Shedding Light on Mental Illness

Sorry you haven’t heard from me in about a week. Let me tell you a bit about why.

Think about this with me for a moment. Is there something in your life that happens that you struggle to understand? Something about who you are and how you act, that you don’t have complete control over, but you’re not sure why..

I submit that we all, each one of us, suffer from a mental illness of some sort. Regardless of whether it’s about nature or nurture (were we born this way or made?), there’s something about each one of us that we work to understand or overcome. And some of us may have more than one.

Over the past couple of months while I’ve been working on my business and my overall well-being, it’s becoming more clear to me what my specific challenges are. I’ve worried a lot, maybe too much, over the years that I would suffer from PMDD like my mom, who was diagnosed manic depressive. Was she misdiagnosed? Is she a mixture of both? Quite possible. My whole life my mom has experienced certain symptoms that were medicated as a serotonin imbalance with lithium and prozac. These medications never seemed to really help her, not 2 weeks out of the month, anyway. She always said that cognitive therapy was the best medicine, but it only works if the person you’re talking to understands the illness. I’m happy they’ve finally learned that PMDD is different from bipolar

Having lived with a mother who has PMDD I can tell you this is serious and now that I’m coming into my adult years I feel the symptoms of this more and more. I feel like I’m becoming something I hated my whole life. To set the record straight, I don’t hate my mom. What I do hate is what it did to her and our lives.

Besides only sharing part of her DNA, I think I’ve also had the benefit of lifestyle and diet to help make sure my symptoms aren’t nearly as noticeable. Taking a look at the I AM PMD website it shows the two most effective methods of treatment are lifestyle change and diet.

Lifestyle changes are the first line of defense in helping to minimize symptoms of PMDD. Getting plenty of sleep and exercise while eating a diet rich in proteins, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables are the foundation of any treatment plan. While keeping to a healthy diet and getting enough exercise can be a challenge during the luteal phase, reducing stress and getting enough sleep can be vital in surviving a cycle. 

Anybody will benefit from a whole and nutritious diet. Women with PMDD stand to benefit even more. Studies show a strong correlation between what we eat and emotional well-being. A common symptom of PMDD is an intense craving for food during the luteal phase, specifically foods high in carbohydrates and with good reason. Carbohydrates influence the production of serotonin which directly and indirectly control mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory, body temperature, and social behavior. While serotonin is produced in the brain, about 90% of our serotonin supply is in the digestive tract and blood platelets. The connection between mood and food is clear.

I AM PMD, Treatment Options

This information is valuable to have, not only for the person with the mental illness, but those who care for them. Not only should you know what you’re dealing with, but so should your spouse and anyone else who holds high stakes in your care (like a doctor or mentor).

This is just my own little slice of life. Yours is likely to be much different. I suggest taking some time to understand yourself so you can learn to live your best life with whatever your own personal challenge may be.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

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