I can feel myself falling into a deep well of sadness. I burst into tears over the smallest things and sometimes, for nothing at all. I feel alone, depressed, unloved, unhappy and consumed by dark, miserable thoughts.
For the last few months, I have been noticing a strange shift in my emotions. This month, it was because my vacation with my parents was coming to an end. Last month, it was because my husband was leaving for a one-month training across the world. And the month before that, I had absolutely no idea why I was crying my eyes out on a calm Sunday afternoon, but I was thoroughly depressed and extremely unhappy.
It was only now, when it happened again for the fourth time that I noticed a pattern. This feeling of utter hopelessness was consuming me right before the onset of my Period. Bah! To think of all the time that I wasted on blaming myself for ‘acting out’ and being a ‘drama queen’.
After a little more research, I learnt about Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.
What is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)?
PMDD is a condition in which a woman experiences severe depression, irritability and tension before her menstrual cycle. It is an extension of PMS itself but causes extreme mood shifts which can affect a woman’s work and even her relationships.
The symptoms of this condition begin showing up 5 to 10 days before the period cycle begins and end with the onset of menses. These include:
- Sadness or hopelessness
- Extreme mood shifts
- Anger and irritability
- Sleep deprivation
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts
Although these symptoms are similar to those of PMS, they lean more towards the mental/emotional state of a woman unlike PMS where a woman experiences cramps, breast tenderness and other such physical ailments as well.
Causes & Treatments
There is no specific cause for PMDD to occur. However, like in PMS, changes in hormones could trigger the symptoms of mood disorders.
The treatment for PMDD begins with identifying the condition. If you suspect that you are suffering from PMDD, it is advisable to maintain a calendar of your emotions and trace it to your period cycle. Take note of any patterns that you might notice.
A complete physical examination including a thyroid test and psychiatric evaluation should be done to rule out any other conditions.
- Eat the right food. Like with every hormone-related condition, start with eating whole grain foods, fruits & vegetables, and avoid processed foods with excessive salt or sugar.
- Regular exercise through the month can help minimize the symptoms.
- Consult a mental health professional before taking antidepressants or medication for insomnia.
- Nutritional supplements for Calcium and Vitamin B-6 may also help relieve the symptoms.
So, this is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. But you must talk to your doctor before self-diagnosing your condition, if your moods are coming in the way of your life and relationships. And if you are suffering from depression or are overcome by suicidal thoughts, do not waste any time in booking an appointment with a professional. But most of all, do not blame yourself for ‘over-acting’. Your emotions are not always in your control and its completely OKAY to get some help.