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Girl Holding Her Knees
Girl Holding Her Knees
Breanna Coon / Her Campus

How to Know if it’s More Than PMS

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Valdosta chapter.

While psychologists and physicians have utilized decades into research on depression, there is no single source of its occurrence. Deaths of loved ones or constant stress are just a few examples of root causes, particularly causes that have only increased these last several months. Due to the relentless turmoil the world has undergone this year, it is understandable for our minds to become cluttered with negative or pessimistic thoughts. Albeit we stay focused on our cognition and their impact on our physical health, I also encourage being aware of our bodies and their influence on our thoughts.


Menstrual cycles are known to leave women emotionally unstable for the duration of their arrival. And who could blame us? For roughly two to seven days, our insides’ tissue and lining shed and leave us visibly suffering. While it is an unforgettable reminder that we are not due for a visit with a doctor and ultrasound, it does not deem the process any less excruciating. 



Most have come to label this happening, “PMSing,” in which women display symptoms of nausea, abdomen and back pain, acne, insomnia, bloating, among other things. But, when under massive amounts of stress or anxiety, a new level of PMSing can be attained. I, myself, have experienced this level first-hand amidst the weeks leading up to my college move-in day.


There was a severe decline in my temperament around a week leading up to my cycle. At that point, I was a high school graduate working a full-time job position and set to move in less than one month. I was sleep-deprived, weary, and at some points neurotic the days leading up to my period but brushed this off with the logic of my lost sleep. The day my period had begun can be best described as a small wave turned tsunami. Never had I experienced such sporadic emotions while simultaneously feeling this hollowness inside of my chest. What started as intermittent crying sessions the week prior to my period morphed into ceaseless tears. While I had still been earning some hours of sleep, it left me puzzled to wake up midday and still feel lethargic. It seemed as though all of my energy was sucked out of my being and put both myself and my mother to a level of perplexity I have not witnessed since. PMS is normal for me, but certainly not skipping meals or trips to the bathroom in exchange for staying in bed all day in yesterday’s clothes. When day three of my cycle saluted me, I greeted my phone screen lit by Google’s home page and was persistent in getting answers. What I received stunned me. 


Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), as described by womenshealth.gov, holds a much larger mental impact than the typical signs of PMS. Typically, it can self-diagnosable and occurs an estimated one to two weeks before a women’s period cycle and concludes two to three days after. During PMDD, the victim can experience increased irritability, depression, and anxiety to a magnitude where those around them also become effected. Panic attacks and crying are commonly occurring, as well as a lack of interest in daily activities or relationships. It is also worth mentioning that throughout this time, women will continue to suffer the physical anguish of period cramps, breast tenderness, headaches, etc. 


After diving for at least an hour into online articles and discussion boards, I asserted PMDD to be the root cause of my lack of morale in the previous weeks. To prove my notion further, I observed a decrease in symptoms the fourth day into my cycle. It was one of the most confusing, emotional, and mentally damaging points of my life, to say the least. For most of that time, I was clueless about what I was enduring and why I was enduring it. Retrieving answers was a bittersweet discovery for me. Though it was relieving to find justification for my recent reactions, much like depression, little is known about the disorder and its causes.


Despite 80% of women being diagnosed with PMS, PMDD is imputed with only 5% of females based on their symptoms. Therefore, some of us are still left in the dark when it comes to our unstable moods or loss of interests. Although PMDD is said to be self-diagnosable online, it is recommended to visit a local physician for a medical standpoint. Another risk of PMDD is its mutual signs of other mental disorders, which can lead a victim to falsely diagnose themselves of something other than PMDD, or vice versa. If diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, the top-recommended supplements for treatment include birth control or antidepressants. 


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Demi Lotz

Valdosta '24

VSU Freshman who loves writing, animals, and Italian food!
Her Campus at Valdosta State.