Life with PMDD is no Life at All- Part 2 Medication

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I’ve been meaning to write this post on medication for some time, but wanted to write it after I had gone  through my PMDD cycle. Now that it’s over I feel well enough to concentrate and finally get it done.

My Last Cycle

PMDD causes what we sufferers call “brain fog.”  Brain fog is the inability to focus or concentrate on anything; things you normally get done with ease are suddenly tasking on your mind and you’re just not able to function as you normally would.

I was on vacation from work because the kids were out of school and I had quite the list of things to get done at home as well.  I had to schedule this vacation at this particular time but the end result was less than productive.

I didn’t do my #realstrongstart workout challenge exercises and I stopped drinking my 3 liters of water a day.  I didn’t fix up my room which has all new furniture.  I didn’t de-clutter my closet or clean my house, and I didn’t do any of the work I wanted to do for my 9-5 (which is not really 9-5).

The only thing I did was purchase the kids’ school supplies. The rest of the time I laid on my couch watching tv and that’s all I could muster.  I will pay the price for not getting anything done in the coming days, but that’s a typical occurrence now in my life.

Evident Changes

This past cycle was not as bad as previous ones.  I did spent a few days in that PMDD “brain fog.” Fatigue, another symptom of PMDD, got the best of me; but there was one very noticeable difference, this time, there was no rage.

Now don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of anger to go around.  But in the PMDD world, anger and rage are not nearly the same thing.  PMDD rage is basically me losing my sh*t for any little thing and screaming at the top of my lungs. To that, you can also add the occasional tantrum, and for good measure, we can also include the throwing around of objects.

I admit it’s been some time since I’ve been in such a rage that it has caused me to throw things around.  But the fact that I didn’t do any yelling this time, is a huge, huge improvement for which I am truly thankful.

Nothing feels worst than yelling at someone like a crazy person because they don’t know where the remote control is or because they didn’t turn off a light when they leave a room. This means that something I’m doing is finally working.

Medication

PMDD gets treated with a whole host of different medications, from anti depressants, natural supplements, anti-psychotic drugs to birth control. Part of this has to do with the fact that the Disorder often gets misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder.

The other part is that every woman is different and will therefore react differently to medication. I have been on 3 different medications since being diagnosed with PMDD; Prozac, Zoloft and currently Cymbalta.

Prozac/Fluoxetine

Prozac was the first medication I was put on for PMDD and it did nothing to alleviate my symptoms.  What’s more, I gained about 20 lbs on it.

I was on it for about a year and got off it cold turkey out of desperation; something you are NOT supposed to do. I knew this, and still stopped taking it because I could not stand the fact that I was not feeling any better and I had gained so much weight.

When you stop taking an antidepressant   without weaning yourself off first, you run the risk of exacerbating the original symptoms,  which is exactly what happened to me.  I’ve never felt more afraid in my life.  I had no control of my emotions. I was a wreck and was having panick attacks a couple of times a week.

Once the weaning period was over, I went back to my doctor and explained what happened.  He of course admonished me for not taking the meds and for not clearing it with him first.  I knew that if I told him he would suggest I wean myself, and I didn’t want to do that. I just wanted it out of my system immediately.

Zoloft/Sertraline

I said goodbye to Prozac forever and the second medication my doctor put me on was Zoloft.  I also gained weight with Zoloft but it worked.  Finally, I felt better.  In fact, I felt better than I could ever remember feeling.  I was happy all the time and always in the mood to go out and do things.  It was the best 3 months of my life.

YES, the joy only lasted 3 months.  After that, it was back to feeling depressed, anxious, angry and full of rage. I didn’t understand what had happened; why the medication worked so well at first and suddenly stopped working.

I was angry. I wasn’t just angry due to the PMDD.  I was angry at the medication for not working.  For giving me that small taste of happiness for those 3 months and then taking it away.  For letting me down.  For leaving me trapped in the hell of this Disorder.  For making me gain another 20 lbs. and leaving me to fix that mess all by myself.

I stayed on Zoloft for 2 years hoping the original effect would come back.  I went up and up and up in dosages to no avail.

A New Psychiatrist

In the midst of all that, I had the pleasant task of looking for a new psychiatrist.  I was without one for about a year and getting my medication from my primary doctor during this time. But that is not advised, as regular visits with a psychiatrist are best practice.

I finally found a doctor that was convenient for me to get to. (But that’s not the reason why I stopped seeing my original doctor.  That story will be told in different post).

I explained to this new doctor all my issues, including, but not limited to, PMDD, prior history of depression and the recent and unexpected death of my dear father.

We came up with a plan which included regular, weekly, then bi-weekly visits as well as a new medication for anxiety.  We would also start raising the Zoloft dosage to check for improvement; none was made.

Cymbalta/Duloxetine

After Zoloft failed to do its job at the dose of 100mg., my doctor and I decided to try something new.  I was desperate and told her that I had done the research and had decided that I was going to have a hysterectomy. She looked at me as if I had lost my mind, but I had  not.

I had been researching hysterectomies for well over a year and had come to the conclusion that if Zoloft didn’t work, I would go through with the surgery.

I had discussed it with my Gynecologist and I knew he would approve it. A hysterectomy would end PMDD but would throw me right into menopause which my psychiatrist did not like.

She disagreed with my choice because of all of the symptoms caused by menopause.   She feared that if I went through with the surgery, I would end up in the same boat.  She urged me to try one last thing; Cymbalta.

I agreed and told her that this would be the last medication I would take.  That if this one didn’t work, I was going through with the surgery.  Fair enough.

She  started to wean me off of Zoloft and put me on Cymbalta.  The process was smooth.  I started Cymbalta at 20mg., 30., 50., and now I’m at 60mg.  Sadly, no weight loss.  I gained a little more weight but I have also been eating more carbs than anyone really should, so I can’t really blame all of the weight gain on the pills.

Progress Report and Alternative Methods

Overall, Cymbalta has worked better than Prozac and Zoloft.  While the depression is still present, the rage is not, and this is a very important factor.  I no longer feel like a crazy person; like a lunatic ready to go bat-sh*t-crazy at any little thing.

The search for wellbeing continues.  In my next post, I will speak about what other methods I’m seeking to aid me in my struggle with this condition.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.  If you like what you read, please hit the “like” button and if you want to keep reading posts like this, please “join me.”

Feel free to share this post with anyone you feel may benefit from reading it.

If you or anyone you know is suffering or suspects they are suffering from PMDD, please see your health care physician

Fantabulous40s

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Living with PMDD is no Life at All - Part 2 Medication
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27 thoughts on “Life with PMDD is no Life at All- Part 2 Medication

  1. I cannot imagine the strength it must take to manage these symptoms! Kudos and hugs to you for sharing. I dealt with brain fog when I was pregnant, and for the first 3 months after giving birth. It is no picnic. 🤗

  2. I personally hate having to use medication. It never cures anything, just masks it. Just seeing the names of the meds in your post made me cringe. It stinks to have to consider those.

    1. Thank you for reading Patty. I get it. Many people feel the way you do. I don’t bc PMDD has no cure. The end all of it is a hysterectomy. When. We sufferers take medication we know that it’s not going to fix it all. But it will help. You just have to find the right one. And for that it takes a lot of trial and error. Unfortunately it’s a reality we just face. Sort of like the necessary evil.

      Without it I would be in a very ugly place. So I’m thankful that I know I need it and am able to get it because some women can’t due to insurance issues.
      A hysterectomy for me is in the plans. But for women with no kids or young girls who also suffer from this, it’s not an option. For many, good luck finding a surgeon who will do it before menopause. Which brings me to my next point. Once you have the surgery (partial or full) it’s SMACK DOWN menopause and all the glory that brings.

    1. Thank you for reading. I’m going through it right now. Some days are fine. Others are hell and others it just comes in waves. U feel like ur losing your mind. Meds help. Natural remedies as well. But every woman has to find their balance. Strength..yes. Tons of it.

  3. I have brain fog when I’m on hormone therapy for prostate cancer. It’s awful, but sometimes I think what is more awful are the reactions people have to me zoning out. They know it’s not me, but still can’t understand why I can’t just “Get over it.”

    1. Dan, thank you for reading. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. The fact that people act like that is deplorable. I get that sometimes too like “just go outside” “breathe some fresh air” riiiiight. I’m glad that you could somehow relate to this very “female” article. Thanks again for reading and I wish you all the luck to you with your treatments. Will be hopping over to your blog now to read.

  4. Sending hugs your way. You are a strong and positive person. I’m glad that despite of all this you find positivity.
    I would like to invite you to inspire and motivate more people by joining in our community. https://www.empoweringanduplifting.com aims to inspire and motivate other people to be positive in any situations, if you like to be a part of other people’s journey in creating their own happiness contact us.

  5. Thank you for sharing your difficult journey with others. So many women are secretly struggling and quietly suffering, and only by sharing experiences can we break the silence and open up a conversation. Sending you wishes for continued healing, strong woman!

    1. Thank you for reading. That’s exactly why I decided to share my story. I kept it hidden for many years I guess out of embarrassment. But realized there’s no reason to be and more people will benefit from me sharing it than keeping it to myself. Thanks so much for your encouraging words. It helps a great deal!

  6. I just knew about PMDD from this article. I only knew PMS before read it. Have you try a natural progesteron cream to cure it? I just read it in internet.

    1. Hello and thank you for reading. There is no cure. You can treat the symptoms with the medications I mentioned in the post plus many more as well as natural remedies which I’m trying out now. I will be writing about those soon

  7. I understand you full. I went through a difficult period and PMDD is still sacred sometimes, but not in such a tough form. I did not agree with any drugs, except vitamins. I decided to do just one small little thing every day. If you can get out of the house and naters yourself to walk through the fresh air, it helps very much. To me, the posture was getting better and now I am at one of the best stages of my life.

    1. Hello. Thank you for reading. I’m glad to hear that you’re doing so much better. I find that a little fresh air does help but I have to be alone. Being a single mom doesn’t afford me that much time alone but I’m trying to make changes that allow me more time to exercise even if it’s just walking on a treadmill. Thanks for the advice.

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