I Have PMDD
I have written this article several times in the past few weeks. Every time I have what seems like an acceptable draft ready to go, I re-read it, hate it, and delete it. This is a heavily personal and important subject to me, and I wish to give it the justice it deserves.
That being said, let's begin.
For years, I have struggled with periods of time where I would suffer from depression, anxiety, brain fog, anger issues, mood swings, and suicidal thoughts. I could never place a finger on the cause of these extreme mood changes. I always knew, however, that it was not caused by life issues, and that it was more of a mental health problem. Although I didn't know the cause, I did know the symptoms I experienced and that the episodes occurred every few weeks lasting a couple weeks at a time. I have been to several psychiatrists over the years. My most common diagnosis has been Major Depressive Disorder. Last year, right before I was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts, I was told that I should be tested for Bipolar Disorder. Now having received a proper diagnosis, I can understand why I was misdiagnosed several times. I have many of the symptoms of these disorders, but what I have is neither Bipolar Disorder nor Major Depression. Not getting the right diagnosis lead to me not getting the proper treatment and subsequently led to my condition worsening. My goal now is to spread awareness about this disorder so that women who have it can hopefully identify it sooner and get the help that they deserve.
I have PMDD.
PMDD stands for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. It is a condition that affects between 2 and 10 percent of women during childbearing years. I have commonly heard PMDD described as "PMS on steroids." To me, it feels silly to compare PMS to PMDD. Sure, they happen around the same time, but it's like comparing apples to oranges. PMS is a minor inconvenience, whereas PMDD is completely life-disrupting and possibly life ending. Unfortunately, scientists have not found the definite cause of PMDD. Many scientists, however, speculate that it is caused by an abnormal reaction to normal hormone changes that occur during each menstrual cycle. Common treatments for PMDD are antidepressants and birth control. Many women experience such severe symptoms that they choose to rely on depo shots and even hysterectomies as a last resort.
Because PMDD is not a widely known disorder, many people believe that it is not real. I am here to tell you that PMDD is completely real. It is not some sexist thing created by men to shun women into thinking that they are crazy or incapable of making decisions. This is a real disorder that affects real women. I consider myself a feminist, and I wouldn't write this if I didn't know full well from going through it myself. PMDD is a real and serious condition that ruins lives, relationships, jobs, and self-worth. It has caused many women to commit suicide.
Choosing to believe that PMDD is not real helps no one. In fact, it stops many women from getting the right diagnosis and the comprehensive care that they deserve.
This will be the first of many articles I will write about PMDD. I hope to spread awareness about this difficult disorder and to help provide women with the care that they deserve.
Let’s spread awareness,
“What is PMDD” Gia Allemand Foundation, 6 January. 2017, https://giaallemandfoundation.org/about-pmdd/
“Treating Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder” Harvard Health, October. 2009, https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/treating-premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder
“Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder ( PMDD) “ Hopkins Medicine, 29 July. 2016, http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/gynecological_health/premenstrual_dysphoric_disorder_pmdd_85,P00580/