I'm posting this here because I know PMDD and depression are related and kind of go hand and hand. I don't know if I officially have PMDD, but I've been noticing some pretty hardcore (well, hardcore for me) symptoms that start about as soon as I hit the second-to-last week of birth control pills and persist off and on until my period starts. I get really moody: very irritable and getting way upset over stupid things, before I moved out I used to get raging mad at my dad for no reason what so ever and it was to the point that he was actually glad I was moving out so he wouldn't have to deal with my rages once a month. And then, like today, the depressive/almost suicidal thoughts that I had pre-weight loss start to come back and I don't quite feel like killing myself, but I know today I didn't necessarily want to live either. I have to be careful when I'm alone to not let my mind wander too much or I'll go into "I'm worthless" mode. And it doesn't help that my appetite also increases and I'm more inclined to "cheat" on my plan and eat things I really shouldn't so I always put on a bunch of water weight too because while my food choices may be in calorie-range, they're things like fast food and pizza and asian take-out. And then I bloat and I feel fat and gross for a week. It really sucks.
And while throughout the month I'm usually able to manage, the biggest problem is I don't ever feel like I can talk to anyone about my struggles during this time of the month where my feelings and emotions are really on edge , especially when I have days like today where I just don't feel worth a damn. I feel like I've worn everybody to death with all my depressing moody states that lasted all the time when I was overweight, so I don't feel like burdening anyone with my problems anymore. But at the same time, I really struggle sometimes to feel like I'm okay, despite everything going really well right now. I have no real reason to be depressed, but yet I still struggle. It's not as bad as it was; I no longer want to kill myself, but it's kind of like instead of completely hating myself I'm just slightly above indifferent to myself. I have moments where I feel awesome and confident but a lot of times I really just don't feel like I'm anything special, although I suppose that's not true. Most of the time I think people give me more credit than I think I actually deserve.
And I don't know where to turn with these thoughts. Sometimes I try talking to my best friend/bf thingy (that's a complicated relationship story that I dont feel like going into lol) and he just tells me to suck it up and stop being a cry-baby. My mom never had real issues with depression or PMS/PMDD, so she doesn't really know how to relate to me or give me advice on how to deal with it. My sister-in-law has problems with it but she just tells me she just deals with it and there's nothing you can do to control it/make it better. And like I said, I don't want to burden anyone else with my issues so I just keep it to myself. But the problem with that is when I bottle it up too much I really have worse issues than if I had someone to talk to. I kind of wouldn't mind seeing a therapist but I don't want to admit that I can't handle myself. I don't want anyone to know that I can't handle myself. It's embarassing to me. And what's worse is I'm kinda glad I'm not around my dad anymore cause he'd go tell about my rages to relatives and people and laugh and joke about it but it's really not funny -- I can't help that I can't control my emotions when I have my period and I don't want my struggle to be made fun of. I really just don't know where to turn to anymore and I feel like I have no support. I just want to feel sane and normal all the time and feel confident all the time instead of dreading the week before my period.
Hopefully y'all can help. I could really use some encouragement.
Hubby used to call me werewolf. The right birth control and/or antidepressant can help TREMENDOUSLY, so don't let anyone tell you that nothing can be done.
To some degree, now that I'm perimenopausal, the werewolf is back, but not as badly as if I weren't on the meds.
The problem though with the meds for PMDD (the antidepressants and hormones) is that the meds that work for some people's symptoms can make others' symptoms worse. And the drug that helps one symprom can make others worse.
As a result, you and your doctor have to discuss treatment and medication options and experiment to see what works best.
My meds that help with my symptoms are two antidepressants, a bc pill, and a pain med for cramps. All except the bc are all on the Walmart/Sam's Club $4 list.
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What I find really interesting/odd is this started coming up AFTER weight loss. I never really had issues with my period until I got down to a more normal weight. When I was overweight, being on my period was the least of my problems. I may have cramped a little bit on the first day of bleeding, but never really had mood issues or anything. You'd think I'd have had the problems then and they would've gotten better after weight loss instead of the other way around.
To be honest, the reactions you have experienced seem normal (to me anyway). Especially from the men. They will never understand any a female goes through, not even that it's a hassle to have a period in the first place. (I'm not saying that you shouldn't talk to the males in your life about to seek some support, but I wouldn't get upset if they tell you to harden up )
No matter what anyone tells you, including yourself, you are worth it. I know that this is something that you have to realise on your own. It has taken me years of telling myself everyday (and losing 50 lbs) to stop caring what the world thinks of me and to wear what I like. Heck, I had my flabby tummy bouncing with my shirt during my exercise today in front of a group of mothers and their kids. Sure, it's difficult and there are times when it doesn't seem that you are, but you are. Trust me on this.
I can only agree with kaplods that you talk to your doctor about treatment to help keep it under control. If medication isn't for you, perhaps yoga or meditation might help to ease stress. (I'm not a fan of medication and I have turned down several pain or contraceptive pills my doctors have recommended. There is-usually-another way )
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If you can adequately address symptoms without medications, you probably do not have pmdd.
I do agree that you should try non-med options first, but if symptoms are still debilitating and are still adversely affecting your relationships with other people, do not be afraid of medication (don't drop other therapies though, they will be every bit as important as your meds).
I suffered with severe symptoms for almost 20 years, before trying birth control, and almost 30 before taking a low-dose antidepressant to improve sleep quality, and only recently (with perimenopause aggravating symptoms) agreed to take a therapeutic dose of antidepressant.
Talk to your doctor. Try every therapy you can, not just before considering medications, but along with medications once you've decided to try meds.
If you're experiencing lethargy and depression so severe that they are debilitating, you may need medication.
Even with meds and concurrent therapies, your symptoms may not disappear, so you have to be persistent and patient with the process of experimentation to manage.
What I've found helpful (in addition to meds):
1. Daily food and symptom log. This will help you see symptom patterns and will help you determine whether strategies are effective.
2. Reducing carbs, especially during peak symptom times. Reducing carbs too low will work awesomely for some symptoms (like water retention) but can aggravate irritability. I would recommend experimenting with carb levels and only restricting as much as you find most helpful.
3. Exercise. Any kind you're comfortable with. If you experience pain, bloating or fatigue, water exercise may be especially helpful during those times. Swimming or treading water are especially helpful for cramps and bloating.
4. Warm and hot water soaking. If you can find a warm water pool program for swimming or treading water, it's awesome. I can't recommend it highly enough. Your doctor or the Arthritis Foundation website can help you find a program near you.
A hot tub or hot bath can help too.
5. Cognitive Behavioral therapy, ideally with a therapist or counselor experienced in pmdd.
6. Relaxation therapies. Progressive relaxation, guided imagery, meditation, gentle yoga or tai chi. Self-hypnosis. Lying down while listening to comforting music....
7. Recreation and Hobbies. Any distraction you find enjoyable. I like writing, reading, and crafting (all sorts).
8. Make sleep a priority. Sleep deprivation makes symptoms worse, so try to get good sleep all month, not just during symptom flares. If you have frequent insomnia, talk to your doctor or read up on good sleep hygiene habits.
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