Beginning of 2018 I found out that I was having high blood pressure. I had several tests done, a diet change, started medication, and was taken off birth control because of it. All the tests came back normal and I was taken off the blood pressure medication when my BP dropped too low. The doctors came to the conclusion that my hormonal birth control was causing my high BP.
The next few months quickly became some of the hardest I’ve had in the last few years. About two months after stopping birth control, I went to my doctor for a follow up on my menstrual cycle. I told her I was happy being off the birth control because my cycle finally normalized and I was having fewer migraines but the negatives were not worth it for me. I was starting to get very depressed again, even having thoughts of self harm, but only when my cycle was about to start. I would get very aggressive, cry uncontrollably, have intense mood swings, binge-eat, and experience so many other symptoms. This was when she diagnosed me with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder(PMDD). She explained what it was and how it was affecting me. The hormonal birth control was keeping the PMDD at a normal level for me which is why it hadn’t been diagnosed earlier.
The next few months I tried to work with my PMDD. I took advice from other people, looked into some medications, and even joined support groups. Knowing about my diagnosis only made me feel worse. It was maddening to know that there was a part of my brain that completely took over my body leaving me impaired. I was frustrated that my relationships were suffering because of it. It consumed me. I became more depressed and fell down the rabbit hole. I stopped taking care of myself and stopped caring in general.
December 2018 I went through a lot. My boyfriend and I broke up and it made me realize how “damaged” I was. Now that doesn’t mean we solely broke up because of my PMDD(separate issues for another time) but it was a big factor because it controlled my emotions and how I interacted with others. I was on my own and didn’t know how to handle it. I started having panic attacks all the time and literally felt like my skin was burning and I was dying. The panic attacks started happening at work and became more severe. I was already seeing a psychiatrist and therapist trying to get things under control but my PMDD struck hard. End of December my cycle was about to start. There was so much going on in my personal life and in my head that I reached a breaking point. End of December I almost took my life. There was so much pain around and inside me that I couldn’t take it. The only reason I didn’t follow through is because I received a phone call at the exact time I was about to do something.
That phone call is the reason I’m here and telling all of this to you. January 2019 I took a leave of absence from my job to focus on my mental health and get myself stable. I had so many doctor visits, started new medication, and continued seeing my therapist. I kept myself around my friends and family but treasured my alone time. I even got myself on a normal sleep schedule and was eating frequently again – I had lost 10 pounds in three months.
I went back to work on January 30th and have been continuing my medication and therapy. My PMDD is still a learning process of finding what works for me and what doesn’t. I felt completely alone with this diagnosis. I felt insane, especially the last few months of 2018. I felt like everything I was feeling and experiencing was wrong, that nobody else felt like me. If you’ve been diagnosed with PMDD or think you may have it, I want you to know that you’re not alone. It’s a horrible disorder that is very hard to cope with. I’ll be sharing more about my journey and please feel free to reach out to me at any time!
Learn more about PMDD here and check out the PMDD tracker app, Me VS. PMDD.