Friday, 7 January 2011

A PMDD Crisis Guide

Recently, I have been feeling much better. This is a real turnaround after many years of feeling like a pendulum swinging back and forth. I feel I have more control. I am coping with my bad days more effectively and achieving more on my good days... AND it's winter!
Up until now, it has been hard to write without getting too emotionally involved, and that's no good if you are trying to help others in an emotional state. I finally feel that I can share some practical advice, and I really hope it helps other women cope with PMDD.

Firstly, here's a little about what I have learned and coped with over the years. I'm not a Doctor, but I am an Aromatherapist, and have researched many therapies and theories over the years. I have also had PMDD for 20 years... since I was 13. I have lived with this disorder all my adult life. I don't remember a time when I wasn't feeling crazy and out of control on a regular basis. I used to believe I was really mentally ill. I just wanted to be taken away and put in a padded cell.
When I look back at this, the desire to be taken away, away from my kids and life, stemmed from the overwhelming feeling of being unable to cope. A week or month in a psychiatric ward looked more like a holiday. A break from the pressure, the relentless cycle of life, bills, kids, shopping, etc.

That never happened. They never took me away. I was a single mum with a 3 year old. No family or friends as I'd just moved to a new area after separating from my adulterous husband and being homeless. I would hit crisis every month. Crisis at this time in my life was volatile... I had been through so much emotional trauma by this time that I was reacting to everything, and was feeling more and more suicidal.

Screaming, frustration, anger, rage and shouting. Throwing things, kicking things, punching, scratching my arms with my own nails, drinking, sobbing, weeping, and suicidal feelings.
I would lose all control over myself. An ex-boyfriend said once that I made no sense while I was having an episode. Words would come out, but he couldn't understand me. I figured I was a raving lunatic. I feared for my daughter. I thought I was an inadequate mother. I felt she should be taken away from me. I digress.... I know that ladies reading this who have PMDD can relate to my story, and those people who don't suffer, will never be able to truly understand how it feels.

The point to my story is that I have been in crisis more times than I care to remember. It's taken me years to understand, years to develop ways of coping, years of trying different meds... I grieve the years I have lost to PMDD, the opportunities lost and the events I've missed.

In everything I study, there are different realms... We live in physical, mental, emotional and spiritual realms. In holistic therapy, we can become unwell or suffer dis-ease in any of the realms. I believe in the theory that everything is interconnected. An illness in the mind can become an illness in the body, and PMDD is a disorder in the body that causes a disorder in the mind.

PMDD is an invisible disorder. Women that suffer look no different to women that don't (unless you count the extra grey hairs and bags under the eyes!). PMDD dis-ables women. It robs them of approximately two thirds of their life, every month, without fail.

PMDD often gets misdiagnosed as Bi-Polar. I asked my Psychiatrist what the difference between the two is, and he said 'Bi-polar sufferers will have periods of time (weeks, sometimes months) when they function normally. Life is relatively normal. Then they will swing, either up or down, again for a longer period of time, and the cycle continues. PMDD works on a much faster cycle. The ups and the downs can be weekly, sometimes even daily, and there is no long period of normal, functioning time.' PMDD sufferers may get a few days in a row of feeling OK, and believe me, there is MUCH to do during those days... sort out problems, fill in forms, do the shopping, clean the house, catch up on work. It all too quickly deteriorates and jobs end up having to wait again till the turmoil is over.

If you can get to the point when you know you're about to explode, when you can recognise the feelings building, when you are aware of your actions, then you have half a chance of diverting disaster. In my next few posts, I will be looking at each 'realm' in turn, and how PMDD affects you on different levels.

This is my interpretation, my opinions, theories and my experiences. One thing is for sure.. although there are a lot of commonalities between PMDD sufferers, what works as a treatment, what helps you get through and survive is usually very different. There is no one way to treat PMDD. I am just sharing my way, in the hope I might be able to help others find their own path through PMDD.

My next post.... PMDD and the physical realm: Looking after the body to look after the mind.


Renee Redcloud said...

I am so happy to have found your blog. My whole life since 13 or so, and now I'm 30, I have dealt with PMDD also.
The past week, since I have not had my low dose of Fluoxetine this month, I have been a raging mess. I need not describe the symptoms, but I've spent my whole weekend, ruining everything because I'm such a mess.
I look very forward to reading more. I don't feel so alone now.

Cat said...

Hi Renee,

Thank-you for your comment. Very few people leave comments so it is nice to receive them.
If you are on Facebook, I now run a closed group for sufferers. It's real time support, and somewhere to find a little sanity. Feel free to come and join...!/home.php?sk=group_181395235206045&ap=1

Remember, the bad times always pass...

Cat x

Cat said...

That link doesn't click... see my next blog post xx

aldrin james said...

I am so glad that you share this kind of useful information. I will use this guide for me and also for all women who have this pmdd.

pmdd disorder

andrei said...

Thank you for sharing your life with us. I too suffer from PMDD and I would like to learn from you.

Cat said...

Thankyou Andrei xx

SorelyMistaken said...

I'd like to join your Facebook support group.
I have ruined my life this summer because of my unchecked pmdd (I have since started medicine and therapy). A safe place to discuss things with people who understand sounds really comforting.

Cat said...

Hi SorelyMistaken, you may have already found my groups, but if you haven't please check out the PMDD SUPPORT tab along the top of my page, it has all the links you need.. or seach for PMDD Support on Facebook x

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