Living with PMDD

Inner struggle and the conversations with myself

The more reflecting I do the more I realize how much inner turmoil really existed in me. There were days where I felt on top of the world. Then there were days that seem to never end. Sometimes, I was convinced that I had a real problem and should seek help. I thought that yeah, maybe I am struggling with depression. Then the next day, I felt fine like everything was normal again. I felt like a fraud and that I was just making excuses on being overly emotional.

I argued with myself over the days I legitimately felt I needed help to the days I thought I was an imposter. Which one was it? I believed on the days that I was fine, that I was in fact… fine. On the days I didn’t feel good, I really thought I had a problem. I had no idea which version of me I could trust.

Naturally, I went with what I thought during my good days. I seemed to be clear headed and logical so it made sense. I tried to go about my days like normal, ignoring the fact that there were some days I just did not feel good.

And on those days, it was very lonely. I wasn’t sure how to explain to someone what was wrong when I wasn’t so sure myself.

This was the battle that I struggled with internally on my own.

The onset of symptoms

The week before my period, I could feel the shift and changes in my body. I felt more fatigued, moody, and insecure. Crying spells hit me hard. In fact, over the course of the week I probably cried more than talked. I had such low energy and my body physically felt heavy. I had no desire to do anything. I was easily irritated or I felt incredibly down. Whatever emotion I felt, it was so intense it was difficult to calm down.

When I mustered up the strength to drag myself out of bed, I would get ready for work. However, once at work, any stressful situations or difficulties that came up at work resulted in a lot of stress and anxiety. Panic attacks ensued. Even working on my computer was difficult. I could not concentrate and I couldn’t help it. Unwanted feelings, stress, anxiety, just all of it seemed out of my control.

It was frustrating not being able to do the things I normally do daily. Not only that, I was not able to be fully present for the people I work with, my team. Same thing goes for my boyfriend. The intensity of all the emotions and mood changes took a toll.

The week of my period and after

Once I get my period, it’s usually very painful the first few days. So painful that sometimes I could not walk around without bending over in pain and crying. Using the restroom was even more painful. My usual morning routine, when I know I’m on my period, is to take ibuprofen before I am fully out of bed. Once I take some ibuprofen, I will wait for it to kick in for about 10-15 minutes with a heated blanket or pad on my tummy which usually help soothe the pain.  

During the week of my period, I am usually still a little sensitive and emotional. However, far much less than the week prior. Thank. Goodness. It was draining but the intensity of all my emotions seemed to just wear off and it was now for the recovery process.

Getting back to a “normal” routine was full of guilt and self-doubt. Like cleaning up after a huge mess you’ve made.

What is helping and a little bit of advice

  • Going to my Doctor and getting an official diagnosis
  • Seeking treatment options. I opted for the “Pill” and getting therapy. If that didn’t work for me, I could talk to my doctor again and even consider taking anti-depressants.
  • Developing feel-good habits. Well what do you mean feel-good habits? I mean doing things that make you feel better, puts you in a good mood or prevent you from being in a worse/bad mood. This was important especially during my period.
  • Even if you’re not going with any treatment, planning ahead will be your best options in learning how to manage your life and responsibilities. During the week your PMDD kicks in, try to take some extra time off work if possible. Take some extra time as well the week before to get ahead on your work. Let your loved ones know what is going on so they can be there to support you.

Downside of treatment

Being on a birth contraceptive means no babies, for now. The obvious of course. Although I am not planning on having a baby right now, I am honestly a little scared that I will have a hard time getting pregnant (for other reasons beyond just PMDD). And even more so if I am on a birth contraceptive. This was something I had to come to terms with when deciding to get treatment.

There weren’t much options for treatment it seemed. The options were limited.

PMDD doesn’t just go away either. If I did want to get pregnant, I think I may still have to deal with my PMDD condition which is a little scary.

Other women and PMDD

I do not know anyone else who has PMDD. So, I am still curious to know what it’s like for other women. This is a little glimpse into what it’s like for me but I know it is different for each individual. If you have or know anyone with PMDD, I would love to hear from you!

Below are some articles of other women and what it is like living with PMDD.