As you have read from my previous posts, I live with a rubbish condition that sucks the fun out of my life for a few weeks of the month. Many people may never have heard of it as they say it's rare, yet I am not so sure about that. Here is one woman's experience with PMDD and the affect it has on her life.
I remember my first period like it was yesterday; the day before my dad came to me and asked me if I was starting my period due to my mood swings. Of course at 14 I was mortified and as I wasn't bleeding I snapped at him that I wasn't on my period. The following day it came and I felt awful in case he thought I'd lied to him. This was the start of it all, I had no idea back then that what I went through wasn't just normal PMS. If I spilt a cup of tea my world would end, I'd cry for hours, I was anxious and I suffered terrible migraines and stomach pain. At this time I was hospitalised on three occasions for being unable to stop throwing up when a migraine hit. I was offered the pill, which didn't do anything for me. At 15 I was diagnosed with depression because my moods were so low. I hadn't yet realised it was all happening around my cycle.
Fast forward a few years and my symptoms didn't seem too bad although looking back that was probably because I started smoking cannabis on a daily basis and that seemed to keep me level. During my three pregnancies I was great I stopped smoking cannabis and after baby number 2 I joined the police. Although my marriage by this time had broken down. At the time I blamed it all on his affair but now looking back I know this illness had a big impact. It wasn't until I was 30 years old that my ex partner came to me and told me he thought I had pmdd. Throughout all this time I kept being diagnosed with depression and prescribed various ssri's , they all worked initially but after time the dosage would need to be increased. I researched pmdd and a light switch went on.
Now I knew what I was dealing with was not normal PMS. However unfortunately the realisation came too late for my career, after a particularly bad episode I quit my job, something I now greatly regret. It's five years since I realised what was wrong with me. My symptoms are worsening with age. A typical month for me would be flu like symptoms three or four days before ovulation, pains in my joints especially in my legs, followed by a pain in my ovaries during ovulation. I get depressed, I want to eat everything, I don't want to see anyone and isolate myself. I fixate on anything and everything and try to make my partner leave. Nothing he does at this time is right and I hate him for it. I want to leave my children and family and disappear. I fantasise about driving my car under a truck and at my worst have researched how to kill myself. I would usually get a day or two of respite before the anxiety kicks in and I basically feel terrible until a day or two after my period.
I was getting seven to ten good days a month before I went to see Dr Studd. My own gps are unwilling to help me and after reaching out to family my father paid for me to go private. I am now taking daily oestrogen gel and testosterone gel, these have been a life saver for me. I feel so much better most of the time. Unfortunately I have to take progesterone tablets once a month and these seem to make me bat shit crazy too. They make me anxious, angry and so depressed. As a result my only option is now to have my womb and ovaries removed but unfortunately I can't afford to go private and my gp does not want to help.
I am about to start a fight with them but am struggling to find the energy. I am still fighting a battle with this, the gels help but I'm still struggling. Hopefully my gp will eventually help me until then I am thankful that I have an understanding partner and children. - Rachael
**I would like to thank Rachael for sharing her story with us.