Photojournalist Nelly Ating is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From the project ‘A Life With Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (Self Portrait)’. To see Nelly’s body of work, click on any image.
A life with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) chronicles a series of self-portraits documenting my struggle with menstruation. A topic almost seen as a taboo and caricature jokes are thrown around in my society. I have watched comedy skits on period and felt the utter lack of sensitivity to a woman’s pain. I consider myself nomadic lacking genuine connection with people. Living on the edge, hustling from one end of the world to another. In all my adventures, I was barely happy, struggling with depression, loss of appetite, weight gain, short memory loss and constant fatigue. A feeling I was tired of explaining to people. Letting them understand that I could not control this irritably drown in sadness attitude. This feeling had a template, it showed up during my monthly cycle. I started observing it more in 2016 when I was placed on anti-retroviral medication surviving tuberculosis. The doctors claimed it was a side effect from strong antibiotics. For years, I was unsure why I felt this way. Like many Nigerians, most of us do no have access to health insurance or boldly visit a gynecologist for help. There is a certain level of shame for women to talk about body parts but the same cannot be said for men.
When the Covid lockdown wave hit in March 2020, the symptoms became more severe forming suicidal impressions. I began self-educating, searching the internet for resources. I learnt I had been suffering from a premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It all made sense, I had an identity to the feelings that drove me nuts. In those moments, I documented myself. Focusing on capturing the depth of this sadness that enveloped me. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a condition in which a woman has severe depression symptoms, irritability, and tension before menstruation. According to research from Harvard, about 15% of women with PMDD attempt suicide. Since the release of this project, more Nigerian women have stepped forward to conduct their own self-assessment and get more education on PMDD.
All images and text © Nelly Ating
By Nelly Ating
Edge of Humanity Magazine is an independent nondiscriminatory platform that has no religious, political, financial, or social affiliations.
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