Unfortunately, my research has uncovered a complete lack of serious information for men on the subject of PMDD, so here it is, short and sweet, a list of the top 20 things you can do for your partner with PMDD.
1. Believe her. When she tells you what she’s experiencing, believe her. Even if it doesn't make sense. Because PMDD doesn't make sense. The symptoms are as unique and individual as the woman having them.
2. Do not tease her. Do not make fun of her, as this is a serious and often debilitating condition.
3. Chart her symptoms daily, either together or on your own. If she refuses to admit there's a problem, then do it on your own so that you can be prepared for when the storm hits.
4. Consult your chart when considering social events, activities, or vacations and such. Surprises and big decisions come under this heading, too.
5. Learn as much information as you can about PMDD from reliable resources. If they have a product to sell you, any type of product, proceed with caution.
6. Understand that if it is not treated, her PMDD will only get worse. It could end up as major depressive disorder.
7. Help her to find a doctor who will listen to her and help her. This may take a few tries.
8. Don’t let her negative thoughts and feelings get the better of her—or you. If she shares them with you, gently remind her it’s the PMDD talking, not her, and postpone any major discussions/decision making for a few days.
9. Be supportive and encouraging as she tries different things to feel better. Make a note of what works and what doesn’t. Share this with her doctor.
10. Help her to get enough rest. Sleep is when our bodies re-regulate themselves. If we don’t have enough (sleep) time to do the work needed, we start the day at a disadvantage.
11. Join her for moderate exercise. Exercise is always more fun with a friend.
12. Encourage her to eat healthy. (Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar, sugar substitutes, anything made with high fructose corn syrup, and white rice and flour, for starters.)
13. Buy her some high quality dark chocolate. Keep it on hand for the dark days.
14. Do what you can to keep stressful situations to a minimum. PMDD feeds on stress.
15. Do not accept any behavior that is abusive. Ever.
16. Do not return such behavior if it happens. Calmly walk away and resume your conversation when she is more in control of herself.
17. Remember that she literally is not herself during an episode of PMDD. Try not to hold the things she says and does against her. It’s not personal, and it’s not about you.
18. Be as comforting as she will allow you to. If she won’t let you near her, let her know you will be nearby if she needs you.
19. Don’t expect her to be full of sunshine and laughter when she’s not having a PMDD episode. A healthy, balanced, and emotionally well-rounded woman feels every emotion--not just the good ones.
20. Last, but not least: Do not blame every time she becomes irritated, annoyed, angry, afraid, or upset on her PMDD. Nothing is more irritating than having a genuine concern or grievance, and being told, “It’s your PMDD again, isn’t it?”
Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. Take the time to check her chart to see if she’s supposed to be having an episode, and then carefully sort through (usually by talking it out) and separate what is her PMDD and what is a genuine fear or concern on her part. Encourage her to feel and express the full range of emotions, just like people without PMDD do.
More than anything, a PMDD woman just wants to feel normal. These 20 tips will go a long way toward helping your partner do just that.