An ADHD Coach Helps You Live A More Fulfilling Life

An ADHD Coach Helps You Live A More Fulfilling Life

One of the strength-based approaches to managing ADHD that Dr.H frequently recommends is to hire a coach. This week fellow ADHDer Alex Hey, the founder of Reset ADHD, shares what led him to start his own coaching practice for teens and adults, how religion played a part, and the sleep formula he’s developed to help his clients fall asleep faster.  

Links mentioned in this episode:

Reset ADHD

David Giwerc’s ADD Coach Academy 

Share your episode ideas and questions with us! Write an email or record a voice memo with your thoughts and send it to [email protected].

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners, you can SAVE 20% on your first order with the promo code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com, that’s B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. It is the college of choice for students who learn differently. And I have an honorary degree from that college. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Alex Hey:
So that’s the approach I take with ADHD coaching, is if instead of admitting defeat to ADHD, you hit the reset button and start again with some fresh strength-based strategies and hopefully can live a more fulfilling life.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. Today I’m going to be talking to a fascinating man whose name is Alex Hey, but that’s spelled H-E-Y because it’s German, he told me. He is a ADHD coach and started an organization called Reset ADHD in 2018. He’s only 27 years old, but he’s lived a long life. He lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. And if you go to YouTube, you can watch a wonderful bit that I just watched myself. But I’d like him to tell us his story. So I’m just going to welcome you, Alex, to Distraction. Tell this audience how you got into the world of coaching and how you found out about ADHD.

Alex Hey:
Yeah, so I was diagnosed at the age of 20. I’ve always had issues paying attention and whatnot, but what really came to the forefront at the age of 20 was I was in a chapel praying one day and wasn’t able to focus. My faith is really important to me and I felt like a fraud because if I can’t focus on one of the most important things in my life, what’s that say about my faith? So that really crushed me. I left the chapel that day thinking, “Something’s got to change here, so I got to figure out what’s going on.” That’s when I got a diagnosis for ADHD. A few years of studying that on the side and in my free time turned into a passion for studying it, which turned into a book, which turned into me having this passion for helping others with ADHD. And that’s when I founded ADHD coaching.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You wrote a book about it.

Alex Hey:
Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What’s the name of your book?

Alex Hey:
Catholicism and ADHD: Finding Holiness Despite Distractions.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh, that sounds fascinating. How did you tie the two together, Catholicism and ADHD?

Alex Hey:
It was just all the challenges you face in your daily life with ADHD also comes to a head when you’re trying to pray and trying to grow in holiness while you’re having ADHD. So it was just the two together. It was really important to me to find a way to manage my own faith life if having ADHD. That’s what inspired me to write the book, is there wasn’t a book out there about ADHD and Catholicism. So I wrote one.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s wonderful. One of the challenges in life with ADHD is feeling separate, apart and alone. As I told you before we went on the air, I am an Episcopal, which is similar to Catholic. We just don’t have a Pope. So I think of the Holy Spirit as my friend who’s always with me, the father, son and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the messenger and the healer. And despair is the sin against the Holy Spirit because you shut out the message of good news. I think for us with ADHD, if we happen to have a belief system like that it can be very helpful to just know, whether you’re paying attention or not, the Holy Spirit is there with you. You’re never alone.

Alex Hey:
Absolutely. I think that’s a great way of putting it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’ll have to get your book. Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve heard someone try to integrate those two topics and they’re both very important to me as well. I’m so glad you did that. You were only 20 something when you wrote this?

Alex Hey:
Yeah. So trying to think when I officially started it. I officially started writing it in 2017. So I’d have been 24 when I started writing it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow. And it got published?

Alex Hey:
I self published it, but-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh, good for you. So I could find it on Amazon though?

Alex Hey:
Correct, yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And then you went to a David Quirk’s Coaching Academy. Is that correct?

Alex Hey:
That is correct. Learned a lot there.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Tell us about that.

Alex Hey:
Well, when I was looking for ADHD coach training, I saw the ADD Coach Academy and it seemed like a really good institution. So I went there, took almost every class they offered and the only one I didn’t do is the family program that they have. But I did Simply ADHD, Personal Transformation, Basic Coaching, Advanced Coaching. Learned a whole lot there. Really changed my life. Met some great people through that. Met my mentor coach through the ADD Coach Academy. So lots of good experiences there. Can’t recommend it highly enough.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I agree with you. David Quirk is really a pioneer in the world of coaching and just a mensch, to use a Yiddish term. You now do a full-time practice. Is this your job, your full-time job?

Alex Hey:
Yeah, this is what I do. I made my office in my house. Looking to grow my practice, so if anyone out there is looking for a coach…

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How would they reach you?

Alex Hey:
They can go to my website, Reset ADHD. Or they can find me on all the social medias at Reset ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And that’s R-E-S-E-T, resetadhd.com. And obviously you do the coaching over Zoom or over telephone?

Alex Hey:
Yeah. I use Skype, FaceTime, the phone.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Do you have a philosophy of coaching? Or you just tailor it to the individual need of your client?

Alex Hey:
Oh, I mean, a lot of it is individualized, but the name of my practice is Reset ADHD. And where that comes from is I used to play video games a lot when I was younger. When I would be playing my brother, when we were little, he would always be kicking my butt at whatever sports game we were playing and I’d want to quit at halftime. He’d try and convince me to keep playing. He found a way to manipulate me into keeping playing and the game would never get better at halftime. So what I would want to do is I’d want to hit the reset button on the N64 and so the game would start over. Because if the game didn’t end, I didn’t lose. So that’s the approach I take with ADHD coaching, is if instead of admitting defeat to ADHD, you hit the reset button and start again with some fresh strength-based strategies and hopefully can live a more fulfilling life.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely. The strength-based is so key. Do you coach all ages?

Alex Hey:
Teens and adults.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s usually not terribly helpful if they’re younger than that, I think. I mean, little guys and girls get the coaching from their teachers and their parents. But I think as you get older, your parent… I only think of coaching is what a parent would do minus the nag factor, you know?

Alex Hey:
Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Once again, I want to tell you about the favorite supplement that I take and my wife takes, OmegaBrite. Go to omegabritewellness.com for their fish oil supplement, their omega-3 supplement, their CBD supplement. They’ve been our sponsor so, of course, I’m going to tell you to go buy their product. But in addition to sponsoring us, they have really helped my health, my wife’s health and the many of my patients who I’ve encouraged to take the OmegaBrite products. That’s O-M-E-G-A-B-R-I-T-E. Particularly with all the stress we’re feeling these days, the antioxidant effect of OmegaBrite, the anti-inflammatory effect of OmegaBrite is a real stress reducer and health promoter. OmegaBrite CBD and omega-3 supplements are top of the line. You can find all of their supplements online at OmegaBrite, that’s B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com. Distraction listeners, you can save 20% on your first order of omega-3 and CBD supplements at omegabritewellness.com by entering the promo code, podcast 2020. All right, let’s get back to the show. So are you working on another book maybe?

Alex Hey:
Not at the moment. Just did a bunch of research into ADHD and sleep, which turned into some YouTube videos, but-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh, great. Wonderful. What did you find? It’s a problem. Most people with ADD have trouble going to sleep. Then they have trouble waking up.

Alex Hey:
Yeah, so that’s one of the things I found. I came up with a sleep formula to help you fall asleep.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh, what is it? Share it, please.

Alex Hey:
It’s in bed, plus feeling tired, plus a calm mind, equals sleep. You need to physically get into bed.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How do you achieve that third one?

Alex Hey:
A calm mind?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Alex Hey:
You have to find something to focus your brain on, but not something so exciting that it energizes. But just something calm and relaxing so you can stop thinking about X, Y or Z that’s spinning around your head. So getting outside of your own thoughts and just focusing on something external. One of the things I do is I listen to a podcast called Sleep With Me. And if I’m not mistaken, you featured them on this podcast before.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), yes. That’s wonderful. So Sleep With Me helps you go to sleep.

Alex Hey:
Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You don’t have a romantic partner that you sleep with?

Alex Hey:
No, I don’t.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Because that could also make it easier if you’re not… But when you’re sleeping alone, it’s easy to get lost in your negative thinking, if you’re not careful. On this podcast I talked about the default mode network, which is the negative thought generator that we have in spades, we people with ADD, when our imagination becomes our enemy instead of our ally. One of my mantras is never worry alone. Well, if you’re in bed by yourself, you’re going to be worrying alone. But that’s where the Holy Spirit can help you out, if you access it, or your idea of focusing on something neutral to try to engage, that will shut down the default mode network.

Alex Hey:
Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The role of medication? Do you use medication or do you control your distractibility without medication?

Alex Hey:
I use Concerta.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Uh-huh (affirmative), good medication. For listeners, Concerta is methylphenidate, long-acting methylphenidate. It was the first long-acting stimulant developed by scientists at MIT. Before Concerta we only had the immediate, really short-acting, lasts about four hours. So patients were left saying, “Well, how am I supposed to remember to take the pill that’s supposed to help me to remember to take the pill?” But when Concerta came in, that all changed. So you could have a medication that would last all day. Of course then, when it wears off, you’re left with your homework if you’re a kid. So I usually add a short-acting Ritalin, what I call the homework pill. So you take, let’s say, 36 milligrams of Concerta in the morning. It lasts until around four o’clock in the afternoon. Then you take 10 milligrams of Ritalin to get you through your homework. And then you go to bed. But you don’t take a second… You don’t take a homework pill?

Alex Hey:
No, I don’t take a homework pill. I just stick with 54 milligrams in the morning.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
54, that’s a good number. Concerta is so weird. It comes in these multiples of nine. It comes in 18, 27, 36, 54, 72, but I don’t know why they did it that way. Okay, joining me now is Professor Christie Herbert of Landmark College, our wonderful sponsor in beautiful Putney, Vermont. Professor Herbert has worked with students with ADHD for 35 years and has also trained teachers on how to work effectively with students with ADHD and other learning differences. She is a Professor of Fine Arts at Landmark and most recently coordinated the college’s Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art. Welcome to our podcast, Professor Herbert.

Christie Herbert:
Thank you. Good to be here.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So tell us what you do, please.

Christie Herbert:
I teach at the college and as people may or may not know, Landmark College is specifically geared toward students who learn differently or, as we like to say, who are neuro-divergent. So the bulk of my responsibilities are to design curriculum and deliver curriculum and work effectively with students as both a professor and as an advisor.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What do you do differently than, say, they do at Amherst or Colby or Harvard or neuro-typical colleges?

Christie Herbert:
Well, I like to think that first and foremost, when I’m teaching, I’m not making judgements about what’s happening with the students. I’m being very patient and thinking a lot about communicating as clearly as possible and being structured in a way that will help them be successful. So for example, this morning I was teaching and I was working with students to prepare for an upcoming, specifically, I was teaching a ceramics course and I gave them a log in which to draw pictures of all of the ceramics they were planning to glaze. I very methodically went over, here are some of your choices and got them excited about it.

Christie Herbert:
And then I paused a moment and said, “So this is also going to help you with your executive functioning.” And I asked them why that was and what would be useful about doing this, how might they use it, what is irritating about it. So in a sense, one thing that might be different about what I’m doing from other colleges is inserting this meta conversation that helps students think about, how am I going to do the best I can here academically and otherwise? How can I think about this? How can I develop my abilities to be as successful as I can?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s because you understand the obstacles they face so well and teachers at other colleges don’t, because they don’t really understand the kinds of different brains that we have. We could go on and on, but this is a tease just to get people more interested in Landmark College, which actually I have an honorary degree from.

Christie Herbert:
Yes, we love it!

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I love Landmark College. It is the best of its kind. And if you want to learn more, please go to lcdistraction.org, that’s lcdistraction.org. Landmark college, the college for students who learn differently. Thank you so much, Professor Christie Herbert.

Christie Herbert:
Thank you. Appreciate it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What is your feeling about the way ADHD is regarded these days? Do you think stigma is subsiding and the strength-based approach is coming to the fore?

Alex Hey:
I think so. I think we’re getting there. I think still it’s a little hard for people to take ADHD seriously. I think sometimes in the media it’s portrayed as a joke and that’s not helpful.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. No, it is portrayed as a joke. People just don’t understand it. If they understood it and didn’t dismiss it, they could really get a lot of help, because a lot of people have it and don’t know it, particularly high achieving people. People who are at the top of their game doing great, they don’t realize that they could do even better, get more done with less effort if they got their ADHD diagnosed and treated. So the high achievers and the women, females, the biggest undiagnosed groups. The people who are in school, they think you have to be failing to get diagnosed. And it’s just not true.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I graduated with high honors from Harvard while doing pre-med and I’ve written 20 books and I’m small potatoes compared to some people who have this condition. Nobel Prize winners with it. It is absolutely, doesn’t have to be associated with failure, although it can be. That’s why it’s so important to get it dealt with. If you deal with it, things can only get better. One of the key elements of dealing with it is what you’re doing, Alex, coaching, resetting ADHD. I love that, Reset ADHD. Well, do you have any final thoughts or comments you’d like to share with the listeners?

Alex Hey:
No. I mean, I do want to echo what you just said about the high achievers. I think one of the reasons I didn’t get diagnosed until I was 20, is I was smart and was getting by in school. I just want to echo that it doesn’t mean you’re stupid or anything like that. And if you think you might have ADHD, but you’re doing okay in school, it’s still a possibility.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely. And you’re living proof of it. So am I. Well, listen, thank you so much for joining me today. I’m very impressed with your story and what you’ve done. Listeners, go to resetadhd.com or find Alex at Reset ADHD on social media. He’s a tremendous resource if you’d like someone to coach you. I can tell just by talking to him over the telephone. He has a very calm, steady way about him, which you want in a coach. And that’s terrific, Alex Hey, but remember, it’s spelled H-E-Y. Thank you so much for joining us, Alex and good luck with Reset ADHD and resetadhd.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay, listeners, please reach out to us with an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected] That’s [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the wonderful Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer and editor is the equally wonderful Scott Persson with two s’s. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for now.

The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

Share:

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *