Whether it’s yourself OR someone you know, I’m 100% sure that we’ve all been or will be affected by mental health at some point in our life time. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had self-esteem issues (I know some will find that hard to believe) a real difficulty in believing in my own ability, I’m naturally very introvert unless I’m comfortable with the people I’m around – put me in a new crowd and I’d happily match the wall décor, I’m socially awkward even with people I know – depending on my frame of mind, it can make me quite anxious and I struggle to make conversion (I envy those with the gift of gab – I prefer (find it easier) to write) or will even go to the extreme of cancelling meeting up, I’ve suffered stage fright, body image issues (and still do) and of course, more recently post natal depression which thankfully I’m over. However, even though I’m over post natal depression, it hasn’t left me completely free from negative emotions. Now, I’ve always been deemed as “Moody” and yes, to an extent I agree; although there has also been circumstances and events that other people have caused and this has impacted on me and influenced the mood that I then displayed. A lot! After the battle with PND, I’m now dealing with hormonal depression which is related to the lovely gift from mother nature on a monthly basis! This is know as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Now, most woman will have some sort of PMS and they can continue with their lives normally with some pain killers, comfort food and retail therapy. PMDD is different. It’s more severe. Basically, 2 weeks before the monthly cycle, it’s a slippery slope down the way to a horrible dark place. Then boom, period comes and back to being “normal” (i hate the word normal…but you get the idea) That’s 2 whole weeks of every month feeling utterly hopeless, guilty, sad and very tearful (to say the least). At the moment I am still trying to work out what works best for me. Contraceptive pill is one of the milder treatments. I have tried 2 different kinds and each worked for the first month and then gradually got worse as the months went on. The 2nd worked better and my symptoms were a little more balanced. I decided to give my body a break from artificial hormones. BIG MISTAKE!! I assumed that because I felt more “balanced” that maybe, just maybe I would feel better now without. NOPE! I don’t imagine many people are aware of this. I certainly wasn’t until the Dr had mentioned hormonal depression. So, I did my research. The symptoms are far worse than PMS and I tick every box – great! Nor only does it make life very difficult for me but also for the people close to me. I have ZERO control over any of it. And I know it can be frustrating for those around but take a step back, if YOU’RE frustrated, think how I must be feeling. As I said I doubt many people are aware of this condition so I have decided to highlight the symptoms and how to help the person suffering (from my experience).
The symptoms of PMDD can include any of the following:
Depressed mood or feelings of hopelessness
Marked anger, increased interpersonal conflicts
Tension and anxiety
Decreased interest in usual activities
Change in appetite
Feeling out of control or overwhelmed
Physical problems such as bloating
Be patient – reassure and support when needed. Pressure makes it worse.
Hug – loads
Do your Research to help you understand
Ask what she is feeling and if there’s anything you can do to help
Don’t get frustrated – she’s really not in control of it or how she feels, you getting angry, impatient and frustrated makes it worse.
Don’t make silly comments – “oh, is it this again” “you need help” “shake it off” “things will get better” “stop being so moody” etc etc this DOES NOT and WILL NOT help EVER!!
Don’t expect a lot of emotional connection or intimacy – She’s trying to keep her life on track without feeling like a complete failure and trust me she already feels that way and that she’s letting you down.
Don’t pressurize – this only causes more anxiety and more stress which eventually leads to more tears
and last but not least,
Don’t take it personally – trust me, she is not in control of any of it and it’s a scary place at times. Of course, don’t walk on eggshells either but just be aware. If she is snapping then ask if she’s OK or what you can do to help. Snapping back doesn’t help.
This is my apology in advance; I’m sorry if I become robot like, with very little emotion and don’t want to interact. I’m sorry if I get overwhelmed and stressed and can’t quite deal with things the way I would when I’m feeling OK. I’m sorry if I snap (unless you are being stupid and deserve it. I make no apology for your stupidity) I’m sorry if I cry unexpectedly, for what seems like no apparent reason. Please remember I have ZERO control over this.
Like I said before, there is different treatments available. It’s not the case of one fits all, it’s trial and error. And this will always take time to work out. In the meantime;
Ladies – Please do your research if you think this may be a possibility and get to the Dr for support. Remember just because you don’t suffer from it doesn’t mean other females you know don’t either. Do not suffer in silence, talk to someone about it.
Men – Please do your research. Try to understand a little bit more. Read and refer to my Do’s and Don’t list.
Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Just because I don’t look sick, doesn’t mean I’m not suffering.
I hope I’ve shed some light on and raised awareness of PMDD.
No-one is alone. We are all in this together.
Love L x