Many people are aware of some of the symptoms that PMS can cause, but PMDD, a subtype of PMS that can cause symptoms of strong anxiety and depression, is something that is less well known. It can cause symptoms which can have a debilitating effect on your mental health, and this can last for the entire second half of your menstrual cycle.
If you experience PMDD or believe you may, please reach out because this condition is something which can be helped.
If you have not had a chance to listen yet you can find the PMS podcast here.
PMS and PMDD – Podcast Interview with Lisa Costa Bir
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) however PMDD symptoms are more severe compared to PMS. PMDD is associated with mood swings, anxiety, depression, low motivation and even suicidal thoughts. It is also very common for PMDD sufferers to experience relationship and work issues due to their severe symptoms.
If you experience PMDD it likely indicates that there is a deep underlying hormonal imbalance occurring in your body which is causing you to experience an emotional rollercoaster. This lasts during the time period of anywhere from post ovulation (typically day 14) to the first 2-3 days of bleeding – this means it can be two weeks of the months experiencing a completely different emotional state.
PMDD may leave you with altered emotions but there are some techniques which will help to equip yourself with self-care and wellness tools to empower and soothe.
Self-care tips for processing PMDD feelings:
1. Practice Mindfulness
Feeling governed by your emotions during PMDD time and unable to focus? Practicing mindfulness will help you to ground down into the present moment with compassion and non-judgement. Next time you are feeling overwhelmed take a moment to sit down, close your eyes and scan your body from head to toe noticing any sensations that arise. Paying attention to your body will help you to become more aware of what is happening in the present moment as well as the ability to observe the changing nature of sensations.
PMDD can lead to feelings of being scattered and spacey in the mind. In meditation, focusing on the breath will help you anchor into the present moment with a sense of being more grounded and cognitively clear.
3. Gentle Yoga Practice
Gentle forms of yoga such as yin yoga works primarily on stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) to allow your mind and body to slow down into a state of relaxation. Yin yoga is a form of mindfulness that holds poses for 3-7 minutes, inviting the space to find stillness within the chaotic storm that you may be feeling during this time.
To ground your energy when you are feeling restless or emotional, connect to nature by going outside, take your shoes off and touch your feet on the bare earth- this is known as Earthing. Studies have shown that this technique also helps to settle the mind by activating your parasympathetic nervous system.
Journaling is a healthy way to express how you are feeling during the time of PMDD, as it can be really beneficial in clearing your ruminating thoughts and feelings. Studies have shown that this technique helps to reduce stress and manage anxiety as well as depression. Journaling can help you to become more aware of how you are feeling as well as identify negative thoughts. This holds space for you to then work on a plan for resolving problems and strengthen compassionate self-talk. Set aside a few minutes a day to write down what ever feels right- you have full creative permission in your journaling practice.
6. Gratitude list
Practice gratitude when you are feeling low in mood by writing a list of 10 things that you are grateful for in your life. Studies have shown that practicing gratitude on a daily basis helps to increase psychological well being by enhancing our positive emotions. Additionally practicing gratitude helps to boost social relationships and increases social support systems for individuals. This is very beneficial for people experiencing PMDD due to their mood affecting their relationships.
7. Epsom salt bath
Do you feel tense in your body? Treat yourself to a nourishing Epsom salt bath with a couple of drops of lavender essential oil to promote relaxation and inner serenity. Bathing in Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) is therapeutic for PMDD as it helps to stabilise your mood as well as relieve stress, depression and anxiety.
8. Talk to someone
When you are feeling low in mood, stressed or perhaps out of control with your emotions- reach out and speak to a friend, family member or health practitioner. Remember that you are not alone, hormonal imbalance is very real and your wellbeing is a priority.