Sunday, 5 April 2015

Question time!

During the month of April 2015, I am inviting questions via my Facebook Page.  If there is anything you would like to ask me, then please leave a message on my page and I will do my best to reply in the form of a blog post.

The first question left on my page by Elizabeth is:

I'm wondering why it is you've distanced yourself so abruptly from the PMDD movement? 
So many women were inspires by you and you helped so many with getting going.

I am very grateful for the first question as I still feel people don't understand why I no longer write about PMDD or have much to do with the pages and groups I created.  Back in December 2013, I wrote a lengthy blog about my reasons for moving away from the work I was doing.  You can read that here.

The main reason I have distanced myself from the PMDD movement is to enable my own healing. Over the years, it became very apparent that no form of medication, hormone treatment or other would work for me.  I also had clear lines that I wouldn't cross, so very much came to the end of the road of options.  In giving up all medications, hormone treatments etc, I was leaving myself very vulnerable and exposed.

I had only started the blog as a way to express myself and share what was happening to me.  I had never imagined it would get so many readers and that I would meet hundreds of women through my support groups etc... I never knew I would set up support groups in the first place!!  I had no idea I would go to a newspaper, attend a PMS conference, end up on a Mental Health website or start an awareness movement!

Doing all these things gave me a positive focus and something to spend my time on.  For around 4 years my life was nothing but PMDD.  Dealing with my own symptoms, writing blogs, sharing stories, supporting people in the support groups and often going above and beyond what should be expected of a mum of two from Hampshire.  It often supported me. Making friends and finding others who wanted to raise awareness and start groups was a bonus.  I made so many lovely friends, met so many lovely people, and really felt like I had made some small difference, even if that difference was just uniting women so they could support each other.

It would be worth noting here that it wasn't all a wonderful experience.  I have been publicly and privately attacked, and had to deal regularly with stress and problems that arose in support groups. Quite often this stress would send me down a bad road, and I would then suffer the effects of simply being on the receiving end of someone else's problems, even though I'd only tried to help or keep the peace.

In all the chat and support groups, I realised that I was not going to be happy with a lifetime of pills, or surgery etc, and my spiritual healing began...  Working with my cycle and having to completely change my way of thinking meant that I could no longer write about things the same way.  In fact, as I was learning and going through it all, I couldn't write about much at all.  I didn't understand it enough to share it with anyone.  My focus had to move away from the groups and blog.  My focus had to be directed at me and nothing else.  You can read a little about this journey here and here.

I have changed my life.  It is unrecognisable from the life I had when I started this blog. The only way I could do that was to heal myself my own way and that meant stepping away from the PMDD environment.  Even saying I have PMDD is going against all the healing I have done.

For me, I could no longer identify with PMDD.  I had to see myself as well, not un-well. Telling people I had PMDD just affirmed it every time.  I could no longer talk in the groups as I was trying a method of healing that most didn't really understand.  I couldn't keep taking myself back to dark places, and being part of the support groups and pages meant I regularly had to deal with dark things, or be reminded of them.  I felt guilty, like I was turning my back on the people I'd met and who had supported me through stuff many times. I had to move on though, despite everything I'd built.  I had to let it go as it was the only way I was going to heal.

I had never dreamt of being a PMDD spokesperson, or activist, I had never daydreamed of running support groups and awareness campaigns.  All of it just happened, and a time came, where I could no longer sustain it or be a part of it.  I had to be completely selfish.  I had to walk away and focus on my own healing.  I was not going to be taking meds, or going for surgery.  What I was doing was completely changing the way I think and see my dis-order. This required total commitment to myself and meant I had to step out of the PMDD world.

I now find myself feeling very different towards PMDD.  You could say it's almost a complete U-turn.  I don't feel the same way about it as I did.  I can't write about it like I did, and as yet, I still don't have the vocabulary or time to explain it all.  Imagine being told that to heal yourself, you need to deny PMDD exists in the way it is currently understood.  That you need to avoid meds and hormones and that you need to possibly change your life completely.  Essentially, that is what I have done, so you can see why I don't want to shout about it, despite feeling amazing and completely different to how I was just 6 years years ago.

I am proud of what I've achieved but can no longer support it in the same way.  I am thrilled others have grabbed the baton and continued the race.  NAPMDD is doing a grand job of continuing raising awareness, and I am so pleased someone is working hard to get the word out.  For many, the support is needed, for all, research is needed, and that will only happen if women put on the pressure and find ways and people who can make that happen.

For me and my 'PMDD' I have to follow a different path.  The support groups helped me for a while, then became a source of stress.  The writing and campaigning gave me something positive to do with my time and helped me make sense of it all.  The experiences I had and knowledge I gained was simply amazing, but all I wanted to once I started feeling better was paint and create, follow my dreams of being an artist and teacher.  I couldn't do any of this is my days were full of PMDD.

I now fill my time with colour and paint.  I teach meditation and using art as meditation.  I have a volunteer job and one day, I may be able to be self employed and work properly again.  My relationships are better, my kids are happier.  I'm happy with my life and with the potential paths that lay ahead.  What happened with my PMDD blog, the groups etc was all an essential part of me getting where I am and I will always be grateful for the experience.  I will never forget the friends I have made along the way, and will always support the 'cause' in my own way, even if others think that way is strange!

To see my art, head on over to www.chaoticat.com or check my Facebook Page here!

I hope that answers your question Elizabeth.  Thank you for participating!



6 comments:

joann campbell said...

Thank u for starting the awareness.

Elizabeth Santiago said...

Wow, that's wonderful. I wish you continued healing in your journey!

Unknown said...

Hi! I am Venezuelan Medical. In my education I did not know PMDD. It was in graduate studies, searching issues HDL cholesterol, and in a medical journal, found the subject of Premenstrual Syndrome Severo, I kept it in my computer, because I have always suffered from menstrual cramps, accompanied by other complaints such as headaches, soft evauaciones, heaviness in legs, over the years I noticed was that the association of the emotional changes in premenstrual phase tendency to get depressed, or irritable. But I have had various stressful situations after the birth of my only daughter. In 2013 I was forced to visit a psychiatrist, for my depression. Then following a workplace harassment, for the same reason I changed diagnosis Bipolar Disorder, which stressed out me, for my work because they incapacitated me, I started reading depression, and found the articles of Dr. John Studd Depression Reproductive had saved in 2012, but at that time, did not read. In 2014 with the change of diagnosis, I did my best to read Depression, and discovered what no psychiatrist investigated in my gynecological history. I found the answer to these emotional changes in luteal phase. It seems incredible, I did not see the issue as a medical student, and a few months ago asked a colleague recently graduated, he did not know what PMDD. Consciousness!
Congratulations! I think the same as you, we must change our way of thinking, to achieve progress and live better with PMDD

Unknown said...

Apologies in translation, I am a Latina, I do not master English well.

Adeel Magma said...

wow, this is simply a beauty. i really like the way you are working on it. love it simply Adopt a dog

Janae Williams said...

THANK YOU A MILLION for sharing this. I can ditto all of it. I completely changed my life and use Daily Self Defense (learned about it on pmddgirl.com) because I don't eat healthy enough on my own to notice a difference. Helped a ton.

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