PMDD Flares During The Coronavirus Pandemic Can Add Stress, Experts Say

My period came on time this month, which was a surprise. What wasn’t a surprise, however, was the return of all of the symptoms — paranoia, anxiety, drowsiness, aching boobs, brain fog, and extreme restlessness — that I get when I’m having a premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) flare-up. PMDD is a mood disorder that feels like the most extreme premenstrual syndrome (PMS) to the point of suicidal ideation. Like many people living with PMDD, I have coping mechanisms that help me manage it. But with the arrival of COVID-19 and my state’s shelter in place order, they all went out the window.

Outside of these “unprecedented times,” I use a combination of Prozac, regular exercise, eating (relatively) balanced meals, avoiding added sugar, and not drinking much to keep my symptoms in check. Since the shelter in place order, my meals are more strongly influenced by which cans I haven’t opened yet than what’s on the food pyramid, and my regular walks outside have been replaced with anxious pacing around my living room. I quickly learned that my pandemic coping mechanisms run exactly opposite to the ways I deal with PMDD: I’m eating chicken nuggets and mac and cheese like a five year old, drinking too much, not exercising enough, and spending days without leaving the house. As a result, this menstrual cycle featured two weeks of rollercoaster emotions, aching breasts, disrupted sleep, and irritability.

“The current global pandemic and the significant impact this is having on everyone’s lives and sense of wellbeing would likely cause an exacerbation of symptoms for people with PMDD,” Dr. Andrea Chisholm, M.D., an OB/GYN and expert in PMDD, tells Bustle. “The sense of uncertainty, loss, and fear and the social isolation and disruption of routine are even significantly impacting people who do not have a preexisting mood disorder. People with PMDD or other mood disorders are especially vulnerable during this time.”

Brett Buchert, the director of care and support at the International Association of Premenstrual Disorders (IAPMD), has been able to largely maintain the self-care routine that keeps her symptoms in check. But even with regular therapy, eating balanced meals, and continuing to exercise, she’s had a rougher month than usual.

“When my ovulation days hit, I was sobbing,” Buchert tells phicklephilly. “I felt like I wasn’t even upset about anything in particular — I was just so upset. I think it was because there’s been so much stress, for me and for the world, and that needed to come out.”

One of Buchert’s roles at IAPMD is providing peer support to other people with PMDD. This month, she says there’s been a noticeable uptick in members who reached out for help.

“I was speaking on peer support with a single mom with two small children,” Buchert says. “When her symptoms come, she usually takes them to the park and lets them play so she can break down in the car. That’s very relatable — that’s what happens. But it’s just not available to her right now. So what does she do? Not having those things that get us through the worst moments can be really scary.”

Mar, 33, has found that mandated social distancing has actually eased her symptoms. “I am an introvert, so social distancing is actually helping me keep grounded,” Mar tells Bustle. “I live with people I love who also understand the illness, so I do not have to pretend that I’m OK. And that gives me peace.” While she usually experiences extreme emotional and physical effects during the luteal phase of her cycle, this month she says she only had two days of hypersomnia (extreme drowsiness) and poor physical coordination.

For me, the main goal is to get back to my typical PMDD-helping habits— at least the ones that are still viable while social distancing — as soon as my period is over and my estrogen starts to rise again. I’m also reminding myself that even though we all keep talking about the “new normal,” this is not my new normal.

“It’s helpful for me to know that this is a difficult time, so it makes sense to me if I feel worse than usual,” Buchert says. “We have to give ourselves some grace. We’re still doing well — and we’ll recover.”

If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.

 

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6 Relationship-Ending Dating Behaviors

What all of these behaviors have in common is that they are violations of another person’s trust.

It’s Sunday and it’s family day for me . . . well it’s family day with Sonja’s family today. I’m meeting her family today, and it’s going to be a great test of remembering names for me. Wish me luck, because as you all know I’m terrible with names!

When you’re dating somebody, what are the boundaries? Are there certain relationship boundaries which, if crossed, cause irreparable damage and the ultimate end of most relationships? While I am not usually a fan of hard and fast “rules” for relationships, there are certain dating behaviors which will almost without exception will end a relationship.

What all of these behaviors have in common is that they are violations of another person’s trust. Once one person in a relationship no longer trusts their partner, the relationship will almost certainly end. So to help you ensure that this doesn’t happen in your relationship, here are 6 relationship-ending dating behaviors that should always be avoided: Keep in mind that I am not mentioning the most obvious one which is cheating.

1. Everyone Is Entitled To Their Privacy. What constitutes a violation of someone’s privacy? When, if ever, are you justified in violating your partner’s privacy? If you have an “intuition” about something, does that give you the right to start reading through your partner’s email? To start listening to their voicemail messages? To hack into their other Internet accounts? The answer to all of these is no! To violate someone’s privacy is to violate their trust. You should NEVER dig through someone’s personal emails, or listen to someone’s voicemail messages. By listening to your partner’s voicemail messages or reading their emails, you are violating not only their trust, but also the trust your partner has with anyone who left those voicemail messages and emails.

2. There’s No Such Thing As “A Lie For The Greater Good.” Of course lying is never good in a relationship, although we’ve probably all been guilty of doing it. Certain kinds of lies, though, are far more damaging to a relationship than others. Some people will lie to their partner in certain situations in an effort to avoid hurting them or to avoid having to have a conversation that will be hurtful to them. So although we lie believing we are doing so to “protect” our partner, when that lie is exposed (which it almost always inevitably is) we end up digging a deeper hole for ourselves. When you do get caught in this situation, not only do you end up hurting your partner anyway, but you also end up hurting yourself even more. In life, what you fear will actually manifest – but it will manifest even more severely than you feared. So whatever you were trying to protect your partner from by lying to them will seem worse because of your lie than it would ever have had been if you just were open and honest about it from the get-go. On top of that, you have violated your partner’s trust by lying to them. These kind of lies are almost always relationship-enders.

3. You Are Not James Bond, So Never Spy On Your Partner You are not a spy, so you should never be spying on your partner. You should never snoop in your partner’s private things. That means that you must never look through your partner’s drawers, their wallet, their filing cabinet, or their private records (like their bank or credit card statements). Further, there is nothing that justifies snooping. No matter what you have a “hunch” about, snooping through your partner’s things is never the way to confirm or deny your hunch. It is an absolute violation of your partner’s trust. Your partner’s private business and personal records should be kept private unless they give you permission to look at them. Spying on your partner behind their back James Bond style is one of the most deliberate and blatant violations of your partner’s trust, and will achieve nothing except to have your partner never trust you to be alone near their things ever again.

4. Beware Of Designating Yourself “Magnum P.I.” Another wrong way some people try to verify suspected bad behavior by their partner is to take on the role of private investigator by attempting to “catch their partner in the act” of doing something. Whether this takes the form of searching for your partner’s car by driving by their house, work or gym, or it takes the form of following your partner in your car, this is something you should never do. Even if you believe you have a true “hunch” or “intuition” that your partner is doing something wrong or is hiding something from you, designating yourself as your own private investigator is not only the wrong way to address that, but also frankly smacks of stalker-like behavior. If your partner finds out you’ve been “tailing them” in your car, they will no longer trust you and will likely end your relationship right there and then.

5. Don’t Send Others To Do Your Dirty Work. Don’t ever send a friend or anyone else to gather information for you about your partner or to spy on your partner for you. That means, don’t send a friend to go hang out where you know or suspect your partner will be. Don’t have your friend try to eavesdrop on your partner’s conversations in places they go. Don’t ask your friends to use their cell phone to snap covert pictures of your partner. All of these not only violate your partner’s trust, but also reveal your total lack of trust in your partner. This behavior, if discovered by your partner, will most certainly result in them ending your relationship.

6. Avoid Paranoid And Obsessive Behavior. One of the biggest ways to reveal that you don’t trust your partner at all, is to manifest that distrust with paranoid and obsessive behavior. While calling your partner regularly is quite normal, calling them incessantly to “check up on them” comes off as paranoid and obsessive, and will virtually always drive your partner away. If for example your partner leaves their phone somewhere, and by the time they realize they left it and pick it up two hours later you have called them 50 times, you are not only coming off as being paranoid and obsessive, but you are clearly communicating to your partner that you don’t trust them at all. If you panic every time ten minutes go by without a reply from your partner to a phone call or an email, it sends the exact same message to them. This behavior will not only drive your partner away from you, but the fact that you clearly don’t trust them at all will most likely lead your partner to end your relationship.

So even if you have some type of “intuition” that your partner is doing something wrong, it is better to confront them openly about it and “slug it out” with them than to violate their privacy and their trust by searching for answers behind their back. Even if your partner doesn’t respond to your attempts to talk about it the first, second or third time, chances are that you will get to talk about it – and the outcome of confronting your suspicions openly with your partner will always be better than if your partner discovers you have engaged in any of the behaviors I talk about here.

Finding a great person with whom you want to be in a relationship can be really hard. Once we find somebody, though, we need to understand that our partner’s privacy and trust are boundary lines which must not be breached. Violations of trust like the ones discussed here are some of the quickest ways to kill any relationship.

No matter how much emotion and love exist in a relationship, a relationship cannot survive without trust. Think long and hard before you engage in any of these behaviors. Violating someone’s trust will never take a relationship to a better place. In fact, by doing so you may very well be single-handedly orchestrating the end of what could have been a fantastic relationship.

 

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Buckethead — One of the Best, Fastest and Weirdest Guitarists on the Planet

The prolific guitarist released his very first live album, “Live from Bucketheadland,” last year

Talk about truth in advertising: When Brian Patrick Carroll was 19 and already an accomplished guitarist, he stuck a Kentucky Fried Chicken tub on his noggin, slapped an emotionless white mask over his face to shield his identity, looked in a mirror and said, “Buckethead.”

Thus was born one of the most inventive and uniquely talented guitar shredders, a player who routinely shifts between Funk, Metal, Prog, Blues, Ambient, Bluegrass and experimental Art Rock and has been cited by numerous publications and august organizations as among the best, fastest and weirdest guitarists on the planet.

At age 12, Carroll began taking guitar lessons from an elderly neighbor but didn’t take the craft seriously until his family moved to Claremont, California, which led to private lessons from a variety of gifted teachers, including former Mr. Big/Racer X guitarist Paul Gilbert. As his playing improved, he documented his performance and songwriting progress by recording home demos. According to Buckethead lore, his alter ego emerged after being inspired by Halloween 4 to buy a blank mask, à la Michael Myers, and a KFC dinner that same evening.

After playing in a couple of bands, Carroll adopted his Buckethead persona and entered a song in a Guitar Player magazine competition, earning an honorable mention. In 1991, the 21-year-old was invited to contribute to avant guitarist Derek Bailey’s Company, resulting in his appearance on the collective’s Company 91 album. The following year, Buckethead’s profile rose exponentially; he released his debut album, Bucketheadland, early in the year, and formed Praxis with Bill Laswell and Bootsy Collins, among others, dropping their acclaimed debut, Transmutation (Mutatis Mutandis), later in 1992.

Over the subsequent three decades, Buckethead has provided music for film and video game soundtracks and aligned himself with a number of band projects (including Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains, Thanatopsis and many more) and fascinating collaborations (including one with actor Viggo Mortensen).

Perhaps no collaboration has been more visible than his four-year stint with Guns N’ Roses, which included his invaluable contributions to the much-delayed Chinese Democracy album. In 2010, Buckethead withdrew from the remainder of his band projects and began pouring all of his time and attention into his solo recordings.

Since his 1992 debut, Buckethead has released over 30 studio albums and, beginning with the cessation of his band activities, close to 300 albums as a part of his Buckethead Pike series (in 2014, he released a Pike album every six days for the entire year).

In 2012, Buckethead largely retired from touring, but returned to the road in 2016, alternating between completely solo shows and trio gigs with longtime bandmates Dan Monti on bass and Bryan “Brain” Mantia on drums. Last year, Buckethead released his very first live album, Live from Bucketheadland, on vinyl.

In the long, strange history of Rock, few have been around longer, done anything stranger or approached the prolific diversity of the man with the KFC chapeau.

 

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Digital Detoxing Is The New Ghosting. Change My Mind.

In the olden days (before social distancing), when a crush wanted to decline an invitation to hang out, they could claim to be “at work” or “busy with friends.” But now, amid a global pandemic, when everything is closed, and everyone is sitting inside, glued to their phones, the only way to ghost someone is by taking a digital detox.

While you’d think the embargo on public events might hinder one’s ability to make last-minute excuses, leave it to the gems I date to come up with new, innovative reasons for why they can’t make it. When dating relies solely on technology, the only way out is off.

After a couple of days of sheltering-in-place, it became clear to me that I was going to need more human interaction than my roommates were capable of providing. I’d been following a fellow creative on Instagram, and after liking each other’s quarantine-chic posts, I decided it might be time for a socially-distant slide into their DMs.

To my surprise, they replied immediately. They told me how lonely they were, quarantined with their parents, and what a relief it was to connect with another person. For the next few days, we exchanged messages, swapped GIFs and music recommendations, and shared articles we’d enjoyed reading. We’d take turns complaining, confessing our fears for the future, and offering suggestions of what to make for dinner.

I loved having a quarantine crush — someone cute to gab with in self-isolation who wasn’t my roommate’s dog or the Amazon delivery person. We found love in hopeless, contactless place, so as the weekend drew closer, I resolved that it was time to kick it up a notch. I messaged my crush asking if they wanted to FaceTime, aka the social distancing version of, “Want to grab a drink this weekend?”

I was shocked to find that people can still be so committed to roundabout-rejection, even when they’re sitting in their sweatpants at home, baking sourdough bread on Instagram Live.

When I saw “Typing…” pop up, I began daydreaming about their response. Would they claim to be working up the courage to ask me out? Suggest we do a fun activity over Zoom? Ask for my address, so they could send me a bottle of wine?

But when my phone finally pinged, their response made my eyes roll so far back inside my head, I felt like I was riding Kingda Ka.

“Uh, sorry,” they said. “I’m actually going to ban myself from screens for a while, to attempt to become one with nature. Or something.”

That’s right, folks. Instead of hitting me with an, “I’m just not that into you,” a content creator for a digital publication opted to tell me that they were not planning on using their cellphone or computer for the foreseeable future. All to, presumably, get out of going on a FaceTime date with me. Casual!

At first, I tried to cut them some slack. According to Dr. Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist and author of Joy from Fear, people often give phony explanations to avoid conflict or hurting someone’s feelings. When you’re not into someone, claiming to be “so busy at work” (or going on a cellular strike) can help cushion the blow.

But Dr. Manly also shares that lying your way out of plans doesn’t just hurt the people you’re rejecting — it hurts you.

“A pattern of telling ‘white lies’ can reduce sensitivity to dishonesty and lead to greater dishonesty over time,” Dr. Manly says. “Now that you can’t tell a ‘white lie’ about having another engagement, you have the opportunity to increase your honesty-based skills and personal boundaries.”

I did what they couldn’t: I officially pulled the plug.

Look, I’m all for giving your body what it needs, but there’s a difference between “I’m not using my phone” and “I’m not using my phone to FaceTime you.” I was shocked to find that people can still be so committed to roundabout-rejection, even when they’re sitting in their sweatpants at home, baking sourdough bread on Instagram Live.

I get it: Telling someone that you’re not feeling them can be intimating. But instead of finding new ways to blow people off, perhaps self-isolation can be a time to reflect on what you want, what you don’t, and how to honestly and directly communicate that to the people you date (or politely reject).

When my crush posted on Instagram a few days later, I thought about calling them out. But ultimately, I decided against it. Instead, I did what they couldn’t: I officially pulled the plug.

 

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3 Non-Committal Zodiac Signs That Don’t Like To Label Their Relationships

There’s nothing quite like the frustration of falling for someone who seems to be dodging every opportunity to take your relationship to the next level. Whether you’ve been dating for a few months, or are approaching the one year mark, trying to build a relationship with non-committal zodiac signs can quickly start to feel like an uphill battle. The good news is that all hope is not lost. If you’re willing to be patient, these zodiac signs can make great partners, but it my take them a while to untangle their true feelings.

Gemini

Known for their paradoxical nature, Gemini is a sign that often experiences an excess of inner conflict that can make them difficult to pin down. It’s not uncommon for the unruly twins to crave the freedom of singledom, while also yearning for the comfort and convenience of a committed relationship. For this reason, Geminis can be hesitant to label a relationship. And in some cases, this apprehension can last after passing relationship-y milestones like meeting their family, or regularly socializing with their friends.

Libra

As natural conflict avoiders, Libras aren’t always forthcoming with how they feel. But when they do fall for someone, they tend to fall extremely hard. That’s why, maintaining an identity independent from their love interest can feel like an impossible feat for them. However, it’s not long before the observant Libra becomes aware of their propensity to get swept up in relationships — And since they’ve likely been burned in the past by committing too soon, more experienced Libras may feel the need to overcorrect this habit by constantly pumping the breaks, even when they’re genuinely into someone.

beautiful young boho woman close up with pink feathers and accessories at sunset
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Aquarius

Aquarians have so many wonderful qualities, but opening up about their emotions is not one of them. Being vulnerable is something that many Aquarians actively avoid. This is a sign that may also have unrealistically high standards for their relationships, which can make it hard for them to fully commit to a great partner who may not match up with the idealized image in their head. Your best bet when dealing with an Aquarius who’s being dodgy about labeling your relationship is to make your feelings known, then give them space to process. If they’re still being flighty, then it might be time to cut the cord.

When it comes to dealing with a partner who is apprehensive about putting a label on your relationship, it’s important to strike a healthy balance between pursuing your needs and respecting the fact that they may be processing their feelings a lot slower than you are. That said, as in every relationship, having an honest conversation about the future is the best way to assess whether you’re dating a compatible match.