Ok, this is totally biased PMDD advice. I am one person. I am a stay at home mom who works from home full time with two special needs-ish (I say “ish” because we could have it much harder) boys, on my 3rd marriage (this one is a keeper, the guy who wrote this article about being a PMDD husband). But here is the best advice I can give to fellow PMDD sufferers, or as I like to call ourselves, PMDD Survivalists, in no particular order…(So I guess you’ll just have to read it all).

-When you wake up in the morning, before you speak to anyone outside of mumbling, take an inventory of yourself. How do you feel physically? Emotionally? Are you hungry? Are you angry? Are you energetic? Are you nauseous? Make a note of what you find. As hokey as this may sound to the inexperienced PMDD Survivalist, I spent many months skipping this essential part of my day and ended up in situations I could have avoided altogether had I taken the time to become totally self-aware.

With me so far? Great.

-Keep paying attention to those things throughout the day and choose your battles. As you move throughout your environment, notice the things (or people…) that trigger your anxiety or your other symptoms. Decide which ones will push you over the edge that day, the ones you can’t handle, notice them and then decide how to avoid them. Maybe that means you can’t take the kids to the movies and Dad has to. Maybe it means the kids need to build a fort and read 50 books for 5 hours if you give them a bunch of snacks and flashlights. Maybe it means you have to go to the gym right this minute, no matter what, before you do anything else. Notice the triggers and do your best to mold your day around them.

Even if you have triggers you can’t avoid, noticing them and knowing they are there, like in a minefield, you can detect them and breathe an extra breath and remind yourself you have to work with these people again tomorrow and maybe hold your tongue altogether, maybe write your comments down and share them in an email to colleagues/family/friends a few days later (half the time you won’t need to or want to by then).

Avoid caffeine, alcohol and avoid nicotine, UNLESS you smoke, in which case do not try to quit smoking (or quit drinking cold turkey if you are like a serious drinker) on PMDD Survival time (PMDD week). I’m no doctor and so all of this is just my opinion of course, but as an ex-smoker I stand behind this piece of advice. If you are a regular coffee drinker, try tea this week. Find one that has less caffeine or use a natural supplement that is proven to give you caffeine like energy without the crash. Here’s one I like.

Avoid red meat, processed foods like chips and hotdogs, sodas, and bloating foods like beans. Cramps will be less and your water retention will be less. Also take 2200 mg twice a day of Dong Quai, it’s a Chienese Herb you can get almost anywhere. Just take it on the bad crampy days, not every day. Again I am not a doctor.

Take Vitex (Chasteberry). I use 500 mg twice daily which is like twice the recommended amount… but hey, I don’t feel like I am going to kill people when I take that along with my vitamins.

Let people around you (especially at home) know that it’s PMDD Survival week. Talk about it openly. Mommy has PMDD. Mommy is stressed. Mommy works hard. Mommy needs some extra TLC this week. That can be whatever it means in your family. In mine, it’s less back talking, more help around the house and when I say I’m about to lose it, they scatter instead of push me to my edge.

This all came up today because it’s PMDD week and I remember waking up and feeling shaky and being angry and self mutilating and being irrational…and those are a thing of the past. You can control your PMDD symptoms. You can find what works for you to alleviate your symptoms. Your hormones are out of wack. Maybe its because of long term birth control use, maybe its because of stress, maybe its because of heredity…who knows why your hormones are out of balance.

But giving your body the best chance to balance itself out really works. My symptoms are better and better every single month, as long as I follow my own PMDD advice. When I don’t, typically out of laziness or out of thinking I’m finally better, I pay for it with a reoccurance of symptoms. Then I hop back on the PMDD Survivor train and take my supplements and avoid things that trigger me like a good girl.

This PMDD advice is what has worked for me, I only share it in case it may help someone else somewhere. If not, just know we are all in this together and here’s to hoping you find balance and peace.

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