Drama Queen: My Battle With PMDD
Editor’s Note: Today’s post was written Katey Kerman. She blogs at Stretching Faith. I’ve lived my entire life never knowing what PMDD is or what it feels like. After reading this post, I know people in my life that have it. It’s a worthwhile and beautiful read. Katey also wrote a phenomenal post on serial flirting for us, called Chase Me If You Can. – Lauren
The lump in my throat reminded me of the battle I just lost. The tears streaming down my face told the story of my fighting my way out of what felt like a paper bag. My phone laid, shattered in pieces, across the floor from where I had collapsed in the shower. I could barely move.
My head is empty. I don’t quite remember turning the showerhead on, but there it is, pounding against the porcelain floor. I slip off my clothes disparagingly, avoiding the mirrors that surround and taunt me. The sound of the water hitting the empty shower creates a cocoon of white noise that my body finds comfort in. I move quietly into the rain so as to not disturb the cocoon and soon after begin to melt. The water beats down warmly against my skin, and I am amazed that I still feel nothing.
Two years ago I was diagnosed with Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Dysfunction (PMDD).
My body aches as I stand, and soon I find I have no effort or energy left to do so. Before I know it, I am sitting, watching the water come down at me. I shut my eyes and see darkness, but my soul fills up with the sense of freedom. What am I free from? What has chased me into the darkness of my own thoughts? Nothing. No response or inner stirrings make themselves present. To the world I am just a thoughtless girl sitting in a shower. Thoughtless and juvenile. I hold my legs close to my body and am reminded of a small child that tries very hard to collapse into a perfect ball after being placed in time out. This image wouldn’t exactly count as consolation, but it helps as I try so hard to hold back the flimsy tears that sear my disconnected eyes. I breathe. Deeply. In and out. Keeping my face lifted towards the water. The water gives me solace. It feels like a distant memory, washing over my shattered body.
Up until I was 20 years old, I struggled with understanding how other women dealt with PMS, never realizing I was different.
I taste salt in my mouth. I must be crying again. I’m sure my make-up is running. I wipe my eyes and lean over to the faucet to switch it from shower to bath. The waterfall that gushes out in front of my eyes keeps me entranced for a good 10 minutes. For an instant I am taken out of the scene and picture how perfectly “Wes Anderson” this moment might appear to an onlooker. I often feel like a walking monologue, a sad independent film that people wish to be a part of but rarely watch. It’s because of this thought that I truly understand. I’m nothing special. I’m just a girl trying to make it through this world so that I can humbly enter the next. I turn the water off and lie down. Fetal position. I can’t see clearly as I gaze at the cream-colored bed I have chosen for myself, but I can feel the tears trickling across my nose and into the pool of water I’m lying in. I don’t feel depressed or sad, but I know that I am. Yet there are no thoughts racing through my head. No worrisome dialogue. There is simply nothing. Exhaustion. Mental and physical. I want to be left alone for a while. I need to feel empty. As I lie in silence, I imagine that as I get up, all the water will fall from my body, and this weight will be lifted. I’ll smile and laugh and feel alive again. I like to imagine simple things will have a significantly positive impact on my life. It’s the only way to live. To hope. To live in optimism. To smile all the live-long day. It’s also tiring….
From the age of 10, for two weeks out of each month, I was gripped by an uncontrollable demon. In this possessed state I would suddenly lose control over my emotions, finding myself blinded by passion that was inexplicably authentic yet triggered by seemingly nothing. One minute I could be laughing, and the next I would be collapsed into tears. Sometimes I would get depressed, vulnerable, desolate and weak… then within seconds become furious with the person in closest proximity to me.
But life is tiring, isn’t it?
At the time, my parents didn’t know what to do with me and, in all honesty, deep down, I was ashamed for the way I behaved. But, yet, I couldn’t explain where the surge of depression, rage and emotional exhaustion had come from.
I had always been labeled as “sensitive,” but this was something different. This was uncontrollable, and it was slowly killing me.
I was drained. I was tired. All I knew was that I wanted to disappear…
Depression was known to run in my family. My mother would often console me with such comments as “Yes, yes… my sisters used to get this way when they PMSed too…” but each month I felt a little more afraid of myself. A little more terrified of the person that might come out.
I hurt people. I hurt myself. In those two weeks each month, living was a burden.
Finally, I had the common sense to ask questions. And before I knew it, there was a new label for why I couldn’t control myself. And attached to that, a sense of fear for being broken but equally a sense of hope for being “cured.”
I took the pills, I made the effort, I did the work, but nothing seemed to help. On the medication I was emotionless, and off the medication I was a mess.
I began feeling as though there was no escaping the hell of this hormonal imbalance.
It took many fights, tears, broken phones and scream-fests for me to hit rock bottom. But when I finally hit, that day that I found myself drowning the rage and depression of my current situation by hiding in my porcelain coffin, I gave myself room to breathe and began to reassess.
By the grace of God, I stood up and began looking at myself in a new way. That day, I would choose to be perfectly created. No more “broken Katey.” Being “sensitive” wasn’t a disease, and I wouldn’t let my emotional capacity cripple me. I took my emotional energy and threw it into doing good. Helping others. Making people smile. Working out. Acting. Writing. Reading. Sharing. Being. Loving.
It hasn’t been an easy journey. Far from it, in fact. But what I’ve learned is so critical: while we are all capable of emotional chaos, we are just as capable of finding strength to pull ourselves up. Even more than that — there are people out there that want to help. Whether you’re struggling with life or simply have a blessed capacity for feeling, you are never alone.
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