by Annika Waheed
*trigger warning re: suicidal ideation*
My name is Annika and I am a non clinical lecturer
for the NHS. I am 35 years old and I have had a
hormonal imbalance/PCOS since the age of 19.
I struggled with my weight due to insulin resistance my whole life and I took the decision to have weight loss surgery 2.5 years ago after constantly going to the gym and never losing more than 1 stone. After surgery, I lost 6 stones in 6 months and my periods regulated. Having my periods regulated was something which I wanted to achieve from the surgery. However, for 2 years after that, although I was elated that I was physically fit and healthy, my mental health deteriorated each month.
'I was blindly unaware of my symptoms
being PMS, let alone PMDD'
I thought my low moods, depression and anxiety was due to me adjusting to my weight loss and body dysmorphia. Each month my symptoms would worsen. I suffered from brain fog and crying spells which eventually turned into hysterically crying for at least 8 days prior to my period. I doubted myself and struggled every month.
In the duration of this I was fortunate enough to change careers and become a lecturer for the NHS after teaching in education for 10 years. I had imposter syndrome month after month and would sabotage myself because of my clumsiness, brain fog, low moods, lethargy, zero concentration and rage. My God the rage was unbearable.
I eventually came across PMDD 8 months ago and I began tracking my symptoms , symptoms which had been so extreme at times, I had PTSD and recalled my toughest months as if it was yesterday. I once suffered symptoms for 56 days until my period came so I didn’t find it difficult to track them. I finally surrendered to having PMDD in August 2019 where I had cried hysterically for 2 weeks when on vacation in the French Riviera. No matter what I did whilst I was on vacation I was a wreck. Moody, depressed, crying, feeling helpless, so uncomfortable in my skin and suicidal.
Although I experience suicidal thoughts each month, I was able to persevere. Upon my return I decided to inform my GP of my symptoms, however, the support offered was limited so I continued to persevere. Two months later, after reading about PMDD guidelines to take SSRI’s, I decided to visit my GP again. I knew my symptoms were worsening, winter was in full flow and it was exacerbating my PMDD symptoms and I was feeling suicidal. I was in denial for so long even when I was on medication and I just wanted to die. Even though I was taking medication, I could not cope with my symptoms and I attempted to end my life end in November 2019.
'I could no longer persevere and lost all
strength to continue. I could no longer run away
from myself, escape the noise in my mind
and I just wanted it to end'
After taking the overdose I immediately felt sick and vomited which shook me out of my trance. I went to my sister screaming "I took an overdose" and I wanted to die. I luckily vomited out all the tablets and was okay. My sister held me the whole night where I sobbed hysterically until I slept from exhaustion. My family were finally aware of the severity of the condition as I was never fully honest about it before this - I downplayed it. I think as women we do that as we are incredibly strong, but it did me no favours. I have managed to stabilise somewhat with SSRI’s, however, I still have to continue to persevere and I still continue fighting each month.
I wanted to share my story in order for women and people alike, to understand that you’re not alone and that even when we can’t see any glimmer of hope, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. It’s never always going to be rainbows and unicorns, but what we become is the epitome of hope and strength.
[Many thanks to our guest blogger, Annika Waheed. Annika helps raise awareness for PMDD on instagram. If you'd like to see her honest videos and info please click here.]
Read previous blogs
Blog 01: The awful PMDD thought train
Blog 02: PMDD and inability to function
Read next Blog 04. PMDD: My three pets hates
This blog site is hosted by Dr Lynsay Matthews, Research Fellow and PMDD researcher at the University of Birmingham.
If you'd like to share your story, drop Lynsay an email at email@example.com
If you'd like to hear about or be involved in Lynsay's research see her research page ⬇
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