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Well, I've been slacking with my writing the last couple of weeks. I'm just now starting to feel better, but I'm still really tired. I think my iron may be low again. I have a list of things to blog about now, but haven't had the mojo to write. I figure since I know why I haven't been writing that I'd start there.
I'm not a fan of labels. I find often when we label something we start using it as an excuse. For a long time I just thought I was depressed and just had a bad period. I always had a bad period or at least at the time I considered it bad. Then after Riley was born I had my tubes tied. Everything was fine until February 2008 when I became extremely depressed. I didn't want to get out of bed, I was so tired all the time. I kept it all to myself and got out of bed everyday, not much choice when you have kids. I was there physically but emotionally not so much.
It wasn't until I got my period twice in the shortest month of the year to realize it was all related to my period. That's when I was first diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder also known as PMDD. We talked about methods to help counteract the symptoms and decided on anti-depressants. I was to take them for two weeks a month - the week before and the week of my period.
This helped get me out of the worst of my funk but by June I changed jobs and no longer had benefits and couldn't afford the medication. So, I started exercising. At first I was just going on walks and then I started biking. In September things got bad again, mostly I had my emotions in check, but I was so physically drained. I found out my iron was really low and it's no wonder with periods as heavy as mine. So, I started taking iron supplements and this helped a lot.
I was exercising and my period was still very heavy but I only seemed to have about one really bad emotional day the week before my period. For a while things were okay until I got a flat tire, then my bike got stolen and then it was winter. I kinda lost momentum after that. Since then I've been battling getting into the swing of exercising again. Mostly, I've ignored the problem hoping it'll all just go away.
Lately it seems it's worse again. I start to get really emotional about a week before my period. When I say emotional I mean it's really bad. I'll cry for no reason. The kids will annoy me. I'm angry all the time and honestly can't tell you what I'm mad about. Then of course are the times I do get mad for a reason and I'm like a wild hurricane destroying everything in its path.
I've started to read more about PMDD. I've found some really great information from real women who are also affected by it. Some, use birth control to help regulate their periods. Some use anti-depressants or a combination of both. There is no cure but some women have been able to manage their symptoms well. Others are just trying to make it through the day.
One big suggestion is to eliminate caffeine as it adds to the irritability.If you follow my blog at all you know how much I love my espresso drinks. So, I researched some more hoping it was just one opinion. Alas, it's a majority. I love my espresso, but I've decided not to completely ignore the facts. I'm no longer going to drink any Red Bull and I'm limiting myself to 1 cup of espresso a day. Now I admit MY cup of espresso is more like a bowl, but the caffeine equals 2 cups of regular coffee. I may continue to decrease my consumption but I love my java! I'm just not ready to give it up completely.
Let me break down a typical month for me with PMDD. About a week before my period is due I become extremely emotional. I'm overly sensitive to everything and very easily frustrated. Some months that part lasts only a day, other months the degree varies from day to day but ultimately stays until the last day or two of my period. Also, during this week I find it hard to sleep. I stay up much later than I should. Then I actually get my period and day one isn't too bad, but day two is very heavy and painful. By day three I literally do not want to get out of bed, all I want to do is sleep. I'm completely exhausted and in pain and I have my period for the full 7 days. Finally, my period is over and life starts to get back to normal. Well, as normal as my life gets.
So, that's my story. Ultimately, I know exercise alleviates a lot of my emotional symptoms. I've started going for a walk/jog at night after the kids are in bed. So far this week it seems to be going well. I'll let you know how it goes. When I've got some time I'll add a page dedicated to PMDD and some of the links I use.