Do you feel like a different person the week before your period? Not just mildly, but to the extent that it has the potential to impact your life, and possibly, your interpersonal relationships? Let’s say that you’re a happy person most of the time, but a week or so before your period, you fall into a deep, dark depression.
Sometimes, it even scares you – but then, about seven days later, it’s like a black cloud lifts. Sure, you’re dealing with your period, which isn’t always fun in and of itself, but you’re you again. Just as you’re thinking,”is something wrong with me? Like, really wrong?”your period begins, and soon, you realize that the intense, seemingly uncontrollable and unmanageable, mood swings and feelings of despair are gone. And it’s a major relief that you weren’t sure you’d get to see when you were in the thick of it.
If that sounds like you, you might have PMDD.
What Is PMDD?
Now, you’re probably wondering, what is PMDD? PMDD is short for the premenstrual dysphoric disorder. While it has similarities to PMS, the two aren’t the same. First, PMS, short for premenstrual syndrome, is not a disorder, where PMDD is listed under the category of depressive disorders in the DSM-5. Symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD are more severe than symptoms of PMS, and they have the potential to impact your life, ability to function, and interpersonal connections in serious ways. It is a common condition, but that doesn’t make it any less serious. PMDD is a real battle with real consequences. So, how do you know if you have it?
Signs And Symptoms Of PMDD
Here are the signs and symptoms of PMDD:
- Depressed mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or self-deprecating thoughts
- Increased sensitivity to rejection
- An increase in interpersonal conflicts
- Anxiety, tension, or feeling keyed up and on edge
- Trouble sleeping, sleeping too little or sleeping too much
- Trouble concentrating or focusing
- Decreased interest in activities one would typically enjoy
- Feeling overwhelmed or out of control
- Physical symptoms, such as bloating, cramping, or body aches
You do not need to have all of the symptoms above to receive a diagnosis of PMDD, but you must have at least one symptom related to mood. To get a formal diagnosis of PMDD, you must see a medical or mental health professional who is qualified to provide you with a diagnosis.
Coping With PMDD
Living with PMDD isn’t easy, but coping with PMDD is possible. Here are some things to do to manage PMDD:
- Know when it’s coming. Recognizing PMDD and knowing what the symptoms are when they show up is one of the most important parts of managing the condition. It’s a way to remind yourself that it’s not all in your head and that this is a real thing you’re facing. You might consider using a period tracker so that you can gauge when PMDD symptoms have the potential to affect you.
- Use self-care. Do things that you know will boost your mood and pay special attention to your emotional and physical wellbeing at this time. Additionally, if you know that symptoms of PMDD have the potential to impact interpersonal relationships, know when to step aside and take a breather. If you remind yourself of what’s going on, you can use a rational mind and implement coping skills and tools as needed.
- Ask for help. You may talk to close loved ones about PMDD, whether that’s friends, a family member, or a romantic partner. Opening up and letting people know what’s going on can be incredibly advantageous. Not only does it get things off of your chest, but you might be surprised by who relates. You may also reach out to a medical or mental health professional if you haven’t already.
Find A Counselor
There are a variety of routes you can take if you want to find a counselor or therapist. You can ask your doctor for a referral, call your insurance company or visit their website to see who they cover near you, search the web or use a directory to find providers in your area, or sign up for an online counseling or therapy website. Online counseling is gaining popularity, and there’s a good reason as to why. Whether you’re struggling with PMDD or something else, online counseling is an excellent way to get the help that you need. It is more affordable than traditional in-person counseling is in the absence of insurance, and you can connect with a licensed mental health provider from the privacy of your own home or anywhere else with a reliable internet connection. Regardless of if you see them in person or online, a mental health professional such as a counselor or therapist is there to provide a non-judgemental ear and help you learn ways to cope with PMDD, general life stressors, and a wide variety of other matters related to life and your emotional wellbeing. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support. You deserve it!