PMS and ADHD, GAD, MDD: I'm recently... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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I'm recently diagnosed ADHD and struggle with anxiety and depression. When I PMS my symptoms are unmanageable. Looking for advice, tips and strategies in coping with PMS symptoms and ADHD. Thank you!

30 Replies

I understand what you're talking about. The combination of symptoms can be emotionally & physically draining. To combat heightened sensory system/anxiety/mood changes, I take extra time for self care-whatever gives you comfort-for me having comfy clothes, adding more time to nap or rest, music, diffusing peace & calming oil, taking bubble baths and having snacks to meet cravings. PMS always amplifies my adhd symptoms and mood. I use a prn for anxiety and use take my regular adhd med. Eventually, I had to use prozac for a week each month to treat PMDD. Take care of you🌻,

Wow thanks for sharing. I too suffer with the same things and I do find that a week or so before my period, I feel so unmanageable and ungrounded.

I am fairly newly diagnosed but I’ve found a few things that are helping me somewhat at the moment. One is more rest and listening to guided meditations with an eye pillow on and headphones for minimal distractions. I also practice gentle yoga so I can connect to my breath and slow my mind down a bit.

Essential oils really help too alongside my ADHD and other prescribed medication. They help with the side effects and emotional side. I use clary sage and calming oils like lavender and ylang ylang. These are meant to be good for hormonal stuff and they help me to stay in the moment and feel more soothed.

Also, I take magnesium (I use the spray on bottom of my feet) around my monthly time as this is meant to help with PMS.

I’m not an expert by any means - quite the opposite. I’m learning too but these are things I am exploring at the moment.

Glad you have reached out. X

I'm really interested in the essential oils - do you use the roll on ones on your bodyor in a diffuser? Also, I've never heard of the magnesium on the feet but that sounds really interesting. I'm wondering if they sell it in Canada, what's the name of the brand? Thank you so much!

The one I use is called magnesium body spray by a brand called “BetterYou”. I buy it from Holland and Barrett in the Uk but I’m sure there will be options in Canada. It’s just easier than having to take another supplement and was recommended to me by a nutritionist.

I use essential oils topically and aromatically. There has been some recent research on Vetiver and how it can help with ADHD but there still needs to be so much more research done on them. I read this on the Additude website. It’s worth getting a good quality one from a trusted brand or they can contain alcohol and who knows what else haha. A diffuser is a great option and makes a lovely atmosphere without having to put anything on your skin. I’m not an expert on essential oils so it’s best to do your own research first 👍

Thank you!

I will check into magnesium spray-thanks for the tip-never heard of trying this before. Do you recommend a brand?

Best book ever! 100 Questions & Answers About Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Women and Girls by Dr. Patricia Quinn

Talk about Validation!!!💞

BetterYou is the brand. ☺️

I will check this book out!

I am also newly diagnosed ADHD but have had GAD & MDD my whole life.

I’m right there with ya about everything hitting at once during that time. No fun at all.

The struggle is real basically every single month, and even though I know it’s coming and I try to prepare for it, it still ends up knocking me down.

I usually just try my best to utilize my favorite coping strategies whenever I feel like it’s all becoming too much. They normally offer some relief which helps.

But I’m not gonna lie y’all, some days during that time when everything hits me at once, I simply stay under the covers as long as I possibly can and just hide out, and let my body and my mind both rest.

I do wish there was something available that could offer those of us with these issues a more permanent and effective solution. If anyone happens to find it please let me know!

Right now I don't get paid sick leave so it's really hard for me to take a mental health day when my period is too much to handle. I do often need to take a day off when it's really bad too. Do you find that your impulses become really hard to manage as well during that time? Like I'll want to quit my job or I do something that is risky and could be potentially unsafe or abuse substances. I try to remind myself that it's my PMS but the emotional baggage makes it really difficult to calm myself down.

Well, back when I was working full time, I did end up missing several days due to the issues I had during that time every month, but I also had a very bad depressive episode during that time and missed a lot of days for that too.

I have had difficulties on and off my whole life, but I actually didn’t realize just how bad my anxiety and depression really were, until I started working at that last job.

It was a very high stress, mentally and emotionally draining job, that demanded every bit of what I was able to offer (and then some honestly), day in and day out, and it also required extensive amounts of paperwork daily that was expected to be flawless down to every last detail.

It was a full time position but it consumed my whole life because even when I laid in bed at night I wasn’t able to get it off my mind.

They were never very supportive of me and my health or well-being in any way, even though I did disclose to them that I struggled with anxiety and severe depression. It actually got worse after I told them in my opinion. Some companies are supportive and some are not.

Needless to say, I managed to hang in there for almost two full years before I finally hit my breaking point, because I literally had nothing left to offer. You can’t pour from an empty cup, as the old saying goes, and boy did I not learn that one the hard way!

Anyway, yes I most definitely find that all of my symptoms from MDD, GAD, & ADHD, are a lot harder for me to manage and cope with during PMS time, and I really DID quit my job! 😬

(I do think it was for the best though for me personally and my health at the time. Not suggesting that’s what you should do by any means, unless it’s what feels right for you of course.)

I wish there was something available that offered a really effective solution to this so we wouldn’t have to struggle so much every single month, but so far just my normal coping strategies and Ibuprofen is all I’ve got to work with, and sometimes they are helpful, and then sometimes not so much. But I just keep doing the best I can until one day hopefully soon, something comes along that can really help.

Wishing you the best with your job, and sending you lots of comfort and warm thoughts to feel better as well. XO

GreenWitch91 blueorganic1021 has either of you been on hormonal contraception? If so, did it make any difference in managing PMS symptoms in relation to MDD/GAD? If you wouldn't mind sharing that, of course.

When I was much younger I took birth control pills, but I really didn’t have such difficult issues with my PMS symptoms back then, the way I have since I’ve gotten older.

A couple of years ago I was on the Depo shot for about a year and a half, and I do think it helped out with my symptoms at least somewhat during that time.

I still have not found anything yet that provides 100% relief, but for me it’s usually a combination of little things such as deep breathing, meditation, aromatherapy, soundscapes, ambiance, ibuprofen, hydration, a heating pad, and just simply allowing my body to rest, that offer around 50% relief for me, which makes it a lot more manageable.

It helps to just keep trying different things and in different combinations until you find which things help to make it more manageable for you, as it can be completely different for each person.

Still hopeful that a new type of treatment will be discovered soon.

Thanks a lot for sharing! I'm currently using Nuvaring, and I've noticed in general over the course of my life that the pill or any other hormonal treatment helps with physical symptoms a lot, as well as that big "down" period one week before mentally. On the other hand (and since hormonal contraception imitates a constant state of pregnancy on hormonal level), I feel like the symptoms of PMS sort of "dispersed" across the whole month. So that's why I was wondering how it is for others.

Yes! The pill definitely helped me but still had a tough time all around. Eventually diagnosed with severe endometriosis and fibroids that caused more problems and debilitating pain and fertility problems. Might check that out as I waited way too long and needed surgery. Thanks for sharing this topic-it is so important and helpful to get tips. Wishing you the very best!

I used to take birth control in high school and university but was really bad at taking it (always forgetting, never doing it at the right time, ect) and it made me feel really sick. I have IBS and my pms causes severe nauseous so I didn't find it helpful in that way. Maybe now that I'm older and more mature it may be something worth taking. Although I'm already on so many medications that I don't want to add another one. I also have no libido from my medication and I wonder how contraceptives would affect that? I wonder if there are herbs to take around pms that help?

Someone I know recommended seeing a neuroendocrinologist and said it had helped her. Apparently they specialize in the connection between hormones and the brain. I don’t think there are many out there but in the era of Covid they might do virtual consults now!

Bananas2020 in reply to ADHD33

Wow! Never heard of this before! Thanks for sharing this with us!

Hey! Someone with a similar set of symptoms here. Thank you for sharing, it's comforting to know there are more people who feel this way. Others have listed some really good strategies already, some of which I practice myself. I'd add the following:

- someone mentioned guided meditation. Which can be awesome before sleep, if you, like me, struggle to calm your mind and tend to stay awake for hours when you go to bed. I especally like the "body scan" type ones, because you are forced to focus on specific parts of your body and breathing, which is a good way to come back to present. Guided meditation is also much easier than regular ones, because there's a voice who's guiding your thoughts. --Podcasts/audiobooks. Find one that matches your interests or is fun. A good way to get involved in some other narrative than your own, and requires less focus than reading.

---Find some time in a day just chill out and don't feel guilty for it. Just lay down, relax your body and be. If you need to cry, cry. If you want to watch Netflix, do that.

----Draw or paint. If this sounds stupid - even better :D Doesn't have to be good, just draw lines and shapes or color a coloring book. This forces you to be present. I do this every morning, first thing before I do anything else. Journaling is also something that's been helping me.

Hope this helps!

So helpful and I do enjoy those things too. Do you have a favourite guided meditation recommendation or podcast? I just started listening to audiobooks not too long ago. I often have to find some more boring topics that won't snag my attention and keep me up all night! I also just started to journal, my therapist recommended I do it and it has changed my life. I just have to remind myself to do it at the end of the day because I'm so forgetful. I try to make it part of my night routine. Drawing is a great idea as well and I've seen some drawing prompt books that look like fun. The issue for me is that I buy all these self help books and then I forget to read them or get distracted by other things and continuously buy more because I forget I have them...or think I need this new one. I have issues around spending during my pms too so that's been a struggle. If you have any tips on spending impulsively I'd love that too!! Thanks so much 🙂

Glad you found it helpful! For guided meditations, I use this app Insight Timer, their free version is the best out of all similar apps I've tried. A couple of audiobook recommendations:

1) The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle2) The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

by Michael Alan Singer

I listened to both of them several times, and read Tolle's book, too. These are something you can come back to again and again, so no worries about finishing them or guilt for zoning out for the whole chapter :)

As for podcasts, have you tried Impact Theory? You might enjoy it if you're into the self-help thing. Also, other than "successful people", it features guests who are brain scientists and experts of that sort, so it's perfect as an easy listen with some benefits to it.

Awesome that you have an evening routine! As for buying books and forgetting you have them and forgetting in general - this is so me, too!!! What's been helping me - which might also work for you, since you already started journaling - keeping a bullet journal. One where you make lists of stuff you need to do/buy/other practical stuff. If not these lists, I wouldn't be able to function at all :D Feel free to DM me if you want any tips for bullet journaling. Otherwise there are cool videos on Youtube about it. The key is to find system that works for you, which will happen over time. Once it becomes a habit, you'll cross out things you already have from your "wishlist".

Similar thing with spending. I'm terrible at keeping track of my money and not spending it on useless shit. However, shopping is so much fun and you shouldn't deny it to yourself by any means as long as you can afford it. What I've been doing for a while is having a google sheet (excel) where each month I do some accounting for myself. You can use any other app/notes too, whatever you like. The important thing here is to write down how much money you have, minus taxes/rent/food spendings/other necessity spendings, put a tiny bit aside for savings and have a fixed amount for impulsive shopping. This way you'll now how much you can spend that month and won't feel guilty for doing so. It's just my opinion, but I think it's not sustainable to set unrealistic goals like "starting tomorrow, I won't do any impulsive shopping". Instead, set yourself a fixed amount for that knowing that you'll need it for days like that. And see it as a way to treat yourself, not as something to get worked up about.

So basically, my general idea is: write everything down. What you need to do, what you want to buy, how much money you have left, everything. Once you write it down,it's out of your mind, and your life is less chaotic. Just keep it all in one place and find a system that works for you :)

Thank you so much, it's so helpful and I really appreciate it!! 🙂

Hi, I have no real tips other than knowledge that I’m worse with irritability, disorganisation, poor sleep, eat more, tearful etc and it’s a time to be kind to myself....I learnt that from recognising the four stages of the menstrual cycle and using them to my advantage! I’m 45...I only learnt this at 42! I was diagnosed ADHD last year so still trying to understand that! My tablets aren’t very effective and definitely less so with PMS.

MommaRae in reply to Greenbeeps

how did you get diagnosed? was it your primary care doctor or a psychiatrist? I need to get my impulsive/inattentiveness diagnosed but have put all my focus on helping my son since he is severe hyperactive/impulsive/inattentive (issues at school)

I had a psych assessment when I was a child and then I got diagnosed by a psychiatrist

You are not alone! I didn't correlate the impulsiveness during PMS until one of my friends pointed it out. So glad someone mentioned this!

Hi GreenWitch☺️ Like you, I am comorbid ADHD/anxiety/depression and struggle during PMS. Here is what has helped me:

- Gentle stretching (Google "restorative yoga" or check out the very newbie-friendly "Yoga with Adrienne" on YouTube)

- Putting together a "PMS box" (or drawer, whatever works best for one's situation) where I store the things I like to have around during PMS- an electric heating pad (for cramps), CBD oil (also for cramps), one of those yoga eye pillows with lavender essential oil for relaxation, a box of GasX, Alleve and/or Tylenol (good if you don't have access to CBD), my favorite tea, my favorite body lotion, and a weighted therapy stuffed animal

- Make a couple different PMS playlists in whatever music streaming service you use- music for when you're anxious, music for when you're irritable, music for when you're feeling sad or down on yourself, music for pumping yourself up/giving yourself a pick-me-up

- Give yourself permission to not feel okay. Many of us with both ADHD and menstrual cycles go through this, and there is no shame or failure on our part because of it. I am always surprised how much better or at ease I start to feel once I give myself permission to feel not great. Don't try to push yourself to do things you aren't feeling up to doing, and then get frustrated when you can't. Let your body and mind heal and work their way through PMS.

I just learned yesterday how woman/girls with adhd are affected by our hormones. I always wondered why my meds never seemed to work during my pms and when my period starts. My meds and emotional relief comes 3-4 days after the last day of my period. I always feel so bipolar. But I’m not. I get insecure as if people think I’m not taking my meds. Or I’m not going to my therapy appointments. I never thought to bring that up to my psychiatrist either....thanks adhd for making me forget. And honestly I’m just so relieved when it’s over that I don’t look back. But now that I know I plan on talking about it with my psychiatrist my next fallow up in a month. And if I learn anything I’ll definitely come back to let you know. I thinks it’s so bazaar that I’ve been working with doctors for years for management yet no one not one has mentioned how my hormones play into my symptoms and their severity. I also have Hashimos disease aka hypothyroidism. So my hormones suck. But if someone would have been like “oh yeah make sure to be kinder to yourself and don’t be alarmed the week before and of your men trail cycle,because that’s when your adhd will be the worst and your meds are not going to work as well” I wouldn’t have felt so crazy and hopeless and confused about myself. I’m like this explains so much especially with my thyroid isssue. Ever since I got diagnosed 3 years ago my adhd has been much harder to manage because it’s been inconsistent, it has with out. Doubt Coast me jobs, post pone finishing my last year of college, my relationship with my fiancé, MY Child!! And friends and even Neighbor’s and my doctors!! I feel the lack of information about females and adhd is only further oppressing feminism and those with learning disabilities. It angers me and Gives me one more thing to be advocating for.

Oh I forgot to also mention I too have GAD I’ve been diagnosed since 2005

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