Women and Adult ADHD
Being a woman has many advantages. We can have long hair; we can have short hair. We can wear heels; we can wear tennis shoes. We can have cats; we can have dogs. We can have Adult ADHD; we can not have Adult ADHD. I'd really like to talk about the benefits of having cats versus dogs (I'm a cat person big time), but let's talk about the last one. It makes sense, right? This is a blog about Adult ADHD after all ... let's talk about being a woman with Adult ADHD. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about being a woman with Adult ADHD is how long it took me to be diagnosed. I've read a lot on this subject and one thing that's always stuck out to me is that young girl with ADHD don't often look like little boys with ADHD. We don't necessarily run around in school or blurt out answers without raising our hands. The typical little girl with ADHD is shy, quiet and able to hide her inattention with good behavior. This is one big reason why we don't get diagnosed until college or beyond. Professionals are not trained to look for issue in children with rather good behavior - the sticky wheel gets the oil.
The second thing I think of - and this is the one that I think of most often - is that we will invariably have one week a month (and this can stretch to two weeks depending on your normal cycle) where our ADHD symptoms wreak more havoc than the other weeks of the month. Yes, I'm talking about PMS.
I like to think I have a good mind - I'm quick with a joke and fast to learn new information. Most of the time. There is one week or so a month where my brain lags behind and I've got to wait for it to catch up. I find studying harder and reading harder. I find focusing on conversations more difficult. In truth, I find all the tasks that are affected by my ADHD more difficult. So, what do we do to combat it?
We certainly can't just wait for menopause, because I'm sure that will bring its own challenges along with it. I rely on my wife during my PMS to be a constant support, who reminds me that my brain will return to fully functional just like it always does. And, I rely on my doctor to help me to tweak my medication for that time during my cycle. It's true that you just might have to take a higher dose of stimulants during "that time of the month."
Being a woman with ADHD presents some challenges for sure, but don't forget that a woman's ability to have a cat or dog can also help! Please share some of your strategies for your most difficult times!
Prager, E. (2013, July 1). Women and Adult ADHD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 22 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/livingwithadultadhd/2013/07/women-and-adult-adhd
Author: Elizabeth Prager
I'm always late.... And it drives me crazy. Doesn't matter how early I start to get ready.... I'll walk into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, and see something that needs to be cleaned or picked up and next thing I know it's 20 min later and I'm back upstairs without the coffee.
I burn food because I'll get distracted while I'm cooking... Taking out the trash results in weeding a garden I pass on the way... And when I return , the smoke alarm is going off.
I have often wondered how much time I've spent in my life just looking for things.... My keys, my hair clips, my debit card, etc. I carry 2 purses in my car so I can dump one out into the other one to find things.
I know my lack of organization is debilitating.... And I TRY to rectify it... Planners and labeled bins and lists...problem is that every time I make a list.... I forget to bring it!!!!
My husband gets so irritated..... A common comment is "did you take your medicine today??? You have something going on in every room in the house!!!!" And he's right.
I haven't always stayed on medication. When my kids were little, having ADD was actually an advantage. I HAD to do fifty things at once.... And for whatever reason, I never had a problem walking away from a baby, or forgetting a child, or leaving one unsupervised when I was busy with another one. I was lucky. For about 7 yrs my body functioned on auto-pilot. It was the only time in my life that I didn't feel like I had ADD.
I actually was unmedicated for fifteen years.... I probably needed to be medicated the last eight of those fifteen, but I denied it.
As I got older the ADD got worse...or my ability to control it weaker. I was fired from a job I had after 8 yrs because my work had progressively declined in quality.... I couldn't finish one thing at a time..... I would walk away from someone in the middle of a conversation because something else distracted me. And I interrupted people because thoughts entered my mind and it would blurt out of my mouth. And I was aware of it... But couldn't stop it. I've caught myself starting a sentence with one subject and finishing it with a completely different subject because 2 thoughts entered my mind and I couldn't slow down enough to separate them. It's so embarrassing....
I started to avoid speaking on the phone because I couldn't stop interrupting people. I stopped seeing my friends because I was ashamed of my inability to have a normal conversation. And then I became depressed.
When I went back on medication it helped. But it's not a 100% cure. I think the ADD got worse because I'm going through menopause. Hormones definitely play a role. It's comforting to know that I'm not alone. Thanks for the info I've read in this column... I am going to look for info to help manage and organize my life with ADD. before I stumbled on this article, I really didn't know the info was so readily available.
Yep. Was looking for ideas for borders for high ceilings in a black and white bathroom...... And here I am!!!! At least all of you can relate......
I am now painting furniture and have started selling some of the pieces I finished. My new problem is FINISHING anything! I have about 17 pieces of furniture, all small, in various states of completion. If I could only stay focused enough to complete one piece....!
I don't want to get anyone anxious or depressed or thinking that GHEEZ, I thought it was going to be easier AFTERWARDS, because this isn't the experience ALL WOMEN have had, it's just mine and one that took me by suprise, caused me to struggle and feel lost for a while until I figured out what was going on. Frankly, I still struggle with it for other reasons that have to do more with where I am personally in my life's journey-- mid-fifties never had kids, under-employed and often financially struggling - but there's THERAPY and the support of friendship and my creative outlets that keep things in balance. Also I've read alot and for those of you like me who get support from reading ADD self help/ inspirational stuff I want to recommend 2 excellent books: "DELIVERED FROM DISTRACTION" by Ned Hallowell and and "More Attention, Less Deficit" by Ari Tuckman. Both excellent sources of sympathetic and helpful info! even if they're not women! There's also Sari Solden's book "Women with AttentionDeficiti Disorder" and she has a great website--addjourneys.com Check it all out.
I need help.
These last three years have been the hardest of my life. I fought against severe depression, my life had reached a point of no return.
However, I can also say that were also the most beautiful years of my life because finally I discovered who I was.
Why I was so different when I was young. Why I was so impulsive and head in the air. Why do I always was moving but in a more subtle way. Why I had to read ten times a page before understanding what I was reading. Why I was always so impatient. Why do I always had a thousand projects in mind but none was completed. Why do I always seemed to the moon and I could not hear what people were saying. Why do I always fell and I was so clumsy. Why I was doing crazy things without thinking. And many other things.
I hated to be so different and dizzy. The lack of self-esteem is the most difficult thing in my opinion and is also the hardest thing to find. I'm glad i had a good psychotherapist.
Do not despair because there is hope. As I am stubborn and determined, I know that my next few fourties years will be wonderful .
We must accept our differences, accept who we are and be proud. Yes I am slower than others but I'm creative, I have the ability to do a thousand things at once. Now I say loud and clear that I'm ADHD. It helps me to accept my limitations.
My life is much better than before. Now I do not force me to be someone else, I am myself and if people do not like it, well they go their way.
I quit my job a year before because nothing working. I know now that I can not work in an office because it is against what I am and even if I take the best drugs in the world, it will not be enough.
My biggest challenge will be in September because I go to school to learn a new job where I could move and build on my strengths.
It will not be easy to study but I know I'll get there with great effort.
And I probably have the worst pms world. I turn into a witch, I cry, I say incredible things, etc..
I discovered two things that help me a lot to reduce the effect:
1. For one week, one week before my period, I double my prescription of Prozac. Of course I talked to my doctor before.
2. I do a lot of sport. I go to the gym three to four times a week. I also drive a foot race. There is no better remedy than sport.
Who would have thought when I was young I was ADHD? I was a good child, shy, solitary, still in my books, etc..
For me, the problems have reached adolescence.
I love your blog. It's good to know that we are not alone.
Sorry for the long text and my spelling mistakes. My first language is French.
I was mostly happy but the expectations of traditional southern
parents(sit still,do what I say when I say, be quiet, dont be so loud)was an issue for me and not being diagnosed ADHD, I was labeled at school as well as humiliated in front of classmates. I assume the teachers thought I was a child with no discipline. This was in the mid seventies and I still struggle with the thought of children being labeled and treated without kindness and love.