This year, despite the world going mad, I’ve learnt to listen to my body better. I’ve discovered a bunch of things about myself but the one thing I’ve found to be most interesting is this…
Premenstrual exacerbation. This is the term used to refer to when symptoms of an existing condition such as bipolar disorder, depression or in my case, anxiety, get worse in the days leading up to your period.
Maybe I was naive in thinking that this wasn’t a thing. I always associated PMS with bad moods such as a short temper and irritable mood- but never anxiety. It was back in August when I made the connection that the bad anxiety I was experiencing would coincide with the week before my period. And since then-the anxiety shows up like clockwork.
The good news is that this has definitely helped with being able to deal with these bad bouts of anxiety because it’s given them a meaning- validation if you like, and it means I’ve learnt to accept them for what they are. It also gives me hope that the dark cloud above my head will pass- and it does.
The bad news? I’m likely going to have to deal with it for the foreseeable. I’ve always been hormonal, and from an early age I had bad migraines and BAD PMS. After the birth of my first son, I was diagnosed with PTSD and PND. Looking back now, I can see that the PND was still there after the birth of my second son. I actually think it took my hormones a good four years to recover from having children.
Knowing when my anxiety is likely to get pretty bad means I can deal with it better. First off just knowing why it’s there helps greatly. I also make sure I take more time to be mindful around that time and this could be making sure I get a good workout in, laying off coffee and alcohol during this time or taking more time out for myself.
So far it’s worked. For the first time in a long time I feel like I’m in the driving seat. Sure, there are days when it completely throws me off guard and the battle in my head is most definitely there, but for the most part, I’m doing pretty well.