I never thought that the time between my ovulation and my period could “kill” me, almost literally. Not until I discovered that I suffer from Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder or PMDD.
Suffering from PMDD means that I go through an extreme up and down every month. Some days I can wake up with fiery spirit inside my body. Nothing can put out the fire; nothing can stop me from doing what I want to do. I feel great! I am the most passionate woman you have ever met. I feel the universe loves me so much. I spend hours exercising. I eat mindfully. I want to meet people, a lot of people. I have the best days of my life. I own my self. I own the world.
But the feelings only last 11 days in a month.
And then I would enter a phase when I feel so depressed it’s hard to be productive. I wake up feeling like total loser. The first thing that pops in my head when I open my eyes is, ‘why am I even alive?’.
My body is in pain, my breast swollen. I have a severe headache, I experience extreme fatigue, and I crave carbohydrates. I have no desire to workout. I can’t even get out of bed. All I want to do is stay in bed all day doing nothing but crying over my poor self. I am disconnected from my body. This universe hates me; the world doesn’t belong to me. This state feels forever inside my head. To make it worse, my period is still in 2 weeks.
This cycle repeats every month. Inconsistency becomes my middle name. At first I thought I suffered from unknown trauma from the past. But, no, the cycle stays even after I had gone through trauma healing, meditation, past life reading, and countless sessions to the psychologist.
Recently I discovered the term PMDD and I began to read the research about PMDD. Trawling Instagram, I found PMDD-related hashtags #pmddpeeps #pmddwarrior #pmmdisnotpms #pmddsucks. And, finally, I found, Gia Allemand Foundation. Previously named after its founder Gia Allemand – now it has been renamed International Association for Premenstrual Disorder – it is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness on PMDD. Allemand was a model and one of the reality show The Bachelor’s contestants. She was diagnosed with PMDD and killed herself at the age of 30.
I experience the things that are stated in the research for almost two years without knowing what really happens inside my body. Finally, last month I was officially diagnosed with PMDD by my psychiatrist. I feel so relieve that I can finally name those demonic cycles, yet, I feel sad inside. I wish I could skip the painful and nightmarish Luteal phase, the time between ovulation and menstruation, every month.
What is PMDD?
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (also known as Premenstrual Dysphoria or Late Luteal Phase Dysphoric Disorder) is a cyclical, hormone-based mood disorder with symptoms arising during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and lasting until the onset of menstrual flow.
It affects an estimated 2 to10 percent of women of reproductive age. While PMDD is directly connected to a woman’s menstrual cycle, it is not a hormone disorder. Instead, it is a suspected genetic disorder with symptoms that often worsen over time following reproductive events including menarche, ovulation, pregnancy, birth, miscarriage, and menopause. Symptoms that might occur including extreme sadness, hopelessness, irritability or anger, appetite changes, depression, diminished interest in usual activities and common PMS symptoms like breast tenderness & bloating.
In my case, the symptoms occur two weeks before my period. Once the flow begins, the nightmare ends. It makes me love my period so much, because when it comes, I reunite with my self once again. Living with PMDD is like being two different people.
I know that PMDD should not define who I am, but I need more time to contemplate about it. I want to say I accept the grand adventure of being me, loudly from the rooftop, the way Simone de Beauvoir did. Even through this madness I still believe that mother womb would never betray me. This is only a part of nurturing a new person inside of me, hopefully.
If you also suffer from PMDD or know someone who might have it, feel free to reach me through my PMDD Awareness account @disVoria or through my personal Instagram @nyalaterang you are not alone!
Kenyasentana is a biographer and entrepreneur living in BSD. She manages @disvoria an instagram account & support group for women who suffer from PMDD.