Possible trigger warning for discussion of how my mental illness makes me feel on a regular basis.
The meds I currently take for my mental illness do not get me all the way towards normal. I’d say I’m at normal +/- 1. I’m sure it’s possible to tweak things to get me all the way to normal, but given what happened when I was searching for the right meds I’ve decided I’m happy where I am. That’s my choice. Someone else might choose differently for their situation and that’s ok too.
All things being equal – which is to say if my energy levels are good, I’m not under stress, etc. and so forth – I still go through a regular emotional cycle, just not anywhere near as bad as before meds.
I keep going to the term “mental illness” because this ties back into the whole “Is PMDD a real diagnosis?” issue. Obviously I’ve got opinions on the matter, but that’s not the point right now. For now suffice it to say that my brain is wonky, and that said wonkiness has close ties to where I am in my monthly cycle.
My cycle is controlled with birth control pills, which means I always know where I am in those 28 days. (Previously my cycle was too erratic for prediction) Unlike before my meds, where I was miserable for about 24 out of those 28 days, I now have 14 days of “normal” and 14 days of that +/-1 variation.
The +1 comes along sometime around week 2. This is when I’m slightly more “up.” I’m more likely to want to start projects or do things. Since it’s only a slight variation I try to treat this time as a “make hay while the sun shines” situation. The only thing I have to be mindful of at this time is buying things. It’s not unheard of for me to be convinced I need to buy some shiny toy now, so for my budget’s sake if I get the urge to buy something during this time I try to either wait at least a week or keep the purchases down to under $30.
Then there’s week 3, and the -1. During this week I’m more likely to feel anxious, overwhelmed and overlooked. It’s not fun but it’s mostly doable. There’s a certain comfort in looking at the calendar and knowing that there’s a reason why I’m feeling a bit more stressed or down.
What makes it worse is if something tips the system. I’ve had this week hit during the busiest time of year at work, so you can imagine how those two things can feed off of each other.
But as I say, all things being equal the +/- 1 is doable. Normally it’s just me being a tiny bit off and knowing the reason for that is right there on the calendar. It’s just that these are the times when I’m extra vulnerable to a break in the system, especially during week 3.
I’m entering week 3 right now, for what it’s worth.