I have to take A to work so I can also pick M up from school and then have to turn around and pick A back up from work. I feel there’s really no point to work from home with all flexibility taken away now. I keep thinking how much I don’t like my job anymore but feel stuck there. Anyway, period came just before bed. Ugh.

The good news is that by Monday, I’ll probably feel better about work again and be a powerhouse with tasks. The fog will be gone, and it won’t seem so bad anymore. I’ll feel like I can handle it and stick it out as long as I need to … for the next two weeks anyway. Then it will all start over. I can see how this can be confused with a rapid cycling bipolar disorder, but it most definitely has ties to the hormone fluctuations of a menstrual cycle.

I think talking to my doctor about this is probably the right thing to do with the rise in demands and stress level at work. I’ve tried coping skills, and they aren’t working. Of course, there’s also a fear that I will blame my job for pushing me to this point. If things hadn’t changed so much and become so stressful, maybe coping skills alone would work. I really did used to love my job a lot. At the risk of going far off topic, I’ll stop there.

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