Dear God, I’d totally forgotten there was a name for such a nightmarish experience. All those hundreds of suicide attempts, the inexplicable hunger, rage, and depression. The never-ending panic attacks. Wanting to cut my organs out. Being misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder. Every female disorder seemed to have hit me: endometriosis, PCOS, and PMDD. I can’t imagine what it was like seeing me turn into Hyde in the weeks leading up to my period.
“In simple terms, PMDD is like PMS plus: Seriously dangerous PMS that can start around the time of ovulation and finishes when you come on your period. Women suffer for anywhere between one week to two weeks a month, sometimes more. Physical symptoms include migraines, fatigue, finding things much too bright or too loud, forgetfulness, irritable bowels, and stomachaches. Emotional symptoms can be anything from irritability and extreme tearfulness to total self-loathing and binge eating.
But what nearly all suffer from is debilitating depression and/or anxiety. Almost 15 percent of women with PMDD attempt suicide. After getting to know the illness and its community of female sufferers, I can say with conviction that I highly doubt the accuracy of a figure that low.
Almost no one knows anything about it, including doctors. Mary Chadwick from Leeds, England, compared getting answers from GPs to banging your head against a brick wall. “I remember a doctor telling me, ‘You don’t have bipolar,'” the 45-year-old said. “I said, ‘What is it then?! For two weeks of the month, I’m feeling seriously depressed and for the other two weeks I’m fine.'”