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~Seek first to understand, then be understood~
If you're looking for information on a particular topic, type that word in the search box below. If I have written about that subject, a list of posts will appear. If no posts come up, I haven't written about it...yet. Emails, and questions in the comments section for possible posts, are welcome.
I have a "friend" who shows up once a month. She turns my world upside down, over and over again.
I am a good person, caring and sweet, but when she comes to visit, I could rip off your head.
She takes no prisoners, foul words she does spout, I try to keep the words in, she lets them come out.
People don't understand me, or what this is about, to have this creature inside my head.
I despise who I am, half of the time, I feel sorry for my daughter, family and friends.
There's no way to describe it, for those who don't know, it's a living nightmare, she really needs to go.
~Neysia Manor, Rest in Peace

Sunday, July 30, 2017

CIZE Does Matter - A PMDD Exercise Challenge

For todayʼs guest post, please welcome The Healthy Hackress.  Her PMDD thread will be ongoing, and I will be happy to post updates here, but if you don't want to wait for me, please follow her journey with PMDD and exercise either on her Facebook page or blog.  She also has a lot of great ideas for—What else?—healthy hacks!  Well worth checking into, even if you donʼt have PMDD.
Recently I was diagnosed with PMDD. Here is my journey from diagnosis, to treatment and more importantly, how Cize by Shaun T gave me my life back.
According to research, PMDD affects 2-10% of women during their reproductive years. It’s common. Very common – but misdiagnosed and misunderstood. Thousands of women right now feel at a loss and don’t truly understand why they don’t feel “normal” or worse, why their life literally falls apart starting two weeks prior to their cycle. Isolation, fear and shame are all too familiar feelings of women suffering from PMDD. I am one of them. Do these symptoms seem familiar? Is it you or someone you love?
PMDD is a mood-based hormone disorder that is cyclic and reoccurring. Sounds like a death sentence, right? Imagine, every single month you know “ITʼS” coming. You’re not sure why but two weeks prior your cycle you’re all over the place. It's like ADD meets Bi-Polar for a 2 week fling, then they break up…until next month. You’re clingy. You’re crying one minute, screaming the next, then sitting quietly, unsure of WHAT just happened. Feeling a bit like Norman Bates with those “episodes.”
Seriously – that’s PMDD. If you have a significant other and they haven’t left you already (because, PMDD truly affects all relationships) – then you’re lucky. They feel it too – but they don’t understand.
You don’t need to wait for a medical professional to confirm a diagnosis of PMDD – it’s self- diagnosable. You track your symptoms and report to your doctor. This is a great tracker that you can use from The National Association for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder [now known as the Gia Allemand Foundation]. Basically, track how you’re feeling before, during, and after your cycle (anxiety, mood swings, irritability, sleep issues, etc). Your doctor is going to ask you to do this – so, if you go in already prepared you’re that much further ahead. This process took me 10 LONG months. Each month I tracked my symptoms so when I went to the doctor they couldn’t turn me away and just tell me, “Everything is normal.”  If you’re living with someone or have close friends/family – ask them to track for, or along with you. When you’re in “IT” – it’s very difficult to emotionally and mentally report back. Having someone point certain behaviors out can be hard – what I mean is, someone is going to tell you the RIGHT thing at the WRONG time – because, you’re not mentally/emotionally grounded. Try to remember – you NEED to hear it. Their unbiased observation is going to provide necessary data for yourself and doctor when treating YOUR PMDD.
Once I had all my data I made that initial appointment and received confirmation that Yes, “It’s PMDD.ˮ Finally, things fell into place and I could breathe a huge sigh of relief knowing I wasn’t crazy. Finally, someone was listening, and everything I had felt was real & important. I had done my research going in. I knew how PMDD was treated. I had questions on top of questions. I needed answers. After all, my children needed their mother and I needed myself. They started me on Yaz—reportedly the only over the counter birth control approved for PMDD. Yes, I know—bad reviews, lawsuits, etc.—BUT, when you’re in the Pits of Hell in the middle of a fight between Bi-Polar and ADD—you’ll try anything to destroy their toxic relationship. I tried Yaz. After my 2nd week both myself and my husband noticed a huge difference. I was less spacey – more clear in my thoughts and finally felt as if I had control. Did I still have anxiety at times? Sure, but mentally/emotionally I could WORK through it opposed to the constant feeling of drowning. Did I have irrational thoughts? Yes, but I was able to work through them. Yaz gave me some mental clarity back. Unfortunately, I developed an irregular heart rate at 145 – even when at rest. Physically, I was breaking down. After an ER visit and a couple visits to the Dr. – I came off of Yaz.
Then I tried Zoloft. *sigh* If you know me – I’m ALL natural—from giving birth naturally to treating headaches with almonds. I’m not huge on medication unless it’s NEEDED. “Well,ˮ I said to myself, “I have to try everything so I know at the end of the day – I did my best.ˮ  3 days later I caught myself staring out my window watching birds & not caring that I was sitting there staring out a window – Kathy Bates from Misery anyone? The things that once made me laugh no longer put a smile on my face. I wasn’t OK with that. I knew I wasn’t ME – bubbly, personable, caring – I wasn’t me. I was only on 25mg and that’s not even the therapeutic recommended dose of 50mg for Zoloft. I then safely decreased (with the support of my Dr.) to 12.5 and discontinued it. Wasn’t for me. That isn’t to say that someone else may not greatly benefit from SSRI’s.
Currently I’m on a different form of HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) – Continuous Birth Control, which would halt the dramatic changes in hormones and provide balance. I will need to report back on this as this is my newest form of treatment. Along with the birth control I’m taking a Vitamin B Complex, Daily Multi for Women – I Prefer Rainbow. Natural. Plant based. Also, I’ve added 2 TBSP of Ground Flax Seed to my oatmeal in the morning. According to research, Flax Seed can mimic the female hormone Estrogen and provide other benefits such as relief from Depression. In my search for Vitamins and Minerals that could/would provide potential relief from PMDD – I came across some great work by Dr. Mark Hyman – He’s truly fantastic. I’m a Certified PLATE by Zumba Instructor and he provided some of the training. Here is a great article he wrote with vitamins and remedies in helping to relieve PMS/PMDD.
Now, you ask “Why does Cize Matter Again?” I woke up one morning very early. I couldn’t sleep and was just DONE with doctors not knowing how to help. Done with being turned away. Done with being told “Everything is normal.ˮ I was just done. From one failed medication to another I had it and wanted/needed to take control back. Then I watched the infomercial for Cize. I asked my husband to get it for me because I was willing to try anything to get my new self and leave my old self behind. He did. I was nervous and hesitant. After all, I had tried Insanity and Shaun T delivered. He kicked my A$$ and that felt good. This time around I knew I needed something a bit more “me” – this was it. Cize gave me that. From the minute I played the first day I was hooked. Losing weight and becoming a size 5 was no longer relevant. Waking up everyday knowing I could beat my anxiety became my goal.
Each day it became easier. I felt a bit better. I still had the PMDD symptoms – but mentally, I felt stronger than ever. Shaun T will never truly understand what he helped me get back. I’m in week 4 and I feel better. I look forward to my routines with him because I know he’s right there telling me, “You got this.” I know missing a day isn’t acceptable. Each day Cize is my Zoloft, except I don't suffer from any side effects – like staring out a window for 20 minutes or losing the ability to laugh at everything that once brought a smile to my face.
Some women may need some additional SSRI as a support. Please don't take my experience as true for everyone. Don't be ashamed. Each and every woman needs to find THEIR treatment because PMDD for one is VASTLY different for another.  Listen to your body and remember – doctors aren’t always right. Be your own doctor and researcher. Keep a journal of symptoms and never, ever – stop fighting.
This thread will be ongoing. I will keep everyone posted on my 60 day Cize challenge that I intend on making a routine for the rest of my life. Each day I laugh more, feel the fight harder and see the results I’ve been looking for all along. Mental and emotional health are far more important than your physical appearance. That will come in time. Nourish your soul and show yourself everyday that you matter – release those feel-good hormones because exercise and movement is truly the first line of treatment for any disorder.
Don't be ashamed to share your story, ask questions and or seek support. If it isn’t a fight and doesn’t hurt getting it, it isn’t worth it. Fight hard. Remember, it isn’t about the scale, it’s about how you feel!
If you know someone presenting with PMDD symptoms. Reach out. Don’t push them away. Be a support. Share this blog. The biggest and most deficient need of women suffering from PMDD is support. The National Association for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder provides great support.
Thank you Shaun T for being there & giving me the strength to fight back.


  1. Oh wow!!! It's so nice to know that i'm not alone feeling like this. Wow. And Cize is my most favorite beachbody video. I love to dance (although I can't) and Cize makes it so fun. I've also noticed when I'm exercising, I feel much better and can cope with PMDD better. Right now I take prozac for 2 weeks leading up until I return to normal, but I've been researching healthier ways to cope. I will definitely be following on this journey!

  2. Hi. How do you get the energy to want to exercise or do anything else when you're in your hell week? I'm in an exercise program and I do fine until I get to that week. Then it all goes to hell with it because I lack the energy to lift myself up off the couch and all I want to do is sleep. Thanks for sharing.

    1. On those days, I would listen to my body, but not completely. I would do my best to force myself to get up and take a 30 - 45 minute walk, or walk for whatever amount of time I would ordinarily exercise. I have found that just doing this eases my symptoms for up to two hours. It's not a cure-all, but it does allow for a break from all the PMDD negativity going on in my head. I always feel better afterward, and that is what motivates me to make the effort. Then there are other days when nothing will motivate me, and I give in to the need to sleep. Either way, I do not beat myself up for the choice I made. Because I know I am doing my best to cope, using what little resources and reserves I have, even if it does not look like it from the outside.