As many of you know April is Autism Awareness month. Something you may not know is that April is also PMDD or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Awareness Month.
PMDD can feel like a case of PMS on steroids, at times starting right after ovulation and only disapating at the onset of menstruation. However, PMDD is not simply and imbalance of hormones, it is a severe negative reaction in the brain to the natural rise and fall of estrogen and progesterone.
It affects about 5.5%, often showing up at higher rates in neurodivergent women. It can be triggered by hormonal events such as pregnancy, miscarriage and menopause. It severely affects one's ability to function normally in the last two weeks (luteal phase) of a menstrual cycle often with suicidal ideation.
To be considered PMDD there needs to be at least 5 symptoms present for over a week every cycle. When I first came across a list of symptoms (just last year) I checked off symptom after symptom until there were well above 5 that had been marked. I had realized I was struggling with something when my firstborn was a toddler (that's a few years ago now). I didn't know what to do and began trying to implement all sorts of gentle parenting strategies. At times I could use them, while other times it seemed something else was in control and I couldn't overcome it. As I continued to read I realized that this was what what going on in my brain, it wasn't some random (very) bad moods or funks that I couldn't escape or that I was a horrible mom. Through resources such as symptom tracking provided by @hermoodmentor, @iampdglobal and @heidihogarth_naturopath I began a journey into awareness of what my body was experiencing and began discovering tools to reduce symptoms.
I am very grateful that I found these resources that shared their knowledge and resources so freely. It has made a huge difference in my life and I am grateful there is an awakening openess to learn and discuss menstrual health. I am thankful that change is beginning to take hold of what we expect and accept as part of the menstrual cycle and I look forward to the day PMS is not considered a joke and that there is common knowledge of how hormones cycle and affect our bodies.
Thank you to IAMP Global for their efforts to educate and bring awareness this month. For more info please check out https://iapmd.org