i, paula castrucci, have a 'thorn in my flesh', which just so happens to come in the form of a disease by the name of 'premenstrual dysphoric disorder' [sorry, fellas, i promise not to get graphic].
in grade eight, i had my first bout of depression. i had no idea where it came from either. i was in the running for female athlete of the year [at 32, i still 'got game'] and an english award, i had friends, good grades, you name it; but all of a sudden, this 'thing' hit me. i went from feeling happy to hopeless, and though i didn't know it at the time, deeply depressed, which seemed to be a monthly battle from there on in.
fast forward to my 27th year. i was living in edmonton at the time and hit my deepest bout of depression yet. after spending four very long days in bed [and 15 years battling this demon], i decided that i needed to get some help. days later, i began tracking my moods on a calendar.
if i had a good day, i drew a happy face. a normal day, a normal [?] one, and when i felt depressed, i drew a sad face. it didn't take me very long to realize that these episodes were surrounding my period. [again, sorry, fellas].
so i did what any one of us would do: i googled it [which i don't highly recommend as it usually leads you to a hypochondriac who convinces you that you have some form of cancer]. i very quickly came across a disease called 'premenstrual dysphoric disorder', and within minutes, i had the answer to a question i was asking myself all of these years: "what the heck is wrong with me?"
i took my findings to my doctor, was diagnosed with PMDD almost immediately, and put on a mild anti-depressant for six months to help me cope.
in addition to this, i started seeing a counselor and began looking at ways in which i could combat this battle of mine every month.
six months later, as mentioned above, i was taken off of the anti-depressants and began fighting this demon with the tools i had been given through counseling. i had good days and bad days. i lost some friends, and quality of life, but i finally came to a point years later where i could function during these two weeks each month, even though my emotions were still too intense for me at times.
thankfully, my last bout of depression was august 2010 [right before i moved to ottawa]. I WAS FINALLY FREE AND HAD NEVER FELT BETTER. i felt content. happy. fulfilled even.
then my dad passes away. add that to the fact that i was working for an unhealthy organization, and BOOM - all of a sudden my emotions become even more amplified and i no longer [feel like i] know how to cope with life. and soon after, the depression episodes reappear.
i withdrew. cried myself to sleep more often than not. felt hopeless. suicidal even. i tried everything. praying. reading my bible. all the things people in the church have told me i need to do in times like this. only nothing seemed to be working. life just kept getting darker and darker.
so a few months ago, i went back to the doctor, got some meds, and put myself on a ten week waiting list for cheap counseling, because, friends - if you get anything out of this blog, get this - there is no shame in needing [or getting] help.
do i feel better? not always. more hopeful? sometimes. am i bored stiff and discouraged because my job prospects keep falling through and i seem to be living the same day over and over? most definitely. but do i think that this will always be the case? not at all. i will get better.
and so will you.