My PMDD Story: How Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder nearly destroyed my life
This week, I’m opening up and sharing my story of how PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, nearly destroyed my life. PMDD is a condition that occurs following ovulation, leading up to the time that women tend to suffer from PMS symptoms (lasting anywhere between 5 & 10 days, somewhere between days 16 & 25 of your cycle, depending on the length of it) and can cause debilitating physical and emotional symptoms. For me, PMDD was a constant battle that left me feeling hopeless and alone. But I’m not alone in this fight. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 3-8% of women suffer from PMDD.
If you’re struggling with PMDD, know that you’re not alone, as not only will I be sharing my story, I’ll also be offering some coping mechanisms that have helped me manage my symptoms.
Where it all started
I’d had problems with my periods for as long as I can remember. Nothing too drastic. No endometriosis or PCOS, but very heavy periods from the off. The doctor put me on the contraceptive pill to help calm them down when I was 14, and it worked. They still lasted a full 7 days, but had become a lot more regular (I since found out that the periods that you have when you are on the contraceptive pill aren’t actual real periods, so they kind of have to be ‘regular’ really, don’t they. More on that topic here).
However, a few years after I’d my daughter and was in a new-ish relationship with my (now) husband, (around the age of 24/25), I went onto Depo Provera (the ‘injection pill’, as it’s more commonly known) and that’s when the problems started. Don’t get me wrong, I was delighted to not be having any periods, but my depression (that I’d previously suffered with in my teenage years) started to flare up again. After a couple of stints of ‘Depo Provera years’ (as I came off it following our wedding in 2011, and then back on it again in 2014, following the birth of our son the previous year), I decided to no longer use hormonal contraception around the age of 34-35 (as is the general advice to all women, due to the risk of having a stroke increases for women around that age… seriously! Why are we taking this shit?!) and that’s when the real PMDD was released into the world.
My PMDD according to my husband
I just want to pass over to my husband, here, as he can explain how I change as a person, when I’m in my ‘PMDD time’ (as he calls it), as it is very much a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ situation and I can’t necessarily always remember the ways that I’ve acted, the things that I’ve done and things that I’ve said.
“It’s basically like someone else has entirely taken over your body. You go from being a loving, caring person, to someone who doesn’t give much indication that they care about how anyone else is doing. When I walk in the house, I no longer get the usual happy greeting and asking how my day’s been. Neither do the kids. It’s the same socially. Someone will be telling an anecdote and you’ll just interrupt halfway through with whatever you’re thinking about. It’s like you have no filter”.
“Secondly, again, going with that personality change is that you’re a lot less light hearted. You’re very quick to rant as well and things like that during your PMDD time. Forget light-conversations. You’ll be all about the intense deep and meaningful with everyone and having real rants in the process. You’ll have your sense of humour, but your sense of humour is a lot more aggressive. You get a lot more sassy and ‘attitudy’ with that humour as well. It doesn’t come across with the warmth that it usually does”.
“Thirdly, you will find anything to create an argument with. It’s like you’ve been storing things up throughout the month and will then release them when you’ve got your PMDD. But it’s often things that I know usually wouldn’t bother you that much at any other point, but suddenly they’re a marriage ‘deal-breaker’. For approximately 6 days a month, you’re an entirely different person to the one I married”.
Things I’ve done solely influenced by my PMDD
So, that was a very generalised look at my husband’s viewpoint of his wife becoming a psycho every month 😂
But. just to really lay it in. Here’s a list of some of the most extreme things I’ve done whilst being taken over by the PMDD demon (the PMDDD, if you will).
- Deciding that my husband thinks that he’s too good for me and that I’m an embarrassment to him. Not just when I’ve been under the influence of alcohol during my ‘PMDD time’ and I’ve been an actual embarrassment, but ALL THE TIME! I’ve been in a relationship with him for nearly 15 years and we have kids together, so this being massively irrational is an understatement!
- Me literally not giving a shit and immediately turning everything back onto myself, after my husband texting me to tell me he’s given himself a concussion (I’m generally a very nurturing person, so this is very out of character).
- Deciding that our marriage was over, randomly out-of-the-blue, immediately after my father-in-law had had to go into the intensive care unit. Like, seriously Kerry. WTF!
- Ruining a family holiday because apparently nothing was more important than specifically doing what I wanted to do (again, I’m a mum, so I’m used to frequently doing what the kids want on holidays, as they’re only young once, and my husband and I will usually have a holiday without them once a year, to do what we want to do).
- Deciding that our marriage was over because… well I don’t remember why, but I started packing my bags and calling my husband every name under the sun and saying some heinously evil things to him that I wouldn’t dream of saying to anyone, let alone the love-of-my-life!
- Frequently going into a little Kerry-cocoon, everytime we went to visit my in-laws when I had PMDD, leaving my husband to do everything, whilst I went down a 72 hour social media rabbit hole.
I’m sure there are many other awful things that the PMDDD has made me do in the past, but these were the specific ones that myself and ‘husband’ could think of.
So what I have done, now I know about PMDD, to prevent future occurrences
Needless to say, once Ben and I knew that I had PMDD, I started dreading that point of the month, fearful of what I might do to potentially destroy my life in future episodes.
Well, after doing a lot of research, these are the things that I do to make sure I keep the PMDDD under control as much as I can.
- Take a daily Magnesium-OK supplement. Here are the ones that I take. This is not a sponsored post, but it is an affiliate link, so I will get a tiny little amount of money from the sale, if you decide to purchase through my link. These have been an absolute game-changer. Since the first month that I started taking them, my PMDD symptoms have decreased by such a huge amount, it’s insane! They are also supposed to be very good to help with menopause symptoms and my daugher takes them for her teenage-hormonal stuff. I can not recommend them enough!
- Purely knowing that how I’m feeling is most likely due to my PMDD and to not read into the crap too much, has made a big difference every month. It means that I can at least attempt to rationalise a little bit.
- Finally, making a note (mentally or physically) of every time I think someone is ‘being a dick’, and not confronting them about it, until I’ve made sure that I am fully out of the PMDD zone (when usually I’ve had time to rationally reflect and realise that they weren’t being a dick after all), has quite possibly saved my marriage on a number of occasions.
You’re not alone!
So why did I feel the need to write this post and bare all to you? Because I think a lot of the time, knowing that you’re not alone is a big part of the battle. I also think it’s very important to not only know about PMDD, but to make sure those closest to you know about it too. PMDD is not an excuse for treating those you love like crap, but can certainly remind them that it’s only for a few days each month and not to take you too seriously during that time.
Finally, if you believe you may be a PMDD sufferer, try out the few things that I’ve listed above and let me know how you get on.
If you’re interested in reading more about PMDD and PMS, head over to the blog page here.
If you aren’t already following me on social media, I’m @iamkerrywilliams, so give me a quick little follow for more tips on how to tackle those things that are getting in the way of you going after your life goals.