By Lauren Lombardo
It happens when you least expect it; when you’re at your most vulnerable…
It could be when you’re home alone or out with friends. It could happen anywhere. This sounds like an intro to a Dateline special about kidnappers, but the truth is, to an estimated 1-in-20 women, this fear is a reality once a month! Panic, anxiety, tears, anger, lack of control. This is what I have dubbed, PMDD Week.
Much like Shark Week, PMDD Week bodes much suspense and anticipation and the end result is bloody. At least for me, I never know what is going to happen. It could be smooth sailing or a total shipwreck. (Cue the Jaws theme music). It affects everyone differently. For me, my anxiety gets heightened and on my more wretched weeks, my anxiety makes me paranoid people are angry with me or I might lose my job. These scenarios are very real in my head, though I know, full well, that they are untrue and irrational. It’s like my brain takes a back seat and my ovaries take the wheel.
And I do everything I can to prepare for this; I stay away from caffeine and alcohol, try to get enough rest and make sure to take my vitamins. I take a supplement called Rhodiola rosea, which is an herb that has been used to treat anxiety, fatigue and depression for centuries. I even try to take a yoga class and namaste the PMDD symptoms away.
But, the most important thing I do is stay away from triggers. Anything that can heighten my anxiety; people, places and things. It’s easier said than done at times, but making a conscious effort will definitely help…promise! I have vigilante tendencies at times; I’m the manners police. I will be the first one to yell “you’re welcome!” to someone that doesn’t say ‘thank you’ after I’ve held the door for them. (It’s two words, two syllables…c’mon guys!). But during PMDD Week, I let it go. As silly as it may sound. Become Elsa from Frozen and Let it go, Let it go! One small annoyance can turn into you fantasizing about going on a killing spree, targeting all of those that don’t say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’
These are all of the things that I do for myself as part of my self-care during this crucial week. But, it‘s important to know that you’re not alone. I have a fantastic support system. My sister, who suffers from PMDD as well, so I have someone who understands exactly why I want to murder the person in front of me in line at the supermarket who is snapping their gum or why I’m crying over the latest Amazon commercial. And then there’s my boyfriend who, if it is possible to be canonized while still living, he should get the title of ‘Saint’, along with a Nobel Peace Prize and an ESPY for dealing with my s#*t! I honestly don’t know how he hasn’t run screaming at this point. He helps me prepare and he keeps my stress level down and most importantly, he doesn’t judge me at all and never holds my PMDD behavior against me. I always say ‘it’s PMDD week, it’s not an excuse, but it is a reason.’ And he understands.
Support and understanding are essential to PMDD sufferers. It is a disorder, just like any other, and it deserves recognition, research and awareness. It’s important to know that you are not alone, you are not crazy and you can get through it!
About the Warrior:
Lauren Lombardo is a digital content marketing professional with a dedication to detail. Lauren has a passion for writing and photography as a hobby. She is currently managing PMDD holistically with herbal supplements, diet, exercise and self-care.