Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

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Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
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    Community Voices

    Every 28 days #PMDD takes 18 days.

    40% of the year is spent being me.
    Don't be fooled into thinking that being me is filled happily dancing around, singing, holding hands, filled with the joys of spring, drinking in those good moments.

    Being me means spending time picking up the destruction left behind after each episode, trying to piece my life back together, trying to hold my family together once again from the damage thats been caused.

    It means the exhausting cycle of putting old plans in place & figuring out new plans to try and minimise the damage that the impending next episode is going to cause closest to me.

    It means forever living with crippling guilt, shame, embarrassment because of things I've said, ways I've acted & a gut wrenching fear that one day I won't ever be able to claw myself out of that hole of continous thoughts and feelings of wanting to be unalive that each #PremenstrualDysphoricDisorder episode brings.

    It means plastering in on a smile for my family while really I'm still crying inside for the days, hours, minutes, I missed with them, whilst a rising anxiety lurks inside me as I know what is coming.

    The rest of my time is spent living as my alter ego, in #PMDDhell .
    Angry, depressed, withdrawn, fatigued, in pain, disassociated from the world around me, in a constant state of self loathing & planning my own demise.

    Even when PMDD is not present, it makes its presence known.

    If you know someone with PMDD, please don't ever tell them it's just #PMS .

    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    Its been almost a year since I banished her out of my life.
    I cast her out like she was discarded rubbish. I often wonder if she deserved that.

    Was it really that bad? Was she really that bad?

    I miss her. I miss the comfort she bought. I miss her presence. The way she made me feel so in tune with my body. How she intensified every emotion I felt.
    I dont want her back. She was destructive. She broke my soul with her venomous words, her twisted dreams & poisonous thoughts. I was broken when she was near.
    But, I loved her. I needed her. I still need her. Without her I am not whole. Now she is gone a part of me feels lost, trapped in a bleak void forever falling further and further away from me.
    The world seems scary without her. I'm not sure who I am or where I belong. Life is less colourful & more stagnant somehow.
    I want to reach out to her, feel the bitter sting of her impact on my life once more.
    I want to know that she is ok.

    But, I know that she is ok. For she is my PMDD alter ego. I am her and she is me.

    #PMDD #PremenstrualDysphoricDisorder #hormonesensitivity #MenstrationMatters #WomensHealth #mentalhealthmatters #menopause #PMDDthoughts #MentalHealth

    Community Voices

    PMDD and why we need to talk about it

    I have PMDD. I have been suffering with this since I was a young teenager and I believe even before that. PMDD stands for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and it is considered a mood disorder that is caused by hormones and the neurotransmitters not taking these hormones well during your luteal phase. Basically my brain freaks out when certain hormones are going through my body during this time of my menstrual cycle. Most people experience symptoms such as anxiety, depression, rage, bloating or inflammation, muscle pain, intense food cravings, increased sensitivity to rejection, self-critical thoughts, and sometimes suicidal ideation.

    I got my menstrual cycle when I was 10 years old and I remember being really scared. I was told that they were so painful but I was not sure what that would look like. My mom did her best to make sure I understood the foundation of menstrual cycles and what I would need each month but nothing could have prepared her for the years to come where each month I would be filled with rage, depression, suicidal ideation, and all of the other challenges that came with it and no clear diagnosis.

    I did not get a clear diagnosis until about a year ago when I started to do research on menstrual cycles and found out about PMDD. My mom told me how she mentioned it to my pediatrician because she could see that I had issues when I was about to start menstruating but nothing ever came of it and he said to take Advil 3 days before I started to menstruate. She thought back to when she was in her early 20’s and would always be filled with rage and anger before getting her period but didn’t realize this was not a normal reaction. Even before I got a clear diagnosis she was always able to help me realize that it was my ‘PMS’ that was causing me to feel this way. We did not realize this was something other women experienced and that it was in no way PMS and it was a completely different issue causing me to feel this way. It was isolating, lonely, and frustrating not knowing exactly what was going on with my body and mind. I would go to therapy for anxiety and depression and try to track everything but we weren’t solely focusing on one mental health condition because we did not know that’s what it was. I went to the doctor multiple times to get my hormones and thyroid checked and everything always came back normal. It wasn’t until I did research on PMDD and found that no blood test will be able to tell you if you have PMDD because it is not a hormone imbalance it is a mental health condition caused by hormones.

    When I found out about PMDD it only brought a small amount of relief for me because I started to think about the journey that would be ahead trying to learn how to manage it. I was in undergrad, living on my own, and working full time on top of having these symptoms. I was stuck in survival mode until I graduated recently and now I have been left with no choice but to face this. I started to experience more intense suicidal thoughts during my luteal phase and would have intense emotions where I would tell myself I was not good enough. All of the stress I had experienced throughout school and life in general finally caught up and making itself known it was there and it needed to be dealt with. PMDD causes so much emotional and physical turmoil each month that I had to accept I needed to heal from all of the trauma my body had been going through. I have been dealing with anxiety and depression since I was 14 years old and suicidal thoughts were not a new occurrence for me but this level of mental imbalance was new and I needed to learn how to manage it.

    I currently am going back to therapy and I have found a lot of support through the IAPMD (International Association for PMDD and PME) Facebook page and support groups. They offer a wide range or resources and information if you are needing help with guidance. 1 in 20 people are impacted by PMDD and it is not just cis-gendered women. It’s important to stay aware that there are non-binary, gender fluid, trans, and others who don’t always identify as a cis woman but they still get a menstrual cycle. This inclusivity is important to stay aware of because it can help researchers find how this can impact specific populations too. There is help and support out there and talking more about your experience is the first step to educating not just other peers but professionals who may not be aware of this condition.

    #PMDD #Anxiety #Depression #BansOffOurBodies #RoeVWade #Period #MenstrualCycle #MentalHealth

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    Community Voices

    Parenting with PMDD

    As a parent living life with PMDD, it can be diabolically hard. There's days when I cannot stand my children's voices. The sound of the innocent laughter, the shouts of 'mum' slice through me as harshly as the ear piercing sound of glass against a knife & when I'm already at the mercy of my hormones, that are so viciously attacking me in every possible way, it simply only heightens my irritability towards my own self.
    I know my children depend on me for love, care, time; they rely quite solely on my existence.
    I often find myself disassociating from my children during these PMDD times in order to survive. Time passes, essentials get done, but I have no recollection of the who's, how's, when's or whys.
    Its scary losing any sense of time, but its even scarier that its become necessary to keep myself alive.
    PMDD takes the best bits of me & leaves me broken, but it has also shown my children a side to life that they may have never gotten to experience.
    They've seen real, raw emotions. They've learnt first hand about how menstruation can impact people & they know the signs to look out for in others & how to have those conversations that their friends find awkward & uncomfortable.
    They aren't ashamed of my disorder & for that I'm so proud.

    #PremenstrualDysphoricDisorder #PMDD #PMDDParents #ChronicIllness

    What Helps a Young Woman With Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

    With our ongoing “What Helps Me” series, The Mighty is leaning into what sets us apart from other health sites: We aim to provide real health advice from real people who live it. In this spirit, we asked our community for the best insights and tips they’ve developed for managing their conditions. As always, they responded with their unique health stories and we are happy to pass along their well-tested resources to you. Responses have been lightly edited for clarity. Today, we meet Mighty member Liza. She is 19 years old and lives with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Liza, what helps you? THE MIGHTY: What helps you most when your condition affects your physical health? LIZ: Nothing beats a nap! Drifting off to sleep on the sofa with my furry friend and some music playing is so helpful. What helps you most when your condition affects your mental health? Being able to talk about it calmly to my partner, a friend, or a family member and being reminded that I’m safe and grounded helps me. Simple reminders to ground my mental state, such as “You’re safe here” or something similar is a huge help. How do you cope when your normal self-care isn’t working? My self-care looks different every day. I just have to keep trying until something works. One day it might be a hot bubble bath; the next, it might be starting a book or TV series I’ve always been meaning to begin or taking a walk outside. If nothing works, turning to someone I trust to do self-care with me is a massive help. Thank you to Liza for her contributions to our community. Did you find this helpful? Add your gratitude in the comments. If you want to tell us what helps you, you can complete our survey here .

    Finding The Right Therapist Saved My Life With PTSD and PMDD

    In September of 2021, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to a two-year battle with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and childhood trauma I didn’t realize I had. Having PMDD in itself was like constantly being at war with myself. One that I eventually ended up losing. Even though it’s now over, I lost my family, my friends, and my sense of self all in one fell swoop. Having to deal with PTSD and trauma responses after finally being physically free from PMDD is devastating. It’s like thinking my world is never going to see the sun again and I’m never going to be the happy, carefree woman I used to be. PMDD and PTSD have a lot of similarities when it comes to symptoms, at least for me. Feelings of shame and guilt, difficulty controlling my emotions, headaches and stomach pain, distancing myself from friends and family, marriage problems, destructive and risky behavior, and the worst one of all, suicidal thoughts. Before PTSD, I had never in my life thought about suicide, but I didn’t have any support and when I would reach out to family they told me to “get over it.” They didn’t care what I was going through, told me they’d been through worse and that my situation and experience didn’t matter. My husband didn’t understand, and even though he tried to support me in his own way, it wasn’t in the way that I needed. A way that would have been beneficial and helpful to me. He never actually asked me what happened or what any of this has been like for me. Feeling like he didn’t care enough to take the time to ask and spend alone time with me just drove us farther apart and made me resent him. I felt like he could be there for everyone else but he couldn’t be there for me, and I had a hard time with feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, and not being good enough for him. When I reached out to my best friend of over 15 years, she said, “I don’t know how to respond to any of this,” and then just up and disappeared from my life. I haven’t heard from her since. The lack of support and not having anyone to be there for me left me feeling like I didn’t know how to get from where I was to where I wanted to be. I didn’t think it was possible and at the time, I didn’t think I was deserving of a life. If no one else thought I was enough to put in any kind of effort for, how was I going to think that about myself? I had already been in therapy for over two years for help with PMDD and things my husband’s ex-wife was doing that was adding to the strain of our already crumbling marriage, but that therapist wasn’t as helpful as I wanted to believe. She kept telling me to “connect” with myself when in all honesty, I was overly connected. It was part of my problem. I knew what was wrong, how I was feeling, why I felt the way I did. I just needed the guidance to navigate these things so I could come out positively on top of them all. And then I met my current therapist. When I switched therapists in October, that’s when things really started to change for me. I’m not saying it was an overnight fix, far from it. At first, I was closed off and when I would talk about certain situations, I would flip the script from me to the other person and I would shut down the possibility that anything was my fault. I never laughed and spent the majority of my sessions in tears. My anxiety never eased up and my panic attacks were prevalent. And then one day my therapist told me she’d noticed a difference. One I hadn’t seen or noticed in myself. I had managed to go through several sessions without crying, I was laughing and using sarcasm, I was making her laugh, and the most important change was I was starting to take accountability for my part in things that had happened. I genuinely wanted to apologize to people I had hurt and I was taking it upon myself to read about cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or other ways that could be beneficial to my mental health and growth. While I’ve had a couple of friends who have genuinely cared about me and my situation, it’s hard to completely open up to someone. Right now, it doesn’t feel safe to me because in my experience, it’s never been safe. But switching therapists and finding the right one for me literally saved my life. I don’t know where I would be today or if I would have made it during those dark days had I not had her. I owe her a lot and I’m extremely thankful for her and the changes she’s helped me with. She’s taught me that no matter how hard things get, even if I don’t have the support I need from the people I love, sometimes the best support you can get is from yourself. And even though things may look like they won’t get better, they always do. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but they always do eventually.

    5 Things No One Tells You About Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

    I used to never talk about premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). I guess when you “win the lotto” you don’t really want to talk about it because there’s always a stigma around these kinds of things, around any kind of mental illness at all. PMDD isn’t talked about a lot anyway though, which also makes it harder for those of us who do have it, to be open about it. No one I know, except for one person, even knew what it was when I mentioned it. It’s awful. It’s a terrible thing to go through. And here are all of the reasons why that WebMD and Google won’t tell you: 1. It’s like PMS on overdrive before your period. For four days (if you’re lucky, for some people it’s longer) before your period comes, it’s like experiencing PMS in overdrive. Irritable times 10, uncontrollably crying for no reason at all, hating life, and so many other symptoms. Just think of all of your PMS symptoms and then imagine amplifying them. It’s scary. Terrifying, actually. 2. You aren’t yourself with PMDD. I mean this literally. You don’t feel like yourself. You don’t act like yourself. You look in the mirror and you don’t see yourself. It’s like you’re on the outside looking in and screaming, “What is wrong with me?” Four days (or more) later, you’re like, “Oh, there I am. What happened? Why me?” 3. The lows are really low. There were times where I felt so low I didn’t think I’d make it to my 37th birthday. It was even worse being in a state where, at the time, I had no friends, and I didn’t have any support. My husband wasn’t supportive. My family wasn’t supportive. I was alone. I pulled myself out of those really dark places alone and the only reason I’m alive today is because of my two kids, and honestly, that’s it. (Side note: if you’ve ever pulled yourself out of something so dark like this, I’m proud of you. Because doing that is hard, especially alone.) 4. It’s “supposed” to only last a year and a half, sometimes only a year. You have to track it for months to even get the diagnosis at all while you’re feeling like you’re losing yourself and who you are as a person. You have to figure out your triggers, what helps expend that negative energy, and what you can do to minimize the symptoms. It’s exhausting. Imagine doing this as a parent or a stay-at-home mom. Running to and from all the time. I was tired. Even if you’re not busy 24/7, it is still a mentally exhausting thing to go through. It’s still physically draining. 5. You can lose a lot. And by a lot, I really mean a lot. You can lose family and friends who don’t understand or who don’t want to understand. You lose a piece of yourself every time you try to explain this to a medical provider who isn’t trained or doesn’t have the knowledge of PMDD, because again, it’s not talked about enough. I felt “crazy” every time I’d try to explain it wasn’t just PMS. PMS is child’s play compared to this. You think I’d be sitting in office #292 seeking out answers if I thought it was just PMS? No. I’d have taken a pain reliever and called it a day. But you also lose so much more when the family you’ve built a life with can’t or won’t support you because they don’t get it, don’t want to get it, or don’t understand. You can realize PMDD has really cost you just about everything in your life. But now I’m over a year and a half past when my husband and I first suspected PMDD came to take up residence in my life and I’m still experiencing all of the above. The worst part is now I don’t know if I still have it or not because in September I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression and anxiety as a result of that. My monthly is off schedule because my body is in constant stress and survival mode making it impossible to track my symptoms anymore. I have flashbacks, nightmares, and I get anxious all the time. I seek out safe havens when I feel threatened. I can’t open up to anyone, ever, about how I feel because rejection is a trigger for me and I’ve already lost enough people trying to explain I have PMDD. I had to start over with coping mechanisms because some of what worked with PMDD doesn’t work with PTSD. Large crowds bother me, but loud music and dancing doesn’t. I now hate the snow and the winter when I used to play in it like a kid. Then there’s the weight. I lost a significant amount of weight in four months. Way to go, right? I did it because, first, I needed to expend all of that energy I had so when PMDD came around it wouldn’t be as bad. And second, my house became my prison because no one understood me no matter how hard I’d try to explain. Either I couldn’t fully describe what I was going through in correct detail or they just didn’t understand. Either way, I didn’t have any support so I’d leave any chance I got and went walking, running, hiking, or rowing. It didn’t matter. Any physical activity I would seek out. Then when I lost the first significant bit of weight, which I was super proud of, the weight kept coming off. I’ve currently lost even more because of the stress of my household and not feeling like I have control over my own body. Going through PMDD and then PTSD alone and without a support system is hard. It’s stressful and causes me daily anxiety. Here’s why I started being so open about PMDD in the first place: When you don’t know what’s causing this massive shift in your body, when you feel like a totally different person and you are literally alone to go through it yourself, things start to feel like you don’t have a way out. Every day, multiple times a day, I would question whether or not my kids would be better off without me, or what purpose I was actually serving. It was hard to get out of bed every day, it is hard to get out of bed every day, and it’s hard crying off and on throughout the day knowing sometimes my kids see me in pain. It’s hard being there for other people when you feel like you don’t have the capacity to help your own self. It’s hard when everything inside of you is screaming for something to change, something better, something different, but you haven’t found it yet. I’m in therapy. I have been for over two years. I switched therapists five months ago because I finally felt like my first one wasn’t able to provide me with the tools and resources I needed to find my way back to myself. There hadn’t been any improvement in the areas that would have made the most difference, especially my marriage. My therapist I have now has trauma-informed training and has already made a huge impact on how I view myself, my situation, and the world. If anything, I’m grateful that I didn’t just give up and I sought out a new provider. And you know how I know this therapy is working? Healing is uncomfortable. In my opinion, if you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not making progress. I’m uncomfortable every time I have a session and I’m uncomfortable every time I take her advice or I remember her words in everyday conversations. But the most important thing she’s told me to date is that I don’t have to believe that it gets better. I just have to believe that it gets better eventually. And for once, I do. For more information on PMDD vs. PMS, visit Dr. Lisa Watson’s site.

    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    I Don't Tell You Because

    I posted on Facebook last week that I was suicidal, and considering a divorce. I did not know I was experiencing the worst days of my PMS, because my monthly changed its schedule.
    In response I was given a phone number to a hotline, many thoughts and prayers and my wonderful aunt, freaked out.
    When my daughter was born I promised her that I would never take my own life and I would always get help. I promised the same to my son when he was born. I do not break my promises.
    My course for when I feel this way, I go to bed. I take my anxiety meds, leave my medications with a and go to bed.
    My aunt was having none of it. She was texting me nonstop for over an hour. While I appreciate her well meaning, my gods take my answers at their word!!!
    I don't talk about how I feel on Facebook because the people there instantly freak out, think the worst, make snap judgements about what I need, and hound me about my wishes.
    I ton't talk to anyone about this stuff because it is a symptom of my PMS that I become irrationally angry, overly emotional, have suicidal thoughts, and have attempted suicide in the past, and no one understands.
    I don't talk about it because I have seizures that accompany my PMS and the first day of my cycle that make me feel awful and make life a thousand times more difficult.
    I am tired of explaining myself all the time. I don't owe anyone explanations, I don't owe anyone anything. So when I finally discover my diagnosis and share it there with everyone "concerned" when I was suicidal and having awful seizures, and no one responds like I never said anything. That is when I know they didn't care.
    #Depression #OurSideOfSuicide #PMS #Epilepsy #CatamenialEpilepsy #PMDD #PremenstrualDysphoricDisorder

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