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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Act Normal

This is not going to be easy. I am going to attempt to write today on the first day of the more severe symptoms of my month. It happened sometime this afternoon, went from happy confident business professional to unable to get out of my chair all of a sudden.

The biggest bothersome symptom right now is that my brain feels like a sack of jell-o. My fine motor skills are slowed and I am clumsy and dropping things. My depth perception seems to be off, that can be a result of water retention changes both in the eyes and around the brain. My heart is beating heavily and out of rhythm. When I try to get my melon of mush to focus it just wants me to stare off into space.
Which would be wonderful to succumb to if I didn't have a job, a child, a home and all the responsibilities that come with those things. By the time I finish the cooking and cleaning and have time to do nothing I will probably fall asleep out of sheer exhaustion. Then wake up at 6am and start trying to accomplish my daily routine with a smile, to the best of my ability. I will put on the 'costume' that goes with that 'character' and be the best actress I can be.

Because that's what we do. We act normal. We pretend there is not a nagging feeling of dread hanging over us, that every joint in our body isn't aching, that we aren't feeling under attack for no reason. We act like everything is fine when we are crying inside. It is how we have survived this long, a natural defense mechanism - social camouflage. In order to survive we have to blend in with the rest of the herd. It becomes second nature to hide any sign of problems. That is why when we finally get to a point where we are ready to be open about our illness or we need help there is a lot of resistance, criticism and judgement. Yes, it is possible to look totally fine, gorgeous even and be suffering from PMDD at that same moment.

The other side is that if we express what we are thinking and feeling or show anyone ourselves during a meltdown there is a real possibility of being taken to a mental health ward or facility. Or being subjected to tests, poked and prodded and groped just to be told again that there is nothing physically wrong that is causing the pain and suffering. Either of those scenarios is enough to drive any sane person insane anyway. It can only set back whatever progress we have made on ourselves up to that point. The trauma and stress of those situations and of being told that there is nothing wrong just adds fuel to the flame.

So here I am. Mask off. Costume on the floor. Baring my soul against every instinct I have to protect myself. I am here to tell every woman who has been suffering silently to stop acting. Just long enough to be honest with your loved ones and yourself. Just long enough to get some help from other sufferers or experts in the field. Just long enough to sit down in therapy, counseling, doctors visits and whatever else it takes to help. Because the character doesn't need the help, you do.


  1. Fantastic! *takes off her costume*

  2. Thank you!! Such a great compliment.

  3. I only recently realised how long my costume has been on and how convincing it is.

  4. Yes, it is possible to look great and feel awful at the same time. You put that well!

    For me, pmdd and working in customer service is a terrible mixture: you have to keep smiling and being friendly even when your brain seems to be melting and aggression bubbles underneath.