Scots woman's rare condition turned her into "Jekyll and Hyde"

A Scots woman has opened up on a rare mental health condition that turned her into "Jekyll and Hyde".

Jennie Walker, from Edinburgh, has battled intense mood swings and suicidal thoughts during the weeks before her period since she was a teenager.

The 29-year-old has bravely spoken out about how her behaviour got so bad she fought with her family and smashed a window.

Desperate for answers she googled 'Can I be bi polar for two weeks of the month?'. She then found out about premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and recognised all the symptoms.

Sufferers can experience depression, problems sleeping, and feelings of anxiety, anger and even suicidal thoughts. It affects one in twenty women but can be hard to diagnose.

Jennie said she was labelled "crazy".

She told the Record: "I used to get this white-hot rage. I'd be fizzing over little things. It felt unmanageable. I had extreme mood swings, anger issues and paranoia.

"I fought with my family, smashed up my possessions and got in the car and drove for hours to escape my thoughts.

"Then I'd feel humiliated and ashamed. When it’s bad, it can rob me of myself. It’s Jennie and Hyde. If it lasts half a month that's a lot to lose. But I was called “crazy” and “drama queen".

After struggling at school, Jennie dropped out at 15. She was referred to a sleep clinic and a social worker.

She said "I was so up and down my parents thought I was on drugs. I would also sleep a lot during unstable periods, to the point where it was hard to get out of bed. It felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

"It was so overbearing that I'd have suicidal thoughts. It was about the need to escape and not feel stuck in my mind and body.

"My GP gave me a diagnosis but the only treatment offered was the pill. It didn't work for me. There needs to be more understanding."

Since getting a diagnosis seven years ago ,Jennie found anti-depressants that helped and turned to Pilates as a way of managing her symptoms.

But she says there is a long way to go to help women get the right support.

She is sharing her story for mental health awareness week week which kicks off today. The theme for this year is moving more for mental health.

A new study from the Mental Health Foundation found a third of Scots struggle to allocate time for physical activity, with one in five saying they are too busy to exercise in a typical week.

Jennie said: "The understanding of a diagnosis made a big difference but I have to work hard to manage the symptoms. It can still cut me off from my own life. I have to stick to routines for sleep, diet and exercise. The stakes are high if that falls by the wayside."

"I can feel exhausted but movement really helps keep my moods in a better place. When the last thing I want to do is go for for a run, that's when I really need it and will benefit most."

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