When I was 21 years old, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This is a hormonal disorder that affects about 1 in 10 to 20 women. I will post details in the future, but what is important to know is that my hormones are not normal, and many women with PCOS struggle with depression and anxiety, irregular periods, ovarian cysts, and it is the greatest cause for infertility in our country.
This year, I was diagnosed with Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder. This is also a hormonal imbalance that causes severe depression and anxiety for a time period of up to 14 days before a woman's period. It can be extreme to the point of suicidal thoughts, and is not something to be taken lightly. The symptoms are alleviated soon after menstruation begins, but begin again soon after, depending on how long a woman "PMDD"s before her period.
I have a history of depression regardless of these disorders, which has also come to fruition in anxiety disorders, including OCD tendencies.
I intend on sharing details about all of these things with you, especially because so many people are unaware of PCOS and PMDD. I hope to bring an awareness and to maybe take away some of the fear people have about the phrase "mental illness."
Although my blog is about my mental illness, this aspect of my life does not define me. It absolutely makes me who I am and I am grateful for the ways it has shaped me, but I want you to know about me.
I am sassy. I have a giant personality, I love to laugh (I have a hugely boisterous laugh), I love to talk, and I have an attitude. Not a bad one. Just an attitude. I can take being teased and I'll always give it back. I can be a little larger than life sometimes. I am silly. I grew up in a family that ranks each other from funniest to least funny. Seriously. (It's all in good fun). Humor is everything to us, and we have no shame in being goofy and ridiculous. Have I mentioned I love to laugh? I am sensitive. I feel things very, very deeply. I am empathetic and love to listen. I have a big heart and love to love people. I get my feelings hurt easily, but it's okay. I get incredibly upset if I think I've hurt someone else's feelings. I love to read books and spend time alone and write and look at butterflies. I am serious. I love heart-to-heart conversations. I love to analyze things and reflect on them deeply. I love to make deep connections with people.
I am strong. I've struggled with depression for ten years now, and I have been through the depths of despair (as Anne Shirley would say). I have come in and out of the darkness many times, and I want to share it with you and I want to let the light in. I want to share what I have learned in hopes that I can offer some of my strength to anyone who might be reading. I have learned so much over the years and I feel God calling me to write it down, as I keep journeying.
"Here I am... I desire to do Your will, O my God."
PS -- I reserve the right to use whatever grammar and punctuation I choose in this blog. If it bothers you, I apologize. sometimes i love the way it looks and feels when nothing is capitalized. call it the e.e. cummings in me.