PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that affects about 3-5% of menstruating women. Because some of its symptoms are similar to those of depression and bi-polar disorders, many women have been misdiagnosed. For some, this may mean many years of receiving the wrong treatment – and unnecessary suffering.
Cat Stone, a mom of two, has suffered from PMDD for years. She now runs two FaceBook support groups for women all over the world who suffer from this condition. She also writes a blog about her disorder at meetmypmdd.blogspot.com.
Cat shared her experience:
“I can speak from experience that when you find out there is a name for what you go through every day, it is a huge relief, which is then followed by endless trips to different health professionals who quite literally don't know what to do with you.
“The GP referred me to mental health as my symptoms bring on a dysphoric mood, depression, and suicidal ideation. The mental health team says that it's hormonal and that [I] should see a Gynecologist.
“They try to help where they can, but essentially, you end up with a trip to the Gynecologist with mental health symptoms and no one knows what they are doing!”
I suspect Cat’s experience is not uncommon, as I’ve heard about similar nightmarish experiences from several other women in my network. The lack of recognition and education in the medical community is a contributing factor for sure.
To bring more awareness to this issue, Cat advocates that PMDD be recognized in the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases (ICD). To this end, she has written a letter to her MP in the U.K.
I have a lot of respect for Cat, for her courage in turning her suffering into meaningful actions. She’s doing her part to help many other women out there suffering alone, in silence.
If you also suffer from PMDD, I encourage you to check out Cat’s letter. Perhaps you’ll decide to join her to speak up on this issue.
If you’re not sure if you have PMDD, you can take Cycle Harmony’s PMS/PMDD quiz to get a preliminary assessment.http://www.cycleharmony.com/pms-self-assessment?view=article