Do you lie awake at night, wondering why you can’t control your racing thoughts, feelings of overwhelm and dread, and the underlying sense that everything is not going to be okay? You notice your rapid heart rate and a feeling of tightness in your chest. Breathing becomes more and more difficult. It feels like an elephant is sitting on your chest. You get really nervous, wondering if you’re getting any air at all…
To quote my sister: “Anxiety doesn’t have to be represented by a person in the midst of a stereotypical panic attack (you know, when they’re breathing into a brown paper bag because for some reason that’s supposed to help). It’s largely feeling like you’re in a prison of your own making. Simply put, it’s looking at the world through the lens of ever-present worry and fear-based thinking. My anxiety is like a fear mongering parrot living on my shoulder that only chooses to share with me the worst-case-scenario-version of everything happening to me and around me. It’s annoying and weird. I’m walking around feeling like terrible things are on the verge of happening all the time when other people are walking around being all, you know, without the dramatic parrot on their shoulder.”
Overview of PMS-anxiety symptoms:
- Racing thoughts
- Difficulty breathing (feels like chest pressure and tightness)
- Easily irritated, crying, feeling on edge – emotional swings
- Anxious about having to do normal things, like pick up the phone at work or talk to people
“Some 150 symptoms have been ascribed to PMS—most commonly feelings of anxiousness (premenstrual tension was the first name given to this syndrome), irritability, and anger or moods vacillating unpredictably among the three. Some women feel predominantly sad or self-deprecating, others simply fatigued and lethargic. Physical changes include bloating, breast tenderness, food cravings, headache, and gastric upset. No particular assortment of symptoms is diagnostic; it is the regular recurrence of symptoms on a monthly basis, just before the menstrual period, that matters.”
– Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Tori Hudson, 2008)
Pain points of PMS-A
1. Frustration. This is a major one, because anxiety limits you from enjoying your life in more ways than one.
- I can’t sleep because of racing thoughts and difficulty breathing
- I can’t talk to colleagues at work
- I can’t go out with friends because I’m scared I’ll have a panic attack
- I avoid activities that used to bring me joy
2. Decreased self identity/lack of confidence. It is common to feel lost and uncertain when experiencing PMS-anxiety. You spend a great amount of mental energy worrying, which limits your capacity to think about anything else.
- I don’t feel myself anymore
- Is this the new me? Is it situational, circumstantial, temporary, permanent?
- I feel like I can’t change
- What if it is too hard to change? Is it worth the effort to change?
3. Lack of understanding – I can’t seek help, because I don’t know why I’m anxious in the first place! Trying to understand this problem on your own (Dr. Google anyone?) often leads to unhelpful questioning about your ability to also manage this on your own. You berate yourself with negative self talk, feeding into a vicious cycle that only leads to more racing thoughts, questions, and lack of confidence.
- Why do I feel like this?
- Why can’t I fix this?
- Why me?
- Is this normal?
4. Feeling lost. When faced with a complex and frustrating condition like PMS-anxiety, it makes sense that you would feel lost. You probably have more questions than answers. Trying to answer all of these questions on your own while also feeling anxious, vulnerable, and alone can seem overwhelming. And it is. You are not alone. PMS is estimated to affect 40% of women of reproductive age.
- How do I stop worrying?
- How do I sleep better?
- How do I return to my old self? my old life?
- Where to start? What are my options?
Even when presented with options or solutions, you may catch yourself saying that you don’t want to put in the work for potentially little to no return. Why follow a plan for no reason? Let’s talk about those reasons, or better stated, the benefits of solving these problems.
What’s on the other side of all of this? Imagine your life without constant worrying. What does that look like to you? How does that change your daily activities, social interactions, work-life balance, self-identity? By knowing what solving this problem will allow you to do, you can imagine what’s on the other side of seeking treatment. So please, picture it clearly or write it out. Make a mind map, create a dream board, have fun with this. My sister pictures her life without that dramatic parrot on her shoulder. She no longer lives in a prison of her own thoughts. She falls asleep easier, breaths easier, life just seems easier and less exhausting without all the fear and worrying! With all that energy and mental room freed up, she has the capacity to focus on other exciting and enjoyable things in life.
Do not let this problem hold you back any longer! The cornerstone of my mission is empowerment for all women…Empowerment (noun)
- – authority or power given to someone to do something.
- – the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.
Not solving this problem now only delays you from living your life to its fullest potential. Sounds corny, but hear me out. What have you pushed aside in your life because of fear, constant worrying, and lack of self-confidence? A new relationship, a promotion, personal self-development, learning a new skill, travelling, starting a new business? Rather than putting those things off for another week, month or even a year, take one small step forward right now. Your life depends on it, well, the quality of your life certainly depends on it.
How can naturopathic medicine help you solve these problems? Or more specifically, what does a private naturopathic consult contain that will help you?
In a nutshell, hormones are susceptible to many influences, so we will address the principle causes of hormonal disruption to ensure you get to the heart of the problem.
PMS-anxiety is highly influenced by diet, sleep, blood sugar, inflammation, hormones, fatigue, mental states, stress, and exercise. As your doctor, I need to identify the factors that are most likely your core drivers and address them to achieve reliable improvements. A thorough history will help me identify and address those factors. What works for one person may not work for another. We are truly individuals with our own unique physiology, stressors, and psychological makeup. There is no clear dominant cause of PMS, but it is likely multi-factorial. That means that this is going to take time. The best evaluation and determination of PMS is a symptom diary relating symptoms to the menstrual cycle. This should be done over a period of 3 months. Perfect excuse to buy another notebook, am I right?
Historically, conventional mainstream medicine has not been able to offer a management approach short of pharmaceuticals. To be clear, I am not against drug therapy. It has its place. And we are all thankful for it. However, not all women can tolerate the side effects. In some women, conventional/pharmalogical approaches offer as many side effects as relief. And for others, it is a personal preference to avoid this approach. One of the significant benefits of treating PMS naturally (ie. through self-care) is that it serves as a motivator to make lifestyle changes that have a positive cascade effect on overall health.
From your initial 90-minute online (private and secure via ZOOM) Naturopathic consult you will:
- Have a new framework for understanding and treating your PMS symptoms
- Receive clear explanations of the principle causes of hormonal disruption to ensure you get to the underlying cause of the problem
- Learn about the most appropriate lifestyle changes for PMS problems and how to implement them
- Receive recommendations for acute treatment options, as well as a clear long term management plan
- Have access to handouts, resources, ZOOM recordings, and my private online dispensary
Please refer here for more specific information about the initial and follow-up appointments.
Naturopathic medicine is perfect for those who are:
- Seeking complimentary and/or alternative treatment options to manage the symptoms of PMS
- Committed to a minimum 3 month timeline
- Motivated and ready to make long term changes
Finally, I want to discuss objections, because this is an investment of both your time and money. Two things we all hold dear. There is no getting around the time required to address hormonal problems. A three-month minimum time commitment is what I recommend, since our bodies need time to adapt and respond to the changes you are implementing. This leads to the next objection: the uncertainty of success. My mission is to provide patients with the information and tools that they need to take care of their own health. The health industry is full of many ways to change your body, your nutrition and your psychological well being. I believe in treating all patients as individuals. Not a one size fits all. I hope you appreciate this approach. Having said all that, consistency is everything. If you consistently work at improving the factors that influence your hormones (which I will teach you), then you will see improvements.
In terms of money, the value of this service is likely going to be based on your results, which depends on your level of commitment and consistency over the next 3 months. That makes this hard to determine right now. Values are extremely personal. If you are thinking of investing in this, then you likely value the perceived benefits to your health or you value avoiding the pain and inconvenience of symptoms associated with your problem. Some people are positively motivated, while others are negatively motivated. There is no right or wrong motivator. In either case, if money is a serious objection, then perhaps you are not in the right head space to make the commitment right now. That is okay. I wish you health and success no matter what you decide to do.
For everyone else, this is the start to a new hormonal symphony. Book now.