Perimenopause or PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder)?

Categories Mental Health, PMDD

Perimenopause or PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder)?


For a while now I have wondered whether I am perimenopausal or whether I have got something called PMDD. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is a more recent discovery. The jury is out on which I have, if indeed I have either, but here is the history and a more recent account of my struggles with depression.

Back story

For as long as I can remember bouts of depression have appeared in my life, most of the time these have been reactive, postnatal (coping with three children aged 4 and under and a husband who worked away), changes in work/ husband’s work, university dissertation… the list goes on and on. Looking back was I depressed or was I extremely low? Is there a difference? So I have learnt that I can come out of these feelings eventually, sometimes quicker than others. This doesn’t make it any easier when these feelings do encompass me and my family, in fact it’s pretty shit!

Hormonal discovery

So that would be me up until the start of 2017. I turned 40 and I can hand on my heart say it was the worst period that I had ever had. I was irritable and angry before hand, I had the cramping l, the feeling drained and then I spent two days crying, couple of days in and I felt better! My husband has said he always knows when my period is due as my mood changes, irritable, more argumentative, angry, all the usual pmt symptoms.

Scroll forward to October 2017, I honestly felt that with everything that we had been through that year that maybe my husband and I were not meant to be together any more, that was until I looked back at my cycles for that year. Everytime we had had a major argument it was all cycle related (I am not saying it was all one sided here either!).

That brings us to December where my cycle had been 45 days long, what was going on? Perimenopasal?

January I came crashing down again, thinking it was depression setting in again, over thinking everything and anything, this became very cyclical as I knew what I was over thinking wasn’t rational and I was making myself even worse because I would get cross with myself for feeling the way I was feeling. Of course there are the post Xmas blues in January too but it is also my birthday and I wanted to celebrate. Had many heart to hearts with friends and one friend suggested taking some vitamins to help. My period also arrived and I suddenly felt a lot better about things.

CBT or herbal remedies?

So at that point I was considering some cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and also seeing the Dr about my hormones but decided to wait and give evening primrose oil, starflower oil and a complex vitamin b a whirl.

The rest of this year has been mostly great, the odd issue here and there but nothing major. I was taking the tablets regularly till the school summer holidays. We went on holiday for 11 days and I didn’t take the tablets with me. Also lack of routine meant I wasn’t taking them either.

We came back from holidays and of course holiday blues kick in, there is loads we need to do in our house so that was annoying me and then again started over thinking again and looking back now as soon as my period arrived I felt better.

Rock bottom

Now we move onto September 2018, wow is all I can say! I had been feeling something building just before the girls went back to school but more so when they were back. All the girls club’s pick up again, the routine is back in full swing. I was trying to please everyone and anyone. We spent a weekend in Tenby for Ironman Wales (I say we did, I travelled back and forth for various reasons). By the time the week after that arrived I had hit right bottom. I lacked interest in things, felt completely low, lower than I have for a very long time. I saw the Dr on the Wednesday and was prescribed anti depressants. There was also an urgent referral to the local crisis team.

Thursday a good friend took care of me and fed me and my daughters. By the Friday morning my mood has lifted slightly, the Friday evening my period arrived and the Saturday and Sunday I felt fine. It was weird how quick my mood had lifted so quickly. I hadn’t even looked at my cycle as I thought I wasn’t due on for another week. The last couple of years have seen my cycles change in length dramatically. I was always regular and now there is now rhyme or reason.

Discovering Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

A friend said it could be just severe PMS! I googled it and found PMDD, what a revelation. I went back to the Doctor on the Monday and explained everything. They ran a lot of tests and suggested a few options This included taking the anti depressants and also the pill. She also suggested the evening primrose oil and vitamin b. These I had started taking again at the start of September. The Doctor did seem to think that my recent issues of feeling depressed could be hormone related.

Since September 2018

Using an ovulation app I am now monitoring my moods daily and tracking everything. I have also taking a Vitamin b6 and a higher dose of evening primrose oil. It was on a FB forum that I read a higher dose was needed.

Octobers cycle was an improvement but there was definitely a noticed difference in my mood on the last two weeks of my cycle. My periods have become more and more irregular over the last 2 years roughly. Meaning each cycle is more difficult to pinpoint when these issues are going to occur. Novembers cycle was meant to be my test to see if the vitamins were helping things improve.

However, my period was due at the end of a half term week (children off school), 2 wedding cakes and 2 back to back big nights out. Most of that week I sailed by but on one of the nights out I suddenly became emotional. I needed to end my night there and go home. It was hard to judge that cycle based on how extra busy that week had been. That Saturday night blip was my only blip so it had to be an improvement hey?

Going forward

So with the next two cycles appearing over a busy end of November and then December I shall see how those go. I shall keep taking the tablets and keep monitoring my mood and feelings.

Do you suffer with your hormones? Perimenopausal or PMDD? Have you experienced something similar? Let me know your experiences in a comment below.

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