Tuesday, May 13, 2014

PMDD, A Partner's Perspective: A Response

I'm aware that I haven't posted anything on PMDD or PCOS for a while - which is the entire point of my blog. I want to re-focus a little bit and write about what I made this website for. I didn't have to look far for something to write about. I follow a lovely and informative blog by a woman named Liana - she writes at Living on a Prayer with PMDD. She posts a lot of articles and helpful information on PMDD. Most recently, she posted an article written by a man married to a woman with PMDD. You can find the article, "PMDD: A Partner's Perspective" here. To give you the gist of it, a man writes his own personal experience of being married to a woman with PMDD. (For a while, I have wanted Michael to do the same thing - and now I have even more reason to ask him to do so!)

This husband who wrote the article writes of torturous episodes every month where his wife becomes another person. Episodes of rage, brutal attacks on his character and their relationship, suicidal thoughts and threats, feeling hated and rejected every month. My heart breaks for this man and his wife. I know the pain of PMDD all too well. And Michael and I have absolutely had months like this, where for the 2 weeks before I get my period, I become another person. I am angry about everything, depressed about everything, and threaten to take my own life. Somehow Michael gets the brunt of it every time, even though he is not my husband. He is my safe person - and so I take it all out on him. But perhaps I have been lucky in that this is not every single month for us.

As I said, my heart breaks for this man, and I'm so sorry for his own painful experiences with PMDD. I'm also grateful for his vulnerability in sharing his experiences.

However, this article just made me feel sad because it just seemed so hopeless and helpless. He says near the end of the article:

"So what have I learned?
Probably the most important thing is to put up and shut up during the PMDD zone." 

And finally, he ends with:

"Do I feel hated and rejected each month? Yes, I do. Do I wish I wasn't? Absolutely.
Do I wish my partner didn't suffer PMDD? Yes. But she does."

Now this is what really breaks my heart. The truth is, the best thing that ever happened to me was Michael coming into my life and calling me out on the way I treated him when I was PMDDing. I knew I didn't have control over it, but during my "PMDD hangover" (realizing how awful you were when you were PMDDing) I was always so contrite, heart-broken, even sorrowful over the way I treated the man I love. So we started looking for answers. Michael pushed and pushed and made me call doctors and make appointments and do everything in my power to get this under control. He was not satisfied with putting up and shutting up and simply wishing that I didn't have PMDD.

I have met with so many doctors, so many OB/GYNs, tried many different medications, even had surgery to remove polyps they found in my uterus that were greatly affecting my cycle. And let me tell you, my life and PMDD have changed. Has my PMDD gone away? Absolutely not. I still struggle for those 2 weeks before my period.

HOWEVER, (yes, this is a big however)

My PMDD is so close to PMS now that I can barely tell the difference. And this is because of a few things.

  • I take 37.5 mg of Effexor every single day, even when I am not PMDDing. This is also because I struggle with depression regardless of PMDD, but I know Effexor helps me during this time period.
  • I take Vitamins B & D every single day. These help IMMENSELY with my energy and feeling like I have a clear mind to realize that I am PMDDing.
  • I try to regulate my diet as much as possible - low blood sugar is a recipe for disaster with me.
  • I sleep. As much as possible. Take naps. Sleep for 10 hours overnight. Exhaustion is the worst when you are PMDDing, and the more you sleep, the less you are awake to PMDD. When I'm having an episode and nothing can calm me down, I go right to bed now. No more conversation, no more fighting, no more tears. Just sleep.
  • I went to OB/GYNs and fought for myself. It wasn't until my 3rd OB/GYN that they discovered the multiple masses in my uterus and got me into surgery right away. There could be other things going on besides PMDD that if undiagnosed or undiscovered could be causing much of the problem, or could potentially be dangerous in other ways.
  • I was in therapy every. single. week. for almost a year. I don't feel the need to go anymore, but he is only a phone call away. Having someone else to cry to helped me so immensely. And it helped to be super-aware of my own behaviors, tendencies, and habits during my PMDD time. 
  • I of course track my period and receive an email 2 weeks prior so I know to be ready to PMDD. The therapy and self-awareness helped me the most during these times, and Michael and I would work hard on stopping difficult conversations at the beginning instead of after the damage had been done. Michael has had to get tougher on me: when I start to beat him up during a PMDD episode, he will tell me very sternly to stop and that I need to go to bed. He's gotten so much better at this, because of course I don't do it happily. But I listen. I try.

I just got my period again for the first time after a few months of trying birth control and stopping at the end of March. More on that later. But the glory of it all was that I didn't PMDD. I PMSed, I cried, I struggled with a little bit of anxiety. But I did not rage, I did not think about suicide, I didn't get depressed, I didn't have any manic episodes. I just got a little sad once in a while. It is beautiful how far I have come. Thank GOD. 

There is hope. And there is help. That is why the hopelessness and helplessness of that article truly broke my heart. 

Fight for yourself. Fight for the right doctor, the right medication, the right dosage, the right therapist. 

Fight for your life.

It is worth it.


  1. Hi, Amy, Thank you for your moving and informative response to my guest post, PMDD, A Partner's Perspective. I am so glad you have found a solution that works for your PMDD, as I have with mine. It is extremely hard work getting to that point, and even harder to help others reach the same place, when each of us is so different in our hormonal make up and life circumstances. Thank you also for posting your "prescription for wellness" and I did pass the link from your post on to my guest poster, and he will be writing another post for my blog in a few weeks.

    What I hope to do is foster an ongoing dialogue between PMDD women and their partners that brings both sides of the situation out into the open, so that couples can have the glimpses into each others' lives they need to be able to come together and deal with this disorder as a team, like you and your husband have. Blessings, Liana

    1. Liana,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and respond. It means more to me than I can say, especially as I have been following your blog for a long time and find it so helpful. I love that you are trying to foster that dialogue, I hope to have my partner post here soon for the same reason. If you ever need another guest post or anything, I would love to help, and I'm sure Michael would love to as well. Thanks again for stopping by and commenting.