When you begin to suffer with the psychological symptoms that are inherent with PMDD, it can be a very confusing time. You can be left wondering if your symptoms of anxiety, anger and depression are the result of an underlying mental health condition, and if so, which one? Is it generalized anxiety, major depressive disorder, am I bipolar or is it just me?
As much as there is no substitute for the opinion of a medical professional with face to face individualized assessment, we live in a digital age and more often than not, we are turning to the internet for answers to our health questions. Mental health websites and online support services offer a gateway for sufferers to access information previously reserved for professionals and are accessible at all times of the day and night for those at risk or in crisis.
Mind is one such organization, a large mental health charity, who aim to provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. In the past year, their website has amassed a whopping 10.7 million people who visited the mental health pages of Mind.org.uk. Which is why we are so pleased that PMDD is back on the Mind website!
Earlier this year we contacted them and asked why PMDD was not mentioned on their website and we have to say that their response has been great!
What followed was lots of work to ensure they had their information right. They invited three sufferers up to London to do two ‘Expert by Experience’ sessions with their staff in order to gain an insight into PMDD and how it feels to suffer. Plus they have kept us up to date with progress and asked for feedback on all information.
The result is a very comprehensive overview of PMDD included on the Mind website including symptoms, causes, guidance on getting a diagnosis, tips for self-care, information on treatment options, advice for friends and family and links to further support. It gives a relatable face to PMDD by providing quotes from sufferers and even features a Vlog by our very own Co-founder and Director of Vicious Cycle, Laura Murphy.
The impact of this work is already tangible. Following the Mind website information going live, we had an influx of followers and newbies to the PMDD on-line Facebook support groups asking further questions and expressing their relief at knowing what they were dealing with and that they were not alone.
We are so encouraged by this experience and result that we aim to contact other organizations to achieve a similar goal. We encourage all of our followers to do the same. You are all experts by experience. You can all be agents of change. There are around 4000 of us on Facebook alone. Imagine the impact we could have if we all picked up the phone, wrote an email or provided feedback to organizations who have the power to reach those undiagnosed sufferers who may never have heard of PMDD. You could be responsible for giving someone their ‘lightbulb moment’, that realization, ‘like being hit with an arrow’, that PMDD could be the reason I am feeling this way. I am not alone and there are treatments available to help me feel better. Life changing stuff!