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The storm will end. Saturday May 3, 2014

I'm a fairly happy person; enthusiastic, talkative and full of plans, but I've always had a bit of a dark side. Up one day, down the other. The same world, different colors. It took me at least fifteen years to figure out that there actually was a pattern to my mood swings.

There are days I see the world in a very dark light, days when my one and only task is to remind myself it will pass, that my life is not as bad as the poison in my mind is telling me it is. And it happens every month around the same days in my cycle. It's one to five days of depression every month, because my mind reacts badly to my hormones.

After logging my mood for months (thanks Moodsope!), my GP put me on anti-depressants some years ago. It felt wrong to take medication the whole time only to make life easier on a couple of days. So I stopped. Then I got pregnant and the monthly monster disappeared. I forgot how bad it was, but its back now, with a vengeance because post-pregnancy PMS (or PMDD as this darker version is called) seems to be worse. A grey mist that make days so very hard to get through.

The great thing is, that is passes. The bad thing is, that it always comes back. I feel my shoulders getting tense, I become more grumpy, and then at some point, it strikes. The poison lands in my head and all is negative. I have failed in life. Life is out to get me. I hate everyone (and I should email them and let them know). I could beat people up. Never did, but I felt like it. Two days later, its back to normal.

I share this, because I don't actually read that much about it and it must be a very real problem for quite a number of women. Many of my friends get grumpy, puffy, in need of chocolate and that's bad enough. But some hate themselves so fiercely once a month, we have to tell each other it's just the hormones, it's not reality.

And that's the most valuable lesson I get out of this monthly challenge. Tie yourself to the mast and the storm will end. I have created a nice first aid package for Mrs. Hyde. A note listing the topics that my mind should not wonder off to. A reminder to read a book, watch a film, send my friends a message. Not to write any angry emails or any bitter reactions online. Not to pick fights because they make it worse. To play with my daughter. To sleep. And to remember that it will pass.

A Moodscope member.

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Lois Parker Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 7:31am

just an addition to this topic. I got to the point where I had five good days a month - but then I discovered I wa severely gluten intolerant. Once I went gluten free my periods became the minor inconvenience that most people expect, rather than a distructive force that made me hate everyone and everything, and be dosed with painkillers......I write this in case anyone else out there could benefit from this as the GP offered a hysterectomy as the solution, which would not have solved the mood problems.

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 7:40am

Thank you for this Rose, it was so helpful to me. I am also reminded of a friend who would get suicidal every month. At the time her doctor recommended evening primrose oil, which she said helped a lot.

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 8:39am

Really interesting, thank you. Another tick for gluten free... Your post reminds me of me only now I'm post-40 my symptoms have changed. However, gluten free makes everything (and I mean everything) in my life better. It's a lifestyle choice for me rather than coeliac and I do find it hard to stick to. That said, when you kick it you do wonder why you hadn't done it before. Pure foods rather than gluten replacements work best for me. Love from the room above the garage.

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 8:58am

Thank you for reminding me how bad it can get - having been through the menopause my 'symptoms' are less severe but this encourages me to use Moodscope mood logger to see if my hormones are still causing a monthly "low"? Also Rose thanks for the idea of the first aid package - sounds like having a balm to soothe the 'pain' could be really helpful! Really got a lot from your post thanks again ?

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 9:13am

Thanks Rose - I think that's just what so many of us needed to hear :)

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 9:43am

Thank you Rose for a beautifully written piece containing much wisdom.

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 9:57am

Thanks for posting Rose. The regularity of your symptoms and their obvious link to hormonal changes underlines the biological nature of your mood change: there is quite a bit of research on this now (see Google Scholar + there is a Mood/hormone specialist clinic at the Maudsley in London now) and many women seem to be helped by dietary changes or certain SSRIs, which have a low side-effect profile and help the brain to cope with the shifting hormonal pattern.

If I were you, I'd try some of the options: why suffer when you could have 30 good days a month?

All the best

fionaran Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 9:58am

What a wise post. Thank you

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 9:59am

Thanks Rose. I've tried to post a comment but it vanished so sorry if it appears and i'm repeating myself!
I have in the past left a first aid love letter to my partner for times when my PMT is extra bad. Same as Rose, yesterday I felt my shoulders hunch suddenly and within half an hour I was raging at life. recently I lost a family member who i was close to and was concerned about the next PMT.. I decided to take a tiny dose of beta blocker given to me for a fear of flying.. and it helped so quickly. i still felt dark but didnt want to throw my life in the bin.
After trying lots of different anti depressants in my younger years i wont go there again. I'm going to ask the doctor about the b-bs next week.
One thing so interesting about PMT is how many women are happy to talk about it until it hits, then its denial. And it's that denial that can hurt the family/partners so much. Years ago I had a pair of bunny ears i would put on when I was raging, sat in a room writing and gruffing, trying to use the hormones creatively, and if anyone looked in on me they could see not to take my snarling too seriously ;)

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 10:05am

Aw thanks so much for posting this. I really wish the medical world would take this cycle seriously. In my cycle I don't often have a low mood but my anxiety becomes horrendous. I have charted it for years and can evidence the pattern but the docs just want to blame my mental health. Grr! I am,now in the peri menopause stage of life which means that mid cycle as well as pmt is horrendous. Some months I am lucky to get a good week! I am working with a nutritionist and so far not noticed any outstanding changes. I am also experiencing migraines night sweats and crashing fatigue! Thank you for reminding me that the storm will pass.

Julia Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 10:21am

Hello Rose. Great to see your name today, a new writer for Moodscope.. I think hormones play such a large part in our moods for all ages, male and female actually. It's amazing that it's only fairly recently we are discovering their power in this area. It's great you raised this issue

heather Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 10:37am

Dear Bunny Ears - that really made me laugh ! My episodes have definitely been hormonal: my first hospital admission was exactly one month after a miscarriage and the second exactly one month after the eagerly awaited birth of my second daughter. Acute episodes petered out until my menopause when I was once again taken into hospital with my very last "monthly". My lows would suddenly turn into a "manic" phase which needed hospitalisation. Things are a lot calmer now and generally I can enjoy my ups and just about get through my lows, with which Moodscope is helping. When I was first ill nobody seemed to know what was going on, there was no-one to talk to, and it took years to get a diagnosis which was then Manic Depressive (not Bipolar) and very frightening. Is there a test for going on a gluten free diet ? Can anyone tell me a bit more about it. Sounds very interesting. Sorry if this is boring for the men, but I suspect hormones are key for them too. Needs a lot more research.

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 10:49am

I feel I am in the storm at the moment.

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 11:16am

Anon, we feel for you. Have you tried RAIN technique? It can really help when you're in the moment. Its pretty simple. I often find just reading the words gives me slight relief. Heres a link, not for the book but for the 4 steps
Heather I'm glad to have made you laugh this morning!
I dont think you need a test for gluten free, just start with cutting out bread, even that works for a lot of people I know.
As for research, I think the womens prisons have known for a long time that there is a link between hormones and crime. Sometimes I cant believe it's 2014 and we're still looking for answers to to help us deal with destructive PMT (without the use of addictive phramaceuticals)

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 11:24am

I just love the bunny ears - what a wonderful way to alert nearest and dearest to where you were at! Now, where's the dressing up box ... Frankie

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 11:27am

Dear Anonymous 10;49 - hang on in there; we are all rooting for you ...
(Apologies; the "bunny ears" comment was for Anon 9.59.) Frankie

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 11:40am

Hello, Your blog attracted my attention as I suffered this problem for years and I'm diagnosed with Bipolar 2. For me, there has been a solution. 100%. I saw my gaenocologist and spoke to her. She prescribed a hormone replacement : Chlormadinone (a progesterone based medicine which is also a contraceptive). I have now taken this for 5 years, continually without a break each month, and I have never had pre-menstrual depression, with all its associated symptoms, since. I just wish someone had tried it earlier ! Maybe worth thinking about... PS : I live in France, I don't know if this molecule is available in the UK or US. I hope you can find a way out of this. The treatment offered to me has certainly changed my life as I don't have to worry about 5 days of misery each month. Anna x

heather Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 11:53am

Could work though !

Caz Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 11:57am

Thanks for raisng this topic, Rose.It seems it is very under-researched in the grand scheme of things, but reaching peri-menopause has led to me being on antidepressants and nearly losing my job because my mood was so erratic and energy so low.I then read there is a correlation between low Oestrogen and low Serotonin-kinda makes sense! There still seems to be a bit of a 'hysterical women' approach to hormones and low mood and it needs bringing out in the open and acknowledging for the misery it can cause.Happy to say I am now starting to feel much better with the help of medication! So don' suffer in silence!

heather Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 11:57am

That is very very interesting. Too late for me but I will tell my daughter who is a sufferer. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 1:13pm

What a relief - it's not just me! Have been going through this hell since I was a teenager- and now I'm old enough to be on HRT! You'd think I'd be a bit long in the tooth for all these symptoms - but no.

Although for most of the time I'm feeling great on HRT, once a month, with ominous regularity, I can't sleep, the black dog is there again for 3 or 4 days and I feel terrible. Just knowing others are experiencing this is rather comforting..... thank you for sharing this....

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 1:23pm

Thanks for your honesty Rose. This was my life too. I had a hysterectomy at 40. The hormone fluctuations from that made PM or MODS seem mild compared to the life threatening depression that followed surgery and the luge ride thru menopause. But now the monthly struggle is gone.
Getting older has lots of benefits. Letting go of the curse of pain and dark days every month is just one of them.
Stay well.

heather Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 2:06pm

Thanks for the simple advice - bread is OUT

Anonymous Sat, May 3rd 2014 @ 5:12pm

Thank you Rose, I suffered the same from a teenager now in my forties on a mini-pill without breaks which has changed my life, I started using moodscope because of this, I not enough research into this. Luckily I found
a doctor who would listen. Now watching my
daughter start her cycles, its sad.

Anonymous Sun, May 4th 2014 @ 12:31am

Really lovely post thanks it's nice to know I'm not the only that has them highs and lows. The lows can become so over coming and completely have ruined many good days. I'm sick of wasting my time reacting to low moods. Time to shake up I think xxx

Anonymous Sun, May 4th 2014 @ 8:22am

Hi there, im new to moodscope and I am now aware of Rose's and many of you ladies out there that have this awful affliction which destroys your welbeing where you feel so low for most days, with having a small window of normality inbetween.
at last, there is a place I can come where others have the same problem and we can share our experiences, not be judged and offer some wisdom to eachother.
ive suffered with depression most of my adult life and I have discovered that its hormonal and influenced by people in my life, whom had the choice and in a perfect world be ejected for having a negative impact on my is very easy for people to say.. surround your self with positive and supportive people, but you cannot choose who you work with or pick a boss whom respects you and doesnt refer you as an idiot and thinks women represent emotional termoil..yes, thats his words!..confidence has gone right down hill and due to the homones, my skin and hair
arent at their best and despite exercise 3 times a week,going out with friends and having a lovely husband and son seems still not enough to control this monster who invades my mind and fills it with negativity and paranoia.i just dont know anymore what I can do, ive tried anti depressants, hypnotherapy, counceling, st johns wort, projesterone only mini pills (which are dreadful)..dont go there!!. and
The beast will keep popping back to keep me tormented and low.i try, believe me to feel positive but my mindspace is never at there anything more I can try, my GP is rubbish, they just hand out anti depressants like sweets these days...would love your suggestions ladies...thank you for reading..

Anonymous Sun, May 4th 2014 @ 8:47am

Hi heather, I'm a bit passionate about gluten free. My depression started with hormonal fluctuations then PND came into play, nowadays it's a slower, drawn out low. Anyway, GF...when I cleaned up my diet my hormonal spots reduced drastically! My eczema almost completely cleared and i had energy again. Gluten can be very, very difficult for some bodies to digest. The digestive system spends a huge amount of time and effort dealing with it and misses out on getting the good nutrients. Novak Djokovic said it turned around his tennis when he dropped gluten. He'd been feeling unable to finish a match. It can cause inflammation in the body, you might feel bloated and swollen after eating. In terms of depression, there is belief that through not getting the correct nutrients within the gut, the brain cannot produce the correct chemistry. I certainly feel everything in my world improves greatly when I am clean and I struggle when I'm not. I'm half and half GF right now and my mood is bumbling along. I think you may have inspired me to go fully GF again. The hard part...making the change feels daunting. Unless you already live very purely, you could find gluten in almost everything in your cupboard. It's a protein within wheat. It's in ketchup and sauces as well as bread, pasta, cereals. You may find reducing gluten helps. Personally I cut it out for two weeks by eating meat & 2 veg, eggs, fresh foods instead of packets and jars and felt a huge difference. I found gf replacements expensive, high in calories and taste odd. My general rule of thumb was to buy foods that don't have a packet with an ingredients list. When I'm asked about it, people say its expensive and they don't have answer is that i can't afford the money or time to be ill! Anyway, I have talked too much, but if it helps anyone then good! I'm astonished Lois avoided a hysterectomy through avoiding gluten. In short, I smoothed out my hormonal pathways hugely this way and I won't go back. Hope it's helpful. Love from the room above the garage.

Anonymous Sun, May 4th 2014 @ 2:32pm

thank you

Anonymous Sun, May 4th 2014 @ 4:17pm

Wow, this resonates so completely with me. I always say I become a different person during my time of the month and it's nice to read that someone else feels the same way. I feel this completely different person rears it's ugly head, makes me say terrible things, and it feels like it's completely out of my control. I've been tracking it for years and realized it was exactly hormone related as well. It feels like a curse in a way...but I guess it's comforting to know I'm not alone with this struggle. Thanks so much for the post.

heather Sun, May 4th 2014 @ 8:20pm

I am going to try a gluten free diet, starting with cutting out bread (today). (See Anon in reply to my earlier comment). My daughter already suggested it for my sinusitis - she is doing it to cure thrush - worth some effort as it seems it can cure several ailments. Good luck what ever you decide to try.

heather Sun, May 4th 2014 @ 8:23pm

I am so chuffed to get love from the "room above the garage" it always sounds so intriguing. Thanks a lot - I am on to it.

Lois Parker Mon, May 5th 2014 @ 8:05am

GLUTEN- If you want to be tested to see if you have coeliac diseaseplease go to your GP before you adjust your diet. The tests look for your reaction to gluten so wont work if you have been gluten free. It is worth doing this first as if you have coeliac disease, which is an autoimmune disease, there can be other health problems a competent GP would look out for. If the tests come back negative then adjust your diet anyways to see if it makes you feel better. I was really physically and mentally disabled, had had to give up work and all my hobbies, before I went gluten free, and within a couple of weeks my health was transformed. There are people who react to gluten who do not have coeliac disease, and the health world is beginning to understand this (all GP's in the UK were sent information on this last year) but you may find a lack of sympathy and understanding. If it works, hooray, at least it is something you can control. Oh, and Heather, I had appalling chest and sinus infections most of the time. Now I only get them if I have been glutened. Also got rid of my joint weakness (I couldn't squeeze toothpaste out of a tube), migraines, fatigue and brain fog.

Anonymous Mon, May 5th 2014 @ 11:52am

Please be aware you don't have to put up with PMS! There are a number of natural remedies which all but eliminate it. I suffered badly for years, and lost a marriage from PMS, before I discovered Vitamin B6, Evening Primrose Oil, Agnus Castus, Black Cohosh, and avoiding dips in blood sugar by eating a healthy slow-release snack like oat biscuits. The symptoms all but disappeared. I used a similar method with the menopause.

Anonymous Mon, May 5th 2014 @ 3:40pm

Its great to read all your comments, thanks a lot. There's soms valuable advice in there too. All the best (all days of the month),

heather Mon, May 5th 2014 @ 6:04pm

Thank you so much for all this information Lois, room above the garage, and Bunny Ears !! (hope I've got that right).

heather Mon, May 5th 2014 @ 6:07pm

Lovely information - thanks will pass on to my daughter.

Dande Lion Thu, May 8th 2014 @ 12:20am

brain gut connection research shows the gut produces more seretonin than the brain, but of it os impaired through gluten intollerance, it may not function properly and coeliacs disease can give rise to lower oestrogen as its a serious auto immune disease. spare a thought for me being gluten free and vegan if you think giving up gluten in hard! it is possible, but i need to be mentally well enough to manager such a restricted diet, which is my vicious circle. brain gut connection is huge and not even known about by a consultant psychiatrist i saw. research is key, but again, need to be well enough to do it. thanks for this post as i'm peri menopausal too and now need to learn about that.

Dande Lion Thu, May 8th 2014 @ 12:23am

ps. the coeliac society in the uk (usa have one too) are invaluable for advice ad info. and there is an allergy free show at london olympia in june with free tickets available by googling. x

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