PMS, PMDD, and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

I have been asked by a number of my female readers to share my experience with BPD in terms of how it becomes complicated during the week to ten days before my period, or PMS (premenstrual syndrome).

My description will actually take it up a notch, as I am also diagnosed with PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) a severe form of PMS.  So severe, in fact, that when I was younger and I'd often check into psychiatric hospital wards (both voluntarily and involuntarily), almost always I'd wake up the next morning after being admitted to find that my period started.  Coincidence? I think not.

When you read on about what symptoms many women experience before their period, it will be no surprise how incredibly complicated and intense a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder may feel during this time in her cycle.

In PMS, women can experience any or all of the following mental or behavioral symptoms. For the purpose of this article, I am not including physical symptoms.

PMS Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Aggression.
  • Withdrawal from family and friends.

PMS Emotional and Cognitive Symptoms
  • Depression, sadness, hopelessness.
  • Anger, irritability.
  • Anxiety.
  • Mood swings.
  • Decreased alertness, inability to concentrate.

(Sourced from WebMD)

More severe PMS symptoms may be diagnosed, as in my case, as PMDD. The symptoms include:

  • Have negative behavior and feelings of hopelessness.
  • Feel guilt and shame.
  • Feel they have lost control over their lives.
  • Believe they are mentally ill and fear the stigma of mental illness.
  • Have poor job performance or missed workdays during the premenstrual period.
  • Feel distanced from family and friends.

(Sourced from WebMD)

Not only that, but PMDD can exasperate existing mental health issues. Although BPD is not included in this list, I wonder if it is because the connection has not yet been made. I've personally noticed a correlation after tracking my cycle for half a year, and several other women with BPD have reported the same to me.

  • Mental health problems, such as depressionanxiety disordersbipolar disorder,schizophrenia, and eating disorders.

(Sourced from WebMD)

I highly recommend keeping track of when you get your period along with moods so that you can track a correlation, too.  Share it with your doctor or psychiatrist.  I use Google Calendar for mine. I just write "period" on the day that each cycle starts.

Then, at anytime, I can do a search on the word "period" and see when the last one was, see a history of what the intervals of time were between each cycle, and most importantly, whether my mood on a given day (severe emotion dysregulation, for example), but be explained at least in part by hormonal changes.

Knowing that my intense dysregulation is happening days before my period has helped me to cope with the distress significantly better. I'm able to remind myself of why it is likely happening, and how sure it is to pass. I also increase self-care and let others around me know what's going on.

Last week during a PMS/PMDD episode, I felt so incredibly dysregulated and shared example of this with my Twitter friends. I also shared with my significant other, who was very supportive and understanding. On the worst day, I noted that I was quite sure that my period would start the next day...and it did.

What else can you do besides get extra skillful by practicing Distress Tolerance and Self Soothing DBT skills? (BTW: Type those into the search box on the right for lots of ideas).

My psychiatrist recommended taking slightly more of the low dosage of an SSRI medication that I am on, just before my period. I haven't tried this yet.  Has anyone else taken this recommendation?  How has it worked for you?

Have you noticed a connection between PMS/PMDD and your symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder? What do you do to better cope?

Have you been diagnosed with PMDD? What suggestions have your doctor or psychiatrist made about that time of the month?

Thanks for reading.
More Soon.


  1. Im new but I would just like to say finding this site has been such a blessing...

    I was also diagnosed with pmdd and i also find that it SEVERLY exasperates my bpd symptoms.
    My doctor also suggested an increase in anti-depressants but also suggested trying deplin (which is a high dose of folic acid; called a medical food) two weeks before my period. This worked extremely well. Sadly though because it is a medical food, it is not covered by insurance and was rather expensive I had to stop taking it.
    The only other thing my dr suggested which also helped was a consistent exercise regimen and consistent clean eating; which did help but is sometimes easier said then done...

    1. I'm so glad to hear this was helpful to you Prasaada. I had not heard of using folic acid. Interesting. I may ask my psychiatrist about this. I'm glad to hear that it's working for you! Thank you for sharing. ♥

  2. A was dx with PMDD years before I was dx with BPD. I definitely notice an increase in my borderline symptoms the week before I start my period IF there is an unusual trigger. Otherwise, I just experience teariness, irritability, depression - more than the average PMS stuff but not at the level of being emotionally dysregulated where it causes problems in my relationships.

    Last week, I had a huge trigger (something that triggered childhood trauma) and the BPD symptoms flaired up and seriously caused problems in my relationship with my husband. Add to that the pain and fatigue of a migraine that day plus my PMS (PMDD) stuff and I flew over the edge!

    It is all so complex that it is hard to isolate one disorder's symptoms from another. For me they all affect the others which can be quite maddening at times.

    Great post. I can definitely relate. Thanks, Debbie.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience around PMDD and BPD. It sounds like you've closely monitored it, so you were able to give us a very good description of when it becomes more of a challenge, such as when you have a trigger.

      I agree that's it's all so complex that it can all seem intertwined.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. ♥

    2. I'm 36 and got my first period at thirteen and had PMDD from the first one I would go into violent rages over really small things-- someone took notice a nurse but-The matter was ignored until I was almost 30 my GYN then put me on prozac- I was also diagnosed with BPD fitting all criteria since about age 9- determined to be normal I avoided meds and treatment. I learned how to live with it much better now as an adult. today is so hard but I just didn't know why but my period is coming and its always hard at that time. But today -- it's- such a struggle PMDD makes BPD so much harder. I think professional help would be beneficial---

    3. Thank you so much for sharing your story Lamika.

  3. I know this is a bit of an old post, so I'm sorry to intrude, but as I was googling PMDD & BPD, I felt like reading your symptoms and relativity of it really hit close to home. I find my BPD symptoms CRIPPLING the week before my period. It is definitely the time when I self harm the most, feel the most suicidal, push people away, isolate myself,so on and so forth. It is truly one of the most terrible times in my life, especially when going through a complex amount of hardships at the moment. I just got through my period, and I amazingly have a day or so of moderate clear-headedness that feels amazing until triggered again and I think that the comfort of it all is knowing that you'll have a moment to breathe again soon.I'm so sorry that you feel these symptoms too. It has nearly killed me this month (literally, amazingly close suicide attempt) and I'm sorry, I just needed to vent to a stranger in the blog-o-sphere. It's comforting to read these things, and today, luckily, was that day of clarity for me. :)

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, and really glad you came upon this post today when you needed it most. You are not alone. Always reach out when you feel those kinds of feelings, and please let your doctor know about your increase in symptoms before your period. It could lead to getting you the help you need! It can also help you just to realize this. For me, it is what helps me get through those difficult PMS/PMDD days. I know it will soon pass. ♥

  4. This article helped me out a lot! I've been researching symptoms of PMS and BPD and seeing if they could connect and see what people do for them. For the past two years I've been recording my metal/physical state before during and right after my period, but I have never been diagnosed with anything. Its frustrating because I don't know what to do. I go through sever depression, anxiety, aggressive mood swings, spontaneous behavior, some right before my period, some during , and some just all the time. Its hard to handle some days. But I am a runner and I have found that that does help curve some of the depression and anxiety sometimes.

  5. This article was so nice for me to read... I'm glad someone knows what I'm going through! I got diagnosed with PMDD recently and it really makes dealing with my BPD symptoms so much harder.



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