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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 money there.
  4. 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 health issues.

Best regards,
Donnica Moore MD
President, DrDonnica.com

Created: 7/11/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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