I have been in perimenopause for about eight years, but my period came regular like clockwork as it always has. I only realised I was in perimenopause about five years ago, because despite being regular, I could tell it was wobbling.
It came a few days early, a few days late… once I had three periods in nine weeks and could barely get out of my bed. I slept away those days, woke up, slept some more, woke up, and slept to spite the last sleep. That’s when I realized it was happening.
I also have ADHD. If you don’t know that these two states create a vice for your entire being, I’m here to tell you: It’s a vice for your entire being.
Perimenopause mimics ADHD in women. If you actually HAVE ADHD, it is not just a Change of Life, it’s The Great Reset. Perimenopause exacerbates ADHD in an acute and aggressive way.
If you were on medication your whole life, you will need to adjust your meds… and by adjust it usually means starting from scratch.
If you were undiagnosed, there is a good chance you will get a diagnosis now (at least if you’re white and and/or have health insurance) or someone around you points it out.
If you were/are untreated, regardless of diagnosis, your ADHD symptoms will OVERWHELM you without support and accommodations.
I had a diagnosis as a child and remained untreated. I was traumatised by the way it was weaponised against me by my family. I was never accommodated, only narcissistically abused. It wasn’t until perimenopause that I began to really grasp not just what it had done to my life by hiding my diagnosis, but the diagnosis itself.
All tools I used as a neurodivergent to cope with an unfriendly, cruel world full of neurotypicals and their judgy preachy ways, become null and void, obsolete, rendered useless. As my hormone levels dropped with each passing cycle, the way in which menopause hammers neurotypical women, it multiplied exponentially in me, a woman living with ADHD.
ADHD is not a psychiatric condition. It is neurological. It is the different way in which we produce and regulate dopamine. Combined with the natural dropping of hormones that occurs, it creates a conflagration in perimenopausal women with the condition.
I am just beginning to emerge from one of the worst ADHD paralysis periods of my life. I felt completely shut down. My life and world ground to an absolute halt. The last few months of last year, my 16 year old was practically taking care of me.
The lack of dopamine and chronic carpal tunnel syndrome, has made my arms absolute rubbish. Disregulation of dopamine creates lifelong joint and muscle aches, and this was another piece of the puzzle that for me completely saved my life.
I have hit almost every branch of the comorbidity tree when it comes to ADHD. I have the depression, anxiety, paralysis, disordered eating, trouble sleeping, rejection sensitivity disorder, financial problems, trouble maintaining any sort of routine, I struggle with my smoking…
I am also a sexual and domestic and narcissistic abuse survivor and decades of repressed trauma are becoming harder to ignore, and require more careful tending.
All of this has meant the last five years or so have been excruciating. I have been investigating solutions, and I am told Hormone Replacement Therapy helps works wonders. I am keen to see if it will help.
Except in Barbados, where I currently find myself, HRT is not on the drug schedule. Neither are ADHD meds. (Because in a country run by insecure men, it’s so much easier to harm unmedicated women with the ‘crazy’ label rather than actually provide quality healthcare that addresses us as whole beings, and not just wombs to be solicited to replace the dying Boomers, and discarded when we’re of no more use as breeding cows. But I digress…)
I have gone two months without a period, and I am praying this is the end, end, end. Thirty years of bleeding from the cooch is enough. I’m very tired, and no longer twenty five and forgiving. I’m tired of paying for sanitary items that should be provided for free the same way condoms are provided for free.
I think if medication for prostate health is on the drug schedule, and dealt with in the public health system, hormone replacement therapy and our specific medical needs should be addressed also.
I feel this way about ADHD meds too, but this is about HRT.
Two months without a period. Wow. This is kinda it, innit?
* claps with glee *
I’m ready to go play!