Surviving Hell Week is no joke for a PMDD warrior!
One minute I am happy, the next, I am crying uncontrollably and feel like not wanting to be here. This never ending cycle of painful cramps, bloating, fatigue, insomnia and suicidal ideation are just a few of the many symptoms that make it difficult for me to live a normal life. It’s unpredictable. It’s chaotic. It’s progress.
Life with PMDD is like an ongoing battle of confronting the darkness within and having the strength to pull yourself out of it. Don’t get me wrong, having a strong support system and healthy lifestyle helps, but it can only go so far. It’s about practicing self care and being kind to yourself! I mean, just knowing that I’ve survived one hell week before, it gives me enough reassurance that I can do it again. I believe it is the amount of work you put in preparation before the next hell weeks that will make the difference in how you cope with such symptoms when it arrives. So, I would recommend doing some research and finding out what resources and approaches work best for you.
Each cycle is different. The way I have coped with some symptoms may be effective during one cycle, but for another, it may not. Despite the inconsistency, one thing is for sure. I’ve learned that by monitoring my thoughts, behaviors and what I eat have, it helps keep my symptoms on check. Self awareness is key!
Take negative self talk for an example- once I can identify it, I acknowledge that it’s a red flag that I need to take a step back, take a deep breathe and reevaluate my feelings. I ask myself if it’s true then I tell myself at least two affirmations and remind myself that everything will be okay. Dealing with my escape fixation is another tough one. I realized that this unhealthy coping mechanism is a result on how I react to particular stressors that make me feel depressed, hopeless and irritable. If I don’t remove myself from the hostile environment, then that’s when my anxiety kicks in. So, whenever those unwanted emotions arise, I choose healthy habits like drawing, meditation, Zumba, running, reading a book, traveling to eating new food.
*Last Thoughts: Hell week is challenging for me because I don’t take medication for my symptoms due to a family history of mental illness. Even though I was prescribed Prozac, I decided to take Trazadone when needed for my insomnia and a holistic approach.