PREMENSTRUAL DYSPHORIC DISORDER

HEALTH, MENTAL HEALTH, THOUGHT-PROVOKING, USEFUL

The older I get the more I suffer with PMS. Am I more in touch with my emotions/body? Perhaps there are more challenges and responsibilities now which makes it harder just to hide away. Who knows? But one thing is for sure, reading this list from Claire Walker (founder of Little Cloud) was a reality check. I now know my low mood is a bump in the road compared to what Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD )suffers have to go through.

  • They say you always take it out on the ones you love the most.

  • For me this is very true.

  • For 12 days.

  • Every.

  • Single.

  • Month.

  • I have vivid memories of outrage in my teens, usually directed at my parents.

  • They labelled me as difficult.

  • These incidents coincided with my period starting at that exact moment.

  • I thought this was simply PMS.

  • Something I had heard about.

  • Every single woman deals with PMS.

  • Why was it so hard intense with me?

  • There was clearly something wrong with me.

  • I had anger issues.

  • I had 2 serious relationships in my 20s.

  • Both lasted a few years.

  • Both guys left me because they couldn’t deal with my rage.

  • I didn’t fight, I attacked.

  • I didn’t shout, I screamed.

  • I woke up angry.

  • I snapped at the sightless little thing.

  • Things that on a different day might not have bothered me.

  • And then I would cry.

  • I would shut down.

  • I would wallow in self-pity.

  • I was misdiagnosed with depression and put on antidepressants.

  • Later I was misdiagnosed with anxiety.

  • I lost friends and opportunities to make new ones because I snapped.

  • I know people found me erratic and moody.

  • I’m sure some called me a psycho.

  • I found it hard to work in a team because of my unpredictable mood swings.

  • Luckily, I found a man who managed to see the other side of me.

  • The calm, patient, happy one, and he knew that was the real me.

  • Even 3 months into our relationship when I had a massive 5 day meltdown in the middle of our first holiday together. 

  • We were staying with his mates I’d never met before.

  • I was raging and crying the whole time.

  • It was quite awkward.

  • I married him.

  • Everyone told me how lucky I was.

  • Reading between the lines, I understood I didn’t deserve him.

  • How could someone so kind be with someone angry like me?

  • 12 years on, we’re still together.

  • In my early 30s I fell pregnant.

  • 9 months after she was born, I was expecting our 2nd child.

  • I breastfed in between the 2 pregnancies and so I was rid of my menstrual cycles for a blissful 27 months.

  • I’d never been happier and calmer.

  • I put it down to being a mother.

  • But breastfeeding didn’t happen with my second.

  • Soon after giving birth I turned into a total monster.

  • In the 2 weeks leading up to my period, I experienced all sort of horrible symptoms.

  • I was awake 3-4 times a night terrified someone was going to break into our house and kill us.

  • I was in bed for 48 hours once every cycle, too exhausted to do anything.

  • I was forgetting parent evenings, medical appointments, family birthdays.

  • I put on 2 stones.

  • Sugar was my crack during the hell weeks.

  • The days between ovulation and my period, I would look like I was about to give birth.

  • I would swell so much I would go up a dress size.

  • My breast would spill out of my bra.

  • One of my friends described me as “scary”.

  • I felt overwhelmed by everything and nothing.

  • I googled “severe PMS” and found a site talking about Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

  • I’d never heard of this before.

  • Reading the symptoms, I knew instantly that this was what was happening to me.

  • Women have normal hormone levels but they respond differently to them.

  • It’s a bit like an allergy to hormones.

  • I started tracking my cycles for a couple of months.

  • Sure enough from ovulation to my period starting, I was raging, irrational, anxious, depressed, exhausted.

  • When my period started, I changed completely.

  • It was like someone flicked a switch.

  • I was happy, serene, full of energy and positive.

  • I craved healthy foods.

  • Things seemed easy (as easy as they can be with 2 kids and a business to run!)

  • I had patience.

  • I did wonder for some time if I might be bipolar.

  • Many women with PMDD are actually misdiagnosed with being bipolar.

  • And 15% of women with PMDD attempt suicide.

  • I’m lucky to be part of the other 85%.

  • But my relationships with my children were affected.

  • All the normal worries a mother has were amplified.

  • I panicked something would happen to them when they were not with me.

  • My daughter has anxiety – undoubtedly collateral damage.

  • There were days where I felt so overwhelmed I just couldn’t cope with the school run.

  • Or dinner time.

  • Or reading a bedtime story.

  • On several occasions, my husband had to be late for work or leave early to step in.

  • I missed so many weekends with my girls because I was sleeping.

  • I would get up on a Saturday, shower, get dressed and realise that I had no physical energy left to see me through the day.

  • I would then crawl into bed.

  • I sometimes put them on time out for things that didn’t really warrant it.

  • I constantly felt like a crappy mum.

  • I had no patience with my staff.

  • I was often snappy at work.

  • I had to downsize my business.

  • I couldn’t deal being around people all day during the second half of my cycle.

  • I constantly felt like a crappy boss.

  • Going back to working alone helped.

  • But I still felt like a crappy wife.

  • A crappy friend.

  • A crappy human being.

  • I could tell to the day when my bad days would start and end.

  • I had 12 days of hell and then within hours of bleeding, I would be fine.

  • I suffered from extremely heavy and awful periods but when they started it was always a relief.

  • During the hell weeks, it felt like some monster took over my body and mind.

  • I could hear the hurtful words coming out but I couldn’t stop them.

  • No matter how much I wanted to.

  • And I desperately wanted to.

  • We started planning our lives around my cycles, avoiding any social engagements or holidays during my bad weeks.

  • I spoke to my GP who dismissed my concerns.

  • When I mentioned PMDD, she corrected PMDD with “PMS”.

  • She told me this was just what women went through.

  • I now understand that comparing PMDD to PMS is comparing a migraine to a headache.

  • I carried on thinking I was just an awful person.

  • “Luckily” I got referred to gynaecology a years later for an ovarian cyst and took the opportunity to share my concerns.

  • The consultant knew about PMDD.

  • He listened.

  • He took me seriously.

  • He asked me to track my symptoms again for 3 months

  • After that I got an official diagnosis.

  • I was so relieved.

  • This was beyond my control.

  • I was not a bad person.

  • I wasn’t mean.

  • I wasn’t underserving of love and friendship.

  • But I also realised that PMDD had stolen half my life away.

  • I wonder how different my life would have been without PMDD.

  • Would I have a heathy relationship with my mother?

  • Would I be someone others liked being around?

  • PMDD is a curse.

  • PMDD affects 1 in 20 women. 

  • That’s 200 Million women.

  • However, most of us have never heard of it, including medical professionals.

  • PMDD was identified in the 1970s, yet there is currently no treatment specific to PMDD.

  • What works for one woman might make another’s PMDD worse.

  • Hello?!! How much time, money and energy did the medical industry spent on curing erectile dysfunction?

  • There is a trial for a new drug.

  • I don’t qualify as I have a hormonal coil.

  • For some women the coil helps with PMDD.

  • For me it makes it worse but my coil is stuck.

  • I need surgery to have it removed.

  • It sucks.

  • Currently the first option is taking the pill.

  • I knew from my 20s that this didn’t work for me.

  • Then anti-depressents – no luck.

  • Oestrogen patches – made it worse.

  • They made me angry every day.

  • The last resort is a full hysterectomy.

  • This is currently the only treatment which is guaranteed to works.

  • A year ago, I was given an GNRHa injection to induce chemical menopause for 3 months.

  • I felt better, even though I experienced the usual mood swings associated to menopause.

  • In June this year, I received a second GNRHa injection.

  • This time I also got Hormone Replacement Therapy.

  • 2 months in, and I cannot wait to be wheeled into theatre!

  • I’m dreading the injection wearing off in a few weeks and the wait until I get a date for the hysterectomy.

  • I still have some menopausal side effects but the mood swings are short and nothing compared to what I was experiencing with PMDD.

  • Sadly, you can only have 2 GNRHa injections as it causes bone thinning.

  • I have lost 3 cm in height – at 40 years old.

  • I am dreading my cycles starting up again in a few weeks.

  • It feels like torture.

  • I just can’t deal with this anymore, the thought of it make me sick.

  • I’m hoping that the wait for a hysterectomy will be short, but we are probably looking at the end of the year.

  • I worry about the recovery and not being able to work and earn for several weeks.

  • PMDD can be hereditary.

  • I worry about my girls starting their period.

  • I’ll be teaching my girls to track their cycles and moods when they are teenagers.

  • They are only 5 and 6 years old, but I already think about it.

  • I am worried that they too will be cursed.

  • I read an article on a woman having a hysterectomy in her twenties, because she couldn’t live any longer with PMDD.

  • I understand.

  • I might have done the same had I known sooner.

  • I’m grateful that my late diagnosis means I didn’t have that difficult choice to make.

  • My family is complete.

  • They can take it all out.

  • They take out my womb and ovaries.

  • They take out my PMDD.

  • I’m ready to be Me 365 days a year.

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

5 Comments

  • Reply Sara peacock September 10, 2019 at 7:12 am

    I didn’t want to read this and not say something, I have PMDD luckily the mini pill and low does anti depressent help with the symptoms. But like you for years I just thought I was a horrible person, bad to deal with, a hormoanel wreak being over prescribed anti depressent and told to exercise more! I too am worried for my daughters!
    Thank you for writing this hopefully it will help more woman!

  • Reply Sophie Hamilton October 18, 2019 at 6:18 am

    This is EXACTLY how I feel and suffer. It’s not just a few grumpy bloated days before a period. It’s half the month I’m on self destruct. Raging and pushing people away. And like you, I went to my GP who also corrected my PMDD to PMS. Needless to say I was furious. She was useless. Been prescribed an AD. I want the hysterectomy, but I also want another baby.

  • Reply Liv October 21, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Thank you for such a powerful post. It made me cry. I have lived with PMDD for 30 years since my periods started and, like you, it took me years to work out why I was experiencing all these symptoms and problems with my moods. It was such a relief when I read about PMDD and realised I wasn’t going “mad”. I can completely identify when you say PMDD has stolen half your life away. It has been a life changer for me for sure – the panic attacks, anxiety and not wanting to be around colleagues/other people during these dark days is debilitating. It has almost destroyed relationships with partners and friends. I have had anti-depressants and the contraceptive pill thrown at me by GPs and gynaes but I am now, at 45, pushing for a hysterectomy. It was actually a gynaecologist who told me to check out your post though so I’ve got her to thank for that. I would never wish this “disorder” on anybody and I too fear for my daughter’s future. I am praying that this passes her by. Good luck with everything and thank you again for highlighting the plight of those living with PMDD.

  • Reply Jacqueline Leddy October 23, 2019 at 5:06 am

    Thank you for sharing this. I had never heard of PMDD but recently noticed my PMS is getting worse and lasting a bit longer than usual. I was getting worried that it might be something more and that’s how I came across this website and your list. And because of your story I now know that I don’t have PMDD and that it’s probably just down to getting older. I am 39 and have really noticed a change in my PMS in the last year. Us women certainly got the short end of the stick when hormones were being given out! But then we get to have babies and our bodies are nothing short of amazing. Grateful for this story and best of luck with everything x

  • Leave a Reply to Sophie Hamilton Cancel Reply