People have this belief that when you lose weight, you miraculously also lose the depression and anxiety (or any poor mental health) you have. Maybe it’s the people’s fault for believing in such a superficial thing. Maybe it’s my fault for allowing people to believe I was doing a lot better mentally since having surgery.
Hi, my name is Liz and I am currently going through PMDD and have been even before having weight-loss surgery.
When I was younger (like, in my teenage years), most people couldn’t tell whenever I was on my period. It came and went without any true mood swings or noticeable behaviors that would indicate it was my time of the month. “You’re always just so bubbly and happy” is what I would hear others say whenever I spoke about having my period.
As I got older, things changed. Once I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I also felt my cycles becoming more intense and difficult to handle. For one, I would overanalyze and overthink everything that was going on in my life, and when I couldn’t control everything that I was being anxious about, I would make impulse decisions that I tend to regret once I feel like my head is in a better place. A couple of years later, I was diagnosed with PMDD, or Premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
For those who may not know what PMDD Is, it’s a much more severe form of PMS. In a nutshell, it’s when the PMS stage is so severe, the person’s mental health deeply declines and their daily functioning declines as well. For me, PMDD feels like a battle of survival; that’s not even a joke. I am constantly fighting myself to be okay and keep calm during that time of month; sometimes I succeed while other times I find myself failing miserably. Plus, if I’m already juggling stress and anxiety prior to starting this cycle, the PMDD is a lot more extreme…
even if I am losing weight after having surgery.
At the end of the day, just because I am at a place in my life where I am making progress in bettering my physical health, it doesn’t automatically mean my mental health is now “cured”. I am going to continue to be affected by things that occur within my body; it’s just how my anatomy works.
I am not saying to walk on eggshells around me. I am not saying that I should be avoided and isolated at all costs when this time of the month comes. Yes, I will admit that I become the complete opposite of who I truly am, but I am still trying and learning to be okay as possible during this time.
All I ask is to be mindful and gentle with me. I am a hell of a lot more sensitive during this time, and quite honestly, I am a ticking time bomb on this particular week of the month. But, I am learning to have control over the things I can have control over, whether that means having to do what it takes for me to even be better for a small amount of time. But please, don’t assume this part of my life doesn’t exist because I should be happy for all the progress I’ve made in the past 9 months. I am grateful, but that doesn’t mean I can’t feel emotions like I once did and deal with issues in the same way I did before. I will always have the same mind, the same depressive episodes and anxiety attacks that don’t have anything to do with my weight loss; and I also have to remind myself that even with this new body I am learning to love and get used to on a day-to-day basis, I am in control of the things I put in my body during this time of the month and I am in control in how I take care for this body.
PMDD will tell my brain to throw out all of the progress I’ve made and eat things I shouldn’t. It will tell me that I should just eat/drink whatever it is it may be to just feel better for a quick moment or take a breather for once. But, even that causes me so much anxiety to the point where I feel like I have no control. Temporary happiness is not worth it.
As I go through the rest of my week and I hit the 9-month mark since having surgery, I remind myself that I still have such a long journey ahead of me. I still have so much of this process to live and get used to; one of them being the way I am able to control my food intake when I get into these really serious depressive episodes. I will find a way to handle my PMDD better, especially during the times when I’m entering that week already stressed out.
Weight loss doesn’t always equal happiness, and it certainly doesn’t mean my mind is now cured from the mental health illnesses I experience. It just means I am learning to adapt to this new lifestyle with some of the old lifestyle that I can’t easily get rid of.
And that’s okay if that’s the case.