It all came crashing down on March 12, 1998. My ex-fiance and I had a horrible, nightmarish fight and broke off our engagement. It was two months and four days before we were supposed to say, “I do.” It was one of the worst days of my life. I felt like I was in a black hole and that I would never get out. I tried to take my life that night. I had no idea how I would ever feel better. Ever. I was so ashamed, embarrassed, felt like such huge failure and had no idea what to do. I felt so alone.
I had been seeing a therapist for a few months before this. What I didn’t know at that time but soon found out from a psychiatrist was that I have Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, a.k.a PMDD. I had never heard of this before and no one else I knew had it. I felt like a weirdo and very alone. I didn’t even recognize myself when I was in my PMDD week. I made a decision right then and there that I would not let it define me and never spoke about it to anyone except for my psychiatrist. I felt very ashamed and embarrassed that I had this disorder.
After my ex-fiance and I broke up, I decided to take the time to better myself. I never wanted to go through again what I went through with him. We were both verbally abusive to each other, he was mentally abusive to me, and I knew in my heart I needed to end the relationship but it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I am thankful every single day that God chose to have us end our relationship and now I have a healthy and strong marriage without all of these awful things in it. Except for the PMDD – that stayed. I have to work really hard to learn new ways to cope with this beast.
I will be going along just fine and then whammo, PMDD sneaks up on me about a week before my period starts. I can actually feel the shift of hormones and then the crazy comes. Feeling so down that you don’t want to live, can’t function and do things you just did yesterday, arguing with everyone around you, ruining relationships, nothing is right and it truly feels like right then that nothing will ever be right again and no matter how irrational you feel, it all feels so real in that moment and you can’t talk to yourself to say that you will feel better. This disorder does not work that way at all. When you are in it, you are in it and no one can talk you out of it. So, you have to do some prep work to ready your body and mind before this devil hits you each month.
The rage, oh the rage. It comes from the belly and builds its way up. Any little thing can set you off like a volcano ready to explode. It is just awful. Over the years, I have done so many things to help myself feel better that the rage has subsided a lot. Thank goodness. Once we had kids, I told my husband we will not spank because for me, that could turn ugly. So, they have always had time out and that works much better for me with my disorder. And honestly, my kids are a huge reason for me constantly searching to find new ways to better myself and find ways to cope in a peaceful and loving way. I have to basically survive each and every month so why not find ways to do it with a little more dignity and grace?
Some things I’ve done over the past almost 20 years to help myself with PMDD are to eat well. I truly feel this is a huge part of PMDD and coping. I had to cut gluten out of my diet 15 1/2 years ago. It was making me so sick. I later found out that gluten, dairy, corn and soy are the four most inflammatory foods. I cut out dairy 8 years ago. These two changes have made a world of difference for me. We cut out all processed foods, limit sugar, eat all organic foods – stock up on a lot of organic veggies, meat, and fruit, don’t ever eat fast food and occasionally eat at a restaurant (maybe once a month).
I also go to yoga once a week. I really should go twice a week as I think that would help me even more. We got a Tyent water ionizer years ago and drink only water from that because our water has so many chemicals in it. I also try to get a walk or bike ride in as many times during the week that I can. Exercise helps me with PMDD so much.
A couple of years ago, I found out that I have the MTHFR gene mutation (google it) and I have a huge amount of heavy metals and other toxins clogging up my system. I’m seeing a holistic M.D. and a Nutritional Counselor to help me with this along with some other health issues I have because of it. I’ve had to cut out all caffeine, can only have one alcoholic drink a week (I have a shot of good tequila, a lime, water and ice — so refreshing! The high quality tequila makes or breaks it so don’t skimp on this). And, I highly recommend NOT having any alcohol when you are in your PMDD week. I try not to and notice it helps me so much.
I am on an SSRI for PMDD and have been for almost 20 years. I honestly don’t think it has helped me very much as I still had severe symptoms while on it. I would love to get off of it but can’t just go cold turkey. Now that I’m doing all of these other things, I have felt a lot better and don’t think I can honestly attribute any of it to the SSRI. I could be wrong, though, so please don’t quote me!! 🙂
My family and I have been using quality essential oils for four years, I take several different supplements to help with the MTHFR gene mutation, which in turn I’m certain helps with the PMDD, and I’m also taking CBD oil now. I found out about it five months ago and it has changed my life. My holistic M.D. and Nutritional Counselor both advised me to take a high quality CBD oil so I am now and it has been the most effective thing for me with PMDD so far. It allows me to actually think rationally during PMDD (whoa, what?), takes away a lot of my PMDD symptoms before it happens (this last cycle, I started five days early and had no idea I was going to start because I didn’t have any PMDD symptoms the week before like I usually do), it has helped me to not fly off the handle at every little thing, to take a step back to actually think before reacting (what a novel idea) and it has helped me with other things, too. More energy (even during PMDD week), better sleep, less sciatica pain, and better mental clarity. Amazing stuff! You can learn more here: https://m.facebook.com/groups/1367665256653572 and you can check out the one I’m taking here: https://www.HempWorx.com/JenKelly or connect with me here: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.easterdaykelly
Some of the supplements that I take to help are Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil – this helps a lot with inflammation and I do think a lot of PMDD is related to inflammation in the body. The CBD oil also helps with inflammation as does not eating gluten and dairy. I also take Carlson’s Vitamin D3 5,000 mg once a day. I have read that Vitamin D3 is now categorized as a hormone and those of us who live in a state that doesn’t get sun year round need the Vitamin D3. A good probiotic is also a must since the gut and brain are related.
If your doctor doesn’t believe you about PMDD, find a different doctor!
If you feel ashamed, embarrassed, or shy about talking about PMDD, join one of the many Facebook support groups that are out there. Remember that by talking about this, we are bringing awareness and helping other women who suffer along with helping ourselves shed some of the stigma that can go along with disorders. And, if you need some words to tell others how you can’t function during PMDD time, you can simply say, “I’m really sorry. Right now is not a good time for me. I can talk to you about this in about 7-10 days. I will let you know when I am ready.” This is perfectly acceptable and honoring yourself while you are in a compromising state. If people don’t understand, which many won’t, it’s okay. Let those people think what they want but make sure to take good care of YOU! That is not being selfish at all but taking care of the wonderful person that God made – YOU!
Some different Facebook groups that may help you are:
PMDD Moms https://www.facebook.com/groups/pmddmoms/
Gia Allemand Foundation PMDD Support https://www.facebook.com/groups/GAFSupport/
PMDD Private Discussions https://www.facebook.com/groups/563576280410235/
I know that PMDD can feel so daunting and like you will never feel better again. I have suffered with this for at least 20 years but I think it’s more, honestly. Believe me when I say if you keep making little changes in your diet and lifestyle, you will see a difference and you will heal little by little. You CAN do it! Big hugs to you if you suffer from this awful disorder!
It’s all about the journey…