PMDD makes me angry. Period.
Now I know what PMDD is, I know that I have had it ever since I got my period aged 11. I remember that day very vividly, I’m sure most girls do. It’s pretty significant isn’t it? It’s confusing, your body’s changing, you’re not quite sure what’s going on. For me, it was whilst I was at school. I was in music class minding my own business when I trotted off to the loo, innocently thinking that it would be just that, a trip to the loo. No such luck! A quick dash to grab my best friend, a cry and hug later and that was it, I was a ‘woman’. Aged 11!
What I remember even more vividly, though, was that evening when I got home. My brother, Dan, had one of his friends around, as he usually did, and said friend, who was also like a big brother to me, commented that I was being a lot stroppier than usual. Pretty fair enough, I was. He teased me, as a 16 year old boy can do, and asked ‘If I was on my period?’. I remember feeling a massive rush of anger building up inside me and screaming at him that, “YES I HAD ACTUALLY”, bursting in to tears and then running away. No, he probably shouldn’t have teased me, and yes I was particularly sensitive as I had gone through a sliiiight change that day but I remember being quite shocked and scared at how I had reacted.
That theme, of anger, of outbursts, of being shocked at how I’ve been acting whenever my period finally comes, has unfortunately continued throughout my whole life as a ‘woman’. Now that I am actually a woman, and I can understand it it’s a little easier, but try navigating through that when you’re 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and also trying to navigate who you are, what you want, where you want to go, do your exams etc. It was a tad confusing!
Anger. Anger. Anger. Anger. Anger. That’s what I feel. Two weeks before my period, it starts. My irritability levels go through.the.roof. Breath too loudly? I’m annoyed. Speak to me with slightly the wrong tone? I’m pissed off. I get something wrong at work? I want to quit, everyone hates me, I’m not right for the job. It all sounds so dramatic and self indulgent when I write it down like this but it really is how I feel at the time, and it’s very real. I feel those things. I feel them oh so deeply. I genuinely feel angry and frustrated and low, and there really isn’t much I can do to stop it. I do often wish I got sad, instead, as I think it would be easier to deal with for some – a cry results in a hug, a sympathetic look. An outburst? People aren’t so receptive. I’m sure, though, that crying is equally as hard and feeling sad would be just as tough to deal with it’s just maybe I’d get hugged a little more. Snappy Chihuahua’s are annoying, I get it.
This is all pretty hard for me but it’s also hard for those people who I know and love that are around me during that time – they’re the ones that have to be at the receiving end of my sharp tongue and snappy comments.
I push people away, end up saying things I don’t mean, I see the look of ‘what’s going on’ in their face but I can’t do anything to stop it. As soon as my period has come, I feel totally different. Things don’t bother me. But what does come with that is a feeling of guilt. A lot of guilt. Do people still like me after I’ve been like that? Was I unreasonable? Do I actually feel those things still or was it just my period? That, the not knowing if it’s me or my hormones talking is the hardest part really, what was real, what was my body?! Honestly, it can all be quite exhausting. There is one tiny silver lining to this, and this makes it not *all* bad, my sex drive goes through the roof during certain times. I can hardly complain about that now, can I?!
It’s been a crazy, long journey to not only discovery, but management of having PMDD. Years of feeling totally misunderstood, like I was very abnormal for behaving the way I do, and quite a few relationships and friendships that have fallen akimbo to my angry/withdrawn outbursts during my hormonal months.
I’m SO grateful that this is now being spoken about and that there is a place where woman can come and talk about what they are feeling and get tips and advice on how to cope. Hats off to you, Emily, for shedding light on this situation and creating something that gives us support, especially because we can all be a bit moody at times ;).
Since writing this, I have discovered I have PCOS - cysts on the ovaries that occur when you don’t properly ovulate each month. What this means is, your hormones are totally off balance and that PMS etc is much, much longer and sometimes the bleed isn’t actually ovulation, but just your body shedding it’s lining. I have gone on a pill called Yaz that is supposed to specifically help people with PMDD. I’m living in Australia, and that shit ain’t free over here, but I’m looking forward to seeing if that, combined with a good diet, can make any difference. Watch this space…