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, 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 -
Brain Facts sourced from -
Smiling facts from -
Images from Google images.


AliaAnne said...

Great blog. I felt EXACTLY the same about takings meds and feeling hopessly ill.

Cat said...

Hi AliaAnne... Thanks for reading my blog and leaving a comment... it means a lot :). I hope you are doing ok.. Cat xx

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