There’s big news for women who feel like they lose themselves every month and I wanted to bring that to you. I think everyone has heard of pms. It’s the brunt of jokes and the cause of many eye rolls. But what many people don’t know, is that it can get WORSE.There are those like me. It’s called PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. While most women get at least one symptom of regular pms, about 2-4% of menstruating women suffer from PMDD instead. How can I describe this?
Imagine your worst day with pms. Now imagine you meet Dr. Jekyll and without permission, he injects you with his serum to become Mr. Hyde. You rage at the world, eat every carb and piece of chocolate that comes your way, and hate yourself and everyone around you. Until it comes crashing down.
When the rage wears off, you slip off the edge of sanity and fall deeper and deeper into a pit of depression. You fall so hard, so fast that you’ve broken something. Something in your brain doesn’t seem to work quite right anymore and you start daydreaming about dying. Deep down, you know that there’s a part of you that definitely does not want to die. You know that, logically, things are fine and you will be okay. But you can’t FEEL that. All you feel is despair, hopelessness and a suddenly strong urge to leave this world. You may even think about how you’d do it.
Then a miracle happens. Aunt flow comes to visit, and she is a magical cure that brings you back to being you. You think back on how you treated the people around you, the horrible thoughts you had, and you get to endure another week of cramps and bleeding with a heavy dose of guilt for what you went through to get there. Through no fault of your own.
PMDD is so severe that many women have been misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder in an attempt to find out the root of their symptoms. But thanks to the latest research, things can start to change. I’ve got to be honest, I don’t understand this stuff very much. I’m more geek than nerd, so I’ll include links below to pages that actually understand the scientific stuff.
But in basic terms, studies are now showing that women with PMDD are different on a molecular level. Women with PMDD and women without have the same amount of hormones coursing through our bodies. And during the time of the month that we experience surges of estrogen and progesterone, our bodies simply do not know how to fight back against the side effects that other womens bodies learn to fight off. Meaning there is a real, biological cause for our crazy. It is the fact that some women are biologically different and our bodies cannot handle normal levels of the hormones that we need to function correctly.
Meaning, hey doctors who wouldn’t listen, guess what? The difference is not in our heads. It is not weakness in certain women. It’s not some women making excuses as to why we can’t handle certain things. It’s not an excuse for being rude or mean. It is a very real, very scary condition that affects many of us. But now we have hope. Now all those brilliant scientific minds are taking this seriously. Very seriously. And instead of doctors throwing birth control and antidepressants at us randomly, hoping to “fix” us, maybe someday there will be a better way. Better tests, better questions and most of all, better understanding.