Healthy Body, Happy Mind

Have you ever known you’re being completely irrational yet there’s not a damn thing you can do about it? If you’re female, I’m guessing your answer is yes. But has it ever happened to you for 6 months?

I’ve always been a bit of a loose cannon. I like to blame my dominant right-brain, my boyfriend blames my being female *rolls eyes* but whatever the root, my emotions have always driven me. I’ve been told to calm down, toughen up, ease up, and cool off  more times in my life than I can count. Always known as the girl with a smile glued to my face when I was a kid, the moment I hit puberty I could cry at the drop of a hat: I’m sad, I cry, I’m angry, I cry, I’m happy…well, usually I smile but certain happy moments bring me to tears. And as my thin skin grows to be a hindrance, getting tougher only meant that I developed a rage problem: out of nowhere, I stopped crying when people pissed me off and started grinding my teeth and swearing.  And then, in relationships, I’m giving till I not, I’m thrilled to death till I’m miserable, I’m all in till I’m ready to completely back out. I know, I’m a piece of work. If my good sides weren’t really good (and I have enough confidence that I can say, they are) my bad sides would make me so not worth it. But I am. That doesn’t mean its easy. And recently, it’s been really hard.

After months of more drastic than normal mood swings and a shorter than usual fuse, I actually broke up with my poor, patient boyfriend. Over nothing. It wasn’t until I was preparing to pack up my stuff and move out that I stopped, realized that what I was doing was A) insane, and B) a surefire way to make me hate my life for the next decade, and I turned to him and asked if I could take back the 2 hour freak-out that had just unfolded.

A little craziness makes life interesting, I like to say. But after half a year of insanity, I’m finally getting some help. There’s even a name for what I’ve got. While most women get annoying bouts of PMS prior to their…lady troubles, I have PMDD: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Rather than the few days of more-than-normal crying and the strange need for chocolate that comes with PMS, PMDD lasts for sometimes 2 weeks, and the surges of emotion are seriously detrimental to your day-to-day life. The moment I read the list of symptoms I literally shouted, “Yes! That! That is my fucking problem.” Just knowing what the issue was made it less of an issue. But there was still the matter of not letting it ruin my life.

So how am I keeping my hormones from driving away the people I love? Drugs? Naw. Therapy? Hah. Try B vitamins and a great running play-list.

Ever think that maybe what you put in your body does more than fatten you up? Ever think that exercise might be good for more than the muscles that are moving you along? Turns out, there are a lot more benefits to taking better care of myself than just my pants fitting more comfortably…which, believe me, is reward enough.

I haven’t felt this balanced, this…this…even in a long time. Since before the PMDD became a problem. Since…perhaps since ever. Even at my most physically active, back in high school, I wasn’t precisely mentally healthy. But then again, back then I ate about 5000 calories in carbs per day and I lived in a toxic environment. And in college I finally had a stable “home life” but my exercise regimen was non-existent.

But now I run three days a week. I do yoga twice a week. After 7 years I’ve given up my vegetarian lifestyle and *poof* my protein deficiency has evaporated. And I feel damn good. I guess this is the first time in my life that I have a happy home, a healthy diet, and an active body and the result is sanity.

I like it.





Filed under Wellness

5 responses to “Healthy Body, Happy Mind

  1. I have been wondering for a while if the craziness I’ve been experiencing has to do with PMDD or… something. How did you decide what kind and how much to take of the B vitamins?

  2. Thanks for the question!

    Prior to my official diagnosis I had already been looking into PMDD and starting taking additional B12, which may or may not have helped. But I’ve seen real change since upping my B9 intake–otherwise known as folic acid, or, in its natural form, folate–per the advice of my gynecologist. I was already taking a multi-vitamin that includes folic acid, so I really started making sure that I’m eat loads of foods high in folate (and they’re not hard to come by): beans, peanuts, broccoli, spinach, avocados, eggs, etc.

    Remember, with any man-made supplement, your body only absorbs a fraction of the vitamins included in the pill, so I believe tweaking your diet the way to go. But, I have to say, I have no medical training, so if you think you might have PMDD you really should talk to your doctor.

  3. oh. my. word. i found your blog through paleo pepper’s blog and i’m so glad i did.
    this describes exactly what i’ve been dealing with! i read this and frantically googled pmdd and almost every symptom listed is something i’m struggling with. my boyfriend and i are frustrated – i have been unsure what to make of my mood swings, headaches, low energy, general craziness etc because it is only about half the month – but it definitely is right before my period and stops right at the onset. this just makes sense.
    so, you say the b9 is where you noticed the most difference? i am away at school and unfortunately won’t be able to see a doctor for another three months but i want to try any small changes that might help in the meantime.

  4. Oh, I am so glad I could be of help! Yes, the folate seems to be where it’s at. I don’t think there’s any downside to getting enough or more than enough folate, especially being female, so go for it! But also, even though you won’t feel like it immediately following your period, try to get some good blood-pumping exercise: run, bike, even a long walk. Endorphins and dopamine work wonders!

  5. Taryn

    Holy shit. What an insane coincidence that I decided to read your archived blog posts TODAY of ALL DAYS.

    I am literally experiencing everything that you described here, everything this very moment. And I had the very same epiphany about PMDD mere hours ago, as I was flipping out on my boyfriend for the most ridiculous bullshit ever. Of course, I only realized it was the most ridiculous bullshit ever until I sat down and actually thought about what I was doing, which is rare when I’m having a hormonal episode.

    Thanks for giving me the hope that I too may get over myself. Man, you’re fucking awesome. Sorry for the swears but goddamn it, you are.

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