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  • Monthly Spotlight

December Spotlight: Bryoney Cook

Taken by Han @thegiraffeshed on Instagram

About Bryoney

Bryoney is a Poet, Independent Celebrant, PMDD Advocate and Coach-in-training based in the West Midlands. When not writing joy-filled love stories and officiating ceremonies, she likes to channel her creativity into heartfelt poetry, from pieces on living with chronic illness to writing in her native Scots for Insta-famous dogs! With an academic background in both English (University of Dundee) and Counselling (University of Abertay), her work covers both the light and dark of life.

About the piece

Light and Dark through Luteal came about through a celebrant friend posting a poetry prompt on Instagram back in April 2022 (which, coincidentally, was also PMD Awareness Month 2022). The prompt was sunshine. I wanted to explore the cyclical nature of Pre-menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), and explore the feelings around my lived experience of it being like a light switch being flicked off and on, while also raising awareness of the disorder. PMDD was an acronym I didn’t know about until 2019, a couple of months after I started experiencing symptoms. It is, simply put, a severe negative reaction in the brain to one's own changing hormone levels throughout one's cycle - generally around the Luteal phase, but in no way limited to it. The idea was to convey this cycle like the light/sunshine going away or switching off, before returning when menstruation occurs. There is still a lot of work needing done in the medical community around treatment, diagnoses etc, as PMDD cannot be tested for and at present is diagnosed by the individual tracking their symptoms for a minimum of 2 months before presenting this evidence to their medical practitioner. Treatment options can be unreliable.

If you would like to learn more, go to: IAPMD


Light and Dark through Luteal


the sky is blue

the air warm

and birds sing in the sunshine.


a flick of a switch

the mood changes

and oh! Here we go again!

Feeling that rollercoaster lurch downwards

No! More like a spiral

I descend

into the dark.

Down here are my old friends

Anxiety and Depression

that strange mix of fight or flight

alongside feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.

But it’s much more too.

My mind wades through treacle

for days.

No attention, no focus.

I realise what this has seen me lose,

My ability to pay attention in any setting.




To do the simplest of tasks,

or watch my favourite tv shows.

It’s overwhelming

each time, even being prepared

for what’s coming,

even understanding what is happening.

PMDD - a real, tangible self-diagnosis.

But still, I am not myself.


I wish away the days

I want to sleep through them

but I survive - others are not so lucky.


I start to feel another shift

cramps kick in

and I know I am nearly there.

My period arrives.


the flick of a switch

the mood changes

And I feel relief wash over me.

I am myself again.



the sky is blue

the air warm

and I thrive in the sunshine as the birds sing.

Bryoney Cook ©2022


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