PMDD: The Acronym that Saved my Life
Updated: Oct 16, 2019
I was sixteen years old when my body decided it was ready to complete its transition into womanhood. My face was slick and shiny with oil, uterus irritatingly contorting but I had a stockpile of pads; I was ready! Or so I thought. There is only so much they taught us during the awkwardness of Sexual Education class. The basics are important: ladies, you bleed and carry babies and fellas you get erections and impregnate the ladies. But knowing what I know now I wish they would’ve dug a little deeper and urged us, by us I mean young woman, to understand that our bodies are not only going to look different from one another during this transition but that things are happening internally that can negatively affect us mentally.
I was eighteen when I became a pro when it came to my monthly flow. My cycle was on time every month for a five-day visit, and I had upgraded to tampons, so life was good. I was a so eighteen years old the first time I ever contemplated suicide. I remember being so confused as to why I no longer wanted to live this thing called life. The feeling came out of nowhere it seemed, but I just attributed it to whatever was going on in my life at the time. Deep down, I knew I didn’t want to end my life, but there was still a dark cloud hovering in the back of my mind telling me that it was what I wanted to do.
I was twenty-five when I started using birth control for the first time in my life. For years I refused to use birth control because I thought you had to be sexually active to be prescribed. Which I know is silly now because how would a physician honestly know your sexual activity, right? But not only was I taking preventative pregnancy measures, but I was also no longer experiencing the vulgar sensations in my uterus every month. What used to be a sometimes unbearable pain that would bring me to my knees had been diminished to what could be confused as a tiny bubble of gas. My monthly five-day visit had been reduced to 2 days of spotting. Once again, life was good!
I was twenty-six when I decided to stop using birth control. The migraines I started to get just wasn’t worth it anymore. I was also twenty-six when I had the scariest moment of my life. That voice in the back of my mind, the one that kept telling me to end my life had returned, and it was loud. It had made its way to the forefront of my existence so much so that I could see it. But like before, I knew for a fact that this was not what I wanted, but this dark cloud I’ve struggled with for years had manifested itself in a new and dangerous way, and I immediately sought out help.
The help and advice I received was a life changer, more like a life gainer for me. I learned of this unfortunate disorder some women experience before their cycle begins called Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder. According to womenshealth.gov, PMDD is a condition similar to Pre-Menstrual Syndrome that also happens within the week or two before your period starts as hormone levels begin to fall after ovulation. PMDD causes more severe symptoms than PMS, including severe depression, irritability, and tension and affects up to 5% of women of childbearing age. When I learned this information, I saw all of my womanhood years flash before my eyes. It all made complete sense. Every time I was in such a massive depressive state was always a week before my period started. I began to read through all of the symptoms and checked off more boxes than I thought I would.
I was twenty-seven when I regained control of my body. Yes, those thoughts still taunted me a week before my period began, but I knew why they were there now and knew their time was short-lived. What once brought such confusion and uncertainty to my life, had a name. Since then, every time that dark cloud came rolling in, I knew PMDD was rolling in with it. It didn’t affect me the same way once I knew what it was. That voice in the back of my mind became a tiny blip. I’m thirty-one now, and the tiny blip is still there. I don’t think it will ever disappear. But at least I know I’m not crazy, and most of all, I DO NOT WANT TO KILL MYSELF!
If you or anyone you know suffers severe anxiety, tension, mood swings, sleeplessness, and depression a week or two before they start their period, I encourage you or them to seek help as soon as possible. Let it be known that I do not know of any statistical data or correlation between suicide and women with PMDD, diagnosed, or undiagnosed. I can only speak from my personal experience and how close I was to doing something I would’ve immediately regretted.