Getting Help for Severe PMDD
Q: I just read your article on PMS and PMDD, and I am very concerned. You
make it sound so simple to get help, when in reality it is very difficult. I
don't have much money and insurance doesn't cover much. I need help so much.
I am pretty positive I have PMDD. My symptoms are so severe that I can't even
function for two weeks of the month! I really don't know if I have a mental
disorder other than PMDD, and I don't know how to find out.
I am scared because I have thoughts of committing suicide, among other things,
about a week or two before my period. I don't want to, but when I can't think
I don't see that things will get better. Sometimes I get up in the morning and
I feel great! Normal. About two to three hours later, I can't finish thoughts,
I feel angry, absolutely fatigued, and I can't handle being around anyone. This
has gone on so long that I see no end.
I have gone to the doctor, but they don't LISTEN! One just gives my any kind
of medicine that pops into his head, another doesn't know what I am talking
about, and the other believes everything can be cured with diet, exercise, and
chiropractic care. Don't get me wrong, I believe in the latter, but I've been
doing all of this for as long as I can remember. I know some foods make my symptoms
worse. If I didn't exercise, I more than likely would have killed myself already
from depression, and medicine makes everything worse. I told him I wouldn't
even try anything now. I've tried four kinds, not recently though. I am too
sensitive to the side effects.
I make choices in my life, and then change my mind within the next month. I
feel as though I'm not alive at all. I sleep 10 to 12 hours a night all month,
if I don't get enough sleep then I get so angry that I have to stay away from
everyone. I just want it to stop! I can't continue to live like this. I'm no
longer a good mother, and I wish I could just die. I'm not just feeling sorry
for myself. I have tried everything within my power to get better. I am hurting
too many people with my anger. Sorry I'm telling you so much, but I am truly
desperate now. My daughter is 4 years old, so she sometimes throws small tantrums.
Two days ago, I wanted to hurt her to get her to be quiet. I didn't, but it
scares me so much. I never would hurt her, but I am very scared when this happens.
There is no help. No one understands! Please help me! Don't offer medicine.
I don't have time or the money to go through trial and error until I find one
that doesn't make me sick. What are my options?
Dr. Donnica: Your letter broke my heart. I feel your pain and I
wish I could help more directly. The best way I can help is to help you focus
on the good news in this situation. Until you get better medical help, I hope
that you can remind yourself about this good news on a daily basis.
- You have a healthy, wonderful daughter who needs you to be alive and well
and to keep her safe. IF YOU HAVE THOUGHTS OF KILLING YOURSELF, YOU MUST TELL
SOMEONE AT THAT TIME. Sometimes just saying it out loud to another person
will get you the help you need. You will have to make an effort to find a
free or affordable clinic that can help you. Call your local hospital TODAY
and ask to speak with a social worker. S/he should be able to direct you to
the appropriate resources. Explain the urgency of this situation.
- While you thought about hurting your daughter, you didn't. There's nothing
wrong with sending a misbehaving child to her room (or another room)--sometimes
for her own protection.
- The approach for treating PMDD, which I am fairly convinced that you have,
is a COMBINATION of the right medicine and ongoing psychotherapy. You need
both. As you have found, diet and exercise are also critically important components,
but they are not stand-alone therapies. Chiropractic care has never been shown
to have any benefit for PMS, PMDD, or depression. You can probably save some
- Everyone needs someone to help him or her -- even you, even me. You must
find a friend or family member; a doctor, social worker, or clergy member;
or even a neighbor in whom you can confide. You also need someone who can
help you with your daughter when you need time to care for yourself.
I hope this helps. You are in my thoughts and prayers today.
Click here for more information about depression or other mental
Donnica Moore MD
Created: 7/11/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.