For those that say there is no such thing as depression, I invite you into my brain for my mini episodes every month during PMS (or PPMD). Seriously. Climb aboard my brain for just a week. Experience my reality during a storm once a month when my hormones are out of whack, and you will understand that as much as I try to prepare, our brain chemistry is quite powerful, there will always be a leak, so the best thing to do is prepare and ride it out.
I’ve finally gotten smart enough to know what my extreme despair is every month, so I get ready for them best I can. Some of my survival techniques that I practice include:
- Mark the date so I know when it is coming;
- Take birth control to manage hormonal swings;
- Meditate, exercise, eat well and get plenty of sleep;
- Write, blog, and work;
- Manage medications and therapy;
- Let the feelings move through me and not control me;
- Notify those closest to me to beware;
- Ask loves ones to be an especially good listener during this time, and do what they can to not engage if I’m getting negative;
- and pray.
It never fails, though, that water gets through. I think I plug every hole, but it seems while I am attneding to and plugging one hole, the water / emotions come through another. It is really an amazing phenomena to me.
I’m not talking small mood swings, I mean feelings so strong that I don’t even realize there could be another way. A problem that might normally bother me is felt as a complete and utterly hopeless bottom pit. I want to die. I find things wrong with everything. I convince myself that the little things really are big things and let them get to me.
It has gotten to be a game almost, so profound is the experience. I convince myself that this time I’m not going to let my brain and hormones trick me, and, alas, they do it yet again. So instead of fighting them now I experience the emotions, use the tools I know to express them in healthy ways, enjoy understanding the reasons behind the swings, and marvel at my brain for its amazing ability to outwit even its smartest ally.
And then I swear that next time, I will not let it win, only to be proven wrong again.
NOTE TO GUYS: When I say don’t engage, I mean don’t get caught up in the drama of my mind. I do NOT mean ignore me, belittle my emotions, ‘blame it on PMS’ or act in a condescending way. What I am suggesting is know that I am in a storm and treat me as if you could see me fighting to stay alive in this boat – with kindness, compassion, empathy, hope, forgiveness and love.
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