Women + ADHD + Menopause

It’s been roughly 5 years I’ve been on my sober journey. I haven’t been sober the whole time, but my goal has always been to lead a healthy happy life and that comes with ups and downs like anything else.
Through it all I’ve finally started understanding the root cause of so many issues that simply going to meetings, therapy and doing the “recovery” work never seemed to address.
I have always had a hard time relating to the stories of others in meetings. My experiences and struggles just haven’t been/feel the same. And this has mirrored how I’ve always felt about the people in the world around me - that I’m not like them.

I learned recently that these lifelong struggles I’ve had are symptoms of a long undiagnosed ADHD, which presents very differently in women and are usually diagnosed later in life for various reasons - but we aren’t the bouncing off the walls like the ADHD boys were when we were kids. The H is silent on our versions.

And I’m starting this thread today because I need to find a community around this diagnosis, especially because I’m an adult woman also going through menopause which brings an entirely new layer of challenges.

My head has been spinning with all the realizations, disappointments, fears and while the menopause seems to be causing more hot flashes than emotional issues right now, I don’t know what I’m in for.

I do know that instead of going to a bar or buying beer I’m putting on headphones and hiding in dark rooms to meditate when I’m overwhelmed or overstimulated. I’m making all these a-ha connections between how I’m living/coping and ADHD I never could before because of the knowledge In finally gaining, too. For me, knowledge is my higher power because it helps me create a plan and a way firward. To say learning about this diagnosis was life-changing is an understatement. I had been up against a wall and now I’m not.

I know that I feel deep shame for the parts of my life I can’t manage because of the adhd and am still trying to figure out how to do it.

I was not “better off” not drinking in the sense that being sober didn’t really help me fix problems I was having with anxiety, depression, feeling like life was an uphill battle all the time, making mistakes in things that others seemed to do so well.

It has many benefits like clarity of mind, better physical health, but I found the problems unrelated to drinking were still there and the framework I was functioning under for getting myself together were things like “I have depression”.

But the depression was caused by ADHD. The pleasure seeking was because I’m already at a dopamine defecit. Finding out how this disease has affected my life from as far back as I can remember has been wild. Head spinning. Enraging. Exciting.

Finally knowing has been relieving. I finally feel like in sobriety I can also be alive and have a way forward.

I want to share stories, ideas, advice with women like me, too.

I’m just starting this new leg of this journey and so I’ll post here things I’m learning, questions, hopefully make connections with others, too
:heart:

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I am currently struggling through perimenopause, an extremely challenging time for me. I don’t know much about ADHD, but when people share their stories around it I often feel like this could also be me. So I am very curious to find out more. Thank you for starting this thread :pray:

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I am not diagnosed ADHD but I am 100% sure I have it. After watching my daughters struggle and get diagnosed I see so much of myself in their struggles (though my youngest does actually have the typical hyperactivity normally associated with boys).

I also think ADHD is the reason why I turned to drink. I know I never felt like others. I was odd, I was “lazy” (though I know that procrastination DOES NOT equal lazy….its just how I got labelled as a kid), I was unworthy of teacher/coach/parental attention. I felt so unworthy of love and attention I turned to alcohol to be what I thought others would want me to be like so they would want me. But it didn’t work. And then I felt even worse about myself so I used alcohol to dull the pain and try to forget how I feel.

This went on for years!!

I did choose sobriety first and I’m not 5.5 years sober. But through trying to understand my past I did realize it is all because of ADHD (which wasn’t recognized in my childhood as a thing….just a dumb kid who “doesn’t apply herself”. LOL. How many of us have that comment on their report cards!?!)

I have not gone to get formally tested because at my age why bother. It’s expensive and I’m going to retire soon so I don’t need the meds or accommodations. I’m actually doing quite well, so my self diagnosis is really just about recognizing behaviours and why.

I’m also perimenopausal and it SUCKS. Every time I think I’m finally done (3-4 months no period) and BAM I get a period!! No predictablity. :weary: And my weight is brutal. I’ve been going up and down about 5 pounds every week. I swear it’s day to day. What I eat the day before really affects my weight the next day. Sure, it’s only going to be water but it is also bloating so clothes fit differently from day to day.

The good thing is no heat flashes!! Yay me. Probably all the soy I eat. :joy:

Well, that was a novel!!! I look forward to hearing others experiences

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Me, too! I have been feeling that way awhile.

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I am 9 years sober and going strong. I have noticed for several of these years the ADHD in me. I’ve talked to a therapist about it and she told me they wouldn’t consider a diagnosis of this since i am a recovering addict. I’ll be 45 this year and i am surprised that im now in perimenopause, especially because I have had a hysterectomy 6 years ago. My weight is a non stop battle, depression, & focusing. Especially at work.

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It doesn’t make sense they wouldn’t diagnose you. Can you explain more about why she said that? Considering addiction is a co morbidity for ADHD, it makes no sense. Or do you mean wouldn’t prescribe meds? It’s like saying I can’t diagnose your broken arm because you might need opiates.

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She wouldn’t diagnose me because i was addicted to meth. I wasnt even asking for medications for it. I eventually stopped seeing her. I work in the medical field and the providers I work for have mentioned concerns. I just have to slow down to focus better

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I am positive I have (undiagnosed) ADHD. I follow a few ppl on Instagram who specialize in it, and I’ve taken online tests. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I have it. I am turning 47 in June and my hormones are out of wack (hair loss, brain fog, hot flashes, you name it). That’s a lot to handle. But I’m glad I finally put a name on my “peculiarities” lol At least I don’t feel weird and inadequate now. I recognize the problem when it occurs and address it accordingly. I am currently studying for a test, and actually studying instead of checking mail or shopping Amazon is HARD :laughing: I’ve learned a few tools though, and they are helping.

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That’s what I suspected. I’d see someone else. I’m learning there are options that don’t require meds.
I haven’t started any yet so I’m looking at various options. How frustrating.

I’m experiencing the same.

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I don‘t know if this an ADHD issue, but I am having a hard time with judging time. Like how long something will take, or when I have to get ready to be on time, etc. Do you guys have any recommendations how to deal with that?

Classic ADD. I seem to have managed to build a system for being in time for things like meetings or appointments, but when it comes to managing project time, forget about it.

Things I’ve learned:

  • We metabolize protein and carbs differently and need more protein to function. I never understood why I get hungry so fast after eating a carb-only meal so have always needed protein. Now I’m told we need to start the day with protein (an egg, a cup of yogurt, something) with our meal.
  • 2% dehydration can cause terrible brain fog
  • we have a defect of “feel good” chemicals which is why we are so predisposed to addiction.
  • the reason coffee doesn’t make us hyper has more to do with that baseline feel good, but too much can still be bad (I can fall sleep after I drink coffee) lol
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Here’s an ADHD magazine article on the topic with some interesting reading recs linked to it, as well.