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Vicky Pattison: I felt embarrassed when premenstrual disorder was dismissed
The former Geordie Shore star appeared before the Women and Equalities Committee to discuss her experience.
Geordie Shore star Vicky Pattison (James Manning/PA)
Vicky Pattison has revealed she felt “embarrassed” when her premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) was initially dismissed by medical professionals.
The former Geordie Shore star, 35, appeared before the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee last week alongside BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty as part of its inquiry into women’s reproductive health to discuss her experience.
Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Thursday, she said the disorder can cause her to feel despair, chronic fatigue, “crippling anxiety” and “suicidal thoughts”.
“I felt embarrassed and I felt weak that they were able to cope, all these other brilliant, shiny, strong women, and I couldn't” - Vicky Pattison
Symptoms of PMDD are similar to PMS (premenstrual syndrome) but are “much more intense” and can have a “much greater negative impact on your daily activities and quality of life”, according to the NHS website.
Pattison told GMB: “We all put so much faith in medical professionals and I was completely shocked to be treated the way I was.
“It’s so indoctrinated in me that they’re right and they know what’s wrong and if they’re saying there’s nothing then evidently there isn’t.
“So when I went and explained what was wrong – and was told, ‘It’s just PMS, every other woman in the world is going through it, they’re just not making as much of a fuss as you’ – I felt embarrassed and I felt weak that they were able to cope, all these other brilliant, shiny, strong women, and I couldn’t.”
She said she experiences her symptoms for around 10 days a month and it “leaves only hopelessness and despair”.
“It’s just a constant cycle and, for me… although some people can have different symptoms, it was despair, hopelessness… chronic fatigue, crippling anxiety, and in some of the darker moments, it was suicidal thoughts,” she added.
The TV star said that due to the symptoms it can be misdiagnosed as depression, which is what happened to her at first and she was offered antidepressants.
Pattison said she would have “no problem” taking antidepressants if that was the correct diagnosis but emphasised that her case was different.
She said: “I love my life, I’m very fortunate, I’m mentally strong and all the rest of it. This is just 10 days of the month.
“I don’t think it’s too much to ask for women suffering with PMDD to be treated for that rather than depression, because they are different.”
Naga Munchetty and Vicky Pattison appearing before the Women and Equalities Committee (House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA)
Pattison spoke about her experiences to the Women and Equalities Committee last Wednesday, telling them that after visiting various doctors around the country who put it down to PMS, she finally received a diagnosis after turning to private healthcare.
The TV star and Munchetty, who shared a similar experience, told the MPs women must be properly listened to in the health service when they are expressing concerns about pain.
Pattison said she was experiencing a week of “PMDD fog” when she appeared before the committee, which made her a “nervous wreck”, but added that she felt more confident talking on the ITV breakfast programme on Thursday as the symptoms had lifted.
The reality star added that she is trying a combination contraceptive pill at the moment which she hopes will alleviate her symptoms.
For mental health support, contact the Samaritans on 116 123, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.