Today is R U OK day. Every year I put up a post, every year people ask me if I’m ok and every year I say yes. I’ve been conditioned since childhood to say I’m ok, even if I’m not. (Even though I’m the worst pretender in the whole history of pretending!).
I’ve struggled with hormonal imbalances since before I was a teenager. The last four years, since deciding to give my body a break from the Depo Provera contraceptive injection, have been rough. To put it mildly. I told my GP on a regular basis that I didn’t feel right. She kept trying to put me on anti-depressants and I kept refusing. That went on for at least two years until one day I came across a condition online called PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) – which was recently declared a distinct mental disorder.
I went about trying all the non-medical ways to manage it. A low carb diet, exercise and various supplements. It definitely helped but if I wasn’t super strict I’d still fall to pieces at least once during my monthly two week danger zone. It presented as anxiety, depression, despair, panic attacks and rage. I don’t know how I would have managed to stay off the ledge without Dave, our dogs and all my client’s dogs. I found that I could be driving to a shoot with those awful pre-panic attack feelings but once I immersed myself in the task at hand (including stealing lots of doggy cuddles) I felt 100% better and forgot about whatever I was overthinking.
Dogs. Is there anything they can’t do?!
About 12 months ago I got a referral to see a specialist at WHRIA. I wanted all my reproductive organs taken out to just get rid of this condition. It’s extreme but I don’t want children so I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. He suggested I at least try some other treatments before taking the surgical route. First was a low dose SSRI taken for the two week danger zone every month. They worked but gave me insomnia so I regularly tried to run the gauntlet without them and it never ended well for me. I had a follow-up appointment recently and asked if going back on Depo Provera was an option because I was never like this during the twenty odd years I’d been on it. It’s early days but I’m cautiously optimistic that I’m finally myself again. THANK F**K!
The reason I’m oversharing like this on my business blog is because I spent SO long thinking I was losing my mind and despite having all the classic symptoms of PMDD my GP never diagnosed me. I’m hoping that since I have such a large female following that maybe someone who’s suffering will read this and know they’re not alone, they’re not imagining it and there is help out there.
My friend Jenny wrote this great article if you want to read some more info on the topic: https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/10/24/premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder-everything-you-need-to-know_a_23246861/
Do you have a female friend or loved one who seems to be struggling with their mental health for some of the month but perfectly fine the rest of the time? Please share this information, it could change her life.
I should add, I am in the tiny 10% of Depo Provera users that the product agrees with. What works for me may not work for you but there are other treatments that can be explored. Prof. Eden is wonderful and I highly recommend him if you’re in Sydney.