Hormones & ADHD
Updated: Sep 26, 2021
This is a little personal, but we've got to talk about it.
As a human with a menstrual cycle, I should have known A LOT earlier about more than how to use a tampon.
In fact, I think those without a period should also understand what happens in our bodies and brains when hormones shift. We are not an island!
Why Your Meds Don't Work Part of the Month
Estrogen plays a role in dopamine production and also contributes to energy levels and mood. During the days leading to cycle day one (aka the luteal phase), estrogen declines and progesterone rises. The result is low energy, brain fog, and a desire to stay in bed.
If you take stimulants or mood-stabilizing medications, they may feel less effective in the days before your period starts.
What I've learned in menopause I should have learned in puberty.
Last year, I lost track of my cycle until I couldn't remember the last time I had a period. Lo and behold, I was in full menopause in my early 40's (thank you, genetics).
It's not altogether awful, because I seem to be spared from significant perimenopause symptoms, like hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings.
I actually have had a few hot flashes, which felt like a sudden bout of food poisoning with sweating and nausea. Be kind to your middle-aged friends.
The Change I Didn't Expect
It's generally understood that perimenopausal people are moody and sweaty. Though not entirely untrue, what we don't learn about is the mood shifts beyond anger.
Hormones have some of the greatest influence on mental health.
After a major hormonal event (think: puberty, postpartum, menopause), women and others who menstruate are eight times more likely to be depressed, anxious, and have suicidal ideation.
I began hormone therapy at the beginning of 2021. It seemed odd that a tiny sticker and little pill could make much of a difference.
The most jarring menopausal change I experienced was indifference toward my loved ones.
I attributed my relational apathy to pandemic-entrepreneur-in-midlife-with-two-toddlers fatigue. I've talked to others with similar experiences who felt it was an unexpected part of The Change. Hormone therapy has helped me but isn't an option for anyone, so talk to your doctor.
Why am I telling you this?
I am shocked every time a client does not realize how their hormonal cycle each month is impacting their ability to focus, feel motivated, remember what they were doing, or prepare a meal.
You can start understanding your energy fluctuations better if you simply jot down on the calendar the first day or two when your period starts.
In just a couple of months, you will notice these hormonal shifts, and my hope is you will find a new spring of compassion for yourself.
Our bodies are not meant to be productive to the same degree every.single.day.
Also, if you're over 35 and have ovaries, be on the lookout for shifts in your cycle (duration and other characteristics). Perimenopause can last up to ten years(!) and cause a lot of ruckus if you don't realize that's what's happening.