Is medical gas lighting silencing those with PMDD?


One day I was walking over here and I
spilled like a drop of coffee on the floor and I just lost it – had a massive
panic attack and I just wanted to die Just five years earlier things
were very different Linda had just completed her masters in education specialising in working with hearing impaired children, had a supportive
husband and was looking forward to the birth of their first child When I stopped breastfeeding my periods returned and then I knew something was very wrong How did you know, what was it like? Being trapped inside a body when
your mind wants to die – it is exactly like that I feel sad for that girl that
I was You think: I will do anything to stop this I’ll take any drug, I will cut my arm off if I have to I’ll do anything to not feel like this because
I feel so bad There’s a definite before PMDD and after PMDD Premenstrual dysphoric disorder it’s a bit of a mouthful but it is actually a
descriptive for a very severe depression I’m not talking about PMS and it happens suddenly PMDD is caused by the brain’s negative response to hormone fluctuations prior to menstruation or sometimes post childbirth and it’s far more common than you might think Professor Jayashri says it affects one
in eight people of the reproductive age that’s a lot and yet most of us have
never even heard of it the symptoms range from severe depression, debilitating fatigue, intense anger insomnia and hypersomnia to name a few they start seven to ten days before menstruation and stop suddenly a few
days into a period but despite the fact that nearly 1 in 3 sufferers will make a suicide attempt during an episode PMDD is often misdiagnosed or downplayed as being just PMS So how serious has PMDD exactly Very serious because in that time when she’s significantly depressed she does think of suicide or can think of suicide or actually take action and that’s a tragedy I feel hopeless, overwhelmed by everything I’m tired of living like this, I’m tired of this happening every month I can’t do this I can’t live like this I need someone to help me I don’t want to live like this anymore Yeah that’s hard to watch that one I got to the point where I told my family I wanted to be admitted I just wanted someone else to fix it because I couldn’t I assumed that it would have
been really hard on the relationship and on the family life It affected my
relationship with my husband I had conflicts with people in my family I was unable to interact with my children sometimes and that was heartbreaking It takes a big person to be a partner of someone with PMDD What would you say to your husband? Fuck I’d probably first say I’m sorry and then I’m thankful for not leaving me because, I don’t, I think if I was married to
somebody with PMDD I’m not sure if I would stick around I had my hysterectomy and oophorectomy So removal of pretty much all my
reproductive organs including my ovaries It’s very important to have the ovaries
removed because it’s the ovulation that actually causes the PMDD It was a step
that I didn’t take lightly I was petrified, I was terrified, I didn’t want
to have it, I didn’t want to have my organs removed but I did really feel like I had no other option Is the treatment for PMDD a hysterectomy? It’s the last resort there’s lots of other treatments beyond natural therapies lifestyle changes, the pill I must admit I do see quite a few women
who failed all those things and are really over it and hence this: I want it all out Kim has had PMDD for 23 years but for a majority of those she was told
it was just depression How did it feel when you finally found out there was a
name for what you had been going through? Professor Eden just made me feel
validated and that I wasn’t crazy Two or three times a year I have like a
tsunami and they are devastating When the tsunami hits how does that look like? You can be sitting on the couch calm as cucumber and you just feel it’s sort of bubbling up and you’re just like: rage man, rage what kind of rage what level are we talking Just irrational – biting the head off of somebody that didn’t deserve it She would blow up to the point where once she had such a blast at me I
thought: I wouldn’t take this from anyone because I’m no shrink environment – but when she’d go off I had trouble dealing with it – I actually
went into shock I was like a rabbit in headlights It’s not depression, it’s not anxiety It’s a dreadful feeling that we still can’t summon the words to describe because we don’t know how it feels for them you become someone that’s barely recognisable how long have you been going to doctors for with the symptoms of PMDD 12, 13 years and did they know what PMDD was, all these doctors and psychs? No I started to chart my monthly cycle – so I knew when I ovulated I knew exactly the day I would bleed and that made me realize: wow there’s actually a pattern there’s a pattern emerging but then when I would go to my caregivers with that pattern that was dismissed You were told you were stressed, anxious, depressed I’m telling you what’s wrong with me what I’m asking for is the fix help me What did you really feel like saying? Fuck off Sadly I see in my clinic too many women who begin the consultation by saying saying you won’t believe me or I’ve said
this before and no one’s believed me and it’s awful because it’s not only
that she’s got a problem like PMDD which is bad enough to deal with
but now she’s dealing with being invalidated and not believed and the
frustration of that is extraordinary The results in my blood tests showed that
everything was normal that was the end of the investigation PMDD won’t show up
in any blood or saliva or urine test and I felt at that time I was going to be dismissed and I broke down in the doctor’s office and I knew that that couldn’t be the end of it because that would mean that I was broken Medical gas lighting can be downplaying a patient’s symptoms and probably my area menopause and PMDD would be the two big areas where that definitely occurs I think some of it is ignorance but not all Why do you think so many people
don’t know what PMDD is So many things the word patriarchy is in my head – I think there’s a lot of pressure on women to be perfect You need to be a yummy mummy
nobody wants to hear about it being hard or problematic or traumatic, painful – I don’t want us to hear that Well they’re about to Women’s mental health – I hate to
say but women’s mental health is not a priority It’s not a national priority
it’s not on many people’s radar What kind of funding is going toward PMDD Virtually nothing The whole concept of PMDD still hasn’t captured the
imagination or the attention Or even the knowledge – It is real, it is real, it is real and there’s help For Kim that help came in the form of an injection that staves off a period and estrogen patches that provide a consistent level of hormones I have an implant big injection once a month and it effectively shuts the ovaries down Menopause in a box menopause in a box How soon was it that you started feeling better? Three days So how does it feel? Clear head, bright eyes, full heart, joy Energy levels are much, much higher like
I’m not fatigued all the time It’s just joyous – probably annoyingly so for some people That’s amazing, what would you say to your specialist? I love you She’s a different person even this morning by her to say how happy she was – this is how she used to be You get her back Sorry I had a much better life You never want your children to
suffer but though induced menopause has been life-changing the treatment is only approved for six months I’ll have to take no medication, I’m thrilled I have surgery scheduled for later this year To have my ovaries and my uterus and
fallopian tubes removed How are you feeling about that No one wants to have
surgeries especially when you’ve got children Of course I’m nervous that be
nuts not to be but Bring it on I’m definitely a glass half-full person, I just hope your suffering is over it’s been just eight months since
Linda’s hysterectomy and while things have definitely improved it hasn’t
provided an overnight cure I’ve had a few ups and downs since having my
surgery so I’m not going to say that it’s smooth sailing or that as soon as I
had the operation I was cured and it was a miracle I don’t have ovaries anymore
so I don’t produce any of my own hormones so I’ve got to take hormone replacement therapy I’ll be on that the rest of my life but I’ve been able to do things since my operation that I haven’t been able to do in years and I’m certainly hopeful that my life is going to be better Linda is now spreading that hope to others She helps run the PMDD patient led Vicious Cycle a Facebook group of volunteers from around the world who raise awareness of the condition and offer solace to those in the depths of despair It’s so important for us all to know that we’re not alone and that it’s it’s not our fault and that we’re not broken people It’s our chemistry, not our character it’s somehow falling through the cracks between gynecological issues and mental health Everybody thinks it’s somebody else’s domain well how can people know it exists if they’re not talking about it That’s exactly right, that’s exactly right Track your cycle, you’re not alone don’t give up and so how do you feel today right now where are you at? If can get these hormones right I’ve got so much to live for I’ve got my beautiful boys, I’ve got my husband who has seen me through this whole thing and didn’t give up on me Yeah I’m gonna keep living I couldn’t say that before, I’m gonna make goals and I’m gonna smash them Hey there my name is Marc Fennell and if you
enjoyed that and I’m hoping that you did then make sure you like and subscribe to
The Feed’s YouTube channel and definitely watch that thing – that I have absolutely
seen before, it’s really good.

18 comments

  1. 1 in 8 'people' would be around 1 in 4 women (females). Or do you mean 1 in 16 people – including men? Its important to get your stats correct when reporting on health issues. And sex is not 'assigned' at birth – it is described along with weight etc. Maybe avoid reporting on science/health if you don't want to deal with scientific facts.

  2. The lack of money, research & urgency of women’s medical issues especially dealing with reproductive/hormone issues is still such a struggle & incredibly frustrating.

  3. “There is so much more valuable information about PMDD than has been provided here by the Feed – there are, for starters, dozens of helpful websites, which makes it hard to accept that it is under-recognised as a sometimes disabling problem. To say that doctors engage in gaslighting, without evidence of any kind, is irresponsible. Half of the GP workforce is female and share the problem – at least in its milder form of PMS, if not as PMDD. These letters offer little help in any case, since the condition has been an intransigent one. To dig deeper, read “Blood Relations” by anthropologist Chris Knight. He clearly shows that dysphoria has its place in ensuring our evolutionary survival – much to women’s cost. Men are as much the victim of this sad fact as women are – patriarchy talk is nonsense in this context.

  4. I have this but it’s almost completely under control now due to strong doses of antidepressants and birth control. I would get panic attacks and extremely intense mood swings the week or so before my period but at no other time. I couldn’t figure out my triggers because it seemed so random until I started tracking my mental health symptoms and realized that it almost perfectly aligned with my PMS. It was awful and I’m thankful for the treatment I have now. It’s made a huge difference in my life.

  5. Of course, while dismissing women's health concerns about very real physical and psychological problems stemming from menstrual cycles, Culture uses women's cycles as proof of their inherent fallibility; they can't hold political office because their period will show up and they'll go crazy. Though from the looks of things, women are far better at managing their emotions than men, who are supposed to be the logical, rational ones.

  6. So she works in mental healthcare? Is she malnourished? An infection? Sounds like an infection possibly in the sinuses or brain? The doctor with the red top sounds shameless?

  7. Hysterectomy would make her suuuuper crazy af, there are apparently like 3 types if estrogen, and adding the right one could help?

  8. I attempted suicide by overdose right before my period, doctors said I should've been dead, then day after I recieved my period I was at peace and just happy. I couldn't understand why I tried to commit suicide, I was trying to put two to two together as to why I did it and I just couldn't put it together, all I knew was I wanted to be died. Also my period was 2 weeks late, like usual and I wasn't sexually active.
    This really has a lot to do with hormones, no one can deny tha irregular hormones has huge impact on women's body, its physically messing up your body when hormones are not leveled out and causing emotional outbreaks as well.

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