Monday, 8 December 2014

Now you can buy my book!!!

I am absolutely delighted to let you all know that you can now purchase my book on Amazon. As of late, it is only available on digital, so Kindle, PC or any tablet, but this now means that my story can help save lives which was my sole intention. I'm also hoping that the publishing house will still put this book into paperback even though they have assured me that 'going digital first' is entirely normal.

Please help me to help others by telling all of your friends, even if they haven't suffered from depression themselves, as you can bet your bottom dollar that they will know someone that does! The story may also help someone realise that it is the hormones which are to blame for their misery, and not a bipolar or schizophrenic disorder. It will also help them find the right help and support, from the different specialists you can find, to the different therapies available.

I would like to personally thank all of my friends who have helped me enormously, and although there is  far too many to mention in one blog, there are a few that spring to mind who without them,this publication would never have come into fruition.

They are, my best friend Belinda Hughes for her unwavering friendship during my illness. Lucy Jacques for building the website and amending, Samantha Fountain for her technical support and mostly my loving husband who has been the sponsor throughout it all, as well as being on the end of my most severe meltdowns. I would also like to thank everyone at St Marys Church, Burgh Heath for their prayers, and for helping me through the stress when I've felt like giving up and shelving the whole project (no pun intended).

Lastly I would like to thank Charlotte and Chelsey at Fox and Howard, and all at the Writers workshop, particularly Jane Struthers for their professionalism and advice.

And thank you to all of my friends, far and wide who have helped raise awareness for this evil affliction.
God Bless.
Suzi. AKA Caroline Church xxxx

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Today is the second anniversary of my Hysterectomy.

Two years ago today I had a hysterectomy. I also had my ovaries removed in the hope that it would cure my depressive episodes which were related to my hormonal cycle and had ruined some of the best years of my life. Even though this may seem radical (particularly to those that haven't suffered from this mood disorder) I really felt that it was my last chance at gaining some sense of normality in what was becoming an  unbearable day to day existence with nowhere else to turn..


So what has happened since? And has it worked? Could I have been wrong and maybe it wasn't a hormonal disorder at all!

The answer to the above is that by the time I had made the decision to have major surgery, I knew it would work because I had researched every available text and paper I could get my hands on. I had also spoken to numerous health professionals and also sufferers that had also had the same operation. In short, I couldn't wait to have this organ removed that had already destroyed so much of my life.

To clarify, I no longer have mood swings, I no longer have screaming tantrums, I no longer have the compulsion to sleep and I don't feel tearful and overwhelmed by the most mundane of tasks. The mental chatter and racing have stopped, and I haven't had an attack of shingles in 2 years. I can also go shopping and face people without feeling panicked and terrified. I'm altogether a different person who is well and together for the first time in my whole life. What a miracle that is!!

You can now pre-order a copy of I blame the Hormones on Amazon which I have written with the sole intention of helping other sufferers. Please buy a copy or two and help raise awareness of how being a women can literally send you mad.

Peace and Love.

S x

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Last nights Broadmoor Documentary.

Last night, and indeed last week, my husband and I watched with great interest the Broadmoor documentary on television. It gives a fascinating insight into life inside Broadmoor and the patients and staff that are behind these mysterious walls. My heart goes out to anyone that has suffered from mental illness, but I was also absolutely amazed by the standard of care and the professionalism of the staff and doctors, who are often working in the most dangerous of situations, with people that are extremely ill. The compassion and understanding that they showed was second to none and it made me feel extremely proud to be living in a country with such a wonderful national health service and such dedicated health care professionals.

Here is what I noticed. Without exception, all of the patients had troubled childhoods and were often victims of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. They quite often had been institutionalized from a very young age, so they had been in care or quite often in prison before their illness became paramount.

Secondly, almost all of them had suffered from an addiction which included alcohol or recreational drugs and sometimes even both as part of their illness. This then exacerbated the condition and massively contributed to a worsening state of mind often leading to delusions and then a psychosis .

So what came first the illness or the addiction? Was the illness a symptom of the addiction, or was the addiction responsible for their emotional disorder? For me its hard to say and the documentary so far has not given any leads. However its hard not to see the correlation between the two issues which often go hand in hand with the suffering person and will only worsen any illness.

The other thing I noticed when the patients were talking about their personal history, and is something to bear in mind if you are a parent, and that is they all spoke about feeling 'unloved' as a child, a nuisance even, and that made me feel incredibly sad as I contemplated how they must have felt during the early years of their life. You could almost sense the loneliness as they spoke and the sense of isolation that they had felt.

If there's anything to learn from this, it has to be that human beings need and deserve unconditional love during the most formative years, and it is this love which will prevent a change in brain chemistry and can help us become balanced and stable adults there after. We can literally prevent mental illness by flooding our children with love and affection or simply by making them feel secure.
 For further reading on this fascinating subject I would read ' WHY LOVE MATTERS by Sue Gerhardt who is amazing psychotherapist and  who really has proven that affection can actually shape a baby's brain.

 For extra support, Alcoholics Anonymous - 02078330022
OR Narcotics Anonymous - 03009991212

Stay well and cuddle your children loads.

Suzi x


Monday, 3 November 2014

The release date for my book.

Lots and lots of people have contacted me with regards to my book and the release date so here goes! The book has just had a legal completed  which has bought up some issues and this has unfortunately created a delay. The book was supposed to be published in early December but now it looks more like January providing all goes to plan. I have had to revise the manuscript accordingly and of course that has been time consuming and at times soul destroying as is normal with any publication. To date it has taken over two years to write and some 8 years of research, so you could say I've been very disheartened at times and even willing to shelve the whole project (no pun intended)!

Despite the problems and subsequent delays, in terms of getting a copy you can now pre-order on Amazon and you should have your copy delivered no later than the end of January. If there is any further delays then Amazon have been extremely efficient in letting all customers know by email. Please order a copy or maybe even 2 and help raise awareness of depressive illness, regardless of its origins. You may know somebody that needs help and it can even save lives if there are enough copies circulating. It can also help healthcare professionals understand the correlation between our hormones and the destabilizing effect they can have on ones mind which is all too often ignored or simply not picked up on.

In the meantime I have read a fascinating article today regarding those wonderful scientists at Northwestern University  in Chicago. They have developed a blood test for depression which will hopefully speed up diagnoses and rapidly change the way that depression is treated. It had the added bonus of relaying what will be the most effective treatment, and which therapies stand the best chance of working. This to me is the miracle of science and is the next step in treating and understanding the genetics involved in this biochemical abnormality. Hopefully this will mean the next generation of sufferers will have another weapon in the fight against mental illness.

Thank you for ordering a copy of my book. God Bless.

Suzi xx

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Feeling poorly with depressive illness.

Depression, bipolar, , PMDD or indeed any emotional conditional will always give rise to various illness which can often be debilitating and severe enough for the sufferer to need extra support from their medical services. So many sufferers come to me and say that they have various aches and pains, and all manner of physical afflictions which go hand in hand with their depressive condition,  whether its hormonal or otherwise.

Sometimes, when I was suffering myself, I seemed to spend so much time in the GPs office, I started to wonder if she thought I was neurotic or even delusional, even though I quite often had tonsillitis or worse, the dreaded shingles. I also suffered from excruciating lower back pain and my legs felt so heavy that I often wished I could chop them off and pop them in the corner of the room to give me a break from the pains in them!!!

It seems to be that a general cycle of ill health is part of the depression and even a symptom of it, and even though there are too many to mention in one blog, I have noticed a few that surface themselves more than others. They would include migraines, flu-like symptoms, swollen joints and burning tongue syndrome. It can also bring about food sensitivities and allergies along with a mind numbing lethargy which was one of my most disturbing symptoms. The subsequent lowered immunity can unfortunately last for some years, and quite often longer than the illness itself, as the body remains in fight-mode and desperately tries to recover.

In all honesty, I don't know why we have to be so poorly with emotional illnesses, its almost too much to bare being so physically unwell when you have so much to put up with. As if things couldn't be any worse! I remember a really nice doctor who explained that  because your body is spilling out cortisol (which is a stress hormone) it is that chemical reaction in particular that can make one feel extremely unwell. It is imperative then that when you are having an episode, to find a way to relax, stay calm and practise deep breathing.

My relaxation of choice is the sauna and steam bath which has the added bonus of regulating your hormones, boosting the immune system and detoxifying the system. Some people like yoga, whilst some people use meditation, and really it is up to you decide on your own strategy for counteracting the effects of stress hormones and what they can do to your body. Once you have found your individual way of relaxation, you need to practise it regularly to assist your body in recovery even though modern life has many time restraints.

Another thing, when I was poorly I found that some GPs were more helpful than others. Some unfortunately were very dismissive of my situation and even questioned my diagnoses which did little to help. As well as your relaxation techniques which will help your body into recovery, you will need the assistance of a kind, caring and understanding doctor who you can see on a regular basis to help you cope with this physical element to your illness. If you find your doctor is unsympathetic,or patronising even,don't try to argue the point. Do the simplest and kindest thing you can do for yourself and that is, FIND ANOTHER ONE there are many out there that can help and have possibly even suffered themselves.

Stay well. Peace and love

Suzi x

Monday, 6 October 2014

When people just dont understand.

Depression and anxiety has many causes, and as we know there are lots of different forms of emotional disturbances with many different triggers. They range from Bipolar to Post traumatic stress and as in my case, hormones. When speaking to other sufferers I've noticed how many have not been believed, and many have been labelled attention seekers, or worse, shirkers and malingerers.

The worse story so far has to be the sad case of an adolescent who had attended a mental health unit to be told that he was 'putting it on' and later went onto take his own life. How awful that those that were supposed to be helping him, and had the most experience of mental illness didn't believe and support him in his darkest hour. To me that is incomprehensible and even unforgivable when you consider the circumstances surrounding this all too familiar case.

It is extremely difficult to describe how depression can make you feel, how dark everything becomes, and how acutely ill you can be. It is also extremely difficult to look after and care for the sufferer, and requires an abundance of patience and understanding. Quite often the sufferer is misunderstood, deemed lazy or even accused of making it up, and trying to make sense of your illness and explain it to others is tiring and stressful. This is often why people hide their feelings and even the illness itself, for fear of not being believed or understood. As I have written so many times before this can only exacerbate the sense of isolation and loneliness that the sufferer will be feeling.

When you read my book, you will see how I myself wasn't believed, was accused of being a drama queen and even had to convince my own GP that I needed help. This was despite the fact that some ten years on my diagnoses was confirmed by biological blood test. (I had almost non-existent hormone levels in my blood stream). How frustrating, and what a huge waste of time and effort to get the non-sufferer to understand my condition and get the help which I so desperately needed.

If you are a non-sufferer and you encounter someone that's poorly with any condition, regardless of its origin, PLEASE bare in mind that you have to have a chronic illness to understand it, and if you don't have that illness, it doesn't mean that it isn't there. Say something kind, it really does help.
Have a great day x

S x

Monday, 29 September 2014

The curse of the sensitive person

When researching for my book 'I blame the Hormones' I've had the privilege of meeting many different people, from all walks of life who have suffered from many different types of emotional difficulties. These would include a full blown mood disorder, to post traumatic stress and bipolar, and I am delighted that I have had such positive feedback and am able to  offer assistance to those that need it.

When I was a small child I suffered from anxiety ( yes even at a very young age) and it was quite obvious that my sensitive nature was indeed a sign of what was to come. I would often be tearful and seem to take things more to heart than others ,which left me vulnerable and overwhelmed on many occasion. I was also acutely sensitive to the world around me and often struggled to make sense of humankind and in particular the dark side of our world and all of its trepidations. Unfortunately I also became oversensitive with regards to my peers and often felt victimised or had a sense of not fitting in, despite my ability to hide behind a mask of confidence.

When fellow sufferers of depression contact me, and in particular those with hormonal depression, I have noticed that not only are they sensitive to their hormonal changes, but indeed they often have food sensitivities too, and can even suffer from allergies and intolerances as part of their symptoms.
It seems that the physical and mental often coincide, and the emotional difficulties go hand in hand with some physical manifestations. Sometimes there is  even a heightened sensory awareness, with sound and light becoming intolerable and sometimes even painful  which is extremely difficult to describe.

It seems to me that people that suffer from depressive episodes are quite often the ones that care the most, feel the most, and are the most compassionate of people. This is something to bear in mind if you are a sufferer and are feeling that sense of shame and stigma attached to a depressive diagnoses. One particular sufferer explained that her own doctor had told her that depression only happens to people that 'care', and this in itself can be a great comfort to those suffering from a sensitive and sympathetic nature. If you are feeling overly sensitive try to see it as a blessing and a natural part of your own personality, rather than something to be overwhelmed by. In my opinion it really is a better way to be, despite the obvious downsides.

Please share this blog with your friends and help the sensitive understand their sensitivity.
God Bless.
Suzi x

Monday, 22 September 2014

Thank you for sharing.

Last week I asked if lots of people could help me share my blogs in order to spread the word and help others with depression. I've had lots of feedback and have been contacted by many people, both male and female, looking for extra help and support. I'm often surprised by the many different reasons for depression, and indeed the enormous amount of situations that can bring about a sudden decline in mental and emotional health. Aside from the hormonal elements to any depressive episode, there was one other component which I have found to be almost always present when dealing with emotional disturbances, and that is the effect of long term, chronic stress.

Stress is peculiar because we all need a certain amount of stress to function and complete our daily tasks, some people even  seem to thrive on it, whilst others seem to crumble with  the slightest upheaval. However when that stress becomes chronic and long-term it can have a huge and detrimental effect on our mental and physical wellbeing. Often it is this type of stress, where the person begins to suffer from burnout which can cause the most damage, and has huge repercussions, often resulting in lowered immunity. It also has the ability to alter brain chemistry where the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline flood the system. The endless reasons for stress are too many to mention in one blog, but I have compiled a mini-list of the most stressful situations which have been presented to me by fellow sufferers and have without a doubt culminated into a clinical diagnoses..

Unresolved childhood baggage.
A bereavement.
Divorce or a relationship breakdown.
Stressful employment or loss of.
Shock eg, an accident
Serious illness.
Unmet emotional needs.
Physical or sexual abuse.
Hormonal disturbances and imbalance.
When you read my book, look on Amazon for details, you will see how I had almost all of the above which massively contributed to my depressive illness and the subsequent cycle of profound ill health. For further insight and reading I would read 'The feel good factor' by Patrick Holford who will help you with the real reasons behind your emotional issues.
God Bless
Suzi x

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Who can help me?

I have decided this week to ask for help in increasing my followers, and indeed raising more awareness of depression. Whatever I'm doing seems to be working as I have been inundated with responses via Twitter and Facebook, with several people in crisis needing extra help and support.

So how can you help? Or rather, how can you help me help others that are suffering from Depression, irrespective of its cause.

When I write a blog I try to make it as timely as I possibly can in the hope that someone will see it and log onto the website. The website has been designed in the hope that it may give others a new avenue to explore, and has lots of valuable information with various telephone numbers and helpful books to read. It is my belief that knowledge is power and there is a multitude of help out there if one just knows how to find it. That is why I wrote the book in the first place, as I knew that it would reach out and help those that so desperately need it. It could even help to save a life if a person knows where to go and who to call if they are despairing.

With that in mind, if you see my blog flash up on your screen, whether its via Twitter or Facebook please help me and simply 'share' it. This will undoubtedly help the sufferer and in particular those that are being secretive ,and not wanting to share the fact that they are poorly with others. The isolation, loneliness and shame that go with depression, often prevent the sufferer from seeking help and that is why my blog can mean a great deal to the lonely and depressed. It can also tell them where to go if they need help urgently and quickly.

Please  share this blog, share ,share, share and help raise awareness of this often hidden epidemic. And if you are reaching a crisis point don't forget about the Samaritans who can be called day or night on 08457 909090.
Blessings
Suzi x

Monday, 1 September 2014

Helping with research at Cardiff University

A lady came to see me today who is a clinical psychologist at Cardiff university. She and her colleagues are working tirelessly with other universities, and indeed other countries, to find out why so many women are now being diagnosed with clinical depression. She was particularly interested in the type that I had which is centred around the hormonal years in women's lives, and mostly after childbirth, which is when I feel that my illness peaked and took on a more sinister turn.

After a brief introduction she began by asking numerous questions and filling in a questionnaire which is then fed back to all the Professors who are trying to help thousands of women, who through no fault of their own have developed hormonal depression. She also took a blood sample so that my DNA can be looked at under the microscope where they will try to isolate the gene responsible for this catastrophic illness. This of course is immensely important and will help the future generations to come. Being that I have 8 nieces in my direct blood line, and a long family history of depression, this critical research is long overdue and vital in protecting anyone who may be at risk.

Once she had taken my case history, she told me that indeed there certainly is a faulty gene which is responsible and all of the sufferers she has come into contact with have that same faulty genome which is responsible for their illness. This of course is extremely helpful and can even help conquer the sense of shame that one feels when they are depressed. I blamed myself for many years and even felt guilty for something that I now know to be out of my control and  a genetic mutation. There was nothing I did, nothing that I could do that bought about my illness, it was simply there all along and had been before I was even born.

In order to understand more about this depression Cardiff University is looking for more sufferers and need more case studies and blood samples to further that research. Please contact in the first instance,
The Mood Disorders Research Team
Cardiff University
DEPT of Psychological Medicine
4th floor Main Building
HEATH HOSPITAL, CARDIFF
CF14 4XN
OR by email at moodresearch@cardiff.ac.uk
If you think you can help, you must have had Postnatal illness, psychosis or an ongoing mood disorder. Please try to help these amazing scientists in the battle against mental illness.
Much Love Suzi x

Friday, 22 August 2014

The sad passing of Robin Williams.

Not a day has gone passed this week when I haven't thought about the wonderful man Mr Robin Williams who had the ability to make many cry with laughter, myself included. I often wonder what someone goes through in the last hours of their life when they feel there is nowhere else to go and the despair and mental anguish they have felt.

There has been many profound tributes in the press this week and on social networking sites which has provoked an outpouring of mourning and has indeed reminded us all just how much he was loved and revered in what was a charmed and beautiful life. Even though he battled depression throughout most of it, he was unique and precious in every way. However, there has also been some sinister remarks about Robins suicide and some which have quite simply gone beyond the pale as far as I'm concerned with comments such as 'selfish' being one of them. Robin was not a selfish person, he was sick and when you are sick with depression you are not in the same frame of mind as everyone else. What I mean by this is that the illness itself 'thinks' for you and then goes on to 'act' for you with all sense of reason simply absent.
The sufferer will not be thinking on the same plane as the rest of us that are well, and even though it is very difficult to describe, particularly to someone who hasn't suffered from depression or any other mental health condition, it none the less is crucial that we try to understand the power that depression can have and how it can warp the human mind..

One of the reasons that I wrote my book (and laid myself bare) was to reach out to other sufferers and help in particular those that have or are contemplating suicide. It is with this in mind that I have so far prevented 2 suicides in the last couple of months and I can assure you they were the least selfish of people I have ever met. They themselves were entirely embarrassed by the predicament that they now found themselves in and never believed that depression could have so much power and be so serious. They even said that they used to wonder if depression was real and even a figment of the sufferers imagination. This seems to be a common theme with people not understanding the condition, unless of course you have it yourself.
For anyone thinking of suicide I would call the Samaritans (08457909090) or indeed a caring friend. You can even dial the emergency services who will help you immediately and arrange an urgent assessment. Help is out there.

For all those sufferers , remember you are not alone. There are many that have been in your situation and just like Robin said, Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. God love him.
Blessings as always,
Suzi xxx


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Can depression be cured by smiling and positivity?

This week, on return from our holiday I have encountered some derogatory comments on Facebook with regards to my depression and indeed the depressive illness that so many others now suffer from. For those of you that were unable to read it, it was along the lines of 'the smile and the whole world will change for you' or worse, 'Think positive thoughts and your depression will diminish.' As we now know that the depression I suffered was down to a critical imbalance in my hormones and not a reaction to a life event ,these comments were particularly hurtful especially when that person doesn't know me personally. They even asked me to drop 'the belief' the my problems were down to my hormones despite the fact that my hormones had been tested in a scientific blood test and were shown to be dangerously low which had caused my previous 25 years of misery and almost ended my life.

Just for the record, and yes I am hurt and angry by these comments, you can no more smile through the misery of mental illness than you could laugh through the diagnoses of diabetes. It is not something that you can 'over-ride' by the power of subjective thought, and it is not the fault of the sufferer for not smiling enough or having enough positive energy. In fact anyone that knows me personally knows that I am always smiling and have a contagious laugh which is indeed why so many are often surprised to learn of my illness.

The reason I am so disturbed by these comments is because there are thousands of scientists, DRs and medical professionals working tirelessly around the clock to help people with depressive illness regardless of its origin. Secondly, there are also thousands of people  each year who commit suicide because of the brutal and diabolical affliction that is depression. The reason for this is because they are sick, just as if they have tonsillitis or appendicitis and this is not something that can merely be helped by a smile and positive attitude (if only). To say so is deeply offensive and ill informed and could even be dangerous if it stops someone seeking help.


Depression is a bio-chemical abnormality and in my experience the ones that say that depression can be altered by smiling more or thinking positive thoughts, are firstly deluded, and secondly are lucky enough to not be a sufferer of this clinical illness (they may think they have but I can assure you they haven't).I am concerned that derogatory comments of this nature can lead to further demoralize the already fragile sufferer and lead to further isolation of the illness, being that we should just smile our way through it. I also worry that the sufferer will blame themselves and see themselves as a failure which can exacerbate the condition itself. For further clarity and help regarding this all too important issue I have just read the most amazing book which shows you how rather than being an illness of 'the weak' or 'unsmiling' it is actually the opposite which causes the illness we know as depression. It is more often than not those that have continuously smiled for far too long and have carried the most immense of burdens in their lives which has caused their illness and the subsequent mental crisis. Once the sufferer learns of this it can free you from the guilt and stigma of your own battle with this illness.

For further help and support I would read 'Depressive Illness' The Curse of the Strong by DR Tim Cantopher which explains everything you need to know about why depression is in fact a physical illness which requires treatment, just as any other.
Sorry for the rant, Suzi x

Monday, 21 July 2014

Low blood sugar and depression

When suffering from a depressive illness it is vital that the sufferer has an abundance of nutritional food, but even more than that, and particularly with 'hormonal depression' there is an element of insulin resistance . What this means is that the women will have trouble maintaining her blood sugar levels and this in turn can alter her mood and create a cycle of irritability and even rage and anger issues.

Dr Katerina Dalton advocated in her book, Depression after Childbirth, and The PMS Bible, the so called 'three hour starch diet' which should always be used as a weapon against this type of depression. In my  book I refer to it as the 'three hour slow release diet' as I believe that you should maintain stable blood sugar levels with a small mount of carbohydrate and then some protein to slow it down even further. My favourite snack was simply an oatcake with peanut butter, and when I was very poorly, I would even wake at night and need to eat in order to slow a racing mind. My unwanted thoughts would always stop and I would feel calmer, more serene and able to return to sleep. If I didn't snack then I would inevitably become shaky, nervous and would suffer from the most awful palpitations as my body desperately tried to maintain equilibrium. My nightmares also increased if I went to bed hungry, or indeed thirsty.

The reason for the blood sugar issues is often hormonal, and lack of food is a known component of mood swings,anxiety, panic attacks and even symptoms of psychosis (hard to believe I know)! However the first thing any suffering women should consider when having symptoms is whether she is hungry and then how this is affecting her mood. A stable blood sugar is a stable mind and at least should be the first thing one thinks about if having a wobble. Once you have considered the effect that hunger has on your system, you should then be able to eradicate food cravings (another hormonal symptom). For further assistance and in particular with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, I would advocate the use of Chromium and Magnesium which should help you find further balance.

Happy Hormones.
Suzi xxx

Monday, 7 July 2014

Can you 'cure' depression alone?

When I  have been researching, and when speaking to other sufferers its immediately obvious that people would rather use a holistic or natural approach to curing their depressive disorder. This would include Anxiety disorders and indeed hormonal or reproductive depression. I too was initially reluctant to use psychiatric medication and would say I was even frightened, especially when I discovered the many side effects and the fact that some sedatives can be addictive.

It was the same when I began to learn about hormonal therapies, I was mortified to learn that some pharmaceutical hormones had been linked with some cancers and could even make some depressive symptoms worse, being that many women are intolerant to progesterone. The minefield of information was often too much to take in and I would often be left confused and perplexed by what to do and where to turn (which isn't good when you are clinically depressed)!!

So how does one make sense of this? First of all medication has now come a long way forward and often it is a matter of finding one that suits you with the least side effects. Often this can take some time and requires an abundance of patience. And secondly, the hormones which I use are bio-identical and are made from plants, working in precisely the same way as my own hormones would. This of course was a great relief as I wasn't getting better with the variety of natural therapies I had tried.

When speaking to and observing other sufferers many of them have tried numerous holistic therapies and I myself spent small fortunes trying to avoid using conventional medication. As much as I wanted to believe that I would one day be cured, the various routes I tried were only 'managing' my symptoms rather than curing me completely. These would include nutritional supplements, talking therapies, cranial osteopathy, visualization, meditation, CBT, Bach flowers, massage and reflexology to name but a few! All of these were very helpful in maintaining a relaxed state of mind but unfortunately did not bring about a cure which I was endlessly searching for.( I only wished they had then I would have avoided the subsequent hysterectomy).
It is my own personal opinion, and so it is purely subjective, that as hormonal depression is a chemical disorder, that it needs professional intervention by an endocrinologist, and cannot be managed alone. I sincerely hope for all the fellow sufferers out there that this will indeed change and one day this diabolical affliction will be eradicated completely.
Blessings.
Suzi xxx

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Natural therapies that can help with all types of depression.

There are many natural therapies which are known to help with depression, anxiety and all manner of health concerns, and I have used many to date which have become vital in obtaining balance, particularly with my hormonal issues.

When I was suffering from panic attacks around 10 years ago, a wonderful Reflexologist told me that my problems were coming from my ovaries and not from my mind, which of course I now know to be true. Bach Flower remedies helped me enormously when  was in the throes of a psychosis and Cranial Osteopathy helped speed up the cerebral spinal fluid which had slowed considerably at this time.

Speaking to other sufferers, Yoga is a firm favourite, and acupuncture and Chinese medicine are known to have healing effects on the mind and body, although it must be stressed that all of the above need to be taught to gain maximum benefit by a competent professional within that field. The same goes for Cognitive Behavioural therapy which is difficult to master and needs the help of a therapist trained in that particular area. It took some ten weeks of intensive classes for me to be able to grasp this amazing therapy and at times was quite painful as I unravelled my own psyche. However this type of mindfulness was extremely powerful and as much as I struggled to grasp it, once I did, the effects were miraculous. I was able to gain some control over my illness which was very empowering and my family noticed a great change in my mood swings.

Whatever therapy the sufferer tries, it is worth knowing that anything that makes you relax has to be helpful and these therapies can be used as a way of relieving any amount of stress in ones life. As we know that depression 'feeds' off stress, it is vital that any sufferer finds the best intervention for them and that can often be time consuming and a trial and error situation. Once you have found that particular help, its worth mentioning that perseverance is quite often the key, that and an abundance of patience as your body begins its own healing journey.

For further help and amazing reading I would start with 'Better Health through Natural Healing' by Dr Ross Trattler ND, DO who showed me the amazing healing you can find through the sauna and steam bath, which is something that I use regularly and has helped boost my immunity.
Peace and love
Suzi x

Monday, 9 June 2014

Lowered immunity and depression and anxiety.

When I was poorly with depression I also suffered from lowered immunity which was a side effect of the depressive illness itself. Once I began researching for my book, some eight years ago, I noticed when speaking to other sufferers that indeed they too were also suffering from various physical manifestations along with the emotional disturbances. The fact that depression can bring about a crash in ones immunity is often surprising, but can be serious enough to have a detrimental effect on the persons life and furthermore can even exacerbate the condition itself. This is because being unwell physically can be very tiresome and  stressful, and so the cycle of despair goes on.

I have found many afflictions which go hand in hand with depression and my own personal battle was with shingles which came about as soon as I ovulated, (I blame the hormones see) but many sufferers  have had others which are caused by the bodies desperate attempt at trying to maintain equilibrium. These would include bacterial infections, burning tongue syndrome, flu-like episodes, vertigo, dizziness, aching joints and joint flare-ups, cluster headaches and migraines and even food sensitivities and allergies! On speaking to the various sufferers who I am now in contact with, it seems that the list of medical components are simply endless which makes any depressive illness, hormonal or otherwise particularly brutal.

So what did I do to help my immunity recover? Well the answer to that is that my immune system is still in recovery and it has taken some two years for me to recover properly. Obviously exercise, healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle are crucial but there is one particular supplement which I found to be immeasurably helpful, and that was Floradix. This potent and natural substance was so good at its job ,I could literally feel the effects within a couple of days. It was particularly helpful when I was suffering from the crippling lethargy which comes with depression (some days I was so bad I thought I had been drugged) and so a few spoons of Floradix would inevitably get me off the sofa.

There are many other holistic remedies which are extremely helpful when one is dealing with a crashed immunity and I am hoping to cover those in my next blog. However, it is always worth knowing that a crisis in the body takes time to repair and often requires an abundance of patience and simply won't happen over night. Often it takes months of finding the most useful therapy for your individual needs and is always a question of balance. For further information I would read 'The Mind Body Bible' by Dr Mark Atkinson who can help anyone in their recovery. He also has a website and clinic www.drmarkatkinson.com. and telephone 08450946450

I hope todays blog is helpful, please leave a comment and let me know which therapy you found to be the most effective. God Bless
Suzi x

Friday, 30 May 2014

How to turn off the hormonal system and prevent hormonal depression.

There are many things a women can do to help herself once you have established that your depression and anxiety is hormonal in origin. Some people use anti-depressants and some people prefer to use a more natural or holistic approach. However my depression was so chronic, long term and debilitating, I was suicidal which is why I decided to turn off my whole hormonal system in the hope that it would give me a cure that I so desperately needed.

Once I had decided to have a hysterectomy, my consultant wanted me to try an implant by the name of Zoladex which is inserted under the skin of the navel. I was far more worried by this than having a hysterectomy as I knew that it was a synthetic hormone which is used in Zoladex preparation, and in the past had suffered terribly from any synthetic intervention. However, my worries were simply unfounded and immediately I felt a great and welcome respite from the hormonal spikes and lows which had left me with the hormone sensitivity and subsequent mental illness.

Here's what happened. Once the nurse had inserted the implant I was able to carry out my day quite normally although as I lay on the bed, my legs were visibly shaking as I was so worried about it  making me worse. Within a couple of hours I was walking around the local supermarket which was something which would always leave me feeling extremely anxious and stressed. I know that sounds ridiculous, but my depression was so entrenched that a simple trip out would always require meticulous planning and would often leave me tearful, irritable and completely overwhelmed. However this particular day, I was able to cope so much easier and I was noticeably serene without the usual 'mental chatter' that had surrounded me for so long.

At first, I wondered if I was experiencing a placebo effect or even if it was psycho-symptomatic but by the time I was home I knew that indeed something miraculous was happening. I felt, quite literally all the depression, anxiety, anger and sheer frustration leave my mind in an almost physical way, and it felt as though my whole body gave a huge sigh of relief. This I can tell you was something that had been some 25 years in the waiting, so you can only imagine how that left me feeling. I knew then that my initial worries about having the injection were simply unfounded and indeed, I wished I had done it sooner.

For anyone thinking of having their hormonal system switched off in this same way, I know how hard that decision is and I also know that some have an adverse reaction. However, I still believe that its worth a shot and anything that can help in the battle with this all consuming illness is surely worth it. It will also help you decide whether you should have a hysterectomy and is the perfect experiment enabling one to see just how you will feel once you've decided to have surgery. I hope this blog is helpful, please leave a comment.
Have a great weekend

Suzi x

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Natural Hormones can help with depression and anxiety.

Natural Hormones can help enormously when one is suffering with depression and anxiety, particularly if the depression is hormonal in origin and is cyclical. Once a women has ovulated, there are immense changes in her hormonal profile and for reasons not yet understood, in some women these changes can have a critical effect which then makes the sufferer feel anxious, depressed and extremely irritable. The symptoms are so similar to Bipolar, there is often a misdiagnoses and the hormonal element to this illness overlooked, which in my opinion is a great shame.

The two hormones which are known to profoundly effect our state of mind are progesterone and oestrogen, although there are others which also come into play. As some women are sensitive to their own hormones it is the spiking, or even the dips which causes the women to have the sudden mood changes which we are all familiar with. We can now give and use natural or Bio-identical Hormones which are made from soya and yam and they fit our bodies exactly the same as our own original hormones. if we give them in a controlled dose, we are then avoiding the so called spiking which causes us to experience a great hormonal wobble.

In my case I use natural progesterone and natural oestrogen (in the form of a patch) and this has had a massive effect on my whole life, indeed transforming it to such an extent that I am now symptom free. You can use this powerful and natural therapy whether you have a womb or not, and they are known to have a protective effect on our bones, heart and our libido as well as a stabilizing effect on our mind.
To find out more anyone suffering with PMDD, PND or PMS should ask for a referral to a gynaecologist. For further reading my first choice would be 'It must be my Hormones ' by Doctor Marion Gluck who explains the difference between them and the more synthetic HRT which so many women are reluctant to take. Synthetic hormones are those that are in the Contraceptive pill, depro-vera contraceptive injection, the contraceptive implant  and too many others to mention and in my opinion should be avoided like the plague if you have depression or any mood disorder. Next week I will be explain how you can turn off your entire hormonal system if you are severely affected by this awful condition.
 Have  lovely weekend, Suzi

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Panic Attacks.

Is there anything more horrible than a panic attack? Millions of people have them and yet there is still very little known about these horrible episodes which can be serious and extremely debilitating.
For years and years I would awake at night with my heart banging in my chest and a great feeling of impending doom. Sometime later, after the birth of my first  child they seemed to take on a whole new meaning and were much, much worse leaving me scared out of my wits and an underlying sense of going 'crazy' or 'mad'.

At one point, my attacks were so severe I had to go to A and E as I was so convinced I was having a heart attack. This of course was highly embarrassing and left me with that all too consuming sense of shame as I felt that I was wasting everyone's time!
 So what is happening when you have an attack? Or should it be, what has happened.?

It is my understanding that an attack is left over from our predatory days where the flight or fight system was highly active and we were running from danger. This highly complex strategy becomes abnormally active and floods the body with cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones) which is why you get the terrible palpitations and shortness of breathe. The feeling of terror (which can come out of nowhere) is a reaction to these chemicals flooding the body and so now you have created a perfect chemical chaos which interferes massively with brain chemistry. This can leave one feeling horrendous, often for days after ,and the cycle can even create another attack,so now we have an awful situation where one attack creates yet another ! Nasty!

The main component when speaking to people that have suffered, is quite often STRESS, which somehow interferes with the natural bio-rhythms of the body and  I urge the sufferer to look at what is currently happening in their personal lives ( and really look) to see what is the bigger picture. Do you have unresolved issues for example, or childhood baggage? Do you smoke cannabis or drink too much? Maybe you have a stressful job and are emotionally and physically exhausted. Is there an imbalance of some kind? Sometimes however, a panic attack can come without reason and that is why I'm hoping that more funding and research will become available in the near future. For further help you can contact ' NO PANIC on 0800 1388 889 and they will assist you and help you discover the real reasons for your crippling anxiety.

Incidentally ( and I know this may not be true for everyone) my panic attacks stopped immediately as soon as I stopped using the contraceptive pill which came as a huge, but more than welcome surprise. See....... I blame the Hormones.

Peace and love
Suzi xxx

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Amazing Anti-depressants.

My blog this week is about anti-depressant medication which I feel has often had a negative press and an even worse reputation. In my view however this is a great shame as this medicine can be a powerful weapon if you have suffered from clinical depression, and is often greatly misunderstood. In case your wondering, I am speaking from bitter experience and tried every known holistic and natural remedy in the hope of self treating. Indeed my husband spent hundreds of pounds paying for treatments which were costly and only helped for a while before losing their efficacy. I'm not saying that these treatments are worthless, only that my illness had become so entrenched and critical that to not take medication would have been dangerous and extremely serious. I believe that my reluctance to take medication also worsened my condition and allowed my symptoms to become worse with every passing day. Time is of the essence when one is dealing with a serious depressive episode, particularly if it is Post-natal Depression or there is an element of psychosis and suicidal urges.

The problem is, anti-depressants are known to have side effects and some are often quite severe, even though it is my view that once the initial first couple of weeks has passed, the side effects do leave the sufferer as they get used to the medication. This quite often puts people off taking them which is a great same in my opinion. The newer SSRIs are also known to have fewer side effects and are so good at doing their job,  I often wonder why it took me so long to take them ! I could have saved myself weeks of misery if I had known what I know now, and I hope that anyone worried about taking them will be comforted by this and not curtail their treatment. If you are suffering from any depression whether it is hormonal or otherwise, I would certainly not try to fight it alone and would not hesitate to take medication, even though I know that some people would and will disagree with me.

As a general rule. life for me without them had simply become unbearable and I couldn't go on which is something to bear in mind if you are trying to reach a decision on whether to use this powerful and amazing medicine. If life is simply too hard to bare, you are suicidal or you believe that your depression is out of control, then you should always see a medical professional who can talk you through the options that are open to you. And of course, it goes without saying, that you can use your medication with any other regime, holistic or otherwise, as a multi-dimensional attack.
I sincerely hope that this blog gives the positive aspect to the use of anti-depressant, even though I fully and wholeheartedly understand the sufferers reluctance to use them.
God Bless
Suzi xx

Monday, 14 April 2014

Misophonia or hyper sensitivity to sound.

Misophonia is something which I have been learning about just recently as it has effected me  to some degree but is also affecting several friends of mine (particularly those that also have received a diagnoses of depression).

 When I was extremely poorly after the birth of my second child and before I was diagnosed with Postnatal depression, I started to feel extremely angry and unhappy when certain noises presented themselves. At first it was a mild irritation which then became more serious and the slightest noise would leave me feeling edgy and agitated to the point that I would have to cover my ears. Since I have been researching for my book, this phenomenon has cropped up time and time again, particularly with women in the reproductive years, although it can present itself at any time.

The sounds which are the most disturbing to the sufferer are chewing,sniffing, tapping and even breathing. There are many other sounds which can create a feeling of incessant anger and are so disturbing they can have a catastrophic effect on the sufferer and even destroy relationships. It somehow creates a feeling of intolerance and rage which is obviously very distressing and can even become physically painful.

From what I can gather there is no known cure for Misophonia, however several forums and helpful sites are now springing up which offer support for the sufferer and those who simply don't understand how distressing sound irritation can be. Coincidentally, I have noticed that the first symptoms show themselves around puberty when the hormonal changes are paramount. Saying that, from what I can gather no single cause can be found for Misophonia which makes it all the more unpleasant. I hope in time that will change and there will be more help available and even a cure which will help people who suffer from this horrible condition.

Blessings as always. Suzi

Sunday, 6 April 2014

PMS OR PMDD

This weeks blog is trying to help the reader or sufferer decide if they have Pre-Menstrual Syndrome or the far worse PMDD, Pre Menstrual Disphoric Disorder.

Most women at some stage in their lives have suffered some form of tension in the week before their menstrual period and when those symptoms become extreme, that would then be called PMS. As much as we've all heard the jokes about this syndrome, to actually be a sufferer is far from funny and it can have a serious effect on any women's day to day life. PMDD however is more  critical and can even be life threatening with a devastating knock on effect for the suffering women and their families.

Once I had established that I had PMDD, my life had become unbearable and I was only feeling well 1 week out of every month. I was often bed ridden as I was suffering from lowered immunity and  had a huge amount of emotional difficulties which were extreme and very frightening. At times I would wonder if I had indeed lost my mind and became suicidal on many occasion. The symptoms were too many to mention but would include severe irritability, temper tantrums, violence and even the occasional hallucination.

As a rule of thumb, if anybody reading this blog is feeling this way then you need help and should ask for a referral to your gynaecologist who will be able to help you, and will have seen others with the same symptoms.

For further help and support if you tap PMDD into your search engine you will find many forums and online support which has been invaluable and life saving. It also helps a great deal to know that there are others out there with the same illness and that you are not alone, which is a great comfort.

Thankyou so much for reading my blog. I can now see on my tracker that I have a big following which helps me as my only intention is to reach out to other sufferers.

I hope that one day soon there will be a cure for the terrible and misunderstood condition that is PMDD
Blessings as always, Suzi x

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Why I wrote my book.

I decided to write my book about 5 years ago but wanted to wait until my third child had reached pre-school age so that I could focus on getting it right. I didn't tell anybody I was doing it and I think it has taken a few people by surprise mostly because not everyone knew that I had suffered from depression. So how do you write a book?

For anyone that wants to do the same I would firstly order a copy of The Writers and Artists yearbook which is the Authors 'bible' in terms of what to do and how to do it. This gave me further insight into what writing entails, how to find agents and publishers and what to expect within the whole process. Secondly, once I was happy with my manuscript, I enlisted the help of  The Writers Workshop who help writers like me and give tough and honest feedback in the form of a report written by an accomplished and published editor. This has been immensely helpful and has helped me structure the book and strengthen the narrative,so worth every penny.

For anyone that is thinking of doing this business of writing, I found scheduling the time extremely important and stuck rigidly to writing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays once I had the children in school ( coffee mornings are out) and I found that was the only way to maintain focus . I am extremely lucky as I also have a very supportive husband who has helped me when I've felt like giving up  (which is also part of the whole process of writing). Trust me it is hard and has given me many sleepless nights , particularly as its a memoir and so I am essentially laying myself bare!

Lots of people have been asking me when the book will be published and I can only say at this point that I have signed an  agreement and the book will be published, but as yet I have no release date. Its a long slow process and has taken even longer to get here, some eight years of research and two years writing, which is the harder business of writing a book as patience is the key. As soon as I hear more I will let everybody know, but in the meantime I will still be raising awareness and hoping to help anybody that has depression. It is because of my own illness and the subsequent misery, that I have now dedicated the rest of my life to helping people with this dreadful affliction which is all too prominent in society today and on the increase.

Have a great weekend. Suzi x

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Why do I blame the hormones??

Many years ago was suffering from so many physical ailments along with my depression and anxiety that I felt sure that my immunity was being compromised somehow. In fact I began to realize and just had a hunch that there was more to my illness than just low mood or a general depressive disorder. I was suffering from all manner of infections and I would often have swollen joints and various aches and pains which were mostly centered around my lower back and in the groin area. I also began to suffer from acne and seemed to spend more time in the doctors surgery than out. I was so convinced that I had a hormonal issue that I started to research, firstly at the library where my son would sleep in his buggy, and then later I began to read books by senior medical professionals who rightly convinced me that I did have a hormonal problem which was creating a cycle of profound mental and physical ill health.

Some 10 years later I am still reading, and am I fascinated by hormones and how they can effect our mood and indeed "mimic" mental illness, even creating a schizophrenic like syndrome in some poor women.
There are many causes of depression, some are a reaction to life events such as abuse, disturbed childhood, trauma and parental issues, but my illness was caused by the huge fluctuations and hormone sensitivity. I must add that if somebody does have disturbed and critical life events, such as I have mentioned above, these will always have a disturbing effect on our mind and body systems and go on to destabilize our hormone balance creating a cycle of ill health. Any stressful event in our life will therefore go on to damage our hormones which is something to consider when looking at the whole picture of this female depression.

For further information and vital reading I would start with,

Depression after childbirth. By Dr Caterina Dalton.
The PMS Bible. Also by Dr Caterina Dalton
Balance your hormones By Patrick Holford.
It must be my hormones by Dr Marion Gluck

And most importantly and with sincerest thanks,

Reproductive depression is the depression in women that is related to the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and the menopause and is manifested clinically as premenstrual syndrome,postnatal depression and climacteric depression. These three components occur in the same vulnerable women and will normally have a history of premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and then develop postnatal depression. When the periods return after giving birth the depression becomes cyclical as PMS. These three conditions are effectively treated with bio-identical hormones which should be a first choice therapy but can be used along with antidepressants. The critical time to prevent long term mood disorders is the correct treatment of postnatal depression.
Professor John Studd, London PMS and Menopause Center. March 2012.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

The shame and stigma of Depression

This post was designed to help those who have depression, whether its hormonal, or otherwise deal with the feelings of shame which quite often surface once you have been diagnosed.
Many people have approached me in recent weeks and have often said how surprised they are that I have had depression and how well I must have hidden it. In fact I have been suffering from hormonal depression since I was a teenager which escalated rapidly and dangerously after the birth of my second child. Until then I was able to pretend it wasn't happening and often hid my feelings from all who knew me.
Most people with depression will go to great lengths to disguise their own inner turmoil which stems from being ashamed and demoralised and is often a result of the depressive illness itself.  I somehow felt as though I were to blame and had bought the illness on by myself ,which of course led to low self worth and feelings of guilt.
To help others see that depression is an illness that can happen to anyone and to help them realise that they are not alone, I have compiled a list of fellow sufferers. I hope it helps.
Fern Britton.
Melinda Messenger.
Katie Price.
Beverley Callard.
Brooke Shields
Britney Spears
Stephen Fry
Adam Ant
Frank Bruno
Robbie Williams.
Have a great weekend, Suzi.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Postnatal Depression

I have decided to write about this subject in light of the compelling episode on Call the Midwife which I felt was handled so sensitively last week.
As a sufferer of PND I still find it so hard to understand why so little is known about this illness and feel strongly that more needs to be done to raise awareness, and indeed educate people, particularly when you consider how it can often be fatal to the suffering mother. When you consider that this illness comes along just when one is supposed to feel elated and joyful, I find this element of hormonal depression particularly cruel and brutal.

Here's what we do know.

PND is irrespective of circumstances or social standing and is not a state of mind but a biochemical abnormality so therefore an illness.

PND often starts with a manic episode and then rapidly descends into severe depression which can sometimes lead to suicidal urges.

PND often disguises itself  with severe irritability, mood swings, panic attacks, nightmares and episodes of depersonalization ( feeling strange and as though you are in a dream  state). It can also show symptoms of OCD and heightened behaviour. Feelings of being overwhelmed and tearfulness are sure to follow as the illness takes hold in the days and weeks after birth.

PND can escalate rapidly and as shown on Call the Midwife, the lady ended up with Postpuerpal Psychosis which is a serious condition which often requires hospitalization. This is a result of the massive hormonal fluctuations after birth which somehow, again leads to a change in brain chemistry. Whenever I hear of any women suffering from PND or worse, PPP my heart breaks as I know only too well that it ruins the time you have with your baby and is the most awful of postnatal tragedies.
My hope for the future is that more women will be diagnosed quicker which can often shorten the duration of the illness and hasten recovery. This is difficult to achieve as often many women will hide their real feelings and have a sense of shame and even wonder if the baby will be taken from them.

Part of my strategy when I decided to write my book was that I would do it for all suffering women and I am now heavily involved with Action on Postpuerpal Psychosis at Cardiff University and also NAPS which is the National Association for PMS. These amazing medical professional are desperately trying to isolate the genes that are responsible for causing so many women to become so very poorly in what is essentially the most critical years of their lives.

If you think you may have PND or any other form of hormonal depression, don't hide it as it will only get worse if left untreated.  Tell somebody, anyone and the help will come as there is often many treatments available. You can also call the Association of Postnatal Illness who will help and comfort you enormously on 0207 386 0868.

I hope you have found this blog helpful. Please leave a comment in the box as any feedback is greatly appreciated.
Happy Saturday
Suzi xx

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Hormone Sensitivity

I have had some extremely good news regarding my book. I will keep you all posted but in the meantime, I'm going to try to explain what it means to be sensitive to your hormones. Over the last couple of years and when researching for my book I have been speaking to lots of women who have
the same illness as me and are suffering with either postnatal illness or premenstrual syndrome. Without exception they all are sensitive to their hormones and some even say that they feel that they have an allergy or are intolerant to them, particularly at ovulation when the "mad women" moves in. Some say to me that they have a "Jekyll and Hyde" personality change and this is what some doctors say is a hormone sensitivity.
It doesn't matter how many hormones your body is producing, or even whether you are producing enough, but some women and its not clear why, suffer a catastrophic change when their hormone levels fluctuate, which is why the most serious symptoms occur at puberty, childbirth and ovulation.
When this sensitivity occurs, it interferes with the brain chemistry which can be extremely serious and often results in depression, anxiety and symptoms which are similar to mental illness.
I am personally involved with lots of medical professionals who are desperately trying to figure out why this happens and are at present trying to isolate the genes which cause this sensitivity. They are working tirelessly to help women like me who are often desperate, suicidal and whose lives are compromised by this dreadful illness.
As so many women are affected by this, approximately 1 in 10, it is vitally important that awareness is raised and more women can see the correlation between their symptoms of depression and this so called sensitivity. This is why it is so important to keep a "menstrual chart" so that you can see the timing of your symptoms (I still have mine from ten years ago). Trust me, when you start to keep a meticulous diary of your symptoms you too will have a 'light bulb' moment when you realise that you have this hormonal illness and it can be very empowering as you take control of your depression.Once you have this information you can decide on the appropriate treatment which is often simple and life changing in the form of natural hormones. This will keep your sensitivity to a minimum without the enormous fluctuations that are causing you to be so unwell.
With grateful thanks to Mr Nick Panay and all the team at The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital who have finally enabled me to regain my health, and indeed my sanity.
I hope my blog is easy to understand, if you are reading please send me some feedback as Id love to hear your thoughts.
God Bless. Suzi xx













Sunday, 23 February 2014

The Three P's

Morning everybody. I have had lots and lots of response to my website with lots of people asking me questions about this type of depression. When I first started researching the condition I discovered that this illness falls into 3 categories, all following a distinct pattern with very concise symptoms.Ill try to explain it best I can so that you can seek help if you need to.

1. It starts in Puberty when the hormonal levels are rising rapidly and is often misdiagnosed as teenage angst. The symptoms, although very vague are generally  low mood and  tear-fullness, followed by a sense that something is "missing" or "not fitting in".  This is when I first noticed my particular depression and when I first began to seek help.

2. The second stage normally falls after the birth of a child and more often than not increases with every child that is born. This of course is known as Postnatal Depression and was my first real encounter of mental illness. The symptoms are varying according to the women, but include delayed bonding,anxiety,panic attacks, inability to cope and care for ones baby and extreme depression and irritability. I also had terrific nightmares and felt overwhelmed and extremely ill (physically as-well as mentally). As I initially ignored the feelings,( I just felt so ashamed) it then increased and rapidly escalated into Postnatal Psychosis. This in my opinion is one of the worst things that can happen to any new mother, and is something that needs urgent medical and professional attention. DON'T TRY TO DO IT ALONE TRUST ME IT DOESN'T WORK!!


3. The last stage of this condition is Pre-Menstrual Syndrome and is the lasting result of this hormonal condition. After stages 1 and 2 the women will notice the depression becoming more cyclical. The symptoms commence at ovulation, and as the days go by are often plagued by depression, anxiety and irritability which is often noticed by others around her. There will also be a multitude of physical symptoms (too many too count) and there will be a whole change in personality and character. My symptoms were so severe i would often hallucinate and become hysterical which some people now categorize as PMDD. Pre-menstrual Dysphoric disorder. As the years and months went by I started to feel normal only one week a month and it almost destroyed my life, hence my decision to have a hysterectomy. Incidentally this has cured me of every symptom, a miracle no less!

Without giving too much away, I want everyone to read my book so that you can see the whole picture, this is only a snippet of what it really means to have this type of  depressive illness and there are many other components. However, I hope I have made it easy to understand and I hope you can see the clear hormonal element with the three stages of a women,s life and the timing of the symptoms. In my next blog I am going to try to explain about hormonal "sensitivity" and why this dreadful illness occurs.

God Bless everyone and happy Sunday. Suzi xx

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Timeline of Depression.

Morning. I have a newspaper coming to my house today to learn more about my illness and I hope this will give me more exposure so then I can help other women.

When I speak to women who have depression they always ask me whats the difference between "ordinary" depression and the type that I have. Some people call my depression Reproductive Depression, some call it Hormonal depression and it can fall into many different categories many of which you have heard of before. These will include,

PMS- Pre-menstrual Syndrome
PND- Post natal Depression
PMDD- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
and the more horrific PPP- Post Puerperal Psychosis.

My illness was somewhere in-between the whole three and showed varying characteristics all occurring critically before a menstrual period or after the birth of my children. I was also suffering from compromised immunity and so had a multitude of physical symptoms as my body struggled to maintain equilibrium. From the beginnings of my illness which started in Puberty, until the end when I had my Hysterectomy,roughly 25 years, there was a clear and concise order of events which I have found to be typical with this illness.  For more of the science and to help you understand more I would also take a look at Professor John Studds website www.studd.co.uk in particular the link marked "Bipolar, a tragic confusion".  Have a great day. S xx

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Newspaper article.

I have had some very good news last night regarding a newspaper article with The Sun. This is something that has been in the pipeline for sometime and is designed to raise awareness of Hormonal depression and how it can be misdiagnosed.
As I have previously explained in my Synopsis to the book, I was told on many different occasions that I had Bipolar, Panic Disorder, Personality Disorder and sometimes even the word Schizophrenia was mentioned which was horrifying to say the least. I hope by writing about my experience of it other women and indeed health professionals can see that sometimes all is not as it first seems and that there is often another cause for emotional disturbances and indeed mental illness.
I still cant believe that I feel so well. I still cant believe that I wake up in the morning and don't have the raging irritability and crippling mood swings. I still cant believe that I don't contemplate suicide daily and that I don't suffer from nightmares, hallucinations and delusions. This is all because I realized the correlation between my symptoms and my menstrual cycle. Once I had gathered enough evidence to prove that I was suffering from a hormonal disturbance I was then able to fight my illness with startling results.
Women always ask me the same two questions.  How do I know if I have hormonal depression and what do I do to make myself better? The simple answer is to download a "menstrual chart" from the NAPS website which is the National Association of Pre-menstrual syndrome and the second would be, once you have three months of symptoms documented on your chart, see your GP. If you can see a clear pattern in your symptoms then you have the evidence to hand.
Once you have seen your Gp it is imperative that you ask for a referral to your nearest PMS clinic (dont accept a no from your GP). You have the right to ask and there is help available. When you have received your appointment make sure that you take your charts with you and then you can prove your point.
The main objective of this is not to suffer in silence and to take control of your own illness which is often greatly misunderstood and indeed misdiagnosed. Please feel free to contact me at anytime and I will help you in anyway that I can. God Bless. Suzi. xx

Tuesday, 18 February 2014