PMDD: The Monster Within


By Marla Sablyak

PMDD is like a Jekyll and Hyde experience, or maybe more of a Bruce Banner/Hulk experience, because it is always there waiting to be awakened… For most of the month, I don’t have to worry about it. Then, that day… well that couple of days, it shows up. Creeping in behind my eyes and ears, oozing into my brain, maybe more like Venom from Spider-Man. The sensations come in strong and constantly change, intensifying different sensory systems of my body, leaving me and those around me on edge as we blindly walk through a minefield-ridden 48 hours of life with the PMDD monster, all while trying to be normal.

My partner’s frustration is completely justified, as he cannot understand that I don’t know where the landmines are located or what will set them off. Wouldn’t it be me who dug up the dirt and planted them? “No I didn’t!” I try to explain desperately, knowing that I sound like a traitor or spy whose only goal is to sabotage this relationship while masked as an ally for the other 27 days. The part that kills me is, even when the bombs are disengaged those 27 days, as I walk in the field all I can think of is the inevitable re-deployment of those lethal self destructive weapons.

As a mother, the discouragement of not being able to pick myself up and get out of this dark hole adds to the shame I wake up with. Being stuck in the shower sobbing while my toddler stares at me babbling reassurance and concern shoots an unimaginable pain as I think about how much therapy he will need after watching his mom bounce from manic joy to depression in a matter of minutes.

I have been learning to let it ride and just acknowledge that I cannot will, convince, or “do” myself out of it. No amount of walks, sun, people, veggies, pizza, sleep can help combat this mess. I take supplements and abstain from alcohol when that day is close. Despite all my trying, and wishing, exercising and mindful eating, the monster cannot be kept at bay. It does not even lose an ounce of power. It only comes stronger as it taunts me with my useless efforts, making me feel all the more powerless, which only adds to its energy and power to disable me for the day.

The monster cannot be kept at bay…

I explained the feeling to a friend using the Venom example, and my boyfriend chimed in with “It’s a symbiotic relationship, they coexist and feed off of each other.” I felt crushed because he was right, except I get nothing from this monster except a wake of broken relationships, puffy eyes, glass and the occasional hole in the wall.  

I get nothing from this monster except a wake of broken relationships, puffy eyes, glass and the occasional hole in the wall.

The next day (which I am in now) feels like your first hangover after your 21st birthday. My head pounds, my body is shaky and disassociated from my brain. Shame becomes my second skin. How do I move forward in light of what I’ve just done and the hurt that I have caused people. I feel alone because I have pushed everyone away. I feel betrayed by my own self for allowing it to get like this. I feel hopeless because another month has passed and I am still a monster.

Why continue?

The only promise I have is another three days of torture, another three days of hurting my family, another month of trying my hardest to fix something I do not fully understand. I used to believe in God and in these moments, more than anything, I wish there was someone or something that could scoop me up and hold my trembling shaking body.

Exhaustion sets in as I grasp for any sort of normal to keep me from losing what’s left of my mind.

About the Warrior:

Marla Sablyak ~ rogue mama.


You might also like

Comments (5)

  • Karen 3 years ago Reply

    I would give anything to have 27 days of normal and 3 days of hell.

  • Anita Fanara 3 years ago Reply

    Wow, so well written. Exactly how I feel when “it” hits. The out of control, hysterics, rage and mania are so awful I catch myself screaming that I want to kill myself with tears streaming down my face. It is so hard to explain to friends and loved ones the horror that this truly is. What do we do?? What help is there?? I am 49 years old and frankly surprised that I have lived this long, that in one of my fits of rage that I actually haven’t taken my own life. I describe this as a living hell that never goes away–our vicious circle. I bet there are so many suicides that haven’t been connected to PMDD–just diagnosed as emotional issues or depression. I just had my “bad” day a few days ago so I know I have a few weeks of normal to come. But what happens the next time?? How do we cope? We all deserve a better way of life…

  • Gemma 3 years ago Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story, it helps as a Mom of a toddler to know that I am not alone, but there are others going through this torture too. I am having pmdd right now and I cannot believe I have to go through this for possibly the next 20 years. I try not to think that way but it is very hard not to. It’s just good to know I am not alone.

  • Cat 3 years ago Reply

    Beautiful writing about a horrible illness – you capture it so well. I have lived through ten days of PMDD every month for 30 years now so I am talking from experience when I give this advice and it sounds like you are willing to try just about anything if it helps. I just this month read about having 2 minute cold showers to help depression so I tried it in the midst of PMDD symptoms and the result was instant. The shower was horrible but the warm glow after was wonderful. 2 mins of discomfort to get my whole day back is totally worth it for me. It was like night and day. I’ve never had anything work like this did so when I hear of someone struggling this much I want to share my success just in case it can help you too. This was my first month of trying the cold showers but my last four days before my period were the most normal I have ever had in my life (and believe me, I’ve tried it all). I have hope for the first time in a very long time.

  • Alexa 2 years ago Reply

    Thank you Marla for sharing these raw, unbearable emotions and experiences. I can also relate, especially your description about keeping “the monster at bay”. I have always described the other side of me as a monster. I recently was invited to explain what it is like living with PMDD in a good friend’s podcast. It is titled “Feeding Monsters” and you can find it on spotify under LifeFlux. It would be nice to talk to someone who feels the same way. Feel free to reach out in email if you want to talk monsters and life. with love- Alexa

Leave a Reply