My PMDD is Under Control

 |  Personal, PMDD

For the uninitiated and new readers amongst you, PMDD is an extreme version of PMS/PMT. It can cause cyclical feelings of anxiety, depression, anger and even suicidal thoughts, as well as the physical symptoms typically associated with the menstrual cycle.

It’s been over a year since I last talked about my PMDD. When I lost wrote, I confessed that I felt like I’d become consumed by this disorder – the one thing I’d hoped to avoid above all else. However, after a rocky year or so of trials and tribulations, I finally feel like I have my PMDD under control (for the most part). Since that blog post, I have tried:

Tracking and Not Tracking Cycles

I became worried that my compulsive tracking — counting ahead based on a typical cycle and shading in the calendar when I expected to be sad or angry — was putting me on edge. I worried that I was expecting to be angry, or sad, or paranoid on X day and thus causing a self-fulfilling prophecy. I stopped tracking altogether but then ended up waking up with anxiety, or full of rage, and being unable to figure out why which just made me feel crazy (until I remembered).

I seem to have found a happy medium whereby I track my cycle start time each month and extreme symptoms in an app, but don’t cross-reference or look ahead to see where I expect to be in my cycle. This gives me a point of reference but no doom-mongering.

Consistent, Varied Exercise

I’m usually active in one way or another but I have found that I have my best months when I am both consistent in my workouts and do more than one activity, e.g. lifting and running in the same month. Months where I’ve run the furthest I find my cycle the most bearable, but then I have always found my mental health directly correlates to the amount of cardio based exercise I do.

During February and early April when I was not able to do as much as I would like (half term and Easter holidays respectively) it didn’t take long for the activity gap to hit me.

Vitamin Supplementation

I read a guest post by Beckie Takacs via the Gia Allemand Foundation (PMDD charity) in October 2017 about the supposed benefits of potassium supplementation in the treatment of PMDD. The piece struck a cord, and given my history of hyperemesis during pregnancies and probably execessive alcohol use, it wasn’t that unlikely that I had a low-level potassium deficiency. However, I got in touch with the author of the post and although mostly common sense stuff, the detailed protocol she sent me made reference to the “potential health hazards of wireless devices and smart meters” which immediately put me off; I’ve no interest in tinfoil hat science.

Nevertheless, my sister started a lower dose potassium supplement schedule and mentioned some relief of some of her pre-menstrual symptoms, so I started taking 300mg (half Takacs’ recommended dose) on an every-other-day basis, as well as magnesium, which also reportedly improves PMS. (Magnesium is also recommended for runners and those taking part in regular exercise.) My temper and anxiety/paranoia symptoms have improved since starting supplementation.


Last, but definitely not least: I gave up alcohol again.

After my brother’s suicide last year put me in a downwards spiral with my drinking, despite my best efforts to “be chill about it“, it wasn’t long before the casual on-off drinking became multiple triple vodka shots on a Friday night “just because”. I hit rock bottom again in mid-December and crushed by the weight of my own mental health I knew I had two choices: give in to the paranoia and anxiety and voices that told me I was shit and stupid and useless and fat and unloveable and just throw myself off a building, OR stop being a whiny dick and make the sensible decision to stop drinking.

Obviously choice A was no choice at all, so giving up it was. Just like the first time I stopped, this had an almost immediate affect on my anxiety-related symptoms.

And so here I am. I am not miraculously cured of all ills, & I can’t be sure that this isn’t all some massive coincidence, but each subsequent step against this debilitating disorder has given me back a piece of myself and some semblance of control. That’s better than nothing.

Lead photo by Hoàng Duy Lê

Jem Turner +44(0)7521056376

14 comments so far

  1. Kirsten said:

    It’s not hard to get consumed by a disease or disorder. Congrats on feeling like you have your PMDD under control and on giving up alcohol. I suffer from PMS symptoms that I would say are moderate and would love to try potassium supplements but read diabetics can sometimes have high potassium levels. I guess I will have to ask my doctor about that one.

    • Jem said:

      Thanks :)

      Luckily I’ve had a lot of tests in the process of getting my PMDD diagnosis & know that I’m physically fit and healthy so wasn’t at all worried about supplements but I’d always recommend seeking medical advice from a trusted GP or other doctor before taking any new meds/supplements.

  2. Beckie Takacs said:

    Whatever you think of me personally, I’m glad the protocol in whatever form you used it was helpful. I appreciate you getting the word out to others.

    • Jem said:

      Hi Beckie, thanks for the comment. I don’t have any opinion on you as I don’t know you, I just disagree with the recommendations on wireless/smart devices. It’s nothing personal nor a reflection on you.

  3. Rangana said:

    Can you kindly forward me the protocol that Beckie sent. I am also interested in the tinfoil hat as EMF science is getting refined all the more.

    Can you please share her email? How can I contact her?


  4. ginger said:

    I am so glad you found some stability….Having PMDD I have been where you have been, and am beginning again to get a hold. I found you while searching about Potassium…..All that I read before struck a chord. Will you please forward me the protocol as well, along with what you reduced your intake to. I am concerned about taking to much as well.

    Thank you

  5. Beck said:

    Thank you for sharing your story, I can certainly relate. I would love to see the protocol if someone wouldn’t mind forwarding it on to me.

    Many thanks!


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