We're happy to be profiling one of our very own, Ellie, our community connector and customer service queen. When she’s not chatting with our customers, you’ll find her dancing professionally.Ellie teaches yoga, dance and piano and can turn her creative hand to pretty much anything with her gentle and positive ways. Ellie lives with a condition known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), a very severe form of PMS. Every month it causes a range of emotional and physical symptoms in the week or 2 before a period. Symptoms of PMDD vary by individual and tend to go away within a few days of your period starting. In addition to PMS symptoms like cramping and bloating, you may have:
Anger or irritability
Feeling on edge, overwhelmed or tense
Anxiety and panic attacks
Depression and suicidal thoughts
Fatigue and low energy
Food cravings, binge eating or changes in appetite
I refer to it as PMS on acid! It's a hormone-based mood disorder which can cause feelings of depression & anxiety (to name a few things) in the premenstrual phase.
PMDD affects 5 - 10% of people who menstruate worldwide but it has a huge lack of awareness. Why do you think this is?
I think issues around menstruation can too often be trivialised. I had no idea what PMDD was prior to experiencing it. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve noticed it being spoken about in the media considering such a large percentage of people are affected!
How do you manage the condition and do you have any advice for anyone else struggling with PMDD?
The thing that's been transformative to me was really leaning into my PMDD & paying attention to it, developing a relationship with it and trying not to become avoidant around my symptoms. I keep a log of my monthly symptoms and have become much more vocal with my GP around it. I was initially on the contraceptive pill to manage it for around 10 years with mild to little success, but have since come off and am taking SSRIs (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which have honestly changed my life and made my periods feel so much more level and easy to handle.My advice to anyone struggling with PMDD is…
- Take it seriously, to know that it's very real and can be very debilitating.
- If talking helps, have someone you trust as your confidante around it as it can be very lonely and feeling ‘understood’ has really helped me.
- Treatment wise - SSRIs worked for me but they may not be for you. If you’re looking for a more holistic route you can check out @beeyawellness @hermoodmentor for some ideas on how to work with your hormones more naturally. Find something that works for you.
Do you think there’s any connection between PMDD and your creative expression?
When experiencing symptoms, it puts me in a place where I’m very sensitive to rejection or feelings of ‘failure’, so it makes me less likely to want to be creative/take risks/express myself. And don’t get me started on trying to decide what to wear…
What is important to you when buying lingerie/underwear?
Comfort, a brand that cares about people and that I feel gorgeous in it!
What’s your favourite range from the Beija collection?
I LOVE Al Fresco - the thong is my favourite Beija pant and I wear the Y bra in both Navy and Mustard.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
To stand up for yourself and to treat yourself with the kindness that you offer others.
Any words of wisdom?
I’m working on aligning my values to my actions at the moment and noticing any reactions in my body in certain spaces/situations and stepping away from things that aren’t good for my nervous system. It's helping me free up space for things that DO feel good! I use @tobemagnetic to help me in this process and it's really changing my life!