Hi my name is Angela and I’m 34 years old. I started to suffer from my first period at 15. My parents thought I was just a typical moody teenager. My periods were very erratic at first, so my GP put me on the pill to regulate them, but this seemed to make me worse, so my doctor tried me on the depo injection that was to last for 12 weeks but within 2 weeks I felt like I was going crazy and I cut my wrists . I tried explaining why but no one seemed to understand.
In my late teens and early twenties I went through life trying different contraception, that seemed to agree with me more than all the rest of the pills. I had also been taking all different anti-depressants on /off since my late teens as all doctors thought my symptoms sounded like depression.
It was in my twenties that I found a great man. After a while we decided to live together. it was in that situation that I could see how bad my symptoms really were. I couldn’t hide away like I had when I lived on my own. I was angry, aggressive and so low I felt a real hopelessness. It was around this time I started to make a link to my cycle. I went to doctors again and again but they all arrived at the same decision – I was depressed. I did find one doctor who said maybe I was suffering from PMT but there wasn’t much I could do about that, so I resigned myself to the fact that I was a woman and this was normal. In time my great man proposed and we married.
Within a few years we had decided to start a family. It took two years. We both noticed how different I was while being pregnant – I really was blooming and with a level mood. I gave birth to a daughter and within a few months I was diagnosed with post-natal depression I plodded through life with my ever up and down moods and emotions. Then I became pregnant again and the same thing happened; I sailed through my pregnancy and gave birth to my son.
But after my son’s birth my bad week of symptoms had changed into 12-10 days of hell. My symptoms became so strong I was out of control. I was aggressive and had an inner rage I wanted to release on anyone near me, usually my loved ones but sometime even strangers got it. I couldn’t get out of bed. I was at the lowest point in my life. I started to have unwanted thoughts of harming myself or ending it all; I just couldn’t bear the utter hopelessness that I felt, I cried uncontrollably for days and no one could pull me out of where I was.
At this stage no doctor was taking me seriously. So I started looking online. I started to think maybe I was bipolar so I looked for bipolar and periods and I found PMDD and BAM the symptoms sounded like me! I spent time researching and kept a mood diary of several cycles. I also joined PMDD awareness groups on Facebook and found women of all ages suffering the same as me and even stories of hope. I gained information and most importantly understanding. I made a doctor’s appointment and went armed with my knowledge, my mood diary and my husband for back up. This time I was not going to be fobbed off! The doctor still didn’t get it but agreed to refer me for a specialist opinion.
The appointment could not come quick enough …I needed to hear that it was PMDD I was suffering as I had almost convinced myself I was mad. In that one appointment I felt validated and someone actually got it. That was 7 months ago now and I have come such a long way in such a short space of time. It was agreed at that first appointment I could go on to ovulation suppression to shut down my ovaries. It’s been a bumpy ride but I am the calmest and happiest I’ve ever been in my life. I am going to continue with the treatment as long as it is viable then I have opted to have a hysterectomy.
Suppression has brought so many positives. I’m actually a nice person with my ovaries turned off. I am no longer a time bomb waiting explode. My children are more relaxed and my husband and I are in a great place. Only with my husband’s continued support and his not leaving me have got me through – I nearly left lots of times.
PMDD has already taken so much of my life it seems my choice of treatment is right for me. For the first time I am in control of my PMDD and not it in control of me!