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  • Writer's picturemarikenney

My She-Monster : PMDD

Updated: Dec 3, 2023

You wake up, and who you were yesterday is gone. Your body feels weighed down, a haze dances over your eyes, words become meaningless, emotions devolve into chaos, and your mind is a garbled stew of anxieties, paranoia, and anger. You try and keep quiet and push through - but the monster inside is hungry.


I've written about my struggles with PMDD in the past, and probably will continue to write about them until I get a hysterectomy or more than likely go through menopause. You'd be surprised how difficult it is to get a hysterectomy, even when you have the symptoms and the diagnosis. I don't want this organ nor do I need this organ. All it is doing is harming my chance of having a more balanced life.


But oh well, bitches be crazy.


Currently, my doctor put me on a regimen of progesterone - this is my first cycle on the pills - and they seem to be working, somewhat. This week I've felt the monster in the back of my mind, and I'm finding it easier to fight it off. But I know there will be days when I'm not ready for the battle. To be completely honest, fighting this monster every month is exhausting and many times I don't want to fight.


For those of you who are unfamiliar - PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) is a severe form of PMS, only 8% of people who have periods suffer from the disorder, and it can be debilitating for some.


In 1981, a woman named Sandie Craddock, stabbed and killed her co-worker. Sandie had a history of violent outbursts and criminal activity. When she went to trial for her crimes, the court examined her journals and medical records. They found a cyclical pattern to her violent outbursts and her crimes. She was charged with manslaughter, and when released on probation was sentenced to a treatment of progesterone to hopefully quell her violent streak.


During the first year of her probation, she only had two episodes of violence - both when she had either not taken her progesterone or had taken a lower dosage. One episode she threw a brick through a window, and the second, she went to a police station with a knife and tried to kill herself.


Now, I'm not condoning her actions, but I'm pointing out how powerfully disruptive PMDD can be. I also wanted to point out how PMDD has been around forever, but there has been minimal research into the disorder until recently. Unfortunately, we live in a society where women are labeled as "crazy" "hysterical" "emotional" - and our issues are downplayed or we're given half-assed treatments - Oh, you're hysterical? Let's have a doctor tickle your vag with a feather, that should help.


(If you want to know more - check out this article written by Christine Ro entitled The overlooked condition that can trigger extreme behavior. Really great piece that illuminates the issues of PMDD, and also motivated me to write this blog.)


Thank goodness that isn't the case anymore - I mean, not to that extreme. But we have to all agree that the medical field and it's history (much like American history) is marred by racist, sexist, ableist, ageist, homophobic, and transphobic ways of thought, and unfortunately, that foundation remains even in our modern world.


But I digress, let's talk about this she-monster.


The monster visits every two weeks. I can tell when she arrives because I feel the good parts of me fade away and I become this new person, this new thing. I sift through the lies of this monster to find any truths or lessons I need to learn. Many times, I'm confronted with past grievances - mostly things I've already worked through - the monster likes to remind me. She also likes me to think that I'm worthless, stupid, ugly, and a waste of life.

She's a tricky little devil.


Since my diagnosis, I've started to find ways to deal with the she-monster. Here are a few steps that have really helped me through this.


Step #1 - Don't try to push the monster down. You have to face her to control her.


Before, I would try to ignore the monster and that only caused unwanted anxiety, stress, and lack of sleep. This monster is strong and does not like to be ignored. Now, I face the monster. Whatever she wants to say, I let her say it. Then I tell her to "Fuck off". I know, eloquent. But it works.


Step #2 - Don't hide how you feel.


Growing up in the conservative south, women's health issues were met with jokes like, "I don't trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn't die" or statements like "She's acting like a bitch, she must be on her period." I felt like I had to hide what I was going through and the men/boys around me liked it that way. I was so surprised by the boys I went to college with who would turn into screaming titty babies when any conversation about women's health was brought up. Excuse me? I've had to sit through your tangents on being so horny that you could "jam your penis into the napkin holder" or playing a game called "slow grope". The game was easy. You go to a bar. Find a drunk woman. Slowly reach out to grope her and if she doesn't knock your hand away, she wanted it.


But once again, I digress.


If you don't feel 100% and don't feel like yourself, it is okay to tell people that. You don't have to lie or hide what you are going through. You shouldn't feel shame. You shouldn't feel less than. You shouldn't feel like something is wrong with you.


Step #3 - Find your treatment.


I'm a big advocate for listening to yourself. I won't lie and say it is easy. Especially since two weeks out of the month, I'm not me.


One big thing that helps is journaling. Journaling gives me the opportunity, when the monster is in town, to look back and ground myself on who I am. One thing the monster loves to do is make me want to leave everything. I want to pack up my things and walk into the woods and disappear. I can't do that. I don't even really want to do that, but the monster makes me believe it is a good idea.


Also, make a list of things you like to do. Be it writing, painting, singing, playing video games, watching movies, cleaning. Always have something to do, because if you sit around and let your mind wander - that monster is going to jump on in and mess up your thoughts.


Another big thing that helps is ritual baths. Get candles, oils, herbs, Epsom salt - and make a ritual bath. Use that time to pamper your body - focus on healing your body. During the monster's visit, my knees swell and my hips feel like they are on fire - the baths help sooth those angry joints.


Step #4 - Realize it won't last forever


Since being diagnosed, I've found it easier to deal with my symptoms, because I know when they are coming. Before, I never connected my shift in character to my cycle. Now, I know, so I can ready myself for battle.


When I am deep in PMDD, I remind myself - this won't last forever. I've made it through twenty six years of this - and it hasn't destroyed me yet. Not going to lie and say I haven't been on the edge of destruction - but I've never jumped. I'm hoping I never do.









Overall, PMDD is a monster, but a monster that can be vanquished.


Thanks for reading and hope the steps help anyone out there struggling with their own little monster.




















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