Author’s note: This article discusses drug use.
If you read Ariel Wodarcyk’s article, you now know the definition for PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) and what the symptoms are. However, I’m curious cat, so I wanted to know what PMDD feels like to a real live actual human and not just what a textbook says it should feel like.
As I do not have PMDD, I sought out a friend, Stella (not her real name), who graciously answered my questions.
How would you describe your PMDD in your own words?
Stella: I’ve suffered from dark moods much of my life, and so I know what being super depressed feels like. Whereas depression feels like a void, PMDD feels like a well of upset, of having the volume turned up on all the anxiety and stress emotions.
It’s also got that cruel hormonal texture to it in which I simultaneously feel insane and out of control while knowing that this is not how I’d be acting normally but is instead a chemical reaction I can’t control. Little things that definitely don’t upset me usually can throw me into a tailspin when I’m feeling my PMDD—things as small as texting a crush and not getting a response back in a reasonable amount of time. I’ve actually started using my intense reactions to usually non-stressful things like that as an indication that I’m falling into a PMDD hole.
How has PMDD impacted your day-to-day life?
S: Half of my life I don’t even think about it, but when my period starts to roll around, I get really nervous. Will this be a bearable month, or will I become and insane raging person who cries so much she has to leave her office and is terrified her super supportive partner will leave her for no reason?
Do you take medication for your PMDD? Do you find that it helps?
S: My PMDD symptoms are tied to my endometriosis, which is a painful disorder in which the endometrial lining (aka your period blood) grows outside of the uterus. I’ve found that CBD (the medicinal ingredient in marijuana) helps a ton, both with the pain and the symptoms that come along with it, including PMDD.
If you could give advice to a teenager with PMDD, what advice would you give?
S: You are not your hormones—even if they dictate your emotions and even actions sometimes. You can separate yourself from them. Also, definitely seek treatment; for a while I took a sick sort of pride in how awful my periods were because I was so strong to be able to bear so much pain! This is ridiculous and only hurt me.
Finally, definitely talk to your parents and partners and friends about your PMDD (if you feel comfortable doing so), because often it’s helpful to have the people you love aware that your actions aren’t always completely your own.
Thank you for educating me (and all the great HelloFlo readers), Stella!
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.