iT robbed me of my dignity and poured gallons of shame all over my face. iT paraded around my space as if iT had ownership. I displayed my trophies in the most dignified way, so that anyone who looked my way can see the joy, love, and compassion on display. iT took my biggest accomplishments and tucked them away in a dark closet, where not even I could see the light of day.
A beautiful summer
I’ve had many summers, but none like this one. I had more barbecues than I could count. I landed a job that allows me to have 4 days off every week; and the best part is, absolutely NO PMDD SYMPTOMS. Three months of regular functioning hormones, and normal energy levels. Three months of PURE BLISS. Three months, but that’s it. Time once again has fooled me into thinking good things can last forever. Just like the seasons; everything shall pass. This moment right here, enjoy it because you only have it right now—-FOR NOW. I was blessed with three months filled with moments that a normal functioning person could easily take for granted. Time loved me so much that it paused for three whole months. I guess the universe sensed my weariness and pulled the emergency brakes. We ended up stranded in the most beautiful place where everything was green. We stayed there for three months; just me, my universe and time.
But it was a matter of time before iT would find us. iT had to be frustrated because iT had no one to take its anger out on. iT must’ve searched and searched tirelessly looking for me. Well iT found me; and iT was angry.
Every season shall pass and my summer was coming to an end. Someone pressed play and now here we are. It’s amazing how summer can make you forget how the cold brutal winter nights felt. The naked trees and grey skies. The dried up soil that use to hold beautiful layers of green life, suddenly can be mistaken for a graveyard. The unforgiving ice cold air that stiffens and drains your hair of the natural life it was given. The world around us becomes colorless like a black and white motion picture. Even our skin loses its natural melanin glow; which in return leaves us lifeless like zombies who’ve just arose.
because someone pressed play…
Winter has come; well, at least in my world. The ugly face of rage pressed play and made me pay for the three months I was away. iT picked me up and dumped me in the middle of nowhere. iT took my soul and left me feeling lifeless, with rage and sadness as my only company. iT was back and even more relentless than I remember iT being. iT left me with cloudy grey skies, and a fog that prevented me from forming rational thoughts. iT puked hate all over my love ones and shame all over my face. iT was back.
How could I have been fooled? Why did I assume that I could be a normal functioning human being when I share my existence with an less than normal creature. PMDD carries its own weight, therefore having its own identity. I’m nothing more than the soul that has been snatched and placed in a cage witnessing brutal attacks. I watch from a distance, but close enough to feel the pain of the victim who receives the abuse. Although iT isn’t a threat to anyone physical being; its venomous words and cold stature causes pain and discomfort to anyone who enters into its vicinity. iT came back and reminded me that I’m the prisoner. Three months of never calling out of work;being the best girlfriend, daughter, friend, and aunt I could be. Three months of freedom and warmth. Now that I know what that feels like; my search for relief continues. Time has given me the gift of remembrance. I remember what it feels like to be free of the symptoms of PMDD. For three months, I remembered.
Over the past year I’ve been slowly putting the broken pieces of myself back together. This eye opening journey thus far has been painful, scary, tough and confusing at times. When I made the decision to walk blindly into the unknown truths of life, is when I faced with my biggest obstacles. I am currently in the midst of a severe storm; one in which has no boundaries. I’m being hit hard in every single direction. This storm is called rejection. And since everything has a name, apparently I have Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria, or RSD for short; which basically means I don’t handle rejection well. What guided me to this conclusion is the overwhelming feeling of being stagnant. I literally had to sit down and ask myself “what more can I do?” I’m the queen of self help books, and living a healthy lifestyle. I felt like I’ve tried EVERYTHING from learning how to meditate, journaling daily, changing my diet, stepping out of my comfort zone, eliminating toxic people; if you can name it, I’ve done it. So I couldn’t understand how come I’m still in the same place I started. How come I’m not getting any answers, or at least moving even an inch towards the right direction?
In the midst of having a mental breakdown, it finally hit me. I’ve been playing it safe this entire time. I’ve been doing the things that I’m comfortable with doing in hopes that it will change my situation. Yes, those things I’ve mentioned have helped me in a lot of ways, including bringing me to this point. But none of it had the power to push me forward. None of it had the strength to break the last chain that has prevented me from moving towards my greatest potential. The only thing that holds the power strong enough to set me free, is me. I’ve went in every single direction except for one, and that’s facing the fear of rejection. I’m the youngest of five siblings on my mothers’ side, and the only girl. As a child I felt invincible. I couldn’t relate to my brothers and they didn’t relate to me, which led me to feeling like the only child. In the midst of feeling like the only child, I still had people surrounding me, but no one actually SAW me. Every time I spoke they would say I was too “emotional,” which stopped me from expressing how I felt for a very long time. I felt constantly brushed off, overlooked, and discounted. Even during the holidays I felt like I was only around to babysit my nieces and nephews. They automatically assumed this responsibility for me, even without asking me. I remember being 7 and 8 years old crying so hard in my room cutting my wrist. I never cut to actually kill myself but I would cut in the hopes that someone would notice the marks, therefore they would notice ME. I use to write in my diary at 9 years old saying things like “I wish I didn’t exist because no one notices me anyway. No one cares about how I feel. My mom works all the time, and my brothers have their own kids so they don’t care about me. My father (who I haven’t met at the time) doesn’t even care about me or his family (who I’ve never met, ever.)” I truly felt rejected, unworthy and small for my entire childhood. Little did I know that I would carry this feeling into my adult life. I’ve been subconsciously sabotaging myself before I could even get the chance toblossom. Every single time I walk into something that could potentially lead to something great for me; I reject myself. No matter what the situation may be, when I walk into a room filled with powerful people, I feel small. I feel like that little girl who is unworthy of getting attention. I feel like no one cares about what I have to say. I feel like I DON’T BELONG. I feel like I made a mistake, and I would never be enough. So when I feel this way, I automatically reject myself. I tell myself that I need to be seen and not heard. I convince myself that I should’ve never put myself in this situation to begin with. I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE THE LITTLE GIRL WHO CUT HER WRIST IN THE ROOM BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. I immediately feel intimidated by people in power.
WOW! It took a
lot for me to admit this to myself. I literally had gone back to every single
situation where I felt powerless. Then I had to go back even further to
remember where this feeling stemmed from. It hurt to think about it; it brought
tears to my eyes because for years I tried to forget that feeling. Even right
now typing this message is hard because in the back of my mind I can hear my
brothers telling me “You’re way too emotional, man up!” My first instinct is to
click backspace. My first instinct is to crawl back into my bubble that’s been
keeping me “safe.” My inner child is currently
telling me that no one cares about what I have to say, and to continue existing
without making any NOISE. I am TIRED of feeling worthless. I’m tired of
shrinking in a room filled with powerful people. I’m most definitely tired of
denying myself access to the greater things in life. Today I’m breaking the last
chain, because I AM WORTHY, I AM ENOUGH,
AND I MATTER. I deserve to take risk, and follow through without having the
fear of rejection. Rejection is not
something to be avoided; instead it’s a step towards the right direction. If
I allow myself to take risk without having the fear of rejection; I’m also
granting myself the opportunity to grow. It
was never because I’m not worthy of greatness; it was just because I couldn’t see
Here’s my advice to myself, and you: Whatever it is that’s holding you back from reaching your fullest potential, challenge it. Face it, and heal from it. In order to have the future you desire, you have to revise the story you’re telling yourself. Your story didn’t end with whatever it is that’s holding you back. You still have time to turn the page.
What will it take for
you to just go for it? Whatever “it” is, what needs to happen in order for you
to push yourself just a little harder than you pushed yesterday? Most of us
need to hit rock bottom before we have no choice but to go up. If you’re
anything like me, then you need to hit rock bottom a few times before you
decide that you never want to go back there ever again. My nickname should be “Crash
dummie” for all of the times I hit rock bottom. I think they have a name for
someone who keeps taking the same action over and over again, and expecting a
different result. Yup, that’s totally me; ignorant as fuck. Well anyway, you
have no idea what I’m talking about, so please allow me to elaborate…
It was a cold and gloomy night. Okay, it was really summer time, but I swear it feels cold and gloomy in this location no matter what the season may be. Anyway, It was a normal day at work fulfilling someone else dream. Once again I lost sight of who I am, which left me feeling like a mobile shell. Sound familiar? I have two words for you, Crash Dummie. I neglected the only thing that gives me life for months now. Do you know what happens when you hit rock bottom a few times? My body began to feel numb to the pain. This, my friend is called misery. As I roam the halls of this unfulfilled, cold, dark, and gloomy environment, I came across a short little nuisance; my boss of course. He frequently goes above and beyond to make another person feel small, mostly because he’s actually the tiniest little man I’ve ever met. It’s safe to say he loves to knock people down to his level in an effort to make himself feel big. By the way, he admitted to me later on that he “suffers from napoleon syndrome” so I can’t make this shit up; which I think was very big of him to admit, so cheers to you! So, all day this man has been harassing me about anything he could find to complain about. I usually just abide by whatever nonsense he says, just so I wouldn’t cause a conflict. You know being a tall female in a small mans world can be a threat on its own. But this day was too much for me. One of my coworkers accompanied me during my walk, because we were assigned to the same project. Coincidentally he doesn’t like this coworker as well, so we were essentially walking into the fire. As we made our way down the hallway, he rushed over to us and told us to “Separate, while doing the project we were assigned to do.” He doesn’t want us socializing while working, even if only for a brief moment. WOW! My coworker decided to ignore him, and didn’t budge, so I made the decision to relocate myself. As I was moving my items away from him I informed the other two coworkers, who he walked pass, that they should separate. I mean since we can’t socialize during working hours, right? Do y’all know that this man chased behind me and asked me “Do you have an attitude?!” Okay, I’ll pause the story here, because I need y’all to know that he literally ran behind me to ask me if I had an attitude. You have to be very determined to reflect your own feelings on another person, for you to chase behind them and basically ask them “Did it work this time, are you bothered yet?” I mean, that’s what it felt like he was asking. He wanted to know if his misery had company. I didn’t let him get to me, but I did inform him that I’m a grown woman, who was given a task that I was currently working on. Unless I was going against the work policy, I would appreciate if he’d give me the same level of respect that I give him. I walked off, and went straight to HQ about this incident. Later that day he came and apologized to me (which is when he admitted to having napoleon syndrome). I accepted his apology, and then he said “I see potential in you. This is why I pressure you, because there’s potential.” WHOA! This woke me up real quick out of my zombie mode I’ve been living in.
The word “potential” burned my soul. I went home reevaluating my life all over again. There’s so much I wanted to say to him, but I couldn’t. First of all, who are YOU to see potential in ME? “Potential” is a common a word that a lot of bosses use to motivate their staff, but what that word means to me is that you think you’re better than me. It means that you feel that you have the authority to even label someone in a category. No sir, you don’t. Is this potential you see created by a checklist of qualities? Up until that day, I was quiet when he would bully me constantly. Is that where you see potential; in my silence? I’ve been a walking shell; and never stood up for myself. I allowed my self to be tormented by this man, and also constantly being stumped in my growth within the company. I’ve inquired about higher positions on numerous occasions knowing that I’m more than qualified to be considered; and yet, I’ve never even been considered. They asked a coworker of mine who’s less than qualified, and constantly late to work “are you interested in a promotion,” before they even considered my inquiry. So this man stood in my face and told me he sees “potential” in me. As a woman dominated by men in a work environment where I have to go 10 times harder to prove my worth, without being looked at as “weak, or less than.” As a woman who deals with the heavy burden of PMDD on a monthly basis, but never ever complains, nor show any sign of weakness. As a black woman who walks into a male dominated environment and dares to inquire about a hire position working aside a group of egotistical men. As a woman who excels in a room full of men without the help of any man. You’re telling me that you see “potential” in me. Well, if you’re reading this I would like you to know that, I AM. I am already what you claim to see in me; and you’re just another obstacle on my way to the finish line. I can see why you’re threatened by me; I would be too if I were you. You don’t see potential; you see a threat. Don’t worry sir; I’m not coming for your position. My dreams and aspirations are much broader than what your small mind can comprehend. You have nothing to worry about, but thank you for waking me up. Thank you for reminding me of my “potential.” I almost lost sight of who I am.
The moment I decided to separate Effie from Ellie marked the start of a new journey. For years I’ve blamed myself for being inadequate, and seemingly weak. I never understood the revolving question “Why me?” It wasn’t until recently, after years of searching outwardly for answers that I finally decided to ask a different question. Why Not me? What entitles me to being exempt from the defects that come with being human? After all, no one is perfect right? In my world dealing with PMDD is the worst thing to live with, but is it really? Well, of course not. Still, this is my truth and my struggle, so I deserve to express that too. I’ve searched everywhere for my own truth. I’ve looked towards doctors, family, drugs, alcohol and money for definition. I needed to define myself because I couldn’t differentiate who I am, compared to who I thought I was. Who I thought I was is nothing more than a comparison of myself to society standards. I’ve spent so much time feeling as if I wasn’t enough; but who set the standards? Who am I building myself up to be enough for? When I realized that the answer to those questions is ME, it totally changed my perspective. If I’m living up to my own standards, why do I care about what anyone else thinks? What is the pride in hurting in silence? Why can’t I be beautiful while displaying all of my flaws?
The thing is I’ve known all of this, but at the same time I didn’t apply it. I’ve posted inspirational quotes on Facebook, but was I living in my truth? No. I only displayed what I thought people wanted to see and hurt in private. I displayed the fun, inspired, party girl; while hiding the depressed, suicidal broken girl. Now I’m not saying that everyone should go and tell all of their business on social media of course. What I’m saying is if pain and suffering is a part of being human, why are we only talking about the upsides? Why are we taught to hide our flaws, instead of embracing them? The truth is embracing our flaws leads to a wholesome, more complete feeling. So why does society teach us to hate ourselves? The reason why is because businesses feed off of our emotions. Their job is to make us feel as if we’re missing out (FOMO), or missing a piece of ourselves because it’s the only way they can make sales. Weight loss commercials aren’t even about health at all; it’s literally about image. Why aren’t there more commercials about coping techniques and support groups? Society does a good job brainwashing us at an early stage. It took me 29 years to figure it out, so BRAVO! For 29 years I basically was a slave to my own brain. I’m rambling about all of this to say this is what led me into falling prey to the effects of PMDD. Everything in my world up until now consists of problems, and quick fixes. I see a problem and guarantee there’s a product out there to fix it, or at least mask the symptoms.
So for years I’ve searched for quick fixes to my problem; only to realize there’s no quick fix, only “PAUSE.” I can press pause on my problems, but I can’t fix them. Why? Because you can only fix what’s broken, and I am not. I’m only human, and being human is beauty AND flaws.
Separating Effie from Ellie for me meant taking ownership of both sides. No matter how much I hate the down side of dealing with a mood disorder, I also embrace it. It’s no longer a hidden topic. What I didn’t expect is what happened next after embracing my WHOLE self. After years of searching for happiness, guess what happened next? This might sound like a bit of a cliché, but the moment I consciously stopped searching and found peace with all sides of me; that’s when it all stopped. I was no longer a victim searching for answers. For the first time in my life I had control of my own life. Instead of searching for a quick fix, I started to record when I experience shifting in my mood, and what it feels like. I also pin pointed when I felt closer to my true self (Ellie), and I separated the two while still embracing the oneness of both identities. Doing this granted me full control over my life. I no longer see PMDD as the enemy, but as a tainted part of my being. It’s my flaw in this imperfect world. My storm because the sun doesn’t shine forever; my darkness until there’s light. The more I acknowledge the differences, as well as the oneness; the less control Effie (PMDD) has over me. So here’s my F*CK YOU to society Standards.
Relationships are hard enough as it is, but dealing with PMDD and building relationships is even tougher. I often refer to those imbalanced moments as my alter ego named “EFFie”, which is just a name that my partner and I came up with to differentiate the two. Now here’s my Truth…
It’s not me, It’s PMDD (PT2)
I’m never myself when experiencing the symptoms associated with PMDD. During that time of the month Effie takes over, while Ellie is stuck in the back seat. I mean I can’t even call shot gun when Effie is driving. She’ll put “crazy” and “irrational” in the passenger seat before she even attempts to let me. Maybe that’s partially because if I get any closer to the bitch; ill be able to grab the wheel and take some control, But nope! I’m the back seat driver that no one listens to in my own damn vehicle, Go figure! Allow me to give you some more insight into our “situationship”.
Emotionally unstable EFFiE
Firstly, there’s two types of Effie. There’s the Nonchalant “I don’t give an Fuck about nothing” Effie; and then there’s the emotionally unstable “I hate everyone around me” Effie. Now before you go labeling me any further than I’ve already been labeled, please LET ME EXPLAIN.Some may call this Bipolar; I wouldn’t disagree with that assumption. Some call it Multiple personality disorder and even that sounds accurate. Some may even go as far as calling her Psycho; again, sounds pretty accurate to me. The only thing that separates Effie from all of these titles is one thing, and one thing only; she only comes around during those times of the month RIGHT BEFORE MY CYCLE. Yup, I have an intruder in my body that seems to have some type of monthly unwritten agreement with whoever decided to allow her inside in the first place. I swear I feel like my body is posted AirBNB; and once a month Effie comes in town for a few weeks, just to fuck shit up and leave.
“I have an intruder in my body that seems to have some sort of monthly unwritten agreement with whoever decided to allow her inside in the first place. ”
Effie even has different vision from Ellie. I (Ellie) have 20/20 vision, but Effie see’s everything in a blur and in only one color, and that color is Red. Red being signified as anger, pain, hate, you name it! She even paints my walls Red! What kind of agreement she has with my body that she’s able to alter shit. There has to be some type of vendor, client rules set in place within this agreement somewhere. Why should I have to clean up HER mess every month? Also someone needs to give this chick Effie some color correcting glasses, because she clearly has vision impairment; every thing she looks at turns red.
“What kind of agreement she has with my body that she’s able to alter shit.”
My mother is about 17 years strong in putting up with Effie; I got to give it to the lady, she’s definitely stronger than I am. Shit I can’t even put up with Effie when she’s in town, which is why I pack my shit and LEAVE! My mother listens to Effie little sly remarks, nods her head and keep it pushing. Whew better her than me; I’m telling you as soon as I know Effie is on the flight on her way in, I’m already settling in somewhere else. I just cannot deal with her intensity. When my mom came and visited one day, Effie had a cigarette burning, a bottle of cognac, a blunt rolled and about 10 pounds of water weight just lingering. This my friend, is emotionally unstable Effie; the Effie that can’t deal with all the different emotions, so she resorts to recreational drugs to attempt to mask the emotions. It never works though; this attempt only ever fools the people who aren’t too close to Ellie, like the ones who I primarily get drunk with and party. Those people would never know the real Effie because she does a good job with hiding her identity behind the booze. Effie only has very few friends, and they’re all honestly my family. I think they just had to learn to accept the fact that I share my existence with this intruder. Now that you have an idea of what Emotionally Unstable Effie looks like, it’s time for you to meet “Nonchalant” Effie.
“I think they just had to learn to accept the fact that I share my existence with this intruder.”
I never know which Effie is coming to visit me; and honestly, sometimes it seems as if they’re both staying here, although they only check in 1 guest when booking. This may sound sort of selfish but I prefer nonchalant Effie over emotionally unstable Effie. See, when Nonchalant Effie is in town it’s a different vibe; she feels, and cares for nothing. She is the true definition of un-bothered, and while this is okay for her and I to deal with; it’s not so much okay from our love ones standpoint. Going to meet nonchalant Effie is like meeting a brick wall in the winter time with frozen icicles hanging off the top of it. You’ll be lucky to get a text message saying “hi” from this Effie, and even that has to be forced. This Effie has more of an awareness of her being absent, although she doesn’t care much; deep down inside she knows that it may effect other people so she forces words out like “HI, or I’m fine” in an attempt to offer some sort of comfort for them during this brutal, cold time. I pray for any new relationships I try to form around the time this Effie is around.
“Going to meet nonchalant Effie is like meeting a brick wall in the winter time with frozen icicles hanging off the top of it.”
My hormones sometimes are so erratic that they have no other choice but to send a message to the brain to shut down certain parts associated with emotions; just to have a sense of order during this time. When that happens, that creates my super power known as nonchalant Effie. I refer to her as my superpower because it’s fucking insane the level of numbness she’s able to achieve; what was once a beautiful flower turns into an unnecessary object that’s taking up space. The only thing that this Effie ever feels good about is food, oh she lovessss food. This is the only commonality all three of us share, aside from sharing the same body. Still, don’t ask this Effie how’s her food. She’ll give you a dry response accompanied by a “Why are you talking to me human?” look on her face. This Effie is cool if you just leave her alone, and act like she doesn’t exist.
Ellie is the bombshell of the crew! She forms all of the meaningful relationships, leaving a beautiful vibrant impression on everything and everyone around her. That’s me, the creator, writer, lively soul who dances to the music in my head while using the pavement as my dance floor. You cannot come into contact with Ellie without your soul being lifted in so many ways. This is who I am, unfortunately I have enemies within. Those enemies are invited in every month, causing confusion to my disoriented and erratic hormones.
“That’s me, the creator, writer, lively soul who dances to the music in my head while using the pavement as my dance floor.”
In conclusion, You never know which Effie you’re getting until you shoot your shot. Go ahead, shoot your best shot. You’ll either miss the shot with nonchalant Effie, or hit the rim and the ball bounces back and knocks you in your face with emotionally unstable Effie. Either way, Ellie comes back home and she’s always ready to patch up any bruises, cuts or damages Effie’s may have caused. Ellie is the reason I’m able to survive these months, she’s stronger than both Effie’s put together because she’s the only rational thinker. Ellie is the only one who was here before the cycle begin, and she’ll be here long after it ends. After all, no matter who’s visiting this will always be MY home. Love,ELLiE