By Brett Buchert
Good day, Warriors! This is both my greeting to you and my proclamation of my current state for this earthly rotation. In other words, I’m having a good day, and if you’re reading this, and you have PMDD, please remember you have good days too. Whatever darkness the PMDD is thrusting you through right now, it will go away, it always does, and like clouds parting after a storm, you’ll see the sun again.
But beyond metaphors, I want to share with you what’s currently on my plate in my PMDD journey: easing into an anti-inflammatory diet* to help with my PMDD symptoms.
(*I’ve been using The Anti-Inflammatory Diet & Action Plans by Dorothy Calimeris and Sondi Bruner to make the transition easier.)
About two and a half years ago, my PMDD was splitting me in half. I was in my sophomore year of college with anxiety and depression that made me want to step in front of each passing campus bus. I didn’t want to die necessarily, but I wanted my suffering to end, and at times that seemed like the only option left. I know now PMDD brain was tricking me to think that but, I felt like I had tried EVERYTHING to get better and nothing had worked. Would anything work?
So why when my kind functional medicine doctor suggested I change my diet to improve PMDD symptoms, by eliminating processed foods, sugar, gluten, dairy (what is there left to eat!?) did I split into quarters. He was giving me another option, something I had not tried…and for all I knew it might work.
B.S.! You think I would even be here if my problems were that easy to fix!? I can barely summon the energy and motivation to make myself mac and cheese, to drink a cup of water, you think I can overhaul my entire diet!? This is hard enough as it is.
Needless to say, I did not overhaul my diet. I did not go paleo. I did not start Whole 30. Frankly, at the time, I couldn’t. I did change my antidepressant, I did go on birth control, I did start taking supplements. And blessedly, I did feel better.
But here I am now, with a tasteless anti-inflammatory snack muffin in hand and a spinach, raspberry, banana, almond milk smoothie in belly, easing into diet change for PMDD, finally. I’ve felt guilty of taking this long to go the natural route when I have heard such good things from others who have. I must be weaker, I told myself… or my PMDD must have been worse… Well, there’s no way to be certain of either of those things and it’s counterproductive to compare myself to other warriors in my tribe. I am more certain that this is instead an issue of time and doing what is best for ourselves at our current moment in time. 2 and a half years ago I couldn’t make a major change in my diet, but I can now. My medications have given me a solid footing so that I now feel capable of incorporating natural treatments into my treatment plan. I have the energy. I have the time.
Go away guilt, I have better things to do with my time.
Where are you at this moment in time? Wherever you are, do what you can do, not what you should do. No guilt needed.
About the Warrior…
Brett is the mind and heart behind Me v PMDD. Passionate about mental health, she received her degree in Psychology from the University of Florida and plans to pursue graduate school in Clinical Psychology to continue to advocate for the importance of mental health and fight for better treatments for PMDD Warriors. Brett is also a Peer Support Team Lead at the International Association for Premenstrual Disorders (IAPMD), a former college rower, active rock climber, and cat lover.