VALERIE BOATENG • April 30, 2009
There’s a moment in one episode of “Desperate Housewives” that I keep stashed away in the back of my mind. Early in the first season, Lynette became addicted to her child’s ADD medicine as the stress of motherhood and keeping up with the Jones got to be too much. In a park, her friends share with her that they too have dark days and that motherhood often had them in tears.
Thanks to the Internet and abc.go.com, I was able to go back and get Lynette’s response to hearing this information from her friends. While sobbing she said: “Why didn’t you ever tell me? We should tell each other this stuff!”
About a year ago I asked my doctor for some help in order to be a better mother to my three children. I didn’t have the problems Lynette had in keeping up, I had issues with getting angry and upset over the littlest things involving the children. On mornings when the children get up on the wrong side of the bed and take forever to get ready, my blood would actually feel like it was boiling because I would get so angry. It just wasn’t normal to be so overly irritable.
After talking to my doctor and making an honest attempt at trying suggested vitamins, my doctor medicated and diagnosed me as having PMDD/PMS. Yes, the infamous Premenstrual Syndrome has been the banter for many of women’s mood swings, but Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is no joking matter.
PMDD is a condition associated with severe emotional and physical problems that are linked closely to the menstrual cycle, according to http://pmdd.factsforhealth.org/. Symptoms occur regularly in the second half of the cycle and end when menstruation begins or shortly thereafter. PMDD is considered to be a very severe form of PMS that affects about 5 percent of menstruating women, the site states. Both PMDD and PMS share symptoms in common that include depression, anxiety, tension, irritability and moodiness. What sets PMDD apart is its severity.
I’m not a June Cleaver mother by any means. I love the kind of mom I am, but not when these emotions strike. For a long time I thought I was alone in my irritability, but after talking to a number of female friends I know I’m not. I’m not ashamed of being medicated, and if I knew I wasn’t alone years ago I would have asked for help sooner.
It’s no fun being a Lynette, we should tell each other about this stuff.
Valerie Boateng is the data desk editor for the Zanesville Times Recorder. To read her blog or others, or to start your own, visit www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com.
Comment from Leslie
Yes, absolutely – women should be talking about this. Too many women suffer from PMS/PMDD alone – thinking that they are the only ones who feel the way they do. And they are ashamed and feel guilty about their actions/reactions to their children, partners and friends.
REMEMBER PMDD is classified as a mental illness – dangerous territory to be treading in. PMS/PMDD is the result of hormone imbalance and living without regard to the normal and natural ebb and flow of your menstrual cycle. After many years of living this way the endocrine system becomes depleted and these symptoms crop up.
Of course diet, lifestyle, excercise all play an important role in lessening these symptoms. Please see Female Mystique The Three Phases of Eve on this site to understand your cyclical nature.
My new book, “Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle” is a great resource and guide for women who want to know more about their hormone cycle and their behaviors.
Bioidentical hormones are a great help along with living with your cycle. Charting your cycle and emotions is another great tool to understand yourself (included in the book) Once you see the cycle repeat itself then you can work on prevention. It is empowering.