The Winter holidays tend to be stressful times for a large majority of people, even if they get excited by and look forward to the festivities. For women also coping with PMDD, however, this time of year can be a nightmare. I recently asked a handful of women with PMDD what they most struggled with during the holidays. Here's what they shared along with some possible solutions:
I started writing about PMDD about two years ago. I always write from my own personal experience and interest based on what I’ve researched for my own well-being. I’m not a scientist nor trying to present “medical” articles. I’m really just sharing my story, perspective, and tools that have helped me cope.
Living with PMDD is like being placed under a powerful magnifying glass. Beneath the glass, one can see how our thoughts betray us, drawing the thick veils of illusion across our eyes. We don’t see anything quite as it really is, but through a darkened lens of paranoia, self-hatred, and confusion. Beneath the glass, we can see the closing of the heart that would otherwise allow us to both give and receive love, not just from those closest to us, but from all sources. Beneath the glass, we can see quite clearly the burning fires of our attachments and aversions. We become anxious and afraid of what we could normally be able to regulate. When we are in the throes of PMDD, all the ways in which every human being struggles and suffers, regardless of sex, age, race, or culture is exaggerated through us. In essence, PMDD magnifies the human condition, for us and all the world to see.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder has a long list of symptoms associated with it. Perhaps one of the most disconcerting to our sense of self is the division it can create within our perspective. When we are symptom free, for example, our relationships can hum along even in the face of difficult challenges. Bring on the symptoms, though, and all of a sudden our tolerance for any trouble evaporates to the point of wishing for and sometimes acting on our freedom from those same relationships. Friends look like enemies. Lovers look like cheaters. Family becomes a target.
Invisible illness sucks. If you look healthy and are of an age to "know better," you are expected to A) snap out of it, B) act your age, and C) pull your own weight. But none of those things are easy when you're too tired, too sore, too messed up in the head, and too overwhelmed.