PMDD and Me



Every girl who gets a period knows how shitty it can be sometimes, but what happens when your period is so bloody awful (pun intended), that you can’t function like a normal human being. That’s me. When I get my period, I get so many symptoms; such as the bleeding, the cramps, cravings, breast tenderness, mood swings. However, these symptoms are on another level, especially the mood swings. I go from happy to so depressed that I want to commit suicide, to so angry that I shake with rage over even the smallest of things. I even ended up in the hospital over being so depressed on my period that I almost committed suicide. This lasted for days and days with no breaks of happiness in between, it was just constant suicidal thoughts and ideations.  Yes, there was plenty of other stuff going on in my life that contributed to the hospitalization as well, but my period caused the brunt of that to become unbearable. 

This is when PMS is no longer normal and something more serious is going on, something that I did not even know was a thing until my therapist brought it up. PMDD, or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, is a very severe case of PMS that can disrupt a woman’s life. Symptoms of PMDD can emerge 1-2 weeks preceding menses and typically resolve with the onset of menses. This mood disturbance results in marked social or occupational impairment, with its most prominent effects in interpersonal functioning. PMDD affects 3-8% of women in their reproductive years, with symptoms usually emerging during a woman’s twenties. These symptoms can include:

  • Psychological Symptoms

    • Anxiety

    • Feeling overwhelmed or out of control

    • Increased depressed mood

    • Irritability

    • Mood Swings

    • Sense of feeling overwhelmed

    • Sensitivity to rejection

    • Social withdrawal

    • Sudden sadness or tearfulness

  • Physical Symptoms

    • Abdominal bloating

    • Appetite disturbance (usually increased)

    • Breast tenderness

    • Headaches

    • Lethargy or fatigue

    • Muscle aches and/or joint pain

    • Sleep disturbance (usually hypersomnia)

    • Swelling of extremities

  • Behavioral Symptoms

    • Fatigue

    • Forgetfulness

    • Poor Concentration

I never even heard of PMDD, and no doctor of mine really put two and two together until I had my current therapist. She genuinely cares and listened to me, and after I went there for a few months she connected the dots. Right around my period I would always call her, or the suicide prevention hotline, and be riddled with suicidal thoughts and ideations. I felt many of the other symptoms, almost all of them, but the only one that really put my life at risk was the suicidal thoughts. She realized this and began to research what it could be and how to put a stop to my suffering I was facing every month. She came across PMDD and said I could be a poster child for it (she is a jokester sometimes). In order to treat it, I would have to add estrogen to my birth control because an IUD does not have estrogen. Once I added the estrogen pill to my birth control, I was like a whole new person. I no longer get suicidal around my period, probably because I don’t even get it anymore. If my therapist didn’t connect the dots, I would still be suffering, or maybe not be here at all and that’s scary. If you suffer with severe PMS, I highly recommend you talk to your doctor because something more serious, like PMDD, may be going on. Asking for help is scary, but having symptoms like this can be scarier, and can cause serious problems in your everyday life. Don't be afraid to come forward and talk to your doctor if you are suffering from similar symptoms and they will try and help you get on the right medication to get it under control.