Jaz Faith is the author of this blog piece, creator of www.consciousarian.life and is the artist behind all of the site’s illustrations. Jaz works to bring awareness to some of the issues alive in our world today in the hope of inspiring change and to help and support fellow humans!
The consciousarian within is nurtured when we are mindful of our choices. This means being conscientious and asking ourselves what is right for me, for others, and for the natural environment we are biologically-in-sync with. Only when we look at our existence holistically will we see real change.
A conscious choice is made with clarity, awareness, and acknowledging the impact it could have on ourselves and the greater environment.
The consciousarian question is: can you continue to make certain choices when you are aware of the impact it could have?
Repeat after me: Pieces of me—they ain’t all lovely but I love each piece equally:
I woke up feeling like a piece of shit today. Silly me opened up a can of worms and now my mind has done its usual fabrication of possible scenarios. It’s likely that some of my assumptions are factual but either way I will never know and it really doesn’t matter.
content warning- mental health and suicidal ideation is discussed in this piece.
A day in the life with negative self talk
Okay, yes, I messed up (responding to my negative self talk—NST). I have made some really shitty and spontaneous life choices (NST getting far too much mind time). I have to keep in mind that my mental health was ignored and unbalanced (me reassuring myself). People have walked away from me again; yes I’m clearly not a cup of tea (still conversing with NST). The best thing I can do now is continue to move on and learn from the mistakes I have made (cognitive behavioural therapy kicking in); I’m not in denial or avoiding my past; I have met it head on; it’s time to redecorate (CBT wins this argument NST).
For general Jaz trivia, I have premenstrual dysphoria disorder—PMDD. What’s that you ask? It’s a mood disorder that peaks during the luteal phase (post ovulation) and lasts until the start of menstruation (shedding uterine lining). It’s basically like telling people in the early 1800s that you have depression; no one knows what you’re talking about and most, fearful of the unknown, prefer to believe that there is black magic at work.
It’s sometimes easier to make a joke and say —“I’m bat-shit crazy,” and see the nods and chuckles accumulate until I begin to feel, well, unimpressed! If I give people the facts—“I am sensitive to increases in sex hormones during my menstrual cycle, which causes dysphoria,” it’s like time has stopped, on their face, and they stare into my core searching for signs of the antichrist. Or I hear something common like, “but my ex girlfriend said that PMS doesn’t exist.”
And yes a lot of these observations are the meddling taunts of NST during the challenging luteal weeks.
Click on this link PMDD calendar for my daily PMDD journal entries. It’s my way of keeping track of PMDD and it’s also a helpful resource for anyone wanting to learn more about their own menstrual cycles.
‘Crazy’ is the wrong adjective to use here
I’m a relatively optimistic person and I know it could always be worse; I know that there was a time where I would have been hanged, drowned, or burnt for saying such ‘crazy’ nonsense. These days it’s femicide, uxoricide, and honor/shame killing; oh and being labeled ‘crazy’.
Aghast, should everyone be at the globally reaching and insidious affects of mental-health stigma! ‘Crazy talk’. The ignorant criticism that slowly erodes a person’s acceptance of any disorder they could potentially have, which becomes added pressure on top of the the mental anguish they are already experiencing.
The judgement and disbelief subconsciously forces people to remain silent and to not seek help to treat or manage an undiagnosed mental-illness. This temporary or manageable illness is often mistaken for a person’s overarching personality, when it’s really only a small piece of who we are.
Sometimes one can feel so helpless, so alone, that suicide seems like the only option. It’s a warning sign that we may need to see what our options are to get back to balanced health. It’s vital to accept, although hard to remember sometimes, that the negative-self-talk and anxious feelings do not define us as people.
There are ways to manage and relieve these uncertain feelings. Appropriate therapy; educating ourselves about mental illness; joining dedicated groups; learning about who we are and knowing that we are enough, and taking prescribed medication are some of the options we can turn to when life feels like plain toast.
I’ve been there and I’ve used all of the above options to improve my health. It’s okay to acknowledge and accept that we need to maintain our mental health the same way we need to maintain optimum physical health. There is no difference, only unjustified judgement.
Today is day 2 of my cycle and I’m not feeling the affects of PMDD and I won’t for another 10-12 days, yay! Today, it’s situational depression, because one: I’m still shielding after four months and two: I’m still recovering after, what was for me, an extremely traumatic couple of years. Burnout is real and I can honestly say that it lasted two full years. I only started feeling my usual energy levels again a month ago.
The antagonist of my situational depression—last night I looked at a no-go-zone facebook page and it pulled me back into the state of mind that had taken me an embarrassingly long time to escape (think the ultimate escape room, but in one’s head). The good news is I know myself quite well now, so i solved the puzzles with haste and got the hell out of there. There were my usual adversaries on a mission to remind me of my flaws, but with healthier coping skills and lovingly-knowing I’m enough, I was able to get through it without any casualties.
I didn’t let anger take over, nor did I fixate on destroying people (or me) in my head. Instead, I accepted the past and silly human behaviour and chose to concentrate on what I’m doing now—trying to confidently launch cosciousarian. This particular mind room (the blog of eternal length) has been a little harder to solve, but here I am, solving it—step aside irrational fear.
PMDD—wait, what is an initialism?
It has almost been a year since I discovered that PMDD was my qualifying initialism and life has become easier. It still remains to be taxing, mentally and physically, in those challenging weeks—22 out of 52–but having the awareness and knowledge to understand what is happening to my mind and body—every SINGLE month—is a blessing.
It took a long time, and a lot of personal research and trial and error, to get to a point where I understood my anatomy and physiology enough to feel comfortable to accept that I have PMDD. Without really knowing how female sex organs and hormones work, it can be hard to distinguish between PMS and PMDD. The reason I had to do my own research is because there wasn’t a lot of information out there and i hit breaking point (literally, I had a nervous breakdown). Another blessing, but that one was definitely in disguise.
I first heard the term PMDD, 9 years ago, but the website I was reading from said it was like PMS but more severe and I barely understood what PMS was at the time. I thought it happened while you were bleeding, ignorant lol. I was diagnosed with severe PMS three years later, so why would I then question whether it was PMDD when I was being told that PMDD was just severe PMS. There is a big difference. I have two weeks of, “hello everybody” and two weeks of “Go away everybody,” putting it mildly.
Obviously, it became so disruptive to my life and well-being that I had to find out what was up and what I, alone, could do to stop this monthly rollercoaster. Since finding out, I have found a lovely community of women on Instagram who have made me feel less alone. I feel so grateful for this support. I find it unbearable to think of all the women who have been blanketed with the generalised label ‘crazy’, when really it is a sensitivity to hormones.
This applies to anyone being called crazy, only situations or experiences should be described as crazy.
Only last week I was managing the impulses to hide away and shut out the world and now, besides a little situational depression, I’m smiling and singing “hello world, this is me, life could be, fun for everyone.” I am grateful to know what is going on inside and because of this I can now manage the challenging weeks. I can communicate to those around me that I am not myself in these weeks and that I become awkward and reclusive. Fun. I can also tell myself, “this will only last 10 days.”
Stigmatisation is what’s up!
In saying this though, it still isn’t an easy subject to explain to people and a lot of this has to do with stigma and outdated beliefs—bordering—on sexism and discrimination.
I feel like I’m telling people I’m pregnant and that God is the father; or I’m explaining to a friend that I watched a very disturbing home video and afterwards received a phone call telling me I have seven days.
Really, what I’m telling people is—I didn’t launch my blog last week because PMMD weakens my mind so much that I have to protect myself from any added pressure. I hate everything about myself during what PMMD peeps refer to as the hell weeks. For a closet writer, this is hard to write out loud.
Today is day 2 of my cycle and I have a couple of weeks of feeling well enough to share a piece of me with the world. The piece of me that acknowledges and accepts that all pieces of me, even the ‘shit’ ‘crazy’ pieces, need acceptance and love, as do yours. Peace.
Initialism — an abbreviation consisting of initial letters pronounced separately, eg; NST. Often mistaken for an acronym that is also an abbreviation of initial letters, but which is pronounced as a word, eg; YOLO.