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~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, November 3, 2013

Preparing Ahead for Your PMDD

Hello and welcome...today we have a fantastic guest post by Renell that was originally posted on Facebook.  I've chosen to add my two cents worth in italics (Sorry! It's the writer/editor in me!) so if it reads like two people are talking here, that's why.  Please feel free to leave any positive suggestions YOU might have for coping with/managing your PMDD in the comments section.  I'm sure we could all use a bit of help in that area.  Thank you for stopping by, and may this help you in preparing for the next time your PMDD comes around...

I now turn the keyboard over to Renell...

Hi, everyone!  I'll get right down to business: In recognizing a common theme in the comments on the Facebook PMDD loops I belong to, I'd like to offer some tips for support I've found helpful in my own therapy. We all know that every single month like clockwork our hormones will wreak havoc and PMDD will rear its ugly head. If you're anything like me, you suffer through it and once the symptoms subside you're so glad to feel normal again that you forget you have PMDD at all.

Or at least we want to forget!  This is one of the places where denial comes in...when the episode is over and we want to just pretend it didn't happen, so we don't have to deal with all the problems we created during the episode.  Unfortunately...

PMDD will remind you it's here to stay once that dreaded ovulation day rolls around yet again. Embracing this disorder means we need to accept its existence in our lives and plan for it.

I like that...embracing this disorder.  Might as well, because it's not going to go away.

Let's try to be proactive rather than reactive to our PMDD. Here are some ways you can plan ahead. These tips are useful whether you choose natural therapy or medication to relieve your symptoms.

1. Mark off the dreaded luteal phase on your calendar for the upcoming month so you know when the PMDD symptoms will likely begin.

2. Plan your activities around these days according to how your mood is likely to accept them. Make sure your partner knows what's going on as well so that he/she can help you with extra support.

3. Do housecleaning or laundry ahead of time. I clean the entire house the week before my luteal phase so that when I am in the PMDD zone I don't have major cleaning to be bothered with. It also helps to relax in a nice clean house.   I love this idea, Renell!

4. If you only take meds during your luteal phase and they take a few days to kick in, consider taking them a few days early so they have already kicked in on the first day of ovulation (Warning: Discuss this with your Dr. if you're not sure that this is okay given the type of meds you are taking)
5. If you are highly irritable during your PMDD episodes schedule time to be alone. Sometimes it's hard for us to be around anyone during this time. Don't feel bad for needing this and do whatever you can to carve out time for yourself.  (I added the bold).

6. If you are prone to getting depressed during this time, schedule time to be around supportive friends who can help. No sense in going through this alone. Calling a friend or family member over to simply talk in your sweats or pj's helps quite a bit.

7. Shop ahead. Stock the fridge with healthy foods like leafy greens, fruits and healthy carbs to boost your energy during this phase. You'll crave junk food and if you already have healthy food on hand you'll be less likely to drive through a fast food joint for a greasy salt, sugar, and fat-laden meal that will only make you feel worse.

8. This one is important: Lower your alcohol intake. Again if you're anything like me you'll start guzzling the wine in hopes that it will relieve your anxiety. I don't usually get drunk, just a glass or two at a time. But doing this every night for weeks is not a good thing and the alcohol can actually make our anxiety and depression worse. It can lead to alcohol dependency among other serious health problems. It also is dangerous to mix with many medications that a lot of us are on. I personally recommend that you stay away from alcohol altogether during your luteal phase. It's just not worth it and its effects are deceiving.

She's right, ladies.  Alcohol is a depressant, and when you're already depressed....sure, it makes you feel good and alive and dare I say "normal" for a couple of hours—maybe—but after that, our bodies pay in ways we can't even imagine.  Renell has addressed the obvious, the possibility of alcohol dependency and the danger of mixing your meds with alcohol.  But alcohol can also mess up your blood glucose situation and don't forget....when we're having a PMDD episode every negative thought is magnified many times over, plus...our brain isn't processing information correctly to start with. 
So why add alcohol into that mix?

Just think about it the next time you reach for that attempt at self-medication.  Try doing something good for your body instead.  Something you've prepared for ahead of time.

Okay, now it's your turn. What are some DO AHEAD ideas that have helped you plan for your PMDD?


  1. These are really great preps- love 'em. It also makes me extra glad I don't drink! I already have been diagnosed with insulin resistance and have a hard enough time keeping my blood sugar balanced with exercise, healthy food rest. I wonder if it is quite common for women with PMDD to self-medicate with alcohol or other substances? I have read that women with alcoholism in their family history are more prone to blood sugar imbalances (diabetes/hypoglycemia) and being at risk for alcoholism themselves. Hard to say what imbalance is the chicken and which is the egg, but interesting for researchers I'd think. Happy to read your blog:).

  2. Thank you! I am so glad I found this post today. I am coming out of my fog today and had already been trying to brainstorm how to make it easier in the next few posts. This was perfect for me, many good ideas. I may even try to stock my freezer with homemade meals to pull out when I struggle with making dinner! Thanks again!

  3. I'm interested in the links between alcohol and pmdd, iv been keeping note of my pmdd symptoms for the past two years or so but recently went into AA as at certain times I would drink uncontrollably and I would feel terrible .. I'm trying to figure out where I am .. I know I only loose the plot on alcohol when I'm ovulating to when I'm due on but the big question is am I alcoholic or are these consequences of my pmdd. I can drink sensibly at other times I certainly never drank everyday only one night of the weekend .. I'm sober 7 months working the AA program but my symptoms of pmdd have become much more prominent .. do many people drink to calm them self's of an irritable feeling inside ? Would love some feedback on this

  4. Hi, Vicky...thanks for writing. If you want to know if/when/how this happens to others, a good place to ask for personal experiences is by joining any of the PMDD groups on Facebook. If you want the technical research on it, I do have a folder where I am collecting information, and I do plan to write about the connection between alcohol and PMDD. But the short answer is yes, it is entirely possible that you only crave alcohol during the luteal phase of your cycle. PMDD can either intensify your cravings after ovulation, pushing you over the edge if you do have a problem with alcohol, or, if you're not usually a drinker, simply make you suddenly want a drink or two, and for that very reason...to calm that jittery feeling inside. Either way, you are not imagining these particular symptoms.

  5. Alcohol! I have a really hard issue with binge drinking a few days before I start my period. It's even put me in the hospital for doing really out of control things. But I drink pretty normally not in leutal phase and I enjoy fine wine and craft brews like normal people. But once a month, right before, I binge and can't be in control. It's bizarre. I hate it as it destroys my relationships and then people think I am bipolar. Really after day 19 I shouldn't drink. As I get older it gets worse....so I am just now putting this together. I decided a few months ago not to drink during that time...glad the author thinks so too, especially when I am fine for two to three weeks out of the month in general. Thanks for confirming and will stick with it!