Hello and Welcome!!

~Seek first to understand, then be understood~
If you're looking for information on a particular topic, type that word in the search box below. If I have written about that subject, a list of posts will appear. If no posts come up, I haven't written about it...yet. Emails, and questions in the comments section for possible posts, are welcome.
I have a "friend" who shows up once a month. She turns my world upside down, over and over again.
I am a good person, caring and sweet, but when she comes to visit, I could rip off your head.
She takes no prisoners, foul words she does spout, I try to keep the words in, she lets them come out.
People don't understand me, or what this is about, to have this creature inside my head.
I despise who I am, half of the time, I feel sorry for my daughter, family and friends.
There's no way to describe it, for those who don't know, it's a living nightmare, she really needs to go.
~Neysia Manor, Rest in Peace

Sunday, January 15, 2017

PMDD and the MTHFR Gene

Today's gift is a post by PMDD Advocate Danielle Lasher Bosley, which helps to explain the mysterious MTHFR gene we have often read about.  

What is MTHFR? It's an enzyme that can be mutated. Women with PMDD don't all have the mutation, but it is assumed the vast majority of us do. If I had to personally estimate based on women I know who have been tested already, I would say above 90%.
MTHFR is highly linked to mood disorders, autoimmune issues, and many, MANY other things. Heart disease, PCOS, cancer, thyroid issues, addiction, miscarriage, fibromyalgia, IBS, bipolar, chronic fatigue syndrome, asthma, MS, cervical dysplasia and much, much more...
People with the MTHFR mutation cannot properly methylate. When methylation is impaired, they can't detox properly, among other things. Birth control, any synthetic hormones, prescription drugs overall are riskier for us. They essentially get us further away from being better while making us feel better temporarily. 
People with MTHFR should NEVER use acetaminophen (stick with bioron or ibuprofen if needed). We also should not be vaccinated. Many of us in the PMDD community who have researched this illness for many years and have also researched vaccines are confident there are potential links and that for some of us, vaccines contributed to or outright caused the start of this illness.
The two most common forms of MTHFR we know of are c677t and a1298c. Heterozygous MTHFR means you have one copy of one of these. That is the least serious form, but it still predisposes the individual to more risks than someone without MTHFR. Compound heterozygous means you have one copy of each form. This is more severe than the first form I mentioned. The most serious form of MTHFR is homozygous. Homozygous c677t is the worst one. This means you have two copies of the 677 form. Methylation is decreased to an estimated rate of just 30% of what the body should be doing in these cases. 
People affected by the MTHFR mutation need methyl folate. They also need to avoid folic acid. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate (Liana adds: and is promoted heavily by the media to all women of childbearing age.) With MTHFR mutations, only methyl folate can be received and processed by the body. Synthetic folic acid actually builds up on receptors and blocks natural methyl folate from getting through. This makes us sicker.
Keep in mind this goes beyond vitamins. Folic acid is added to a TON of processed foods. Breads, cakes, potato chips, etc... This is part of the reason we improve when we cut out these foods. You might have heard women speak about their PMDD improving when they go Paleo, etc.... It's not merely because they cut out processed food. It's because in that step, they removed the folic acid from their diet and started consuming methyl folate. Their body is finally able to start working properly and detoxing well.
Vitamin B is also important and majorly impacts our moods. We must avoid cyanocobalamin and only use methylcobalamin. (Liana adds: Read the label on your bottle.)
Synthetic hormones and birth control are not only a risk for us because we have higher risks of heart issues, stroke, and pulmonary embolism, but because the synthetic hormones reduce folate! The hormone part makes you feel better today, but the damage its doing underneath the surface will make this illness, as a whole, harder to treat.
We are also at high risk of vaccine injury. Many of us are confident PMDD may be the result of vaccine injury itself. If you've never researched vaccines, they do indeed cause injuries. Many of them are brain injuries and issues that have led to the development of neurological disorders. As of this date, $3 billion has been paid out to victims of vaccine injuries through the federal vaccine court. The numbers continue to grow.
Vaccines are dangerous for us because they contain adjuvants we can't properly detox from when we have either the MTHFR and/or COMT* gene. MTHFR also inhibits our bodies from removing the toxins that vaccines inject. Just some vaccine ingredients include:
Formaldehyde, aluminum, mercury, aborted fetal cells, cow and monkey DNA, glycophosphate, polysorbate 80 (carcinogenic preservative), neurotoxins like ammonium sulfate, antibiotics (more harm to our guts), phenoxyethanol (antifreeze), and more.
Hope you're all hanging in. We ARE going to resolve this illness. ~Danielle

*Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is one of several enzymes that degrade catecholamines (such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine), catecholestrogens, and various drugs and substances having a catechol structure. In humans, catechol-O-methyltransferase protein is encoded by the COMT gene.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Five Secrets for Surviving PMDD

Sometimes when we’re on the edge, a little dose of truth is all we need to keep from toppling over. Here are 5 secrets that can make surviving PMDD a lot easier.
1. Resistance creates suffering. Yes, PMDD causes unbelievable discomfort and mental agony. But were you aware that when you resist that discomfort and agony, you are actually creating MORE of the same? The human race is quite masterful at wanting things to be different. We’ve gotten quite adept at overanalyzing, strategizing, manipulating, denying, oppressing, and yes, even brooding over what is. But what is, still is. With or without all the energy we expend pushing things away, blaming ourselves or others, and replaying events of the past or imagining disasters in our future, reality is still reality. The trick, and I tell you true, is to use that very same energy you’ve been wasting on what you cannot change and divert it into new channels that actually make you feel better. It’s so flippin’ simple and obvious, and yet doing it takes tremendous energy and refocus.  
2. Build your energy. Okay, so now you know. You’ve got to spend the energy you have differently and also increase your energy enough to be able to break out of old habits. So, you have to identify all the ways you waste or leak energy. It could be through crappy relationships, through poor diet, not getting enough sleep, and the less obvious ways of stuffing emotions, harboring negative thoughts, or denying yourself as a matter of habit everything you truly want in life (by, for example, not even asking for it!). And here’s another tip: the more comfortable you can become with your discomfort, the more energy you will reserve and build. When you want to flee or fight, but there’s no imminent threat, stop. Feel. Breathe, woman! I promise it will pass. 
3. You don’t need to fix yourself. I know. It’s hard to believe. But it is true. You don’t NEED to be any different than you are…no matter what you or anyone else has been telling you. I know PMDD sucks. I know it can turn you from sweet and loving to bitter and hateful in under 3 seconds. But the thing is, neither of those personalities is you. You are a deep and beautiful mystery created by Life, infused by life, and guided by life. Flawless! Next time you get the message that you suck, duck! Let that bullshit ride the airwaves right over your head and out the window. There’s nothing you can do to change what is until Life decides it’s time. And then all you have to do is not resist! So until then, dream a better life but without the underlying judgment that says, “I am not doing enough.” 
4. Let yourself off the hook. The nature of PMDD ensures you’re going to have bad days. Why beat yourself up about them? Why bash yourself with judgments and shame or guilt over what you thought or felt or did? Make reparations if you can, of course. But it is actually a complete waste of energy to chastise yourself for losing your temper or getting depressed again. It is useless to tell yourself to get a grip or get over it. And you certainly wouldn’t appreciate hearing that from someone else, so why do it to yourself? Accept that in every moment, you unquestionably do the best you can. If you could do any better, you would. Allow yourself your mistakes, forgetfulness, reactions… Whatever thoughts or feelings or emotions you experience, they really aren’t personal. They pass and evaporate, eventually. They aren’t YOU. 
5. Stop believing your complaints. PMDD causes sufficient misery to provoke numerous complaints. You’ve earned the right to complain. So if you need to vent, vent! It’s healthy! But that doesn’t mean you have to believe your complaints or use other people like sponges to absorb all of your problems. Whatever you need to express, do it with people who aren’t going to buy into and reinforce the story. But take care you don’t reach out to people who are going to devalue your experience either. What you feel is real. What you believe about it…not so much. It is a delicate balance, and it starts with you. Recognize that sensations arise in consciousness. You will never be able to control them, so don’t waste that precious energy trying so hard. Instead, learn to doubt them. Learn to see them for what they are. You’re not broken, doomed, hopeless, or useless and life hasn’t handed you an impenetrable bum deal. The truth is, life is so much easier than we make it…if we’re willing to let it be.
Liana's note:  The above guest post was written by the blogger Cheekyminx. With her permission, several of her posts about PMDD are being featured on this blog. To find out more about her work as a PMDD Advocate, please visit her Facebook page, PMDD Life Support.

Sharing the Sisterly Love - A Report From the 2nd Annual National Association for PMDD Conference in Philadelphia

The 2nd annual National Association forPre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (NAPMDD) conference was like no other, ever, anywhere. Since continuing medical education credits were offered this year, they had a wide array of medical professionals present, both at the podium and among the attendees—all of them discussing Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, a disorder that affects women around the world with life-altering symptoms that revolve around their menstrual cycles.  Clinicians from all fields of PMDD treatment shared what they knew, what they believed, what they had discovered, what could be proven, and what worked for their patients.
For a research geek like me, it was sheer heaven. Nowhere else on earth would I find one location with so many dimensions of medical care for PMDD represented—and openly exchanging ideas, some of them rather heatedly. But to witness a public forum of medical professionals discussing the disorder I have suffered from for over forty years was a dream come true.
My deepest gratitude and admiration goes out to NAPMDD Executive Director Amanda LaFleur and her tireless board of women determined and dedicated to doing all they can to promote awareness and open discussion of a disorder we have suffered from in silence, confusion and neglect for more than the 70 years since it was discovered. In Philadelphia, on the 51st floor of a building overlooking the beautiful City of Brotherly Love, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, endocrinologists, gynecologists, medical researchers, reproductive hormone specialists and other PMDD advocates gathered. Several speakers commented that they’d only seen PMDD from their specialty’s perspective until this conference, and they appreciated the opportunity to hear other points of view, as it brought up ideas they had never before considered, and made their PMDD picture more complete.
Surprisingly enough, one thing everyone in the room during a particularly dynamic discussion of treatment options agreed on—the name needs to be changed and the designation of ‘dysphoric’ dropped, to remove PMDD from the realm of mental illness. PMDD is a biological disorder, not a mental one, and needs to be treated as such, and not with the current cache of psychotropic drugs designed to alter the mind.
That was my major takeaway from the conference. No, you are not crazy. That alone made it worth the price of admission.
I also attended last year’s NAPMDD conference in Denver. I would say the major takeaway from that conference was: You are not alone. Between the two conferences, I now have something I didn’t have the first forty years of my life with PMDD: Hope—if not for a cure in my lifetime, then at least for a reliable answer as to what causes PMDD and the best way to treat it. Nearly everyone I heard speaking on the subject, with only one notable exception, said antidepressants and/or birth control were not the answer for treating PMDD, but merely band-aids used to mask the symptoms, which can (and do) rebound worse than ever when this faux treatment stops.
But take heart. Caring professionals are out there studying PMDD diligently. Others want to learn all they can about PMDD, to be able to treat their patients correctly and with compassion. This is progress like my generation merely dreamed of. I am truly energized with hope for the growing number of women still in their childbearing years, struggling with this debilitating disorder. Now, thanks to NAPMDD, there’s a chance you won’t have to suffer like so many women who have come before you, shuttling from doctor to doctor to doctor, being misdiagnosed and mistreated, being told “It’s all in your head” or having your concerns completely dismissed because the doctor had no clue what you were talking about. Not to mention being used as a human guinea pig for countless medications we now know don’t work for PMDD, because while they may aid in suppressing some symptoms, they do not address the root biological cause of what is happening to you.
The second part of the conference was all about support and social networking. Last year, I think we were all simply relieved to meet “other people like us.” This year, we had many return attendees. Instead of anxious, relieved and emotional women dominating the conference landscape like last year, this year we had a strong squad of empowered women who returned to speak about their successes (and failures) in managing their PMDD, and to provide support and resources to those attending for the first time. Many new attendees brought mothers, sisters, friends or partners for support, and it was beautiful to see. The atmosphere was just as warm and welcoming as last year, if not more so. The Gia Allemand Foundation Reception Friday night was open to the public, and provided a fantastic opportunity to meet and mingle with both attendees and speakers. 
At the reception I had a fangirl moment when a PMDD researcher I’ve admired for years sat at our table and I told her, “I have a special binder full of all of your studies.” In exchange, she told us how she got into PMDD research and how inspired she is by the increasing awareness of PMDD in the medical community. Other highlights of the weekend include a tour of Philadelphia on a double-decker bus with ten other conference participants, exchanging ideas over breakfast with fellow speakers and drinks and snacks at the Tap House with Executive Director Amanda and our wonderful videography team at BKN Creative. I returned home with friendships I know will last a lifetime.
So the conference is not just about exciting news and taking notes. It’s also about having fun with friends and creating a network of support and resources you can count on during the hard times.
If you missed the conference this year, join NAPMDD to stay in the know, which will provide you with access to the videotaped presentations of both the first and second national conferences, to discover this information for yourself. The cost is $36 and well worth the price of admission. There is also a free membership, but that does not provide access to the videotapes; you’d have to buy them separately.
Knowledge is power, and knowing all of your options can empower you to seek proper treatment for your PMDD, and to stand up for yourself when you meet a medical professional that refuses to believe or work with you to find the individual solution that works best for you. With the information from these videos, you have the tools you need to be your own best advocate.
For more information on NAPMDD and how to attend their next conference, go to NAPMDD.org.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Voices of PMDD - Battling the Darkness

Today's powerful guest post was written by Amanda Van Slyke, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Flurt Magazine.  For more information, please visit Flurt's Facebook Page.

Every month around this time the darkness swallows me up. It seems to happen in an instant, where I previously felt more creative and fulfilled than I've felt in a long time. Just before the lights go out, I climb mountains of work that I've been trying to reach for weeks. I write essays full of passion and reach out to others for emotional connection. I walk down the street smiling ear to ear, thinking that maybe – hopefully, this time – I've escaped the torture I see others endure online. They post about how they can't do this anymore – about how it happens every month, and every month like clockwork it's the same thing – feelings of hopelessness, loneliness and isolation. But I am happy. I eat well and do yoga and meditate and run – everything you're supposed to do to get rid of the darkness. I think that if only people did what I did, they'd feel just as great as I do. I am the exception to the rule.
When I was younger, I came to a point where I'd felt like I had already died. I was a shell of a person, barely leaving my bed because of the fatigue and depression, stuffing my face with whatever temporarily took away the pain. I barely escaped to the west coast to get away from the darkness before it swallowed me whole – and I saw a lifestyle that could make me feel better. I stopped drinking, stopped eating sugar and dairy and gluten – and I know how you all feel about gluten, but it worked. For the first time in my life, my face cleared up. My bloated belly flattened. When I filled my body with fuel instead of poison, my energy started to come back. My depression started to lift. I could feel the oxygen coming back into my bloodstream. The more I took care of my body, the more I saw God through me – and I was an atheist.
I know that sometimes people take medication – SSRIs mixed with therapeutic conversation – and believe me, I've been on so many pills I considered swallowing them all at once. But pills took away something far deeper than the darkness – they took away my ability to feel your toes tingle and your whole body remember what spirituality feels like. And for me, I'm not willing to give up my God – the one that speaks to me through my own moans and screams. To me, feeling that numbness inside me might as well as be the death of me. So I tapered off my medication – well, after I tried to go cold turkey, and my boyfriend almost broke up with me. When I finally felt I was myself again – the one I had been searching for and didn't know could exist – I wanted everyone to know about the revolution.
And the revolution came in a plant based crusade. I felt like I had finally found a cure for the darkness. I went two years without eating meat, and I was so skinny my panties fell to the floor. But I still said that I was part of the movement. I shared photos of my recipes online, and talked about how well I was doing. But away from the limelight my diet fluctuated just as much as much as my mood. Just like I'd tapered off my medication, I tapered off fuel for my body, replacing it with poison – processed foods that were easy, thinking that just a little bit of junk food would make the pain go away. Because the pain never did, regardless of what I was eating. If I gave in and reached for the poison, it would spread throughout my body and the pain would inflate my belly and the lights would go out. And then I would say, "Screw it," like the people online that I thought just needed to be more like me.
I know now the darkness is inevitable. I know I need to do my best to choose the light – and that I won't choose it every day, nor will anyone else – even the gurus on Instagram who post photos of food I don't have the money to make. Because the darkness isn't a place where you only go when you're weak. Diet and exercise and medication is for the privileged – and I'm privileged enough – but sometimes I don't have much money for food or the will to leave my apartment, so I reach for something I know will be easy but harder in the long run. And then I spiral down – feeling hopeless, lonely, and isolated – where my only friend is the poison that I know will kill me. Because people die from this.
The darkness leaves you feeling like there's a hole where your heart should be – where you try to fill it with things to make the pain subside. Junk food, alcohol, sex, and drugs. But the real misery comes when you realize these things are never going to be enough. It comes from the knowledge that only finding self love can fill that hole – and trying to love yourself is hard when you never did. Once you see it's just you and the darkness, you can either stay up til morning or go to sleep. And while it's easy to say some are weak for not fighting, I don't blame them.

Because right now, I am unhappy. I walk around my apartment with swollen eyes, moping about how I'm just like everyone else, posting online about how I can't do this anymore, about how it happens every month, and every month like clockwork the darkness returns. But I know that soon the light will appear – so for today, I eat well, do yoga, meditate and run. I know it isn't a “cure,” but I know the more I take care of my body the more I'll see God through me. And maybe she can give me strength so I can see the light another day and remember what it's like to be happy – to smile ear to ear, thinking that maybe – hopefully, this time – I've escaped the darkness.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Voices of PMDD -- The Rising and Passing Storm

Today I am honored to be able to share the work and insight of guest author Julie Peavey, who initially wrote this essay about her PMDD for an English class.  I believe it will strike a chord in many hearts, and says things that have been left unspoken for far too long.  Millions of women the world over are losing precious days and weeks of our lives due to this menstrual disorder, with no real relief in sight.  
How much longer must we suffer like this?  

How do I effectively describe what I go through each month?  How do I compare who I really am to the ugly beast that raises its head, without sounding like someone who is insane?  Every month, because of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD, I temporarily become someone other than myself as I enter a storm that I cannot control and must wait for it to pass.
            I can feel the PMDD approaching, hovering, waiting.  It feels like a another presence, a shadow, that lives inside of me and it’s slowly making its way to my mind where it can take over my thoughts and emotions.  It’s behind me where I can sense it, but not see it.  I’m aware of it there and can push it back for a little while, but I can’t stop it and it slowly creeps forward, closer than it was before.  I try to prepare for the inevitable, knowing that I can never really prepare myself for what is about to come.
Darkness, despair, and swirling thoughts descend upon me.  There is a part of me that wants to give up.  I could easily spend hours lying in silence, trapped with my own thoughts in my head.  I question my existence and purpose.  “Why am I here?  Do I really matter?”  My thoughts jump from one to another so quickly that I can’t even fully register them.  Except for one.  One thought keeps coming back over and over again no matter how hard I try to push it away or change it.  That is the thought of being alone and wishing that I had someone I could connect with at that moment, someone who would really understand me for who I am and what I’m going through.  I feel the loneliness in the pit of my stomach and the tears start to flow.  I am unable to stop the emotions once they start, which only leads to frustration at my inability to control the crying.  The tears flow heavier.  I beat myself up for my lack of self-control.  In my head I am yelling at myself to stop crying, to suck it up.  It doesn’t help.  I cry harder, I wail like an infant who yearns for her mother’s embrace, because I too, am in need of a comforting touch to ease the pain of loneliness.  My mind lies to me as I’m not truly alone, but I can’t comprehend that, I believe the lies.
            The loneliness and sadness overpower me.  As a tornado twists and turns and destroys everything in its path, so do those two emotions.  They swirl inside of me destroying any rational thoughts and creating turmoil.  I feel as if I am wrapped in a heavy cloak of loneliness.  Its weight is present in my every thought and action.  My desire to reach out for help is shattered by the false realization that there isn’t anyone I can turn to for even a moment of comfort.  I have no need to share my cloak; all I need is to feel a small amount of weight lifted by the simple connection with a positive soul. 
            Then the depression starts and I go in the opposite direction and want to avoid contact with people.  I write in my journal “Go ahead, lock me up and put me away.  Help me escape this existence called life.  Medicate me until I can no longer remember my name or feel this pain.  Isolate me from the world and allow me to create voices in my head.  At least they will understand me.  Take from me what I do not want and give me peaceful bliss instead.” 
I stay home from work and spend hours wrapped in my blankets thinking that this will somehow help.  I finally pull myself out of bed only to sit in front of the television and numb the emotions with food and hours of watching Netflix.  This is only a temporary fix and somehow I finally garner the strength to reach out to an online community, a family of understanding souls who also suffer every month.  The support comes; words of encouragement and wisdom are given with empathy and compassion.  We know better than anyone else what each other goes through and because of that we are there for each other if only we ask.  “This too shall pass” is shared with me, one of our favorites, because we all know that this eventually will pass.
            And it does pass; the storm ends and the waves of depression subside as the beast settles down to rest until my body decides to send the chemicals needed to wake her from her sleep once again.  The sadness and loneliness are gone and the heavy cloak is replaced with a veil of happiness.  Life has meaning again and I laugh easily and freely. I feel peaceful and calm as I rise early to watch the sun crest the horizon and wash away the darkness.  There is light in my soul again and I stroll in the sunlight and witness nature’s glory all around me.  I experience delight and appreciation in each passing moment, basking in the joy of life.  Like the butterfly that emerges from its cocoon transformed, so too, have I emerged from the storm transformed back into my true self.  I reconnect with my friends and family and vow to always treasure the love and close bonds that we share.  I re-visit the online community and this time, I am one of those offering support and words of encouragement, because I understand exactly what they are going through and wish to ease their suffering if I can.
            The days move forward and I search for a remedy from this madness called PMDD.  I am hopeful that with the help of my doctors I will eventually find a solution that will lessen if not eliminate these symptoms.  I am temporarily free, and yet I can’t help starting the countdown until the next battle begins, and I hope, I hope and pray for the strength and courage to make it through the storm one more time.

To find out more about PMDD and what is being done (and what needs to be done) to help women with this disorder, please visit the National Association for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder/Gia Allemand Foundation, or the NAPMDD Facebook page.  

Also, until midnight October 26, 2016 NAPMDD is participating in the Love Is On Revlon challenge in an effort to raise One Million Dollars for PMDD Research.  We are currently in the top 12 of 150 competitors.  With your help, we could reach number one.  For more information, go here

Sunday, September 18, 2016

She - An Inside Look at What It's Like to Have PMDD

I can sense she is coming, as my world starts to blur, she climbs into my body and claims it as hers.
Nobody sees her, she causes such pain.  She is nothing like me yet goes by my name.

It's like a possession no priest could exile, she's taken me over, she's stolen my smile.
My body is hurting, I'm wrecked and alone.  For two weeks a month, my body's her home.

Her rage has no limit, she's hurtful and cruel, she says things I wouldn't, and I look like a fool.
She drags me by force to the depths of despair, until I don't know myself, I am no longer there.

She damages my friendships and destructs my work, has me laid up in bed, exhausted and hurt.
And when I'm broken and lost and she's had her fun, she climbs right back out, I've survived another month.

And I take back my body, my mind and my heart, I repair all the damage, I make a new start.
I'm back and I'm happy, I'm thankful and free, though I know in good time she'll return for me.

Maybe one day I'll be free from her hell, she will no longer own me, and I will be well.
Until that day, I will swim the rough seas.
I won't let her drown me, for she isn't ME.

by Nicola James, 2016

Hello! It’s Not Just PMS. PMS and PMDD Are Not the Same Thing

Let's set the record straight once and for all, shall we? PMS and PMDD are not the same thing.
I remember PMS. I had it as a very young girl and woman. It was signified by the typical energy drop, irritability, cravings, weepiness, bloating and leaden legs that preceded my period. It was a pain in the...well, you know. It made it a challenge to go about life as usual, but I managed, because PMS is manageable. At least, it was for me. I have a huge pain tolerance!
At some point in my life, something switched on...or maybe off. Either way, PMS started to transform into something a lot less friendly. I was markedly becoming an entirely different person for several days before my period, changing back again as soon as the blood flowed. This wasn't about bloating and irritability. This was about marked personality changes characterized by extreme sensitivity to stimulus and anger. Simply put, I couldn't stand to be around people, and I couldn't handle the simplest of frustrations.
Enter peri-menopause. Now at age 48, PMDD has become an even bigger nightmare. With the shifting of my hormones comes a much more unpredictable barrage of cyclic symptoms including anxiety, rapid mood swings, rumination and self-sabotage the likes of which even years of extreme personal development can't help me tackle. Add to the mix suicidal fantasy, full-on rage, and an aversion to my partner with its characteristic withdrawal and silence that is completely destructive. Marked personality changes have become unrecognizable personality! Day-long crying jags have replaced weepiness. And bloating and cramping have morphed into days of constipation, muscle aches, headaches, and other inexplicable weirdness including strings of 12 hour naps! This ain't PMS, folks!
I wonder how many of my well-meaning associates who say they have or had PMDD really know what they are talking about. Did they have those simple cramps, bloating, and mood changes I recall from my youth? Do they think that is PMDD? Do they understand that PMDD is a life-altering, destructive, and altogether demonic monthly possession which leaves one feeling completely effed-up? I have to wonder. Because often, something in the way they say it or look at me or how they live their lives makes me think they don't. The dead give-away is of course, "It went away with exercise and dietary changes" or "You just have to think more positively".
These two female "things," PMS and PMDD, are often lumped together. There is no harm in that, necessarily. The problem arises when everything that is generally known about PMS is transferred to PMDD and an assumption is made that they are in fact the same thing or so closely associated as to be kissing cousins. In actuality, they are entirely different races. And speaking of races, it's a lot easier to run the PMS race, let me tell you. The PMDD race? Honey, it's a never-ending marathon of trials over which a woman has very little control, no matter the extent of her efforts.
Are you suffering from PMS or PMDD? Learning the difference can make a world of difference in understanding yourself and your symptoms. For more information, visit the National Association for PMDD/Gia Allemand Foundation website. 
Liana's note:  The above guest post was written by the blogger Cheekyminx. With her permission, several posts she has written about PMDD will be featured on this blog in the months to come. In the meantime, to find out more about her work as a PMDD Advocate, please visit her Facebook page, PMDD Life Support.