The rest of my tribe is asleep. Even the dogs and cats are conked out on the floor. I'm sitting here wide awake. I took my grandfather back to his house last night after poker night at our house. It was 11:30 by the time we pulled into his driveway and I was so tired, so I spent the night. I went right to bed as soon as I got there and it didn't take long for me to fall asleep once my head hit the pillow. I woke up at 8 am feeling like I'd been run over by a truck. My back and hips ached and felt like ripping my uterus out due to the most horrible cramping I've experienced in a long while. The only redeeming part of last night's sleep was that I slept hard and had the most amazing dreams. Dreams are hit or miss with me. They are always so vivid and many years laters (decades for some), I could recite them to you from beginning to end in all their bright or morbid detail. I popped 3 Tylenol, said goodbye to my grandfather and headed the 45 min. back home. I struggled to stay awake while driving. As soon as I got home, I lay on the couch and was doing a slow motion writhe on the couch because I hurt so much. It took a little over an hour for the Tylenol to finally kick in. I started to doze on the couch until David suggested, at 9 am, to go lay in our room. It was about 12:30 pm when I finally woke up. I felt a bit more human by that point.
I've been dragging all day. I took Zach down the road to our little town beach so he could catch minnows and brought along my textbook for the Gender Roles course I'm taking this summer and didn't get much read because I had to keep redirecting myself in my book. On the drive home, we stopped at the creek so Zach could look for more fish. I opened all the doors of the truck, put my seat back and fell asleep again.
This has been my default mode the past few days. I try putting on the brave face for everyone around me. I don't want people to worry about me and wonder what's wrong. I just have those days, now and then, when I feel like I'm simply passing through life without really experiencing it. My mind plays tricks on me and it's those days when I feel like there are people that might be happier without me around and so I retreat inside myself.
Without giving too much TMI, for 7 days every month, I'm emotionally unavailable and useless to those around me. Over the years, I've learned to medicate and cope with the pain and infections that come along with the wonders of being a female every month since I was 13 years old. Spending time sleeping it off helps, but over the past few years, I've struggled to come to terms to the emotional, mental, and physical upheaval that has come with it. About a year and a half ago, the way that I felt, emotionally and physically, were so intense that it scared me. I set up an appointment with my doctor who then suggested that I see my OB/GYN. I was diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). I'd never heard of it before then, but have become well acquainted with it since then. When I got the diagnosis, I read everything I could about it, including the booklets that my OB/GYN sent me home with. Everything started to make sense, but at the same time, none of it made sense. It was shortly after this diagnosis that I started seeing my therapist.
There are months that have gone by since I've been in therapy when the emotional/mental toll isn't nearly as extreme, but there are months, like this one, that I feel completely and utterly useless. Last night was the deepest point and things are on their way up. There is a lot more going on in my life since last year so the dynamics have changed for me, as well in the relationships that I have. I think back to probably 5 years ago and never would I have imagined that I'd be in such a weird and different place emotionally, mentally, and physcially. I figured I would hit all of this at menopause. It's been a lot for me to take in and process at my age.
Tonight, though, has not be an easy processing session for me. I've blown through a bowl of multigrain cereal with bananas and skim milk, another bowl of rice krispies with bananas and skim milk, half a bag of stale salt and vinegar chips (that I rummaged in the back of the truck for while it was raining), 2 diet iced teas, 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on wheat bread, 2 nectarines, 2 more bananas, a pint of blueberries, and 5 Newton's fruit thins. I've never shared an itemized list from one of my bingeing sessions before other than in a food diary a few times but I thought it was important for people to see that people dealing with Binge Eating Disorder (BED) don't always binge on crap food. For many people dealing with BED, it's not about junk food, but food in general. And now I deal with the guilt and shame, along with the PMDD on top of it. Suddenly it makes sense to me why I feel like sleeping and not waking up till it's all over.
Like every month that I deal with the PMDD and BED jackpot, I feel like I don't have the luxury of showing the world who I am in "real time." Who I am at this moment would most likely scare people. They're not used to this "me." They're used to seeing the girl with the smile, the girl with the positive outlook, the girl that has it all together. And so I put on my mask and brace myself for the emotional and physical roller coaster of those 7 days.