What is PMDD?

I am the husband of a woman who has long suffered with PMDD. What is PMDD? PMDD is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. You can find some more information here. This is not exactly the same as PMS. I do not understand what Amanda went through, but I can say that she is a different woman post-surgery. I’m thankful that Amanda has been willing to share her thoughts in this guest post.

A couple of days ago I learned of the suicide of one of the moderators of an online group I’m in for PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). PMDD was one of the reasons why I had my hysterectomy a couple months ago, it’s the reason why I’m a #suicidesurvivor. PMDD was a living nightmare for me, for my husband and for my children. It turned my whole life upside down and inside out. I wasn’t able to function; I dropped out of school, I couldn’t hold a job, I was a terribly selfish person, I was moody and unpredictable and PMDD became a source of difficulty in all my relationships.

My hormones messed with me so much I couldn’t see the light of day, Almost every month, for half of the month, I struggled with suicidal thoughts. I took on everything, blamed myself for things I couldn’t possibly be held responsible for. I lived in the darkness. I had what I can only describe as fiery rage in my head; I was angry at nothing and everything all at once. For 2 weeks of any given month, I was a walking disaster. PMDD made my depression so much worse, it increased my anxiety and exasperated my PTSD.
For two months now, I’m living in the light. Yes, I still have depression, anxiety and PTSD but without the PMDD, I can manage my thoughts and respond to situations in a much better fashion. I have not thought about suicide since the day of surgery. I’m better able to handle triggered days and I don’t spiral out of control anymore.

For most women PMS is a nuisance but for me and for the moderator of my group, it’s genuinely a matter of life or death. It is difficult to get doctors to really listen to you, they assume you are exaggerating or that it’s all in your head….but it’s not. It’s real and it is debilitating. She was begging and pleading with her doctors to remove her ovaries, but she died waiting for an answer. Unfortunately this is something that a lot of women who have PMDD succumb to, suicide because the darkness overtakes and you see no other way out. It is a terrible way to live, trapped by your hormones and stuck in the darkness of your thoughts, only to find relief as your period starts. And in just 14 days, you live it all over again. Month after month and year after year. It’s relentless.

My prayers and love go out to those in my PMDD community, for Stephanie’s family and friends. I also very selfishly thank God that I no longer struggle with this disorder and that I am able to live free now and that I got the help I needed because a doctor took the time to really listen to my symptoms. He could have refused my request, to take my ovaries out at age 36, but he didn’t. He not only listened but he had compassion. Thanks be to God for Dr. Bedkowski. For the first time in my adult life, I feel in control of my emotions. I feel healthy, happy and alive. I’m finally the mother that I have always dreamed I’d be.

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