As women, we deal with a lot. Juggling school, careers, kids, relationships, friendships, our mental health, etc. Then there is our monthly cycle, aka the monster that comes out of the closet periodically to let you know they are still around. Some women can have mild menstrual pain and PMS (I envy them) Unfortunately, for 1 in 20 women (including myself) that time of the month can turn your whole life upside down.
My lovely menstrual cycle started while making cupcakes to bring to school with my mom for my 10th birthday the next day (ah, what a time) So many changes started happening such as becoming extra moody, emotional, cramps, and feeling fatigued. From the time I was a teenager into my early 20s, I knew something was off with my cycle. I thought I had depression. I would Google a bunch of things to show my parents in a frenzy, but once my period came and ended, I would feel like myself again.
I have been to urgent care many times for this as well as the hospital, gynecologist, and doctors for checkups over the years. I would express that I feel “nuts” before my period. They told me that this is perfectly normal and is just “bad PMS.” I can take some Tylenol and will be fine. Sis, I feel like I want to jump off a bridge; everyone and everything annoys me, and I can barely move or function at all and this is all I could do?
My suffering continued into my early and late twenties. It got even worse while dealing with some toxic relationships/friendships, losing loved ones, and trying to figure out my career path/graduating college after taking a break in 2012. That is all stressful enough, but having to deal with severe mood swings, pain, and negative thoughts on top of it is even harder.
In 2020, when the world shut down because of the pandemic, I was mostly home, finishing my last year of college. My symptoms intensified to where before my period came, I truly felt like I wanted to jump out of my skin. I’ve always tracked my period due date using the period diary app but never tracked my symptoms.
I finally started tracking my symptoms and noticed an undeniable pattern each month. After going to the doctor with this information for my yearly physical(everything including my blood work was normal), I explained some of the research I found on Google about PMDD. As we talked it through, we discovered that I had all of the symptoms required for a diagnosis. That lightbulb moment finally clicked in my head.
So.. what exactly is PMDD?
PMDD is defined as:
A severe form of premenstrual syndrome. This causes depression and mood variations a week or two before the menses, and resolves once the period starts.
This affects 1 in 20 women but is barely known or discussed. In my humble opinion, the healthcare system has FAILED women with taking menstrual health seriously.
Since my official diagnosis in August 2020, I have turned my life around. I started doing cognitive therapy, yoga, meditation, journaling, practicing self-love/setting boundaries, and limiting my phone/social media use. I am also now taking vitamins such as Flo, Vitamin D3, iron,(when my period is heavy the first few days), folic acid, a women’s multi-vitamin, and 25 MG of Zoloft daily as prescribed by my doctor.
I was against taking medication(I know it isn’t for everybody) but this has helped immensely with my anxiety/depression and suicidal thoughts that would typically happen right before my period. I honestly don’t know where I would be without it today.
It is and always will be an everyday battle; some days are easier than others. It’s also sometimes hard for me to admit that I have something “wrong” with me, but I have realized that a diagnosis doesn’t determine my worth or value as a person.
I belong to a PMDD support group on Facebook and follow fellow PMDD peeps on social media. I also talk to my family and close friends about my PMDD struggles as well.
If sharing my story can help someone who is or has struggled with PMDD or any premenstrual disorder to feel less alone and encourages them to go seek treatment, then I have accomplished something great. That is also why I wrote my book “Ever Powerful” last year and started this blog/Instagram @ever_powerful_warriors.
It has become so important to me to make a difference. I am continuing to educate myself and all women on what PMDD is and want to continue spreading awareness.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please know that you are not alone. We must advocate for our health because we know when something is off with our bodies.
Please check out this website which has been extremely helpful with my diagnosis and overall understanding of PMDD: https://iapmd.org/
Please also consider donating since April is PMD Awareness Month to support the great work and research they conduct for women all over the world that are suffering in silence.
Comment, subscribe, and please share with a friend. You could save a life <3
Special thank you to IAPMD for choosing me to be a #pamchampion <3