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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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

PMDD, A Conversation with Someone Who KNOWS

Trust the process that got you here to get you through.
For today's post, I have taken a rather lengthy reader comment from one of my previous posts and re-formatted my reply to resemble a question and answer session, because, as you will see, the original comment touched on several  questions/ideas many of us have wondered about over time. 
By answering the reader here, I can reach more people.  So here goes:
Hello, Liana, 
I can't thank you enough for having the courage to put this blog out there and then be honest and specific about your symptoms and coping mechanisms as it relates to them. You wrote "No egg, no sadness. Woo hoo! Party time!" which just explained to me why some months feel suicidal and some months LIFE IS WONDERFUL!
Hard not to think one is crazy when all of this bullshit is happening.
Hello, T!  Welcome to my blog, and thank you for taking the time to write, especially in such detail.  I appreciate your affirmation and support.  And yes, the "no released egg, no symptoms" aspect of PMDD tends to throw just about everybody off and make countless women doubt their sanity.  Especially in our later years, as we begin to release fewer and fewer eggs.
It would almost make it bearable if there was a higher purpose to it, a reason why.
I've thought that same thing many times.  One day I decided the higher purpose to my PMDD is to write about it.  I spent many years thinking I was crazy, and then, finally, it hit me that "Surely there must be others out there like me, who think they are crazy.  I need to let them know (through writing about my PMDD experiences and research) that they are not."
So my blog was born during a five month period when my book editing business was slow.  I had three website pages completed before I realized the website was too static, and I needed to do a blog.  20 blog posts later my business picked up again and it's been a struggle to find time for my PMDD research and writing ever since. 
For a few years, I let my research slide.  No time.  Then, when I was ready to start up again, I had to re-do all of my research, in case new information had surfaced while I was busy doing other things.
And it had.  In the past two years, the news about PMDD has increased exponentially.  I get a Google alert every other day about someone writing something about PMDD.  So I go there to check it out.  Because, as many of us have learned the hard way, you can't trust just anything you read on the internet.  There are a LOT of supposed health sites that have jumped on the PMDD bandwagon, just to pull in readers.  Sites that I can now pick out when (because I've been researching PMDD for over a decade) they don't understand the first thing about PMDD.  Old information recycled as new, some information slanted to achieve a certain goal or just plain false, but enough of the article close enough to known facts to confuse someone new to the subject....
Anyway, I decided my mission/higher purpose would be to sort out the fact from fiction, and publish my findings here and elsewhere.
I haven't gotten to the elsewhere part yet, due to family and work obligations, and then, in 2013, there was my surprise brain surgery. 
But back to your comments:  I don't see a lot of people mentioning ANXIETY! as a symptom but it sure is one of mine, a surge of cortisol and other hormones so big it triggers obsessive violent thoughts and then it all subsides once period time gets here.
Anxiety is a huge problem for a lot of people.  I'm not sure if I'm one of them, mostly because I manage my environment around my PMDD,  so I don't put myself in situations that feed my anxiety.  But my anxieties are different from those of others, because there are a LOT of things I think nothing of, that terrify others.  And some things that terrify me, that don't bother others at all.
Educate yourself, learn to love yourself in spite of all the shit your head comes up with; there is some putting up with [this shit] that goes along with [PMDD].
I couldn't agree more, and that is what my blog is about.  I've sifted through probably 90% of the current information on the internet and in books relevant to PMDD and put the best of it on my blog.  If not in the posts, then on the sidebars, where there are links to all sorts of good resources.
For the men, if you love the woman, get educated about this as much as you can, I strongly recommend reading "Female Brain Gone Insane" by Mia Lundin.
I agree completely, and have a link to that same book in the sidebar of my blog.  Another excellent read is The Female Brain, by Dr. Louann Brizendine.
In it [Ms. Lundin] sheds tremendous light on this subject and offers great natural suggestions for relief,  but the only way out [of PMDD] is [to go] through it. [That] doesn't mean you guys take any abuse, but for the love of everything that is holy do not get confrontational—rather go for a walk or something.
Again, I agree 100% and have written three blog posts specifically for the partners of women with PMDD. 
For the ladies thinking hysterectomy as an end to this, PLEASE DON'T DO IT.  It is the easy way out and when the storm-tsunami-holocaust of this mess passes you will need those eggs!  Hysterectomy is the first thing OBGYN offers because it is a money maker.
I agree in that I believe most hysterectomies to lessen the horror of PMDD are unnecessary, and find it very saddening that there are so many women willing to die early (because hysterectomies do shorten your life span), risk their lives with major surgery, and take the very real chance that the operation won't help your PMDD symptoms at all if they don't take out your ovaries as well.  Also, when you get a hysterectomy, you go on hormone replacement therapy afterward, which just messes with your hormones all over again.  I would LOVE to hear from women who have had a hysterectomy for PMDD (not any other reason) and found it to be worth the risk, cost, lost time, health complications, and shortened life span in the end. 
I know your PMDD symptoms make you feel desperate, but I do not believe a hysterectomy is the answer.  Neither does Winnifed B. Cutler, PhD, and her reasons why are outlined in her book, Hormones and Your Health, also pictured in the sidebar of this blog. 
Of course all I have said is from personal experience and is easier said than done. So  please, please, please, take what you like and leave the rest.
To that I add, if you have already had a hysterectomy for your PMDD, just start where you are with improving your health and living the best and fullest life you can for the rest of your days.  Good nutrition, rest, exercise, and lowering stress are a recipe for better health for everyone, not just those of us with PMDD or hormonal mood disorders.
Pray a lot! Talk it out, DO NOT ISOLATE. This monster wants you in a corner and it wants you dead or to make you hurt someone else and usually that someone else is a loved one, although strangers can get a backlash too.
She nails it, don't you think?  PMDD is a monster determined to bend you to its will, and do as much damage as it can to your world along the way. 
I take megadoses of vitamin C, to bowel tolerance and after a few months, something inside is building back up, [and my] energy is slowly starting to come back, [but] JUST FOR TODAY.
One day at a time.  It's all any of us can do.  But vitamin C is a great place to start. 
I am 48 now. Something new is I get my period twice a month for the last two months and I feel my ovaries churning when an egg is released. I also feel hard in the lower belly before [my] period starts (something new).
I, too, get my period more often now.  Every three weeks instead of four. And I can feel when I ovulate as well.
In addition I want to shed some light from another blog I read, women who go through this, usually have had some early trauma in their lives (even or especially if they don't consciously remember) and then, spiritually speaking, the pain (stuck energy) is trying to work itself out of your body through the horrors of PMDD (just something to think about).
Don't sell yourself short, T.  I believe this can be the case as well.  And there have been scientific studies that prove a correlation between a traumatic childhood, childhood trauma in general, and sexual abuse and PMDD.  I plan to write more about it one day.  But for now I will say that for me personally, my PMDD and then period at the end of the cycle is like a huge purging of all that has distressed me in life and not yet been dealt with.  I used to let it take control.  No more.  Now I basically make note of what comes up during that time and deal with it when I'm feeling strong enough to handle it like a responsible adult. 
As for you Liana, you are the first person [to] have actually made feel and believe to the core of my being that this is not forever, that in fact "this too shall pass" and that I am not bad or crazy or being punished by the gods for all of my sins of being an imperfect human.
You are correct.  PMDD does not last forever.  It ends with menopause.  (It does, however, get worse during perimenopause if left untreated.)
You are not bad.
You are not crazy.
And you are not being punished for any sins.
I can't thank you enough and these posts in and of themselves are very cathartic. This is such an amazing twisted, enlightening, terrifying process, that I even wrote poetry a few years back and I never wrote a poem in my life...it is as if the garbage [we] accumulate over a lifetime is trying to get out of you and your true beautiful Self is trying to shine through.
Every woman's experience is different, but yes, writing or journaling about your PMDD can be extremely cathartic, and like I said above, I have long felt that my PMDD brings to the surface many things I tend overlook/avoid/suppress during my "good" times... either out of fear, denial, or the desire to avoid a confrontation.  I have read so many Facebook posts where women describe having a meltdown and then take the blame for the entire incident and don't even realize or acknowledge that the other person was yes, indeed, being a jerk.  (And that anyone in that same situation would have a right to be upset.)  It's always the PMDD that takes 100% of the blame, and not the 50% actions of the other party. 
Ladies, it takes two to make a relationship and it takes two to break one.  It's that simple.
So stop blaming your PMDD for every confrontation/mishap that happens in your life.  Other people do mean and stupid things too...what is their explanation?
Because PMDD is an explanation, not an excuse.  If you take nothing more away from this blog post than that, you will be doing something positive for yourself in 2015.
And now, a fitting farewell from our special guest interviewer, which I think sums up what many of us are feeling and experiencing.
Because [of] ALL OF YOU, I feel less alone, less insane and more hopeful. Something that comes HARD to me, but that I am working on is: SURRENDER, ACCEPTANCE AND TRUST.
As are we all; me, as well.  At the moment, I am working on exactly those three things.  Starting January 1, I've taken a 6-month hiatus from my income-generating work to focus on my PMDD blog and books, and it's going to take a lot of surrender, acceptance, and trust to see this whole thing through.
But letters like T's have convinced me it's the right thing to do.
That said, I join T. in wishing you all love and light and tons of resilience, faith, and strength in the coming year.  Happy 2015, ladies, and may it be the year YOUR beautiful Self shines through!


  1. Liana, Wow! ...for somebody with very, very low self steem, who sales herself short constantly, this (you re-posting my share and adding your pricelss input) is beyond any validation I could ever hope for! A million thanks! Specially on a day like today in which the aversion for the people I work with is at a all time high...or is it PMDD? or is it just me? maybe I am not made for corporate America, for its hypocresy and ego driven personalities. Instead of beign grateful for a paycheck I resent coming to this place each and every single day and fail to gather the courage to leave, or even know what creative something is it I want to do to put food on the table. ...you bring much needed hope and fresh outlook to my struggle with your "experience, strength and hope. Thank you for deeming my post worth of reposting and may 2015 be a magical time for you and all
    love & light

    1. Thank YOU, T. We are here to inspire, encourage, and support each other. Without you taking the time to comment on my blog, today's post would not exist. It all goes together. Blessings, Liana

  2. Hi Liana! I am Venezuelan Medical, I read the translator google, learned to read more English for academic rigor graduate, I am a physician, I have 13 years of graduation, and never taught me it was PMDD, God I owe the answer, I am very Catholic, I was a victim of workplace harassmentin the wake of a diagnosis of anxious depression, is unbelievable, before being assessed by psychiatry, and to God had placed me on the way a few offprints of PMS UK was in 2012, was investigating the topic of my thesis HDL cholesterol, saw theme PMS, I kept it in pc, to read it after, because since adolescence have suffered physical symptoms of PMS, it is very important what you said, the stress factors are strong aggravating, conditions of anxiety, for various personal problems I had (including my sick father prostate cancer, and now with brain atrophy, senile dementia). For me it was more stressful see psychiatrists and medical'm not accept the antidepressant, then a coordinator of my work, I harassed with the diagnosis of depression, I lowered the salary, would not let me do the guards, psychiatrists complicated me life, I did not believe what PMDD, but were four psychiatrists, none asked me about my gynecological history that goes! None physician knows everything, but a psychiatrist, who forgets investigate PMDD, that fatal for us we have it. I am familiar Medical, I always I noticed these emotional changes before menstruation, I thought it was normal, as I told you never saw in faculty of medicine psychiatrists threatened me, because I wanted to sue one of the colleagues, but as they say: "between firefighters hose is not pressed ", we are all physicians were 4 psychiatrists against me, one of them told me that if I kept talking about PMDD, let me as borderline disorder., do you think?, no one believed me, but Thank God Iam a physician, I did cry prayers, I found the answer to my problem. Now I know I have PMDD. Thanks so accounts, impairment of language, there are a Chilean physician Dr Jorge Lolas, I met him on you tube in an interview with CNN Spanish, there are several testimonies of women cured without surgery. It is important that in the world these testimonies are known. I want to travel to Chile but for now I can not. Greetings from Venezuela. forgives translation if this something badly informed

    1. Help. Is all I can say ...years of doctors and being told I'm depressed or I'm this or that. I have pmdd ..I watched my mother go through it and ya thought she was crazy ..but now I know she most definitely was not.
      ****need help Managing (other than lots of Midol and if I'm lucky I'll have my ativan on hand )any real solutions ? Any guesses as to why it is happening to me? (Why affects certain people ) ?)

    2. Why it affects certain people involves all sorts of things: your heritage and genes, living environment, childhood experiences, if there is any trauma in your past, if you are currently in a difficult relationship, your eating and drinking habits, if you are on any medications, your individual stressors and emotional make up. I wouldn't even know where to begin to find the contributors to your PMDD. That is something only you can unearth. As for the cause of PMDD itself, there are many theories, none of which is universally agreed upon. Believe me, I wish I had a better answer for you...and myself. In the meantime, there are a lot of ideas for managing your PMDD on my blog. You would have to pick and choose what fits best with your current situation. You could start by clicking on the label Coping Strategies for PMDD and move through the posts from there...

    3. Hi Emily Hale and all fellow travelers, I am not a doctor and what I'll offer here is my "experience, strength and hope" , "take what you like and leave the rest". My journey started when I was 39, I am 48 now. Through the power that runs the Universe I have gained some knowledge about myself that might help someone like you. This is what I know, AND learned from experience and from many sources. Before 39 I was the party, I didn't even believe in taking aspirin. After 39: intrusive, violent thoughts, a depression so severe, for the first time in my life I started having suicidal ideations and spent seven years on antidepressants.The so called depression is nothing but stuck grief from suppressed memories that need to felt and cried, I learned that in therapy and then I was able to get off of antidepressants.
      When the ovaries start dying the hormonal imbalance that ensues affects brain chemistry DIRECTLY! and we have receptors all over our bodies. I happen to be one of the women who is highly sensitive to this fluctuations hence the MOOD SWINGS, THE RAGE, THE HYSTERIA, THE SPACINESS,THE FORGETFULNESS ,THE IRRATIONALITY OF IT ALL. I just wanted (and sometimes still do, sometimes for the world to just stop so I can get off, anger became rage, I thought I was crazy and I took me to my first psychologist appointment where I made an amazing connection with the therapist, I got face discoloration, hairs on my chin and boobs, gained weight, either wanted sex 24/7 or none at all, cried at everything,became sensitive to noises, light, people, fragrances,etc,developed adult onset asthma, allergies,hypoglycemia, verbally abused those closest to me, specially the children;then the shame and the guilt for being such a BITCH! felt hot, felt cold, itched all over the place, went from jet black hair went 90% gray in one year, one of my toenails pulverized , became dust over night, kept on researching. I think I have mentioned Mia Lundin on this blog before, she does phone consultations now, she is a certified nurse coach who went through this hell and came out better on the other side. There isn't a magic pill, women with repressed trauma of any kind, big or small, have a tougher transition than those who don't....and the list goes on (I'll put it all in a book some day...maybe...maybe not), This holocaust, tsunami, earthquake is not over yet, BUT! I AM doing better....today
      A month ago I found Estroven Plus Mood & Memory, Caplets tried it for a month, it helped...three days ago I found Remifemin Menopause Herbal Supplement, Estrogen Free , amazing reviews on Amazon today I feel like a closer version of a rational human being, at least I don't want to punch my coworkers, but you have to give it time, sleep whenever you can, when the tears come let them do their cleansing, when the rage comes instead of taking it out on somebody, take it for a walk and listen to it. Keep looking, keep asking, keep searching, pen to paper helps and in the midst of your despair KNOW THIS, there are answers for a better life, I didn't believe it then I believe it today. My latest source of hope I read yesterday: "there is an evolutionary component to this process" read this article by Meredith Maran from More magazine "The reward for Perimenopause" (google it, it gave me tons of hope!) I'll leave you with a link to a reading I found on the web on August 18, 2014, by Mike Bellah Ph.D "Surviving the Midlife Crisis" google it, i read it every day.
      Don't give way.
      Don't give in.
      Don't give up.

      Love & Light

  3. Thank you for this site. I just came across it the other day and I am my husband have been reading it. I have been dealing with PMDD since 2005. For me, my symptoms are extreme anxiety, sweaty palms, extreme mood swings, depression, and more. I am actually currently within a state of it right now. Over the years, I have come to know that I operate on an 'every-other-month' basis. This one of those "every-other-months" spell. It completely takes over. Before I was married, my doctor put me on YAZ as it was a birth control that helped to fight PMDD...of course we are all aware of the other side effects of it and as soon as I knew I was going to marry my husband, I went off of it and the PMDD became much worse again. I now have 'happy pills' that I only take when needed...I hate having to even use them, but I do not want to go on full anti-depressants. So far, over the years, they have worked minimally. The way I describe my PMDD to my husband, who is amazing: Sometime it is almost an out-of-body experience. While I am sitting sullenly, lashing out, or sulking, in my mind is my 'happy side,' trapped in my body, trying and banging on the outer shell to let her out. During a 30 minute car ride while we are sitting in silence, and him letting me be, I am imagining myself laughing and joking and pleading with myself to smile. I say in my head "one smile...that is all it will take." But I am unable to do so. I am fully aware that my actions are not what I want, but I cannot control them, and that is what only my husband understands. I try to hide it even from my daughter, who thankfully is young enough to not know just yet. It is nice to know that there are others out there that are suffering with this as well.

    I was interested in seeing the sections on this site that mention the theory of that a hysterectomy solves PMDD. While i do not agree or disagree, I did say multiple times to my husband both during and after my pregnancy that those were the happiest months I have experienced, and it did not dawn on me until much later that it was due to not ovulating. Post- pregnancy though...that was tough. Doctors monitor you much more if you have a history of PMDD because it leads to a tougher post-partum period.

    I will continue to check back here for updates.

    Thank you,

  4. Hi, Carrie, Thank you for taking the time leave a comment! I know exactly what you are going through, and have often felt that out-of-body experience, like I am watching someone else living my life, and alienating everyone I care about in the process. Regarding your last paragraph, there might be mention of a hysterectomy solving PMDD on this site, but I'd have to say that is mostly by others. When I mention hysterectomies, it's usually in the context of "how sad it is that women have to choose between the ability to bear children and/or a shorter lifespan and undergo major surgery on the "hopes" that this will work to solve their PMDD." It does not work for everyone. At least know that going into your decision. Therefore I am not a proponent of hysterectomies for PMDD. If that is your choice, however, and what you need information about, I'd recommend clicking on the Survivor's Guide to Surgical Menopause link above in the Other Blogs of Interest Section, another website called HysterSisters, and, just to be sure you are making a fully informed decision, I would recommend that you read the first book featured above in the sidebar, Hormones and Your Health. Thank you again for sharing your story, and I hope the resources I have mentioned will give you the answers you need.

  5. I have no childhood trauma however I attended an elementary school that had to be shutdown due to a chemical leak. I KNOW there is a connection.
    I just had my fourth child and like clockwork once I stop breastfeeding the pmdd comes back with a vengeance. I am 34