If you are experiencing a severe form of premenstrual syndrome, the good news is: you are not alone! The bad news is: It might not be PMS, but PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). Please visit your doctor for more information on how to limit impacts of PMDD on your life, find support in places like Reddit, by typing “pmdd” into the Instagram search bar, and opening up to your friends (who will be supportive but probably won’t fully get it, no matter how lovely they are).
I think about dying a lot. In fact, I’m thinking about dying as I’m typing this. Actually, thoughts of death are why I’m typing this.
I’m thinking of ways to die (nowhere high enough to jump from, knives would make a mess, not sure I’m ready for the pain that comes with meds I have on hand). I’m thinking of who’d come to my funeral (really annoying to have your close ones scattered around two countries, to be honest) and how they’d dress (hopefully there will be sequins). I’m thinking about who would call whom (maybe I should put together a list of people who’d be able to reach out to most people I know). Logistics, you know.
I’m thinking about the pain it would cause to some loved ones, and that’s pretty much what’s stopping me: If I think hard enough, I realize tomorrow will be a better day, with things and people to live for.
But I’m not sure when tomorrow will come, and in the meantime I’m feeling heavy, like nothing could ever lift me up from a well of emptiness, like it’s not even worth trying. Sometimes quiet crying comes and goes, and I don’t know why and how to control it. Sometimes I want to be alone and cry for the relief it could provide, but it’s impossible to shed a single tear. Sometimes I’m surrounded by people and all my energy goes into pretending.
I’m just stuck. Emotionally, creatively, socially, physically stuck.
I wish I were sad, but I’m just numb.
It’s unsettling, the power hormones have over the brain. They make me feel like every ounce of control I had over your life is slipping away. I don’t enjoy anything because nothing is enjoyable anymore. I watch myself do things I usually love, see people I usually love and feel nothing but a dark, neutral, infinite void, with a slice of suffocating panic, as if I were in an oxygen tank but had forgotten how to breathe. Actually, I often catch myself in apnea, choked by a blend of anxiety and despair.
I start avoiding situations I should enjoy because they add frustration to the numbness and it’s just too much to handle. And I avoid people I love, because it is too awkward for everyone. It should be easy to say: “I have severe depression this week. Yes, I was fine three days ago and I’ll probably be fine in a few days, too, or at least I should be, but this week, I just can’t”, but easy it is not. So the guilt of not being able to enjoy life comes with the guilt of not daring to express why.
I’ve told some people actually, but most people I haven’t. The issue is both shameful and a burden I don’t want others to carry – or worse, diminish. Because everything should be fine, so what am I staring into the void about?
I am ashamed because I’m helpless, and the helplessness is crippling. I am ashamed because mental health issues still tend to be minimized and it is hard to believe, even for me, that I am a very different person from one week to the next – I lost jobs and relationships to PMDD. I am ashamed because I declined the treatment options my doctor gave me, after warning me all possible solutions would impact the rest of my life, without guarantee to solve the main issue. I chose to damage control with lifestyle changes instead of going for the drug options, so I kind of brought it upon myself, right?
But I keep trying to do things I like, the easiest and most routine ones, just in case something sparks anything. And to entertain the feeling that those days won’t be completely lost and that I’m still functioning, even though I’m not. My sleep schedule, my appetite, my reactions, my body, nothing seems right. I don’t want to connect, I don’t want to create, conversations are a drag, moving is exhausting.
It feels like I’ve never been happy and never will be, all the while knowing it is just a week-long endless fog, until blood chases away the tears.