We spoke with Cat, a lovely blogger and artist from the UK, about her journey with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. She currently runs a blog about the disorder which can be found at http://meetmypmdd.blogspot.com/. From being aware of your menstrual cycle to using essential oils to help relieve symptoms, she provides a wealth of advice for anyone living with PMDD. The entirety of the interview can be read at the bottom of this post.
On blogging about PMDD
“I have written about my feelings, the good, the bad and the ugly, on my personal blog for years…Over the years, I learned that certain things, really private things that involve loved ones should be kept back, especially if they could upset or hurt others.
When you have had as much counseling as I have, you get used to talking about how you feel! I also know that many of the people who have liked my page know exactly what I’m talking about! I just share when I feel I need to. Occasionally, when I’m having a bad episode, when the dysphoria kicks in, I feel like I want to hide again… delete my blog, pages and vanish, but I remember all the work and time I have put in to creating what I have, and how many women have messaged me to say my blog has helped them.”
On finding ways to relieve symptoms
“I use oils in the bath regularly, especially to help the PMDD. I find sinking into a warm bath with delicious smelling oils one of life’s luxuries… so healing, comforting and stress relieving. My favourite oils to use for PMDD are Geranium, Clary Sage, Bergamot, Sweet Orange, Vetiver, Sandalwood and Ylang Ylang (not all at once!). Geranium is wonderful for balancing hormones and relieving depression.. a little goes a long way, it is quite a strong smelling oil. Clary Sage is my favourite for cramps and muscle pain. Bergamot and Sweet orange are uplifting and cheery, and Vetiver, Sandalwood and Ylang Ylang are deeply comforting and help problems with sleeping. Massage helps PMDD so much.”
Her personal journey to seeking treatment
“My own healing path has been a very spiritual one. I try not to have to rely on any kind of pills. The things that have helped heal me have been ‘more mind orientated’ and holistic. Counseling, neurolinguistic programming, CBT, mindfullness, meditation, quantum physics, cycle awareness, yoga, healthy eating and my support network have all helped me more than any pill, herbal or otherwise.”
The stigma surrounding PMDD
“The jokes and stigma that surrounds PMS are a key to why this hasn’t been taken seriously and included in the DSM or ICD before now. Only 2 years ago did I see an advertising campaign from America by a milk company… The company created posters that were just plain offensive to women, joking about PMS, having a laugh at our expense. You wouldn’t see the same ridicule with other disorders or illnesses, so why is it OK to poke fun at women who find their menstrual cycle challenging? It’s a cultural thing. We are taught not to speak of such things, we are taught, consciously or unconsciously that it’s taboo. Therefore I also think the reason it that many women feel too ashamed to admit they have a problem with their cycle, so it stays hidden.”
Living with someone with PMDD
“If you live with someone who acknowledges they have PMDD, but are struggling with the mood swings, it can be helpful to make a note of her cycle on a family calender, or get an app like PMS Alert, which reminds you you are entering premenstrual territory… You will at least know then that they are in the midst of dysphoria, or are too tired to cook tea, or feeling too self conscious to go out. Caring for and living with [a] woman with PMDD requires a lot of patience and understanding. Code words can be helpful. When I got out of control, my husband would just say ‘STOP’. It was something my counselor suggested. When he says that I know I’m going or have gone too far… I’m spiralling. I need to stop and look at what’s happening… What it [does is] take away the need to have to find words to explain what’s going on…With hindsight you can often find the triggers and identify them, but when it’s happening all logical thought goes out the window. Remember the person you love, that you know… it’s the same person inside, they are just reacting to the hormonal changes and are dealing with hundreds of unusual, crazy, scary thoughts and feelings. Everyone needs to remember that it will pass. If it’s PMDD that’s the one thing you can rely on. The feelings will pass and the person you know will be back.”
“You can get to the point where you have to embrace it or it destroys you. Work with it, not against, and life can start to feel easier.”
Click on READ MORE to read the full interview
“It Gets Better” doesn’t mean that everything just magically gets better… but that it gets better because YOU make it better.
You fight through struggles, you endure pain, you try everything you can, you never give up… you grow stronger… and through that strength- it gets better.
Was anyone else perturbed by tonight’s episode of Glee? I feel like they glossed right over why Becky even brought a gun to school. I honestly don’t even know any anxiety sufferers who own a gun. When they’re suffering a panic attack, they retreat to a safe place, usually home. For all the episodes of Glee I’ve seen, I’ve never noticed any mention of Becky having anxiety. I just think that was poorly done. Enough people with mental illnesses are being mislabeled as violent and trigger-happy. What were we supposed to get out of this? That those of us with a mental illness are a threat and danger to society? That we don’t belong?
A while ago, I penned a fairly angry response to something circulating on the internet – the 21 Habits of Happy People. It pissed me off beyond belief, that there…
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