By Samantha Jones
Learning how to cope. The hardest four letter word you will experience when you’re a PMDD warrior.
We all have different ways to balance our lives during PMDD – at work, during education or even with our own personal relationships. Everyone finds their own strategies to cope. These tips have helped me on my journey and I hope that they can help you too!
Coping in the Workplace:
Share your fight with your peers and your workplace. It will make balancing work on the toughest days easier on you, I promise. Jobs may be temporary, but impressions are long lasting. Find yourself in a good situation in your workplace, it’s less stress.
I’m amazed to find that my workplace became a place that I could feel normal. Those group of gals became lifelong friends and part of my support system. They have never resented me when I’ve needed to take a day to care for my mental health, my PMDD or even my period.
“You can push past things without pushing past your limits.”Yvie Oddly
Coping during University:
What advice can I give you to help during your studies?
First, remember to be easy on yourself and take study breaks. Take classes that actually interest you or lead you in the right direction. When you have any chance to revise, go for it. Try to create study habits that fit into your lifestyle.
Secondly, get to know your professors and their office hours. Use office hours to ask any questions, especially with assignments. Let them know of any obstacles ahead of time! You’ll be very surprised at how helpful your professors can be if you show them that you are serious in your studies.
Thirdly, but most importantly, attend ALL of your classes. Lot’s of professors give extra marks for participation!
Lastly, when it comes to essay writing try using writing aids to help you. My favourite is The Hemingway Editor, or Natural Voices if you prefer text to speech! Natural Voices includes a toggle switch for dyslexia font in case you need it. Thank me later 😉
Although I have only entered my first year of university, I must give a lot of credit to my partner. He makes going to university look like a piece of cake. Despite being in his mid-thirties and also battling ADD, he’s able to maintain time with his daughter. I literally watch in awe. He found out everything that he could do to make university an amazing experience. He showed me that it’s possible to achieve good grades, stay focused and embrace the bad days. After all, they are only temporary.
Coping and Relationships:
PMDD is like a roller coaster; a strong uphill battle. Balancing a relationship during the times of PMDD week can pose quite a challenge for many of us. If I could say anything on this topic it would be to stay true to yourself and be candid with your partner at all times. Give gentle reminders when it is coming close to your PMDD days. If they need a refresher on what that means, don’t be afraid to let them know what to expect. Give time to yourself, you don’t want to forget about you! Your mental health is so important, do things that will make you happy. If you feel anger or sadness creeping up on you: take a walk, enjoy nature, have a bath, pet your cat! Always remind yourself that this feeling will pass.
I’m fortunate enough to have a very supportive partner. He is there for me through all of the whirlwind’s, the anxiety and the deep depression that PMDD can bring for me. When we first met two years ago I wasn’t diagnosed with anything yet. I always thought it was going to be normal for me. I was wrong. A week or two out of each month I wasn’t myself and he could see it too. I’m glad he’s patient and tries to understand the disorder. He’s always encouraged me to seek out help and I’m thankful that I did. When it comes close to my PMDD week, all that I have to do is tell him that I am not feeling myself and he’s there to help when he can. If you have someone close to you to lean on, don’t be afraid to use them as a helping hand.
What about friendships?
Honestly, friends really do come and go throughout your lifetime. Find people you truly connect with and want to spend time with. You want your friends to be a part of your support system. Plan outings often, even if it’s just a quick hello with a cup of coffee. Don’t be afraid to say you’re not okay when friends check on you. After all, that’s why they’re asking! Share your story with them to raise awareness. One of my newest friends is a PMDD sufferer as well – it’s nice to have someone to relate to!
I must say that I haven’t always been a good friend. I’m a true introvert and when I’m feeling down I do tend to ignore phone calls, or forget to reply to texts. I hide in my house and watch hours of Louis Theroux documentaries. Although I can appear quite aloof at times, my friends know not to take it personally. They help me battle my inner demons. Cheers to my strong friendships, new and old!
To bring all of this together, I will offer one last piece of advice..
If you enjoy reading, please pick up a copy of “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. If you prefer listening to audiobooks, “The Four Agreements” is also available on Amazon for your listening pleasure. It’s one book that has stuck by me and has given me another outlook on day to day interactions. It has definitely helped my anxiety and I recommend reading it. It’s the ultimate guide to remembering self care, because you are more than just PMDD.
About The Warrior:
PMDD survivor, Social Work and Gender Studies student with a passion for women’s rights, menstrual awareness and shining a light on mental illness.
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*Image Credit: Sina Shagrai