A Note to My Partner

By Ms. Menses

When I first starting dating my current partner, I knew I had to prepare him somehow for the mess of PMDD that was about to occur, but I was scared and shy. Thus, I wrote up a letter with 12 points that he should take to heart. I texted it to him and he keeps it on him at all times for reference.

  1. Many women with PMDD are misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder because they act so drastically different during different times of each month. Please recognize that it is the PMDD – not me. Do not take anything personally or let me make any major decisions. Do not let me bring up serious issues – this time of the month is the best time to lay low.
  2. If I look sad or I’m crying, you ask me what’s wrong and I say “I don’t know,” then it’s PMDD.
  3. PMDD can roll in waves of pain unexpectedly. When I’m in the thick of it I can’t think straight so I won’t be able to tell you what is happening
  4. It feels real. A lot of times I’ll say, “What’s wrong with me?” You can remind me that it’s not real – it’s just hormones.
  5. Time goes slowly. The thought of having to live through the pain one more minute is almost unbearable – Distract! Distract! Distract!
  6. When I’m in the thick of it, I don’t have any energy to eat and I just want to lay in bed. If you are with me, please force me to eat and get out of my bed. Every task, even brushing my teeth feels like a marathon wading through pain. Even if I say no, be a little forceful about maintaining my self-care. Self-care is very important.
  7. PMDD doesn’t just come up before my period, it can manifest itself in different times of my monthly cycle as well. Sometimes other factors can influence it as well. I try to be prepared for it, but sometimes it’s impossible. For example, lack of sleep can trigger mood swings.
  8. I will try and break up with you every month. I will try and start fights or tell you we aren’t going to work out. I will push you away or try and cut you out. But at my core, I don’t want to lose you.
  9. I yearn for comfort and support, but sometimes I can’t reach out because the web of pain I’m trapped in is too thick. I’ve tried to train myself to never be alone and to reach out when I feel bad, but my automatic response is to hole myself up alone.
  10. Things that help – being with other people, distraction (movie?), CBD oil, running, hugs, positive encouragement (“You can do this” or “I’m here for you” or “Everything will be okay”)
  11. I need physical affection more than ever during this time. Hold me tight and don’t let me go. I may try and push you away but what I really want is comfort.
  12. Last but not least, you can do it. Taking care of someone with PMDD is hard. If you don’t think you’re helping me, you are. You being here and caring about me is everything I could ever ask for. If I ever hurt you because of it, please don’t take it personally. Hormones can do crazy things to my mind – I’ve gone from feeling my normal self to feeling like I can’t take it another second. I hope you stay with me and help me to navigate through these waters, but if you can’t, I understand. Taking care of yourself is more important than anything. If taking care of me is hurting you, then you need to take a step back and rethink this relationship.

P.S. I don’t want to scare you – I’ve been dealing with this for some time, so I’ll be fine. I just need you to be prepared so that PMDD isn’t the cause of a breakup.

What I’ve found is that our relationships can help us get through the tough times of PMDD, but we need to nurture them so that they help and don’t hurt.

About the Warrior

Ms. Menses is a university student who is passionate about menstruation and women’s rights. She has done a TED Talk about menstruation and is currently working on researching the effects of menstruation on girl’s education. She loves to talk about and teach classes about menstruation. She is planning on getting a Master’s in Public Health with a focus on Women’s Reproductive Health issues. She hopes to help make menstruation something people can talk about openly so that girls do not have to suffer.

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