Voices Across America

PMDD is serious and misunderstood

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State: New York
Congressional District: NY18


Endocrine Disease, Mental Health, Reproductive Disease

Issues and Challenges

MaryGrace has encountered: Disability, Invisible Illness, Underserved Community

My Story

Carla's Story:
My friend’s daughter, Carla, got her period in 5th grade followed by severe cramps, heavy bleeding, binge eating, crying, anxiousness, sadness and more. Carla's symptoms only worsened year after year and no one knew what was happening. Carla later developed body dysmorphia, extreme mood swings, deep depression, self-hatred, and severe lower abdominal pain that often left her home from school. Several doctors later and medication for PMS, depression and anxiety disorder, Carla had no relief. She was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and bipolar. She felt like she was a "weirdo" and “off to the side.” She accepted that she would never have friends or ever feel better again as she isolated herself for years and did not participate in her life.

My friend (Carla's mom) joined groups online to find out if other parents were dealing with this. A community was found that led her to get connected with other doctors. Carla finally got diagnosed with PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) which is often misunderstood as being severe PMS or a bad period.

PMDD's impact is profound and cannot be ignored or overstated. It is a life destroying disorder. Carla started slowly getting better by taking an antihistamine 2 weeks per month. Carla is now a sophomore in college thriving both academically and socially. She finally feels like a part of life again.

My Motivation and Inspiration

I would like to see PMDD education be included in health classes in school. We need to help normalize that PMDD is not just a "heavy period" or simply "bad PMS." Seeing one of my best friends suffer watching her daughter feeling hopeless, debilitated and depressed the majority of her life for six years, has motivated me to learn more. Carla's story inspired me get involved and talk to anyone with a tween girl about PMDD. Having a platform like this can help give all those suffering with PMDD a voice that we need to talk openly about this with our doctors, communities and families.

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