To many campus ladies, periods are the necessary evil that brings you the good news coated with bad news. The pain, the PMS and all the period-associated discomfort are all too common. Did you know thatover 90% of women of child-bearing age get some premenstrual symptoms, such as bloating, headaches, and moodiness?
While PMS is normal, there are women who dread having periods because they experience severe depression and start having self-harming thoughts. Doctors may suggest talk therapy while others may prescribe antidepressants but they may not work.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
If you can relate with this, you might be suffering from Premenstrual Dysphoricdisorder (PMDD).This is a health problem that is similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) but is more serious. PMDD causes severe irritability, depression, or anxiety in the week or two before your period starts. Symptoms usually go away two to three days after your period starts. You may need medicine or other treatment to help with your symptoms.
With PMDD, every month, you know what is coming, but you can never fully prepare yourself for the sadness, the uncontrollable sobbing, and the flood of disturbing thoughts that come without warning.
You feel like your period is ruining your life, and it was embarrassing. As a campus lady, you feel like you need to get your shit together but you can’t because your period is making you sad.
However, you are not alone because PMDD affects up to 5% of women of childbearing age. Many women with PMDD may also have anxiety or depression.
Facing the Stigma associated with PMDD
In as much as PMDD happens more than you might think among people with periods, stigma can make it difficult to get help. Those who worry their periods are abnormal or unusually severe may feel embarrassed discussing menstruation with a medical provider. Additionally, some healthcare providers may dismiss a patient’s period-related pain or emotional distress.
PMDD-related depression, anxiety, and negative thought loops are also distressing. This is especially when they interfere with everyday responsibilities like work or school, or make it difficult to complete daily tasks as simple as getting out of bed.
It’s especially hurtful when friends, family, or significant others stigmatize you for having been diagnosed with PMDD. In as much as the people who know you may not doubt how you feel, stigmas and tropes surrounding periods often make people with PMDD worry that people will react negatively to their symptoms. They become more impulsive, irritable, and prone to starting relationship-ending arguments that you’ll regret when you start to feel better.
Dealing with PMDD during your periods
First, it is important to know that PMDD isn’t a personal failure. Therefore, you should not take symptoms like severe depression or suicidal ideation lightly. If you feel depressed or the urge to self-harm during your periods, it is imperative that you visit an Obstetric Gynecologist. The ObsGyn will be able to diagnose you appropriately and advice on the way forward.
Secondly, getting on antidepressants can make a huge difference in your ability to cope with the distressing thoughts associated with period. However, not everyone with PMDD finds relief through medication. In fact, birth control and antidepressants may even make your mood swings and mania more severe. Therefore, it is important to get a medic’s opinion before you take any medication.
In all that you need to learn to prioritize self-care and develop a greater sense of compassion for yourself and your pain.At the end of the day, it is you who is undergoing all these emotional turmoils during your periods. Therefore, you are the only one who understands them better. It will not be easy, but you must start by accepting yourself.