Friday, April 16, 2010

My Own Red Tent

Today is not the day to blog. But since I haven’t posted since Tuesday, I feel an obligation to you to post something, especially since I said I would do my best to blog at least every other day. As my mother always said, “Be careful what you ask for.”

It’s the beginning of the third week of the month and the third week of the month is not a good one for me. I am not rational. I am not level-headed. If I hear someone breathing wrong, there is a good chance this will incite me to yell. It is not a day (or week for that matter) to ask me too many questions, or need me in any way that requires even a tiny bit of effort on my part. And you can be damn sure I’m not going to cook anything.

Years ago, after a rant with my PCP that went something like, “I hate my kids I hate my life I hate my husband I hate where I live I hate my haircut I hate how my finger nail grows out with a split in it I hate the way the baseboards are always dusty I hate how my husband blinks I hate how the cat is fluffy” she decided I probably suffered from PMDD or pre-menstrual disphoric disorder. In other words, PMS with a really, really bad case of PMS.

That was some years back and since then I’d like to think my hormone levels have regulated themselves back to something more along the lines of your run-of-the-mill PMS. Maybe it’s the weather that also has me all messed up, because this particular third week of the month it seems like my PMDD symptoms are back. Mainly because I’m feeling like I hate my kids I hate my life I hate my husband I hate where I live I hate my haircut I hate how my finger nail grows out with a split in it I hate the way the baseboards are always dusty I hate how my husband blinks I hate how the cat is fluffy even though my cat kicked it two years ago.

Now I’m starting to cry. F’ing dead cat.

Just to be sure I’m still sane, I went online to check out the symptoms for PMDD, you know, to reassure my crying, unreasonable psyche that I’m normal and not experiencing anything out of the ordinary. Here’s what I found on the Google Health Website:

“The symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of PMS, but they are generally more severe and debilitating. Five or more of the following symptoms must be present:
  • Disinterest in daily activities and relationships
Is the fact that I don’t want to make dinner, fold laundry, or talk to my children considered ‘disinterest’ or occasional normal mom behavior?

  • Fatigue or low energy
After my two hour nap today, it took every ounce of strength I could muster to open my eye lids. Don’t even get me started about how long it took to put my slippers back on.

  • Feeling of sadness or hopelessness, possible suicidal thoughts
The good news here is that I’m not experiencing any suicidal thoughts, but I am seriously thinking about applying for a year-long sabbatical from this house. I am feeling some sadness at the fact that we’re not going anywhere exotic for spring break (or anywhere at all actually) and hopeless that my house will ever have more than two rooms that are clean simultaneously.

  • Feelings of tension or anxiety
This is pretty much how I live everyday. What’s wrong with tension and anxiety? They are practically my writing muses. They live on each shoulder. I wouldn’t even know how to wake up in the morning without Tension and Anxiety.

  • Feeling out of control
Yes. Practically my whole life. If this is a tell-tale sign of PMDD, then I’ve had it since I was 10 and while I was pregnant.

  • Food cravings or binge eating
Do the six M&M cookies I ate before dinner and the five I’m eating after dinner count as binge eating? Or that I want to eat anything from Paula Deen's cookbook?

  • Mood swings marked by periods of teariness
Doesn’t every wife cry when her husband calls and says he’s going to be late coming home from work? Or when the box of spaghetti falls onto the nasty floor? Or when you just missed Cooking with Paula Deen and now Rachael Ray is on and you CAN’T STAND Rachel Ray? I don’t think I’m an anomaly here.

  • Panic attacks
I know something about panic attacks and can safely say I haven’t had one in a really long time. Which makes me worry that I’m long overdue for one, which leaves me feeling our of control.

  • Persistent irritability or anger that affects other people
Affects how? I’d like them to clarify this because sometimes my persistent irritability and anger doesn’t affect anyone. Most of the time my family ignores me.

  • Trouble concentrating
I’m sorry,….what?

  • Physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain
Maybe bloating is the reason my normal jeans are getting snug and I have a slight case of dun-lap disease. Yes, yes, it’s got to be bloating and not the cookies I’m binge eating.

  • Sleep disturbances
Like my two year old running into my room every 10 minutes during my nap when my son was supposed to be keeping an eye on her? The kids are a sleep disturbance for sure, but I’m not sure that a third person qualifies as a PMDD symptom. I’m happy to blame it on them though.

After reading the list of symptoms I’m no closer at knowing if what I’m experiencing is PMDD or just a normal case of the bad-day-blues. I can tell you that Leah, Rachel, and Dinah had the right idea escaping to a red tent for one week of every month. I could use my own red tent in the backyard right now; affixed with a large flat screen TV, a bucket of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, a comfy couch and cozy warm blanket for snuggling, and a mile-high stack of romantic comedies and chic flicks. And a kid-proof zipper.


pamteneyck said...

I am with you! I will come stay in your red tent... I don't think there is anything wrong with you, clearly the rest of the world is not right.

CLARA'S BLOG said...

Can I fit in that Red Tent???? I definitely need it once a month too!

Rieka Long said...

Good essay, thank you for the listing, and your humorus twist on how just plain everyday some of these things are. Does it change when the kids move out, or do we just get it worse then because there is no one around? I want a community of women to sit with thank you very much! I have a red tent I am starting! Its time!