This will mainly be understood by the women, but you men can at least pray!
I have been a wreck for the last two days - this morning a panic attack overcame me at work - I couldn't breath and irrational thoughts of suicide came and hopelessness this is NOT spiritual - not primarily. This the worst I've felt since July so it seems to occur about every second month severely. I've finally figured it out after several months of tracking it and looking back over the last ten years or so of my life. This is primarily hormonal changes - also called Premenstrual Syndrome and apparently I have a bad case.
I was on oral contraceptives for years before I became a Christian and then just stayed on it though most of my 30's because there are "benefits" to the steady hormones it delivers. But, about four years ago I went off "the Pill" because I figured it was time for nature to take it's course. It felt like a godly thing to do. All the years I was on contraceptives I felt "normal" - oh I had some bad days for sure, who doesn't? But not the kind of extreme behaviour and thoughts I've been increasingly having for the last 1.5 years. It takes at least a year or more for "the Pill" to be completely out of your system. So the first year or so off "the Pill" were fine. But then I began to notice this steady increase in irrational thoughts and behaviour over the past year and a half, which lasts about two days out of the month - doesn't sound bad eh - two days - big deal! Well, it's a big deal when you aren't just grumpy but seriously considering suicide! It dawned on me recently that my estrogen and progesterone are fluctuating too much. Progesterone increases a lot just before a woman has her "period" and that in turn decreases serotonin (a brain chemical that basically keeps you from feeling depressed), and there you have PMS - sometimes mild irritability or more extreme like me. My doctor figures I already am short on serotonin to for it to decrease even more with the spike in progesterone is dangerous.
Just the other night I remember back in May 2006 when I attempted suicide - the week leading up to that I was in the exact same stage of my cycle as I am yesterday and today! I was on a mission trip with two people I never should have let on my team - but how was I to know! Chris (a Catholic seminarian) and Father Terry (Catholic priest) - they treated me so bad - like a leper (that isn't an exaggeration either), for admitting to Chris that I had fallen in love with him - I told him only after he told me he had fallen in love with some woman (he didn't name her - I thought it was me). I didn't realize on the trip that Chris told Fr. Terry about my "revelation" and they both proceeded to totally ignore me for the rest of the mission trip - not even wishing me a happy birthday which occurred during the trip (I didn't keep my birthday a secret because I wanted to celebrate with the team). Some celebration! You couple that kind of unchristian, dis-compassionate, silent treatment, especially from so called Christians, with my already increasingly irrational thoughts and you have a very dangerous cocktail, which led to me feeling so awful about telling Chris my feelings I saw only one way to end the "pain".
The good news: I went to see my doctor today and she agreed going back on oral contraceptives to deliver a steady supply of estrogen and progesterone should nip the extreme PMS in the bud and at least lessen the intensity of the irrational thoughts. Still, part of me is afraid it won't help. The "what ifs" are plaguing me! I'll know within one full cycle or for sure after two full cycles. Please pray the "medicine" helps.
Emotional pain of this level is hard to explain - it is very close to being physical pain - in fact it does cause physical pain - tension headaches for one thing.
I'm off to bed now for a few hours as I am totally exhausted.
Thanks so much friends.