Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder sounds like a very complicated medical condition. Believe me, it is. I have been diagnosed with PMDD two years ago, but it did not give me any reason to be depressed. In fact, the diagnosis finally released me from the chains of being miserable. Before getting this diagnosis, I was struggling with depression and god-knows-what other physical and emotional symptoms that literally paralyzes my whole being. I thought I was going insane already. Then I made a very strong move to finally see my doctor and know what’s wrong with me and get this over with.
I am 26 years old and working as a hotel receptionist staff. I have been experiencing premenstrual syndrome symptoms since high school and are just getting worse every year. Every woman could relate to what I am trying to say here. My PMS symptoms would start from food craving to feeling tired most of the time, irritable, and massive mood swings. I continue to live each day and just consider these symptoms as part of being me as a “woman”. And I hated myself for being one.
The symptoms worsen until I have symptoms like debilitating depression, severe headaches, panic symptoms, severe headaches, sleep problems, etc. I noticed that these particular symptoms start to show up 7 to 10 days before the start of my menstruation and would disappear after I start bleeding. My friends would tell me that I have not been very sociable as before, and my work has been affected greatly. I was fired from my previous job because of attendance issues and lack of focus on my work.
This is not me. I am not supposed to be feeling depressed and hopeless. There must be something wrong and I needed to know what is happening to my body. That’s when I got up one morning and decided to find answers from my doctor.
What is PMDD?
When my doctor told me that I may have premenstrual dysphoric disorder, I replied, “You think?” Not a very friendly tone but I was adamant to know for sure that what he is telling me is that I don’t have cancer of something that can take my life for the next year or so.
PMDD is a debilitating condition, not similar to your ordinary PMS. The criteria for the PMDD diagnosis will entail having at least 5 symptoms from this list:
- Hot flushes
- Tension, anxiety, and irritability
- Depression or feelings of hopelessness
- Mood swings
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Fatigue and decreased interest in usual activity
- Change in appetite
- Cramps and bloating
- Breast tenderness
- Joint and muscle pain
- Intense anger and conflict with other people
How I overcome PMDD
So, I have at least 5 of these (and even more). Symptoms would arise 7 to 10 days before the start of my period and would go away shortly. I was given some medications to help me with my anxiety problems and to control my depression. My doctor said these drugs would help regulate my serotonin levels. Serotonin is a hormone whose function is to regulate anxiety, happiness, and mood. In PMDD, serotonins tend to be low.
Aside from the pharmacologic treatment, I decided to take natural treatments as well. I have been tracking my activities and evaluated my progress. Allow me to share my own version of strategies to control and manage my PMDD.
I started detoxification and changed my daily diet. I cut off caffeine, and basically, all foods that start with “F” – fried, fatty, and fast foods. Bottomline is that I became mindful of my diet and chose to stay on the healthy side.
I tried doing more outdoor activities. This did not only increased my socialization habits but it also allowed me to connect with nature and other living things (imagine that).
I am now more focused on finishing my work at the workplace and leave it there. Practicing proper time management is very crucial to have a work life balance and not neglect the aspect that you also need to live your life with fun and excitement.
Lastly, I never neglected to speak with somebody to help me with my psychological issues. I am no saint and there is no one far greater expert than you speaking your problems with a professional therapist.
If you are reading this article and you think that you might also have this kind of problem, please go to your doctor and get diagnosed. It’s alright to know what you are having and professional assistance and interventions are available.