When I realized I was suffering from a cycle of depression caused by my hormones, I could not have felt more broken. I had experienced a spell of depression in my teenage years, so it was easy to recognize the symptoms when they resurfaced. This time, however, my circumstances had changed a bit. I had just gone off birth control and I was finally on a normal cycle for the first time in about 7 years. This meant that for the first time in my life I experienced the highs and lows of a menstrual cycle. I felt incredible for two weeks, and horrible for another two. This depression was not like the one I had experienced before – it was cyclical. Every week or two before my period I was buckling up for depression once again.
After trying a number of natural remedies, I had a few good months. Then I went through some bumpy ones. Each month became even more stressful than the last, not because anything exceedingly worse was happening, but because of the uncertainty of what the month ahead might look like for me and those closest to me. I would feel like I was making progress, but some months I would be hit by another spell of depression in my luteal phase, leaving me feeling helpless.
I began asking myself, “What can I do to help make myself feel better? What will help me through this?” I practiced acceptance. If the month did not go any better than the month before, it was OK. I would love myself for doing my best despite the outcome.
This new perspective not only lifted the weight of worry off of me, it gave me a newfound energy to search for new remedies. Only in learning to love myself through the uncertainty was I able to search for more answers, solutions, and do all I could to support my mental and physical wellbeing. I began reading books on depression and hormones. I started eating an anti-inflammatory diet. I tried new therapists, new forms of therapy, new tinctures, and new herbs.
I stood up for what I believed in – myself. I became a warrior, not a victim. I became a warrior fighting with love, not hate.
Learning to love myself unconditionally was something I had never thought of before. In this age of social media, we feel an obsessive need to be “perfect”. We want to look perfect, feel perfect, eat beautiful food, live in beautiful places, have the perfect career, all the time. But this is not the reality. In reality, people go through seasons. We work hard to succeed, it takes time and effort, tears, blood and sweat (just as many of us here know too well!)
When we learn to love ourselves unconditionally, we learn to love ourselves through victories and defeats, successes and shortcomings, through the good months and bad months, through each phase of our menstrual cycle. The stress we carry to be different, or the worry we hold on to that this month may be bad again, only adds to the chronic stress we experience that makes our symptoms worse!
Set all your PMDD-induced judgment and dark clouds aside and let a ray of sunshine pour through. Love may sound like a fairytale when you are crying on the floor suffering from yourself, but in a couple of days or weeks, you will see the treasures that unconditional self-love hold. Learning to accept yourself for all that you are will not only serve as an incredible tool for your PMDD, but also as a tool for your life overall. It teaches you to be forgiving, accepting, ambitious, compassionate, and more.
If we can engrain these concepts into our minds when we are in the easy times of our cycle, it will get easier and easier to remember them when we are in the dark. The moments in which we have the power to choose build into momentum, and all we can do is pray and hope that this momentum will carry us through the darkness and into the light.
Please, I beg of you, give yourself a big hug and say, “I am okay. I love myself anyways. I love that part of me and I will allow it to heal and give me strength.”
About The Warrior
PMDD may seem like something that stops you in your tracks, but finding out I suffered from PMDD allowed me to point to a problem and say “I will find a solution!” All great heroes have a mission, and mine is to conquer this antagonist and share my journey and lessons with others. My passions are philosophy, natural wellness, and yoga. I’ve made great strides in healing myself with natural remedies and I am studying to get the certifications needed to help other women heal themselves through diet, exercise, and natural remedies!
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