By Cristina Vallejo
I’ve done the math.
That is the amount of time I spend every year experiencing the symptoms of PMDD. That’s about 46% of every year. EVERY. YEAR. Let that sink in.
When you break it down with symptoms, that means that for 46% of the year I am this seething, volatile, anxious, raging, sad, bitter, and bloated person who just wants some ice cream and a big fluffy pillow.
For 168 days, I am me, but not myself. I am here, but not present. Real me is in the backseat, hands tied while PMDD has one hand on the wheel and the other hand giving everyone the finger while doing 90mph in a 40mph zone.
PMDD sucks away my energy, my happiness, my focus, my patience, and my self-control. It nestles itself in my brain unplugging and crisscrossing wires to where, I swear, I can almost physically feel things going haywire in there. But there is no restarting in safe mode. I’ve got to push through using this buggy system until it self-restarts to normal mode. In other words, until my period starts.
That’s 4,032 hours every year where I’m working to keep my emotions in check so that I don’t flip out on some poor undeserving bystander who happens to be in the line of PMDD fire. This doesn’t mean just at home with family, it means at work, at the gas station, at the grocery store, and with friends. It’s in those hours where I’m often apologizing to someone for not being my usual happy self or thanking someone for having extra patience with me, again.
For 241,920 minutes I am miserable. I want to break something. I want to scream. I want to cry. I want to disappear. I want to not be the smartass, raged-out bitch I feel myself being. I also want to eat all the Oreos.
But this also means that for 14.5 million seconds each year I am fighting to not let PMDD define who or what I am. That’s 241,000 minutes motivating me to do more research and to keep digging for treatments and progress. 4,000 hours that I spend giving myself pep talks and practicing some extra self-care, like ordering that fancy-sounding face oil.
That’s 168 days where I’m yelling, hands tied, from the backseat:
You won’t win!
You don’t own me!
I won’t give up!
Twenty-four weeks, every year, I spend time trying to learn from my PMDD. Practicing mindfulness to note when it has arrived, how it behaves, and what it’s doing to me. Studying it to prepare for the next month’s battle. Eventually, there will come a time when it has no chance to make a move.
Keep fighting with me PMDD warriors!
About the Warrior:
I’m a Native Texan but have been calling California my second-home for almost five years. I enjoy podcasts, video games, reading, and spending time with my boyfriend and his young son
Other pieces by Cristina Vallejo:
*Image credit: Concha Rodrigo