50 Women, 50 Interviews: What I Learned About Women With PMDD & Why You Should Care

I had a goal! 

50 interviews with 50 women who are either self, or professionally diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: sometimes called hormonal or reproductive depression.

I spoke with women from 21 to 64 years of age.

I spoke with women in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, and all over the US.

I spoke with women who had never received any type of treatment, women who had tried countless medications and hormonal therapies, women who had dabbled with alternative therapies including acupuncture, women who had tried out hypnotherapy, and women who had even undergone complete hysterectomies or were in the chemical menopause testing phase before a hysterectomy. 

I spoke with women who had been suffering severely since 13 years of age, and those who never experienced any PMDD-related challenges until after child-bearing.

I spoke with women who had amazing interactions with healthcare providers to those who were told that what they were experiencing was just in their heads.

Here’s what I found:

Women with PMDD are NOT lazy, hypochondriacs, attention-seekers, or underachievers.

ON the contrary! They are intelligent, capable, and ambitious women.

Who would prefer not to burden or be dependent on ANYONE around them … AND in an ideal world, would much rather not even bring attention to their condition at all. They are talented in their professions, in their hobbies and volunteer pursuits, and with their families and friends. 

They are not sad! 

By nature, the majority of these women have very happy, upbeat, cheery dispositions. Which is why the sudden monthly onset of depression, hopelessness, and often suicidal ideation they experience is so confusing and disturbing.

They are not one-size-fits all.

And I mean that in every possible way. Of course they look different, smile different, and feel different … and just as importantly, the interaction of hormones to neurons in their bodies is so different that their response to medications and treatments also varies in dozens of different ways.

They know awareness is king!

They know that it’s impossible to even begin to stop the suffering, until we first stop the ridiculous ignorance that this condition even exists. Awareness of all women (all human beings really) and certainly awareness in the medical community is desperately needed!

They are often diagnosed initially by someone who loves them.

A close friend or family member can often see the cyclical pattern of their symptoms even before they can. Which is why it cannot just be women themselves who have awareness of this. So please re-read the previous point;). 

They know anti-depressents are only a bandaid.

Only something to take the edge off until better and more consistent treatments become mainstream! BUT, they are grateful for the relief provided by these medications … that is, when they can actually find one (or a combination of ones) that works for their body make-up.

They are often misdiagnosed as Bi-Polar or with general anxiety or depression.

This is gradually changing, but in the past has not been customary for most doctors to first look for connections between a woman’s symptoms and her menstrual cycle. 

They are deeply grateful for doctors and medical researchers!

Or at least, those medical Professionals who actually take the time to care that this condition (and many other hormone-based conditions) rob women of much of their lives … as they sometimes spend half of a life suffering with actual symptoms, and then the other half picking up the pieces and living in deep shame, regret, and fear of the following month and each month after. 

And certainly the medical professionals who care, that there are women out there who ultimately END THEIR LIVES due to this confusing and often tortuous condition.

I could continue on and on about the many things that these women are and the many strong attributes they have, but I will end by saying:

They are also incredibly generous!

Generous in their desire to share their highs & lows, wins & losses, and talents & abilities in the hopes of helping other women suffer less than they themselves have had to suffer.

And why should you care? 

First of all, PMDD is just one of many debilitating hormone-based conditions. There are a myriad of others, including PME, PMS, PND, PCOS, Endometriosis, Chronic Fatigue, a myriad of thyroid disorders (such as Hashimoto’s), and even Fibromyalgia.

These conditions are real, and countless women are suffering … often living a shadow of a life because of them.

AND well, I’m guessing you have a sister, wife, friend, daughter, niece, aunt, girlfriend (or all of the above) that is one of these women. Or may be in the future. 

So, if you are a woman, love a woman, or even just know a woman … help a woman out by becoming more aware of these possible conditions and what you can do to support her in becoming the amazing human being she was still always meant to be.

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6 responses to “50 Women, 50 Interviews: What I Learned About Women With PMDD & Why You Should Care”

  1. Amanda Grant Avatar

    Absolutely beautifully written! It’s extraordinary ✨ honestly I’m lost for words how you’ve captured it so eloquently and beautifully, it’s stunning!! I’m in awe! Well done you, you should be really proud of yourself because I am! And it was an absolute pleasure to share my story with a you, a likeminded individual 💛 sending you all my love and all the best xxxxxxx

    1. nanci.dueck@gmail.com Avatar

      Wow, Amanda, that is extremely kind! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I’m so happy to hear that you felt well represented. Definitely my ultimate goal👌👌.

  2. Brook Lyons Avatar
    Brook Lyons

    Thank you so much for taking the time to capture our stories! I absolutely enjoyed reading this article and I am thankful you reached out and included me in part of your journey for information. My husband was in absolute awe of the article and said “she nailed it”. Thank you again for your time and energy in raising awareness.

    1. nanci.dueck@gmail.com Avatar

      Knowing that I represented not just myself but ALL of you wonderful ladies is the best compliment I could receive☺️ Thanks to you and your husband for your thoughtful feedback!!

  3. Jade Hollyfield Avatar
    Jade Hollyfield

    Nanci, I can’t thank you enough for this heartfelt blog you wrote. You articulated this so well it really touched my heart. It was truly a blessing speaking with you about this and you understanding exactly how I feel what I go through as well as others.
    May our Lord continue to use you for His Glory!

    1. nanci.dueck@gmail.com Avatar

      Thank you Jade! It really was an absolute pleasure to get to speak with you as well. You are truly a delightful person!

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