Monday, April 15, 2013

Is PMDD real? Yes, and it sucks.

PMDD (PreMenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) is gonna be in the DSM-5. And while I have my concerns about including diagnoses that are gender-specific (or, more to the point, that all the diagnoses that are gender-specific are female-specific; why is there no testosterone-induced rage disorder?), I have to say that it is in many ways affirming to know that I'm not alone in having the PMS-on-'roids that is PMDD. Ah, validation and normalization--you are so, so dear.

On the one hand, it bothers me that there's the possibility that women with normal, physiologic mood changes and symptoms will be saddled with a psychiatric diagnosis by docs who don't take the time to actually take thorough histories or READ the diagnostic guidelines. I'm troubled by the fact that some people's takeaway from its inclusion in the DSM-5 will likely be "Women on the rag be cray." I'm worried about the pathologizing of women's experience just because it isn't men's (ie, the "default human's") experience.

However. Maybe this will get some people working on the mechanisms behind it, and get some treatments out there other than SSRI antidepressants (I'm on Zoloft already, thanks), fish oil (fish oil is good for literally everything ever, so I'm already on that too) calcium (I get plenty) and oral contraceptives with drospirenone (I dunno...I'd really like to quit smoking before I try these).

I hate that for 10-12 days out of the month--more than thirty percent of my life, for those of you playing along at home--I'm exhausted, depressed, and anxious. Throw in bloating (I put on 5-10 lbs of water weight every month during that week, no joke), monster carb cravings and crying jags in the frozen foods aisle at Schnucks and you see why I'm glad this entity is getting some recognition.

For instance, in a world where I was less uptight and actually let myself do all the things I want to do in that premenstrual funk, this is the nightmare that would unfold. I would...

Eat an entire box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese by myself while watching all of Season 1 of Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Hulu, crying intermittently as I remembered my middle school years (when the show was originally broadcast). Wash it down with a bottle of 3-buck Chuck, and chase that with a bag of mini Reeses peanut butter cups.

Get in bed with a Terry Pratchett book, a cat, and a family-size box of White Cheddar Cheez-Its and only come out for bathroom breaks.

Look in the fridge and see some vegetables. Feel momentarily guilty, then decide, "screw vegetables," and make waffles with Nutella. In fact, screw waffles. Eat Nutella directly from the jar with a spoon (not with fingers--I'm not a heathen).

Watch American Beauty; cry uncontrollably.
Snuggle with cat; cry uncontrollably.
Look at Youtube videos of cats; cry uncontrollably.

Get in a hot bath with lavender oil and a box of Krispy Kremes, and stay in until the donuts are gone or the water is tepid, whichever comes first.

Try to sleep while fending off panic attacks. Remind self that Xanax does not play well with 3 buck Chuck.
Try to sleep while fending off overly affectionate cats.
Try to sleep while fending off a general sense of existential angst and malaise, and the bleak certainty that I have squandered my youth and will never live up to my potential as a human being.

This is only what would happen if I let myself go, of course. For the most part I'm good at keeping myself in check and projecting at least a semblance of sanity. I just wish the 'projecting' part weren't necessary.

End of self-involved, navel-gazing blog entry (did I mention that's also one of the symptoms?).


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I happened upon your blog...I have terrible PMDD as well and your description is absolutely spot on...I LOVED what you wrote, I kept nodding, yep...jesus...ME TOO!!

I hope things are better for you! All we can do is keep on plodding along. I will be reading more of your stuff! :)