According to the Mayo Clinic Website: “Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe, sometimes disabling extension of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Although regular PMS and PMDD both have physical and emotional symptoms, PMDD causes extreme mood shifts that can disrupt your work and damage your relationships.
In both PMDD and PMS, symptoms usually begin seven to 10 days before your period starts and continue for the first few days that you have your period. Both PMDD and PMS may also cause bloating, breast tenderness, fatigue, and changes in sleep and eating habits. In PMDD, however, at least one of these emotional and behavioral symptoms stands out:
Sadness or hopelessness
Anxiety or tension
Marked irritability or anger
The cause of PMDD isn’t clear. Underlying depression and anxiety are common in both PMS and PMDD, so it’s possible that the hormonal changes that trigger a menstrual period worsen the symptoms of mood disorders.”
I live with PMDD. In fact, I’m currently going through the monthly hell that completely derails my life for days each month. It leaves me not being able to know what my moods will be like from moment to moment, I feel out of control, overwhelmed by everything in my life and my anxiety and depression seriously increase.
PMDD is something I’m just now learning about and learning to deal with. I was diagnosed last summer but have had the severe form of PMS since my very first period.
I had developed such a deep hate for myself because every month I couldn’t handle what I thought was PMS and was what normal women went through. I felt so inadequate for not being able to control these symptoms. I felt so weak and useless. Every month it would take over and I would find myself self-harming and drinking heavily to cope with the symptoms.
Then last July I was in the middle of my monthly hell and I was speaking to my healthcare coordinator and I just poured out everything I was feeling and going through. That’s when she dropped this bombshell in my lap and something clicked in my head- This was the thing that I had been experiencing for years. It had a name and a treatment.
I sat down and started tracking my symptoms and started to see the pattern in front of me in my planner and when I took it to my doctor, my diagnosis was confirmed. I was started on medication to help with the symptoms and mood swings. And I started to do research.
I was shocked to learn that 8-10% of women who are of age to experience PMS have PMDD. That’s so many women but before last summer I was completely oblivious to this condition. It’s sad that women’s health issues are so wildly unknown. I keep thinking that if I had known about this sooner maybe I wouldn’t have been in hell for so long and thought I was so weak and less than.
I wasn’t weak- I was sick. For all those years, I had a medical condition that caused me so much shame and pain but I hadn’t said a word because I thought it was just PMS. That’s why awareness is so important and that’s why I am so open about my struggle every month. I don’t want another girl to ever feel less than or to not know that this exists.
It’s one of the last days of my PMDD cycle this month. I started my period a few hours ago, which means the symptoms will gradually wind down and I will get to feeling like myself by tomorrow morning. I can’t wait until my thoughts feel like my own again and I’m not overwhelmed by everything in life.
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