Health

My Struggle With PMDD — And How I’m Fixing It

This is hard to write, I’m not good at admitting my weaknesses. And after anyone reads this, I’ll probably never have another boyfriend ever again. But if this helps at least one woman’s quality of life and to know that she isn’t alone then I’m happy.

Now I know why men think women are nuts. Because I have been.

I started experiencing extreme PMS in my teens but I and everyone around me thought I was just a hormonal dramatic teenager. I was on a constant emotional roller coaster. 1 1/2 weeks of being happy go-lucky, non-judgemental, fairly stable Brooke. And then 2 1/2 weeks of being the conductor of the hot mess express, all aboard Brooke’s train of CRAZY!

I remember the first time it got really bad and I had this kind-of out-of-body experience. My high school boyfriend and I had been watching a movie in his basement when I had fallen asleep. We were cuddled up spooning when all of a sudden when he moved, I woke up thinking he was trying to put the moves on me. I flipped, and when I say flipped I went ape shit. I yelled at him, stormed up the stairs, past his parents, while he was yelling after me so confused at what just happened. I remember then having like two parts of my brain working, the raw emotional part that was operating my body and then my logical part that knew I was being insane but couldn’t overcome the emotional part. It’s like having a dream where you’re falling or running away and you can’t scream. The logical part of my brain was silenced. I knew I was being ridiculous, but while I stormed out the door, through his backyard and back to my house (we were neighbors), I remember telling myself “BROOKE STOP YOU’RE BEING CRAZY, TURN AROUND AND HUG YOUR BOYFRIEND WHO IS STILL CHASING AFTER YOU” but on I went, still yelling about how much of an asshole he was and how I deserve more respect. I still remember him saying “I just wanted to change the channel!!”, all the way to my front door. While it sounds so ridiculous now, I remember going to bed that night, ignoring his texts and phone calls, being fucking terrified because I had ZERO control of my emotions. I knew I was wrong, and the logical part of my brain was so suppressed by my emotions that I possibly just drove away my boyfriend. Thank God he is a very understanding and compassionate person and we went on to date for a long time after that BUT that isn’t always how it shakes out.

To him this was just a dumb fight that we got over, for me this was the start of a constant battle of my hormones affecting my every day life.

This happened when I was probably 16, now I’m 23 and I just found out why I’ve been like this for the last 7 years. PMDD is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, and it’s basically PMS on steroids. Instead of being hungry, tired, and emotional a couple of days before my period, I’d be like that for a couple of weeks. I’d have 1 1/2 good weeks during and right after my period and then I’d start spiraling down into depression, un-prompted anger, extreme hunger, and extreme fatigue. I saw a therapist in college, attributing it to normal life stress and when that didn’t work, I just learned to cope with it through exercise, eating, partying, yoga, whatever could get me out of my own head space.

Here’s how I’d feel:

  • foggy – like I couldn’t concentrate on anything
  • un-prompted anger – waking up feeling like punching someone in the face
  • hopelessness – like nothing was ever going to work out and nothing was ever going to be happy
  • drained – pure exhaustion from everything, any activity made me tired
  • insomnia – I was SO TIRED but slept like shit
  • bloated – from literally unstoppable eating
  • forgetfulness – I couldn’t remember anything ever, it’s a miracle I didn’t get fired from every job ever
  • fluid retention – my hands would be so swollen I could barely pick up a coffee cup or wear shoes

I tried oral birth control a couple different times to help these symptoms and those only heightened the issues. After one full cycle (one month) of the pill I quit, because it was interfering with my life even more than not having them.

Disclaimer here: I’ve never actually worked with a gynecologist on this issue because I’ve never had one that LISTENS to me. When I say “I screamed at my dog for literally no reason and then bawled my eyes out for an hour, this isn’t normal”, I would get the answer of, “well let’s keep trying this”, and that’s when I wrote them off. Also not a huge fan of doctors in general but that’s just me. I am one to figure out a holistic approach first that doesn’t involve pills or chemicals. Your body, your choice.

Ladies, I’m here to tell you that feeling this way for extended periods of time IS NOT NORMAL and you have to take it seriously. Go see a doctor, read some stuff online (like you are here), and actively take steps to make things better. Do not resign yourself to the fact that you’re “crazy” or “dramatic” or “overly emotional”. Living this way is not happy, healthy, or normal.

I finally started using¬†Life-Flo Progesterone Cream¬†and I felt like myself again within 3-4 days. I don’t know or understand why it works but I started sleeping through the night, I was back to being undyingly optimistic, hard-working, and my mental clarity was back. I felt like I had crawled out of a dark hole that I’d been in for YEARS. I feel like I can tackle anything in life, I want to exercise, I have energy again, and my mental and emotional state is back to normal.

I’m not telling your to go out and blindly buy this, it is potent stuff that you should consult a health care provider about. What I am telling you is that you owe it to your quality of life to figure this out if you’re experiencing these types of issues. 3-8% of women experience PMDD but those are only the ones who haven’t resigned themselves to notion that they’re “crazy”, these are only the women who’ve been diagnosed by a medical professional.

Being a women in modern society is already hard enough, save yourself the trouble of feeling trapped in an emotional hole that you can’t crawl out of and start to invest time and energy into feeling better. Learn more about PMDD here.

 

 

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