Premenstrual Suffering

Yesterday we laughed a lot. We held hands while taking a walk around the park and had conversations that felt warm and connecting.

But, today… tension and tears and it feels like our relationship is suddenly falling apart. On top of that, I can hardly fit into my pants I’m so bloated and every person I interact with fills me with anger.

Sound familiar? For women with severe PMS or PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) this sudden change happens cyclically, usually around ovulation. The feelings of despair and disconnection increase during the luteal phase and then dissipate after a day or two of bleeding. For some, symptoms include panic attacks, urges to self harm, and even thoughts of suicide.

When we are in the middle of our PMDD symptoms, life can feel overwhelmingly chaotic and jarringly hopeless. And it can be incredibly difficult to separate reality from distorted PMDD thinking. For example, a friend may say something benign, but due to our current hormone state, our minds may twist the words and trick us into thinking something that is absolutely untrue, such as “I am horrible and all my friends just feel burdened by me” or “she hates me, she is just pretending to care.” We then tend to start acting on those untrue thoughts by isolating, picking fights with our partners/friends, and being extremely unkind to ourselves which gets us stuck in a cycle of shame.

Research shows that most women who have PMDD actually have normal hormone levels, but their brain reacts to those hormones in abnormal ways. It’s like the body is allergic to estrogen and/or progesterone and starts attacking us when those hormones go through the normal cyclical fluctuations that lead to menstrual bleeding.

After spending almost a decade of fighting through my own PMDD symptoms, I finally found relief and healing from a combination of therapy, yoga, and acupuncture. This led me to become a therapist specializing in holistic care for women’s wellness and suicide prevention. I believe that no woman or girl should have to deal with these sorts of challenges on her own.

Watch the video below to learn about my treatment approach and please don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation if you’d like some support on your journey towards healing and wholeness.

Jenni Kay Long, RYT, LCSW, ADS, is a holistic psychotherapist who integrates relational counseling with auricular acupuncture, trauma-sensitive yoga, and mindfulness. As a PMDD survivor, she is passionate about women's reproductive wellness and specializes in working with issues such as PMS/PMDD, perinatal and postpartum struggles, anxiety and panic disorders, and complex trauma. She is a clinical suicidologist, a certified domestic violence advocate, and is certified in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Jenni Kay received her Master's degree for clinical social work from Bryn Mawr College, her Classical Yoga Teacher certification from YogaLife Institute, and her AcuWellness certification from the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association. In her free time, she loves hiking in the mountains, writing, and creating modern embroidery projects.