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I recently came across a question on a PMDD forum that asked something like, "I just discovered I have PMDD. Please tell me there is something I can do to carry on with my life and responsibilities. And don't tell me to diet and exercise!"
It's a pretty common question with a rather evident frustration. We all want that quick fix "I'm cured" miracle.
Well, I have some good news and some bad news. Let's start with the bad news.
There is no cure and no known all-encompassing treatment for PMDD. There are plenty of medical "shots in the dark" and treatments for some of the symptoms, but there's no single medicine for the package deal known as PMDD. Even a full oophorectomy isn't a guarantee of a problem-free future, though that seems to be the most effective.
What does that leave one with? There are drugs for the depression and/or anxiety and various birth control for making the red menace disappear. These, however, carry their own risks and side effects that often don't make it worthwhile. In many cases, they work for a time and then, wrecking havoc on the body, seem to create even more issues. For some, though, they are lifesavers, so it might be worth the gamble.
But here's some more bad news. Even if certain drugs help mask or eliminate symptoms of PMDD, there's no getting around the necessity of making changes that target the root causes of a woman's suffering. It's in the name itself--PMDD is a dysphoria of the mental state.
Here's some more bad news. Anything that compounds stress is going to make PMDD worse. During PMDD, physical issues intensify, mental disturbances magnify, and sooner or later, we may feel spiritually forsaken.The only way to truly manage ANY illness of body, mind and spirit is to feed all three...body, mind and spirit. So yes, diet and exercise are essential and...
...now here's the good news...
Changes in diet and regular exercise may take more effort and take longer for noticeable improvement, but they will also last longer and make more encompassing improvements for you over time. I've written about MEDS before: meditation, exercise, diet and sleep. All these areas need some attention. There's no way around it. If you choose a quick-fix drug now, there's nothing wrong with that, unless you suddenly feel better and think all your problems have evaporated. Uh-uh. It's not that easy. Eventually, you're going to have to deal with deeper issues.
Here's some more good news. You get to decide which combination of mind-quieting practices, foods, physical exercises, and sleep habits work for you. You don't have to conform to anyone or anything. The prescription is as unique as you are. And let's face it, no two women with PMDD are exactly alike.
Here's some more good news. As you begin to train your awareness and gain some distance mentally from all the PMDD thoughts, you're going to find it does, in fact, get easier. Okay, it doesn't happen overnight, and neither is the road a straight one. It's more labyrinthian. You'll think you've finally done it, but the following month will have you back on the periphery. It seems like you are further away than ever from mental peace, but if you keep walking the path, eventually, you're going to find your center. It will become easier and easier to recognize what is you and what is PMDD, and you will no longer confuse the two or feel overpowered by the latter.
So do what you must in the short-term, but don't forsake what your very own body is crying out for...balance in all areas of your life. PMDD is a catalyst. It can bring us into the pits of hell, but it can also make us stronger and more resilient. You decide!