A Diagnosis Isn’t a Death Sentence: My PMDD Journey


What I’ve Been Holding Back

For a long time I held on to this feeling as if speaking my truth would make me less adequate less desirable and less of authority in my field.

In January 2020 after being officially diagnosed with PMDD and having one of the worst experiences of my adult life in December 2019 I decided to go back on antidepressants.

The decision for me to go back to medication was not easy it took me many months and a lot of research and self-reflection to get to the space of being comfortable with taking antidepressants again.

What I want wanted to do and what I needed to do because simultaneously conflicting.

I felt very much like choosing this path was only going to be harmful instead of helpful. I mean I had spent years working hard to naturally fight and manage PTSD, Generalized Anxiety, and MDD.

Chile, I even enrolled in courses to learn more holistic nutrition as a way to prevent this from happening.

How could I fail? How could I need the medication again, I eat and live well but what the hell!

But after suffering long enough, tracking many many months and many pits of darkness later I began to realize that it would take more than just lifestyle change to combat my condition.

PMDD Definition

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is a cyclical, hormone-based mood disorder with symptoms arising during the premenstrual, or luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and lasting until the onset of menstrual flow. PMDD is a severe negative reaction to the natural rise and fall of estrogen and progesterone. It is a suspected cellular disorder with symptoms often worsening over time and sometimes worsening around reproductive events such as menarche, pregnancy, birth, miscarriage, and perimenopause. Those with PMDD are at increased risk for suicidal behavior. Many, but not all, women with PMDD have a history of sexual trauma or depression.

Resource: What is PMDD


PMDD Symptoms

  • Feelings of sadness or despair or even thoughts of suicide
  • Feelings of tension or anxiety
  • Panic attacks, mood swings, or frequent crying
  • Lasting irritability or anger that affects other people
  • Lack of interest in daily activities and relationships
  • Trouble thinking or focusing
  • Tiredness or low-energy
  • Food cravings or binge eating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling out of control
  • Physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain

How It Began & Coping With the Inevitable 

After discovering and working with my psychiatrist and a nurse practitioner for many months and my therapist for many years I found that the best decision for ME mentally, and physically would be to go this route.

I fought myself, my doctors, and one of my closest friends, combatting their pleas to give it a try with the research I found online, hoping that something, anything, anything at all would help me. I wanted to fight off what I thought wasn’t good for me but all roads of healing led me back to it, and in hindsight.

[bctt tweet=”I am at peace with where I am. ” username=”lautumnco”]

I remember vividly sitting in my car talking to my girlfriend crying and expressing that I just didn’t wanna do it because I felt like a failure.

I felt like how could I preach and how could I speak and talk about holistic health and nutrition when my body was rejecting all that I was doing to make it be healthier. But when your actions begin to scare you and your loved ones, at some point, there is a level of ownership you must take to do what you can to get the help you need.

PMDD does what it wants to do and for me, every month is different, and honestly, that is the most annoying part.

Managing My Diagnosis & Everyday Life 

Some months I’m able to manage well by utilizing the tools that I have with everything from antidepressants, supplements, holistic nutrition, journaling, running, a great amount of water, and exercise.

But then some months I’m not doing well and that can look very different.

Some months that nasty suicidal ideation creeps in (though it’s not as often), some months I just feel so down and like there’s a darkness that clouds me and although I know in my heart it isn’t true it really can damage your self- image and worth.

For many women including me, there’s also the physical suffering that comes. I like to call it PMS on steroids and while for me that’s not always my biggest hurdle, for many it can get so bad that physically moving can feel like 7 bricks on your back, belly & breast.

Most women are annoyed when a period comes but women with PMDD celebrate that blood because with that drop comes the closure of your “luteal phase”. And oftentimes a resolve for what we call “hell week”

This isn’t a piece of complaining or explaining but rather overcoming.

Overcoming the stigma that all medication is bad and all mental health issues fit into a box.

While each cycle is different, and each cycle brings new and interesting emotions and experiences. I now have the tools I need to pass through each cycle with more information on myself than ever before.

l autumn co, wall of wins, PMDD, Depression. Anxiety, Healing

My Wall of Wins

Whenever I’m in my pits I return to my why, why do I need to make sure I take my supplements daily. Why is it important to drink the herbal teas and affirm myself daily? Why do I need these medications to get through the dark moments? Recalling the importance of choosing to LIVE helps me every single time.

Related: Affirmations for Moms

I started writing great things about myself in my journal but quickly found that I need daily reminders so I started writing them on post its. And when I feel down, I look back on my wall of wins, I journal and I reflect and I tell myself that I am worthy to be here and that I am more than just a diagnosis.

[bctt tweet=”A diagnosis isn’t a death sentence” username=”lautumnco”]

I encourage those of you who are on this same path whether it’s PMDD, Endometriosis, Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, or anything at all to seek support when needed, speak up and ask for help.

On your journey of healing, do not discount the help in the resources that are there for you because without the medication I’m not sure if I’d be here to write this letter.

There were many times in my life when I felt like there was nothing else for me but the darkness surrounding me and I felt there was nothing that I could do to get up out of it but with the help of the tools that I have put in place for myself I’ve been able to speak about this and not have the story written for me.

Looking For Support 

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