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PMDD. When your Hormonal Cycle Controls

PMDD & PME for therapists

November 21st 10-12.30 online

1 in 20 Menstruating women are believed to live with Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder or Pre menstrual Exacerbation

30% of these women are believed to have attempted suicide at least once during a PMDD crisis. As many as 90% of sufferers are believed to be undiagnosed, something not helped by the lack of awareness amongst the medical and therapeutic communities. Women are regularly misdiagnosed with Bi-polar, Depression, Anxiety, Border Line Personality Disorder.

This means that they may not be getting the correct help in order to address their specific issues. 

Working with women who have PMDD or PME can be less than straightforward as a therapist due to the nature of its flux.

It is possible to find that you may get a call asking for an urgent appointment as the client feels quite desperate, yet once menstruation begins they can feel extremely disassociated from the emotional trauma they felt during the days previous, they can feel embarrassed, confused and even ashamed, which leads to them gas lighting themselves, stating that it wasn't that bad and next month they will be fine, only to find that they have the same cycle within 4 weeks.

Using my personal experience with PMDD/PME and through working with women already diagnosed with it, I have established that, there are times during the cycle that working with sufferers of PMDD or PME can be complex, and it is possible that using techniques that bring certain issues to the surface can lead to what we may call an abnormal reaction, where they initially feel lighter but can subsequently have an emotional crash that leads them to a darker depression during coming days, It may can also lead to disordered eating, addictive and obsessive behaviour and suicidal thoughts 

I have put together a 2.5 hour online workshop in order to help you to identify issues with clients and also to feel confident in offering support to women who have PMDD or PME.

Currently treatment offered to women with PMDD or PME, includes anti depressants, HRT, monthly injections to stop them cycling, hysterectomy & oophorectomy, however after trying many of these options and being offered surgery, I was able to turn back my symptoms without this intervention and have been symptom free for almost 5 years.

I have managed to help my clients to establish their own routine in order to achieve similar outcomes, with some now living with the far less impactful PMS and some showing no symptoms at all.

This workshop is designed to help you to share in this experience and learn some of the areas that may be helpful to your clients.

It is not designed to teach you techniques, as it is aimed at existing therapists who already have a myriad of techniques available

I will cover:

How to spot PME & PMDD

How to work within the cycle for best effect

When to book sessions around the luteal phase for best effect

Issues that can be caused by deep therapy sessions at the wrong part of the cycle

The impact of diet on PMDD and PME

Leading with Compassion

Treating everyone as an individual

Acceptance and commitment to change

Dissociation and the need to take good notes 


Eating disorders interacting with PMDD & PME

How Carb loading can help

How to work with PME when a client has ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Bi-Polar etc


My Experience

After having my son in 2013, I was overwhelmed by exhaustion and the difficulty of life's circumstances at that time, as many new mums are, however for me, the extent of these feelings was extreme and I knew something was wrong.

The flux that fell in line, as my hormones looked for post partum balance, could mean that some days I was so physically drained I was unable to engage with my child, even to get out of bed. I would eat to excess sparing episodes of bulimia, I would walk obsessively to control my weight. I could be so deeply depressed that, despite having a wonderful new child, I still walked to the edge of a metaphorical cliff and contemplated suicide on several occasions.

I would also feel extremes of rage towards people around me, and displayed behaviours that had a lasting impact on relationships as I dipped between paranoia, confusion, depression, and then suddenly would be back to normal, just looking around at the damage that lie around me from the outbursts of previous days.

Initially it was suggested that I had post natal depression, however this didn't add up, because as soon as menstruation began I would flip to being my normal self, in control, able to organise myself, my son, even others, as I reached out to support other new mums. It really was that simple. I was one extreme or another.

However it meant that I didn't trust myself, my judgement, my behaviours; I felt shame, I felt that I was backtracking all of the time, I felt that I had no ability to plan or to progress with my future. It felt completely hopeless.

As is extremely common, I discovered PMDD through trawling the internet to help me understand what was happening for me, finding this information and leaning more about this was like turning a light on throughout my history, ever relationship issue, the flux of my career changes, inconsistency, issues with food and alcohol and so much more, discovering this disorder and learning from those women who had been brave enough to talk about it online made an immediate change for me, and that is something for which I will be forever grateful.

By the time my son was 6 months old I had armed myself with information online about PMDD and took it along to my GP, something that I was scared to do, because I didn't want to admit to my behaviours in case they thought my son was in danger from me, luckily I had a sympathetic GP, who knew what PMDD was, and we started trialling anti depressants in line with recommendations.

I cannot tell you how lucky I was to have a rare GP who knew what this was, but who also had compassion, so I didn't feel under threat or embarrassed at all. (Many women do not have this experience as their GP's are unaware of what PMDD is)

Anti depressants helped me initially, but not for long, as I started to spiral again, with an episode so bad that I booked in to a hotel with alcohol and boxes of pain killers and had even written a note to the person that would find me, apologising that they had experienced this.

I was lucky, my sister in law harassed me via the phone, found me and sat up next to me all night.... sure enough the following day, my period started and I could see the World again in full colour. I was awash with shame that I may leave my child, and sheepishly went to be with him, to hold him and to start rebuilding again, until next time.

This occasion made me progress my treatment, as I met with a gynaecologist, who immediately offered me a hysterectomy and Oophorectomy, I was horrified, I said "but I want to control this, so that I can trust myself enough to be balanced so that I can have another child, a sibling for my son." I was also aware of how ridiculous this was as just weeks before I had tried to end m own life, yet here I was discussing how I may want another child

I was then offered more anti depressants and prostap, a chemical injection designed to stop the cycle, but I knew that I couldn't accept that filling myself with chemicals was the only way.

This is when I started my relationship with learning abut mental health, emotional wellbeing, mindfulness, nutrition, exercise and supplements. Prior to that I had no clue about any of these things, I was as uneducated as you could imagine, I was a corporate junkie who had a habit of numbing and getting on with what needed to be done, so this was revelatory for me.

Within a very short time I found a greater balance. as my symptoms slowly lessened each month, until I was reduced to mild PMS symptoms for a day or 2 every few months. 

I continued to learn more and more about techniques and treatments, and despite many years in a corporate World I decided to go continue in a career as a therapist, helping women who had experienced the same issues. There were a lot of triggers to contend with and an unearthing of many of the underlying issues for me, however I was able to start establishing common patterns with the women that I worked with and was able to develop ways of working that facilitated their steps to recovery.

As with all therapy, it is as effective as the commitment from the client and their connection with the therapist, but there are many things that will make it easier to help by working with their cycle.  

Are you ready to learn more? 

You can book on to this workshop by clicking here Book Now

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