Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
I struggled since I was an early teen but I didn’t know why. Some days I would act crazy, jealous, neurotic and anxious, and other days I would be full of confidence and just so happy. Some days I would spiral down into depression for no reason. I struggled with college, dropped out of university. Then, just as things were at their worst, they seemed to be improving, just for things to crash down to be just as bad a few weeks later.
What’s wrong with me? I wondered. Why is it that every time I seem to be getting better, it gets bad again?
Because it was cyclical, I just never knew it. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. It seemed to fit, until I had a baby and started breastfeeding, and of course, when my cycle stopped, so did my PMDD symptoms. I felt spaced out a lot. I didn’t know what was going on. Why did my BPD suddenly disappear? Had I just grown out of it? Matured since becoming a mum? Ha ha ha.
Roll on 2.5 years later and the end of our breastfeeding journey, the return of symptoms was savage, only now it was more obvious. Prevented by breastfeeding? Symptoms start around the middle of my cycle? It became so blazingly obvious that it was hormonal but, of course, before I had my daughter, I had no idea when in your cycle you ovulated, I didn’t know PMDD could start 2 weeks before your period. I didn’t know that your period could make you suicidal.
Treatment options for PMDD include antidepressants, contraceptives, HRT, chemical menopause, and, last-case scenario, hysterectomy. I have no desire to have more children so I am open to exploring all options at the minute, as PMDD is frankly debilitating.
PMDD affects 1 in 20 women. The emotional symptoms present in the week or two weeks before your period starts are as follows:
- Mood swings
- Emotional experiences
- Feeling upset or tearful
- Feeling angry or irritable
- Feelings of anxiety
- Feeling hopeless
- Feelings of tension or being on edge
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Lack of energy
- Less interest in activities you normally enjoy
- Suicidal feelings.