According to the Wikipedia entry for PMDD, it is defined as severe PMS leading up to the menstrual cycle as well as a few days after menstruation has begun.
The main emotional symptoms are listed as:
- feelings of deep sadness or despair, and suicide ideation
- feelings of intense tension or anxiety
- increased intense sensitivity to rejection or criticism
- panic attacks
- rapid and severe mood swings, bouts of uncontrollable crying
- lasting irritability or anger, increased interpersonal conflicts; typically sufferers are unaware of the impact they have on those close to them
- apathy or disinterest in daily activities and relationships
- difficulty concentrating
- chronic fatigue
- food cravings or binge eating
- insomnia or hypersomnia; sleeping more than usual, or (in a smaller group of sufferers) being unable to sleep
- feeling overwhelmed or feelings of being out of control
- increase or decrease in sex drive
- increased need for emotional closeness
Sufferers may have many of these symptoms or one. This is an issue close to my heart as once a month my world would turn upside down. I felt like I was possessed by something I had no control of. It impacted on my husband and children and friends and family and relationships. It impacted on how I saw the world around me. It was a thick emotional filter that existed between myself and the rest of the world.
How Can PMDD Be Managed?
I had tried herbs and vitamins and breathing and journalling and was still plagued by this ‘demon’. I took the flower essence She Oak for many months, and although my cycle regulated and became much shorter (from ~45 days to ~30, an 11 day period to 7 days), I still had the severe PMS which I came to understand as PMDD.
I asked a wise woman for her advice on how to handle it emotionally/energetically. Her first suggestion was to de-stress energetically, step one for any emotional issue! However I was using EFT and de-stressing constantly through this emotional storm and feeling as though I was using a bucket with holes in it to bail out a sinking boat. I wasn’t getting anywhere fast!
Her second suggestion was to treat this PMDD part of me as a separate part of me. A part of me who is needing much support and assistance and exploding in rage and emotion once a month, perhaps because of unmet needs. If I gave attention to this aspect throughout the cycle, would ‘she’ no longer need to release fury once a month? It is called the Aspect Model in Energy EFT.
Using The Aspect Model for PMDD
So I decided to track my progress through one menstrual cycle to see what presented and what the PMDD Aspect was going through. (CD = Cycle Day)
The PMDD aspect just wants a break, and is frantic to get all of the unfinished things done around the house so she doesn’t have to see them (and be overwhelmed at PMS time). I decided to paint my laundry, and gave objects a permanent ‘home’ that needed them. I also gave things we had no use for to my local op shop to declutter.
The PMDD aspect wants to cry and has a heavy heart. I had noticed a tension and sensitivity in general on this day. My husband was frustrating me. I tapped for “needs to cry”. I reassessed the PMDD aspect and felt anger and tapped for “the aspect is angry”. Once the anger had been cleared I felt the PMDD aspect was confused and overwhelmed and tapped for this. When I asked her what it was that she needed, I felt that she was needing: a friend, love, support, and feels like she has none of it. My husband was distant emotionally and criticising things and it was hitting a nerve in the sense of not meeting any of the PMDD aspect’s needs. It made it more obvious to me that I needed to seek out what I needed in a positive way – for example, ask for a hug and initiating a conversation instead of getting annoyed and feeling unloved.
The PMDD aspect is happy, just needs sleep.
The PMDD aspect needs reassurance. I tapped for “the aspect is okay”. I was then given the impression (mental image) that the aspect could march in and take control of everything and get things tackled very quickly. As though it was an issue if things weren’t under control. I tapped for “the aspect doesn’t need to be in control to be safe”.
The PMDD aspect is frustrated about mess with her childrens’ toys, so I decided to sit down with my children (and husband) to work out how to manage the toys and what would happen if they weren’t tidied, rather than the mess being my responsibility all the time and causing emotional stress. The PMDD aspect is relieved that there are now rules in place. The PMDD aspect is worried about the period being on its way in the next week or so. I tapped for “the aspect thinks she will lose her cool”.
The PMDD aspect needs to have a cry, and focus her attention inward. I tapped for “The aspect wants to cry” and “the aspect wants to focus within”. I also had a bath and took time for myself and gave myself permission to focus on me and me alone.
The PMDD aspect is highly annoyed at her husband. I tapped for “The aspect thinks her husband is useless”. (sorry honey – this process was well before we had worked through our issues with intimacy)
My period started the following day. I expected to feel far more out of control than I did at this stage. It was significant progress. I recognised each feeling as it arose and gave it the attention that it needed.
Life After PMDD?
It has been several cycles for me since then. I don’t consider myself to have PMDD anymore. There are emotions that surface prior to a period (which I still call PMS due to the timing of when they appear). However they are MUCH more subtle and I no longer feel out of control or possessed by them. I am aware of the emotions, not driven by them. These emotions are healing opportunities that I welcome – each cycle revealing different issues to give attention to and shift beyond. I use EFT for these issues as arise and still occasionally ask the PMS aspect what she needs. She is quietly content most of the time these days. 🙂
Giving ourselves (our aspects!) the opportunity to express what we need and want for balance and happiness is so important. The answers are there within us and just need to be given permission to come forward and be heard.