PMDD Diaries: Prostap Month 2
I’m back with an update on my treatment for PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). If you’re new here you’ll want to catch up with the story so far:
- What is PMDD? My Experience
- PMDD Diaries: Getting a Diagnosis
- PMDD Diaries: 1 Year Update
- PMDD Diaries: Prostap Month 1
Content Warning: Discussion of weight gain, disordered eating and description of severe self harm.
Please skip this one if you need to.
I left off last time having just received my second Prostap injection. The first month was generally okay, until what I believe was the effects of the injection wearing off and my PMDD symptoms returning full throttle, particularly depression, anxiety and agitation.
Day 1 (I’m resetting the counter on the day of each injection) was rough, so I stressed to the nurses that I felt it was really important for my injections for be on time (every 28 days, max).
Roller coaster therapy!
The next day I had a trip to Alton Towers for Scarefest with my partner and two good friends we don’t see nearly enough of (hi Evan and Kira if you’re reading!). Theme park trips are one of my all time favourite things, so I pulled myself together enough to have a great time.
By day 3 I felt my depression lifting somewhat and was able to enjoy a second Scarefest outing with another friend. I was in quite a lot of pain all over afterwards, but I totally expected it because we were walking about for at least 8 hours and this was my second trip in a row. So, my bad there (but also no regrets!).
Day 7 saw… yet another Alton Towers excursion! This time with my mum. I forgot to take any painkillers or additional medication with me, so this visit really hurt. The 15 minute walk back to the carpark resulted in a few tears and I was completely wiped out the next day.
New side effects?
While all these day trips were a fantastic distraction and definitely helped my mood, I began to notice the prevalence of some distressing side effects.
Breast swelling, bloating and rapid weight gain – particularly around my lower belly.
I have a history of eating disorders and feeling completely out of control of these very common hormonal effects was really hard to accept. The way the weight was piling on, you’d have thought I was binge eating. Towards the end of November I had put on around a stone and felt terrible about it.
On day 11 I decided to rejoin the gym, having not gone on a regular basis since before the pandemic. I tried to be rational and use this as a way to feel healthy again, rather than an attempt at weight loss, but obviously I was kidding myself there. I ambitiously set a goal of 3 workouts a week and actually managed to stick to that for a while.
I noticed joint pain was becoming a noticeable and annoying symptom/side effect so I stuck to low impact cardio just to get my body used to moving with the extra weight and some resistance training to try and strengthen problem joints (I’m looking at you, knees).
On day 16 my partner and I went on a short city break to Edinburgh. I’d never been before and, while I suck at travelling, I was looking forward to seeing somewhere new.
I noticed the day before that I felt increasingly bloated despite not eating or drinking any differently, was very nauseous and having more frequent and painful headaches, so the 4-5 hour car journey was not a happy prospect. I tried ginger tea and OTC diuretics in attempt to quell the bloat but nothing was helping. At one point my lower abdomen was so swollen and hard that my friend had to help me do up the buckles on my shoes because I couldn’t bend to reach them which was an exceptional low point. It felt like walking around with a tire around my midrift.
Dr. Google informed me that there could be something going on liver wise, so I made an appointment to see my GP and get a liver function test and ultrasound done. The LFT did turn out to be slightly abnormal but not a big deal.
This is not okay
Then on day 19 my mental health plummeted.
Depression, anxiety, paranoia, dissociation, mood swings and suicidal thoughts; the whole gang had arrived.
At the time I couldn’t pinpoint a single trigger for the severity of what was going on in my head. Sure, the bloating and weight stuff was very upsetting, but surely not enough to send me here?
I bawled myself to sleep that night.
On day 20 I had one of the worst mental health episodes I’ve had in years.
I have very little recollection of the exact events that led up to what happened as I am very prone to dissociation when distressed as it is, and it is usually in this state that I self harm. And boy, did I do a number on myself this time. People often struggle to believe the damage I can do to myself with a blade and not feel or remember it happening, and to be honest I don’t blame them.
I had a virtual appointment with my therapist (which was scheduled anyway) during which I became aware that I was rapidly bleeding through my dressings, bandages, clothes, blanket… and it was pouring. Shit.
I decided to do the grown up thing and attempt to attend a minor injuries unit, which in my area you have to call 111 first to be referred. On describing my injuries, the operator said she was sending an ambulance as I had nicked a vein and the blood loss was… becoming a real problem. Shit, shit, shit.
The ambulance crew were very kind, examined me, took some photos and off we went to A&E. I was struggling to stay awake, but the paramedic sitting with me kept me engaged. I explained that I was essentially in a menopausal state and my head was allover the place; she said she could relate entirely, we even had a morbid giggle about it.
I lost track of the hours I was at the hospital but in the end I was patched up with 44 sutures (which I think is my ‘record’) and discharged after midnight.
However, while waiting to be seen I started to have lower abdominal cramping. Given my bloating situation, nausea and the fact I hadn’t eaten that day, I ignored it up until a trip to the toilet and… oh. I was bleeding. And not just from my arm.
What a fucked up eureka moment.
My period would normally be accompanied by a feeling of relief, but this one did not. The terrible mood and the bleeding itself continued for over a week, which was not normal for me.
I was in a state of despair; Given how little bleeding and now comparatively stable my moods had been during the first month had me feeling pretty positive (up until my injection appointment was delayed).
If I was going to continue having period like bleeding preceded by the old debilitating mental health symptoms… then what’s the point?
I spent the next week heavily sedated by prescribed medication, and then to add insult to injury (literally) my stitches got infected. Fantastic.
If you have been affected by any of the topics in this post, please stay safe.
If you are in the UK please call 111 for advice or 999 in an emergency.
- International Association for Premenstrual Disorders
- National Association for Premenstrual Syndromes
Enjoying this content? Please consider supporting beingthelittlespoon.com using the Ko-Fi button below!