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For many cis women and folks with vaginas, dealing with pre-menstrual and menstrual disorders is a painful and isolating reality. The symptoms, while invisible to others, create obstacles in daily life and are often wrought in shame. However, there is a new community arising that is taking on the challenge of altering menstruation narrative from secret to strength.

Creative Flow is a fundraising showcase on Sunday, April 28 at Color UP Therapeutics from 6-8 p.m. that is aimed at creating a space in which people with a premenstrual or menstrual disorder can share their stories and experiences through creative formats.

“Due to the stigma surrounding periods in general, it never comes up in conversation,” said event organizer Jess Whetsel, a Denver social worker, blogger, and yoga teacher. “We all struggle in silence, feeling alone. I want to change that.”

A donation of $5 is suggested, with proceeds going to the International Association for Premenstrual Disorders (IAPMD), a non-profit organization providing education, support, advocacy, and resources for those affected by Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and Premenstrual Exacerbation of underlying disorders (PME).

“It’s estimated that 1 in 20 women and individuals assigned female at birth have PMDD,” said Whetsel. “That means that approximately 35,000 folks in the metro-Denver area are dealing with the very same thing.

“As someone who has struggled with PMDD for six years, I have often felt as though I am going through this alone.”

While Creative Flow features folks with premenstrual or menstrual disorders, all are welcome to the event to help build community and support. The event hopes to nurture an environment that fosters candid conversation while providing a space for creativity and offering empowering resources and remedies.

Vendors and services relevant to reproductive health will also be in attendance, such as counseling services, acupuncture, and chair massages. Local organizations will also be donating prizes for a silent auction, all geared towards benefiting IAPMD and the community.

Creative Flow is currently looking for individuals with menstrual issues such as PMDD, PME, PCOS, and endometriosis who are interested in participating and sharing their stories. Email creativeflowpmd@gmail.com to get involved and find out more information.