PMS sufferer, 29, says women ’shouldn’t be embarrassed’

Emily Fazah Image copyright Jessica Skye Image caption Emily Fazah says premenstrual syndrome (PMS) "shouldn't be shrugged off"

"I'm out for a week sometimes because I feel so low".

Emily Fazah has suffered from intense symptoms ever since she started her periods - from anxiety and fatigue, to mood swings and cramps.

The 29-year-old says she "suffered in silence" for years, but is determined to no longer be embarrassed.

She has set up an online community called Moody Girl, inspired by her childhood nickname, to "get the world" talking about premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

"Women have been feeling isolated for so long," says Miss Fazah, who lives in Ipswich, Suffolk.

"It shouldn't be embarrassing talking in front of men about suffering. It shouldn't be shrugged off."

"From a young age, I learned to suppress it, not talk about it and suffer in silence," she says.

Although she could turn to her mum, no-one at her school had the same problems.

It was not until she began working full-time in London that she reached "breaking point".

"I was trying to keep down my emotions and the way it was making me feel," she says.

It made going to client meetings difficult, and with a male boss, she felt she "couldn't really open up about it".

Image copyright Pom Lette Image caption Moody Girl provides an online platform for women to share their experiences

That's when the seed for Moody Girl was sown.

Miss Fazah thought to herself: "What if there are other women out there that maybe I haven't met yet who have been going through the same thing as me? How do I connect with them?"

She made the decision to move back to Suffolk to set up the website, which shares her own story as well as experiences from other women, and a playlist which reflects her current mood.

"I wanted to open up that dialogue which was so desperately needed."

She says her aim is "getting the word out, making a community of other women who are suffering, raising money and raising awareness, and not being embarrassed".

Image copyright Jessica Skye Image caption Miss Fazah launched Moody Girl in Ipswich

The Facebook page has more than 1,100 followers, some from as far afield as the USA, and a further 600 people follow the Instagram site.

Izzy Finbow, 29, from London, says she has found the Moody Girl community "enlightening" and "inspiring".

The digital content editor says her PMS was "ridiculous", leaving her feeling bleakly depressed and "irrational to new levels".

Being a part of the online social sites and seeing Miss Fazah's Instagram photos has helped her realise she is not alone, and given her tips such as using an app to track her periods.

Eileen Murphy, 37, from Cambridge, says through the forum she has found "solidarity" with other women, while her partner now has a greater understanding of her symptoms and mood.

Meanwhile, after seeing five different doctors before going to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital PMS Service Clinic, Miss Fazah has been prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for her severe PMS.

She says it "took years" to get to that point, but it "changed my life drastically".

Miss Fazah, a teacher, wants to give educational talks at universities and schools, and raise money for different charities which support women with severe PMS and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

She says she wants Moody Girl to be for everyone - from those with mild or severe PMS, to those with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and also "if it's depression and it's not linked to your period then that's fine too".

"If I can just help guide other women in the right direction to get to that place quicker than I did, then that would make the whole thing worthwhile."


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