PMDD: Much more than PMS

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PMDD: It’s so much more serious than PMS.

This morning, I woke up to the ultimate delight of having my period. I also noticed a new mental clarity that I haven’t had the past few days. I opened up my period tracking app and suddenly recognized that I’ve been having a really rough three to four days before I get my period for the past few cycles. I’m less than a year postpartum, and the time leading up to my cycles since having my little one has been rough. Could this be PMDD?

This is how I’ve been describing it to my friends and family, “rough.”  

Today, I admitted to my sister that it’s been more than rough. It has been terrible. I had been having trouble sleeping and waking up with obsessive thoughts. I have been crying for hours a day. I have been having suicidal ideations, a lack of interest in life, and a general feeling of deep despair. This lasts all day for about four days before my cycle. I know that this is typical for people with PMDD, but I hadn’t ever considered I may have that. 

Before I had kids, I didn’t have much in the way of PMS symptoms, but since having them, my cycles hit harder than before. I will, of course, be making an appointment with my doctor to talk over my options. As much as I preach that it’s important to be open about mental health and talk about things, I have admittedly been very closed about this topic in my personal life. 

For me, there’s still a fear of shame and rejection. The words, “suicidal ideation” sound very scary to people who have never experienced that. I don’t want to be considered to be unstable, or to be a less capable friend and mother. This can be especially scary for single parents or people of color to admit. But, I know that writing this, even anonymously, might help another parent know that they aren’t alone. 

Today, I confided in my sister because I know that she has felt this way before. She sent me only love. I received no judgment. More importantly, there was no fear. She assured me that what I was experiencing was hard, but that I am not alone. She encouraged me to call my doctor, talk to my husband, and be more aware next month when this is coming around the bend. 

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please know there is help, love, and kindness waiting at the other end of a conversation. Reach out. If it’s too hard for you to tell someone you know, you can call or text the suicide prevention hotline. For me, knowing I don’t have to talk on the phone can be helpful. The number to reach them is 1-800-273-8255. I know because I looked it up two days ago, yesterday and again today for this post. 

You are not alone. You are a good parent. You are enough. You don’t have to suffer.

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