By Sarah Rollins
Hi, my name is Sarah. I struggle with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
A couple years ago, my therapist suggested I look into getting a diagnosis because my symptoms were spot on. I didn’t even know what PMDD was, but after my official diagnosis, it made so much sense as to why I was feeling the way I was.
The hardest battle with PMDD is how it affects those around me, especially my loved ones. I’ve had great friendships and even relationships end because of the extreme symptoms.
With premenstrual dysphoric disorder, for me, severe irritability, depression, or anxiety will start two weeks before my period starts and will go away about three days after my period starts. I have found recognizing my symptoms and writing them down helps me cope. I can look at my journal and think to myself, “Okay, it’s starting. Give yourself a break. Allow yourself to feel all the emotions.” Validating my feelings is very important and I also find painting to be very therapeutic.
The most common misconception about PMDD is that it’s the same thing as PMS, and that’s very incorrect. It’s a much more severe than PMS and can cause debilitating symptoms that interfere with a woman’s ability to function. Living with PMDD is almost like being two different people. It’s not your typical ‘I have cramps and want ice-cream PMS’. It’s feeling extremely sensitive, overwhelmed, and paranoid for no reason and it affects work, school, and relationships.
Usually during these two weeks, I will send out a text as a ‘heads up’ to my closest friends, family, and even employers. I make the personal choice to cut out as much contact as I possibly can in order to not further ruin any relationships. I don’t answer my texts. I turn down invites. But I wish people knew the only reason I do so is because I know I am the worst version of myself at that time and can’t function, think, or focus properly. It’s not anything against them at all.
If I could tell someone with PMDD one thing, I would tell them “Give yourself a break and acknowledge the way that you’re feeling is not your fault.” I recommend therapy and having an outlet where you can express yourself, but most of all, give yourself a break – you’re only human. And you have survived 100% of your bad days!
About the Warrior
I’m Sarah, a 28 year old with high functioning autism and PMDD. I have a passion for writing about topics others may consider taboo or forbidden. I’m currently studying Deaf Culture and History. You can usually find me at the local coffee shop when I’m not dog sitting or painting.
*Image Credit: Sarah Rollins
*Image Credit: FrizzKidArt