Wednesday, 16 November 2011

My Healing Journey

It's been a long time coming, but I finally feel like I am really figuring out the root causes of my PMDD. I have always believed that illness is as much in the mind as it is in the body, and PMDD is very much a disorder that can start in the body and create a difference in the mind... HOWEVER... it would then be just as possible for the illness to start in the mind and manifest itself in the body.

I am now 34, and since being diagnosed at the age of 27 I have tried every medication offered to me. I have dabbled with many different alternative therapies, and I now find myself out of options in the traditional sense.

Along my path I have used:
Prozac, citalopram, valium, zoladex, lithuim, copper coil, Mirena coil, St Johns wort, 5HTP, Quiet life tablets, rescue remedy, evening primrose oil, starflower oil, homeopathy, yoga, counselling, art therapy, aromatherapy, vitamins, B6, zinc, magnesium, cod liver oil, meditation, 5Rhythms dance, massage nutrition and exercise.

The past 18 months has brought about massive changes in my life. My home life has changed dramatically from one of pure hell and stress, to one that is supportive and much less stressful. My children are now that much bit older, and at 6 and 13 are at school and able to do a lot more for themselves. I have an understanding and loving partner, and a wonderful dog that gets me out of the house even when I don't really want to go out!

I have been medication free since July 2010 apart from a Mirena coil, which I then had taken out this August. I currently regularly take evening primrose and starflower oil capsules, hormonal balance vitamins and rescue remedy. I watch what I eat (but there is room for improvement) and exercise regularly.

I am 4 cycles into my medication and synthetic hormone free life, and I can honestly say I feel much more in control of my PMDD. The journey I have been on, has made me appreciate what it feels like to be free of all medications and hormonal treatments. I still have the odd crazy moment, or feel depressed and hopeless, but I am learning new ways to deal with these times AND on how to view my whole cycle.  I am learning that these are different states of mind and being, and I need to change the way I am in the world to use these changes effectively.

For the past 8 months, I have been following information and advice given in The Woman's Quest by Alexandra Pope. I have also delved into deeper research and study on female shamanism and the energy of the menstrual cycle. Last Saturday I met Alexandra during a 'Creating Menstrual Health' workshop she was holding in London. I had a really enlightening time....

On a spiritual level, I would describe my PMDD experience as having a spiritual death and rebirth every month. Just like a Shaman when they go on an inner vision journey, when they perform soul healing on their clients. This then got me thinking. What if the distress I was experiencing was because I was having a shamanic experience. What if, I am so sensitive to the psychological changes that I am actually symbolically going through a death and rebirth every month? Once I saw it this way, I wanted to embrace those times and see what I could learn from them.  Women were the original Shaman, with awesome changes flooding her body every month.  Changes to be respected and honored.

I am now learning to ride the wave. To use the different qualities I have throughout the month to benefit me, rather than hinder me. When you begin to work WITH your cycles energy, you uncover something magical and empowering. I am now excited to be blessed with having periods, and every one that comes, I learn something new. I still have some degree of fear regarding the dark times, and I also have a new fear, of how I begin to live my life when I have been so ill for so long. I am having counselling again and working on my shamanic and spiritual practice
I am reminding myself that healing is a long process, that nothing is set in stone, and that the only way to keep on getting better is to keep on learning about myself and TRUSTING that I know what is best for myself.

I no longer hate being a woman, I no longer fear my period.

You would not have heard me say that 2 years ago. For over 10 years I hated being a woman, I hated my bleed, I couldn't understand what I had done wrong, why was I being punished? I didn't understand. Despite studying and practising Paganism and The Craft (all Goddess walks of life) for many years, I still had a block and fear regarding my own feminine self and my cycle. I think I was desperately trying to find a connection to the feminine, to the Goddess, as my own natural connection had been severed.  All I have to do is re-learn and re-connect to my bleeding time, to my natural rhythm.  When I stopped my spiritual practice, I became more ill.  Disconnected from the source.
I am now actively honoring my cycle, my inner divine feminine. I am learning shaman techniques for working with 'other worlds' or my subconscious self, and I feel the inner strength again, I feel the reassurance that this is the right path for me. I have been lost for so long, and now I feel I am walking with the flow, I am learning better ways of dealing with myself, looking after myself and how to get support from those around me.  

The future doesn't look bleak any more, It looks exciting. Every cycle is a new chance to learn and change, and I want to make the most of it.

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