I promised an update on my latest PMDD treatment ‘about the time I would normally be entering “hell week,”‘ but as the treatment has not lasted that long, I thought it would be more appropriate to give that update now. This post is intended to offer help and support to other sufferers. Please be advised, however, that I am most certainly not a medical professional and this post is not meant as a substitute for medical advice. I rather want to share my experience of the condition and its treatment as it affects me.
How did my trial of hormonal contraception to treat PMDD pan out?
As I mentioned in my previous post, for the first few days of taking the pill, the only side effect I noticed was a bit of nausea for a few hours after taking it. This settled down after about 3 days, but by day 4, I was beginning to feel a bit strange. I started waking frequently during the night and having very vivid dreams/nightmares which is unusual for me. Through the day, I felt quite drowsy, and by the evening, I just had to go to bed as I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I also started crying at random song lyrics (in case you’re interested, it was ‘She Came in through the Bathroom Window‘ on Thursday and ‘Wish You Were Here‘ on Friday). I keep a journal of my PMDD symptoms, and on Friday I wrote:
‘So far it’s not as bad as PMDD.’
Then I started to have cognitive problems. I was commenting on someone else’s blog, and the right word wouldn’t come to me (in case you’re interested, the word was ’emblematic,’ but it came to me too late to use it in the comment.) As a writer, struggling for words is a worrying side-effect.
By the weekend, the depressive episodes were getting worse: I was very weepy Saturday morning, and by Sunday I was in floods of tears about precisely nothing. The last time this happened to me, I was pregnant. So by this time, I knew something was amiss and that this pill just wasn’t going to be right for me. I stopped taking it yesterday.
Conclusions about this treatment option
If you are suffering from PMDD, don’t let this post put you off trying the hormonal contraception route. I am sure for some people this option works like a dream. Unfortunately, as I have a history of depression, this is not something I want rearing its ugly head again. As I said last week, I was ok with some physical discomfort. I could even live with the fact that this particular pill (containing drospirenone) could carry an up to threefold increased risk of blood clots and DVT. But I can’t afford to be home alone in a new country weeping all day when I have two young kids to raise.
Although PMDD is truly awful, at least it’s predictable. And the symptoms are not constant. 7-10 days of symptoms with the extreme symptoms lasting 2-4 days, in my case. As the great Kylie Minogue once put it, ‘it’s better the devil you know.’
I know I really need to visit the doctor. I am just working up the courage to face the possibility of not being believed and/or listened to. I should make sure my appointment falls within ‘hell week’ so that the poor unsuspecting doctor will have the opportunity to meet this particular devil for him or herself:
If you are struggling to cope with PMDD symptoms, or know someone who is affected by the condition, please feel free to comment below, or if you prefer get in touch by email: email@example.com. And please remember, although you may feel very isolated by your condition, you are not alone.