courtesy of Google images
I haven’t used my blog in while, but this Monday I decided I needed to share. Mostly for myself, at times I’ve got to be selfish. I truly believe this post could be useful to others as well. As for the title, don’t be offended my Christan folk. Sometimes, we have to use what the Lord has provided us with, and a lot of times that means medication! It doesn’t mean you stop the prayer, you just have to kick things up a notch. Trust me, I am always here for an SSRI and a Hail Mary or two!
What’s PMDD mean? Well, it stands for Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, its a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of PMS but are severe enough to interfere with work, social activities, and relationships.
It’s something that I don’t generally share with people, but I’m honestly over the “raised brow,” or whatever other dismissive or confused response I get. A couple of years ago, I noticed a really crippling case of PMS. I realized my moods were crazy, I was depressed, relationships were extremely difficult to manage, and it all seemed to correlate with monthly hormonal changes. I went to see my doctor and she agreed that these were not the norm for PMS symptoms, so she provided me with medication.
I have a really bad habit of not maintaining oral medications. I get this, “well I work in mental health so perhaps I can use my coping skills to manage this.” Nope, I can’t. My PCP requested I not do this anymore, but did I listen? Of course not. Here I am today, on Monday, desperately waiting to leave work to get my Rx filled. I’ve had about two good weeks of a normal upbeat mood. My personal relationships are going well, then yesterday I noticed the shift, and today, I am heading to the miserable place of PMDD/PMS hell. The one where I have increased anxiety, the one where my boyfriend wants to strangle me and disappear to not deal with my craziness. That space where I am especially weepy and struggle to complete day-to-day tasks, like going to the grocery store or getting up for work.
I say all this to say, we are all human and we’ve got to get out of this place of stigmatizing mental health problems. When I say we, I mean Black women who have a tendency to lean on that “Superwoman syndrome.” I also say this to the Black men who are experiencing shifts in their mental health, which is lending itself to the mass amounts of Black men committing suicide. I am really looking forward to starting a women’s group at my job, and before I start I’ve got to get real. I have to be comfortable with sharing and learning how to respond to real people and real issues. I also need to continue to collaborate with my peers to learn how to better serve my community, the educated, Black, young professionals struggling to manage.
Quick Facts on PMDD
How Common Is PMDD?
PMDD occurs in 2% to 10% of menstruating women. Women with a personal or family history of depression or postpartum depression are at greater risk for developing PMDD.
What Causes PMDD?
As with PMS, the exact cause of PMDD is not known. Most researchers, however, believe PMDD is brought about by the hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle. Recent studies have shown a connection between PMDD and low levels of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps transmit nerve signals. Certain brain cells that use serotonin as a messenger are involved in controlling mood, attention, sleep, and pain. Therefore, chronic changes in serotonin levels can lead to PMDD symptoms.
The symptoms of PMDD can include any of the following:
-Depressed mood or feelings of hopelessness
-Marked anger, increased interpersonal conflicts
-Tension and anxiety
-Decreased interest in usual activities
-Change in appetite
-Feeling out of control or overwhelmed
-Physical problems, such as bloating, breast tenderness, swelling, headaches, joint or muscle pain.