Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Peek Inside My Cave

I blog for myself.  I write because I need to write.  But I do so knowing that others will read it.  This has created somewhat of a dilemma for me.

Sometimes I have considered blogging about things that may bother others.  Things that may be a little too heavy psychologically.  I have avoided this in the past.  I do not want to make anyone uncomfortable.  But tonight I need to write truly for me.  And you may not even believe anything I tell you.

So.  This is a more serious warning than in the past.  I see this blog entry as serving no purpose for others except perhaps to help them understand me better.  If that is not your desire, skip it this time.

Also.  There may be "female" words used.  While I anticipate that they will be used scientifically, they are still uncomfortable to some.  If you can't handle them, skip it this time.

Now.  I have given you plenty of warning.  I begin.

Several years ago I was diagnosed with a condition known as PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder).  It's a condition recognized by the mental health field in the DSM IV (diagnostics manual).  It's estimated to affect about 5% of mentstruating women.  It's a severe form of PMS.  Although its cause is believed to be physical/bio-chemical, most of the repercussions are emotional/mental.  The closest thing I can compare it to that you might understand is being bipolar, but that's not what it is.  It's just kind of like that.  Being in flux.  Extreme ups and downs.

This is a condition that has gotten more severe for me over the years.  I have had PMS since my first period at age fourteen.  I have had episodes of depression and suicidality many times over the years, among other difficult and frustrating symptoms. 

What started out as a day or two of depression and irritability before my period has become 10 to 14 days of a multitude of symptoms, with little relief when menstruation starts.  My symptoms are not the same each month.  Some of the possibilities:  depression, suicidal ideation, anger, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, fatigue, food cravings, apathy, difficulty concentrating, bloating, sensitivity to touch.

During this time I become very sensitive to touch.  If you touch me, it hurts.  I become irritable.  I know that I have no reason to be angry with you, but that doesn't stop it.  I can not think clearly.  Making decisions and having conversations can be physically painful for me.  It's difficult to function at all and is very hard on relationships.

I know it doesn't make sense.  It doesn't make sense to me either.

And my willpower is almost non-existent during this time.  If I am going to eat an entire bag of potato chips, a whole coconut cream pie, and drink an entire two-liter bottle of Diet Coke by myself in a matter of hours, it will be during this time.  If I am going to swear up a storm, it will be at this time.  If I am going to be hurtful and not care, it will be during this time. 

I have tried many things to treat it.  Hormones.  Diet.  Exercise.  Therapy.  Spirituality.  Vitamins.  Anti-depressants.  Nothing seems to do the job.

And I do not believe that struggling with this gives me liberty to treat others however I feel like treating them.  But I have difficulty controlling it.

So during this time, I isolate myself as much as possible.  I call it being "in my cave."  I go to my room.  I don't return phone calls.  I don't answer the door.  I kind of just disappear from society for a week or two.  And if I have to be out, I try to keep my mouth shut to minimize the damage I can do.

But it does hurt.  It hurts my family.  It hurts my friends.  It hurts me.

If you can't find me, I'm probably in my cave.

1 comment:

Brenna Bee said...

I kind of stumbled upon your blog by following a series of links, and I don't even know where it started. But I digress. Basically, I just want to say thanks for this post from a fellow cave dweller. Because even in the cave, I still crave being understood by others despite the fact that I don't understand it myself. So thanks. A lot.