Sunday, 22 January 2017

PMDD - from one man to another.





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Welcome...thanks for stopping by. Hopefully, this epic rambling may stimulate conversation, provide a glimpse into the lives of couples & families with PMDD and create an awareness of the challenges, trials & tribulations of men coping with partners with PMDD.


Should you have any questions, comments, ideas, or simply a need to vent, my email is popculture007@gmail.com & on twitter, +Chef Jay  (@popculture007). I also started a Facebook group to share thoughts, ideas:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/757135324436497/
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Let's get the basics out of the way - you probably already know about the symptoms and the ensuing tornado of emotions but, for thoroughness' sake:

What is PMDD? According to the Mayo Clinic:

"Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe, sometimes disabling extension of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Although regular PMS and PMDD both have physical and emotional symptoms, PMDD causes extreme mood shifts that can disrupt your work and damage your relationships.


In both PMDD and PMS, symptoms usually begin seven to 10 days before your period starts and continue for the first few days that you have your period. Both PMDD and PMS may also cause bloating, breast tenderness, fatigue, and changes in sleep and eating habits. In PMDD, however, at least one of these emotional and behavioural symptoms stands out:
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Anxiety or tension
  • Extreme moodiness
  • Marked irritability or anger
The cause of PMDD isn't clear. Underlying depression and anxiety are common in both PMS and PMDD, so it's possible that the hormonal changes that trigger a menstrual period worsen the symptoms of mood disorders."
(http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/expert-answers/pmdd/faq-20058315)


Why am I writing this epic dissertation on PMDD? Simple. I need to. There aren't many resources out there for guys. There isn't a strong support system - the number of comments I've seen by guys saying "run away" or "get the F out of the relationship" or "she's crazy" are overwhelming, insulting and, at the very least, a disappointing commentary on the state of men.

Living with a wife with PMDD (who's had it most of her life) and growing up with a sister who, looking back, had something along the same lines, I can say the following: It's worse than what's described. Does it need to be said that PMDD is NOT PMS? Duh.

"...symptoms begin 7 to 10 days" - not always. It can hit at a moment's notice. The anxieties can skyrocket in a heartbeat. The moodiness can take over without warning...a sound, a question, proximity to other humans...anything. One moment, she's sitting at the dining room table, the next, she's heading to the basement to burrow into pillows and blankets, watching Downton Abbey (or whichever show makes her feel better).

If your partner, wife, girlfriend, significant other is anything like my wife (who, according to her doctor, is a textbook case for PMDD), hopefully my words might help, enlighten or support you in your relationship. It's not easy. I feel for you. Really. It's hard as hell. You can do this.

Let me say this first (and I'll say it a couple more times before this is through):

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Family is key. Hers, Yours...they need to understand what you're going through, why she couldn't make it to Thanksgiving supper or church or your nephew's recital. She probably doesn't want to be around people. Including you. Your life must continue.

But here's the tough part: she will take it out on you. Why? Because she loves you. If she's letting loose her irritations, her tirades, her anger, her frustrations upon you, it means she trusts you. She's let you behind the curtain. But what sucks is that you will be yelled at, loathed, be the focal point of her ire. And, most likely, she won't want to talk about it. She won't want to dwell on it. Once its passed, she's done with it, not wanting to recall the dark place she endured. Why? Because it's over...and, most likely, she won't want to consider how her words or actions (which she may or may not remember expressing) affect you or those around her. It makes matters worse. Or, at least, that's what I've learned. Often, picking fights is an outlet for the tension in her mind and body. My wife says it's because she loves me. It's hard as hell, but don't give into the temptation to engage in an argument when she's PMDD-y. Walk away. Seriously. She will, likely, say things to get you going, get under your skin or piss you off. Walk away. She's only doing it to drag you down. It'll make things so much worse because, likely, she won't recall engaging you in a volatile discussion and you will. And, if you're like me, you'll hold it against her. Remember, dysphoria is 'a state of unease or generalized dissatisfaction with life' - compounded with her anxiety, depression, restlessness, agitation and irritation...it's like a tornado within her body and her words are letting some of the destructive forces out, wrecking you in the process. The tornado knows not what it destroys. Walk away.

Here's the best way my wife described it: She's in a deep, dark hole. There's only one way out and, to get there, she has to go through the darkness. She said, 'when I come out, into the light, it helps if you're there waiting for me...it makes things easier.' - that, for her, for our family, I can do.

We have 2 kids. They're realising (at the ages of 4 & 6) that "mommy doesn't feel very good" rather often. Until medication entered our house, her PMDD symptoms were, on average, 16 out of 30 days. Things are getting better...the boys are well versed in the "don't wake mommy" talk...or "mommy's very tired today" chat...my 4 y/o will come into our bedroom to sleep with me when mommy stays downstairs. As he puts it "I'll sleep with you, daddy, so you don't get sad".  

One thing that's not often identified when discussing symptoms of PMDD is suicidal fantasies. I learned, quickly, that the fantasies are VERY different from tendencies. I was told, "hide the pain pills away from me because that's the way I'd probably do it...less mess for you to clean up". WTF? Nobody prepares you for that mindset. (Note: I've since learned that this is called "suicide ideation".

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So...What do I do? How do I cope? What keeps me grounded? Why do I stay in a relationship that, clearly, is emotionally volatile?

First off, the boys. Dude & Lil Dude. I'm there for them. I take them away, keep them occupied, keep them entertained, keep them busy...but I also get their meals, make their lunches, do their laundry, bathe them and put them to bed...and I wake them up, make them breakfast, get them ready for school...it's not an equal division of labour, I know...but it's what needs to be done.

Why do I do all that? Why do I also do the groceries and the laundry and make suppers? Simple. I don't know if it's going to be one of THOSE days. I made a promise to myself that I'd do what I could to start the day off positively and easily for her. I anticipate the worst (it's gotten to the point where I have a 50/50 chance of  being right). I try and do everything I can so her anxiety is lessened. I can't get rid of it...but I can lower it. She calls me a martyr. So be it. I'd rather do that than be one of the guys who, at the first sign of adversity, turns tail and runs.


How do I survive? If I'm doing all of this, what am I doing for me? Well, it's taken a long time but, I've accepted the fact that it's not about me. It's not even about her. It's about the boys. If she's in a state, I trust her to handle it. I deal with the dudes.

WHAT ABOUT ME?


Don't get me wrong. I do things for me. I'm not talking about drinking or smoking or drugs (though my alcohol intake does increase on those PMDD days). For me, it's cooking. Something that has a beginning, middle, end. Something that involves the boys (so they don't bug mommy on the couch or in bed). Something that satisfies us. Something that's controllable by me. Something that's as challenging as I want to make it. Something that allows me to express myself to others. I can immerse myself in the process, pushing the stresses of the day to the side (at least temporarily).

Recently, I've been writing. I write how I'm feeling when she ups and leaves the dinner table or lashes out at me or tries to pick a fight just because she wants to argue. I keep track of the number of days she sleeps downstairs, while I deal with the boys through the night. I write lists (bucket, shopping, chores). I write quotes or words of wisdom and inspiration (to remind myself that I'm not alone...though it often feels like I am.)

My big one, though, is music. No, I don't write it or sing it or perform it. I listen to it. I have my 'mood music' to centre me. And, like her needs during her PMDD spells, what I need varies each time. It could be punk or rap or chillout or metal or classic rock or country...but when it's on, I'm in the zone, in the moment and in the mood. When I'm cooking, there's ALWAYS music on. Again, it shifts with my moods.

I'll say it: PMDD can be a selfish disorder if your partner blames every given frustration or moodiness or anxieties on it. And, trust me, it can go there. She will do what she needs to do for her when she needs to do it. Regardless of your intentions, there's very little you can do. She's been dealing with it, coping with it, handling it well before you entered the picture. She's dealt with it on her own and will continue to do so...ON HER OWN. Get over it. Seriously.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

For the love of humanity, when she says to leave her alone, LEAVE HER ALONE.
When you're trying to decide what to make for supper, avoid at all costs, asking question after question after question. Stick to one simple question with a yes or no answer. Most likely, she won't eat any food anyway so it doesn't matter what you make!

Please ask her, once, "is there anything you need" or "can I get you anything" or "is there anything I can do?" - but do NOT ask every few minutes.

Be prepared. It's the scout's motto. It's important here, too. Have her comfort foods on hand: perhaps it's a particular chocolate bar (Lindt dark chocolate with hot peppers for my wife) or salty snacks (chips? nachos?) - don't be surprised if they disappear during her moments of deep darkness. Even if you wanted some, you can buy more. Again, this can lead down the road of selfishness but get over it.

This is a disorder requiring frequent, unexpected sacrifice. You're going to need to give up stuff - she may need your attention...ooooooooorrrrrrrr....she may tell you to 'get the f--- out' meaning you need to find somewhere else to be (pub? friend's place? ANYWHERE but home). The nice thing is that, if she's coming out of her state, she'll text you to come home. When you do go home, say very little. Maybe a 'how are you feeling?' but don't you dare overwhelm her with story after story about what you saw, did, or heard. It's not - and never will be - about you during these times.


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One more thing. YOU. CAN'T. FIX. HER. Don't try. Don't tell her to 'go for a walk' or ask to go out for dinner or sex. Don't even consider telling her to 'get over it' or 'snap out of it' or tell her that it's nothing. It's everything. It's all consuming and all encompassing. It is a deep, dark hole that she's allowed herself to explore and it's scary as fu--. She doesn't want you down there with her. This is her own hell. You cannot and will not be her tour guide. Trust me. I've had my nuts in a sling one too many times thinking I could be the fixer...like I could be the solution to her problems. It sucks to not be able to solve a problem for her. I love my wife, but not having the tools to fix her hurts like hell. She's stronger than words can express...and it'll make you stronger the moment you accept the fact that you are not her knight in shining armour, rescuing her from a pit of despair.

So what are the solutions? There aren't any. Every month may be a different hell. Every time it rears it's ugly head, it may be a different stimulus that exacerbates her anxiety. You can usually predict when the darkness may arise but be prepared for spontaneous combustion.

There are medications (my wife's on Cipralex). Does it help? Yes. Is it a cure? No. Her PMDD still comes...but not as frequently. We're down to ~8-10 days a month now. It lowers sex drive. Decreases appetite (with sporadic bouts of gorging). Ironically, it CAN increase anxiety (!) which, I thought, it was supposed to minimize...but, whatever.

There's therapy. I'm sure there is. We just haven't explored it. Yet. 

There's exercise or yoga...something that centres the mind and body. But, dear man, don't suggest she work out while she's in the middle of an episode. You're likely to have a rolled up exercise mat shoved deep inside you through a very tiny orifice.  

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Why don't I go out more? Because I never know when the PMDD will kick in or when the depression or anxiety will hit. I never know, going to get groceries, if I'll come home to find her on the floor. I fear leaving her with the boys on 'bad' days because I never know what to expect when I come home - will they be trying to wake her up? will she be locked in her bedroom, sobbing? will she be unleashing her fury on the boys as they wildly chase each other through the house? It's the fear of the unknown.

Don't be surprised if you slip into your own funk after a particular bout of PMDD. It's draining. It's exhausting. You'll be physically, mentally and emotionally wiped. You'll be worrying about her, questioning yourself, wishing you could do more (once you've accepted you can't), wondering if she's ok...it's a whirlwind that is uncontrollable. It keeps you on edge. She may have said something particularly hurtful or mean (just to get you going). That sucks big time. Then, when the dark clouds pass, when she's all kinds of relieved and 'nice again', you may be relieved...but you'll be mentally overwhelmed. You'll want to talk to her...and, perhaps, she'll want to share her thoughts (what you did right, what you did wrong) and that, in itself, further drains you. You don't want to hear all the things you did wrong (or didn't do at all) do you?

It sounds mean or cruel or insensitive but, guys, suck it up. Man up and accept that your wife or partner or lover has PMDD. The more you learn about her & how she handles it the better off your relationship will be. It is an ongoing process, kind of like the Hobbits on their quest for the ring. It's an adventure but one fraught with chaos, insanity, danger and doubt.

What can you do? What can you say? It's easier said than done.

When she's not in a PMDD state, (and, please, don't inundate her with all of these questions at one time!)
  • Ask her what you can have on hand for her (salty? sweet? sex & the city boxset?)
  • Ask what you can do to help (tell her to be specific in what she wants from you - rub her lower back, check in without saying a word, hand her a cup of tea and walk out, etc)
  • Ask her what, specifically, she needs from you (a conversation afterwards? a walk? etc)
  • If you think medication is needed, tread carefully - choosing a safe time to mention intervention is paramount.
  • If asking her to seek treatment is tricky, wait til you mention 'therapy'...that's another whole kettle of fish.
There's more, I'm sure...but if you have any questions, comments, ideas, suggestions, tips or stories to share, please do so...though it may feel like you're alone, know you're not...the fact you're exploring how you can help your partner demonstrates your strength and resolve. Well done.


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A few sites that helped me realize I wasn't alone:

http://livingonaprayerwithpmdd.blogspot.ca/2011/01/dealing-with-pmdd-advice-for-men.html
http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Have-Pmdd/250255
http://meetmypmdd.blogspot.ca/2012/06/top-20-tips-for-men-dealing-with-pmdd.html


43 comments:

  1. Chef Jay - thank you for sharing your story. I must say that there are a lot of points that I can completely relate to. Like verbatim. I too have children who are school-aged. My wife's pmdd symptoms have been exasperated over the last couple years for a few reasons. As you know it is the most single difficult thing I've ever been through, even more difficult than grieving over my cousin who took his own life less than three years ago. My story of pmdd also involves physical verbal and emotional abuse from her. Not our children, just on me. And I would certainly never ever retaliate on that. I just simply take it like a defenseless little bitch because I know her brain is exploding. My question for you... What do you do when you feel like you just can't take it anymore? Like you just want to throw in the towel on your marriage? How do you get through it? At this point I am so exhausted... The most exhausted I've ever been emotionally in my entire life. Every single thing and our life revolves around her moods. And it is absolutely not fair. Yeah I know it's not about me at all. But you know what, I have to take care of everybody and if I'm falling apart then things are going to get really really bad. So many times I've just felt like I have to walk away. But I'm afraid she'll hurt herself if I do that.

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    1. First of all, the fact you're still with her, seeking support for yourself and looking for ways to better your relationship is key. It took me a long time to actually tell my wife that I was looking at and reading and participating in conversations about her PMDD with doctors online and through Liana's blog. Once I told her about my need to not feel alone, my need to find more information and my need to feel supported, things started to change.

      The simple truth is, walking away when she's combative is necessary. For both of you. Resist the urge to engage.

      I've been there mentally - thinking 'how can this go on?' and 'how can I do so much with so little acknowledgement and still be expected to do more?' and 'what about me?' - and it's hard. I went into a slump for awhile, not even knowing why. You've nailed it - it IS exhausting, physically, mentally, spiritually. It's a fear of the unknown - will today be one of THOSE days? what will I come home to? will we get out of the house as a family this weekend?

      And I hear you - sometimes, around our house, things revolve around her mood. I've accepted that if she wanted to hurt herself, she would and there's nothing I can do about it. I've come to terms with that fear...and it hurts like a MF. I'm guessing you don't want to think like that (I didn't)...but letting her know that you're seeking help beyond the house (online? therapy? blogs, diaries, etc) will open her eyes to the fact that YOU need help too. I told my wife that it's gotten to the point where I can no longer predict her 'bad days' so I've been tracking it and, noting that it's getting worse, needed to find help beyond the walls of our home because I wasn't getting any help within. By helping yourself, you're helping her...and it's an effective way to let her know how hard it is for you.

      And no, you're not defenseless or a bitch - in fact, you're a hell of a lot stronger than most men. Weaker men would've pissed off and left. Selfish men would've left her to fend for herself and suffer alone. You're there for her and for your family. That's more important than anything else.

      What can you do? Find something for yourself - I'm not talking drinking with the boys (most guys can't comprehend what we go through, sloughing it off as 'yeah, my wife has pms too') but something productive, that's not work related. Go to the gym or take a course (online, perhaps?), have time to watch YOUR shows - and let her know that that's YOUR time to centre yourself, regroup and rebuild for the next round. But, know that you may not always get it when you want it - be flexible in your opportunities to have time for you, as long as she knows why you need it. SOmetimes it may not even be alone time for you, but alone time for her that strengthens you. Perhaps it's taking the kids to the zoo or park or to a baseball game - I find myself taking the boys on my own (even to Walmart) so that she has her space to deal. It brings me back to what's important - the kids need me more than she needs me in those moments...focus on them.

      You're doing an amazing job - you're holding your family together, even when it feels like the world is falling apart around you. That's the strength that exceeds words.

      A teacher friend of mine once said, "imagine you are pitcher of water: for every moment you help another person, every time you give the gift of time to another, every time you share yourself with others, you're giving them the water in your jug...by the end of the day, you're empty. Who fills your jug? Who will replenish your water? Where do you go for nourishment?' That's the challenge.

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  2. Chef Jay - this blog is super timely! I have a wife that has PMDD and it's been, well, more than hard. I never, **never**, thought when I was younger that one day I'd be in a marriage that is so hard. I feel simultaneously guilty and angry; guilty because I fantasize about a marriage where emotional and physical intimacy would just be easier, where I don't have to wonder if my wife will lose it or finally break my spirit ... and angry that I'm in this situation and angry that she's in this situation because, I love her!. It's hard enough running my own life (career, finances, kids) but having to carry her's as well means that I have to put my some part of my own happiness on hold. I love my wife, and I support her under all of this, but with little to no thanks. Not that hearing "thanks" would make it all worthwhile, but at least I wouldn't feel so alone in my marriage. ... We've had a little bit of success from a bunch of things ... each adding up to nearly tipping the scales towards happiness. But what it's taken to get there ... well, there are days when I wonder if I'll ever be the guy who just feels safe and happy around my wife. Anyways, for any guys out there who have found this awesome blog, take a look at exercise, diet and thyroid stuff. I met a NP doctor in the bay who got us looking into that stuff and it's really made a difference ... but just today we had a meltdown at home so I know that nothing is a 'cure' just yet. .... Thanks Chef Jay!

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    1. Thanks for your words and your suggestions! I completely agree that exercise is a great outlet for her (and for you) but I'm guessing it's not as easy in the winter - that's the hardest period of the year - the comedown from Christmas holidays, the grey days, the cold weather, the low motivation. There's a greater need to hibernate which only exacerbates the PMDD symptoms.

      I also completely understand that, sometimes, 'thanks' is not enough. It's a work in progress, a piece of art that may never fully reveal itself. But the effort you're putting into your marriage is testament to your strength and commitment to her and your relationship. Well done, sir! With that dedication, she may test your spirit but I doubt she could break it! Your character is too strong for that.

      Lastly, I really like your 'tipping the scales towards happiness' - this is an ongoing goal for all of us, I believe. Well said.

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  3. Chef Jay, and whomever else - Is there a way somehow we can converse more privately? Im in desperate need of support and community from my fellow PMDD survivors (you guys), but am not comfortable doing that wide open here. Im not really familiar with blogger and the like. Id be fine with simply going thru email, possibly texting too. Thoughts?

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  4. I'd love to talk more somehow too.

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  5. Hi Guys -
    If you want to send me your email, we can share our thoughts, more privately. My email, associated with the blog, is popculture007@gmail.com (I'm new to this whole blogging thing too so we'll see how this goes).
    Send me your questions or concerns and perhaps, together, we can support each other through the challenges ahead.
    Cheers.
    Jay.

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    1. Thank you for beong so supportive through this. I've been looking for a group like this for years.

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  6. Man. So I've been going through this now for five years... Up until now I haven't been sure what was going on until reading this blog and other guys comments... Yes!! My wife has this and reading accounts of other people confirms it to me big time. . I'm struggling... Big time. Physical violence.. I can't take it anymore. And it always seems to start with irrational blame. I love her. I do. We are married with two beautiful children. Heartbroken. I need guidence

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    1. Also.. I'm exhausted from it too. Not handling it well anymore. At the beginning I had countless hours of patience for it. I feel like its dwindling away....

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    2. James - I hear you...I feel your pain...and I understand. My biggest obstacle, when my wife laid irrational blame and began creating arguments for the sake of arguing, was walking away...ignoring it. I left the room, found another place, took the kids out for a walk or to the zoo. Eventually, she realized that I wasn't going to engage in her games - her arguments and her desire to unleash verbally. She told me recently that she doesn't remember most of the arguments or the words she unleashed. Walking away, leaving her in her dark space is hard...it hurts you more than her. She wants to hurt you, in engaging you negatively. It is truly exhausting for you, I know...dealing with the kids, dealing with her, trying to keep it all together (your sanity, the family, etc) - if she's dysphoric, she won't remember or recall or have limited memory of the negativity, let alone your ignoring her in those times.

      I'm not sure if that helps at all, but if there is violence (towards you? the kids?) then that needs to stop. In times where you sense aggression from her, take the kids out, away, someplace else - it's daddy time. Eventually, hopefully, she'll realize that she won't have an outlet to unleash the negativity. It's a safety thing. I can tell you love her and I know you love your kids...so protect them...and yourself. Email me for more - or should you need to vent more intensely...I completely get it.

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    3. James. I don't know how long you've been with your lady. But if it is anything like me try really hard to remember from years ago that girl you met. Remember how she was before it got this bad and realize that she is still that person and all this is, not to trivialize it but, is just hormones. Now it's easy to say that... But she has to find an outlet other than you. My wife is starting to find one and has made a whole new Circle of Friends that I don't think really understand the gravity and magnitude of pmdd or maybe she hasn't even told them. But the point is she needs something new in her life and she needs additional emotional support. Because as guys we just want to fix things right? Well we can't fix this. And that really sucks ...and it hurts like a mother fucker. Sorry for the language but am I right? I think as men supporting women going through this terrible ordeal we should be proud of ourselves for sticking with her for being steadfast and solid even when we want to fall apart. And you know what go ahead and fall apart. Maybe not in front of her maybe going to a bathroom or quiet place for yourself but just break down man. You gotta do it. You have to you're human we all are. And we need to break down to be rebuilt and we collect ourselves so we can be strong for her. I myself have been seeing a therapist. I've only had one visit so far but I look forward to just venting anything and everything I want just to get it out of my head off my chest. As much as I'd like to think that my tall stature is strong and powerful, I'm really just a guy who could only hold so much you know? So it takes an incredible amount of strength and courage to support a woman suffering from this but be strong my friend. Be gentle and kind to her as if she was an infant. And I don't like when people say that. Well it's not about me, it's about her. I hate that. A woman suffering from pmdd who has a significant other and may even have children... And we all live in the same house we all suffer. And we subsequently all have to work together and understand exactly what the hell is going on how to handle ourselves.

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    4. Thanks man. I liked your response. I liked the be gentle to her like an infant thing Cuz I can see how that would help...
      I'll inevitably do something to set her off. Small in my eyes, bit major in hers. I don't even realize it beforehand. Then boom. A 1 1/2 day fight. Like yesterday. It'll be my fault in the end, sure fine. I'm sorry hun. We open back up and show love again.., until the next time. Its like can I know what will set her off or is it a matter of, she's gonna set off no matter what? I mean, if its not this, it'll just be that?..I mean, I feel like we are chipping away at it sometimes and other times it feels like one step forward two back. Truly a viscous cycle. How long have you been working at this yourself?

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    5. Blacksmith, man, I hear how about the remember when we were first together thing.. And in have. I desperately try to dig deep even in the middle of it, to try and remember that this is not really her.. But it usually escapes me and I get swept up in it. And I feel the need to defend myself. That probably wouldn't be the case if I wouldn't end up feeling like it was my fault after it was said and done.
      Yes, she has a support system of friends, so to speak. A group, an outlet.. But not constantly with them. Just randomly or weekly.
      I feel like she hates me. Or at best doesn't like me anymore.. After all the affection is minimal, but the flow of stand-off-ishness is not. I mean, I'm not just saying that I really feel like she doesn't like me... Maybe it's me that needs to change something
      You are right. It does take a lot of strength to support our women

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  7. Hi,
    I just discovered that there's a name to what occurs with me every month. I know this is a male blogging site, but I had to just stop by and say thanks for helping to spread awareness on this, and most of all giving men hope. I'm very touched and amazed at your care and support on this issue, and how insightful and in tuned you seem to be with it. I'm sorry for the suffering this has caused you all and your families. God Bless~

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  8. Hi Analisa - Welcome! Worry not about it being a 'mens blog' - it's for anyone who may be looking for help, guidance, insight, support...good luck on your journey and, should you have any questions, please ask...my mission is to help couples help each other...to create a community of support and care and, perhaps, shine a little light into what can be a dark time.

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  9. This is all so hard guys. James, I don't always handle things well either. In fact, I blew it just today man. I'm disappointed in myself...but none of us our perfect. Hang in there and keep doing what is right. Don't give up. Don't quit.

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    1. It IS hard ziro. And Thank you for sharing. Don't be disappointed, you are human too. Like dang, we can only take so much. Its not hard to do.. I think we are finally going to pull the trigger on counseling.. Nothing else has been working... It'd be a little easier to manage if it was predictable.. Like, oh yeah its the end of the month here it goes let me put my helmet on and suit up. But no, it even happens in the so called supposed easy time. Like I get excited when I though out that 10 day stretch ( I've named it hell week) and move into the next week and it'll happen then too. Like damn man. I know for sure she has this now, but is it like clock work for you? I mean is it two weeks off, and one or so on, kinda thing? Doesn't seem like it for me... No safe time. Like war,always on alert.

      I'm truly just excited that I've come across other guys who understand. I'm actually rather giddy haha. It feels hopeful after feeling all alone about this for more than five years

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  10. Predictable James? Ha! No way. She wants to believe it is, but I've been tracking her for about two months now. It isn't. It's random. And it's one reason I've considered that maybe she actually has Borderline Personality Disorder. PMDD supposedly follows the menstrual cycle. Not my woman.

    I totally understand man. I too wish it was predictable - and I guess in a way, it is: we can count on her always acting this way. The plan for me is to focus, focus, focus on me, not her. When she verbally assaults me, it very hard. But the truth is man, we can't change our wives. I have to have the strength and patience to react the right way - and today I didn't.

    Like I said before, hang in there. Do what's right. Be a man and be the pillar of strength she needs. (Easy to say to you man, but I totally failed my wife today). I'm staying in this though. I won't walk away from my marriage.

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  11. Hey guys,feel free to fiend me on Facebook.. We can message that way if youd like. (Messenger) Better than email for me. Search James hart or hannahsdaddy77. Thanks emails OK too but my wife checks emails for business stuff. If any of us have a bad moment or a bad day, we can just reach out.

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  12. James I tried to find you on fb anf fb messenger under that name...can't find you. are you under a different name?

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  13. I just put up a facebook profile under "Chef Jay" (or, as they want it to read: Jay Chef) - my email's the same: popculture007@gmail.com

    I'm working on putting a private group together.
    Cheers.
    J.

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    1. Excellent Chef...thanks. I think itd be so helpful to have that.

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    2. there are lots of 'chef jays' on fb..heh. what does the profile pic look like?

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    3. It should be the same as pic on here - me n dude sitting on a dock, backs to the camera. It should come up with my email too. facebook.com/chef.jay.19

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  14. Hi you awesome guys!! I am and my husband is suffering with PMDD and we just actually figured it out within the last 2 months. I have been diagnosed with EVERYTHING under the sun psychiatrically.... meds have never worked. Other than Xanax and Opioids.... which create their own problems and basically just knock me out. You guys are amazing. If your wives know you are researching and trying to find out about this disorder, I am sure they know you love them. I know my hubs walks on eggshells around me and he has told me on more than one occasion. I absolutely HATE that I put my family through so much. I feel like my children hate me. I don't want to hurt them and I honestly want to just bury my head in the sand and be numb... It is literally, all I can do, not to just end it all, to just take all the pills in the house. Every single one. Most times I feel as if everyone would be better off. I really don't want to hurt them, and feel like reality and perception are skewed... I don't know when my feelings are valid and when they are hormones or when I should or shouldn't be upset. I absolutely have no idea what is real and what is PMDD altered perception. I feel selfish for living.. and I feel selfish when I consider suicide. It sucks. There is no win... well until now... I am having a hysterectomy in a week.. FULL Hysterectomy, ovaries and all, they gotta go. I am 48, I don't want anymore children... it is a no brainer for me. I found a blog that opened my eyes. First it let me know what was going on in my body. I thought I was seriously going insane. Then, the blog gave me my solution. Thankfully, my GYN had already scheduled a full hysterectomy due to finding precancerous cells in my uterus... and because of that diagnosis and connecting the dots online (long story) I found out about PMDD and everything came together... it was a big ugly, scary, beautiful picture of diagnosis and cure....relief in sight. I just hope my marriage is not so damaged that we can't get past the pain I have caused due to this issue. I had no idea what was happening with me. I am linking you to a site where you can see this solution and how it has helped other women and saved lives and marriages. Maybe on a "good day" you can give your wives the link. It was a huge relief for me. I have been waiting for 2 months for my surgery date and every time I find myself holding the bottle of pills, I push myself go to this site and I determine to live one more day, because I finally have hope. Bless you. Even if your wives cannot express their gratitude right now, I will express it for them. I know for sure, that they appreciate you and are unable to clearly see in their minds. BTW, I may totally lose it in a second and forget all of what I just wrote and blame my husband for everything that is wrong in the world, but for this moment, I am clear, I appreciate him. Your wives appreciate you as well, I know they do. Thanks for what you do, you don't deserve what you are going through. https://msjekyllhyde.wordpress.com/about/

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    1. Wow...DMB68...thank you. Thank you for your determination and commitment to your family. Thank you for your recognition of your own and your husband's challenges. Thank you for your words of support for other men engaged in these situations.

      My feeling is, given how much the two of you have endured already, your marriage is not damaged. He's seen you through thick and thin, good and bad, and, as my wife put it, 'at the ugliest, darkest time of my existence' and he's still there...that's love.

      I understand about the pills...I've hidden my wife's pills and still, on her dark days, worry about what I'll find when I get home. Thankfully, the suicide ideations have subsided but I know they're still lingering somewhere within.

      Thank you for your link...and for your ongoing battle. Know there's always support - from your husband, family, from the guys on this blog - to remind you how wonderful and amazing a woman you are (and I don't know you either).

      "troubles they may come and go but good times, they're the gold..." (to quote our wedding song...we're a Dave Matthews household)

      Thank you for baring your heart and soul...you're a strong, powerful woman. The force is strong with you!

      J.

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  15. dmb68....i am not afraid to admit that i just shed some tears. men cry, men SHOULD cry, especially when going thru PMDD. I cried because it is SO incredibly nice to hear that..you really dont hate your husband. Your struggles sound so much like my wifes its unbelievable, nearly identical.

    The complexity and.. (for me at least) the sudden spring to emergency response team to help a stifle an irrational, unexplainable and intense panic attack. My nature is to respond with a "fixit plan"...like a sudden burst pipe in the basement. ... ...but THAT I can fix. I think it is so hard for me to consistently respond to spontaneous and unexplainable verbal and emotional dagger stabs. Who is the hell responds initially...to that with kindness, love, and tenderness? Anyone? Thats what I'M unrealistically expected to do per my wife. Is that considered a situation where the constant "man up!" insult applies?

    I encourage you to visit the Gia Allemand Foundation website (Formerly known as the National Association for PMDD). I had a very personal and candid phone call with the executive director a while back. She is an great person.

    You are worth EVERY.SINGLE.BIT. to so many. Think of every person in your family and friends. No, they may not understand PMDD but they care about you so much. I care about you and I dont even know you.
    You are beautiful and fierce warrior who has unfortunately been forced to wield a mighty large sword against the PMDD dragon.

    Hopefully us Blacksmith can help ease the fight by creating the best weapon we can provide... love. We try, we may fail and let you down, we try again and we will always. We'd absolutely fight this fight FOR you of we could, to protect our women like we've vowed to. Because you are worth the fight!!

    Just...please bare with us because we cannot see the dragon, but we shall hammer out the weapons.


    I know that was an awful lot of metaphor and analogic speak.. but I hope it paints a visual picture for you of how I see it.

    You are worth it..everything, all...of it. Just hang on.

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  16. Chef and Blacksmith (love the metaphors and the user name <3), thank you so much for replying. I am day 2 of good days... So, I am in tears as well...good tears. If I am honest, Sunday is my best day and if I stay out of my head and in church all day on Sunday, I get a really good day out of it. So the hubs goes to service in the morning and gives me the rest of my day to Lead my group of ex-addicts, and to just have my God time. I think I may have taken the pills by now if not for that. Now, I am not a religious person, but I do have a relationship with Christ. He has not "healed" me of this condition, but He did immediately deliver me from drug use, so I have to look at this as a stepping stone to where I/my family is going and how we will be used for good. Rest assured that I am an ADVOCATE minded person. We adopted from foster care, when I saw the issues there, I began to speak out and advocate for foster kids, I was a heroin and cocaine addict for years, I have written a book and speak at detoxes and rehabs to offer hope to the hopeless (we are in an epidemic of epic proportions currently) and now I plan to use this experience with PMDD to shed light on it. I have to see purpose in struggle... otherwise, it would be easy to just give up. I am a loud woman when I am passionate about something (and unfortunately when I am in the midst of "the dragon") but, it is my goal to educate myself, and then others about this issue. Shy is not a word that is in my vocabulary. I like to tell it like it is, when it can help someone else. My husband confirmed to me last night, "Maybe this is your next book." I had been thinking about that s well, so,I guess this is my next book... I am praying that you guys will get what you need and that when wifey is better, she will shower you with the praise and attention that you deserve and need. "for better or worse" It is awesome to see other's living it out. You can see my book or part of my story at www.desperateforafix.com ...is is about my life of drugs. I guess the next book could be desperate for a fix Part 2, my battle with PMDD. Be blessed!!!

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  17. DMB68, thank you for sharing your incredible story. I've visited your YouTube channel. Although I've never battled through addiction, I am very close to a woman who has. Although she is better than she used to be, it is always a struggle.

    I am also glad youve found some kind of peace in God, especially also battling PMDD!?..unbelievable you are! What an astounding story you have, your resilience and endurance.

    Regarding PMDD, and this for anyone either supporting or suffering from PMDD...visit www.napmdd.org , the Gia Allemand Foundation.

    I am NOT affiliated with them in anyway so I am not..promoting the site. But it is a great resource for all things PMDD related, as well as ths Youtube channel.

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    1. Thank you, you are amazing yourself. If not for my relationship with God, I would be dead either from drugs or from suicide... I know it. I am going to check out that site, thanks for sharing!!! :)

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  18. I just want to say that I am so glad and pleasantly surprised to see a blog for men in relationships with women who have pmdd. This is a truly horrid disorder and I'm sorry to those of you men who have been caught in the line of fire. Thank you for your patience and desire to understand and empathize. And thank you for your honesty in how tired and drained you become. Please, keep being honest if only here to each other.

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    1. Hi Rayven - Welcome!
      Thanks for you post...
      It's tough for many guys to continue fighting for those we love when there's so much hurt, pain and struggle. A simple thank you, a simple recognition of our efforts goes a log way to refilling our energy lost while fighting for our partners. It means a lot...
      So, thank you for acknowledging...it helps!

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    2. I second that! A simple thank you means the world. :)

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  19. I'm in tears reading this. Day 4 into my good days. All I ever ask from my partner is to recognise my bad days & walk away. When I ask for him to stop talking - just stop. My head is a whirlwind of bad, ugly & dark. I don't want to be questioned why I'm getting changed 10x to go out to dinner (I want to go to bed, not dinner) because I loathe everything I see in the mirror. I don't want to be told "I haven't done anything wrong", "what's wrong", "what have I done", "are you having a meltdown".... actually this makes the demon rage & that's enough for me to lie in bed sobbing because I can't go out to dinner now. Just walk away, leave me alone, stop talking. You have to live with it but I'm here trying to keep myself alive - and it's a battle, the hardest one, and there is nothing worth living for either, not even a little bit. Chef Jay thank you for writing your blog, thank you for understanding, and making things best you can for your wife. PMDD is the biggest mind f..k out. My councillor described it as a roller coaster, I said No it's more like being a tornado, unpredictable, destructive, cold & dark.

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    1. Welcome, Hayley -
      It really is hard for us (guys) to see someone we love in pain. The concept of not being able to fix something is foreign to us...and it equates to learning a new skill or trick...it takes practice, frustration and a determination to overcome our weaknesses, failures & faults. We always want to say something (silence, to most guys, is discomforting, disconcerting and, quite simply, sucks). Again, it's a trait that gets easier with practice and stubborn determination. Helping you means fixing ourselves first.

      Please let me know if you need anything or if you need a place to vent, cry out, etc...we're here to help!

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  20. Very good post, and great comments!! Want to take a look at more of your page when I can.
    Kudos to all of you for being very supportive and resilient spouses in the difficult situation that you are in. I have not been dx with PMDD, but having several other autoimmune/endocrine diseases and my own crazy rollercoaster with each monthly cycle, I can relate to the situation, and to what my poor hubby goes through.
    I have another suggestion for all of you spouses that has not come up yet: advocate for her. By that I mean several things - having been told myself by many OBGYNs and specialists out there after demanding better hormone testing, that there isn't any. Doctors understand that it's a problem caused by hormonal fluctuations, but they don't understand how it works or why things get so out of whack. And they don't care to, or the pharma companies that do the research aren't interested in it. Honestly, if running shoe companies are researching products that can sense and adapt to where a woman is in her cycle, it's really laughable that the medical world can't (or won't).
    It's also widely known that doctors take men's pain and medical complaints more seriously than women's. I've seen it firsthand - when my hubby and I both got really sick one winter, and he left the doc with all kinds of antibiotics and prescriptions, and all I got from the same doc was "take it easy for a few days and make chicken soup". I'm not trying to blame anyone or have a pity party, but what if all the men in the world started going to the doc with their wives and saying "she hurts. She really hurts and cannot function properly. Why aren't you helping her?"
    If anything, living with a nearly debilitating autoimmune disease for over a decade has taught me, it's that you have to be your own advocate. If there is someone in your life who who can help you in that, all the better, especially if you are in no condition to do it for yourself. Instead of being the supportive, silent type (though there are times when that is needed), what about taking that guy instinct to fix things and start looking for ways to be her advocate or fix the system, which would then help your wives and significant others?
    And the self care piece is really important too (even if you are the caregiver, and not the one with the health condition). Make sure you have down time to recharge your own batteries, or you will burn out!!

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    1. Hi Lemon Tree - Welcome & thanks for your astute observations...
      You're so right...there needs to be more advocacy from men for their partners...to fight for them when they're fighting through such pain and struggling with the darkest thoughts imaginable. The running shoe analogy perfectly exemplifies the medical world's resistance to officially acknowledging PMDD (and so many other disorders)...
      We've only just begun to, hopefully, be advocates for those we love and for those in similar situations...stay tuned!
      Cheers!

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  21. Wow!! THank you so much for sharing this. Your wife is a lucky woman to have you. She may not always show you but she appreciates you more than you know. I also suffer from PMDD and am also on Cipralex. Its a daily struggle for us. Thank you for staying and fighting the good fight with your wife. God Bless you both.

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    1. Hi there! Thanks for posting and acknowledging the struggles...and thank you for recognizing that it's an ongoing battle. Your words of encouragement help and, if I may say so, good luck to you and yours - may your resolve and determination and love grow with each passing day.

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  22. In addition to this (very lengthy) but excellent blog (THANK YOU CHEF JAY), I've created a support page on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/SupportersofPMDDSufferers/

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  23. Apologies from our woman (when appropriate) and acknowledging our efforts go a LONG way. I wish I heard both more, but I don't.

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  24. I wanted to share some of my experiences since I hope what has been working for me can work for others.

    I won’t go over the symptoms or the issues, as anyone who has read this blog and others like it (livingonaprayerwithpmdd) can attest to the striking similarity and challenge (to put it mildly).

    I love this woman to death. We aren’t married and the full extent of her bouts didn’t occur until we moved in together (we moved abroad). She is the most loyal, dedicated, warm, and loving individual I have ever met. When her PMDD strikes, she turns visigoth sacking Rome. The most hurtful and personal attacks I have ever experienced. Then when I finally blow up she feels victimized by me for defending myself. It takes a lot of time and effort to get me upset so when it occurs, there was a concerted effort to get me there.

    After nearly a year of living together and experiencing this monthly sacking, I came across these boards. It felt like a relief to understand that I wasn’t alone in dealing with this. I extensively searched the boards to see what worked with people. I read up on psychology. I read scientific papers published on the topic (Yazmin on PMDD).

    In short, we have experienced some success so I’d thought I’d share.

    For details sake, I’ll share what could be pertinent info for some.

    I am in my 30’s and she is in her 20’s. I’m an INTJ (MBTI) male and she is an ISFJ female (which makes her a very sensitive person to begin with). We have been together for nearly 2 years now.

    She uses Yasmin birth control on a continuous dosing interval (so far she has let herself have her period every 3 months). This has had a tremendous positive effect as we largely avoided the highs and lows associated with the 2 weeks leading up to her period.

    She takes Zoloft daily (50 mgs and 100 mgs on bad days). After 4 months, she got over the side effects. It’s helped. She may still get upset on occasion but she isn’t distraught over minor things as often.

    None of this was possible until I got her to accept her condition. She researched the symptoms herself. She read blogs such as these. She spoke to her doctors. Then, she realized that many of the fights that we had (about 95%), originated from her and during the time before her periods. She talked to a psychologist for a while and when we have fights that I don’t want to spiral downward, I ask her to talk to a trusted friend and get their opinions. They generally let her know that she is being unreasonable (since telling that myself would only inflame the situation). In short, her acceptance of her diagnosis, change in her birth control medication, Zoloft, an understanding of how we communicate and express ourselves as well as our needs (MBTI) has mitigated the effect of PMDD on our relationship.

    She still flips out for the most bizarre reasons sometimes. Usually in new situations where she feels uncomfortable about something (self-esteem, new people, jealousy/insecurity of some sort). But dedication on both our parts has led to passing a month with two minor arguments that are quickly resolved and perhaps one major argument every 3 months. This is a vast improvement over the one to two monthly weeks of peace that we had the year before.

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