WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING MARRIED TO ME?
About 8 months ago, I asked my husband what it was like for him to be married to me.
He gave me several positive answers first, but honestly, I can't tell you a single one of them because the next thing he said was, "I never know what mood you're going to be in."
Ouch. I guess I asked for it, huh.
But if I'm being honest with myself, I could've guessed that would be the one hard thing for him when it comes to being married to me because I never know what mood I'm going to be in either.
My husband and I have been in a heated argument once, and it was while we were dating. I'm telling you this because I think it sets the stage for what I'm about to tell you.
We are generally pretty good at communicating with each other. Every now and then we'll sit down together and talk about our frustrations with each other or work out our disagreements through civil (and usually painfully hard) conversation.
I knew I could ask my husband this question and he would give me a kind and considerate, albeit honest, answer. I knew he wouldn't take it as an opportunity to point out all of my many flaws because he is a good man and he loves me.
While the admission of his frustration with my emotional roller coaster stung a little, it also helped me realize where in our marriage we have room to grow -- where I have room to grow.
So I started seeing a therapist.
I've never been very good at recognizing and verbalizing my own emotions (no surprise there, considering I'm an Enneagram 9). But just because I've never been good at something doesn't mean I can't become good at it, right?
Now, I'm learning how to identify, verbalize, and cope with my emotions through counseling.
Learning about myself has been helpful in coping with the extreme mood swings I was having, but I also wanted to know why the mood swings were even happening in the first place.
I'm a "get to the root of the issue" kind of girl. I don't do Band-Aids.
So I also saw my doctor and told her what I had been going through. She diagnosed me with PMDD -- premenstrual dysphoric disorder (basically PMS on steroids).
PMDD isn't a hormonal imbalance, rather it's a "severe negative reaction to the natural rise and fall of estrogen and progesterone." Symptoms, for me, include: mood swings, extreme irritability, anxiety, brain fog, and both insomnia and hypersomnia.
Looking back, I've been dealing with mild symptoms of PMDD ever since my first pregnancy in 2017. But my symptoms escalated drastically after River, my son, abruptly weaned himself from breastfeeding about 11 months ago.
I'm a few months into this diagnosis and I'm trying out different medications to see what works for me. I can't say I've found the right concoction yet, but I am seeing positive changes. Praise the Lord!!
I think the hardest part of dealing with PMDD symptoms is that I knew it wasn't me at my core, but I didn't know how to stop feeling that way.
I'm not a mean mom. I don't like to yell. I don't like it when my family has to walk on eggshells around me.
I love gentle parenting techniques that nurture my children's little souls. I love engaging with them in play and being the one they run to when they're afraid or hurting.
I'm not sure if medication is my long term solution, but for now, it (and my amazing therapist) is helping me feel more like ME. And I am so grateful for that.
I'm also thankful for my husband. He has loved me through a lot in our almost 5 years of marriage. School, two pregnancies, one miscarriage, breastfeeding, stay-at-home mom, working mom, foster mom, all of the life changes... We have been through a lot, and he has loved me every moment along the way.
He is such a good man.
And as I wrap up here... If you're going through a hard time mentally as well, just know you're not alone. It's okay to not be okay. It's okay to seek help. It's okay to need medication. It's okay to see a therapist. It's okay to be honest with yourself and your spouse about hard things. Take care of yourself, mama <3