I haven’t written about my Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) in a long time. Well, I haven’t written on my blog in a very long time, for that matter. I have been busy with my Young Living Essential Oils business along with being a stay at home mom of 2 and homeschooling them. So, to say I am overwhelmed sometimes is an understatement.
Anyway, back to PMDD. Have you heard of this? The definition on Wikipedia is:
“Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe and disabling form of premenstrual syndrome affecting 3–8% of women. The disorder consists of a “cluster of affective, behavioral and somatic symptoms” that recur monthly during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. PMDD was added to the list of depressive disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V in 2013. The exact pathogenesis of the disorder is still unclear and is an active research topic. Treatment of PMDD relies largely on antidepressants that modulate serotonin levels in the brain via serotonin reuptake inhibitors as well as ovulation suppression using contraception.”
I would have to disagree about the treatments for PMDD mentioned above as I personally think that putting drugs into your body to counteract this demon is definitely not the answer as it will only mask symptoms, not deal with them at their root. From experience, I have not found that much relief from using an antidepressant for this disorder. In fact, I often wonder if it is making my PMDD worse.
According to the information I found on Medline Plus, which is a government site, it states that:
“The symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of PMS. However, they are generally more severe and debilitating and include at least one mood-related symptom. Symptoms occur during the week just before menstrual bleeding and usually improve within a few days after the period starts.
Here is a list of common PMDD symptoms:
- Lack of interest in daily activities and relationships
- Fatigue or low energy
- Sadness or hopelessness, possibly thoughts of suicide
- Out of control feeling
- Food cravings or binge eating
- Mood swings with bouts of crying
- Panic attacks
- Irritability or anger that affects other people
- Bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain
- Problems sleeping
- Trouble concentrating”
This definition is somewhat accurate but I will say that the part that says, “they are generally more severe and debilitating,” makes it sound like it is just a little more uncomfortable than PMS. It should read, “they are generally much more severe, sometimes paralyzing, and may leave some people unable to function in their day-to-day lives.”
Also, this list should include – rage with bouts of screaming and out of control feelings and this will affect every relationship you have in a negative way. I mean, let’s be real. We are sometimes lunatics at this time and it is really damn awful. Oh, and by the way, I experience every single one of these symptoms above. Isn’t that great?
This demon, called PMDD, lives in me and I hate it. I hate it so much but have to live with it every.single.month. So, instead of fighting it, I deal with it. I was diagnosed with PMDD in 1998 after a horrible break up with my ex-fiance. I was put on Zoloft at that time and still take it each day. I do not think it really helps but with Zoloft, you can’t just go cold turkey and quit it.
I’m currently working with my holistic doc and chiropractor on this. I recently learned, through a blood test, that I have one of the MTHFR or methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (NAD(P)H) gene mutations that can also directly affect my hormones and every aspect of my health. So, I am starting the process now of working with a specialist on this. There are only around 10 docs in the world who really know and understand this MTHFR issue.
This is from Dr. Ben Lynch, who is one of the MTHFR specialists in the world:
“I believe the MTHFR gene mutation is a highly significant public health problem that is completely ignored. Yet, millions are suffering from pulmonary embolisms, addictions, fibromyalgia, miscarriages, schizophrenia, severe depression, cancer and autism to name a few.”
As I learn more about this gene mutation and how it affects my PMDD, I will let you know. I hope and pray that by getting to the root of this gene mutation, it will also help alleviate the PMDD.
PMDD has ruled my life in so many ways. I have to revolve any social activities, date nights with my hubby, and vacations around my demon. During the week before my period, when my PMDD rears its ugly head, I try to lay really low. I get too overwhelmed if I have too much to do. I try to sleep as much as possible, but since it affects my sleep (as seen above on the list), that can be tricky. I try to be alone but with a hubby and 2 kids who are homeschooled, that can also be a challenge.
My behavior during the week before my period, when my PMDD demon is out, has ruined relationships in the past. I am ashamed of this, really ashamed. I am normally a really great person who is kind-hearted, loving, compassionate and fun to be around. But, during my PMDD week, if someone says something to me that can possibly be taken the wrong way, 100% of the time I take it the wrong way. I just honestly can’t deal during that week.
I am learning to let people know that, “right now is not a good time for me to handle/talk about this.” I have had a couple of people who keep pushing me into a corner even after I set my boundaries and those relationships have ended. If I am asking for some space during my PMDD week and people can’t respect that, I do not need them in my life.
I used to be so embarrassed that I suffer so horribly from this disorder. But, as I get older, I realize that it is a real disorder and something I have to deal with every month. To hide from it and pretend I don’t have it does not help me or anyone else. I feel that I need to speak up about this and use my voice for good.
The best way to explain how I feel is by having you think of something that really, really annoys you to the point of putting you over the edge. Then have that thing that really annoys you and makes your brain feel fuzzy and out of control happen for an entire week. The 3 – 8% of us women who have the joy of being up close and personal with this demon have a hard time, sometimes impossible time, connecting the dots because the synapses in our brain are not working correctly. Any kind of stress or extra anxiety at this time can really make us feel a million times worse.
PMDD is often misdiagnosed as bi-polar disorder due to the extreme changes in mood. Bi-polar sufferers may suffer a couple of episodes a year of extreme ups or downs. These episodes can last months, but when the Bi-polar sufferer becomes stable again they are able to maintain a ‘normal’ life, sometimes for months, between episodes. The closest form of Bi-polar to PMDD is rapid-cycling Bi-polar, where the diagnosis is for 4 or more episodes in a year. PMDD sufferers don’t get a few months between down times, they suffer every month, 12 times a year, double that if they are affected at ovulation as well.
PMDD is a real thing. It is not an excuse for a woman to act crazy and out of control. Why in the world would anyone purposely want to act and feel this way? We don’t.
There are a few different Facebook groups for women who suffer from PMDD. I have found a lot of great information and encouragement so far in these groups. You can just type in PMDD and several will pop up.
Some supplements that I take to help me with this are Carlson Cod Liver Oil, Country Life Vitamin D3 (I get the 5,000 ius and take 1 a day during the summer and 2 during winter since we live in Michigan), Vitamin B-12 sublingual along with plenty of sleep, ionized water from our Tyent water ionizer, plenty of greens and meat only a couple of times a week along with my Young Living essential oils.
I wish you well if you are also dealing with this demon. God bless you.
P.S. I am currently in my PMDD week so I hope this article makes sense. If not, know that my intention is to help anyone who suffers from this awful disorder and writing about it is very cathartic during this time.
It’s all about the journey…