The older I got, the worst my pre-menstrual symptoms became. It usually started the week before my period, during my period and four days after the said period. Typically, I’d become too sick to do anything. I’d feel feverish, my appetite becomes non-existent and I could go a whole day eating only 1 banana, or a slice of bread without feeling any hunger pangs. Initially, I thought I had malaria or some other illness, and each time I went to the hospital, I always tested positive for the said malaria. Then I used insecticides, I slept under a mosquito net, still nothing. Month after month, I continued to feel sick.
It took a doctor telling me to track my illness before I realized that there was a pattern to it. I was relieved to discover it was just my period and the typical PMS most women experience. Naturally, I continued to function to the best of my ability but as time went on, like our people say, “water pass garri.” The headaches became consistent migraines; to eat a single banana became impossible without me throwing up, and then the fatigue set in.
I would be so tired that I’d then be unable to leave my bed to even drink water. Then, there was the state of my mental health. I thought I was just a moody person, but during those times, nothing in the world could make me cheerful. It was as if I was locked in a dark room inside my head. It was at that point I thought I should see a specialist. I went to a women’s health clinic. After several questions and because I have kept track of my illness pattern and how I felt during each episode, the doctor could give me a diagnosis. PMDD. Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder.
Until then, I had never heard of it, so I immediately went off to google. I read everything from reports to blogs kept by women with the same diagnosis. Although I was given medication to help me manage it (and so far, my life quality has improved so much!) what I am really grateful for is knowing that I wasn’t crazy, that something sinister wasn’t wrong with me, that there is a name for the illness.
“Being a woman is to learn to endure pain.” As women, we have heard that saying in different forms throughout our lives beginning from when we had our first periods. The cramps and the headaches, the fatigue, and the pain in your lower waist, the mood swings and cravings etc, it varies, but what happens when that pain becomes too much that you can no longer function?
So, is your PMS symptoms hindering you from going about your life? Is that threatening to explode in your head? Does the “mood swing” take you to dark places? I think it is time you see a specialist, there just might be something, you do not have to endure all that pain.