About me

I am an artist with a mood disorder. I suffer from PMDD, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.

I've had it since my hormones kicked in during my early teens, but it wasnt diagnosed until I was 27. Up till that point, It was assumed I was depressed. I began to notice cycles, and correlations between my moodiness and my menstrual cycle, and began researching mood disorders. I discovered PMDD and realised that my symptoms checked all the boxes. I went to my doctor, who wouldnt entertain such a thing, so, I found another doctor.

By this time I was in full blown severe mood swings, with anxiety attacks and agrophobia, something that I had last experienced during my first pregnancy. Untill I knew that there was a recognised condition, I truly believed I was going insane, or had gone insane. I couldnt cope with being a mother, having a child, work, life.. there have been many times when I have been close to leaving this world forever.

From the age of 16, I had been having mental heath assessments, counseling, sessions with psychiatrists, and everyone has tried to get me to take anti-depressants. I always said no, believing there were better ways to survive, but in my years of suffering, I have realised that the only way to survive without medication is having an amazing support system of friends, family, support groups... and even then, it will be very difficult. The chemical imbalances in my body, lead to imbalances in my brain, which in turn, create crazy thoughts, depression, lethargy, agoraphobia, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, negativity and a general sense of confusion and frustration.

I have taken various anti-depressants over the years, but my dose had increased and with such a scatty head, remembering to take them was half the problem. I came off Fluoxetine almost 2 years ago. My life had dramatically changed.   I am happier, I have been strong through a whole heap of bad times, I have a roof over my head, two beautiful children and a man who loves me.   In August 2011, I had the Mirena Coil removed after a many months of extra symptoms and pain.  I have never felt better and would not recommend it to anyone.

In the spring 2011, I discovered Cycle Awareness, a more spiritual approach to understanding and observing the menstrual cycle.  This method has opened up a whole new world of possibilities and I have seen more healing within me by following this method.  I am still reading and researching, but I have no doubt that this is the best path to healing for me.  Looking at the cycle in terms of seasons and changing energies has opened my eyes to the possibilities help within my disorder and has really helped me manage my symptoms better.  Please see my Cycle Awareness page for more details.

Having said that, the moods still swing, and life is very difficult at times. The ups are great, the downs can be very bad, and trying to go with the flow and accept this is a very hard task.  I have have developed ways of coping, but still struggle month to month, day to day. I am in unknown territory now, no meds, but a happier life... Painting, creating and cooking are all things that help, but sometimes the demons are so hard to shake off that even the doing the things I love cant drag me back from the depths.  My blogs, along with running support groups for PMDD, and campaigning to get PMDD recognised all help me to feel like I have a purpose on my good days.

I have always been interested in the alternative and esoteric. I never felt like I have fitted in, always the outsider, always the one left behind, but I became devoted to the spiritual from a young age. From faeries in the garden, making potions from plants, to asking for Tarot cards on my 13th Birthday and reading books on ghosts and spirits. Since leaving school I have studied Performing Arts, Art, Graphic Design, Photography, Aromatherapy, Massage and Tarot Therapy.

I have self taught myself about Crystals, Astrology, Sacred Geometry, Art Therapy and Mandalas and have been practicing Yoga and Meditation on and off for 10 years. Many of these things have helped me survive over the years. Learning new things excites me, and there are still so many things I want to know about. Astrology is a huge interest of mine, and I still plan to study to Professional level.

Normal life is difficult for me. I have such severe fluctuations in my mood, things get cancelled at the last minute, even when I'm in an 'up' phase, anxieties can rear up, and some situations are just a no-no for me. I live in the countryside where life is slower and much more simple. I enjoy my occasional flirts with towns and cities, shopping and nights out, but I feel much safer at home, surrounded by places and people I know.


My Art, tends to arrive in bursts. Like cosmically aligned planets, I have to be 'in the mood' to draw, plus have enough time away from the children to get something started. Once something is started, I usually have to leave it during it's creation, then come back when the next alignment happens! but the painting/drawing never leaves my head until it's finished. I am spontaneous in my work and usually, with very little planning I will attack a canvas. Mandalas take more consideration before I start, but having geometry to work with, gives me somewhere to start. I find Mandalas very relaxing to draw. I went through a furious Mandala creating stage, which has slowed up now in favour of painting, but I still occasionally go back to my pencils and dive into a circle.



I face opposites and extemes in so many aspects of my life. I am a Pisces Sun, with a Virgo Moon, so not only are the Sun and Moon in opposition naturally, so too are Pisces and Virgo at opposite sides of the zodiac wheel. Pisces, itself is the sign of two fish swimming in opposite directions. I have two sides to my personality when the moods hit, as any woman with PMDD will describe. Jekyll and Hyde come to mind. To top it off, my Rising sign is Gemini, the sign of the Twins. In Numerology my life path number is 33/6.

I have followed a pagan path all my life, but began reading and studying around the age of 18. I worked as a solitary witch for many years, and joined a coven in my early twenties. I still follow a pagan path, although my witchcraft is reserved for my own personal use, and is something very quietly personal to me. I am a Witch, (if you class a witch as someone who observes the seasons, honours the God and Goddess, and uses knowledge of nature to initiate change and healing for the good of all). I used to wear the symbol, I used to hold rituals and cast spells... but the need for such public and outward displays of my spirituality no longer interests me.

Every comment and piece of feedback left for me, helps me keep on creating, it encourages me, it inspires me. Thank you to everyone who spends time looking at my creations and reading my words...
We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment, We are choosing to be here right now. Hold on, stay inside, This holy reality, this holy experience. Choosing to be here in This body. This body holding me. Be my reminder here that I am not alone in This body, this body holding me, feeling eternal. All this pain is an illusion. Alive, I. 
Parabola by TOOL

You can find my art website at www.chaoticat.com, and my other blog about healing the mestrual cycle and female shamanism at www.meetmypmdd.blogspot.com.

20 comments:

Xannie said...

I just came across your blog, and it is very helpful! If you need any support, or letters written to important persons, I would love to help! It has taken me years to figure out what was wrong with me - I hope to help others get help more quickly.

xanniegray@gmail.com

cnvbtet said...

I am so glad I found your post and we have a lot in common. I look forward to learning and sharing this journey with you and members of this page.

Cat said...

Hi Xannie! Thanks for you comment. I'm glad you find my blog helpful. The best way to get involved would be to write to your MP or Congressman to raise awareness of PMDD, you can read all about it HERE. Feel free to share my blog address to anyone you feel it may help, and I hope you are doing ok... Cat xx

Cat said...

Thanks cnvbtet! It means a lot when people leave a comment! I hope you are well today.. Cat xx

Jane said...

I am enjoying finding my way around your blog and relating to a lot of what you are saying and where you come from in your writing. You express yourself and the issues of PMDD and all that goes hand in hand with it so well.
It's lovely to read a little about your personality. Again I can relate to many area's over a LOT of my life.

x

bug eyed girl said...

Im enjoying reading your blog. I have been told i have pmdd its good to read your experiences with it.

Cat said...

Thank you xx

Jayne @ Mum's the Word said...

Hi Cat, I just found you through my friend Jamillah and I'm also a blogger (http://mumstheword.me). I was wondering if you'd consider writing a guest post for my blog? I've asked J too and I think it could really help people and spread awareness of the disorder. If you're interested, drop me an email at jayne@mumstheword.me. Thanks, Jayne x

tanja curcic said...

Hi Cat,
I love your site!!! It has opened a new awareness for me with my PMDD...I also am quiet spiritual/creative and your site has really inspired me to get out a canvas on bad days and see what comes up for me. I really enjoyed reading your view on how the seasons relate to our cycles and am going to practice visualising this. The research/experience that I have with PMDD is that stress is a huge part of how bad my PMDD gets - meditation and yoga helps a lot with reducing the stress...getting in touch with my inner self is very healing but as life gets busy I forget to do this - thank you for reminding me!

tanja curcic said...

Hi Cat,
I love your site!!! It has opened a new awareness for me with my PMDD...I also am quiet spiritual/creative and your site has really inspired me to get out a canvas on bad days and see what comes up for me. I really enjoyed reading your view on how the seasons relate to our cycles and am going to practice visualising this. The research/experience that I have with PMDD is that stress is a huge part of how bad my PMDD gets - meditation and yoga helps a lot with reducing the stress...getting in touch with my inner self is very healing but as life gets busy I forget to do this - thank you for reminding me!

phlebotomist said...

I used to think I was CRAZY...then I got diagnosed with having PMDD. It DEFINITELY sucks, but knowing you have it and how to help yourself makes you feel so much better and SANE! :]
phlebotomy training ME

Wileykit said...

Hi Cat, I just came across your site, as i was thinking about updating my own website which is mostly about herbs and vitamins for pms symptoms. I don't know if you know about Dr Panay at Hammersmith hospital? I heard about him through the charity http://www.pms.org.uk/.

I've been on HRT treatment for PMDD for the past 8 years and it has helped me a lot, although it wasn't a total cure, it did stop the depression lasting for more than a few days at a time. If you want further information I will contact you through your link, just let me know.

I can't recommend this treatment enough and the hormones i took were natural progesterone and natural oestrogen. I've also tried the mirena coil and hated it. Dr Panay is aware of how synthetic hormones are not good for pms sufferers, he's one of the few doctors that is!
L x

Wileykit said...

Sorry, just saw on your other page that you do know Dr Panay. So have you tried the HRT treatment?

Lizzet P. said...

so far i find your blog super uplifting! There is just not enough information and support out there for women with PMDD. Thanks it awesome that we can all support eachother!

Sarah Bannister said...



Hi Cat, Just came across your blog as well! I suffer from PMDD and have been for the last 5-6 years. I got referred through the help of my mum to Dr Panay (http://www.pms.org.uk/) and he put me on hormone treatment. I am on estrogen patches, synarel and progesterone add back. I also see my psychiatrist and he put me on olanzapine which is also helping. I am currently writing a memoir about all of my experiences. Would you be interested in reading it if and when I publish it?!
Many psychiatrists disregard hormone cycles and hormones and just think that it is purely psychological and that it can be cured with anti psychotics, when really they don't do anything.

Thank you for writing about your experiences with PMDD. It is really useful! Sarah

Tearose33 said...

A great blog. Very inspiring to read about your journey. Please keep going.....it's a privilege to read it.

I suspect I also have PMDD too and have an appointment to discuss it next week with a gynecologist. Hoping to find my own way through. I too suspected either mental illness (bi-polar or borderline personality) but it never quite fit for me. But I can see I too have 10 good days a month when I am myself.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us all.

Tearose33 said...

A great blog. Very inspiring to read about your journey. Please keep going.....it's a privilege to read it.

I suspect I also have PMDD too and have an appointment to discuss it next week with a gynecologist. Hoping to find my own way through. I too suspected either mental illness (bi-polar or borderline personality) but it never quite fit for me. But I can see I too have 10 good days a month when I am myself.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us all.

Kate said...

I've been suffering from PMDD as well. My symptoms include severe depression, irritability, and frequent suicidal thoughts. I snap out of this a day or 2 after my period and the vicious cycle starts again the following month. I'm afraid that one day I might lose it and just hurt myself. This condition has affected my marriage too. I would tell my ex husband that I needed extra care and niceness during these periods but he'd always ignore and get mad at me for not being my normal self and we'd end up fighting. It upsets me that many people are ignorant about it and instead of being understanding they just make fun of it. Thank you for this page!

Kittnlvr said...

Hi there,

I have suffered with this since my late teens, and now that I am 50, and most likely peri menopausal, it is even more challenging. It has gone from 12, to now 14 days out of my month, the past few months. Even when I used to not pay attention to the calendar, it was so noticeable, like a switch flipped inside me, and my head cocked to one side, and everything tolerable becomes totally skewed. I would go look at the calendar, and without fail, that feeling started on twelve days before my period. I had a boyfriend many years ago, when I was unaware of PMDD, who called me Mr. Hyde.
It is so challenging, because I am married to a wonderful man, and have a few good friends. It is such a drag to just shut off once a month, take to the bed, and feel like a total disappointment with my shutting down, and not functioning. I want to hide from myself even. Sigh... Diet and exercise are very important, and when I slip, it makes it so much more difficult. I just needed to vent. Thank you for the space to do that.

Ana Jovanovic said...

hi i was wrongly diagnosed with bipola tipe II afeer giving birth to my baby...i was as young always full off life outgoing bubbly smile person but with lots of trumors in my life from ealary childhood...lost alot made alot chosse wrong man...but then i left australia went back home to europe and loved it...lived there for 5 years but triveled and partied hard...had dreams and wishes as i didnt have life started working at the age off 15 in aus 2 or 3 jobs at the time....never lived so at 30 i hit full on and there was not stopping me...never hurt anyone but did do few stupid things tried drugs drinking alot etc...with my bf now hubby that i had baby with...since i got my pms at 12 i always had hard periods with migare and would be bed for days plus savire brests and hips,back pain at the time dr would told me its normal...thx dear God by accident i was reading about bipola as i was not getting better just worse asx my down days were lasting for 2 to 3 weeks up days only few 5 the max...dr changed tablets and at the end i was on zoloft, littium and dizepamine but still i wasnt better just worse...and then bum discavery...PMDD all the same as bipola plus starts around pms all the simtoms are there and been for years...what made me look into it so much was as for my daughters future and how to catch that evil bipola in time...but its not bipola...my hubby new me better he always said hormons problems but because my mum was misdiagnosed as well was put in metal hospital as 25 year old and life was hell for her and my uprbingging...so thats my story abit i wount wish for anyone in the wourld to have down days as me i would radder have cancer.,..proven to my dr wrong he shook my hand and was plessed and overwellemed...so now tests need to be fully down im just on zoloft atm and hope that good ginagologist will be able to get it all done...i just pray every day how lucky im that i found the way out for that deep hole its not easy its all there but now i know and makes at ease to know that my and my angels future its brigter...

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