Recently, I wrote a very personal guest post on the travel blog, 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure about a rarely discussed (and often misdiagnosed) form of depression I live with called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). This disorder has affected my relationships, my mood, my well-being, even my travels. The post begins:
It happens in a flash. One moment, I’m project-driven, loving, almost manic in how many amazing things I can get done in a day. I volunteer my time at a local group for children, cook with my kid, plan travels and race through the streets of New York. I’m imbued with a love for everyone I meet and a passion for every new place I visit. I am Super Mom and writer extraordinaire. I take my kid on adventures around the world and live life to the fullest. You can almost SEE the light shooting from my eyes. I’m on fire. And it’s beautiful… I’m beautiful.
Then, every month, like clockwork, the switch is thrown. It begins in my blood—I feel it race through my veins, my heart skips a beat, and I need to stop whatever I’m doing to close my eyes and rub my temples. By the time I open my eyes again, I’m changed. I look into the mirror and see someone vile, wicked and ugly. Terrible thoughts cloud my judgment. It might be sunny outside, but darkness descends. It’s bad enough in the comforts of my home back in Brooklyn, but at times when I’ve been on the road with nothing to ground me to my routine, it has felt catastrophic.
This folks, is premenstrual dysphoric disorder, otherwise known as PMDD. It transforms women living with it into two people—like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—only without, you know, the murders.