‘Le Horla, Mental Health and PMDD’ published in But You Don’t Look Sick Anthology

Invisible illnesses. If you have one, you stand a high chance of having spent a large portion of your life being misdiagnosed, misunderstood and doubted, both by medical professionals and the world at large. It is so difficult to live with this kind of gaslighting, and yet for many people (myself included) this is a day-to-day reality. It makes it so much harder to live with a debilitating condition. The new anthology from Indie Blu(e) publishing aims to address this fact, and redress the balance.

But You Don’t Look Sick

To give the book its full title, But You Don’t Look Sick: The Real Life Adventures of Fibro Bitches, Lupus Warriors, and other Superheroes Battling Invisible Illness is the latest anthology from small press publisher Indie Blu(e). Editors Kindra M. Austin, Candice Louisa Daquin, and Christine E. Ray have put together this extensive collection (totalling 540 pages) of poetry and other writings on life with invisible health conditions. I found the opening dedication extremely moving:

This anthology is dedicated to those who have been misdiagnosed
and dismissed, maligned and misunderstood—
the chronic invisible illness warriors of the world.

We see you.

BYDLS Anthology, p 12

My Contribution

‘Le Horla, Mental Health and PMDD’ is a non-fiction essay I originally published on this blog, in which I draw parallels between Guy de Maupassant’s mythical beast Le Horla, and the destructive life force that is PMDD. For those not aware of the condition, and my struggle with it, PMDD is an adverse reaction in the brain to the normal fluctuation of hormones during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. This basically means I spend two weeks out of every four feeling as if my body is trying to kill me.

Estimated to affect up to 1 in 20 women of childbearing age worldwide, I have to say that I have met very few other sufferers. This must mean either the figures are wrong, or millions of women have gone undiagnosed and most likely been suffering in silence for years. This is where advocacy comes in, and I, for one, am not prepared to suffer in silence! For more information about PMDD (especially if you think you may have the condition) visit IAPMD.org. For more about my own experience with the condition, you can visit my PMDD archives.

Buy the Book!

But You Don’t Look Sick is an important publication, giving voice to those sufferers of invisible illnesses who have gone unheard for so long. It is available from the following outlets:

Amazon (print & Kindle editions), B&NBook DepositoryPothi (India only), WalmartWaterstones, and other major online book retailers including Bookshop.org and IndieBound.

29 thoughts on “‘Le Horla, Mental Health and PMDD’ published in But You Don’t Look Sick Anthology

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  1. This looks like an important collection, giving a voice to many. Congratulations, Ingrid, on sharing your challenges and contributing to the anthology.

  2. I am so glad this anthology exists. When i collapsed with chronic fatigue and fibro, it was back when it was not understood. What a battle i had, trying to get diagnosed. Finally i got referred to someone who knew what to look for. He diagnosed me in five minutes. I took a while, overdoing and crashing, till i was finally able to live within my limitations. Till then, too many doctors looked at me and said there was nothing wrong with me.

    1. In a way that what PMDD is also. The more we talk about these things, the sooner we will have better treatments and maybe even cures!

  3. This line Ingrid:
    This basically means I spend two weeks out of every four feeling as if my body is trying to kill me.
    I’m so sorry that you and others have to deal with this which is so dreadful
    This is so true of many things in life.. can’t judge a cover!! 💖 love and hugs today ❤️💖🤗🤗

  4. The onset of puberty was hell for me, trying birth control in my early 20s seemed to actually make me PMS worse and made me feel more “off” than I’d ever felt. Perimenopause in my early 40s brought on even more radical changes, leaving my doctor to wonder whether PMDD was contributing to my situation. So, I was never officially diagnosed. My poor family but knowing what it could be, helped. Interestingly, going fully through menopause is probably the best I’ve felt in my body. I hope you’ve found some relief, Ingrid! And congratulations!

    1. It sounds like you probably did have it. There must be so many women who suffer, and probably think they are crazy. Many are misdiagnosed with bipolar, and given drugs which don’t help at all. I am sure it will be a public health scandal eventually, and public apologies will be issued to all of those women who no one listened to.

      1. Maybe. I know I did feel like I was unstable, taking out everything on my family. Glad to be feeling better now. Thanks for sharing your story, Ingrid.

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