For the Ladies – Living and Thriving with #PMDD

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This post is for anyone who is a woman or knows and loves one. I am 45 and started experiencing hormonal changes about five years ago. Most of the changes were benign to slightly annoying. They started with foggy thinking, crying at a baby shampoo commercials, then included night sweats and very dry facial skin about a week before my periods and left me very confused for a while until I started to pay attention to it all.

Let me start by saying this: anyone who doubts the power of hormonal surges, falls, bounces or whatever, needs to have their head examined. The very substances and chemicals responsible for creating physical changes and menses in young women; deeper voices, chest and facial hair on young men and the ability to create and grow another human baby are some truly powerful shit. They are responsible for good moods and bad moods, heart and brain health and just about everything under our human suns. If your wife, sister, girlfriend, mother, aunt, boss, secretary, teacher, nun, crossing guard, neighbor says she’s having a bad day or that she’s PMSing, take her seriously and offer her a simple kindness. What I’m writing about, Pre-menstrual Dysphoric Disorder, PMDD, is like… PMS on meth.

Some people in my life suggest that when I get like this with both of you, that I am exposing myself to undue commentary or even sensationalizing my situation to garner sympathy. Nothing could be further from the truth EVER. I don’t need to tell anyone any of this. I am doing this because I hope to share a sliver of my life to allow someone, anyone out there; maybe someone you know if it’s not yourself, some semblance of hope when confronting this extremely desperate time of hormonal fluctuation. I don’t care if people look at me as though I have three heads; at times I probably did…

About a year after the night sweats, I began to experience only what I can describe as unpredictable intense rage within days of getting my period. The kind of rage that makes the harpies in a Dracula movie look like the Andrew Sisters.

Harpies.

The Andrew Sisters.
Well, maybe this isn’t such a good comparison. They don’t look too mellow. But they do look nice…

All my life I’d been very fortunate in the female department: I had crampless periods, no bloating or headaches or backaches. Even after having my boys, I continued to be a non-PMS woman. The only symptom with my periods I ever got after having babies was aches and tightness in my hamstrings and a need to sit down until the ibuprofen kicked in. Because I’d never experience any typical PMS symptoms into this new phase of sweats and chills, I didn’t make the connection for about 18 months. It wasn’t until I lost my mind on our dog, fell apart emotionally in the basement during a workout and other weirdness that I started to watch for patterns.

Hold up: when I talk about night sweats, you guys need to understand something if you don’t already know about this. By night sweats I don’t mean getting a little hot and having to kick off the covers. I mean this: getting so freakin’ sweaty that you are drenched and you have soaked through your pajamas. If you have had kids, I’m talking about night sweats on a scale to mimic post-partum night sweats. The kind that wakes you ONLY because you are now chilled to the bone after the ignition. Your sleep is disrupted for about three to four nights in a row. So not only when you get your period are you cranky from the hormones, you are fucking homicidal because you can’t sleep.

You still with me?

Another interruption: during the first two years of the night sweats, I started to take bio-identical hormonal drops that my doctor gave me. I would add them to my tea in the morning and at night. They worked well, until they didn’t anymore. After about a year, I had to increase the dosage and the number of times I took them and that helped. It wasn’t until I was practically mainlining the stuff that I realized it wasn’t working any more. So at this point, I was aware of the night sweats, but nothing else.

Back to the rages.

Most of these rages I wouldn’t be able to recall; they were like micro psychoses. I didn’t hurt anyone physically and I pray not emotionally, but I know I caused some damage to my children and our dog, likely in the form of their being terrified, unsure of who I was and nervous about trusting me. This is a horrible sensation: to be aware that your children are on their guard around you.

The only episode I sort of recall before I started to actively do some investigating was when my husband intervened one evening when he came home from work. He found me screaming, yelling, flailing and snarling over our beautiful then 10-year-old son who was cowering with his back to a corner, his hands were covering his head and his ears, and he wore expression of absolute terror on his face. His little legs were drawn into his body, like a ball. I remember feeling like I was 10 feet tall; my vision was strangely altered, like how a fish-eye lens works. I probably had flames coming out of my mouth and smoke pluming from my ears.

This.

I don’t remember anything about the episode, what set me off, what it was about, if I had touched him (which he tells me I hadn’t) or what I said to him (he can’t remember or chooses not to say, he’s very tender). I remember being told by my husband that he dashed into the room, pulled me away from our son and that I shoved him back about five feet and that he caught  himself on a door jamb. Mr. Grass Oil is no wallflower: he is very athletic and weighs about 190 and is 5’10”.  Although I’m in shape, I have never been able to tackle him in play or jest, he’s like a wall. He told me he sent me out of the room and I do remember telling him something elegant and articulate like “Fuck you!” and that I was probably gnashing and snarling. My husband is a peach. Anyone who says that to him deserves a kick in the butt.

I don’t know where I went next, I don’t know what happened other than to say I was completely beside myself with rage, and a  sensation that can only be described as profound and gut-wrenching feelings of being unseen and unheard. Several hours later, I got my period, a couple days early, and the rage was gone. Although I was emotionally and outwardly lighter, internally I was crushed with confusion and woe. That episode had been perhaps the fifth involving our children, but gratefully they were not in succession.

My feelings of being unseen and unheard hails from being an Adult Child of Alcoholics (ACOA) and because of this, they might be more profound than yours. Very often, we ACOAs were denied attention by our parents in favor of their addictions and diseases. Look, I’m 45. I’m not gonna harp (ha! harp) on my parents and their stuff. The fact is that I know there is a correlation between PMDD and ACOA women. Medical experts also suggest that PMDD sufferers are adult child survivors of physical or sexual abuse and that keeping in all that rage directed at others is what can cause the unconscious hormonal rage releases. Whatever the cause, it’s real and people need to give women a break.

Onward.

Fast forward three months to the final time I had a PMDD episode and didn’t know it. I was on a beautiful vacation with my children and husband and other family members whom I love very much. I love them so much I’m not going to tell you who they are. Being in close quarters and attached at the hip for a few days in a row is fine, but it can get to grow on people. On the penultimate day of our togetherness, one of these people and I had exchanged a couple jabs, and I was sorta tired of it because I felt like I had mostly been the recipient, just due to old behavioral habits and family dynamic patterns. A final jab had been given and while most people who witnessed it believed it was uncool, I treated it as though it were possibly the. most. horrible. thing. that. had. ever. been. said. to. me. in all of my years of existence.

I stewed.

I stewed. Omigaaaad, did I stew. I behaved like a baby at the evening’s celebratory dinner for my parents’ 45th wedding anniversary. I was such a pill that I left early. Even though this person and I weren’t really speaking (at least I wasn’t) I still had never been so insulted in my whole life. The next morning, I insisted in a summit on the beach with this person. Apparently I became a shrew. I do remember spewing a torrent of epithets at this person, you know, on an open beach slightly after nine in the morning on the day of their departure.  Totally rational, right?

The conversation — in fact this person, who is smarter than everyone on this planet put together, said that words failed when trying to describe the interaction — was jointless, mostly one way (mine), jagged and abusive. This person conceded to their wrong doings on the beach and apologized for the jabs, but apparently I wasn’t listening.

This is Lucy from Dracula. I was not Lucy, nor was I lucid. But her demeanor feels familiar.

We broke off on the beach with my teeth dripping blood and innards of a gull in my hands. (Joke.) But I was still screaming and swearing.

This person was insanely important to me and I was still blind with rage when I watched their car drive away. I didn’t understand what was going on, but I didn’t want to be left holding the bag for our disagreement. After all, I was provoked. Whatever. I was told by this person and its spouse to leave them alone and not contact them again. My treatment had been deplorable and disproportionate to what I had deemed to be the provocation. I was consumed with sadness. I thought I had lost those people forever. That night, my period came: three days early. Even with my vigilance, there was no way to have predicted the hormonal and mood changes. So not only was my body clock jacked up, my hormones were basically holding me hostage. The following days of my vacation were absolute hell for me. I couldn’t eat, sleep or really function outside of thinking of how horribly I had treated these people.  I felt betrayed by my body.

I called my therapist and she suggested that it might be hormonal and I agreed, but didn’t really buy it. It wasn’t until I talked to my husband and other family members that I was able to put together patterns.

When my family and I returned from the vacation, I got online and went to the library and called people and finally found a resource to help me. My husband in the meantime was having conversations that I wasn’t aware of to mitigate the damage and to keep my valued people abreast of what I was doing to address the problem. I felt as small as a flea on an elephant. Finally, my research hit pay-dirt. I took a quiz online and self-diagnosed with PMDD. What is PMDD?

Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a condition in which a woman has severe depression symptoms, irritability, and tension before menstruation. The symptoms of PMDD are more severe than those seen with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

PMS refers to a wide range of physical or emotional symptoms that typically occur about 5 to 11 days before a woman starts her monthly menstrual cycle. The symptoms usually stop when or shortly after her period begins. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004461/)

another resource http://www.pmdd-community.com

and a link to a Facebook chat hosted by Dr. Northrup: https://www.facebook.com/DrChristianeNorthrup/posts/10151180624930029  – a Facebook account is required.

After that self-diagnosis, I called my gynecologist for a phone consult. She asked me to come in and we talked about it. She confirmed my suspicions and said that I should watch what I eat, get rest and plenty of exercise before my period. I said, “My periods are all over the map, I have severely affected a personal relationship that I value very much and if running three miles every day and doing yoga twice a week in classes doesn’t count as exercise, I’m not sure what else you can suggest. I have a very balanced diet and I love sleep. What else do you have for me?”

Apparently nothing.

I went back online and I started to dig and I remembered hearing Christiane Northrup, MD, on a talk show about female changes a few months before. Northrup is a fantastic pro-women and amazing obstetrician and physician who has written many books about women’s health, menopause, perimenopause, female health. She has said of PMS and PMDD, that “they are the bill for the previous month’s experiences,” meaning that if you were good to yourself health and spirit -wise, you would have a relatively uneventful period; but if you denied yourself, put yourself last, didn’t take care of yourself and other similar behaviors, your period would be painful or challenging.

After digging a little more, I discovered Women to Women, which turned out to be a company that Dr. Northrup co-founded. I searched their site for PMDD and took their quiz even though I knew the answer. I called their nurses and signed up for their program which included fish oil and a daily vitamin and calcium supplements — things I was already taking and I was taking even more of the fish oil than they sent. Along with those supplements, they also sent me me bio-identical herbal supplements on a monthly basis called “Herbal Equilibrium” and I take them every day without fail. Five days before my period, I double up through my cycle’s third day. The supplements have SAVED ME. Within one cycle, the PMDD rage symptoms were gone, my periods were more regular and the night sweats were reduced. If you don’t buy from them, call their support line anyway, their nurses can help you with questions.

Northrup has a cohort, Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz who is a medical intuitive: she has a medical degree in treating and diagnosing brain trauma and brain injury and she’s also a gifted psychic. Drs. Northrup and Schulz have a set of CDs called “Intuitive Listening” based on their discussions about female health and how the spiritual or emotional directly affects the physical. A quick example: a woman has had terrible back pain for years. Her husband lost his job about four years prior, just as she was launching her own business as an entrepreneur. Her husband suffered from major depression as a result of his job loss and she ends up going back to work in a job she hated. Along with the back pain, she is beginning to suffer from adrenal failure, experience massive fatigue and has weakness in her legs. Dr. Schulz diagnosed her with some ailments and then said something along these lines: “Your back is literally breaking and your legs are giving out because you are spiritually carrying your husband around and you have been, against your will, for the last few years. If you don’t get out from under him spiritually, you will suffer from these progressive diseases…” and she went on to list them.

What I’m trying to say, is that what we do in our outside world affects our inside world and over time, it can become bigger than we are.

One more thing about the PMDD: Before I knew what was going on, and after that episode with my son, I decided to pay more attention to things and to chart my periods. I got an app on my Droid phone called “My Days” which is mostly used for people trying to have a baby, unless you’re like me: trying to stay out of the mental hospital.

One size fits all.

Speaking of the mental hospital, I also take several over-the-counter supplements to help me keep a even keel emotionally. I’ve been taking them for about six years, ever since my internist suggested I take a low-dose SSRI (seratonin serum reuptake inhibitor: prozac, lexapro, wellbutrin, zoloft, etc.) for mild anxiety and I was fearful that an SSRI was a slippery slope due to the side effects. They are: 200mg SAM-e, 100mg 5HTP (at night, read about it), B-complex, “sustenex” a probiotic for gut / brain health, 3000mg fish oil 2x a day among calcium, etc. and I don’t see any side effects. This works for me — I workout like a maniac and practice meditation, give myself time-outs when I’m nonplussed and angry and I try to keep my voice calm. All of this requires tremendous self-awareness, and I’m OK with that.

Back to the app: it was very helpful until that trip to the beach. Why wasn’t it helpful? It wasn’t hooked up to my hormones and it didn’t know to put me on alert for my own built-in personal hell three days early. But after being on this program for 28 months now, I can only tell you that I’m in a far better place. Now I just get a small backache before my period and even if it’s early or late, I have no mood symptoms other than being just slightly tired because of the disrupted sleep. That’s the only tip off. Now I have this great website saved on my phone to help me keep track of what’s going on with my emotions and my hormones. I hope to have it memorized soon.
http://www.menstruation.com.au/periodpages/knowyourbody.html

So here’s the deal: we have to pay attention to ourselves and sit still long enough to notice that stuff is changing in our bodies. It’s one thing to be on the cusp or in the throes of being of a certain age and not sensing symptoms, it’s quite another to see them occur and totally ignore them, or just pass them off as a fluke. PMDD is no fluke. It is hell. If you suspect you have it, or know someone who might or see these changes in a loved one, please get her some help or have her read this post.

If nothing else, she will know she’s not alone.

This was a very long post. My use of humor in conveying the severity of this disorder is not meant to dilute or diminish anyone’s experiences with it; in fact it’s essential to me. In person, I’m a very quick-witted and funny person which means that I am also a very cutting and at-times angry person. I have found that I prefer the laughing over the tears.

I appreciate you sticking it out with me. I also invite you to read the comments below. There is helpful info there. By the way, my relationship with that special person is ok.

Thank you.

ps – This is my personal story. I’m not offering medical advice or a diagnosis and this post should by no means be substituted for a proper diagnosis performed by a practicing medical healthcare professional. I’m also not affiliated with Women to Women; I just take their stuff. What you do is up to you.

I seldom ask this: please SHARE this post if you think one person can be helped. Read the comments. We are together in this.

UPDATE: 1/15/14: I have been asked by a couple readers if there is anything new to share in my experience. I would like to say no, that I’m cured and that I have nothing else to say. The fact is that PMDD is something I will live with until I finish menopause. It’s something that will follow me, lurking in the shadows and that no amount of awareness will ever defeat. What the awareness does, however, is remind me that I have a role to play in this: no longer the victim; just the survivor and winner. I feel myself get edgy before my cycle kicks in. I feel bloating and headaches and something in me says, “Don’t take that shit! You can beat it!” but the fact remains that the larger my ego, the greater my fall, so I do have do fall out, I do need to take a few hours away on my own. It’s OK to say you need a break. It’s OK to say, you’re tired and you just want to be alone. Anyone who doesn’t get that, needs to get with someone else or educate him or her -self. PMDD is real, it’s here to stay. Just like the Taliban is here to stay, but we don’t have to take that and be afraid. We just keep going on. With awareness and new rules.

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68 responses »

  1. Thank you for sharing this info. I’m not there yet personally but I have many 45-55 year old clients. I’m glad you’re feeling better 🙂

      • Dearest Molly,
        they say “misery loves company” and as a token of gratitude for having found you I will repost a post I posted pre-period last month, which I read today and can’t believe I wrote it. But before that, you are the first one who has linked for me PMDD, perimenopause (although you don’t spell it out that way is part of this internal holocaust and ACOA, which at the tender age of 45 I also found out unbeknownst to me that I am one of them, an adult child that is) and while now at 48 the episodes are getting shorter through much, much HARD work, the intensity of the symptoms is still very scary). i can relate so well to the horror look on your son’s eyes , I have seen it on my own son and the guilt was consuming for long, long time.
        Before I post my ranting raging post. I want to throw the name of a book who was one of my tools (Female Brain gone insane by Mia Lundin) it is worth reading if you haven’t and some suggest prozac sold as serafem for just the week prior to the period (just suggestions, “take what you like and leave the rest” ..here is my post :

        I title this :FULL BLOWN RAGE!

        Dear Perimenopause or PMDD, or PMS or whatever the hell you are! GO FUCK YOURSELF! for almost nine! fucking endless years you have beeb fucking with me. After having the immense displeasure to meet you I have seldom been myself.

        The self I used to be before you decided to invite yourself into my life. FUCK YOUR MOOD SWINGS, FUCK YOUR HOT FLASHES, FUCK YOUR ITCHINESS, FUCK YOUR RAGE, FUCK YOUR FUCKING INSANITY, FUCK YOUR DESIGNER, FUCK YOUR PURPOSE, FUCK THE DOCTORS THAT DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK THEY ARE DOING BECAUSE IT IS A “NATURAL PROCESS” AND NOT A DAMMED THING SHOWS ON YOUR STUPID COSTLY TESTS!

        FUUUUUUUUUUCKKK YOU! FOR ALMOST 40 YEARS NOT ONCE DID I THINK ABOUT KILLING MYSELF UNTIL YOU VISITED UNINVITED, FUCK YOU AND YOUR FUCKING REASONS FOR BEING.

        FUCK ANY OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO SUGGEST ANTIDEPRESSANTS , BLACK COHOSH, HRT OR BIOIDENTICAL, FUCK ALL OF YOU, I have tried it all with this mother fucker, fuck, fuck, fuck,

        I think the only reason that keeps me and the ones that live with me alive is to be here and FREE! when the fucking ovaries die FFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUCCKKKKK YYYYYYYYOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Thank you for letting me vent
        T

        nice…ha?

      • Dearest T,

        Amen. A-the hell-men.

        I get all of this. So much. I will look into the preemptive Prozac use. I think that’s a great idea and I’ve never heard of it.

        I know its ACOA for me. I have so much rage that I’ve worked so hard to honor and not repress.

        Thank you for your rant. You are brave and I dig that.

        How did you find me? Come back! Haha!

        🙂

        Molly

  2. This is really excellent, Molly. I am positive you will help a few people make sense of things. I know at least one person I want to have read this. Thanks for writing it!

    • Thanks, LC. I decided to write about it after I read a promising and frightening post about Post Partum Psychosis. We women need to band together instead of fight one another. We are the only ones who understand each other. I hope this post helps your person. xoxo

  3. Been there, and you are incredibly courageous to share this publicly. Most of us cower in shame and beat ourselves up more than we already do. Love you.

      • You are absolutely right – being silent is the worst thing possible when it comes to suffering something like this. This is scary stuff. Very brave of you to share, and I KNOW it will help and inspire others.

      • Thanks, B. xoox

        there’s some strange sickness out there with people: that showing their vulnerability, showing their humanity is somehow threatening to others; some take it personally. it’s what starts wars and commits crimes. i don’t understand it. it’s like we can’t admit we’re flawed or something. thank you for your comments, as usual, and your kindness. -m

        ps – i’m reading “the four agreements” and i love it. did i already tell you that, barbara? sorry if i did.

      • It’s a hard thing to admit, for some reason – but we all ARE flawed, so it just makes things harder for ourselves and each other, yes. *sighs*

        Yes, you did tell me about that, and I need to get a copy – thanks! I have his other book, “The Mastery of Love” have you read that one, too?

  4. Thank you for your honesty. The first step is definitely acknowledging it. I take a vitamin b complex and just started this past cycle to drink saffron tea. Both help immensely. Bringing light to this dark subject with your personal story is very brave. Thanks again!

    • Thanks, Felicity. I have taken a b-supplement for about five years after I was told my body doesn’t absorb the vitamin from foods I eat (but I eat them anyway). It helped a lot too; I will add that to the post. There are other OTC things I take that help me keep an even keel: SAM-e, 5HTP, the Bs, and a ton of fish oil that I probably should write about. I’ll add them to the post. Thank you for encouraging me. 🙂

      • You’re welcome! I started with 200, then thought let’s see what 400 can do and as I said, it put me right back where I was. I just refilled my two-week pill box and I forgot to add that I take “Sustenex” which is a proprietary probiotic to help with digestive stuff; as you may or may not know, the brain and the gut are more similar than was previously thought. I plan to write more about this stuff in the future. I think it’s helpful for others. Today’s comments have been supportive and many are grateful, so I feel like it’s heading in the right direction. 🙂

  5. I’ve always had PMS and it’s real ugly. I have it for 10 days before my period starts and by day 5 even I’m sick of it. About 10 years ago I started taking multivitamins for one reason and keep taking them cause I realized they helped control my PMS. Now it’s barely there if at all some months.

    • Denise – that’s great that you have found something that helps you. I think we feel like all there is is Midol or Pamprin… it’s nutrition too. I take all those B supplements and they help me too. Sometimes, even with the W2W stuff, I do feel a little edgy and I look at my app, take a few moments to assess and then I know what’s going on. The first two weeks post -PD i feel great; and then sometimes, the final two weeks, i am almost taking names, and definitely on edge. The rage is gone, thank God, but I feel very much that now I just experience “regular” PMS.

      Thank you so much for your comment and input! We are NOT alone! 🙂

  6. Thanks for the post Molly. I used to get vitamins from Woman to Woman also.
    I have a friend whose daughter has PMDD and she’s using essential oils and a supplement called Ningxia Red and they have helped her tremendously. If you ever want to get off the SSRIs, let me know. There are essential oils I can recommend for anxiety. Also, I just heard on the radio today about how using NSAIDs can actually hurt you in the long run so I’ve gone to using oils for my headaches and other pains.

    • Heather, thanks for leaving your comments! I don’t take the SSRIs, yet. I wonder though, sometimes if taking some for a few days beforehand might help, but I don’t know if they work that way. I try not to use the ibuprofen much, but I would love to know more about the essential oils for the headaches. Remembering the sadness over that summer vacation was so difficult for me to relive. That was a horrible horrible time. I didn’t sleep or eat for days. I truly thought I would never see this person again. That killed me a little. Thanks. ❤

      • Hi Yolander, thanks for reading and for your comment and question.

        First, I obviously need to disclose that I’m not a doctor and that any action you take based on any discussion with me is of your own volition and that I also advise you speak with your health care provider.

        I would recommend lavender oil. I. The soles of your feet and if it’s too strong for you or if you he F sensitive skin that you “cut” the oil with almond oil to make it less strong but likely just as effective.

        I would put it on your temples (“cut”) and the soles of your feel (full strength if you can) and rub the soles of your feet together or massage into the feet with your hands.

        I would use 5 drops of rosemary oil to 15 drops of lavender and 2 drops of vanilla extract and use in a small spray bottle you can spray on yourself, your environment and anywhere else you can not only breathe in the essences but also breathe deeply and mindfully — that would be the ideal goal: to get you to practice mindful breathing and to use your senses and intuition (so you have to be calm) to guide you in your life. Too often we rely on outside influences to guide us and that leads us astray. Learn to practice true acceptance and patience and observe what comes of it.

        I would also practice yoga. Yin or restorative yoga. Your higher anxiety energy needs to be balanced with slower, focused, and more conscious work.

        Lastly, a guided breathing meditation, do five rounds:

        In/out via nose
        In/out via mouth
        In nose / out mouth
        In mouth / out nose

        Repeat four more times.

        Each round say to yourself: “I am breathing in peace and breathing out release.” Imagine the rolling waves of the sea bringing in relaxation and rolling out stress.

        Visualization is really helpful.

        Best wishes to you.
        M

  7. Great post Molly. I appreciate that you shared your experiences. I think we’ve all cringed with embarrassment at things we have said or done to our children and loved ones when hormones take over. I absolutely agree that the intensity of my period and PMS reflect my previous month’s diet, sleep, and (mostly) stress levels.

    • Thanks, Melinda. I get worried, living around here, that I will be seen as a nutjob, but well… I’m not and I know people suffer with their own chemistry, how can we not? Talking about it helps so much. I appreciate your comment and kindnesses. Truly. -M

      • Every one of us is a nutjob in some way and we all have our challenges. I have many challenges both large and small myself, and I’ve yet to meet someone who really has it all figured out. I just can’t worry anymore about keeping up with the Joneses. Frankly, the Joneses are probably completely dysfunctional behind closed doors anyway. Sam and I both have experience with being related to close relatives who suffer (or have suffered from) alcoholism too. You’re far from alone on all of the issues you posted about. Thanks for having the courage to be honest.

      • Thanks, Melinda. I have given up keeping up too. I have seen and realized that wanting someone else’s life ain’t really all it appears to be cracked up to be. This life is all we get, huh? It’s good when we stop comparing. “Compare and despair” I heard on some movie… no, it was a Brene Brown quote for her book, “Daring Greatly.” xo

  8. Hi Mol—read some of this—good summary! Eye opening for many, I’m sure…..

    Will give you a call tomorrow to catch up–sorry not to return your call yet!

    xoxo

    • Hiya! It’s longer than I would have liked, I could have clipped the beach trip background and provided bullets, but I decided to keep it the way it is because a textured portrait needed to be painted. Lots if info, but I think I covered everything.

      Thanks for reading! XOXO

  9. I heart you so much for sharing your story; I relate to so much of what you’ve shared. It took me YEARS to figure ‘it’ out. I have always had ‘hormonal issues’ of some sort through out my adult life, but after turning 40 it began to get worse, and like you said the drenching sweat at night was awful and the RAGE. Sigh! This is a topic that must be talked about; I commend you for opening up and sharing. You have helped me more than you can possibly imagine… hugs to ya, Mama!

  10. Weightlifting, prayer, lots of tears shed on friends shoulders and a job change helped me through my long episode of that “not feeling well period of my life”. Good luck to all!

    • Thank you, Jackie! I am glad you are through with it and appreciate your advice. Fitness helps for sure and community! I’m so grateful for the shoulders. I’m learning to trust myself too. Easier said than done though. But it gets much easier with age. My b.s. tolerance is much healthier.

  11. nice pictures of me,were you a spider on my walls with a micro camera? lol i was and to a certain point still like that. i had very harsh chemo. 3 and a half years ago which my doctors said put me in it early.i have not had a period for 2 years in dec. i had the bad kind that will ‘rip’ one out of their sleep. that is when i could sleep. anger? oh my! and i’m high tempered to begin with. i was all of the above in your post. people that have had cancer and or still have their female organs can’t take hormones 😦 it has been going on now for about 2 and a half years.although at times i can go without an episode for up to two weeks at a time. at first i thought i was dying or something or having a heart attack or stroke though so i know how scary it is at first until a woman realizes what is happening. one thing though is that i have found is, not all of the changes in a woman’s body/life that we are told will happen do not always happen, that is how it has been for me anyways. i still feel the same except for the hot flashes and tired/evilness 🙂

    • Morrighan, you are a kick in the pants. I have every confidence you attitude has helped you immeasurably. I am glad you have beat the cancer and are here to share your light with us although it would be nice to have some relief in the form of the hormone supplements. Thank you for commenting and sharing. Something tells me we’d get in a bit of trouble, but have fun anyway, if we ever met. Stay healthy! Don’t let the bastards get you down! 🙂

  12. Hoo, boy. Time to find a doc and throw PMDD into the possibility pile. My family’s got a long history of reproductive issues. We’re fertile as all get out, but our inner lady parts tend to get yanked by the time we’re forty. I am currently the family champion of keeping my lady parts intact, but I’m also only on the cusp of 30, so it’s not really impressive just yet. My periods are absolute hell. Pain everywhere, mood swings like a bastard, no ability to concentrate, bleeding like a stuck pig, fatigue and then more of the same. I actually have issues sleeping because my body has started giving me the worst of the pain while I sleep, and I can’t sleep through it because it’s so bad. I’ve been considering it’s endo or some similar issue, but PMDD matches up as well as any of the others. I’m not sure if I’m glad or not that it could really just be that my hormones hate me this much, but I have tried literally every suggestion a doctor’s ever given me, and none of it has worked. In my favorite example, I was told to take a couple of ibuprofen from the first sign of period cramps so that my body would have a supply of it in my system when my cramps really hit. I did so for three months. My cramps lessened only slightly, and I ended up with light-sensitive headaches. Gave up the ibuprofen regimen, and the headaches disappeared.

    I really appreciate you writing this entry, if my paragraph of shared woe didn’t make that clear. I do find tracking my periods to be helpful, if only as an early-warning system so that I can prepare to hunker down and wait it out. I use iP on the iPad, and it’s really great for tracking all my symptoms and flow and everything.

    • Oh Gayle. I am sorry you go through this so often. Maybe call the service I use and see what they say? They have a 30-day trial … It’s not terribly expensive, but I’ll bet they might know something to do.

      Thank you for sharing your story. -Molly

  13. Thank you for posting!

    Do you take the SSRI every day all month?

    Also, where have you found a correlation with ACOA & PMDD? I’ve searched and haven’t found any info that supports that. What you said makes sense and I was just hoping to find more info on it.

    Thanks in advance for your time.

    • Hi Valene, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I do not take a prescribed SSRI, I take 200mg SAM-e once a day and I’ve been doing that for … about 5 years now. I did try to take 400mg and I noticed almost immediately that it pushed me right back to where I was: prickly, short and terse, before I started taking it. I also take a lot of fish oil: 3000mg 2x daily, 500mg calcium 2x daily, a probiotic called “Sustenex” and 100mg 5-HTP at night. I also practice yoga (join us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/108384532662455/?bookmark_t=group), meditate a bit (i’m not terribly good at it), exercise intensely a few times a week, drink only one cup of coffee a day and rarely drink alcohol (just because I don’t think I like it so much anymore) and when I do it’s with dinner.

      As for the ACOA connection, I just happened upon that thread of Dr. Northrup’s. I too have not been able to find any empirical data to suggest it, but most people I’ve talked to happen to agree that there is a connection. I have a few friends who are ACOAs and we all agree: there’s a link. THIS IS NOT A PLUG: I’m actually in the middle of editing a book I’m writing about my life as an ACOA (here’s the post I wrote about it yesterday — https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/it-was-the-year-2013-when-molly/?wref=tp — I have been afraid to move forward, but I’m not anymore). I don’t hate my parents anymore, but I wish they’d been better parents. Being mindful as a mother (I’m not sure if you are one) who grew up with such horrid examples of coping and nurturing has left me with no directions / instructions. I was “asleep” for many years … this book is about my awakening. (But it’s fiction, wink-wink.) Stay in touch. I’m on twitter… @mollyfieldtweet

  14. Molly-I know this an older post, but I’m so glad you put it in here. 🙂 I struggle with intense hormonal swings and PMS that I swear lasts forever. I get maybe two weeks of peace a month. I don’t have PMDD, but I can relate in a way to what you went through. I wrote a post about my horrific PMS awhile back. *Hugs* to you being able to share about it! M

    My husband is convinced that all of those things are totally fabricated, that all of this stuff is just something in women’s heads, that we should just suck it up and deal with it (at least the mental stuff, he’s more sensitive to the physical). I love him dearly, but I wish he’d understand that women really do go through this stuff!

  15. Pingback: A Mother Life – I’m Inspiring…. Didn’t You Know?

  16. PMDD has been controlling my life for years now and I had no clue. I am 38, several months ago I mustered up all of my courage – put my ego in a box and told my doctor how it felt like invasion of the body snatchers before my period. I just was not myself. I could feel the rage come over me – sometimes for the smallest of things – i was irrational – i would say things that I did not mean or even believe – i was emotional -not to mention so very, very, hungry!!!! – but most of all whatever was/is going on is soul destroying. I could go on and on but I think your post sums things up pretty well. Today was the first time that I ever truly admitted to myself and my spouse that I have PMDD. I am scared.

    I feel ashamed and know I should not. I feel like a failure even though I know this is something that I have not done. I feel guilty for a million things that I have said and done to those that I love the most – even though most of the time I don’t verbalize anything – I just think it. I have now accepted that I have PMDD.

    I eat well, exercise (but I will exercise more because I find that it does help) – I will cut out coffee – ( which I don’t really consume much of anyway) – I will continue to constantly work on self-awareness, living in the present, overall wellness and all that entails. But what I really don’t want to do is take anti-depressents. I have been trying to read as many threads by women who suffer from PMDD and it sounds like these drugs don’t really help that much. I could never really take birth control pills – they always made me feel like I was on an emotional roller coaster.

    I know this is an older post but I could really use some help here regarding what I should do. My husband is a doctor and even he is not well versed in PMDD. He told me that most doctors will most likely go down the “meds” path. Something I really want to avoid. I am all about the total mind/body connection. I have no problem with vitamins etc… This is all new for me. I am just relieved that you shared your story. Tonight was the first time that I have ever search for on-line communities and read the stories of many other women like us. I am scared. There I said it again. This hard for me to admit – because really – nothing scares me. This is terrifying.

    • Lynda,

      Thanks for reaching out. You’ve already done the most major thing you can in your crusade against PMDD: you’ve allowed yourself to admit that it exists in your life.

      It is terrifying. This post might be old, but the PMDD is still around. I can still feel it lurking at times, waiting for me to forget I have it and screw up. But not always. This is good.

      I am glad you have a doctor in your family, but PMDD is not well known or yes, often relegated to the medication list.

      The first thing I will suggest is to look for sources of your rage. I am an adult child of alcoholics. My mother was like Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest”. My family life was like the Eugene O’Neill play, “A Long Days Journey into Night.” No joke.

      You might’ve had an ideal childhood, there is still rage. I’ve written about John Sarno, MD, on my blog, search that name and read his books.

      The OTC products I mention, I still take. Yoga is helpful. You sound very articulate: write a journal, let it all out. If I may, the guilt? Are you catholic? I am the guilt for me is CRUSHING — let it go. Easier said than done, but absolutely essential. You HAVE to move on or else you WON’T move on. Another thing, yes it’s terrifying. But try to allow yourself a sense of humor about it; I don’t mean to sound glib. It’s a nasty condition, but the more we stay mired in the awfulness of it all, the more power it has and the more fearful we are which exacerbates the symptoms. It’s an emotional hell ride. It has already taken your hormones, don’t let it take over everything. The fear and guilt make that worse. When you’re NOT in a cycle, do what I did: thank God (or whatever) you’re not in it, pay attention to triggers and try to laugh over the unfairness of it because everyone has a cross to bear.

      Get a phone app. Use it. On my iPhone I use “P log” and it’s great. On my Android I had “My Days” both are excellent. They will help you track symptoms.

      All the advice I would give you is in the post. Contact the womentowomen people. Try a bio-identical hormone. Read Dr. Christiane Northrup. She says lots of PMDD can be linked to alcoholism or children of alcoholism.

      You need to let things scare you. I was like that too. I realized it was all rage not bravery. There is a huge difference. Read Brenè Brown. I wrote 30 Days about her quotes this past December. Do you have a therapist? If not, consider it. I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, but everyone’s got something. Doesn’t mean it’s a full-blown disorder, but your PMDD is likely leaching from somewhere else.

      This post is my most-often visited and most shared ever. If you’re on Twitter, there is a PMDD community.

      You’re not alone. This shit is real and it can ruin your life. You’re only 38. You have tons of time ahead of you. Move on from what you can’t control or fix and do your best, with this awareness, in the future. Don’t be ashamed. You’ve done NOTHING to court PMDD.

      Stay in touch. Get going though. 🙂

      • Thank you for responding Molly.

        I have compiled a list of your suggestions. I will take your advice.

        I do adore Brene Brown – I just think everyone should read her books. She really helped me a great deal. Another book I might suggest for you, if I may, is called “When things Fall Apart” by Pima Chodron. (The title might sound a little glib but don’t let it put you off – it has so many wonderful antidotes to life.)

        I am not aware of my family medical history – I was adopted as a baby (which I have no issues with – had to say it because when people find out about it that is usually one of the first questions they ask) – so it is good that you talked about Alcoholism and PMDD.

        I was raised Catholic (I am secular now) and you are right the guilt does come from that upbringing. I am very aware of that. Letting go the guilt is a constant process. Like patience it is a daily practice.

        I have tried therapy – to no avail. I think I need to find the right therapist and perhaps this time around – now that I can admit that I have PMDD – I can approach therapy from a different angle. I just need to find someone who is aware of how truly awful PMDD is.

        I am glad that you suggested the women to women people again – and that they have helped you.. I am always so cautious about anything that I read on the web – especially when it comes to health. I will call them. I will also be contacting my doctor and talk to her about my options and she where she stands on the subject.

        I do write and it does help. The mind/body connection is one that I have been working on for years. Now that I know for sure that PMDD is truly what has been pulling me into this emotional vortex I feel I can really get a handle on everything. You have to understand, until a few months ago, I had never even heard of PMDD. This is such a huge relief for me. I have read so many people’s stories and that has brought me a sense of peace. In retrospect – I may have had mild symptoms in my teens and twenties but I think that after I had my kids – the symptoms got worse. For a long time I had no clue what was going on. I am very aware of mental health and the issues surrounding mental health – I know so many people who work in the industry. I thought at one stage I might be depressed but then it just didn’t make sense because I only ever felt lousy part of the month. I had no clue about PMDD – apparently no one else that I spoke to about it did either. One thing that has saved me and made symptoms less intense over the years is the fact that I have been working so hard on self-awareness. It has helped me “ride the dragon”. Even though at that time I had no clue the dragon had a name, and that is PMDD. I think the biggest lesson for me regarding all of this is that of courage. My friends have always asked me for advice in the past – and I have been told that I am great a giving good advice. I am terrible at taking my own. Well, I am breaking that cycle within myself. I know now that PMDD is not just a mind over matter scenario. It is hormonal, it is very physical, it is a disorder. That gives me relief and like I said earlier – peace of mind. I now have the courage to talk about it and do something about it.

        Thank you again. Thank you for taking the time to write your post and respond to my comment. You have helped me in so many ways that can not be put into words.

        Respectfully,

        Lynda

      • Lynda — maybe I should add a note at the end of that post and let people know that I’ll update it as I learn more…

        I am so glad to have “met” you and I am thrilled beyond belief that I am in some way, able to help you.

        I know how you feel, completely.

        Not to make light of your adoption in the least: my parents and their behaviors were so foreign to me that I often wondered about my reality. That’s the part about being ACOA (so if your adoptive parents are not alcoholics, you aren’t an “ACOA” because your parent / family has to be an addicted alcoholic who is a mess and where denial is in full effect. So if your parents (not genetic) were normal and happy people (not liars, schemers, manipulators and drunks) then you’re likely not an ACOA.

        That said, there are plenty of messed up tee-totalers too.

        “We’re all a little crazy.” –My brother after our mom died (just this past Labor Day).

        You sound so articulate and bright and capable, so I know how hard it must be to you to have to live with PMDD. It’s like, “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?! I CAN USUALLY FIGURE THIS STUFF OUT!!!” and like you I work out and practice yoga and do breathing and meditation.

        We can’t win ’em all.

        Anyway, I am thinking of you and holding a space for you to heal and learn about yourself in a new and completely safe way: You’ve connected the dots. This is huge and you are on your journey and you’re still quite young, so this is good!! Thinking about your history is quite helpful. I remember I was totally asymptomatic with my periods and ovulations until I had my three boys. Then once I became a “Mother,” (which unleashed a ton of suppressed baggage) I slowly started down the path of PMDD.

        I went on a yoga retreat this past summer and one of the things they talked a lot about for women’s yoga and health was (and if you listen to “Intuitive Listening” by Christiane Northrup and Mona Lisa Schulz, you’ll hear this too) that your period is sort of like the monthly bill for whatever you put yourself through the preceding cycle. And if you don’t rectify emotional stuff and any baggage and it piles on, the periods get worse. Lots of women (and the tampon makers don’t help) believe that we are supposed to be DOING IT ALL! even when we’re bleeding in our uterus and basically experiencing a trauma every cycle. If men went through this every freaking 28 days or so, the WORLD WOULD END. I get that we don’t want to stop living and that we are modernized and liberated women!! but the fact is: this is a serious trauma that’s happening in our bodies, regardless of its “regularity” and routine and it **lasts a few days**!… (I’m starting to preach, but not to you…) the point is that at the retreat they said that we need to honor ourselves and the amazing things our bodies do every cycle and that means: taking some time for ourselves: dark room, low lights, calm music, soft voices…. and so I promised myself I’d do that the next cycle. So then I’m all, “Yeah! When I get home, I’m going into hiding!” and then my period came a week early because I was in a house with 16 other women and one of them was completely wonky hormonally and that threw everyone off.

        Then I was ok, and gearing up for the next time.

        And guess what happened? Mom died. Yup.

        Then after that, something else came up — my kids got sick with a vomit virus. Then it was Halloween, then it was Thanksgiving and then it was Christmas and so now… I am waiting… I am going into hiding. Hold me to it.

        Please stay in touch. Let me know how you’re doing. Contact me anytime at mollytfield@gmail.com. I’m about to begin a memoir; who knows what I’ll do with it, but I’m practically hemorraging this stuff. No pun intended.

        Be good to you. We’re all in this together.

        M

  17. I know this is a few years old, but I found this this morning while researching pmdd. I was talking to my sister while taking my kids to school this morning. She is a psychology graduate. I was confiding in her while driving home saying how much I hate myself these weeks, the way I am with my kids, my husband, my general feelings about myself-the way I feel physically, all of it. I should point out that in the last few months I am re learning myself. I have recently finished a very long process of getting OFF Paxil. I was on it for 7years. Not a wise idea. I remember when my doc put me on it, he diagnosed me with severe pms and anxiety. I didn’t really put the last couple of months and that diagnoses together until now. I would NOT recommend using an ssri to treat this, in fact life got worse-you become almost numb to things and it almost wrecked my marriage, my husband was a very good man to stick with me for 7 years all while we would only have sex maybe 4 times a year.. No exaggerating either. Somehow we managed to have two kids while I was on it. Anyways the decision finally came to get off of it and it was HELL. It took me 8 months. Of withdrawal. Nausea, headaches, pms which was prob pmdd, anxiety, mood swings, body aches, tiredness, etc…… Well I succeeded it and let’s just say my marriage is great and I feel great, until a week before my period and then all HELL breaks loose. I am completely against going back on Paxil or anything of the sort. So when my sister tells me about pmdd this morning and that I could possibly have it, I start researching it as soon as I get back in the door. That’s when I remembered the diagnoses from 7 years ago. I have 10 of the 12 diagnosing factors. So I read more-thank you sooo much for posting this. I already use essential oils, but i am going to add your suggested supplements, and start exercising more, and adjust my diet. I also read that if you have had any brain trauma you are much more likely to have pmdd. About 13 years ago I had 8 grand maul seizures and while preg with my son 4 years ago I had a blood clot in my brain. These were on the list of the brain traumas. It is so nice to hear of someone else that has been through it and I guess mainly that I’m not alone. That I’m not completely crazy, and that there is hope :). Again THANK YOU. I hope you still get this.

    • I got it and I am still here and I am so happy that my post helped. I caught some slack from family members for coming out about this a while ago, but hearing from fantastic and brave women like you and their spouses, heartens me. I am sitting here, about to take another stab at my memoir and I appealed to my angels to help me keep what I write “healthy” and “helpful” and then your comment came in. Each time I think I’m doing the wrong thing, I tell you, someone comments on this PMDD post.

      You are NOT alone. Twitter has a PMDD community; I suppose there’s one on FB, but I haven’t bothered. I have started using straight Lavender oil on my feet when I’m feeling anxious or before bed and it helps so much. I am mostly symptom-free, but I do sense that very sharp and caustic edge come back about a week before I’m due. I’m now 46 and am officially three days late, and I’ve been in the thick of perimenopause for about 7 years (night sweats, insomnia, cravings and bloating — which never happened to me before) and I feel like the gears are changing again… I am absolutely fatigued this week, for no explanation.

      Thank you for telling me about the dangers of SSRIs, they are getting a lot of press these days! I am so glad I never went on them. I hate to take a pill for anything although I will admit that 800mg of ibuprofen does wonders for my tennis elbow when I’m really hurting. Being the only daughter of my addicted beloved and tragic mom makes we wary of anything that numbs anything.

      Be well, stay in touch if you wish. Thank you for being so candid. I understand everything you’ve said. It gets better — now you’re on the bus! Share your story with people who ask… this is important stuff. I tell every woman I know about it if it comes up and you’d be surprised to hear how relieved they are to know they’re not alone.

      🙂

      • Wow-well I hope you can figure things out with your body. You may have to start a new discussion on menopause :). I am 30 so I am not quite there yet. Just to clarify is it the pms supplement that you take from womentowomen? Is there a specific fish oil you take? Or brand? Or b vitamin? Sorry-just curious 🙂

      • Women to women actually sells fish oil, a daily multiple, and a cal-mag. I get my SAMe from BestVite.com and fish oil from costco. Natrol makes the 5htp and everything else is “naturemade” brand.

        My body / system will eventually revert to its prepubescent state one day!

  18. Thank you so much for your post! I’m 26 and am starting the journey to get healthy and get my PMDD under control and to find what works for me. I gave up for awhile thinking that there was nothing I could do for it, but I have a renewed hope as it seems that it is a matter of digging out information, trying different things, persevering until one finds a combination of solutions that lessens it, and just examining one’s life as a whole to see where we need to be kinder to ourselves and bodies. It was helpful to read this post and know that someone else understands what a TOTAL HELL it is. My 5 days of hell are coming up just around the corner, so I’ll probably visit the page again to remind myself I’m not crazy. I loved the pictures!!! Those were just great. Thanks again. 🙂

    • Wow! I’m so grateful for your comment. I am so relieved that what I’ve bared and shared is still helpful to people. 26? You’re so young. Do what you can to get a grip on your grip, y’know? It’s not always going to be a concrete hold. Just be good to you. One of the yoga teachers at a teacher training retreat I attended last year said “When we are on our periods, we have this crazy notion that we still have to be ALL and DO all, “with a smile!,” or else we are seen as weak…” and that resonated with me. At that time, our bodies are experiencing TRAUMA: shedding of tissue and bleeding and pain. Why shouldn’t we be a little “off”? I wonder if people like you and I have worked so hard over the years to just “keep on keepin’ on” even though we feel like doo-doo inside and it’s all fake. If we could, as they also suggested on the retreat, just take a day all to ourselves, as women did back in biblical times (but not to ostracize, but rather celebrate the miracles our bodies perform), then I think we’d be a heck of a lot more centered.

      Be well. Be good to you. Know that I am thinking of you.

      -M

  19. Dearest, dearest, dearest, Molly!!!!,
    oh! the relief to feel understood! thank you!, I get you that you get me, but I’m a chicken too, can you please refer to me as T. (it helps with my dislusional anonymity, anxiety…LOL) How did I find you? nine years of searching and googling and reading and going to ACOA meetings and psychoanalysis and asking how in the hell am I goint to cope with this? and not hurt my grown children. As an ACA both you and I know that the scars are more emotional than physical. Your courage to post about the episode with your son, gave me permission to post about mine (although not in full disclosure, too much shame attached to the horrible things I have said to my now grown daughter and teenage son, but it is a start), but more specifically I think I googled yesterday, “crazy or PMDD” and is it time to put myself away?” and your blog was one that popped up and caught my interest. I think this is not a coincidence and I’ll be interested in dialoguing with you about the work you have done on yourself as an ACOA.Until the age of 39 I never felt rage in my life and for years after I attributed all up to “hormones gone wild” but it seems, as I keep digging to find my truth that it is more than just hormones and while the rage is subsiding, when it hits it is the most toxic emotion I feel, it engulfs my whole body and it wants to swallow me whole along with everything and everyone around me. It will be cool if we can communicate via our private emails, I know I can use your help and you seem to speak the language of the distorded thinker. I already love you

    T.

    • T, T it is.

      I’ll efit my earlier reply when I get home.

      You may absolutely email me at my private add’y: mollytfield@gmail.com.

      I looked up that book you recommended; I sent a sample to my Kindle.

      You’re not crazy, you’re just feeling the feelings you’ve repressed all your life. Being an ACOA is hard. No one really understands why we doubt so much and question our reality. Why we have trust issues and are conflict prone because we hate lies so much. Why we seek and loathe attention. It’s not easy. We are here for a reason though and that’s to stop the cycles and do our best to get our collective shit together to be mindful parents, adults and members of society.

      I get everything you’re saying. I welcome a dialogue.

      Have you ever read anything by John Sarno, MD? He’s retired now but he wrote “The Mindbody Prescription” which changed my life in terms of repressed emotions which led to physical pain.

      Stay in touch. You’ve got this.

      ❤️
      M

      • Oh! M, you are on oasis in the desert of my misunderstanding: I already read your write on Sarno and you know the book is on the way! How can you possibly know after knowing me for a minute and a half that I have trust issues by which I mean I TAKE NOTHING FACE VALUE!, How can you possibly know my self doubt, my distortion of reality, my hunger for attention and the loathing of it? that I hate, detest lies and can smell a fake ten miles away? how can you possibly know what I am just finding about myself? in one of your posts you wrote “I have been asleep for most of my life (or something like that). Me, like Oprah said, I have been dead man walking, thinking and doing a great job at living happy, joyous and Free, that is until the hormones lifted the curtains in 2005 when I was 39 and started having really intrusive violent thoughts for the first time ever! When I started having depression for the first time in my life, which put me in 7 years of antidepressants until one lovely day a fellow ACOA’er said to me, “you are not depressed, you are grieving, feel the pain and let the tears do their cleansing” after that, I have been off of antidepressants ever since (who would’ve thunk it?) what do I have to grief about? right?

        As my biological passenger says (I hate to call him my son, because he is not mine, he just came through me) in a very casual way he said one day to me “you know mami, someday you might have to thank your hormones” this young man comes up with shit I don’t have to teach, I live in awe of him and in desperation to get better so that he is not the target of my verbal abuse. there is no buffer between us, because his sister moved away and his dad (well, don’t get me started). So, I got him a therapist which he loves so that he has someone to vent to and doesn’t get scarred by the sins of the mother, as I did by the sins of mine. Also, I’m putting in a phone call to Dr. Mona Lisa (see if I can afford her), I read what she did for you and since there are so many unknown to my story ( and mommy dearest is not talking ) I need to know the why’s of my many “What-the-fuck’s”?

        thank you
        love
        T

      • i tend to feel the same way about my own kids, that i am simply the lucky (and exhausted) vessel who bore them. they are God’s children, as you and i are too, so don’t forget that. give yourself the grace to appreciate the fact that you are not beholden to your mother (whether she’s alive or not) you were shaped by her, but you can always re-hone, re-forge and soften. i should send you my fake memoir. i wrote it when my mom was still alive.

        have you read any of my pieces on my grief after she died? it is intense, that grief shit. but i’m seeing the gold underneath the plaster now (Tara Brach reference: there’s a giant plaster buddha statue somewhere and people were restoring it; as they were chipping and re-sealing, a crack grew and revealed a SOLID gold buddha beneath… it’s a gorgeous analogy: our egos construct the plaster to cover and protect our golden heart and centers. but we suffocate, we need to shine.)

        let me know how your call into Mona Lisa goes. she’s freaking incredible. if your mother won’t speak to/about these things, your heart is on to something. here’s some COMPLETELY unsolicited advice: be careful. trust your rage and try your best to breathe it out.

        xoxo

  20. I still haven’t stablished contact with Mona Lisa, (feeling overwhelmed here by the war raging on inside),I welcome any and all advice from you solicited or otherwise. Luckily I have printed two things from your blog, the Poem from Rumi and you response to me with a guided meditation. In case you still have doubts about getting emotionally naked through this blog, I am here to tell you YOU ARE SAVING LIVES, this weekend the “the Jekel and Hyde” in me were on full swing and the sure fire way for me to know that that is happening, is when I can’t stand the sight of my son, literally the person I love the most in the world. The racing disturbing thoughts going throuhg my head, although not new, were enough to shake me up, my head did not want to shut up. I took myself to a park, read your stuff, then some other stuff and then took a few benadryl and knocked myself out in the park on the grass , felt asleep for a few hours, if the wolves ate me (which they didn’t) so be it, that’s where I’m was yesterday. This fucking thing is dangerous and although is coming less and less thanks to the power that runs the unseen universe, I woke up a bit more level headed. I am not a pill popper,, nor do I believe in fucking Western medicine, where all they do is take your money, slapp a prescription on you and put a ban aid on a gushing , gangrened wound, but since sun up yesterday nothing worked, I needed to shut up my head and rest or I was going to do me in (read suicide)or someone else (read homicide). from your “unsolicited advice” can you elaborate on the “be carefull part” my head tends to make a tragedy out of everything it hears and thinks these prior days to my period…
    thank you for having held my hand with your writtings this past weekend, it hasn’t felt that crazy in a long, long time. And please oh! please do share your memoirs with me, specially the ones having to deal with mommie dearest. My mom is well and alive and lives in a world (always have) where everything is wonderfull and perfect, except for the occasional Freudian slip, that led her to tell me on 6/09/2014 that for the first six months of her pregnancy with me I was a secret. The end. Other than that and according to her ” I was the happiest child in the world”

    love
    T

    • I’m going to look for the “be careful” part of my last reply to you which i think was under the “miracles” post. we should probably take these conversations offline to email for sake of fluency so i will reply to your question about “be careful” that way. if that’s ok.

      like you, i try to avoid OTCs and medicines, but i DO want you to know that it’s OK to make use of proven effective stuff — if you bloat and are moody, then take Midol — they work well. The benedryl is actually in Midol.

      If you find a good therapist (egads, I don’t think I’ve ever written about my EMDR therapy days), find one that does EMDR and get in quick. Nothing helped me as much as EMDR did, and then, it’s up to us ultimately.

      Your mother’s revelation about her first 6 months with you is jarring. She is toxic and you need to somehow reconcile that you are OK without relationship with her. I know you “think” you are, or at least you sound like it, but I’ve been there and it’s ambivalent as hell. Can you be OK with the ambivalence? That without love / passion hate / apathy is impossible? We don’t know silence until the noise stops.

      I am glad you were able to surf the waves of your rage this past weekend. I thought of you a lot. I hope you felt less alone. PMDD is horrific and I know you will be OK with it eventually … or your PDs will stop… lol and then we’re a bag of nails. The thing is, talk to the people at Womentowomen.com or take their online quiz; their stuff, “herbal equilibrium” is a 30-day free trial and well… you know my story. It helped me a ton.

      I also think that because you needed to “shut up your head” that maybe you can “lean in” to what’s going on. Lean in to your rage, let it tell you what it has only four days every 28 to say. Write stuff down; no one need see it. You don’t even have to read it yourself, just let it release and don’t judge it. Don’t fear it. Just let it express itself when it needs.

      Thanks for encouraging me too, to keep writing. My mother lived in a world I never understood; she used to tell me that I’m the kind of mother that she wished she had. Then she would also say I am the kind of mother she wished she were. And then she never tried. That’s not fair is it?

      Be good to yourself; your rage is really really REALLY trying to express itself. When you hold it in, try to control it, you’re invalidating it. You needn’t let it run you ragged, like “An American Werewolf in London” but it would be probably helpful to take it for a walk… Keep it on a leash, but let it vent. I know that once I let my shit out, it didn’t own me so much anymore. There’s a lot of resentment in my heart still, but I lean in to it. I ask it what it wants. You know what it says? “To be accepted. To be less alone.” If you can make peace between your conscious self and your unconscious self, things will be better. I assure you. There needs to be a meld. So much of my stuff was caught up in the intellectual part of my Self; my emotional side didn’t know WHAT to do with it. Now I’m learning to simply be OK with my intellectual side and let it in.

      That rumi quote is the best. Here’s another one:

      “You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.” –Thomas Merton

      Lean in, girl. Stop trying to fight it. It’s part of you. It’s OK.

      xo,
      m

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