Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Women Struggling with Bipolar

This past week did not go well for me, especially since my husband was out of town. One thing that really bugs me though is that I should have seen it coming and been better able to handle it, but neither Jeff or I paid attention enough to catch it. If you look back through my blog you will notice that I mentioned here that I can actually track things to predict my depression better. Basically, every week before my period I get extreme depression and some anger. One would think that I would track that in my calender to make sure I could anticipate it, but I didn't and Jeff didn't think to either. Thus this week was horrific and we couldn't figure out why until yesterday. So yes, now we will be vigilantly tracking the days to catch this next month. We will also be looking into possible medications that I can take a week or two each month to help me.

I don't feel that monthly mood fluctuations is widely accepted by the general public as a true problem. From my experience, people just make fun of you and say jokingly that you have PMS. For many women, and especially women with mental illness, this is a real problem that we should not be made fun of for. I have to admit, it is kind of embarrassing to write about it actually. I am not sure if it will make people think I am a weak person just because I am a woman.

However, this should be taken seriously and treated as appropriate. Unfortunately, good treatment is hard to find as it is mainly assumed we should just take medication all the time to regulate moods and not as many doctors believe in how bad these hormone changes can be. Not all of us can tolerate the medications for mental illness and some may only need that much help for a few weeks a month. This could give us the benefits of medication without the side effects that come with taking the medication full time.

I recently found an article about this issue which really helped me understand it better and gave me options to talk to my Psychiatrist about. It talks about the effect of PMS on women with bipolar calling this symptom PME, premenstrual exacerbation. Maybe the article can help you too: All The Rage by Ayelet Waldman.


Rev. Katie

1 comment:

  1. Kate,
    Oh my do I ever understand. Long before I realized I was bipolar I used to suffer from PMS in a big way. I only had about five or six days each month that I felt well. Eventually I had a complete hysterectomy at the age of 42 and for the first time in years, enjoyed a 'normal' life. So, just wanted to say it is real and I do understand and bipolar just makes it worse. I used to literally hide if I could during the darkest days of the month....