Dear US Society,
“I have an emotional mental disorder.” Now-a-days mental health disorders like Anxiety/Panic disorder, Depression, even Post-Partum are a lot more understood than they were 30, even 15 years ago. Research has been done by not just doctors, but victims/families of these victims as well. They’re not so scary anymore to those who have them. But, to people on the outside looking in, it’s admittedly kind of scary to know someone you care about has a disorder they cannot really control all that much.
But what people fail to realize is that people struck with things such as Depression, are NOT their disease. They’re more than just a statistic and a random bout with their emotional issues. We’re normal people, with just a little bit of a tougher time handling certain situations than your average everyday person. I say this because I have an emotional disorder that is pretty well known, but mistaken for something else. I’ve been called a psycho, c**nt, pretty much every name in the book for it.
I have Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder- or PMDD for short. Defined according to WebMD as, “Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of PMS but are severe enough to interfere with work, social activities, and relationships.”
So basically, what it means is that the hormones associated with PMS in a woman’s body, is severely heightened compared to those women who have just your average PMS symptoms, and it’s almost uncontrollable. I got diagnosed with this when I was 17, after I started losing friends, jobs, my relationship started to crumble, and even fights with my own Mom that would result in almost a week with barely speaking to one another.
There is no cure for it, but doctors say that certain Birth Controls and Anti-Depressants help ease some of the emotional scars that this mental health disorder brings to those victimized by it, as is the case with lots of other mental health diseases as well. Exercise and good nutrition also are a huge help, which admittedly they do.
But every month is different. Some months you could have no issues besides your basic mood swings and fatigue, and other months are complete and utter HELL for you and those around you. Most often it’s taken out on the people you care the most about because you’re comfortable around them. You can be 100% yourself, almost to a fault during this time of the month. But once your period comes around, you’re back to your totally normal self. For me, that means I’m constantly singing around and dancing, running off of no sleep purely because I don’t need much, laughing all the time, and always being down to hit the bar or go out with my friends.
For a girl like me, I don’t like to admit that I need help. I try and fix it myself to the point where it’s almost unfixable, in every situation in my life. I don’t like to feel like I depend on anyone, and I sure as hell don’t like looking weak.
What I’m trying to get at here is, PMDD is a very troubling, awful mental health issue that I feel isn’t understood by society as much as it should be. Affecting more than 3 million women in the US a year, PMDD is one of the biggest mental health issues among US society as a whole. It needs to be more widely understood as more than just women being equal to Satan himself for a week to a week and a half every month.
I didn’t choose to be affected by this disease. It’s embarrassing after my time of the month rolls around, that I have to come crawling back like a puppy that’s misbehaved, lick my wounds, and apologize for whatever stupid thing I said or did, or who I hurt that month. What I’m trying to get at here, is that me and women like me are not “Psycho” or whatever you want to call us. We have a disease that we cannot physically control most of the time. Please bear with us during these times, we really do try and control it. Personally, I just tend to stay away from people during this time, for fear of losing relationships I really don’t want to lose when it’s all over. If I could go back in time and change the way certain ways that situations played out- I 100% would. To those I’ve hurt in the past, and to those relationships I’ve destroyed because of this shitty disorder, I’m forever sorry for the things I’ve done and said. If I could go back and change it I would in a heartbeat.
Understanding and knowing a mental health disorder a loved one has, and understanding that they are not their disease, is the best way to be there for them. No, PMDD is not a cop-out for being a complete bitch during that time, it’s unacceptable no matter which way you look at it. But if you or someone you know struggles with this disease like I do, just know that you/that person is better than their disease they’re struck with. We’re working on it, and whether you choose to stay or leave is ultimately up to you.
Research, understand, and know the disease rather than just assuming what it really is. For more information, check out this link and find out how you can help yourself or someone you know affected with it.