Archive | February, 2011

So I Went a Little Crazy…

25 Feb

There’s that part in my tagline that says “real” a few times. So here it is. I went a little crazy. It’s true. And I’m going to share my story because my friend Erica over at Polka Dot Hippo shared her story and if she hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have realized something was really wrong. I’m so grateful for her openness.

So it started probably about a year ago. Slowly. I was irritable. With everyone and everything. I would get frustrated more easily than I’d ever remembered. It happened around the same time every month…period time. So I chalked it up to PMS. But every month it got worse. I started to become angry. Really angry over things that would normally roll of my back. At first I didn’t realize it was me. I just thought everyone else was a really, giant asshole that week.

About 6 months ago I realized that something was wrong with me…but I didn’t know what. There’s a history of mental illness in my family so I kind of started freaking out. I kept worrying what if something really is wrong with me? And then lo and behold, my friend Erica posted this blog post: How Do I Regain Control? And I felt like, “Wow…someone else feels this way!” But the tricky part with that is then I believed all was fine…I wasn’t crazy or anything because someone else was feeling the same way. That whole safety in numbers thing. But then a short while later, Erica posted this: Mother’s Little Helper. And it made me stop in my tracks. It was an “aha” moment for me.

Here is the short description: Premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD is a condition associated with severe emotional and physical problems that are linked closed to the menstrual cycle. PMDD is not just a new name for PMS. It is, however, considered to be  a very severe form of PMS that affects about 5% of women. Both PMDD and PMS share symptoms in common that include depression, anxiety, tension, irritability and moodiness. What sets PMDD apart is its severity. Women with PMDD find that it has a very disruptive effect on their lives.

I went home that night and talked to Mike about her blogs posts and asked him to be really honest about me and how I’ve been acting lately. And he was awesome. He really was. He said that I was definitely flying into rages over things that I normally wouldn’t care about. He said my temper seemed to flare up and I’d become angrier than he could understand. I just felt out of control and angry and I wanted to know if he saw it too. And he did.

You want to know what it did to me…this PMDD thing? Mike and I rarely fight and when we do it’s pretty mellow. I bitch, he stares at me, we talk it out and usually within an hour all is great. We aren’t screamers. We don’t get physical. We don’t threaten divorce. We have been together for almost 10 years and the last few fights we had before I changed birth control pills, I took our wedding pictures off the walls, I told him I wanted a divorce and when he grabbed me to try to calm me down (because I was out of control angry) I kicked him. That’s a sad thing for me to admit. I love him more than anyone else in this world, so to realize that I had zero control over my behavior and hurt him in the process was really hard. It was time to talk to my doctor.

I made an early morning appointment and was terrified. It was a weird thing to see an OBGYN for. I met the doctor and she asked me why I was there and I told her. I told her that I felt that the week before my period the behavior and mood swings did not fall in the realm of normalcy. I told her I felt great most of the month except that one week when I was so angry and full of rage. She started talking about options and she was wonderful. She recommended switching my birth control pill to Beyaz, which contains a hormone that treats PMDD. I didn’t think this was going to work quick enough. I started crying. I was literally desperate. Desperate to stop being so angry…desperate to feel normal again…desperate to stop hurting my husband.  And I told her, “I can’t wait much longer to feel okay again. I just can’t. I need to be okay.” And honestly I was probably looking for something other than a birth control pill, but I am so grateful she persuaded me to try the switch first. She told me that I would see results in the first month and if I didn’t that I could call her and she would bring me in right away and put me on a different prescription.

That was exactly a month ago. I cannot even begin to explain the difference in my mood…not just around my period, but the entire month. My threshold for tolerance is higher. I’m not frustrated and when I am I don’t become filled with rage. I feel like me again. Mike said he noticed a difference within the first two weeks. That I was just happier overall. That I was affectionate and had a lot more patience than I’ve had recently. And I am so grateful for people like Erica, who share their stories. People who let me know that I’m not alone. Because everything I was going through, I hid…even from my best girlfriends. I think it’s normal to be afraid of being judged or labeled as crazy but we don’t grow if we stay where we are because we’re afraid. So there you have it. I went a little crazy.

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Pursuing Happiness

24 Feb

I love books that make me think. Right now I’m reading The Art of Happiness. The basic principle is that all humans seek happiness, regardless of religion, race, sex…we all seek to be happy. One of the things that it’s made me think about is what makes me happy. Now I know that it can’t be material…I know that if material items are removed or added to my life, my mood may go up or down, but eventually I’ll return to the same level of happiness I was before. So in order to figure out how to be happier I stopped and really thought about the things that make or have made me happy…down to my core. This list is not meant to be all-encompassing, just a quick list of happy moments. And since I got so happy inside when making this list, I wanted to share…to hopefully encourage people to find what makes them happy.

  1. Standing in my kitchen on New Year’s Day this year. The view into the front yard showed my daughter and her best friend jumping in a bouncy house, it showed two of my best girlfriends laughing and talking in the front yard and looking into the garage I saw Mike, Tuti and JP joking around with each other. This whole scene…this ten second “stop and smell the roses” moment left me filled with pure happiness, gratitude and feeling very, very blessed.
  2. The quiet of the morning when I tiptoe into Ava’s room, as I do every morning, and see her sprawled out in a position only a 4-year-old child can possibly sleep comfortably in. I always, always enjoy that moment…there’s so much peace and love in it.
  3. I think of trips to the river and the first boat ride of the morning, when the river is quiet and we cut the engine to just float for a little while. The sound of the waves lapping at the side of the boat. Again…there’s that peaceful feeling.
  4. I think back to meals eaten at my grandparents house. I remember the way my Grandma Perry would bring out all the different lunchmeats, cheese and bread and we would sit down to lunch. Always. I remember the summer I spent with my Grandma Dorothy…I had never enjoyed breakfast as thoroughly as I did during that time in my life. Every morning for over a month, that woman made biscuits and gravy like nobody I’ve ever met.
  5. I think about endless games of Marco Polo with my little brother and how much fun we used to have in the pool over summer breaks. I remember the time I was his hero. We went to school…he was in kindergarten and I was in 4th grade. My mom had gone to the air force base to go grocery shopping…it was about 25 minutes from our house. Well, they let us out of school early (snowstorm coming) and my mom wasn’t back yet…she didn’t know we had been let out. So here my little brother and I are, standing on the porch and he’s cold and crying and so what do I do? I kicked the door open. My dad was pissed but it was so worth it. My little brother’s face was priceless. I was a ninja…his ninja.
  6.  Then there’s the obvious…the birth of my little girl and my wedding day. And not just because they involve the two people I love most in this world, but because for those events ALL the people I love most in this world were there and again I felt blessed.
  7. Running…oh how running makes me happy. There are days it’s hard…days I don’t want to do it. But overall, the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a long run…it’s mine and it feels oh so good. Mile after mile after mile of free therapy. I run to get rid of pain and to gain happiness. And it works every time.
  8. Conversations with Ava…every day…she brings something new to the table. I laugh at her imitations of Mike, which she’s getting really good at…she even does the deep voice. I relish in her childhood innonece, her wild imagination and her huge heart. I never knew a 4-year-old could have so much concern and compassion. And I’d like to think Mike and I are part of that, but really I think some people are just born with certain characteristics.
  9. The friendships I have forged with my girlfriends…some old and some new. Knowing that I can share wine, laughter, tears, a bad day, a good day and no matter what I feel there’s this support that is humbling. They match my feelings…every ounce of excitement and every moment of disappointment. Having girlfriends like that…it’s a sisterhood…and I know I am lucky.

So I’m trying to change the way I think. I’m trying to weed out the negative thoughts…the negative people. I’m trying to remember that it’s the small moments in life that make me happy and that despite anything that comes my way, I am blessed.