Lets Talk about Mental Health


I am sat here in the midst of a severe bout of PMS (PreMenstrual Syndrome). I haven't been dressed all weekend. I have ate junk food. I have slept during the day but unable to sleep at night. I have been unable to watch a full TV programme or read a chapter of my book. I have paced the floor, been for baths and showers. I have attempted to tidy my house and gave in. I am sweaty, my hands are shaking, my heart is racing. My head hurts and I feel nauseous. I feel so anxious it is making me dizzy. I am crying one minute then filled with rage the next. I can't explain to friends because no matter how much they try how can they possibly understand how I am feeling when i do not understand it. This is my life with PMS.

  PMS is something I have suffered with since I was 11 years old. Over the years I have tried patches, tablets, injections and everything in between. Some things have made it better but mostly drugs tend to make it worse. I know this cycle is particularly bad due to a recent change in contraception. That does not make it any easier to cope with.

Why am I telling you this? because I was just about to post a recent photograph of me on social media with my hair and makeup looking perfect and I just felt like a fraud. I am far from that person in the picture at the moment and never want to portray myself as something I am not. I am a deeply private person so typing this is really hard for me but if I can help just one of you ladies suffering with PMS or anyone suffering with depression know that you are not alone then it will be worth it.

I'm not going to go into the medical definition of PMS (you can read that on the link above). For me PMS is struggling to deal with everyday life for roughly 5 days leading up to my period starting. PMS has become a bit of a laughing matter amongst men and women who do not suffer from the condition. People joke that women are 'hormonal and crabbit the days leading up to their period. For PMS suffers like myself it is far more than this.

For myself it starts out about 7-10 days before with really tender breasts. Well no, not tender actually really painful. Just getting a bra on and off can be very uncomfortable. The next symptom is one of the worst - Nightmares/Night terrors. These are just horrific. I wont go into detail but for a few nights a month every minute I am asleep (or it feels like that) I am reliving every horrific thing that has ever happened in my life as well as imagining all the dreadful things that could happen. This leads to complete exhaustion because my brain has just not had a rest. I cant think straight, I cant make decisions or remember anything. the whole world feels impossible to navigate. I struggle to even converse closest friends. I have to use all the energy I have for my children so hide myself away from the rest of the world. I suffer with pysical pain in my back, shoulder, head, legs and stomach. I struggle to complete every day tasks such as going to the supermarket or making a phone call as my anxiety is so severe and my brain so exhausted and muddled I feel like even these tasks which i wouldn't think twice about doing any other time of the month are now too much for me to handle. I am also not ashamed to admit that my PMS has frequently led me to feel suicidal. Although I am so lucky that I have never felt that attempting suicide was an option, I do frequently feel there is not much more I can take if that makes sense.

What I have listed is just a brief description of some of my symptoms.

Just some of the symptoms myself and
millions of other woman suffer every month
I use an app called Clue to track my menstrual cycle. (This is not a sponsored post!!) I love the app because it tracks all the areas of my cycle from the actual bleeding to symtoms such as bloating, cravings and tiredness. Most importantly for me it tracks my PMS. It is telling me today is the last day of PMS this cycle. I find this hard to admit to myself never mind type but knowing this is one of the very few things getting me through the day. Previously I have chosen not to track my cycle as I found myself dreading the bad days approaching which then ruined even more days for me. Since I have started using this app though I find it helps me stay focused and keep reminding myself that the way I am feeling is just my hormones and I will feel back to normal soon. Every month I do worry what if I don't come out of the other side. What if the 'PMS days' are gone and I still feel this low. What if it turns into full blown depression that I do not get a break from. I have discussed this with my GP and gynaecologist many times and they have always reassured me that as my PMS is so consistent and has been for many years I have not to worry about it turning into depression. That is easier said than done to be honest. The one thing I repeatedly tell myself when i am in the middle of these horrible days is how lucky I am that it is only a few days a month. How people suffering with depression deal with this everyday I will never know. You guys are amazing and I really hope the recent flurry of people talking about their mental health continues because it has been kept quiet way too long. I'm hoping that my children grow up in a world where mental health is recognised and respected in the same way physical health is.

The App I use for reference.
You may be asking yourself after my introduction why don't I get off my arse and do something to make myself feel better? I could bullshit you guys and say I don't know what to do to make myself feel better but in reality I do. I'm not saying I know how to cure myself but I know if I went a walk, to the gym, tidied my house or phoned my bestie for a chat I would feels miles better. So why don't I? anyone who suffers with mental health problems knows its not as simple as that. Yes most of us know what things we should be doing to help ourselves in various aspects of our lives but the reality is sometimes the smallest things are the hardest to do. For example, yesterday I done nothing productive (well productive in my eyes) so got up and got a shower today (after waking from horrific nightmares) with the intention of doing my housework and going for a walk. By the time I had managed to shower I was completely exhausted again. It took every bit of energy I had. I know fine well instead of feeling useless for only being able to manage a shower I should be saying well done to myself for achieving something. I should be content knowing my kids are still well looked after and happy regardless of how bad I feel. I should be proud knowing that neither of them are any the wiser of how bad I feel and are having a lovely weekend playing with friends. This is the problem with PMS its a vicious cycle of felling guilty for not doing the things you should be doing which makes symptoms such as anxiety and exhaustion worse meaning you are incapable of completing tasks so round and round you go.

I know what I SHOULD be thinking, feeling and doing but fucking PMS has won this round. Only one more day to go (THANK GOD!)

This post is unedited and raw. Excuse any spelling and grammar mistakes. I am more than happy if you guys wish to comment below or contact me privately with your PMS/Depression stories but please note I am no expert and cannot give any advice I would suggest you speak to family, friends or your GP. If you cannot do this please contact one of the following organisations. Nobody should have to suffer.

Sending Lots of Love and Positive Vibes,
Autumn xx
 aka Thirtyandmakeupmad


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