i had a goal!
50 interviews with 50 women. All who are either self diagnosed, or professionally diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Also called hormonal or reproductive depression.
I spoke with women from 21 to 64 years of age.
I spoke with women in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, and all over the US.
I spoke with:
- Women who had never received any type of treatment.
- Women who had tried countless medications and hormonal therapies.
- Women who had dabbled with alternative therapies including acupuncture.
- Women who had tried out hypnotherapy.
- And women who had even undergone complete hysterectomies because of PMDD.
I spoke with women who had been suffering severely since 13 years of age. As well as those who never experienced any PMDD-related challenges until after childbearing.
I spoke with women who had amazing interactions with healthcare providers, to those who were told that what they were experiencing was just in their heads.
here’s what I found
Women with PMDD are NOT lazy, hypochondriacs, attention-seekers, or underachievers.
ON the contrary! They are intelligent, capable and ambitious women. Who would prefer not to burden or be dependent on ANYONE around them. AND in an ideal world, would prefer not to bring attention to their condition at all. They are talented in their professions, hobbies, and volunteer pursuits.
They are not sad!
By nature, the majority of these women have very happy, upbeat, cheery dispositions. Which is why the sudden monthly onset of depression, hopelessness, and often suicidal ideation is so confusing and disturbing.
They are not one-size-fits all.
And I mean that in every possible way. Of course they look different, smile different, and feel different. Just as importantly, the interaction of hormones-to-neurons in their bodies is so different, that their response to medications and treatments also varies in dozens of ways.
They know awareness is king!
They know that it’s impossible to even begin to stop the suffering, until we first stop the ridiculous ignorance that this condition even exists. Awareness of all women (all human beings really) is essential. And awareness in the medical community is desperately needed!
They are often diagnosed initially by someone who loves them.
A close friend or family member can often see the cyclical pattern of their symptoms even before they can. Which is why it cannot just be women themselves who have awareness of this condition.
They know antidepressants are only a bandaid.
Only something to take the edge off until better and more consistent treatments become mainstream! BUT, they are also grateful for the relief provided by these medications. That is, when they can actually find one (or a combination) that works for their specific brain and body.
They are often misdiagnosed as Bi-Polar or with general anxiety or depression.
This is gradually changing. But in the past, it has not been customary for doctors to start by looking at connections between a woman’s symptoms and menstrual cycle, before continuing to look further. Women are cyclical beings by nature of hormones. We can pretend this isn’t the case, but doing so will only exacerbate the problem.
They are deeply grateful for doctors and medical researchers!
Or at least, those medical professionals who take the time to care that this condition (and many other hormone-based conditions) rob women of much of their lives. Professionals who see that women with these ailments sometimes spend half their lives suffering with symptoms, and then the other half putting themselves back together. Professionals who realize that those with PMDD, often live in deep shame, regret and fear of the following month … and each month after.
And certainly the medical professionals who care, that there are women out there who ultimately END THEIR LIVES due to this confusing and often tortuous disorder.
I could continue on and on about the many things that these women are, and the many strong attributes they have, but I will end by saying:
They are also incredibly generous!
Generous in their desire to share their highs & lows, wins & losses, talents & abilities. All in the hopes of helping other women suffer less than they themselves have had to suffer.
And why should you care?
First of all, PMDD is just one of many debilitating hormone-based conditions. There are a myriad of others that can be debilitating, including PME, PND, PCOS, Endometriosis, Chronic Fatigue, various thyroid disorders (such as Hashimoto’s) and even Fibromyalgia.
These conditions are real, and countless women are suffering. Often living a shadow of a life.
And finally, it’s likely that you have a sister, wife, friend, daughter, niece, aunt or girlfriend that is one of these women. Or could be in the future.
So, if you are a woman, love a woman, or even just know a woman …
help a woman out by becoming more aware of these possible conditions. Then, learn what you can do to support her in becoming the amazing human being she was meant to be.
Feel free to shoot me a message for more information! I’m happy to share what I know, or point you in the right direction.