Monday, May 19, 2014

currently vol. 6

Thinking about:

Like I've mentioned a few times lately, I've been thinking about that big question -- what do I want to do with my life? Maybe that question never actually gets answered. But seeing as the school year is wrapping up, and I am leaving my music teacher job (not the high school - only the grade school), it has been time to really think about what the next step is. So I've been trying to find summer work, audition for summer shows, and looking into all my options for the fall. And I've chosen to start applying to return to school and get my teaching credential. This might be confusing to some people, seeing as I've been a teacher for the last five years. However, I am not credentialed - I have been working small part-time teaching jobs at private schools and after school programs this entire time. I was never convinced that I truly wanted to be a teacher - my heart was torn between teaching and performing. Through a lot of discernment, prayer, and life experience, I have decided that my heart is truly in teaching. I could write about it in great depth, but I'll leave it at that. I'm excited for what the future holds.


I'm still working on my re-reading classics from high school project. Currently reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I just started so no opinions to report yet!


I woke up way earlier than I needed to today, so I turned on the TV and have just been lying in bed watching 13 Going On 30. Sometimes early morning chick flicks are a fabulous way to start your day.

Listening to:

At this very moment, the TV. Music-wise? I haven't had any new revelations lately. I feel like as a musician this should be the most exciting part of my currently. Whoops.

Thankful for:

A fabulous weekend with my beautiful family. I love them. We did a ridiculous photo-shoot yesterday of my sister and brother. They are graduating from college and high school this coming weekend, so we took some photos for their announcements and party invitations. However, my family doesn't ever do things the way most people do... We agreed not to post photos all over social media yet, we want the announcement to be a surprise. Here is your one sneak peek...


This is a new part of currently! Goals for the week. This is hard for me, because I'm in such a transitional period that I don't have small goals, I have big goals. I guess I can say what I am looking forward to for now!

1. My best friend's baby shower in a couple of hours. She lives in New York and is in town with her family - I cannot WAIT to see her and celebrate her pregnancy!

2. Michael comes into town on Thursday - time, go quickly!

3. Family graduation weekend - I love family celebrations, especially with my crazy family. We have so much fun. I can't wait to celebrate my sister and brother, and start celebrating the beginning of SUMMER!

Linking up with the ladies at A Mama Collective and Home Away From Home
Feel free to join in and link up!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

PMDD, A Partner's Perspective: A Response

I'm aware that I haven't posted anything on PMDD or PCOS for a while - which is the entire point of my blog. I want to re-focus a little bit and write about what I made this website for. I didn't have to look far for something to write about. I follow a lovely and informative blog by a woman named Liana - she writes at Living on a Prayer with PMDD. She posts a lot of articles and helpful information on PMDD. Most recently, she posted an article written by a man married to a woman with PMDD. You can find the article, "PMDD: A Partner's Perspective" here. To give you the gist of it, a man writes his own personal experience of being married to a woman with PMDD. (For a while, I have wanted Michael to do the same thing - and now I have even more reason to ask him to do so!)

This husband who wrote the article writes of torturous episodes every month where his wife becomes another person. Episodes of rage, brutal attacks on his character and their relationship, suicidal thoughts and threats, feeling hated and rejected every month. My heart breaks for this man and his wife. I know the pain of PMDD all too well. And Michael and I have absolutely had months like this, where for the 2 weeks before I get my period, I become another person. I am angry about everything, depressed about everything, and threaten to take my own life. Somehow Michael gets the brunt of it every time, even though he is not my husband. He is my safe person - and so I take it all out on him. But perhaps I have been lucky in that this is not every single month for us.

As I said, my heart breaks for this man, and I'm so sorry for his own painful experiences with PMDD. I'm also grateful for his vulnerability in sharing his experiences.

However, this article just made me feel sad because it just seemed so hopeless and helpless. He says near the end of the article:

"So what have I learned?
Probably the most important thing is to put up and shut up during the PMDD zone." 

And finally, he ends with:

"Do I feel hated and rejected each month? Yes, I do. Do I wish I wasn't? Absolutely.
Do I wish my partner didn't suffer PMDD? Yes. But she does."

Now this is what really breaks my heart. The truth is, the best thing that ever happened to me was Michael coming into my life and calling me out on the way I treated him when I was PMDDing. I knew I didn't have control over it, but during my "PMDD hangover" (realizing how awful you were when you were PMDDing) I was always so contrite, heart-broken, even sorrowful over the way I treated the man I love. So we started looking for answers. Michael pushed and pushed and made me call doctors and make appointments and do everything in my power to get this under control. He was not satisfied with putting up and shutting up and simply wishing that I didn't have PMDD.

I have met with so many doctors, so many OB/GYNs, tried many different medications, even had surgery to remove polyps they found in my uterus that were greatly affecting my cycle. And let me tell you, my life and PMDD have changed. Has my PMDD gone away? Absolutely not. I still struggle for those 2 weeks before my period.

HOWEVER, (yes, this is a big however)

My PMDD is so close to PMS now that I can barely tell the difference. And this is because of a few things.

  • I take 37.5 mg of Effexor every single day, even when I am not PMDDing. This is also because I struggle with depression regardless of PMDD, but I know Effexor helps me during this time period.
  • I take Vitamins B & D every single day. These help IMMENSELY with my energy and feeling like I have a clear mind to realize that I am PMDDing.
  • I try to regulate my diet as much as possible - low blood sugar is a recipe for disaster with me.
  • I sleep. As much as possible. Take naps. Sleep for 10 hours overnight. Exhaustion is the worst when you are PMDDing, and the more you sleep, the less you are awake to PMDD. When I'm having an episode and nothing can calm me down, I go right to bed now. No more conversation, no more fighting, no more tears. Just sleep.
  • I went to OB/GYNs and fought for myself. It wasn't until my 3rd OB/GYN that they discovered the multiple masses in my uterus and got me into surgery right away. There could be other things going on besides PMDD that if undiagnosed or undiscovered could be causing much of the problem, or could potentially be dangerous in other ways.
  • I was in therapy every. single. week. for almost a year. I don't feel the need to go anymore, but he is only a phone call away. Having someone else to cry to helped me so immensely. And it helped to be super-aware of my own behaviors, tendencies, and habits during my PMDD time. 
  • I of course track my period and receive an email 2 weeks prior so I know to be ready to PMDD. The therapy and self-awareness helped me the most during these times, and Michael and I would work hard on stopping difficult conversations at the beginning instead of after the damage had been done. Michael has had to get tougher on me: when I start to beat him up during a PMDD episode, he will tell me very sternly to stop and that I need to go to bed. He's gotten so much better at this, because of course I don't do it happily. But I listen. I try.

I just got my period again for the first time after a few months of trying birth control and stopping at the end of March. More on that later. But the glory of it all was that I didn't PMDD. I PMSed, I cried, I struggled with a little bit of anxiety. But I did not rage, I did not think about suicide, I didn't get depressed, I didn't have any manic episodes. I just got a little sad once in a while. It is beautiful how far I have come. Thank GOD. 

There is hope. And there is help. That is why the hopelessness and helplessness of that article truly broke my heart. 

Fight for yourself. Fight for the right doctor, the right medication, the right dosage, the right therapist. 

Fight for your life.

It is worth it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

currently vol. 5

Thinking about: 

Wow, it's been way too long since I last posted. April is notoriously crazy in my life - it's the month of shows, shows, shows. And this particular April was worse than ever. As I've said before, I work at a high school, and this year... we had some big drama at school. And I don't mean drama like break-ups, or girls fighting. I'm talking cops, charges being pressed, meetings with the administration. It was very, very difficult for me. I obviously can't get into details, nor do I want to, but let's just say I just started sleeping again after having horrible stress-induced insomnia for over a month. I lost many hours of sleep, cried many tears, intercepted many phone calls, tried to respond appropriately to all parents and students and co-workers and bosses.... The list goes on and on and on. Michael flew into town for the performances of my show, just in time to hold me through the tears. I actually held myself together really well until he came into town. Somehow having "my person" there with me broke down the walls of strength I had somehow managed to build through it all. It was really lovely to have someone safe to weep to and to allow to hold my heart while it broke through all of this. I truly love these kids with every ounce of my heart. To watch them hurting, struggling, making life choices that will change their lives forever - oh, my heart. My heart breaks. My heart is full of hundreds of teenagers, hundreds of children, my children. I may not be a mother by definition... but I am in my heart. It's very difficult to try to keep everyone safe, to teach everyone to the best of my ability, to love them so fiercely for the small amount of time that they are with me. It's difficult to do these things and to stay joyful and know that they are not mine - they are His, they are their parents', they are their own. All I can do is love them and teach them the best way I know how. I just pray that God gives me the grace to do these things well when they are in my care.

All that being said, it is now the lovely month of May. One of my favorites. Mary's month. The month of summer starting here in California - pool time, beach time, flip flops, windows down... I love it. Shows are closed, both at my high school and the production of CATS I was pit singing for. Thank goodness. Both were beautiful experiences, fabulous shows, and full of amazing people - but I am so thankful for time off. There are many exciting things coming and I am so looking forward to the summer!


Being in the pit allowed me to read a lot in between songs. I loved being able to finish some books finally! I got through Gilead, which I appreciated but did not enjoy personally. It's a quiet and slow book, and I think maybe at another time in my life I would really love it, but right now it didn't resonate with me except for one thing: The narrator spoke of our ability to cry with another in their suffering and rejoice with their triumphs. He pondered why it was so much easier to weep with the suffering than it is to rejoice with the joyful. It was just a really lovely reminder for me to deliberately choose to rejoice with those who are joyful, to celebrate my friends' triumphs. It is so easy to feel envy. I want to choose joy.

I also just re-read To Kill a Mockingbird in about a day and a half. I'm trying to re-read all the classics I read in high school but never appreciated because I was too busy writing essays and answering test questions. I absolutely loved this book the second time around. Such a beautiful novel.


I just got done watching the season finale of Once Upon a Time and I'm so unhappy about it. First of all... the episode was literally a knock-off of Back to the Future. Literally the same exact plot. Down to the falling out of the tree. If you've seen both you'll know what I'm talking about. And the last ten minutes? I was so happy with how it was ending until one stupid plot twist that I am SO angry about. It's only a TV show. I need to get over it. You just end up getting so invested in these people's stories, even if they are fictitious. Woof. Need to keep reminding myself it's only make-believe.

Listening to:

My brother talk to the dog and make a sandwich in the next room. No need for music right now, when I'm home with my family. It's perfect just the way it is.

Thankful for:

Oh, so much. So, so much.

I am thankful that throughout my difficult April, I somehow by the grace of God kept my head on straight. I didn't have a single manic episode. I didn't even have any panic attacks, anxiety attacks, bouts of depression. I didn't even feel hopeless or helpless. Now THIS, my friends, is a huge victory. I'm talking HUGE. Taking my normal dosage of medication, but still barely getting any sleep and dealing with heavy stuff.... But choosing joy. Choosing to wake up and be strong. Choosing to keep looking to Christ and walking one step at a time. This is huge. Thank the LORD.

I am thankful for this amazing group of high school kids who change my life just by being themselves. I am thankful that through a lot of difficulty for every single one of us, that we put on an amazing show. My co-worker (the show's director) (who also happens to be one of my best friends) and I turned to each other after the finale on closing night and just said, "Magic." Truly, this show was magic.

Also, so thankful for my experience in CATS. My last experience with this show was less-than-pleasant, and this time, I really had a wonderful time. There were many nights when I was exhausted and just didn't want to go to work, but the people I met were just so lovely. It's a rare find to do a show and meet a bunch of talented, genuine and kind theatre people. It's very special and I treasure it.

Kitty kisses from my favorite cat - Skimbleshanks!

Pit singers and wig stylist - we all sat in the audience and put on green cat eyes to support the cast on closing night! We meant it as a joke but everyone wept because they were feeling so sentimental!

Michael and I climbed on the set for a while and the lighting operator put on the best lights for us for this picture. Like I said... the people at this theatre are so incredibly kind.

Thankful. Now I am thankful for some time off. I am still figuring out my life... more to come on that. But for now, it's 8:45 PM and I'm in my pajamas. From last night. I lounged. ALL. DAY. Glorious.

Linking up with the lovely ladies at A Mama Collective and Home Away From Home. Feel free to join in and link up!