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21Aug

Hi.  My name is Donna Barrowman and I’m delighted to have been asked to write a blog for talkhealth.  I was going to say I’m not normal – but then who is??  The best way I can describe myself is hormonally challenged.  I have spent the best part of 15 years battling with my hormones, and 3 years ago at age 29 had a complete hysterectomy and ovary removal.  I suffered from a condition called PMDD – Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premenstrual_dysphoric_disorder
. The easiest way for me to explain it is that I was intolerant to my own progesterone and hormonal changes – so much so that every month I would go from happy go lucky Donna to paranoid, anxious suicidal Donna – NOT NICE!!  But i’m glad to say that today – I am once more happy go lucky Donna.  If your interested you can read my story here in an article that I had published in a PMS edition of Menopause International Journal. –    http://www.peersupportnetwork.co.uk/MI-12-011.pdf

So – my life experiences have given me a passion for all things hormonal and also how hormones affect our mental health.  Having lived through 3 different types of hormonal based depressions (PMDD, PND and also depression in early menopause), I know that without a shadow of a doubt our hormones have a direct link to our mental wellbeing.  You will find that my blogs will be a mix of hormonal related issues and also mental health.  I’m currently studying the link quite closely because next year I hope to return to study mental health nursing in order to help more women like myself who are often misdiagnosed and are not given the correct – often very simple –treatment that they need.  I am a volunteer outreach awareness worker for the National Association for Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (www.pms.org.uk).

Apart from all of that – my most important and enjoyable job is that I’m blessed to be a mummy to 2 adorable boys, age 4 and 6.  They will of course occasionally sneak into my blogs as they give me so much inspiration in life and hope for the future – something that I lost at one point.

So I hope that you will enjoy reading my blog. I’m confident that I can open your eyes to some interesting facts about female hormones and mental health, and hopefully I can help you to see that there is life with and after mental illness.  I have a ‘thing’ for nice sayings and always tend to end my blogs with one – here is todays:

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly’

  

Donna

Donna spent 10 years battling with Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder - a condition classed as a 'mood disorder'. The wide range of symptoms frequently lead to misdiagnosis for women. In Donna's case, she was diagnosed as having reactive depression, anxiety and post natal depression until at age 29 Donna received the correct diagnosis and successful treatment. Donna now advocates strongly within the mental health and gynaecology field for women to be correctly diagnosed with hormonal based depressions and treated accordingly. She speaks at Women's Health Conferences in Glasgow and London. Donna highlights the need for better gynaecological and psychiatric care for women suffering from hormonal based depressions. Donna speaks openly of her own experience of mental health services, disbelief within the gynaecology and general practice of her condition, her mental health issues and her recovery journey. Donna has had many articles published including an article in Menopause International Journal entitled 'Menstruation and mental health - what's the chance of talking about that?'. Donna has also appeared on This Morning. Donna currently works as an Acute Inpatient Forum Worker alongside her freelance training/facilitation. Her aim is to empower individuals to take control of their recovery, to inspire hope and to educate health professionals on what really works for people with mental health problems. Donna is a member of Voice of Experience VOX and also Lanarkshire Links.

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