Today we have a guest blogger, Joya, who has graciously agreed to share her story of PMDD. I invite others to contact me who would like to share your story of how you discovered you had PMDD, were diagnosed, and what treatments--both successful and unsuccessful--you have tried in an effort to cope with this debilitating disorder. This helps every woman with PMDD to understand that while you are not alone, every case is as individual you are.
Welcome, Joya, and thank you for sharing your story with us.
I was diagnosed about three years ago.
Before I was diagnosed I felt awful & sick. I also thought I was losing my mind. It took a while for me to realize the awful feelings and the craziness were associated with my monthly cycle. I began to dread my cycle, but always looked forward to getting my period because I felt such a relief. There were times when I literally thought I was going insane. And the awful physical symptoms were at times too much to bear. I am grateful for my diagnosis as I have been empowered to find ways to help myself.
I am very fortunate I have a wonderful Doctor who listens to me and I believe he actually cares about my well being.
I have tried the following:
And I am currently using the Mirena IUD
Side effects & benefits I have experienced:
The pill was not a good choice, I cannot handle the extra estrogen at all. I completely lose it. For whatever reason the pill intensifies my symptoms.
Anti-Depressants-at first seemed like a cure! Then I started to feel depressed all the time, and I became listless and lethargic. I gained 25 pounds and felt awful and the benefits seemed to have flown out the window. I am not a fan of anti-depressants. I am no longer using them for treatment of my PMDD.
Acupuncture helps-mainly it helps with relaxation. It is also not a cure-all, but can be very helpful in terms of relaxation. It can be expensive and it takes quite some time before it actually reduces any symptoms. I would like to return to acupuncture if for nothing else, but the calming effect it as.
Herbal supplements & supplements: for me they help, but do not have the strength to reduce my symptoms to a manageable level. I use supplements in conjunction with the IUD.
The IUD has been helpful, it has reduced my symptoms. However, after a little over a year of using the IUD I feel the effectiveness wearing off. It makes me want to cry. And I do not really have a period at all and I don't like this part of it. The idea of searching for another effective treatment feels a little frustrating at the moment.
I consider myself blessed. I have very loving and supportive friends and family. I have been honest about my PMDD-it does affect my ability to socialize and I can withdraw pretty easily. I hate when I am unkind, or I lash out at someone I love when I am PMDD-ing. It is awful and I feel horrible, and guilty. In some ways I try to keep to myself so that I do not do anything I will regret later. I live alone and work primarily alone, so I do control my interaction with people as much as possible. I have recently entered a romantic relationship-I have been upfront about my PMDD, and he is a very understanding person. However, I am terrified I will scare him away, and I know this is a large part of why I keep to myself. I try to keep myself and others safe, but I am starting to feel that it is not the solution.
I cannot think of a shape for PMDD, as it tends to have several forms for me. At times it may be rigid and square, uptight and bound, whereas other times-it is wide open and expansive...It encompasses many colors...red would be the primary color, as well as black and dark blue...perhaps with flashes of purples and greens.
The worst thing about PMDD for me is the darkness, the sadness, and the nasty voice inside me that gets so loud that I believe it. I believe every ugly lie the voice utters. I have made some serious life decisions while under the influence of the PMDD monster, only to wonder later-'what the hell was I thinking'. The other thing is I feel like I cannot trust myself and I do not want to be around anybody. It sucks, I am for the most part a friendly, upbeat and kind person. The PMDD twists things and I get twisted with them and then come out the other side-wondering what happened. I hate that I listen to the ugly angry distrustful voice, rather than my true core voice.
I have changed my diet, I eat mostly vegetarian. I focus on nutrition. Whole grains, veggies, I do have fats, like peanut butter and such. I love fruit too! I make 90% of my meals at home, this is very helpful. Honestly, diet and exercise have had a profound effect on my ability to cope. I make sure I get enough rest as I cannot function without adequate rest. I LOVE to exercise and I LOVE yoga and walking outdoors! However, when the monster (PMDD) is in house, I have to literally fight with myself to exercise, and do what is best for me. As there are times when I drink wine, or eat too much, and usually regret it.
I also remind myself what is happening and that it is not ME-it is PMDD and it is chemical and biological, but this is not always helpful. I take hot baths and drink tea, I use drops of white chestnut for anxiety. Basically, I try to take of myself and be loving towards myself. I do struggle and sometimes I cave to the cravings for fatty food, wine, or cigarettes. I realize that this is a work in progress, and from experience I KNOW that taking excellent care of myself is my best bet!
I work with a master metal smith-he is my dad. We design and create custom wedding rings. I work with 30 stores and retail clients from all across the globe! I am very fortunate to have the work I have. I work alone as most of my correspondence is via email. I love working with an artist and I love working with my clients. I am grateful for all of my clients. So I do not have a career I have a job, a wonderful job. I long for a career, but that is a long and painful subject for me. I have searched for 15, plus years to answer the 'what am I going to do with my life'? question only to still not know the answer. It causes me extreme grief. As I have taken endless classes and been in and out of school, etc...
For now, I am letting it go. I just recently withdrew from school, as the combination of work, school, PMDD and my learning disabilities proved to be too much for me. I am struggling with not feeling like an utter failure and feeling like I have liberated myself. I do not have children, I have a cat, whom has been with me for 15 years. I care for her deeply and she has been a most loving and loyal companion over the years.
I would like to have a career that I can pour my heart and soul into. I would like to love freely and create. I would like to be of service to the people, the Earth and the animals. It is unfortunate that every single month for two weeks I kinda fall apart and lose my grip. However, I refuse to give up and I hope that I can find a way to do what I long to and be even with PMDD.
I believe yoga and meditation are helpful. Yes, they help me to relax and change my focus and help me to slow down and breathe.
"Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none." Unknown.
"Everything we see or seem is but a dream within a dream." Edger Allen Poe