So, lets talk abut hormones. They can sometimes be quite useful, but when they get out of control, they can be vicious.
As a woman, I’ve always found it difficult to talk about my menstrual cycle, because at school we learned early on that they it was a taboo subject, that had to be talked about in secret, and never mentioned in front of boys. Thankfully, I was always able to talk about it with my mum, which was great, but as I moved into adulthood, it became increasingly uncomfortable to talk about with anyone. Since starting to blog, I’ve realised that women are using the internet to vent, and to talk about issues which are specific to them. So that is exactly what I’m going to do here, starting with my story.
About four years ago, I was struggling with my moods. I started to wonder what was wrong with me. I’d be fine one minute and the next I’d be angry, and then I’d be sad. But over time, the symptoms got worse. Anger became a burning rage – so much so that I’d be close to pulling a knife. I’d scream at my fiancé for the smallest of things and we’d keep having the same fights. When I got sad, I wasn’t just a little bit teary, I was in a state of deep depression. It could last an hour, it could last a week, but it was getting so bad that I struggled with my normal, everyday tasks.
When I went to the doctors the first time, they recommended St. Johns Wort. Needless to say, it didn’t work. At this stage I had an inkling it was my periods causing the meltdowns, but I couldn’t be sure. I then decided to take the doctors next suggestion – the pill. This seemed to work for a few months, but then I was back to feeling like I did before. Except this time, I was sure it was related to my cycle. The pill made my periods predictable, and therefore I knew exactly when I would start to feel terrible. Exactly one week before my period, the symptoms would start. And as soon as my period began, the symptoms ended and I was back to being me again.
On my most recent trip to the doctors at the end of last year, they ran some blood tests to check my hormone levels. There was nothing on my test results to suggest I had any underlying issues, but I was told about PMDD. Pre-Menstrual dysphoric disorder. It was a breakthrough. In short, it’s PMS, but amplified. It made so much sense! I finally knew that it wasn’t all in my head like I so often felt it was.
So I started 2018 with a much more positive outlook, as I’m now taking Fluoxetine for 10 days before my period. The first couple of days on my first cycle were rough going but this second month, I feel a thousand times better.
Now I’m not looking for sympathy. Not by any means. I just wanted to share with you my story, so you could see that if you suffer with your periods, you can get help. I’m not saying that medication is the answer for everyone, but PMS and PMDD are becoming so much more recognised now as genuine medical conditions than they used to. And if you’re not happy with the outcome, ask for a second opinion. I changed my GP to a female and it just so happens that she takes medication for her PMS too. I feel like it’s time we stopped blaming our hormones and started tackling them.
Here’s to feeling better.