The new year can bring numerous pressures in our everyday lives. The need to be bigger, better and with ambition can be draining. Add to that a premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) diagnosis and managing your mood and energy levels becomes even more difficult. Sophie woke up one day and felt as if the colour had drained and nothing was good, here’s how she lifted herself back up.
Sophie L. Robinson’s mission is about blending spirituality and evidence-based psychological treatments and understanding together to create a balance of wellness, unique to everyone. She believes in personal development within all aspects of a person’s life in order to live authentically, with more balance and love. You can find out more about Sophie and her background as a BACP (British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists) registered psychotherapist and counsellor online.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a condition in which a woman has severe depression symptoms, irritability, and tension before menstruation. The symptoms of PMDD are more severe than those seen with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
At the beginning of 2019, I started to feel not like myself. At first, I put it down to Winter blues because I am a sunshine lover! If that was the case, my mood and energy levels should have improved coming into Spring and Summer. I had been tracking my mood and energy levels as well as other things with a period tracker app on my phone since the previous year, so I had a good length record.
I’d had depression as a teenager and worked through it to the point where now at 28 I felt rather removed from that experience. This wasn’t like that. Back then I couldn’t be bothered with much of anything and was flat and had a very low opinion of everything and myself. This day I felt an overwhelming urge to rip everything from my life.
To destroy. To end my relationship. Close my business. Cut everyone off.
And that included an urge to sabotage my life in every way. The pull to go into the garage and try to do something harmful to myself was scary. What was worse was I knew I didn’t feel like this the day before. I’d visited family, had a nice meal with them after a day seeing clients and working on my book. Nothing had happened between then and now to have made me feel so irrational and self-destructive. I can only say that I felt suffocated even though there was nothing suffocating me, I was happy with my decisions in life.
From PMDD diagnosis to treatment
I immediately texted work that I wasn’t going to be on that day and that I couldn’t trust myself to get in my car as I really felt that I would do something stupid. I decided to literally shut myself in my safe space at home and the only thing I had was my phone. Looking on the internet for an explanation of my feelings, I found something that fit the pattern.
I tried to explain what was going on and what I had found. My husband was worried too and could hear how scared I was. He encouraged me to call our doctor. I spoke with a gynaecologist who agreed after hearing my detailed notes and seeing the results of a blood test I had recently had and gave me options of treatment for PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).
I followed her instructions and took a B complex vitamin daily as well as a vitamin C and zinc and armed myself reading about hormones and menstruation as much as possible. Each month got easier and easier and I no longer feel as I did before. As well as taking the supplements daily, I attribute a lot of success to energy management. Read more about balancing your energy levels here.
This has served me greatly because, while I was good at energy management in general (not overworking and responding to my needs that day etc.), what I was overlooking was managing my energy with the natural changes that occur throughout my menstrual cycle.
This awareness allowed me to plan my month better so that I could do lighter work and tasks in the last few days of menstruation and give myself a day off just after. Since I have been maximising my energy in this way, I have felt level-headed, generally much calmer and more patient and this is because my energy is in a constant flow. Respecting my body in this way has had benefits; I am much more aware of when I am creative and plan time for that. Likewise, I am aware of when I am going to be wanting a connection with others and can plan dates and social activities and I know I will get the most enjoyment out of them as possible because it’s in line with my natural energy at that time.
I have to leave you with two of my favourite books in this category that helped me so much: Period Power by Maisie Hill, and Moon Time by Lucy H. Pearce.