As I explained in a previous article Could you have PMDD, I have experienced first hand the devastation of living with PMDD.
I thought that the article was quite frank and open, explaining my experience and what it was that had finally helped me to resolve the exhausting, emotional flux which can prevent women like me from living a ‘normal’ existence or achieving their potential. (well as frank and open as you can be in 1 short article)
It seems though that a few people felt that it indicated that they had been exaggerating their symptoms. Huh? At first I was confused how my explanation of depressive and suicidal episodes throughout life could possibly be seen as underplaying the roller-coaster that is PMDD. How on earth could my description of how it ruined one relationship and a hard earned career possibly be seen as watering down the darkness that I and many others lived with month after month?
Then I realised, they meant that the way I had so ‘easily’ found my resolution in Hypnotherapy may have indicated that they too could have found a cure without suffering or resorting to extremes. After all isn’t a hysterectomy the ultimate cure? The holy grail for many PMDD sufferers? It certainly seems to be if you read the available forums, and I’m sure that I too would have resorted to that had this continued. So I decided that I should clarify why I feel that I have resolved my PMDD using Hypnotherapy. I am certainly NOT saying that I have the magic bullet which works for everyone, in fact, I’m not saying that I have a cure at all, or that I am an expert, what I have done is share what worked for me, in the same way that I would have shared the name of a pill I had taken, or a diet that I had followed had they worked.
Hypnotherapy, as with any therapy is certainly far from an easy approach to dealing with any issue, it requires commitment to understanding oneself, what triggers us to respond in the way that we do and the root to those triggers. It can be an emotional and often difficult path.
Why I think Hypnotherapy helped me
Each month as the dreaded hormones would descend and start to play havoc with body and mind, I wondered, what if I removed the emotional triggers I have been carrying for years? What if I cleared out all of the emotional baggage? Would the hormones have anything on which to feed? After all, every time I acted in an angry or depressed way I had thoughts, I was replaying old arguments in my head which fuelled my rage, or hearing negative words in my head said years ago which increased my feelings of inferiority, or I watched scenes repeat which reinforced my feelings of depression. So what If I changed the way I felt about these scenes? What if I lessened their impact? Would they still carry the same weight? Would I then still react in an extreme way to anything which made me feel the same emotions?
For example, as a child, a certain family member seemed to despise me, everything I said or did seemed to rile her. I was called stupid, repeatedly told to shut up if I spoke, and was relentlessly, publicly mocked by her. I loved learning and understanding, yet I was told I could be nothing and all of my thoughts were a joke. Now as an adult, I can see that she had no idea of the impact that she would have on me or my life with her words and actions, I see that I can remove myself from her and she cannot say these things anymore, I can see that she had her own issues and that she was actually quite envious of me even though I was a small child and she was an adult.... My adult logic allows me to see this clearly.
Reactions and responses are not based on our adult logic, they are based on the feelings that we attach to events in our life; if these things happened in childhood then we will continue to respond with the same emotional attachment to these issues that we felt when they happened to us as children, with our Child’s logic.
So, for me, If I ever felt embarrassed, or got something wrong, or felt silly in any way similar to the way she made me feel, then I became defensive to the point that I responded angrily. I would almost become blind with rage during the 2 weeks leading to a period, often following a really inoffensive comment.I believe that this was because the hormones were Increasing and emphasising every thought, reaction and feeling.
While I still felt these things and had these thoughts at other times in the month, their affects were minimal because I could chose not to fall back on negativity, refusing to replay them and buy in to how they made me feel. I was better able to push things to one side and get on with life, I was able to halt the negative thought and switch to daily things; Once hormones were in their chaotic lead up to a period then I didn’t have that control and so the negative thoughts would win out, they would roll on, gathering momentum, collecting other supporting negative thoughts along the way.
That is of course just one example, for me to have had such depressive episodes I would have needed to feel lots of things relating to feelings of not being enough, not living the life I wanted. I certainly felt ignored.
So by using hypnotherapy, I was able to work on understanding the thoughts I had during PMDD weeks, and go back to the root cause. By eliminating all of these issues one by one, changing how I felt about the issues and the people which may have caused them, then I changed my emotional reaction to them. To the point that I find it hard to even imagine that I felt this way about any of the events, no mater how significant or insignificant they may have felt to my conscious adult mind.
But Why not standard Therapy?
I’m not disregarding standard therapy, there are many types and some work better for some than other. For me Hypnotherapy had worked because it allowed me to quiet my logical adult mind whilst accessing the emotions felt and understood by my subconscious mind. Remember that my adult logical mind was thinking, “surely its not that, I’m an adult now, that cant hurt me, that can’t be bothering me”. So by accessing my subconscious under hypnosis I could get to the root of what was really causing the emotional reactions.
I have spoken with people who have said that they had used hypnotherapy for this and it has never worked for them. This may be the case, I wonder though if they or their therapist understood what it was they were trying to achieve.
Hypnotherapy can be used to help with relaxation, resolve anxiety, alleviate depression etc, but often a session will just involve someone being relaxed/hypnotised, while someone uses suggestive scripts to change their thought processes. If though they don’t understand PMDD, if they don’t understand that these emotions are in flux, that your responses under hypnosis even can be different at different points of the month, then you may not reach the level of understanding that you need in order to move forward.
I personally worked with a style of hypnotherapy called Rapid Transformational Hypnotherapy, sessions which last at least 90 minutes and involve relaxation, regression to the scenes which have caused the issue and a combination of NLP and CBT to help you affect change in how you process the thoughts about the root causes of your issues, generously laced with understandings of Tony Robbins’ 6 Human Needs and how they are met by any and every issue or part of life it is possible to change the channels of your thought processes regardless of which part of the month you are in.
I recommend to my clients that they follow a course of 4 sessions, one at each different stage of their cycle, to ensure that changes are being experienced and that we are both getting to the bottom of what is causing the emotions. However just 1 in depth session with a therapist who understands PMDD can also be highly effective.
It does though take courage to delve into your own mind; You are taking control of your thought processes and committing to changing the way you may have dealt with things for many years. It is far from the easy path, but the rewards can be so great as it can change the way you perceive yourself and the world around you, potentially changing your life.