Ok, sorry guys, but this one is more for the ladies. Of course, if you want to find time to understand the woman with ADHD in your life then this might be worth a read. I’m about to talk about a subject which strikes fear into the heart of many, and some people really don’t like to talk about at all. That subject has many names; lady time, monthly or period, but for me they all mean the same thing; that almost once a month I have a mini-breakdown.
Obviously, neurotypical people get periods too where their hormones end up driving them crazy, but in our case it’s like a double whammy. Our brain doesn’t function the way we want it to 90% of the time anyway, but then you add the hormones in to the mix and it becomes extremely overwhelming.
To be completely honest I’ve yet to find a way of effectively of dealing with it except having a good cry, a good moan and perhaps eating more comfort food than I should. I suppose the key may be to take it easy and be kind to ourselves, but that’s easy said than done when you are a foster parent. I’ve also found that time of the month gives me terrible paranoia, because I’m not sure whether I can trust my feelings or thoughts, this can lead to overthinking which turns into anxiety and before you know it everything is snowballing.
Maybe, we should all sync our diaries to just hibernate in a cave for a few days once a month where we can limit the damage we cause to ourselves and other people? The thing is as much as anybody tells you to just be kind and solider on, there can be times where we just don’t have the ability to. Writing has always been my solace so I try to throw myself into my work during my monthly, but if something comes up that prevents me from doing that writing, I can’t even describe the frustration I feel. Hence my dream of wanting to hide way in a cave.
Scienticially speaking, estrogen levels drop when your are on your period because your body is not pregnant. The loss of estrogen leads to a decrease in dopamine which is considered the brain chemical that is already lacking for people with ADHD. No wonder we struggle so much, our already depleted dopamine levels are being zapped every month. It’s actually been discovered during research that symptoms of ADHD can be worse when menstruating. Speaking from my own experience I certainly feel more overwhelmed, have more brain fog and forget things more often at that time of the month. I even exercise four times a week to keep my dopamine levels at a high yet come that time of the month I still feel worse overall. That just shows how difficult it is to have a period when you have ADHD where we’re already working against a lack of a chemical regulator anyway.
The only comfort I can offer you is that it usually only happens once a few days a month. So in that sense mark it off on your calendar so that you might better explain why you feel frustrated, paranoid or anxious. Make sure you set as much time aside as possible in that week just do your favourite thing or relax. Also, don’t judge yourself too hard for eating that extra bit of comfort food. If it makes you feel better then why not? The key is to not let the comfort food you eat during your monthly become your all the time comfort food so it’s a difficult balance.
I guess when it comes right down to it; periods suck and unless we’re pregnant or don’t have them for medical reasons, then there is no getting round them. The best we can do to manage them is do the best we can and hunker down for the long haul (five days can feel a lot with raging hormones?) while hoping the people around us can be more kind and understanding than usual.