Thursday, 3 May 2018

I Can Finally Breathe...

Warning this is a post that contains a bit too much TMI. If you are not a lover of TMI then it may be best to go and read something else. As I am going to be talking about the P word. The word that come to think about it isn't really talked about that much. Periods. But I am going to focus mainly on the dreaded PMS that comes along with it. Something that for the past few years has ruled my life. Been in the back of my mind constantly and has reared it's ugly head for 10 days each and every single month. Sometimes in the most terrible and upsetting ways.

I have chatted about PMS before. My friends and I jokingly call it 'The Red Mist'. During certain days of the month it is as if a thick fog descends over us. It clouds our judgements. It infiltrates our thoughts like some evil spirit from a horror film. Whilst I have always had mild PMS, I found after having my second child it became almost unmanageable. It seems quite embarrassing to talk to people about it so really only confided in a few close friends. Who could sense when the mist was arriving and helped me guide my way through it.

I will chat about some of the symptoms I got during these days. Firstly there was 'the rage'. An anger that would control me. The simplest thing would see me flipping out. I would throw plates. I would scream at my poor husband for an hour over the mashed potato not being quite right. I can't express it but it was a physical feeling that overtook my body. I couldn't calm down. I would shake. I dreaded this feeling so much that days before my PMS was due to arrive I would start to worry about experiencing it again. The school run seemed impossible as I didn't want to shout at the kids. I had to avoid certain situations for fear of screaming at friends and family.

PMS

And then would come the inevitable self loathing. Which was really hard. Followers who have known me for a long time will know I am a pretty confident woman. I like grabbing life by the balls and living it the best I can. But not during these days. They were dark times. I would lie in bed sobbing. I would see something on social media that would send me into such a tizz I wouldn't be able to sleep. Irrational texts would be sent to friends. Me picking over each word they sent back. Worrying they hated me. Because why wouldn't they. I was a terrible human being. I was an awful Mum. Useless at my job. The worst kind of wife.

I was exhausted. Probably from the worry of the rage and the nights lying awake thinking the world hated me. Some afternoons I would lie on the couch and just sleep until the school run. Creatively I struggled to write and find the words I wanted to say. I knew it wasn't depression as the day after my period started the mist would go and I would be elated. So happy I had a fortnight of feeling 'normal' before the process started again. But a few months ago after some particularly dark thoughts I knew I couldn't go on like this. So with the support of Stephen I went to the doctors. I was embarrassed as PMS feels like a made up thing. Something that some men use as an excuse if a woman stands up for herself or disagrees with them.

PMS

She prescribed me some Vitamin B6 20 mg to be taken twice a day*. I just thought it was a fob off. But now three months later. I can finally breathe. I combined the B6 with some other basic self care. I walk the dog each day. I make sure I step away from social media at 8pm. The days before my period I ensure I take time to watch my favourite TV shows, have some of my most loved treats in and take an early night. I also use the 'Clue' app which is life changing. As I can look at and think "oh no it's fine I'm not losing my mind it's just the PMS". I feel happy. Almost like a hysterical happiness because I can't remember what life was like before PMS. I don't have to worry about work meetings during my red mist anymore. I can shrug off an instagram I think is aimed at me. More importantly I can take my kids to school and not lose my sh*t just because we can't find a rogue shoe.

Everything has changed. And I am not saying that B6 would work for you. But there are things out there that you can do. Firstly accept that if anything is harming your mental health, even if it is just for a few days every month, then you need to get help. Secondly go to the doctors and have a chat. PMS and hormone imbalance is just something we are conditioned to think is part and parcel of being a woman. But when it goes from feeling a bit grumpy to wondering if the world would be better without you. That is not the case. People have commented recently that I've looked a bit brighter in photos. A bit more shiny. I'm not living in fear of that week in the month anymore. I am happy. And. It. Is. Glorious.

*I now take 50mg once a day and you can buy it in Holland and Barrett.
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19 comments

  1. Well done for taking steps to get things sorted. I've been like this especially whilst on the pill. I was unreasonable, ridiculous but couldn't seem to stop myself. This was despite hearing the tirade coming from MY mouth. I'm having contraceptive injections now until the snip has proved to have worked. So far so good.

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  2. I thought it was just me!!!! The 2 weeks of 'normal' before it gears up again. Thank you so much for putting me into words, I'm sorting myself a docs appointment and putting up with it no longer. My husband will want to hug you as he even can see me start to descend into the 2 week hell of pms. If it works I'll hug you too!!!!!!

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  3. Great post. I’ve felt similar, although not quite as severe, since the birth of my second child. A trip to Holland and Barrett it is!
    So pleased you’re feeling happier.x

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  4. Glad you're feeling better Emma! I'm definitely giving the Clue app a try..

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  5. Brilliant article and so relatable! I very rarely come across this topic online so great that you've shared your experience xx

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  6. Amazing post. Thank you for getting this subject out there, we need to talk about this subject much more. I've suffered with hormone imbalance for 20 years and I can honestly say it's only this year that i feel like I have got it under control. You look fantastic ��

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  7. Oh I am so going to try this. I actually have to tell myself not to speak to some people my PMS week. I’m so worried I’ll just snap rudely at someone or get really angry at them, when at all other times it’s just a minor irritant. I’ve started St. John worts and feel a tiny temporary lift but vitamin B6 sounds worth trying!

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  8. This has been like reading my story! For years I have suffered from PCOS and that red mist can last for weeks. I’ve only discovered this wonder vitamin but I’m at a stage where I would try anything at all. I’m glad to see that someone is proof that it works!

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  9. Yes! What a fab post - you said it all,
    You do look great and I hope it carries on working and enjoy life that little bit more xxx

    Then you always got Disney !!! That is medicine in its self, for feel good feelings!!
    Xx

    *sorry for bad grammar lol xx

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  10. This is so amazing to read. I’m only 20 but I get PMS so horrendously it disables my life. Every time it comes around I sob to my friends who look at me like yeah periods suck I understand and I get so enraged that they think they know what it feels like to be so unbalanced and then I feel guilty as f*uck. And every time I goes that day after I think oh it was just me being a bit hormonal. But I honestly feel as you described it gives me what I call my ‘dark days’ �� comforting to know I’m not being a drama queen and my PMS is as bad as it makes me feel x

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  11. Oh god it’s so good to read this! I’m just about to phone my doctor and book an appointment I’ve been putting off for far too long! My PMS is pretty bad and makes me feel so low but then I ended up in hospital last month with severe pain, they thought it was appendicitis but couldn’t find anything wrong, it started again this month but I was able to fend it off a little better this time with painkillers and I’ve realised it’s when I’m ovulating, as if periods aren’t bad enough...the clue app is a godsend! I’ve been putting off going to doctors as don’t want them to dismiss it as general period stuff but it’s starting to make me pretty miserable. I needed to read this today, thank you, and I’m glad you’re all sorted now Emma, I’m phoning docs now!! Xx

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  12. Omg, this is me!!! My family are sick to death of my moods/ tempers, shouting outbursts, I really can’t face going to the drs for something that seems so bloody ridiculous but know I need to. Will be off to H &B this afternoon, the sales of B6 and magnesium will be through the roof by the weekend ha ha

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing. I feel so bad before and during my period every month. I have terrible thoughts about being a bad mother and wife. I am so glad you have found something that works for you. I just ordered myself some b6 so hopefully it will help me too.

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and I'm so pleased you're feeling much better. I watched your vlog last night and I actually ordered some b6 myself to see if it may help me too. It's comforting to know I'm not alone in struggling with the dreaded PMS. Thank you again for sharing Em xxx

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  15. Thank you for sharing Emma. I think you've given me the prompt I need to visit the Drs. I was worried about not being taken seriously but it seems like a lot of us go through something similar. Much love xxx

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  16. Wow it's like I have written that blog!! I have been to the Drs today actually about pms but unfortunately they were of no use at all. I will he buying some b6 asap. Thank you

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  17. Oh Emma, thank you SO much for writing this. I've only just started getting my monthly dose of hormone fluctuations back (everything went on hold for a bit as I was breastfeeding) and in comparison to how 'level' I felt without periods, I can TOTALLY see a change in myself since my period has returned. You're so right, it's about taking the time to look after ourselves as well as any supplements, but I may try a B6 supplement too for the next month or so and see if that helps me as well. I'll report back!

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  18. Mine has definitely been a lot worse since the birth of my son, and it is really embarrassing to talk about. I once threw a piece of toast at my husband in such a rage over something tiny! It sounds funny talking about it but I really felt like I wasn't in control of being me. I will definitely try some B6, so thanks for sharing.

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  19. Thank you for your honest and open post as always Emma! I have been suffering like this for years and thought it was just me! I have brought today some B6 vitamins to see if that helps! If it doesn’t I’ll be going to the doctors as well! How long did it take for you to notice that the B6 were working for you? I have also downloaded the clue app to see if that helps me as well!! Thanks again. Xx

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