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).
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.
PMS Behavioral Symptoms:
- Withdrawal from family and friends.
- Depression, sadness, hopelessness.
- Anger, irritability.
- Mood swings.
- Decreased alertness, inability to concentrate.
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 depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder,schizophrenia, and eating disorders.
(Sourced from WebMD)
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.