Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Happy Celtic New Year!

It's the 1st of November, and the start of the Celtic New Year. Pagans celebrate this with the festival of Samhain, a time to honour our ancestors and bloodlines. It's a time for reflection and thought, a time to be still and listen to the insights we are being given.
It is also a good time to evaluate the past year, look towards the coming year and make plans.

It's been a while since I updated this blog about my personal life. My writing has been focused on creating articles and sharing my personal views and ideas, so I will now, take the chance to look back over the past year and share a little about how 2011 has been for me.

Last November, I shared my story with the local newspaper. This was a massive event for me, as to open up my life to the public was very scary! The reality was that, no-one recognised me in the street, I wasn't judged by the whole world, and life carried on as normal!

After the story came out, I started a private online Facebook support group, which grew steadily and proved to be a successful way for women to chat to other sufferers and find support, advice and friendship. Current membership is around 70 women. I also admin the PMDD-Community page, whose 'likers' now stand at over 500.

I had hoped to go on national TV with my story, however, the slot they wanted me to fill was right in the middle of January. Possibly the worst time for me as I suffer with SAD too, so I had to cancel. I am hoping it may happen in the future, when I feel strong and well enough to actually go on television!

One of the biggest challenges for me this year has been my relationship. As all women with PMDD will tell you, having and keeping a relationship is one of the hardest things to do. My partner and I have had another rocky year, splitting up and getting back together, but neither of us have given up yet, and hopefully 2012 will be a much better year for us (what was that? Wedding bells? Haha.. fingers crossed!)

The success of the support group meant that I had a steady flow of women requesting to join. The groups work because they are small, so a second group was created, to allow more women to have a sanctuary to visit everyday. I now have another group of over 60 women, all happily chatting and helping each other through the difficult times.

My desire to raise the awareness of PMDD has continued, and I wrote to and met with my MP in the summer to discuss how PMDD can become more recognised and how we could make sure it become a recognised disorder by the World Health Organisation. This is still a work in progress, and as you can understand, only being able to work on these things during my 'good' times means it's slow going. I will be sharing a blog post with more details soon. I have not stopped trying and will continue to raise these issues with ANYONE I feel can help to educate and lift the profile of PMDD.

I also became completely medication free this year! After all my negative experiences with prescription medications, I had cleared all but the Mirena coil from my being. In August, after many months of suffering agonising cramps at ovulation and menstruation I had the Mirena coil removed. Not one medical professional would even consider it was the coil giving me so much pain, even suggesting that I must have an STI, rather than admit the coil was playing a part in my trips to A&E in agonising pain. All STI tests, obviously came back clear and I have had relatively pain free periods since it's removal. It also made me realise it was having a massive effect on my feelings and moods. So I am very pleased to now be completely med free, and still surviving!

More recent achievements have been to start another new group on Facebook that solely focuses on the natural healing methods for PMDD and some exciting breakthrough's with a couple of larger UK charity organisations.

Wellbeing for Women, a charity that helps to fund women's research, will be featuring my story on their website in the next few months, which may also then go on to other publications in the UK, and the best news is that I have been asked by MIND, the UK's biggest mental health charity to be a guest blogger and start a discussion about PMDD. I am hoping they are also considering including it on their list of disorders on their website and producing an information leaflet!

Seemingly small steps, but ones I hope will help to change the awareness of this disorder for all women, to allow more research, better diagnosis and treatments. I have many more plans, and will never stop standing on my soap box on behalf of all the women still too unwell to do it themselves.

Love to all my readers!
Merry Samhain and a Happy New Year!

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