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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