Sharing stories and taking back control

We were so privileged to hear Francesca (The Petite Blogger) sharing her story with us at our Women’s Health Event this week.

Francesca shared her struggles with the challenging condition PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder), which she describes as:

 ‘the monster that comes uninvited every month and takes over her mind, body and spirit, and she has no control over.’

PMDD is a collection of psychological, behavioural, and physical symptoms which include: mood swings, anxiety, irritability, memory loss, fatigue, sleeping difficulties, changes in appetite, migraines, bloating, weight gain and more… and it leads to feelings of overwhelm and lack of control….

Although we may not be affected by PMDD personally, it is so important to have an awareness of a condition that affects 1 in 20 women. The impact can also be far reaching… Francesca explained how it has dramatically affected both her relationships and her career.

Many of the symptoms also mirror symptoms many women struggle with regularly, and as Amanda noted the symptoms, she described are also many of the common symptoms associated with the perimenopause.

However, the symptoms for Francesca appeared after the birth of her daughter and it was heart-breaking to hear her say:

‘ It was not how I imagined motherhood was supposed to be.’ 

Francesca writes a brilliant blog that I would encourage you all to read. The  level of detailed information she shares to help other women  is just brilliant, and it reflects the dedication and work she has put into learning how to manage her own PMDD. She learnt about PMDD herself through a Facebook  post, which is why she is so passionate about getting the message out to other women so that they can access the support they need. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to find a GP that has awareness and understanding about the condition, which makes her work so crucial!

Thankfully after much learning and much ‘trial and error’ she has now found much better ways to manage her PMDD, and she is keen to share this to help others too…

She kindly shared with us two books on the call that she has found particularly helpful: ‘Fix Your Period’, and ‘Burnout’

Learning how to manage stress has been instrumental in her recovery and in giving her back that element of control that PMDD so cruelly took from her. Again, she was keen to explain what she has learnt about stress, and to share the yoga poses that can help.

Light intensity movement can buffer all the little stresses that we all experience daily. It reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol which is why moving regularly throughout  the day is so beneficial to our health.

However, yoga is particularly powerful as it enables us to gain that sense of connection with ourselves, and to gain that sense of control within ourselves, regardless of what might be out of our control in our environment.

Slow exhalations are also central to every yoga practice. This activates physiological changes in our body through the vagus nerve and the parasympathetic nervous system and turns on the relaxation response.

Having a physical practice, whether that is yoga or simply a regular breathing practice can give us that essential self-control that can help us all manage our stress better.

During our call this week Amanda led us through some simple but powerful breathing techniques to demonstrate how simple daily habits can have a huge impact on our wellbeing. We plan to continue sharing these powerful tools during our monthly calls.

Please do get in touch if you would like to join us at our call next month. The date and theme will be confirmed soon, but I can make sure you are the first to know!

In the meantime, please do share this blog with anyone who might benefit from it and please get in touch if you would like to be a guest speaker one month. We would be delighted to hear from you.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Francesca for so bravely and generously sharing her story with us. Sharing stories is such a powerful way to help others and Francesca did it beautifully.

Her purpose to turn something so painful into something positive is so inspiring. She has helped so many women already. Please do help to share her important work by sharing her blog and reach out to her. She would be delighted to hear from you I am sure.

Thank you. Wishing you all the best of health.

Take good care,

Harriet x







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