How do depression and PMS symptoms contribute to one another and what can I do about it?

I struggle with depression as well as pretty intense mood swings throughout the month. I experience highs where I feel amazing and energetic and then lows where I lack focus, energy, and generally have a more dark outlook on my life. How can I live a more balanced life?

Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

That's some tough stuff to be dealing with.  

Have you ever tracked those highs and lows?  I often have clients graph out those changes to see what kind of patterns show up.  You obviously are very insightful already and maybe having a visual of what you know can help you prepare for some of those lows.  

Another curiosity I have is if you have seen your primary provider about what your body is going through.  It's hard to give individualized recommendations without knowing more about your symptoms, but reaching out to your doctor could be a way to advocate for yourself.  Do you ever feel manic when you have a lot of energy?  How long do the "highs" last?  Do your highs interfere with sleep?  And what impact do your lows have on your functioning?  Sometimes I have clients get checked out by a doctor to rule out physical issues that could be underlying the intensity of their symptoms.  PMS definitely fits in this category, but it's always possible there's some other imbalance (e.g., lack of certain vitamins, thyroid dysfunction, etc.).  Your doctor could even help collaborate with you to find some methods to deal with the depression/PMS.

With the research we have on hormones and their impact on the body, it's pretty crystal clear that exercise has a huge benefit across all levels of emotional dysregulation.  It has immediate positive impacts in the brain and body, and keeps the body running efficiently.  Same with sleep--it's one of our most underrated functions.  If you think of it like a house, your foundation represents those basic functions.  If your foundation is shaky, it's going to be tough to support the rest of the house.  Exercise is hard to push through, but it's really just those first 10-15 minutes that feel the worst.  And you don't have to start somewhere super intense--even walking is wonderful for the body.

Hope this helps a bit!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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