By Summer Athey
Hi, my name is Summer Athey and I’m 18 years old.
Many people with PMDD are a little older than I am. And in fact, I have never met someone with PMDD that is a teenager like me…
I got diagnosed with PMDD when I was only 15, but I started having problems with my periods when I was about 13 or 14. I have always known I was different from the average teenage girl on her period. I’d watch my friends have a good time when they were on their periods, but I’d just sit back and watch because I was miserable.
I started my period when I was 12 and even my first period was awful. I was so drained from it I could hardly get out of bed and the cramps were very intense. Just a few months after my period started I had to go to the gynecologist because things were so bad and I was then put on birth control.
4 years later I had tried 8 birth control pills and none of them really worked that well. I’m now on the birth control patch and it works much better than the pill for me.
In 2015, I noticed that 2 weeks before my period started I was depressed and irritable; I had intense food cravings; I had mood swings; I didn’t like my normal activities anymore; I never could get enough sleep; extremely bloated; cried a lot; felt like dying; and I was just plain out depressed. I didn’t know what was wrong with me.
That’s when I researched all of my symptoms and found that everything I was experiencing matched with PMDD. I went to my doctor and wrote down a list of everything I was feeling. She diagnosed me with PMDD.
We tried medications first to help, but it just made things worse. Many people use medication to help with their PMDD but I cope differently.
I don’t like pills that much so I write in a journal and I write down about how I feel each day. I also write notes to myself that are inspiring so I can read it on the days that I’m struggling. This helps me because I can read what I wrote on my good days so on my bad days I can see that better days are coming soon. I also make video journal entries to explain to myself that I will be okay again eventually. The journals have really helped me when I can hardly get out of bed some mornings.
I’m now going through a very stressful time with a death in my family, and with stress, PMDD gets way worse. I’m taking care of myself by having self love and reminding myself it’s okay to hurt. I’m still doing the journals to remind myself I will be okay again.