Stings Like A Slap in the Face

Posted by Ben Stevens on

Imagine the person you love most in the entire world suddenly bursts into sobbing tears, burying their head in their hands.  The sob becomes more like the sound of a seal or a child with croup until you realize they are not really breathing but grasping for air.  You see their lips and face turning blue and their eyes turn from sadness to terror as they are unable to breath.  Holding them in your arms, a million thoughts race through your mind all at once and you need to choose one of those thoughts that might help.  Their body is almost convulsing and you know you have to do something.  

That is exactly what happened approximately 2 weeks ago and I had to decide what to do.  I made a decision, uncertain if it would work, and for the first time in 23 years of marriage I slapped my wife.  My thought process was that perhaps it would shock her and she would focus on being angry at me for slapping her.  While I hope to never have to do that again, it did snap her into taking a breath.  And we sat there trying to return to a normal breathing pattern for both of us.  The choice worked and I'm not sure it was the right one but she is alive, which was my first and only goal in that moment.  I will say though that even thinking about it now 2 weeks removed, my eyes are filled with tears thinking of that moment.    

Lisa has what is called PMDD,   which you can read about in her own post last week here on our website.   Interestingly enough due to pregnancy and breastfeeding the symptoms have not been around much of our married life as both of these things tend to minimize the effects.  With Niah almost six years old, the last year or so we have been dealing quite regularly with PMDD.  To summarize it quickly, it is essentially PMS but amplified times 100 with some added features.  Part of our challenge has been understanding each others reality when it comes to PMDD.  
Lisa wishes I could understand what she is experiencing.  Losing control of her emotions she will do things that would normally never cross her mind.  I have had objects, such as plates, thrown at me from across the room.  I will be the first to admit I am not perfect and say stupid things from time to time but Lisa, our kids and family and friends would tell you how great of a marriage we have.  Our business exists today because we wanted to live our lives together, including our work.  I would say 95% of the time PMDD erupts without any stupidity on my part.  Thankfully though Lisa tends to focus her eruptions on me, which I am grateful for the kids being spared.  

I wish Lisa could also understand what I experience, in that we can go from laying in bed cuddling to suddenly her yelling or sobbing.  The sudden earth jarring shift from moments of bliss to shear chaos.  Two years in a row my resolutions for the new year have been foiled by these monthly attacks on her mind.  We have had plans personally, professionally and otherwise altered or destroyed because of PMDD.  Aside from the daily uncertainty of not knowing if suddenly things are about to change, there is the horrific reality of watching the person you love more than anything totally lose it for no reason.  Especially if it is a really bad episode to the point where they collapse from lack of oxygen.   

Truth is, like every challenge in our life, we will face this one day at a time knowing that neither one of us will give up.  That is a nice sentiment, but reality is when you suddenly lose control of your mind what you said a day, a week, a month before really makes no difference.  We are researching what we can do to help and trying lots of different approaches.  We will face each month as it comes and hope for the best.  While our life and family is 99% as wonderful as the images we post online of the fun we have, there is the other 1% that in the moment can feel like an eternity.  If ever you notice we haven't posted for a few days it most likely is related to PMDD.  That is one challenge of running our own business, when life goes to shit, there is nobody else to pick up the slack.  Thankfully we have the best customers in the world that are invested in our lives and not just our products.My advice for anyone in a relationship where the person you love has mental health issues is help and support.  Include professionals that hopefully know what they are doing, get the help needed.  Have a support system around you but not too big, which may sound odd but let me explain.  Having support is very important, but if too many people are in that circle than your support itself can become a stress and burden.  When Lisa is in her PMDD stage I need a handful of people I can talk to when I need, not 50 people asking how things are going.  The truth is you need to try things and find what works best in your situation, for both of you.  The feelings you have are also valid and in reality nobody can tell you how you are supposed to feel.  The reality is that mental health issues sting like a slap in the face, that even once the moment has passed will linger on for the foreseeable future.  

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

  • Thank you for sharing your experiences, thoughts and insights. Much like my husband of 27 years, you seem like a genuinely good spouse for Lisa. Keep loving her as you do and as she continues to seek enlightenment and healing in her life, she will find it! In some ways, mental illness has resembling characteristics. Daniel and I can relate to both of you! Continue to be filled with hope, patience and healing.

    Michelle on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.