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This is a copy of a letter from a patient to her former doctor. I commend the author and contributor Amanda for speaking up and advocating on her own behalf and ultimately advancing the cause of educating physicians about premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Doctor,

I was a patient of your office for about 14 years which included delivery of my two daughters in 2001 and 2004. I last saw you in the spring/summer of 2013. I had come to you for a consultation and to discuss my request for a hysterectomy/oophorectomy. I typed out a list of how my symptoms of PMDD have affected my life for the past 15 plus years. My symptoms were debilitating and affected my life in every way. For two weeks out of the month it affected every relationship (work, children, spouse, family, and friends). I endured impulsive behaviors, suicidal thoughts, hopelessness, self-harm, hating myself, etc. I discussed past treatments, consequences and multiple medications for the past 17 years. Nothing was working anymore and my PMDD was getting worse. I never had the physical effects of PMDD or had bad, heavy periods. After you read my list, you looked at me and said you would never give me a hysterectomy for this and for those reasons. You said I didn’t have heavy bleeding, fibroids, etc. You said that I just need to remember that it’s “PMS” and remember what I was dealing with. You didn’t even acknowledge and address it as PMDD. You didn’t believe me or take it seriously. I said if it was as easy as changing my thoughts, then I wouldn’t be in your office and left. I left your office in tears and felt hopeless. I never wanted to come back and never did.

I am writing you almost six months post operation of a hysterectomy and bi-lateral oophorectomy. I am 37 now and am on an estrogen patch. I have never felt better in my life. I knew that the surgery was my last resort and only hope. I took Lupron injections for six months prior to surgery to ensure that this would end my PMDD. As a doctor and a woman who has dedicated her life to women’s health, I feel you didn’t take me or my issue seriously and ultimately failed me. I have learned through my PMDD treatment there are doctors who don’t even believe this exists and/or don’t even know about it.

I have been active in Facebook groups for PMDD since they started them and they have been my only support as I do not know anyone personally that suffers from it. They have been wonderful to relate to and to know that I am not alone. I have attached this letter from the NAPMDD foundation. They have a great website of resources for the doctors and for the patients. They have asked members of the association to provide the letter to any OB/GYN’s and women’s health services. Most women are self-diagnosed that have PMDD. They are very often misdiagnosed by practitioners for years as having Bi-Polar, Anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, etc. I was fortunate enough to have a therapist who specialized in women’s studies to diagnosis this after years of treatment and wrong diagnoses. I hope that by reading these letters and possibly checking out this website that you can have a different outlook on this disorder, which is said to affect 8% of women.

Sincerely,

Amanda

 

This piece is copyrighted by the author Amanda.

Twilah H is a recovering patient. She studied Philosophy with a concentration in ethics at the University of Kansas. Through writing, meditation, relationship building, and quilt creation she has found a place of peace.

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