Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD, is a condition that can cause extreme mood swings and fatigue leading up to menstruation. PMDD is an extension of PMS and can make it extremely difficult to move through everyday life.
As someone who personally struggles with PMDD, I can vouch for how debilitating it can be.
While there are certain medications your doctor can prescribe you if you have been struggling with PMDD, I know that there is also a benefit to incorporating a healthy self-care routine to help deal with this condition.
Personally, the most significant benefit to self-care has just been knowing where I am at in my cycle and tracking it to be aware of some of the symptoms I may be experiencing at that time so that I can implement what needed self-care techniques and coping strategies I have. It also helps prevent arguments that used to occur when I was less aware of how PMDD affected my mood, especially with irritability leading up to the week before I get my period.
While I have shared some of my self-care tips in the past, especially pertaining to PMDD, I have yet to share my personal experience and observations living with PMDD. So I thought it may be helpful for those who are navigating living with PMDD or who may be wondering more about this condition and how I deal with PMDD.
How PMDD Affects My Mood Monthly
Living with PMDD, I am well aware of where I am on my cycle because my mood is altered seven days out of the month. But tracking my cycle allows me to be aware and proactive in taking care of myself, which is why I find it critical to my PMDD self-care routine to track my cycles and be conscientious of them.
For me, the first two weeks after my period are pretty solid. I have very few side effects, except during ovulation because I tend to get cramps and bloated feelings the day before and during it. What is especially hard is the week (ish) before my period. Suddenly, I feel hungrier than ever, a stronger sweet tooth, and WAY more irritable.
Not only am I irritable, but it can feel like in some months, a wave of depression is overcoming me. While I now know it is the hormones talking, it is hard to feel like that because I experience sadness and a much more negative outlook on day-to-day things.
Sometimes it can look like a lack of motivation; sometimes it can look like bouts of crying over simple annoyances, and sometimes it is being a little short with my loved ones, when I usually have a little more patience.
The hard part about PMDD is that it doesn’t match with PMS in that it comes almost seven days before I even get my period, making me think that something else is causing the mood shifts. And from my experience, the mood changes shift to exhaustion two days prior to getting my period. Once I get my period, I experience two days of mood changes, and then voila- I feel that wave of depression lifted on some level.
While it’s easy to get let down thinking of how many days of the month my mood is altered due to PMDD, as I mentioned – tracking and tailoring my self-care routine to my cycle has given me a sense of strength in dealing with this condition which is why I wanted to leave off with some of my personal self-care routines for dealing with PMDD.
My Self-Care Routine to Deal with PMDD
There truly is never a wrong time to take a bath, especially during a PMDD episode. PMDD can cause you to feel bloated, achy, and overall unwell, and I’ve found that taking a warm bath really helps put my body at ease. I personally like to light a candle, throw in some Epsom salts and listen to a podcast, but you do you!
It’s always important to ensure you’re getting enough sleep each night, but this is especially true when dealing with PMDD. In the days leading up to my period, I need ALL the rest a girl can get.
I am talking close to ten hours if left undisturbed by an alarm clock. I fall asleep so much earlier and sleep until as late as possible because the hormone shifts in my body make me fatigued as if I ran a marathon that day.
Lack of sleep can contribute to low mood and fatigue, so make sure you’re getting your recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
You’ve probably heard that exercising can help reduce period cramps, but did you know that breaking a sweat can also help relieve symptoms of PMDD? When I’m dealing with PMDD, I like to do low-impact exercises like yoga to stretch my sore muscles and help me feel calm overall. Fun fact: yoga can also help reduce bloating and cramps, common side effects of PMDD!
The week leading up to my period, I find myself SO hungry. I almost have little to no need to track my cycle because I know that when suddenly nothing is satisfying my hunger, it means I am going to get my period in the next week or less. I also find myself much more prone to crying the week before my period. As a result, I make sure to satisfy my sweet tooth, enjoy a good old cry to some of my fav movies, be gentle and speak kindly to myself, and reassure myself that while my emotions are totally valid, not to let them take over my thinking entirely (aka don’t start a fight with the boyfriend over something that didn’t bother me the week before).
Instead, I prefer to relax, take a night or two in, be alone on days where I get easily frustrated with others, and entertain myself with binge-worthy material that allows me to cry and then get a good laugh in!
Do you or someone you know struggle with PMDD?