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Today I want to share everything so far with you. How I got here, where I have been. How and why I am now discovering PMDD and what my plan is.
I want to start by sharing that this episode was inspired when I briefly shared about my experience on Instagram. I couldn’t believe 1/3 of my audience spoke up, saying they either have PMDD or have had it in the past. How is this so common and I have never heard of it, much less associated with it? But I’m not alone and neither are you. Here are a few messages from women who messaged me.
“I had PMDD for years, and I know that heaviness. Also self diagnosed because I never felt like I could share with my mum or anyone else what I was experiencing. Thank you for sharing something so vulnerable. I have never known anyone else that also faced this.”
“Thank you for this. You are helping me feel not alone. I’ve never experienced cramps during my cycle or anything but I’ve noticed this change after having my second son - despite the fact that I encapsulated my placenta. It wasn’t until about 8-12 months ago that I started to notice the trend (and he’s 3 now) so I’ve went through almost 1.5 years of all symptoms you mentioned about thinking it was all me and depression.”
“Wow, what, this is a thing? I’ve struggled with this for years and wondered what the heck is wrong with me!!”
“I don’t know what pmdd is but hormones postpartum are definitely going bananas. And my blood pressure is just out of order too.”
I noticed a trend when reading through literally hundreds of messages. I will circle back around to this trend in a bit because it is what really helped me connect the dots for myself.
I want to be wildly vulnerable here because maybe it will help one of you heal yourself. Maybe it will help you understand someone in your life. Maybe it will validate you or at very least, give you an awareness so that you are prepared for if your life gets stressful and your hormones take a big swing. For if your body falls into the place where I am right now. Because here’s the thing. Even when we do everything right, none of us are 100% all the time.
How I self diagnosed. The process of connecting the dots.
It all started when I saw a reel (I wish I had saved it or remembered who it was from) but basically this woman was talking about how her Luteal phase is her favorite phase of her menstrual cycle. So if you don’t know - this is the week leading up to your period. She said you should be in your powerhouse phase. The energy from ovulation but with extra focus and task driven capacity. Well my luteal phase kicks my butt. My mood is all over the place, I am edgy and have far less patience than my normal self. I thought she was joking when she said it was her favorite so I read the caption, probably looking for validation. But instead read, if your luteal isn’t your favorite phase you likely have PMDD.
This reel opened up a several hour research session. All the while, my mind was spinning because I had honestly never considered anything like PMS or PMDD. These weren’t on my radar because I never experience bloating, I never get acne or cramps. (Which are All great testaments to my balanced gut microbiome) and to be honest, before a few weeks ago I had never even heard of the term PMDD.
But when I watched this reel so many things clicked in my mind. And the more I researched the more I related. So overwhelmed but sad because I miss everyone. No tolerance for things like cleaning around things. I am short and snappy and so easily annoyed. I can’t read anyone where I am naturally very intuitive. My sleep is so light and full of the most vivid dreams so I wake up exhausted.
In my research I learned that PMDD can look like severe mood swings, feelings of hopelessness, intense sadness, or despair. Some women experience physical symptoms like fatigue, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, joint or muscle pain. Common behavioral symptoms are irritability, anger, difficulty concentrating and changes in sleep or eating patterns. Symptoms typically occur in the week or two before the bleeding phase of your cycle and wow. I don’t check every single box but most.
All of this research turned into a process of elimination, and a shedding of layers. It ignited a fast and furious understanding of self. I started peeling back the layers of my life and my own well being. Reflecting back to learn when this started, what may have triggered it.
And this is where I found and connected with a trend in the messages I was receiving on Instagram. This goes all the way back to when my second child was unwell. If you aren’t familiar with my story, please go back and listen to episodes 39,40 and 43. I will link them in the show notes. But basically my son was incredibly unwell for 2.5 years and our whole family lived in fear and survival mode while trying to learn what was wrong and how to heal him. We eventually got there and the mission of this podcast is to educate on what we learned. That the root cause of his eczema, colic, sour smelling poop, allergies, speech delays, restless sleep and behavioral issues was a gut bacteria imbalance.
I was pregnant with my third child when we finally learned how to heal his body. The naturopath that was helping us heal our son taught me that I had likely passed an imbalance onto my son during birth and recommended that I rebalance my gut so as to not pass imbalance onto my third baby. I did and it was amazing but that was the extent of my own healing. I never healed my heart. I never mended my soul from living in fear for 2.5 years. The emotional damage of stress and fear runs so deep and I never paused to heal or release. To be honest, until right now, I never even knew I needed to. My mission was to heal my son. I did that and I was ready to close the door on that chapter of our lives. So all of that trauma, fear and tension has been sitting in my body for all these years. Our son is about to turn 10 so this is a really long time of my body holding so much.
Thow in two more babies, living and traveling on the road for nearly 8 years, building my business, pulling off a massive home renovation, my husband losing his job during the pandemic, nearly losing both my husband's dad and my own, my husband shattering his leg and experiencing an unfortunate case of medical malpractice and now here I am. So much beautiful living and so much on my body, heart and soul that was never healed.
I want to share this next part with you as permission to pivot when you need.
It was about a year ago that I really found a sense of unease inside myself. We were taking our travel adventures to new level and spent winter living in a tiny dry cabin on our property in Montana while we Airbnb’d our house so we could build a bus to travel abroad for several years. It was a big dream that we were 100% committed to experiencing.
This is where my healing journey unknowingly started. Where the layers began to shed without me even realizing.
Long story short, the five years we dreamed of being in the bus turned into a short but very long and hard five months that shook every part of my marriage and personal wellbeing and by the time we came back to Montana in August to support my dad with his neck surgery, it was so clear we needed to move home. It was also during that time I really woke up in my business. I realized that I had built a successful business based on society's standards but I was drowning. I had built my business to a level of needing multiple team members and instead of connecting with the women in my community, I spent my time managing a team. I was being pulled from my motherhood and it wasn’t aligned. I hit a breaking point where I had to make a really hard decision. Either shut my business down or let my team go. So I let my team go, simplified my business and went back to the basics.
We moved home at the end of October. The first time in 8 years. We have visited for short periods over the years but only for short windows and we always had one foot out the door. Our traveling days were the best of our lives and I wouldn’t change them for the world but what I now realize is that the adventure we were looking for in the bus is actually here. Traveling for us has never been about the places we were so lucky to visit fulfilling a bucket list. It was about connecting with ourselves and each other. About evolution and growth. The next level of experience we were craving is actually a deeper level of self healing. One that requires us to find happiness from within instead of the next amazing mountain to climb.
Moving home meant so much more than living stationary. We moved home to dive deep into our children's passions and take our self care to the next level. For two months now I have been dead set dedicated to my new home rhythm. Of waking up early to fit my self-care in before my children are awake. Daily I am moving my body, cold plunging, journaling, supplementing and reading for pleasure. I have committed to myself in a way that I have dreamed of for years. And now, with all the stress removed, I find myself deep in my rhythm and can see my raw self so clearly. This brings me to today. I am not okay.
And it turns out it isn’t anything external. For so long external things were huge contributors but now? All of that is gone and I can hear my body asking me to heal.
Combine old trauma that was never healed with my cortisol levels and sleep patterns being complete shit for nearly 10 years and it is time to heal.
I just shared a lot about myself but not because this is about me. Just about every single woman who wrote to me on instagram saying they have PMDD also experienced trauma in their motherhood that they likely never healed. We forget about ourselves, we move on and experience so much life. So much good and so much hard and it all piles on top of each other and we are left here.
Maybe you aren’t in a place in life where you can’t shed layers but inside you know something isn’t right. This is why I am sharing my experience because we can learn from each other and heal.
Now the diagnosis PMDD should not define any one of us. This isn’t who we are. It is a symptom we are experiencing and an invitation to turn inward.
So lets talk about healing. I want to share everything I started doing right away. So many of these were suggestions made by many of you. Others from my midwife, and knowledge I have from my experience with the gut/brain/hormone connection.
I want to break this into three parts: my physical, emotional and spiritual healing.
For my physical health I am holding solid to my daily movement, cold plunge and supplementing rhythm. I am taking organic evening primrose oil, magnesium, vitamin a, c, e and a b complex. I am taking two doses of Balance CBD, Cleanse and Nourish daily to continue supporting my gut health and immunity. I have done two castor oil packs and have been starting my day with warm lemon water. I am paying special attention to nourishing my body and avoiding all processed foods, particularly seed oils.
I have been prioritizing time in the sun and have let my business be easy. My business is one of my life purposes and it is very important to me but my heart belongs in my motherhood and I have been better at protecting my boundaries.
I have been really bold at saying no to extra activities that disrupt our rhythm and have no qualms with taking gaba and valerian to help with my sleep.
For my emotional health I have been really on top of my homemaking. I know this might sound silly but simple things like having a designated time to wash, fold and put laundry away has been so liberating. I have found so much joy in our slow homeschool days, reading aloud for hours and connecting so deeply with my children. Also prioritizing time to have uninterrupted conversations and time with Ty has been important too. Journaling, mediation and reading for pleasure also play a huge in my emotional health. Right now I am loving Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
For my spiritual health - well. I have a really special episode coming up soon for you. I recorded a session with a spiritual healer and tapping coach. You get to join us and hear so much that was uncovered.
That's both a lot and not. I knew this was coming. I had already made life changes and initiated everything I just listed. Coming to this awareness though? Really just lit a fire in me to love myself and not waver in my commitment.
I am going to heal. We are going to heal. Soon we will be like that lady making reels about how our luteal phase is our favorite.
So again, whether you associate with PMDD or not, I hope you received the bigger message of todays episode. We are our own healers. We all have old wounds that need healing in their own time. Our journeys are all different but so alike in many ways and none of us are alone.
Here is to healing and never settling with any symptom or diagnosis. Make sure you are subscribed to the show because there will be follow up episodes on my healing journey and the next several episodes are out of this world. From hormone healing with my nurse friend Krysti, to tapping with Karina to a heart wrenching conversation with a mama whose child was medically kidnapped. 2024 is the year I am bringing guests onto the show and I cannot even wait! I’ll catch you next time.