A mum-of-three suffered with emotional turmoil for over 30 years but could not put her finger on why the traumatising battles happened on a regular basis.

Eleanor Ibi told the Manchester Evening News that she would have thoughts of utter hopelessness and despair which sometimes even led to suicidal thoughts.

After weeks of misery, the fog inside her mind lifts. The dark thoughts are gone. Suddenly, she feels like herself again.

“All my life, I thought I had lots of different mental illnesses,” Ms Ibi, from Openshaw near Manchester, said.

“I had manic depression, you name it.

“I didn’t realise what the problem was for a long time."

Eleanor suffers from premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

PMDD is a very severe form of premenstrual syndrome, also known as PMS or period mood swings.

According to the mental health charity Mind, this is how the illness can affect someone:

• Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a very extreme form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which can cause many emotional and physical symptoms every month during the week or two before you start your period. It is sometimes referred to as ‘severe PMS’.

• While many people who are able to have periods may experience some mild symptoms of PMS, if you have PMDD these symptoms are much worse and can have a serious impact on your life.

• Experiencing PMDD can make it difficult to work, socialise and have healthy relationships. In some cases, it can also lead to suicidal thoughts.

• Emotional symptoms of PMDD can include mood swings feeling upset or tearful, feeling angry or irritable, feelings of anxiety, feeling hopeless, feelings of tension or being on edge, difficulty concentrating, feeling overwhelmed, lack of energy, less interest in activities you normally enjoy and suicidal feelings.

• Physical symptoms of PMDD can include breast tenderness or swelling, pain in your muscles and joints, headaches, feeling bloated, changes in your appetite such as overeating or having specific food cravings, sleep problems, finding it hard to avoid or resolve conflicts with people around you, becoming very upset if you feel that others are rejecting you.

The condition causes a range of emotional and physical symptoms every month during the two weeks before a menstrual cycle.

Those with the disorder can experience depression, despair, irritability, anxiety, hopelessness, bouts of extreme sadness, fatigue, anger, difficulty concentrating and suicidal ideation.

For some, the feelings are life-changing and completely overwhelming.

“It would start the two weeks before I was due my period and would increasingly get worse and worse," Ms Ibi continued.

“It was feelings of paranoia, anxiety, hopelessness, full on depression mixed with anxiety.

“I used to have manic phases which is why people thought I was bipolar. I would have incredible highs and crashing lows.

“It was unpredictable and predictable. It’s a rollercoaster every month.

“Then I’d get my period and literally the day after I would calm down and spend the next few days apologising and patching up relationships and work."

Eleanor Ibi has suffered with PMDD for many years
Eleanor Ibi has suffered with PMDD for many years

By 2007, Eleanor’s symptoms had become unmanageable.

She visited her GP with concerns over her mental health – but was told "all women have to deal with PMS".

Eleanor, who works as a governance and admin manager at Manchester Metropolitan University's Student's Union, was eventually prescribed Fluoxetine after begging her doctor for help.

The antidepressant helped relieve her symptoms for 10 years until it eventually stopped working.

In 2017, the mum-of-three decided to do some research herself. That is when the "light bulb moment" suddenly dawned upon her.

"I felt so silly that I had not made this connection before,” she added.

"It was a real light bulb moment and I got a bit emotional about it because it finally made sense.

"I tracked my symptoms over three months, and saw that there was a direct correlation between my monthly cycle and my mental health."

Samaritans (116 123) samaritans.org operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected] , write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA and visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.

For support for people feeling suicidal, if you are concerned about someone or if you are bereaved by suicide see http://shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk

CALM (0800 58 58 58) thecalmzone.net has a helpline is for men who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. They're open 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.

Greater Manchester Bereavement Service Greater Manchester Bereavement Service can help to find support for anyone in Greater Manchester that has been bereaved or affected by a death. No one needs to feel alone as they deal with their grief. www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk

Childline (0800 1111 ) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.

PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

Beat Eating Disorders: Beat provides helplines for adults and young people offering support and information about eating disorders. These helplines are free to call from all phones. Adult Helpline: 0808 801 0677, Studentline: 0808 801 0811, Youthline: 0808 801 0711. www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk

Anorexia & Bulimia Care: ABC provide on-going care, emotional support and practical guidance for anyone affected by eating disorders, those struggling personally and parents, families and friends. Helpline: 03000 11 12 13. www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/

Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying studentsagainstdepression.org

For information and links to charities and organisations that can help with substance abuse, visit https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/drugs/

Ms Ibi discover PMDD online and managed to get referred to a specialist at Rochdale Infirmary, where she finally received a diagnosis.

She described the visit as a "real breakthrough" but the monthly battles still occur as Ms Ibi continues to take antidepressants to help ease PMDD symptoms, as well as exercising regularly and taking vitamins.

She added: “You can tell yourself it’s fine, but when you’re in the midst of it, it’s completely debilitating.

“When I realised what it was that I had, I got really emotional that it wasn’t just me being a temporary lunatic for two weeks out of the month.

“I’ve been like Jekyll and Hyde for as long as I can remember.

“When you’re in the good phase of your cycle, everything is brilliant. You can do life. Then it all comes crashing down.”

For more information, help or advice on PMDD, please visit the link by clicking here.