Between 3 and 8% of women have PMDD, a severe form of PMS with depression-like symptoms.
"For the three days leading up to my period, I was suicidal, anxious and irritable. I'd have fits of rage; I felt unglued. Then, I'd get my period and I'd be fine," says Jennifer, who asked us not to use her last name. Her psychotherapist suggested PMDD two years ago as a possible cause for her mood swings.
PMDD is like PMS's bigger, badder sister. It's another way of saying very severe PMS, says Dr. Samantha Saffy, a psychiatrist in Vancouver. In order to get a PMDD diagnosis, you need to experience the disorder's depression-like symptoms—mood swings, irritability, anger, feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, insomnia and a decreased interest in usual activities—more months than not. They should occur in the week leading up to menses, then improve after your period starts.
It can be difficult to get a diagnosis. Jennifer had been to three physicians with no luck. But just knowing PMDD exists might be helpful. "Often, being aware of your condition through education can help ease symptoms," says Dr. Tanya Tulipan, a psychiatrist specializing in reproductive mental health in Halifax. "If you know that certain days of the month will be more challenging for you, you can plan around them to minimize stress. Healthy habits such as getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly and eating healthily are known to ease symptoms, too." Cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness can also help, but "if none of these strategies works, your family doctor can suggest an antidepressant that you can take continuously or even just for the week that you have your symptoms," says Dr. Tulipan.
Crunchy-Top Blueberry Muffins
Photography by Mark Burstyn Image by: Crunchy-Top Blueberry Muffins <br /> Photography by Mark Burstyn
We've got something for all tastes – and knitters of all skill levels – with these timeless knitting patterns.
This Alpaca headband's soft, thick yarn and easy pattern make it a satisfying quick knit. The headband is designed using a simple two-by-two rib pattern with a unique twist. And it's so practical as an ear warmer, you might be tempted to make it in several winter colours.
Full instructions: Alder headband knitting pattern
The Billberry Bias Wrap is a timeless transitional piece that can be worn anywhere, with anything, all year round. Plus, it's a pleasure to knit.
Full instructions: Billberry bias wrap knitting pattern
Quick to knit and extra-cozy, the Sundew Hat is the perfect cold-weather accessory. Whether you are looking to knit a thoughtful last-minute gift or your own quintessential hat, the Sundew Hat is a crowd-pleasing favourite with its classic design and soft texture.
Full instructions: Sundew Hat pom-pom beanie
The medallion mittens are a fun pair to knit. They're designed to snugly fit the average woman's hand.
Full instructions: Medallion Mittens
The Ellenesque Bowls are a practical and stylish solution to all your storage needs. Knitting your own bowl is an easy way to create the perfect size vessel for any purpose, and you can choose from a variety of colour options in our Merino Copito yarn to match your home décor.
Full instructions: Ellenesque Felted Bowl knitting pattern
A knit bag is the perfect accessory—unique, practical, and stylish. The Salta Bag’s design begins with a simple rectangle that is folded and seamed to create a classic tote.
Full instructions: Salta Bag knitting pattern
On those cold, wintry days when you need something warm around your face, grab your knitting needles, hibernate for a weekend and knit up The Stone and Arrow Winter Set. Designed in bulky yarn, The Arrow Headband and The Stone Scarf come together in a snap.
Full instructions: Winter headband
The Stone Scarf got its name from its 3D texture, created by alternating knits and purls, that resembles a stonewall. The quirky stone-like bumps are tempered by a garter-stitch border and a slipped selvedge for a tidy edge.
Full instructions: Stone Scarf
Enjoy our free knitting pattern for this Honey Stitch Cowl and make a modern classic to enjoy for years.
Full instructions: Honey Stitch Cowl
Cucumber SaladPhotography by Jeff Coulson Image by: Cucumber Salad</br>Photography by Jeff Coulson