Monday, August 15, 2011

Weathering The Storms

 As I've already stated, we didn't get an accurate diagnoses of PCOS until around five years into our marriage. That means in the beginning I didn't have a clue why my new wife would go from super sweet and awesome one moment, to off the reservation the next. While we were dating she told me she never had regular periods so I wasn't surprised when she would go months with no period. (In the early years of our marriage she didn't have many periods. Eventually that flip flopped to bleeding for months on end without let up.)

 I don't even want to label what women with PCOS go through emotionally as "mood swings". To me that would be like labeling the sun as "warm". Similarly, there is no comparison between normal PMS that women without PCOS experience and the extreme emotional storms that a woman with PCOS endures on a regular basis.  Now I grew up with plenty of women around so I was use to PMS. That did not prepare me for what I was going through with my new wife. She would lash out at me like I just stabbed her mother. I didn't want to talk to anyone about it because I didn't want anyone to think badly about my wife. Besides, I wasn't sure if it wasn't just the normal newlywed growing pains; and that's what anyone would tell me even if I did talk to someone about it. As the months went by things were not getting better. Even after I moved us to her home town to be near her family things still didn't get better. To be honest, in the almost twelve years we've been married there have been ups and downs, but things still haven't really gotten better. I mean the symptoms are the same. We have learned how to see the emotional storms coming and how to deal with them. The storms are just as bad as they've always been. 

 When one of these raging emotional storms hits, my wife focuses it right at me. It's only natural, I am the closest person to her on this planet. Mostly she lashes out verbally. The frequency of these "storms" varies. I'll say this, they are more frequent than PMS. In the beginning I was mortified. One day I went to our bedroom to find a bottle of pills on her night stand. She was trying to take the whole bottle! They were Tylenol PM. Fortunately she can't swallow pills. By the time I came in she had only managed to force down a couple. She's not really suicidal, but when one of these "storms" is worse than usual she just wants it to stop. Shortly before she was diagnosed, my wife actually grabbed one of our biggest kitchen knives and was threatening both myself and her with it. That was one of the most tense moments in our marriage for me. She's only reached for a weapon that one time, though I have been punched and kicked a number of times.

  It is very important for me to make it clear how wonderful my wife is. She is sincerely one of the most generous, kindhearted people I know. She would never hurt anyone and never has she let anyone but me bare the brunt of one of these storms. She is not her PCOS. When one of these "storms" come she is not herself.

  How did we learn to weather these "storms"? In the beginning she was even more clueless about what was going on that I was. It took years before she realized something was wrong. Scary thought I know. I had to learn early on not to take it personally. It's one of the first, most important, things for a new husband to learn. Even when it's aimed at you, it is not about you. Don't take it personal. That may be easier said than done for a lot of guys. I am not a very sensitive guy to begin with and it was still difficult to put this into practice. IT is better for her to lash out at you than at herself. As men we were made tougher. That may sound sexist or chauvinistic but it is true. Some men don't seem tough emotionally, but in a relationship with a woman that has PCOS a man needs to be tough emotionally. As husbands it is our obligation to endure whatever we have to in order to safeguard our wives.

 Another important tool for learning to weather these "storms" is communication. I can't speak for every couple living with PCOS.  I can say that my wife is not off the reservation all the time. Once she started to realize there was a real problem we started to talk about it. As I've said, the diagnosis is very important. When she was diagnosed we were able to have much more productive communication about her condition and the emotional side effects. It made it easier for me to take the brunt of her "storms". We both came to realize that she needed the release these "storms" give her in order for her to function from day to day. Fighting them is useless. They are going to happen whether we like it or not. It is better to just get it over with as quick as possible, than try to fight it and have it slowly build up for days or weeks. When I recognize what's going on I want it to get to a climax quickly. Once one of these "storms" reaches that climax my wife is usually exhausted and falls right to sleep. (For us these things always want to happen in the middle of the night.)

  Safety. As I've said, we've had some scary moments. In almost twelve years there have only been a few, but they were bad. For a time I hid the knives. During that same time I wouldn't keep guns in the house. Mainly though, I'm vigilant about trying to see these "storms" coming. When I do see signs of one I make sure that I am with her at all times. This annoys her, but I don't let her out of my sight. Which means I most certainly don't let her leave the house. She has tried. I take the keys to her car and I just keep her in the house. This approach has a two fold benefit. It keeps her safe and it really makes her mad. Mad is good. The faster she reaches her boiling point the faster she'll reach the climax of the "storm".

 I don't want anyone reading this to think my wife is a raving lunatic. I think everyone living with PCOS understands, but for people that aren't, all this might seem crazy. Also, I know that the concept of headship in the marriage is considered somewhat old fashioned. I see a lot of relationships were the woman is in charge. I don't want to offend any women that may not think there is anything wrong with her wearing the pants. Having said that, this blog is about living with PCOS. I believe it is important for any husband that has a wife with PCOS to be the head of his family.

 Weathering the storms that come with PCOS can be very difficult. Experience is really the best teacher, but it can help to have input from older husbands that have been at it longer.  If you're a new husband and things seem overwhelming, keep your chin up. You're not alone. I'm hoping that more husbands living with PCOS see this blog and start to feel more comfortable sharing what their experience has taught them. I've seen the forums and support groups out there for the women, but there really isn't a lot out there for the men. We're like a band of brothers. Husbands that aren't living with PCOS can't understand what we go through, no matter how much we try to explain it to them. So don't be ashamed to reach out to those that do understand.

 

 

14 comments:

  1. Great post this week! I never thought of making myself the target of the anger. Usually I keep a safe distance and let it pass. I have found that when I try to hide things to protect her she says that I'm being to controlling. Her family has had issues with controlling behavior. It is true that when the mood swings occur it is like walking on eggshells. The best thing that I can do when she becomes angry is to serve her by cleaning or cooking a healthy meal. Once she realizes what I have done her emotions change from angry to loving.

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  2. Matthew,
    Thank you for following your wife's wishes and posting this. My wife was diagnosed just shortly after we were married his past March (we lived together for 4 years before though). My mother and sister both have pcos and that is why I eventually pushed to get my wife tested. She went straight onto Metformin which helped some of the metopausal symptoms, but the "emotional storms" as you so aptly put it are still present. Like Russ, I had never thought of jumping into the line of fire to get it over with quickly. I'm working on summoning the courage to try it. I kept a blog for a long time but she started using it as ammunition against me in her storms so I haven't blogged for a long time. I am encouraged to start it again and talk about my live with a pcos wife. Thanks, and I look forward to any future posts you have.

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  3. As newly married woman living with PCOS I find this post so enlightening.

    I never really looked at it from a mans point of view… besides after one of these raging storms as you put it, in which I feel like a raving lunatic and wonder how or why he puts up with me :(

    I wish I could tell you what helps it go away but I really don't know. (My technique has been to repress it until it boils up and spills over for weeks on end… not so great.)
    All I know is that men like you are the most wonderful on the planet for standing by your PCOS wives.
    My husbands way of dealing is to tell me to pull my socks up and get over it.
    That there are people out there with real problems and that my life could certainly be worse.
    I know he's trying to put it into perspective but at that moment all my usual sunniness is gone and I have no way of seeing his view.
    Any tips you have for how to calm the storm would be most appreciated as when I'm in the middle of one even I don't know what i really want.

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  4. Thanks for the insight Mathew. I've been married for 3 years. I am still struggling to understand my wife's behaviour. I am an emotional guy and I find it really hard to deal with her behaviour. Lashing out at me every now and then. It's like I've been living in a state of constant fear.
    My other problem is that we live with me parents who are old and need care and they happen to fall in the line of fire too. I can still manage this but it's definitely hard for me to see my parents go through all this.
    I was even under anti-anxiety medicine for a short while since I was finding it really hard to deal with all this. I love her, she's one of the most caring person I've ever known but when she looses it, she's a completely different person.
    I just don't know the way ahead...

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    1. JD, just found this blog through my Wife actually. Just wanted to say that I am going through what you are going through. I have not been diagnosed with anxiety by a doctor, but have thought about going to get help. When I can start to feel a "storm" coming on from my wife I start to shut down and just let here come at me like a train. This pisses her off even more because don't respond to her ridiculous hurtful lashes. But I don't know what to say.. and the things I want to say when she cuts me deep would only make it worse. I can feel the myself get anxious and my blood boil, but feel trapped because there is no right answer or way to help her get through this "storm".

      My wife and I have been married a year and she was just diagnosed within the last few months. We have been together for 4 years now and the diagnosis has shed a lot of light into why she is the way she is.

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  5. Hi Matthew,
    I'm kind of blown away right now. You see my wife also has these rages and they are directed at me. . after a few years of not knowing what was wrong and even starting to doubt myself I finally thought I found the problem. "Borderline Personality Disorder" Many, but not all of the BPS symptoms were there. If you don't know much a bout BPS. I really suggest you look into it. . . BUT my wife also very likely has PCOS! Do you think PCOS is a physical link to BPD?? I've never seen anyone link to that in the several books I've read about BPD. . but this is really interesting! Whether it is PCOS or BPD causing the rages and self-destructive behaviors. . . I do recommend books on BPD like "Stop Walking on Eggshells" to find strategies for dealing with her rages. Let me know what you think!

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    1. Daniel, there have been studies showing that up to 30% of women with PCOS can also exhibit the signs of BPD. I don't think that my wife has a borderline personality, because I've seen huge changes when she's watching what she eats.

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  6. How do you know it's pcos that causes the storms? Any research on this. My fiancé does the exact same and i think she'll not believe it unless I put research in front of her

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  7. I'm sending this to my boyfriend right now! I hope he reads this because he sure as hell is dating someone with PCOS and has many storms. Thank you for posting this, I look forward to reading more and sending them along to my other half.

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing. My wife and I have been married for four years now but have known each other for almost 20. She is the love of my life and my soul mate. We knew she had PCOS early into our marriage but to be honest I didn't give it much thought. Not to offend anyone but most of the time I just thought she was being dramatic. That may sound mean but what did I know, we married young and she has been my only serious relationship. What that meant for me was that I was still learning to love, I was still learning to be romantic, I was still learning compassion and understanding, and at the same time learning to deal with a disease that I regretfully labelled as dramatics. I couldn’t possibly appreciate or understand what she was going through without even trying. I am a very patient guy and always thought to myself, well, God put us together because I am probably one of the few that has the patience she needs. I never yell or get angry with her. I never say mean things to her or about her. I never threaten her. As her husband I want to protect her and shield her from any negativity. We have been through ups and downs which included being separated for about six months. I’ll be honest at times the frustration and rage that had been pointed in my direction made me want to run. I was doing my best to be a good husband and provide for our family and still was being thrust into a roller coaster of harsh downward spirals. This can be very frustrating, however, I took a vow to love and stand by her side no matter what. That vow is very important to me and if I were to break it in hard times then who am I and what do I stand for? My word is my bond so to speak. We have been talking more and more about PCOS recently as we are trying to get pregnant. She has been frustrated that I haven't tried to really understand what she goes through to try and make this happen. That is why I am here today and I can't thank you enough for your article. It has opened my eyes and made me realize that she is not just being dramatic. I am ashamed that I wrote it off that way. Again I don’t mean to offend anyone, I am a human and make mistakes. It is important that I am honest with myself and others so that we may relate and learn. This is a real thing and as I read your story I felt as if it was my story to the T. All I would have to do is edit some numbers and it is my story. I think husbands need to band together more to discuss this topic and learn from each other. Men can be closed off emotionally and not want to talk about things but I believe understanding what our wives are going through will build a stronger marriage. Understanding will allow us to discuss the topic better and show our wives that they are not alone. It will show them that we understand it is a disease and it is the enemy and that we will stand by their side to pull them out of the dark hole it can put them in. My wife is the sweetest person and as you said when she is pulled down by PCOS she is not herself. Who she is is a sweet, caring, loving, beautiful, giving, confident, strong, compassionate, and selfless individual. I am learning every day but will do my best to support her and nurture this beautiful life we have together. To the wives that may be reading this thank you for being patient with us. Thank you for sticking with us and giving us time to understand you. Thank you for opening up and letting us in to better understand you. Thank you for being vulnerable when it is hard. Thank you for not running. Thank you for being you. To the husbands reading this, stay strong. Educate yourself so you can understand the burden your wife bares. Support your wife and let the attacks roll off your shoulder knowing that when she comes out of the PCOS hole she will apologize and love you more for sticking through it.

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  9. Matthew,

    I want to thank you for your blog. Only two posts, but they've made all the difference in our marriage. I could finally understand why my wife acted the way she did, and steel myself for the "storms". We've found that a combination of a strict very low carb, gluten-free, and dairy free diet with the proper supplements, work wonders. She spends more days happy than in the "dark place" as I've grown to call it.

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  10. I was suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) since my 19 years of age. Ever since i got married i have not been able to get pregnant, so i was completely barren due to this genetic disorder. I was prescribed several Clomid Meds but couldn't see any improvement. I would basically go from one outbreak to the next. Finally, on my best friend's recommendation, i decided to try the rescue herbal remedy which are made in liquid form with natural root and herbs from Dr Molemen.Within a few weeks, I could see improvements in the symptoms.
    My Menstrual Period has been maintained to normal,I used this medicine for two weeks and after some months later i began to have some early symptoms of pregnancy, its been over a year and some months now since i used that medicine and i have successfully given birth to a child,after been childless for many years due to this PCOS Syndrome. I would recommend this medicine to my other friends out there who are suffering from PCOS to give this medicine a try.
    contact : drmolemenspiritualtemple@gmail.com) or (dr.molemenspiritualtemple@yahoo.com) or call him +2347036013351.

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  11. OK I'm new to living with someone who has pcos. My wife was just recently diagnosed with it and I want to support her through the whole thing but I don't know where to start. Please help

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  12. As a sign of gratitude for how my wife was saved from PCOS, i decided to reach out to those still suffering from this.
    My wife suffered pcos in the year 2013 and it was really tough and heartbreaking for me because he was my all and the symptoms were terrible, she always complain of heavy menstruation, and he always have difficulty falling asleep . we tried various therapies prescribed by our neurologist but none could cure her. I searched for a cure and i saw a testimony by someone who was cured and so many other with similar body problem, and he left the contact of the doctor who had the cure to pcos . I never imagined polycystic ovary syndrome. has a natural cure not until i contacted him and he assured me my wife will be fine. I got the herbal medication he recommended and my wife used it and in one months time he was fully okay even up till this moment he is so full of life. polycystic ovary syndrome. has a cure and it is a herbal cure contact the doctor for more info on drwilliams098675@gmail.com on how to get the medication. Thanks for reading my story

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