Sunday, 26 February 2012

Cycle Awareness Basics - Spring

Pre ovulation – Springtime – Early morning – Waxing Moon – Direction East - Maiden Phase – Birth to Teen - Growing Energy

This is when the fog of our period lifts and our light and energy returns. Many of us (PMDD sufferers) may call this 'one of our good weeks'.  

We feel like ourselves again, we have more energy, we want to get on with life again.

There is an innocence about this time, and it is a time we should spend nurturing our ideas and making plans. New shoots are growing, life is returning to the earth, and you.

If you didn't have a good bleed, if you didn't take it easy and look after your needs, you may come into this phase stressed out.

If you bled badly and had any major stress or trauma, this can last a while as it interrupts the connection to the natural flow....

If you would like to read the rest of this article, please go to:

http://naturalshaman.blogspot.com/2012/02/cycle-awareness-basics-spring.html

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Mind vs Medications

I am a believer in Quantum Physics.  I really enjoy learning about the concepts of the human mind and what it is capable of.  It started with The Secret, a book that many are familiar with nowadays, but my interest has gone further into trying to learn and grasp more of the theories, especially those related to healing.

I highly recommend the film 'What the bleep do we know?' as a great place to start with this huge topic.  You can watch the movie on You Tube for free by following this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VT50SV3W5K0, but I highly recommend the rabbit hole edition of the DVD that has many many extra hours of interviews and explanations.

The theory, in very basic terms is that everything in this world is energy.  That includes ourselves and everything around us.  The question of 'What is reality?' is a biggie.  It can lead to a complete head f**k while trying to understand the concept, but I will try and explain how I see it in relation to how we can use our mind to heal ourselves instead of looking to outside influences, namely drugs and medications.  We need to look at the brain and it's capabilities.  It has been shown in experiments that the brain fires the same responses when seeing something in real life, or simply remembering the event.  So how do we perceive what is real and what is not?  If our memories create the same responses in the brain when remembering something, as it did when we first saw it, then we can see how it's easy to repeat the same patterns.  We become locked into a pattern of responses that then becomes our reality.  PMDD is like Groundhog day.  Every month we go through the same pattern.  Our body is reacting to the hormones that are triggered in our brain, and we respond accordingly due to a learned response to each feeling.

I believe our brains are like our on board organic computer.  It's organic because it can be grown and developed, unlike the computers of modern day, which are developed to a point, only to be out done year after year by new technology.  You can upgrade the system you have to some degree, but inevitably, we will seek a newer, more powerful model after a few years.  Technology advances so quickly, but imagine how that could work within a living organism.  Information in the brain can be processed as slowly as 0.5 meters/sec or as fast as 120 meters/sec (about 268 miles/hr).

The brain generates electricity (or energy).  Every thought, feeling and bodily process starts as an electrical impulse in the brain.  We have centres in our brains that send out electrical signals and receptors that receive them.  While awake, your brain generates between 10 and 23 watts of power–or enough energy to power a light bulb. The programming in our brains starts as a baby.  The capacity for such emotions as joy, happiness, fear, and shyness are already developed at birth. The specific type of nurturing a child receives shapes how these emotions are developed.
By the time we realise we are suffering from PMDD, we have a years of programmed and learned responses to life.  We have either acquired these from the people around us or developed them ourselves as methods of coping and keeping safe.

If we are living with learned responses, it is possible that we can unlearn them.  If our brains continue to make the same connections over and over, we can surely teach it to make new connections and responses.

So, how does this apply to PMDD?  I realised that the patterns I was going through could be learned responses and reactions.  I have lived a life that has been full of stress, and at times, trauma.
I have created strong pathways in my brain, ways to cope with the hormonal changes in my body and mind.  For me, taking medications never seemed to help.  The mood swings and extreme thoughts and feelings would not leave me.  Sometimes, I would feel more disconnected from them, but the disconnection made me feel even more out of control.


Taking a pill and believing it will cure you is naive.  Work needs to be done within the mind.
Re training and re programming ourselves, whether alongside or without medication is essential.  I am not suggesting anyone gives up any medications they are on.  We have our own choices to make when it comes to how we treat our disorder and what is comfortable for us.  Some people feel better when they are taking a pill.  That's how the placebo effect works.  For me, taking a pill meant I was ill.  In my head, if I had to take a pill for the rest of my life, it means I am unwell.  That thought then permeates everything.  I am ill.  It reaffirms that thought, and that never made me feel better.

I am also not saying that by not taking any medication I all of a sudden feel well.  But I do feel more in control and stronger in the knowledge that I am not so ill that I have to take a plethora of tablets to make me function in the world. 

Sufferer's of PMDD know only too well how much this disorder affect's their perception of the world.  It's easy to see when you go from a rational, understanding person to someone who believes the whole world hates them, past issues and event's surface and our own place in the world is in question.  I knew that this was in my head.  I knew that it wasn't really me, or what I truly felt about the world, yet the changes in hormones, lack of serotonin and programmed responses led me to be in a vicious cycle.

We all know the saying 'turn that frown upside down' or 'think happy thoughts'.  This is really difficult for a sufferer to do when in the throes of a dysphoric episode, but there is proof that be being more positive and trying to break the usual patterns of coping can help to break free from the worst effects of the cycle.  Cognitive Behaviourial Therapy (CBT) and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) are both ways of trying to re wire your thinking patterns.   

We can treat our bodily symptoms by eating well, getting enough sleep and exercise, but we cannot forget about looking after our minds.  If we continue to allow ourselves to react in the same way over and over, we will always see the same results.

Food for thought.  Can you change the way you react to your PMDD?  Can you create different reactions to the way you feel?  If PMDD brings on false thoughts that we take on to be real, does that make them real?  How do we create our own reality?  In no way am I suggesting that PMDD isn't real, and if you follow my blog you will know I am working very hard to get this disorder recognised, but I feel there is more each and everyone of us can do to help ourselves, just by fighting the false moods and tricking the body and mind out of them.

If we label ourselves as anything, we then reinforce it.  If we believe we are going to have a bad day, we probably will.  If we identify with being ill, we are more likely to be ill.  Just when we fake an illness to get the day off work, then sure enough, we get ill a few days later.

It is scientifically recognised that a smile, whether a real smile expressed at something that make us happy, or a fake smile, put on for whatever reason, creates the same responses in our brain.  Smiling and laughing releases our bodies feel good hormones, endorphins, but the body does not distinguish whether we are truly happy or not.  The endorphins are triggered regardless.  If this is the case, we DO have the ability to change how we react to our mood swings.


Stop believing you have no control.  It merely reinforces the belief.   Stop believing you are powerless, useless, unworthy, a lost cause... all these things are untrue.  Stop believing you are beyond help, or that nothing will ever help you.  Stop believing you will never get better.

Start believing you can have a calmer life.  Start believing you can change the way you feel.  You are in control.  You have the power to change, to get better, to heal.  Of course we will all have bad days.. EVERYONE on the planet has bad days, but we can try and stop them, reduce them, and give them less fuel.

I DO believe we can think ourselves well.  I do believe we can heal ourselves.  It's not an easy route, and for me, I have had to have the support of a counselor, family and friends, but I am living proof that the symptoms of PMDD can be lessened without the use of medications....

I will leave you with these thoughts, and a selection of quotes that re affirm what I am trying to say in this post.  For some, tablets, injections and surgery may be the right option.  They will feel better and healed by going down that route, but for some, like me, medication and surgery are not an option.  Maybe that's because you don't like taking meds, or you haven't found that anything has helped, or maybe it's just BECAUSE...  Never feel like you HAVE to take medication or be forced down a surgical route.  It is possible to manage PMDD without.  On the flipside, even ladies who ARE on medication and are following a surgical path can find some kind of benefit from thinking differently about themselves and the disorder.  No one is right, no one is wrong, its a personal choice, and one that no-one should ever judge you for.

The light of Integrity

"The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts.
Think only on those things that are
in line with your principles
and can bear the full light of day.
The content of your character is your choice.
Day to day, what you choose,
what you think,
and what you do is who you become.
Your integrity is your destiny ...
it is the light that guides your way."  - Heraclitus, Greek poet, philosopher

A Better Me

The me I wish that I could be
Would never harm a soul,
Could never speak in angry tones,
Or have a selfish goal,
And no more wrong or harmful deeds
I'd ever want to do,
If this perfect ideal me
Could be a picture true.
The me I wish I could become
Will never really be,
But simply wanting such a thing
Will make a better me."- Hilda Sanderson

"As I see it, every day, you do one of two things:
build health or produce disease in yourself." - Adelle Davis

"The more severe the pain or illness, the more severe will be the necessary changes. These may involve breaking bad habits, or acquiring some new and better ones."- Peter McWilliams, Life 101

"A wish to be well is a part of becoming well."- Lucius Seneca

"Here's your protection for whatever comes: Find something to be happy about every day, and every hour if possible, moment-to-moment, even if only for a few minutes."- Greg Braden


"I find, by experience, that the mind and the body are more than married, for they are most intimately united; and when one suffers, the other sympathizes."- The Earl of Chesterfield

"No one can listen to your body for you... To grow and heal, you have to take responsibility for listening to it yourself."- Jon Kabat-Zinn

"Our limitations and success will be based, most often, on our own expectations for ourselves. What the mind dwells upon, the body acts upon". -Denis Waitley


Quotes sourced from - http://www.healinggateway.com/thoughts.php
Brain Facts sourced from - http://www.nursingassistantcentral.com/blog/2008/100-fascinating-facts-you-never-knew-about-the-human-brain/
Smiling facts from - http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/benefits-of-smiling.htm
Images from Google images.

New Look Blog!!

It was time for an early spring clean!!

I hope you like the new look of the blog.  Over the coming days/weeks I will be re-arranging a few things to make it a bit easier to find useful information.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who visit regularly and a big 'Hello' to those who are new to my site!  Without readers and comments I would have given up ages ago!  Every comment left behind encourages me to write more.

Moods and Musings has now hit over 15,000 page views, with readers from all over the globe!  I could never have imagined that that many people would be interested in what I have to say, but I appreciate each and every one of you that takes the time to read.

Big love




Thursday, 9 February 2012

Definition of PMDD in the ICD

This is the current definition for the new draft edition of the ICD11 (due out in 2015).

What do you think?

"Severe form of premenstrual syndrome considered as a distinct clinical entity, characterized by prominent symptoms of irritability, anger, internal tension, dysphoria and mood lability. Diagnosis requires a prospective symptom diary documenting specific cyclic symptoms associated with the luteal and menstrual phases of the cycle, and evidence of socioeconomic dysfunction."

I think that sounds pretty good!
I absolutely agree with the term 'distinct clinical entity' as it really does not just fit into one box.

If the WHO has released a current definition for PMDD in the new International Classification of Diseases, then maybe we really will get what we need.  The inclusion of PMDD in the new edition will mean so much for sufferers all around the world.

Fingers, toes, legs and eyes crossed!!


Friday, 3 February 2012

**Exciting PMDD Campaign UPDATE**

Haha.. it makes me giggle saying PMDD Campaign!! I had no idea what writing off to my MP 6 months ago was going to grow into!!

Back to the important stuff!

After a few, very poor and disappointing replies from my MEP's (Member's of European Parliament) I have finally had a breakthrough in the form of the lovely Catherine Bearder MEP.

She has written to me with full support of the campaign to get PMDD recognised by the World Health Organisation.  She has written on my (and all sufferers) behalf to the WHO and the European Commission.  I have also written to the WHO, but to date, I have not yet received a reply.

To the World Health Organisation, Catherine Bearder MEP wrote...

Letter to Roberto Bertollini - Director of WHO Brussels
Roberto Bertollini - Director of WHO Brussels

World Health Organization (WHO)
Office in the European Union

23rd January 2012

Dear Mr Bertollini,

I have recently been contacted by my constituent named Cat Stone who resides in the South East of England. Ms Stone has been diagnosed with Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and since her diagnosis has become an avid campaigner on this issue and is keen to create awareness both here in the UK but also in the EU.

Ms Stone's concern, and it is one that I also share, is that this condition is at present not recognised within the WHO's International Classification of Diseases. Within the UK, the EU and indeed across the globe women are being incorrectly diagnosed with other disorders such as Bi-polar or hormone imbalances. As Ms Stone correctly highlights within her correspondence this often leads to mental health professionals and gynaecologists at a loose end as to how to deal with women who are not responding to the treatment that they prescribe.

Furthermore and potentially of utmost importance is the problems caused by the disabling nature of this condition. Women who suffer with PMDD struggle to secure and retains relationships, employment and on a monthly basis experience mood-swings that cause great difficulty in their everyday lives.

In light of this I am writing to ask you whether this is a condition that the Who Office in Brussels is aware of and if so whether there are current or future plans to promote this in partnership with the European Commission at EU level? Additionally, I am aware that there are plans to revise the WHO's International Classification of Diseases in 2015. Subsequently, are you aware of any plans to list PMDD within the International Classification of Diseases? If no, would you consider supporting and promoting this as an option and as a step forward for women across the EU and the world? I am convinced that in doing so the consequent effects such as diagnosis and treatment guidance for GPs would ensure that women who suffer with PMDD would be able to locate the treatment they deserve in order to manage and improve their everyday lives.

Thank you in advance for your assistance with this matter and I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours sincerely,
Catherine Bearder MEP


I am thrilled that Catherine has taken the time and effort to support this cause and write such a well informed a thorough letter to the WHO.  She also wrote to the European Commission...

Written Question to the European Commission

Subject: Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder

In the UK it has been suggested that 800,000 women suffer from Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).  PMDD is a condition that causes chronic mood-swings and affects women's mental health on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.  Women who suffer with this condition often struggle to retain stable relationships and employment and as the condition is not recognised by the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Classification of Diseases, it is often wrongfully diagnosed as Bi-polar or the like.  Women in the UK are often left without treatment as prescribed treatment by mental health professionals and gynaecologists for illnesses such as Bi-polar do not work.

If 800,000 women suffer with this condition here in the UK one can only imagine the millions of women who suffer with this EU wide.  In light of this can the Commission highlight any work that they are carrying out with regard to this condition at EU level?  Furthermore would the Commission also clarify whether they do or would support the call for the recognition of PMDD within the WHO's International Classification of Diseases?'


 
Catherine Bearder MEP
I'm sure I don't need to express how important this is for sufferers of PMDD.  With MP's, MEP's and the Chairman of NAPS behind this, we could really see this change happening.  If PMDD get's fully recognised by the WHO and listed in the ICD - International Classification of Diseases, no doctor will ever be able to say that PMDD doesn't exist.  No longer will women be palmed off by health professionals.  This would be a major change, and in turn, we will see more research and treatment methods being devised. 

Many, many thanks to Catherine Bearder MEP for taking the time to support this campaign.  With her influence and that of the other MP's on board, we are really on the way to getting thigs changed for PMDD sufferers worldwide.

To read my original blog about writing to your MP and MEP's, please click the link below..
http://meetmypmdd.blogspot.com/2012/01/be-change-get-involved-write-letter.html

Joint RCOG/RCPSYCH Meeting

On the 26th January 2012, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Psychiatrists met up to discuss hormones and mood disorders in women.

The first meeting of it's kind where professionals from Gynaecology, Psychiatry and Endocrinology all met in one room to discuss issues like Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder.

This can only mean good things!!  Such a meeting is a real breakthrough, and the people involved in caring for women with PMDD have actually all got in one place to discuss the best way to move forward with treatment and research.

If you would like to see the programme, please click this link to view the PDF.

Finger crossed this starts the ball rolling for better diagnosis and treatment for ALL women with hormone disorders.


Websites to recognise PMDD


Along with the 'Write to your MP' campaign, which has now had personal recognition from Nick Panay, the chairman of NAPS (National Association for Pre Menstrual Syndrome) and member of the ISPMD (International Society of Pre Menstrual Disorders) I have been working hard at trying to get other organisations to include PMDD information on their websites.

 
After browsing many mental health websites I have found there to be a distinct lack of any mention of PMS or PMDD.  I have been in touch with Mind, the biggest mental health charity in England and Wales, and just before Christmas 2011, they published a blog I wrote about PMDD.
I am still working on getting them to include PMDD in their list of popular topics.  If you feel you would like to help put the pressure on Mind to list this disorder, please email them at info@mind.orgThe more people who question why they do not include this information will hopefully lead to them including this disorder on their website and maybe even a printed information leaflet.

In early January,  my case study was finally added to the Wellbeing of Women Website.  Wellbeing of Women is a research charity, specialising in Women's health and research.  I found their website back in November 2011 and clicked on the PMS link, only to find no information.  I offered my story as a case study, and it finally went live a few weeks ago.  You can find my story, with an expert review of PMDD by Nick Panay here - http://www.wellbeingofwomen.org.uk/your-wellbeing/your-health/pms/ .

I also contacted the Mental Health Foundation, asking why they did not include PMDD on their website.  The Mental Heath Foundation are a leading charity involved in all aspects of mental health care, research and service improvement.  Again, I was asked if I would be a case study for them, so they could include PMDD on their website.  Funnily enough, they had already received another email from a lady with PMDD that very same week, and so have decided to create a dedicated page to PMDD to help visitors to their site learn more about PMDD and find support and help.  This should be up online very soon.  I will keep you posted as soon as I hear from them that it has gone live.

This means that ladies seeking information on PMDD will now be able to consult some of the larger organisations websites and not feel like their disorder is missed out or doesn't exist.  I feel one of the MOST important websites to include this information is Mind, and I will continue to write to them until they include it.  As I mentioned before, if anyone else would like to email them to make them aware of how much this is needed, please do so by writing to info@mind.org.


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