Escaping the PMDD Nightmare: How I Found Relief and the Advice I’d Give My Former Self

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Last Updated on September 20, 2023 by the thought method co.

An article about a woman and her experience with PMDD reminded me of when I had PMDD. Reading it brought back memories of the hopelessness and setbacks of losing yourself for a week of every month. 

Article here: “Dixie D’Amelio Reveals ‘Extreme’ PMDD Symptoms: ‘Anxiety, Depression, Losing the Will to Live’

Modern medicine is advanced, but there is still a long way to go, especially with topics like PMDD. And, unfortunately, when the current science doesn’t have a cure, they will tell us there is no cure or that we need to take medication. I am not against taking medication, but when I was told to take a prescription for PMDD, my intuition told me not to. Listening to my intuition started a series of events that resulted in me to curing my PMDD.

What cured my PMDD is not guaranteed to cure yours, and while I can’t cover everything in one article, I wanted to share some of my experience in hopes of helping another. Here you will learn insights and tips to help alleviate PMDD symptoms. I will also share a story of how I successfully managed PMDD symptoms that came creeping back a couple month ago.

Learning about PMDD

A friend first told me about PMDD. She said she could tell I would struggle before my period. After looking it up, it felt good to put a name to the experience, but it was still frustrating to live with every month. The week before my period was incredibly taxing. A partner I lived with told me he felt like he was living with a different person one week of every month. 

It wasn’t a sudden change, like flipping a switch. It was a slow buildup. I would get agitated and annoyed by things that previously wouldn’t agitate me. Sometimes I would try to avoid people. I was nervous I was going to flip out, lash out or say something I would deeply regret. It felt like I couldn’t control myself and it was confusing.

When my period came, I was relieved, but had to deal with the aftermath of what I did the week before. It was a cycle of stress and shame. 

Curing PMDD 

I originally did not set out to cure PMDD. After trying everything they tell us to try, yoga, meditation, journaling, I still could not shake a depression I was feeling, so I gave in and went to therapy. It was nice to talk to someone, but I could see why therapy wasn’t successful for most people. It is a slow, frustrating process, but I did like the things I was learning about my thoughts. Something clicked. There was a feeling, and I needed to follow it. 

So I started learning about cognition and behavioral therapy. I got certifications, read books, did self-experimentation, creating hypotheses and generating data to find commonalities and patterns. Instead of seeing my therapist as a doctor, I saw her as a mentor, someone with the formal education who could help guide me when I got stuck as I went rogue. 

The results were incredible. Not only was I curing depression I was also, unknowingly, curing PMDD. The first time I got my period without PMDD symptoms was surreal. I had the physical symptoms of PMS, cramps and bloating, but otherwise I felt fine. I felt normal. No drama, no stress, no anxiety, nothing. Just me. Confused, I checked my period tracker app and yes, in fact, I was in the week before my period. 

Originally I thought it was a fluke, but after two months in a row, I knew I was on to something. When the PMDD came back the next month, instead of feeling defeated, I observed my symptoms for research. 

PMDD Insights

  • The more I improved my self-awareness, emotional intelligence and mindset, the less PMDD interfered with my life. I believe the hormone changes before my period were not the cause of anxiety, but the catalyst that amplified the anxiety that I was already experiencing and was not equipped to manage.
  • When I started prioritizing my needs the PMDD symptoms decreased significantly. My current theory is that a lack of boundaries, people pleasing tendencies, ignoring my emotions and focusing too much on external validation during the month were all catching up with me when my anxiety was heightened, which triggered the PMDD symptoms.  
  • PMDD was worse if I was highly sexually active during the month. My current theory is that the chemicals released during sex were interfering with the hormone change before my period. Having sex in the week before my period helped relieve PMDD symptoms, but it was hard to be sexually active as I was pushing my partner away with my behavior.

Tips to Reduce PMDD

  • Use your PMDD symptoms as a guide to show you what you need to work on during the month. (Example of this in the story below.)
  • Go to the gym or do activities even if you do not feel like it. Do a body scan, if you are physically well and can do the activity, do the activity even if your mind tells you not to.
  • Masturbate or have sex at least twice in your ovulating week and twice the week before your period. (This suggestion may be controversial, so do what feels comfortable for you. It’s something I noticed that helped me. If you have sex make sure to wear protection.)

Example of Managing PMDD

A couple months ago, the week before my period was the most difficult time I had in a long time. It brought back memories of when I had monthly PMDD.

I noticed the symptoms when I had the intense urge to text the man I was dating. He would playfully stick his finger in my ear, nose and belly button when we would cuddle. I thought it only mildly annoyed me, but on that day I was in an absolute rage about it.

Previously, I might have cut him off and spent the rest of the week crying and then come back when the symptoms subsided. Since I learned how to manage my anxiety, I realized I needed to take some deep breaths and ask myself some questions.

Why do I need to message him right away? Is this reaction warranted for the action? Why can’t I just tell him I realized I do not like it? Why not just ask him to stop? 

And there it was, the question that mattered most: why can’t I just ask him to stop?

I realized I had previously asked him to stop doing little things and he wouldn’t. It’s not healthy and asking for basic respect does not need to fell like a battle.

Even though I really wanted it to work out, we just weren’t a good fit. It wasn’t about the finger poking; it was about me having to cut something off that I really wanted to work. I ended the relationship and have not had any PMDD symptoms in the months following. Now I am actively focusing on prioritizing my needs in a relationship and walking away sooner when my needs aren’t met.