- When I couldn’t stop the tears, when I couldn’t smile any longer and began to fall, only a few of my friends were there to catch me, the others just walked away.
PMDD is very hard for people to understand, many people just think it’s ‘Bad PMS’ or ‘Mood swings, everyone has them’ Little do they know just how debilitating it is, how much it impacts your life and wellbeing. I personally spend half of the month feeling beyond horrendous and the rest of the month feeling terribly guilty. However real friends will try their best to understand, hold you when you cry and support you when you are weak.
Maintaining friendships is a challenge. Especially difficult if you, like me, have a Jekyll and Hyde personality and have a tendency to completely withdraw, which is exactly what happened during a holiday last year to celebrate my 30th Birthday. I went away with three girls from work, sadly on the last day I entered the ‘Dark Zone’, I completely withdrew and just cried uncontrollably in the hotel room. At the airport later that day they stood separately in the check in queue. On arrival in the UK the three of them, yet again stood away from me whilst we were waiting for our luggage. Just because I cried. On return to work the following day two of the girls proceeded to bully me, unfortunately whilst on holiday I had shared with them what happened in May and sadly they decided to spread gossip about the ‘ girl who nearly killed herself’. For months I have struggled with paranoia, feeling as though everyone thinks I’m crazy.
For a long time I berated myself for crying on holiday, I blamed myself entirely for what happened, believing that I was unlovable.
However, with time comes clarity. Friends come and go and when you have PMDD it is so easy to blame yourself if friendships come to an end but just remember we don’t lose friends, we just learn who the real ones are. My real friends, Jo, Sammy, Zoe, Sarah and Shelley would never leave me crying in a hotel room. They would give me a box of tissues, a bar of chocolate and a cup of tea. They would cuddle me and make sure I was okay, exactly as I would do for them.
I no longer mourn friendships that have ended, I celebrate having more time to spend with friends who accept me as I am. Quality over quantity, always.
Here are five ways that have helped me to maintain my quality friendships
- I sat down and explained what you I am going through, to help my friends understand
- If I want to plan a lovely day out I just plan it during my good weeks, around my menstrual cycle.
- My friends are aware of my predicted bad days (most of us are in sync!) so they know it’s not personal if I don’t text or call them back.
- My friends and I have devised a ‘support plan’ For example, my friends asked my husband to text them if I retreat and hide just to let them know I am okay. They often send me messages of support during this time.
- It’s natural to feel guilty and beat yourself up but that’s what friends are for and I often thank my friends and return the favour when they are going through a rough patch.
As always, sending hugs. x