What do you know now that you wish your younger self knew when she first experienced PMDD?
Well to start, I wish she knew what PMDD was. I wish she knew she was going to be okay. I wish she knew there was an answer. I wish she knew that what she was experiencing was out of her control, and that was okay.
I’m 22 years old now, so I still feel like I am in my younger self years, mainly because I found out that I had PMDD less than a year ago. Not to mention I found out what PMDD was that same day.
I got my period at 14 and since then I have felt absolutely awful for around two weeks every month. Each month came and suddenly I became depressed. It was a confusing and isolating cycle. One day I was a cheery teenager and the next I felt numb.
I had no clue what was going on and I had no clue what to do.
The significant shifts in mood made me think I was bipolar. It was the only thing that I knew of that might shed some light on my mood swings. I brought this up to my mom and asked to go to therapy. She told me I wasn’t bipolar, it was just PMS and I didn’t need a therapist.
My younger self really did try to advocate for myself, she knew something was off, and for that, I am so proud of her. She knew she had to speak out for herself; unfortunately, there was nobody that would listen.
I spent the next few years confused and finally when I was 17 I was successful at finding a therapist that my parents were okay with. I thought this was going to be my answer, but nothing came of it – though the therapist one day told me to track my moods and my periods. She never explained why though and soon after I stopped seeing her. I wasn’t sure what connection my period and moods could play in my extreme emotions, but it planted a seed.
Four years later I was in college and found a therapist of my own. We made a lot of breakthroughs, one being what PMDD is, what that means to me, and how to create a toolkit of ways to take care of myself during these times in the month. So, though I wish my younger self could have fought harder, spoken louder, she could not do so. I want my younger self to know that the work she did helped me find the answer, helped me to speak up for myself, and help me to know that soon, it would be okay. Unable to find the solution to my intense mood changes made me become me in tune with myself. It taught me the importance of self-advocacy. Living with PMDD is still confusing, and I’m still charting my life with the disorder, but through the lessons, I have learned, the growth I have made would make my younger self-proud.
And for that, I’m proud.
- Cassie Marie
“I’m 22 years old figuring out my place in this world. I love being in nature, listening to podcasts, laughing, and being around those I love.”
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