Yes, I’m still here :) ..and I’m very well!

by msjekyllhyde

Hi, a note so that you know I am still here. I now log-in only intermittently to approve comments (thank you for your kind words about this blog) – because I don’t want to think about these topics every day, now that they are like a distant bad dream!

It’s now been around 2 years and 6 months since the hysterectomy for PMDD. I’m now 38. Nearly every day I give thanks for my balanced mental state.

Here’s how I’m getting on:

  • I choose to have 6 monthly HRT implants of estrogen and testosterone. These work well for me, as I can forget about it. The implants are inserted into my buttock (or stomach if one prefers).
  • The 5 minute procedure is only very slightly uncomfortable, local anaesthetic is given, and a stitch or two. As I’m in the UK, I get these on the NHS – I pay 2 x prescription charges.
  • Once I feel the implants wearing off, at around 5 and a half months, I use HRT gels (applied to the skin), until the new implants kick in. I get the gels on prescription.
  • I have to get a blood test done 10 days before each new set of implants, to check that my hormone levels have dropped. As I’m in the UK, I don’t pay for this. This is done by either the nurse at my GP surgery, or at a drop-in clinic at the hospital where I have the implants.
  • I choose to take 10mg of citalopram daily (an SSRI anti-depressant), I break the tablet in half and take 5mg in the morning, and 5mg in the afternoon.
  • I’m taking it because I read in an excellent book about depression, ‘Depressive Illness, The Curse of the Strong‘ by Dr. Tim Cantopher, that if one has had severe mood swings / depression, it could be useful to reset serotonin levels by taking an SSRI for a long period of around a year (note: the UK’s NHS now suggest a 2 year period).
  • I have to break the tablet in half, as 10mg is the lowest dose available to me. This dose is usually prescribed for anxiety. (Note: in the UK, the NHS will usually prescribe 20mg for depression, as a start – this was too much for me).
  • I’ve experimented with the dose, and I feel great on this amount. I figured this out myself.
  • I am a highly creative person (including professionally), and my creativity is not stifled / reduced on this dose. I once feared it might be on an SSRI, and I think it would be if I took over 10mg daily.
  • If / when I try stopping the citalopram, I’ll post here about how this works out.

I don’t drink alcohol at all. I now rarely miss it. I gave it up completely as I found that even say half a glass of wine had a negative impact on my mood, the next day. Looking back, I would have been wise to have given it up completely in my 20’s, in terms of it worsening my PMDD symptoms.

In the last six months I have massively improved my diet.

  • In the throes of PMDD, I couldn’t always envisage myself wanting to live long enough to make it into old age. But post-op I can, and I want this body to last me as long as possible!
  • I attend Weight Watchers nearly every week (and stay to the meeting) – this works very well for me, and I’ve lost over 2 stone. It hasn’t been a big battle this time, as post-op, I very rarely have all-consuming urges to binge on chocolate and sweet carbs.
  • I have never felt better in my body than I do at this weight, it’s an absolute joy! And adds to my happiness.
  • I am the slimmest I’ve been since I was twelve (note: I started my periods aged twelve).
  • The weight loss has made me look younger and of course fitter, which is great. I felt very frumpy for a while after the hysterectomy, perhaps because I hadn’t yet come to terms with my new state.
  • My interest in clothes is completely re-ignited. I’ve given bags and bags of now-too-big clothes to friends/charity.
  • My BMI is within the (very) healthy range.
  • My over-eating was emotional / comfort / boredom related. Now I eat mindfully.
  • I’ve bought a Nutri Bullet blender, so I can make juices and smoothies. I’ve never owned something like this before, I cannot recommend this product highly enough! No, I’m not on commission 😉

I send you my best wishes if you are struggling with depression, particularly hormone-related depression / PMDD.

(Updated 9 Dec 2014)