5,203 Things To Do Instead Of Looking At Your Phone

5,203 Things To Do Instead Of Looking At Your Phone

It’s more important than ever to slow down, look up from whatever device you’re on and take a few moments for yourself. If you’re not sure what to do in those few moments, author Barbara Ann Kipfer has plenty of ideas for you! The list-loving lexicographer and editor of Roget’s International Thesaurus joins Ned for a lighthearted chat about recognizing the simple things in life that bring you joy.

Barbara’s books mentioned in this episode:

5,203 Things To Do Instead Of Looking At Your Phone

14,000 Things To Be Happy About

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Pre-order Now!  Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0.

Check out #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

Do you have a question or guest suggestion? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

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 is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years and so has my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com and brite is intentionally misspelled, B-R-I-T-E Omegabritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College. Another institution that I have warm personal relationship with in Putney Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. No matter pandemic or not, we’re all becoming quite addicted, if not addicted, at least to [inaudible 00:01:04] to our various screens and other electronic devices. And we have a guest today who has a book out titled 5203 Things to Do Instead of Looking at Your Phone. She’s pretty remarkable. This lady has written 80 other books, including 14,000 Things to Be Happy About, that has over 1.2 million copies in print. And I can tell you that’s a staggering number. She has a PhD in linguistics, a PhD in archeology, a PhD in Buddhist studies and a BS in physical education. My gosh. Barbara Ann Kipfer, did I pronounce that right?

Barbara Kipfer:
Yes, you did. I’m a hundred years.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You’re amazing. And it’s an incredible. 80 books and three PhDs and a degree in physical education. Did you have a favorite sport?

Barbara Kipfer:
I wanted to be a football coach. That was the plan. I loved basketball, but I wanted to be a football coach. And then I got to college and my advisor said, “Really? You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, you marched to the beat of your own drum.

Barbara Kipfer:
So I ended up being a sports’ writer, which was great, but I was working in Chicago and that meant working late at night until the wee hours of the morning in a big, big city. So I said, “What else can I do with words?” And I thought about dictionaries because I had read them. That was the kind of book I like to read, it was dictionaries. So I became a lexicographer and that’s what I’ve been doing for 40 years.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow. Well, you don’t write sports anymore?

Barbara Kipfer:
I don’t, but I am very much interested in writing some books about sports in my future life.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’d love to ask you a few questions about that. So you became a lexicographer. I wrote my undergraduate thesis in college about a lexicographer.

Barbara Kipfer:
Are you serious?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m dead serious.

Barbara Kipfer:
Who did you write about?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Samuel Johnson.

Barbara Kipfer:
Oh, there you go.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. The first dictionary of the English language. He also wrote a few other things, and his definition in his dictionary of a lexicographer was a harmless drudge.

Barbara Kipfer:
I know. A harmless drudge.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Exactly. But you’re much more harmful than that, I think.

Barbara Kipfer:
Well, I don’t know. I am a drudge though. You see how much I like to work?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, that’s wonderful.

Barbara Kipfer:
The thought of retirement is-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Don’t do it-

Barbara Kipfer:
My husband will tell you, not something I like to entertain.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Don’t do it until you have to. I’m 70 years old and they’ll have to carry me out, but I’ll do this as long as my brain allows me to.

Barbara Kipfer:
Well, my first thought when this pandemic started was I’m going to lose my job. And by golly, thank goodness I still have it. And it’s just amazing. I thought the company I worked for would start going downhill and they’ve been rising. You can’t predict things.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. No, you sure can’t.

Barbara Kipfer:
Everything you worry about doesn’t happen, everything you don’t worry about that’s what’s going to happen.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So I’m sure all of our listeners are waiting with bated breath to hear some of the 5,200 and three things we can do, instead of-

Barbara Kipfer:
You think we’re going to give some away, huh?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Give some away.

Barbara Kipfer:
Well, here’s the thing. When I first got an iPad, which was a while ago, I’m not an early adopter, but I’m a fairly early adopter. I would leave the thing. It would just be there for emergencies. I never looked at it. The kids and my husband would say, “Why do you have an iPad? You never use it.” Now, the thing is another appendage. I actually probably use it more than my computer. And it’s just addictive. When I finally picked it up and started using it, it became addictive. I think that’s why phones are for a lot of people. My phone stays in my purse and I don’t use it. But the iPad that became my thing, I guess. And if I don’t have something to do reading a book, petting the cat, doing something useful, I pick the thing up for no reason and I just scan and say, “What app can I open and look something up?”

Barbara Kipfer:
It’s not good. I don’t have to explain that to anybody. It’s not good. So I started thinking, I love to make lists. I had told my publisher, Workman Publishing, many times I had ideas for things to do for people, things to do at the beach, things to do at a museum that were a little different, like a little out of the line sort of what you would normally do in those places. And then finally, my editor about two years ago, Mary Ellen ONeill said, “Why don’t we do a book about things to do, but make it about instead of using your phone.” Which was a brilliant idea. I’m going to give her credit because I didn’t come up with that part of it. So this is about what you can do when you’re about to pick up your phone or you’ve been messing with your phone. And then you say, “Wait a minute, how useful is this for my brain?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to my friend, the founder and creator of Omega Brite Wellness, Dr. Carol Locke, about the benefits of taking Omega Brite’s, Omega-3s, CBD and other supplements. Here’s a clip from one of those conversations. Now there are many different products, brands of fish oil. Why is Omega Brite the best?

Dr. Carol Locke:
What I can speak to with Omega Brite is it’s a very different formula than typically what you can get in the store or online. And Omega Brite is clinically proven. We have over 10 studies in major academic centers showing Omega Brite improving mood, helping with bipolar, with depression, with ADHD, with anxiety, with inflammation. So it’s a very proven product for you to gain these benefits. And these benefits, we know, come from Omega Brite. You can’t get that with a typical Omega-3, which has say 180 milligrams of EPA in it. That just isn’t going to provide that benefit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction listeners, you can save 20% on your first order at omegabritewellness.com by using the promo code podcast2020. I want to tell you about Landmark College in beautiful Putney, Vermont. It is the best college in the world for students who learn differently with ADHD, for other learning differences or autism spectrum disorder. It’s fully accredited, not-for-profit offering bachelor’s and associate degrees, bridge programs, online dual enrollment courses for high school students and summer programs. They use a strength-based model at landmark, which is the model that I certainly have developed and subscribed to.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
To give students the skills and strategies they need to achieve their goals in life and really expand upon what they believe they’re capable of doing. It is just a wonderful place. And I can’t say enough good about it. I myself have an honorary degree from landmark college of which I am very proud. Landmark College in Putney, Vermont is the college of choice for students who learn differently. To learn more, go to lcdistraction.org. That’s lcdistraction.org. Okay. Let’s get back to today’s topic. Can you give us some of the 5,203 things I, or anyone else can do instead of looking at our phones?

Barbara Kipfer:
My idea for it is you open the book to just any place, just randomly open up because it is a random list. So I’m going to do that now. I’m going to open it and it says, play a game of paintball. Okay. Roll around in your office chair, dance in the moonlight, they could bake a dessert, interview a person you admire. I didn’t make that up, it’s really in the book. Feed a squirrel carefully, excuse a blunder, frame something you painted, invite friends for a hike, make a salad, create a space to do yoga, open a drawer and sort the contents. There are a quite a few in here. Little things to do around your house that you may have put off, forgotten about, or really need a reminder of. So here’s one, picnic on the fire escape, map out your ideal road trip, flip or turn the mattress, open stuck windows, donate your old books, balance on tiptoe, play in autumn leaves and eat all your spinach.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
These are great. And how did you come up with them? Did you just sort of sit down and let your mind wander?

Barbara Kipfer:
I did that. And what I did was because I’ve written a lot of list books. I kind of just page through those to trigger some ideas, because it’s really easy to think of things to do with your devices. So I figured you got to get back into the mindset of thinking about what things involve no devices. So I use my other list books that seemed like a fair enough way of going about it. I looked at some books that were written for kids. Most of them were pretty dated about things kids could do and things kids could do outside in the backyard and things like that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Sounds fun.

Barbara Kipfer:
It wasn’t easy getting to this number. I’m pretty good at making lists and I’m pretty good at making lists where I don’t repeat myself, but I needed a lot of help double checking the manuscript afterwards to make sure I did not just repeat something like they’re slightly different wording.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You came up with 5,203, but that’s nothing compared to your book about 14,000 things to be happy about.

Barbara Kipfer:
Yeah. But it’s nothing compared to my database, which is on my website, which has 176,000 things to be happy about.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
176,000 things to be happy-

Barbara Kipfer:
176,000. And I can tell you, there’s no repeats in that either.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How in the world?

Barbara Kipfer:
I’ve been doing that since I was in sixth grade. So now we’re talking about 50 plus years that I’ve been writing down things to be happy about. Somebody who interviewed me said, you must have done three or four a day during this whole time. And I do, I just still find so many things to write down that are things to be happy about.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Can you name off the top of your head some of your favorite things to be happy about?

Barbara Kipfer:
Oh yeah. Blueberry muffins, that was my first entry. I love things just simple stuff like the feeling of receiving a genuine compliment. That is something we remember for a long time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, that’s a very good one.

Barbara Kipfer:
Study hall in the school, hot tomato soup. I have a lot of food entries. Somebody asked me once, “Why are there so many food entries?” And I said, “It’s better to read about food than eat all of it.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. That’s really cool.

Barbara Kipfer:
And most of the stuff that I write into the database, which… When the book was published, I said to Peter Workman, I said, “Now, what do I do?” And he says, “What do you mean now what do you do? Don’t stop. You’ve done it up to now. Just keep writing down what you like.” And that was very inspirational to hear. A book being published doesn’t mean you should stop doing, what’s your favorite thing to do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely not, Barbara.

Barbara Kipfer:
So I read things that authors write that are so poignant. Here’s a phrase, the closing eyelids of the day. I read that somewhere and it’s like poetry.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes. And you have the soul of a poet, but the mind of a lexicographer.

Barbara Kipfer:
Right. Well, remember dictionaries are actually lists to. So dictionary [inaudible 00:16:08]. I’m the editor of the Roget’s International Thesaurus, that is one big list there.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow. You’re a regular genius, Barbara. I’m amazed.

Barbara Kipfer:
No, I just work hard. No genius.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, you have a lot to work with. You’ve got massive talent. Well, listen, we’re out of time, but what a great read for anyone who wants to just keep something by your bed, 14,000 Things to Be Happy About and 5,203 Things to Do Instead of Looking at Your Phone by Barbara Ann Kipfer, what a wonderful kind of book to have right next to you. And I can tell every single one of those things is something that all of us could benefit from doing instead of looking at our phone. Thank you so much for joining me and joining my wonderful audience, who I’m sure-

Barbara Kipfer:
Thanks for the invitation. I enjoy your work very much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you so much. Thank you so much, Barbara. Well, that’s it for today. Thanks so much to Barbara for joining me. Her book, 5,203 Things to Do Instead of Looking at Your Phone is available online wherever you buy your books, or you can click the link in our show notes, and please continue to reach out to us at [email protected] That’s [email protected] and follow Distraction on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We’re trying to really beef up our social media presence. And please remember to tell your friends about this podcast. We want to keep growing our wonderful Distraction community. And while I’m praising social media, I should also say you should get Barbara’s book. So you won’t just stay glued to social media.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. The podcast is recorded and mixed by the super talented Scott Persson, a genius in his own right and produced by the equally talented genius laden, Sarah Guertin. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for now. The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at Omega Brite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at Omega Brite and that’s B-R-I-T-Ewellness.com.

Share:
The Benefits of Using a Body Double with How to ADHD and Landmark College

The Benefits of Using a Body Double with How to ADHD and Landmark College

Getting homework and other tasks done remains difficult for many of us as we continue to study and work from home. Jessica McCabe of How to ADHD explains how using a “body double” can help hold you accountable. Jessica talks about how she uses this simple technique to help stay on track in this special episode sponsored by Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently!

Check out Jessica’s ADHD videos at HowtoADHD.

Share your thoughts with us! How have you been adapting to learning from home?  Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected]

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

Do you know a student with ADHD or other learning difference looking for a higher education experience? Tell them about our amazing sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. Learn more HERE.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you so much as always for joining me. We love our audience and we wish you’d tell our friends about us because we love reaching out to you and sharing the wonderful information as well as good cheer we hope that we do share. This episode is made possible by our wonderful sponsor Landmark College, the college of choice for students like me who learn differently. Joining me today once again is our favorite guests, the lovely, talented, amazingly triumphant in so many ways, Jessica McCabe, from How to ADHD. Jessica, I know you have an idea of what you’d like to talk about. You always do. So I don’t want to get in your way. Let me stand aside and welcome the so very talented Jessica McCabe.

Jessica McCabe:
Thank you for that incredible introduction. Yeah. I wanted to talk about body doubling today, because a lot of us are learning from home and things are even more challenging than maybe they usually are. There’s some great, great advantages to learning from home, or if you’re learning on campus, being by yourself when you’re studying or trying to take a course. Online courses can be great. They can also be really difficult because we don’t get enough accountability. We don’t have anybody else around. We’re not getting the cues that it’s time to work, that it’s time to focus the same way that you do, say you’re in the library and everybody else around you is studying. So you’re like, okay, cool. There’s that social pressure to study that we might not be getting when we’re at home. At home, we’re maybe getting pressured by things like the X-Box that keeps taunting us and being like, do you really need to study?

Jessica McCabe:
So one of the best things you can do is to use a body double. A body double in Hollywood means something very differently than what I’m talking about. In Hollywood, a body double means somebody who looks like you, who looks like the actor who fills in for the actor, maybe does some stunts or whatever, but is there so the actor doesn’t have to do the thing. If we have a body double when we have ADHD, we still have to do the thing. We just have somebody else in the room with us is really what it is. It’s somebody to sit quietly with you while you work. Maybe they are studying the same thing as you, maybe they’re studying something else, maybe they’re doing a completely different task, but the idea is you sit in silence and you have somebody else present.

Jessica McCabe:
And for those with ADHD, that can be really important because it can be so hard for us to stay focused and on task. The attention regulation is a part of our condition and our brains go so quickly that if we see a cue to do something else, we’re quick off and running, doing that thing before we realize, wait, I was supposed to be working on something else. So a body double can help with that. It can also help give us some emotional support to be honest, because there’s some tasks that we build this, as Brendan Mahan from ADHD Essentials puts it, a wall of awful around. We have struggled to do this seemingly simple tasks so many times, and we’ve failed at it in the past that there’s a lot of emotion that we have to get past to be able to start doing the thing.

Jessica McCabe:
And so just having somebody else there can be this emotional support as well in that way. It’s like that for me with paying bills. Opening and paying bills is one of the most difficult things in the world. It’s not that it’s hard technically. I do a lot more challenging things with a lot more ease because I just don’t have that same level of dread, of opening thing. And it’s a boring task and I’ve failed at it before and I’ve ruined my credit and there’s just so much around it that just having my boyfriend sit next to me while I do it is enough for me to be able to tackle that task. Otherwise, I’m going to put it off for forever and ruin my credit again. So knowing what tasks you could use a little extra support for, one thing to ask yourself is would this activity be easier if somebody else was in the room?

Jessica McCabe:
Another great thing about doing it is if you set it up ahead of time, it’s like an appointment. We tend to respect appointments more than we do saying, “Oh yeah, I’m going to totally play guitar today.” We’re not going to respect that as much as we have a performance day, somebody is expecting us to show up and perform for them. Body doubling is something in the middle, where somebody else will notice if you don’t do the thing and you’ve blocked out time for it. The way to find a body double, if this is something that sounds like it might be helpful for you, is there’s several ways. You can ask a friend and it can feel weird to be like, “Hey, can you sit with me while I do this thing so that I do this thing?” But you’d be surprised at how many people it benefits, how many other people are struggling with it, too. Because difficulty focusing isn’t unique to ADHD. It’s a part of a lot of other conditions as well, including sometimes the human condition.

Jessica McCabe:
So it’s beneficial, not just to you, but to the other person too, because you can be like, “Hey, is there something you’ve been putting off that you need help with making sure that you do? Cool. I’m struggling to do this. Let’s sit together and just put ourselves on mute and work in silence.” You can do it over Zoom. You don’t have to be in the same room. You can do it online. There’s also a website if you don’t know anybody that might be willing to do this with you. There’s a website called focusmate.com, where you can set it up. I think you get three sessions a week for free. And you can say, “Hey, at this time I need a partner. I’m going to be working on this. They’re going to be working on this.” And then you just sit in silence and work together.

Jessica McCabe:
If it is a friend, I do recommend having a distinction between when it’s time to talk and hang out and when it’s time to work. The Pomodoro Technique can work great for this where you set a timer for 25 minutes and then when the 25 minutes is up, cool, now we get to talk for five minutes. But then when that 25 minutes starts again, now we’re doing our work. Because otherwise, you’d set up a body doubling session and then you just end up talking to your friend for the entire hour. And there are certain people that it might be hard to do that with. If it’s somebody you haven’t seen in a long time, it might really hard to stop and study when what you actually really want to do is just catch up on everything that you’ve missed.

Jessica McCabe:
So it’s good to know yourself, know what tasks a body double might be helpful for, know who does and doesn’t work for you as a body double. And if you are being a body double for somebody else, recognize it’s not your job to make sure that they get their work done. You’re not there to lay down the law or anything. You don’t have to keep nagging them to do it. That’s their job. You’re just there to provide a gentle nonjudgmental presence, really. That’s pretty much all I got. Do you have any questions?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No. It’s such a great idea. Don’t you think a dog can also function as a body double?

Jessica McCabe:
Yeah. In a way they can, which is really interesting. I read once that sometimes they actually bring dogs in to classrooms to help kids with dyslexia who are struggling to read, who maybe feel self-conscious about doing it in front of other people. They’ll have them sit and read to a dog to get the practice, because that dog is not going to be judge-y. That dog is going to be absolutely welcoming. And my dog actually does serve as a body double for me while I’m at work. Part of what I’ve trained her to do is when I’m at work, she comes and hangs out with me and she sleeps or whatever, but I see her sleeping and I know it’s time to work, because at some point she’s going to wake up and need to be taken for a walk. At some point, she’s going to want to play with me. And so while she’s sleeping is a great time for me to sit down and focus.

Jessica McCabe:
So yeah, dogs can make a great body double. And sometimes people who don’t even know they’re being a body double can be a body double. For me, a great body double that I don’t need silence for is if I need to clean up, if I need to clean my room or something, if I’m on the phone with somebody, I’ll start cleaning my room, because usually it’s a horribly boring tasks that I don’t want to do for longer than three minutes. But if I’m talking to somebody, I’m distracted enough that I can clean my room without getting terribly bored. And so they end up keeping me company while I’m doing something that otherwise I wouldn’t do. And so you can do that even if they don’t know they’re being a body double as well.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Music can serve that function. Plants can serve that function. There are ways that you can feel input that allow you to do tedious tasks.

Jessica McCabe:
Yeah, that’s true. I think the key with body doubling is basically just knowing that someone will notice for the most part, generally speaking, someone will notice if you’re not doing the thing. Somebody knows what you’re supposed to be working on. And when you see that person, it acts as a reminder of what you’re supposed to be working on. And so you can set up other cues for yourself, too. When I put on this certain music playlist, I know it’s time to study. And if you get distracted and then you realize what’s playing, that’s a cue, that’s a reminder, oh right, I’m supposed to be studying. The same way that a body double in person can, you look at them and you’re like, all right, I’m supposed to be working on this thing. So there’s a lot of different ways to set up cues, but body doubles can be a great way to give yourself the cues that it’s time to work on what you’re supposed to be working, as well as that sense of positive feedback, I guess.

Jessica McCabe:
Even if they don’t say anything, you know that they’re seeing that you’re working. And so then that feels good. And you can set up at the beginning of the session, “Hey, this is what I’m going to be working on. This is what you’re going to be working on.” And at the end of the session, you can say, “This is what I got done.” So then you get a little bit of, I get to feel good. Somebody got to notice that I did the thing.” And that could be [crosstalk 00:09:20].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I think it’s also, Jessica, the force of what I call the other vitamin C, vitamin connect. And I think just having a human in the room fortifies you, strengthens you, reduces your fear, makes you feel more in control. Particularly these days we’re living with such disconnection. When you have a person there, aside from the fact that they’re watching or what have you, I think just the force field that emanates between two people, we know, it’s a scientific fact how powerful it is. And when there’s no one there, social isolation, most people don’t realize this, but social isolation is as dangerous for your health as cigarette smoking.

Jessica McCabe:
Yeah. It can be a great way to give yourself a little connection as well. One other thing that I do with body doubling is I have trouble stopping work on time. And so my boyfriend and I started doing this thing where one of us picks the other one up from work, quote, unquote, we’re in different rooms, but we’ll pick each other up and then we’ll walk around and spend time together.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s great.

Jessica McCabe:
And so we’re getting body doubling, because we’re both making sure that we get exercise, we’re making sure that we get outside. We’re making sure that we stop working. And that peer pressure and that connection that we get is really wonderful, because it makes it so that we get the things done that we want to get done. We get the connection we need, we get the walk, we get the exercise, which can be so important for ADHD. And it makes it easier. It really does. It just makes it easier to have somebody else be there with you when you do it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, as always, you are a treasure trove of wisdom and gems, always put in such a charming and pleasant way. That’s it for us today. You can learn more about Jessica McCabe at her website, Howtoadhd.com. And if you would like to support her work, she has this wonderful way that you can do it. You go to the website called Patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N, like a sponsor. Patreon.com/howtoadhd. Go to Patreon.com/howtoadhd. That’s a wonderful way to support Jessica’s work and other people who need that kind of help.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And if you’re someone who learns differently like me, like Jessica, please check out our sponsor [email protected] That’s [email protected], Landmark College in beautiful Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And please remember, reach out to us with your questions and comments. We thrive on them. We need them, by sending an email or a voice memo to [email protected] That’s [email protected] And remember to subscribe to Distraction wherever you get your podcasts. And if you’re on Apple Podcasts, please leave us a review. We love getting reviews. That really helps the show.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m also now on Tik Tok. You can go to Tik Tok and find me with the username @Drhallowell. That’s @d-r, no period. Just @d-r-h-a-l-l-o-w-e-l-l. Please let me know what you think.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the extremely talented Scott Person. And our producer is the equally extremely talented Sarah Gurton. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell thanking you all and Jessica McCabe. Look forward to seeing you next time. Bye for now.

Share:
Ned’s Attitude of Gratitude

Ned’s Attitude of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our listeners! We are so thankful for our Distraction community and our neurodiverse brains. Ned shares a special message of thanks in this week’s mini podcast.

Check out #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Pre-order Now!  Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0.

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

Do you have a question or guest suggestion? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

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 is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their omega-3 supplements for many years and so as my wife and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com. And bright is intentionally misspelled, B R I T E, omegabritewellness.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College. Another institution that I have warm, personal relationship with in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode on the theme of Thanksgiving. No, I’m not going to give you a pious lecture on all the reasons there are to be grateful, but I am going to invite you to enter into an attitude of gratitude. How’s that an attitude of gratitude, but in a very genuine heartfelt way.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now, I think I’ve told this story before on the podcast, but I’m going to tell it again because it demonstrates most vividly a genuine heartfelt expression of gratitude. And this came from a dear friend of mines son when he was six years old and he was sitting at the family Thanksgiving dinner. This was obviously way before we had pandemics. And 20 or so of his aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, mothers, fathers, et cetera, were sitting around the table and some had card tables to the side. There was the big extended Thanksgiving audience. No holiday brings together for a sit down dinner, anything quite like it. And they were doing a family tradition, which was to go around the table, each person standing up and stating one part of their life, something in their life that they’re grateful for. And so grandma begins by, “I’m grateful for all my grandchildren are here, smiling at me.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And granddad says, “Oh, I’m grateful for grandma and all the great years you’ve given me.” And one of the teenagers says, “I’m grateful for the football games we’re going to get to watch.” And until it comes to this little boy about halfway through the proceeds and this little boy was not shy and he stood up and he said to the assembled gathering, “I am grateful for my penis.” And he sat down.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I think that is a perfect demonstration of heartfelt, genuine, sincere gratitude. So I would invite you all to think to yourselves, in equally a heartfelt, sincere way what are you truly grateful for? What are you really glad to have in your life? And I’m not going to ask you to state it because I can’t see you and couldn’t hear you anyway. But if you want to say it out loud, by all means, say it out loud, say it loud and say it clear to yourself or to whoever you’re sitting with and just let yourself wonder what are you really grateful for?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now it doesn’t have to be anything the least bit noble. For example, I’m really grateful that the Patriots played such a great game last night and came out of their funk. Some of you know, I’m a long time Patriot season ticket holder, and this is not been a good year for us. We lost Tom Brady and we went into a swoon, but last night we rose up in the middle of a monsoon and struck down one of the best teams in the league. The Baltimore Ravens.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m very grateful for that. Genuinely sincerely grateful for that. Perhaps not as grateful as that little boy was, but I’m very grateful for that. So think to yourself, I’m sure we’re all grateful on the good news about vaccines. Looks like there might be vaccines on the near horizon. I’m sure you’re all very grateful for your best friend or a loved one, your dog. These are things that I’m very grateful for, but I just want to allow a few seconds for you to daydream and wonder to yourself, what am I really grateful for? So I’m going to be quiet for 10 seconds and let your mind wander.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I hope you settled on a few items. Places, memories, hopes that you’re grateful for. I’m grateful for you. I’m grateful for our audience. I’m grateful for the time we’ve spent together over these years. I’m truly grateful, truly, truly, truly grateful.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And I’m wishing you all a very happy, happy Thanksgiving. Even if you can’t be as very few of us can be with all the people you love and would like to be with, you can bring them all to mind. You can even bring them to vision perhaps via Zoom, but they are with you mentally, if not physically.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I wish you the happiest and the most gratitude filled an attitude of gratitude of Thanksgiving holidays.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, that’s it for our mini today. Thanks to our sponsor. OmegaBright Wellness, save 20% on your first order at omegabritewellness.com with the promo code podcast 2020. Please reach out to us with your questions and comments by emailing [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s [email protected] And if you happen to be on TikTok, my new favorite platform, you can find me there with the username @drhallowell. I’ve posted a whole bunch of videos about common ADHD issues, and they’re only 60 seconds a piece.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Take a look and let me know what you think. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the estimable Scott Persson. And our producer is the very talented Sarah Guertin.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell until next time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at OmegaBrite and that’s B R I T E wellness.com

Share:
How Estrogen and Brain Shame Affect Women with ADHD

How Estrogen and Brain Shame Affect Women with ADHD

Psychotherapist Sari Solden is a pioneer in the field of women with ADHD. Her new workbook with co-author Michelle Frank PsyD, A Radical Guide for Women with ADHD, shows women how to cultivate their strengths and learn to communicate with confidence and clarity. She and Ned talk about how hormones affect a woman’s executive function, why “brain shame” holds women back,  and why it’s never too late to be diagnosed with ADHD.

You can find Sari’s blog at ADHD Radical Guide.

To purchase one of Sari’s books go to SariSolden.com.

Check out all of the #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Pre-order Now!  Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0.

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

Do you have a question or guest suggestion? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

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 is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years, and so has my wife and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast, I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com, and bright is intentionally misspelled B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have warm personal relationship with in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to Distraction, I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. We have a wonderful guest today, one of my oldest friends, oldest in the sense of we’ve known each other a long time, not that she is old. But we go back, we were just talking before we started, to 1993 at a little conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she lives, about the ADHD and opening it up to adults because back then people still thought of it as just a condition that children have.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And she is a true pioneer. Her name is Sari Solden, S-A-R-I S-O-L-D-E-N. And she’s just this wonderful, brilliant, kind, loving, smart, experienced person. And she really helped bring the whole conversation about ADD/ADHD to a female audience, because as I said, at the beginning, it was pretty much consigned to little boys, hyperactive little boys, and it took a long time to expand it. Well, the expansion happened in large part because of Sari Solden. She’s been a psychotherapist for over 30 years and is the best-selling author of three books, Women With Attention Deficit Disorder, that was the groundbreaking first one. And then, Journeys Through ADDulthood, and the words ADDulthood. And her most recent book, a wonderful book called, A Radical Guide For Women With ADHD, really, really good.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So for anyone who wants to understand ADHD and particularly for women or the men who would like to understand them better, get one of Sari’s books or even better get all three of them. She has a private practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she and her team specialize in providing psychotherapy and consultation to women and men with ADHD. So thank you so much my wonderful friend Sari Solden for being here with us on Distraction.

Sari Solden:
No, it’s so exciting to talk to you again, Ned. It’s been a long time, I love talking to you and your audience.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Just give us the headlines, what’s special about women and their lives with ADHD?

Sari Solden:
Well, there’s lots of things special about women and women with ADHD. It’s difficult to get diagnosed, first of all, even now as a woman with ADHD, because often, like you said, we don’t meet that stereotype of a hyperactive, troublemaking little boy. And so that causes a lot of difficulty, not just with the diagnosis, but throughout life because your self image, because you didn’t know was sort of conflated with your unique brain wiring. So early on often little girls are the opposite of what you would think, they’re people-pleasing, they’re internalizing their difficulties, they’re often doing well in school, but they’re masked by support they’re often getting at home or structure or being smart. And often their diagnosis is delayed until they hit a wall either when they go to college or when they get married or when they try to do other things that other people at their own ability level can do, and then they’re often diagnosis depressed or anxious. So it takes many years often to untangle these things, and in the meantime, women are left feeling so confused and then with a distorted kind of sense of self about themselves.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What age do you see people getting diagnosed, women or girls?

Sari Solden:
Well, if you’re lucky, and you’re a girl and you’re acting out and you’ve come to someone’s attention you can get diagnosed. But often I have people from their early 20s all the way through, my oldest client, I think I diagnosed, actually [inaudible 00:04:49] at 80 and she died in peace at 85 and after knowing what she had struggled with her whole life. So it really runs the whole gamut. It just depends often if they have kids who are getting diagnosed, they find that out, or there’s so much more resources now, but really it runs the gamut. I would say, middle, perimenopause or right around there. A lot of women start to lose any kind of compensations they might’ve developed because of these extra difficulties and they start to seek some help.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, my daughter was one of the lucky ones. She got diagnosed in the third grade and she’s now 31 and is a marketing executive for the National Football League. [crosstalk 00:05:28].

Sari Solden:
Yeah, no, I heard you say that. And yeah, I mean, it’s funny to say lucky, but it is lucky because you can identify it, you get support, you know what’s going on in your own brain, even though you might be having difficulties. But you can imagine things smart and having all these amazing ideas and all these amazing characteristics and you can’t figure out why you can’t manifest it, why you’re so disorganized, overwhelmed, even though maybe you’re successful in other areas so nobody can understand you or believe you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I recently voyaged into the world of TikTok and it’s amazing, someone told me I should do it a month ago. And so I’ve posted, I think I’ve got about 15 or 16 60 seconds of posts on ADHD in TikTok. And much to my amazement, they’ve so far received about 4 million views. There’s a tremendous appetite for, I think that format the 60 second soundbite. You can say a lot in 60 seconds, but one of the questions that keeps coming up on TikTok is, is there a link between estrogen hormones and ADHD? And you’re the one to ask, so what about that?

Sari Solden:
Well, I’m not the one to ask, but I do know enough about it to know that whenever you’re hitting a particular hormonal challenge in your life, it’s going to affect your estrogen and your ADHD. So particularly around perimenopause, when you start to sort of withdraw from your estrogen, it’s going to also affect the dopamine, and so that’s why people start to have more difficulties. Premenstrually, at puberty, anytime you’re starting to lower the estrogen you’re also affecting the dopamine which is involved with these executive functions and the ADHD. So I’m not [crosstalk 00:07:23].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So would it make sense for a woman who is perimenopausal to combine estrogen supplementation with stimulant medication?

Sari Solden:
Well, I would definitely say to try to involve both doctors, your psychopharmacologist and your gynecologist, good luck, but hopefully they could talk. There’s more controversy about hormone replacement therapy these days, so not always a good idea for everybody, but often to increase your, or change your medication, you’d be the expert on that. But to up your dose even before periods, people start maybe needing to increase, at least if you know. The main thing, Ned, I think is, besides fooling around with the medication, which you definitely need to probably tweak around those times, is to know what’s going on, to know that this is happening, to know that you’re not going crazy, you’re not necessarily developing Alzheimer’s, which is what most women previously undiagnosed with ADHD or even with ADHD started to fear because their memories gets so much even more impacted around this time. So the fear takes over, and so you can adjust your life in many ways to make it work better for you. If you know you’re going into a period like this and you know what’s happening.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative). So talk it over with your gynecologist or someone who understands hormones and with your ADD doctor.

Sari Solden:
Yeah, it’d be nice if everybody understood it and talked to each other, but sometimes you have to push a little bit and try to advocate for yourself, which is always hard for women. And that’s really what I’m about now with women, it’s not just about their ADHD now, I think what’s different in my new book is we’re just talking about a woman now who has brain wiring differences and difficulties, but certainly that’s not the only thing that’s defining her or by which she needs to measure her own worth. And so learning to speak, learning to move a little bit more into the center of your own life, learning to use your voice, learning to have power in the world, and in a relationship. So I guess our emphasis more now is for women not just to see themselves only through this lens, but to see themselves as all women need to, as powerful people in the world learning to live a fulfilling life.

Sari Solden:
And the ADHD is one track, it’s chronic, it’s your brain, it needs support, and medication, strategies, all that. And that’s chronic, but that has to be untangled from you as a woman, as a whole human being who has strengths and gifts and needs to move into a life. And the problem with women is that they don’t do that, they come in all wanting to be fixed, not wanting to wait until their ADHD has gone or until they’re perfectly organized. So I guess what I’ve been identified with, most of my writing, has been these gender role expectations that women, all women are subject to, but women with ADHD have internalize these expectations and idealized them. And so this idea that they carry inside of them about what a woman should be able to do, or why can’t they be like other women, these messages from the media, from growing up, from everything around them that they can’t do well that stays with them and really wounds them and haunts them.

Sari Solden:
And that’s a big part of the work is not just managing their brain, but really digging in much deeper. I guess, I think of it as healing more than curing, I think that’s a better way of thinking about ADHD because restoring a person, so this feeling of wholeness about themselves and viewing themselves much more accurately, not just viewing the difficulties. Or just the strengths, just as a whole person with who are you, your enduring traits, your resilience, your humor, creativity. I know you believe all this too, Ned, but just moving forward in your life and not waiting to get over… Like you say, you just have to be as organized as you need to be to move, but for a purpose to move towards something compelling, not just to get over, not to be perfectly organized.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, exactly, exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to my friend, the founder and creator of OmegaBrite Wellness, Dr. Carol Locke, about the benefits of taking OmegaBrite’s Omega-3’s CBD, and other supplements. Here’s a clip from one of those conversations.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Could you tell us a little bit about the study, recent study that showed OmegaBrite reduced inflammation and anxiety in medical students?

Dr. Carol Locke:
Yeah, this was a great study, it was done at Ohio State and it was done on medical students, 68 medical students without any medical problems done over 12 weeks. And it was a blinded study, meaning the researchers and the students did not know if they were taking the OmegaBrite or the dummy capsules. And what it found was a 20% reduction in anxiety and a 14% reduction in the inflammatory cytokine IL-6. So that you had a very powerful benefit from the OmegaBrite shown in this study, and that’s something that people could use right now in their life, reducing their anxiety and stress and inflammation.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction listeners, you can save 20% on your first order at omegabritewellness.com by using the promo code, podcast 2020. All right, let’s get back to today’s topic. Can you talk a little bit about brain shame and the patterns you’ve identified in the neuro diverse women you work with?

Sari Solden:
Oh, you must have read my essay. I wrote an essay called Brain Shame-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, exactly, exactly.

Sari Solden:
I should have reviewed that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Imagine that, I would actually read something you wrote Sari.

Sari Solden:
Oh my God, I would have reviewed it had I known. Well, I talk about it as similar to body shame, and it’s important now even as we all get older. My mother when she was 85 said, “Oh, I feel so ashamed, I can’t remember something.” So we feel so ashamed about our brains no matter what age we are, and especially women with ADHD, they compare themselves. So it’s [inaudible 00:13:56] if you went to a doctor and they said, “Okay, well this week we’re going to measure success on how much weight you lose this week.” Versus, “Okay, how can you feel well and have wellness and feel good about yourself?” And instead of measuring your worth by becoming a size three, it’s the same thing with brain shame, women compare themselves in very toxic ways to other women who can multitask, and go to the gym, and take care of the kids, and work and take care of the house.

Sari Solden:
So executive function for women is so central to their functioning, they believe still. And it’s amazing, the women I work with in their 20s, you would think would feel differently. But in therapy, when push comes to shove, still this idea that they wouldn’t be able to cook, or clean, or do all these things well enough, or entertain, or do all the birthday cards and niceties of life, all the stuff women still feel is their job even now, and still have no way of communicating and measuring their worth and letting themselves be in one down positions in relationships because of this. Even if their spouses don’t blame them so much, they carry this with them and feel like they’re not equally valuable in a relationship, and that’s part of the big work in therapy [crosstalk 00:15:19].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And how do you help them with that, Sari?

Sari Solden:
I mean, I think there’s no substitute, first of all, is a therapist for really seeing your clients, seeing them, knowing them, listening to them. And it takes a long time sometimes depending on how much they devalue themselves. But when you’re working with a counselor or a coach or anybody who can really see you or other group members who have some of the same issues as you do, eventually those women start to internalize themselves or trust you enough to start taking small risks, moving slowly toward the edge of their comfort zone to start having new positive experiences of themselves, starting to do something new, go to a read at a poetry reading. I have one client, she joined the talent show at the latest conference after I encouraged her. Doing something new and getting other people to see you and value you for a larger picture than you’re ADD difficulties.

Sari Solden:
So that’s the hard part getting to a place where somebody through your view of them can start to see themselves in a new way. And once that happens… Instead of just starting out changing, berating yourself, instead of just accepting yourself, we always say in our book, only dogs and furniture need fixing. So getting people over that idea that they have to be fixed. You have to support your brain and get help for it, but for the purpose of you moving into new areas of success and you have to find people who can value you and see you. And sometimes you have to start out in ADD support groups with that and then move into other people who do other things that you do, creative people, adventurous people, other people who are like you, instead of always feeling like you’re different.

Sari Solden:
Women with ADHD, the biggest problem they have is not their ADHD it’s their hiding, and pretending, and moving away from people, and avoiding things and being inauthentic. And so through the book, especially our workbook, we try to help people develop a healthier relationship to their brain and to enter themselves and to understand what they learned about being different, how difficult the messages they got about that. These days to learn to be different, what else do we need in this world except to accept our differences, to celebrate differences, to unite with people who have other differences and to embrace all that. And this is a perfect time in the world for that message.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, yeah, really. And when you say a perfect time, because why?

Sari Solden:
Because of the world where everybody’s moving away from each other and there’s so much anger and hostility and differences. And we have to start to work toward accepting ourselves being a role models for… Sometimes people say, “How can I be a good parent, a good mother to my children when I have these problems?” And I always say, “Well, you can be a role model to your children by teaching that we all can accept ourselves with differences and that we accept other people who are different from us.” So whether it’s the racial differences in the world or the political differences, we’re not going to get anywhere until we all start to model that we can embrace our own differences and welcome other people’s differences and respect each other’s differences.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, no, so true. Where you and I work is in the realm of mental differences and brain differences, the sort of invisible differences, but they’re very real.

Sari Solden:
They’re very real, and neurodiversity is just a part of diversity in general. And that’s why I like to call it neurodiverse now instead of ADHD, which is such a stereotype now, and nobody understands it. But when you just say, “Hey, we’re all different. We’re all similar in a lot of ways, and we’re all different.” Everybody has differences, ADHD or other stuff, and you have to know your particular difference and work on it, but that’s not all of who you are.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative). I want to tell you about Landmark College in beautiful Putney, Vermont. It is the best college in the world for students who learn differently with ADHD, for other learning differences or autism spectrum disorder. It’s fully accredited, not for profit, offering bachelors and associate degrees, bridge programs, online dual enrollment courses for high school students and summer programs. They use a strength-based model at Landmark, which as you know, is the model that I certainly have developed and subscribed to, to give students the skills and strategies they need to achieve their goals in life and really expand upon what they believe they’re capable of doing. It is just a wonderful, wonderful place, and I can’t say enough good about it. I, myself have an honorary degree from Landmark College of which I am very proud. Landmark College in Putney, Vermont is the college of choice for students who learn differently. To learn more go to lcdistraction.org, that’s lcdistraction.org. Okay, let’s get back to today’s topic. Looking forward, what do you see coming down the road in the world of ADHD?

Sari Solden:
Well, I think this broadening out to neurodiversity is important, also instead of just… I think it’s just become meaningless, it’s become stereotyped, it’s become people don’t take it seriously. And so really advocating for a broadening out of that. But I’m working now with a lot of professional women, neurodiverse professionals. Actually, I’m getting a lot of satisfaction out of… I did a long course on changing the conversation from pathology to humanism so that I’m trying to teach people across domains, whether they’re therapists, they’re doctors, they’re organizers, they’re coaches, podcasters, support group leaders like to look at people over a pathology or viewing someone as who they are self over symptoms. And we had a movement from character to the medicalization for awhile, but now we have to go back to humanism.

Sari Solden:
And I think, if we understand that you don’t treat people with ADHD as just a different breed of person. A lot of people just see ADHD people in therapy as, “Okay, that’s an academic problem. Or, “Get them over, get them accountable, whatever they want to say.” Versus saying, “Okay, here’s a human being and they have these particular difficulties, and this is who they are as a person. And this is their whole life.” So that’s part of what I’m trying to do is I change the conversation around people who have neurodiverse brains from something that they just have to get over, work on tips, tools, strategies versus, “Hey, this is who you are as a human being, work on this but you need to figure out…” You have a right and feel entitled, for women to feel entitled, to move to a more fulfilling life and fulfilling relationships because a lot of times women don’t feel like they’re entitled to that if they still have clutter.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sari Solden:
[crosstalk 00:00:22:38].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I tell people I don’t treat disabilities, I help people unwrap their gifts.

Sari Solden:
Exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Often it begins by convincing them that they have gifts to unwrap, the shame is so great that they-

Sari Solden:
Their shame was so great.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… yeah.

Sari Solden:
And yeah, and so the shame becomes my desk is messy, to I’m a mess, to I’m bad. I mean, the shame is very deeply in there. And so if you see their gifts then they’re able to believe that eventually, but no one is usually seeing their gifts. So sometimes what we do as clinicians with people like that is just see them, and I mean that’s a big gift in itself, so that helps. That helps.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, absolutely it is. Absolutely, it is. Well, I could talk to you for a long time but our podcasts have an audience that can’t pay attention all that long. So we should wrap up-

Sari Solden:
Correct, exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
To learn more about Sari or to purchase one of her books, go to Sari, S-A-R-I, Solden, S-O-L-D-E-N, sarisolden.com. And you can find her blog at adhdradicalguide.com.

Sari Solden:
Thank you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s so nice to have you and go out and buy her books. The most recent one is The Radical Guide, and then the first one was Women With Attention Deficit Disorder, that was really such a groundbreaker. You can find Distraction-

Sari Solden:
Yeah, and you can find [crosstalk 00:24:07]… I just want to say that these groups I’m talking about, these mentoring professional groups for professionals who have ADHD, that’s on my website too, that I’m really excited about.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh, good. So they can find groups-

Sari Solden:
For professionals.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… mentoring professionals. Wonderful. Oh, that’s wonderful. And that’s at sarisolden.com?

Sari Solden:
Yeah, uh-huh (affirmative).

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a great thing.

Sari Solden:
Yeah, it’s exciting.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So for anybody professional, who wants to-

Sari Solden:
Who are neurodiverse, neurodiverse professionals who work in the field, I’m really excited about that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, well see, I think we’re all neurodiverse so you could invite everybody.

Sari Solden:
You’re all welcome to come along, Ned. Stop by.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’d love to join.

Sari Solden:
All right, go ahead and I’ll be quiet.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, no, you can interrupt, this is the boring part. I read the close to the show but I have to do it.

Sari Solden:
Thank you for inviting me, okay.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, no, no, no, I’ll stay on and I’ll say goodbye. You can find Distraction on all the social channels and you can find me on TikTok. My username is @Dr.Hallowell. I’ve uploaded a bunch of ADHD related videos, 60 seconds a piece, and I’d really love to hear what you think. Send me a DM or email, [email protected], that’s [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the extraordinarily talented Sarah Guertin and our audio engineer and editor is the equally extraordinarily talented Scott Person. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell, and thank you so much for joining me and my wonderful special guest Sari Solden.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at OmegaBrite, and that’s B-R-I-T-E wellness.com.

Share:
Don’t Overcomplicate Role of Medication

Don’t Overcomplicate Role of Medication

Dr. Hallowell recently started sharing content on TikTok and his video, “Don’t Overcomplicate Role of Medication” left users wanting to know more. So in this mini ep, Dr. H answers a few of the questions that came up like, “How does a stimulant help a hyperactive brain?” and “Do I have to be on medication for life?”

Check out all of the #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Pre-order Now!  Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0.

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

Do you have a question or guest suggestion? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

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 is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years, and so has my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com and brite is intentionally misspelled B-R-I-T-E. Omegabritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have warm personal relationship with, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. Today I’m going to answer a question that came up through my TikTok platform. I’ve recently started posting 60 second videos on TikTok, and they’re under the label #NedTalks on TikTok. They’re not TedTalks, but NedTalks. It’s about neural developmental experience discussed. NED. Neural developmental experience. Neurodiverse experience discussed. I’m sorry. Neurodiverse, N, Experienced, E-D discussed. NedTalks. Not TedTalks, but Ned talks. Oh, you get me going the bouncing around with words, which is what I love to do. Anyway, one of the NedTalks was about medication in treating ADHD, and the question came up. Can you explain how a stimulant helps someone who’s already stimulated? Namely someone who has ADHD. The explanation is simple, but I should add, it’s why categorizing these medications is so misleading.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The fact that it’s called a stimulant does not mean that it juices you up. They’re given a name… They’re anti-seizure medications that are good mood stabilizers, and so if you’re taking an anti-seizure medication, that doesn’t mean you have a seizure disorder. These meds are given labels, but their application may have nothing to do with the label. Now the fact is, a good way for you to understand why a stimulant helps someone with ADHD, who’s already very stimulated.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Think of my model for ADHD, which is you have a race car brain with bicycle brakes. You’ve got a powerful brain. Powerful, powerful brain. Active imagination, ideas flowing all the time, popping up all over the place, but you have weak brakes. You have bicycle brakes. Brakes that aren’t strong enough to control the awesome power of your brain. Well, stimulant medication like Adderall and Ritalin stimulate the brakes. They stimulate the inhibitory circuits in the brain that allow you to control the power of your brain. That’s how they work. They stimulate the brakes. Now, it happens that they produce the… You end up with more dopamine. We can get into all the neurotransmitters, but the basic sort of model that you can remember is, stimulant medication stimulates your brakes, thereby giving you more control.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Along with that question came the question, how long can these meds be taken? They can be taken for as long as they’re helpful. There’s no limit to how long. You can take them for decades, as long as they don’t cause side effects, and as long as they’re effective. Now, you don’t develop tolerance, so you don’t have to increase the dose over and over. I have people who are on the same dose of Adderall for 10 years. They didn’t change it at all. Once in a while, the meds will cease to be effective. Instead of increasing the dose, what you ought to do is just stop the meds for a few days, and then start them up again at the same dose. Often, they’ll kick back in. Why that works, I don’t know. Maybe it gives you… The neurotransmitter’s a rest. That makes no sense neurologically, but it makes sense intuitively.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Whatever. I’ve just found over my many years, that if you simply stop the stimulants for a few days, and start them up at the same level, they kick back in and are effective. This medication… By the way, these medications are not based on how big you are, or how old you are. Most medications in the world are based on milligrams per kilogram. The dose is based on how big you are. Not so with these. Some little people need a lot, and some big people need only a little. It’s a matter of trial and error, but once you find the right dose, you can stick with that for many, many years. People asked, “How long do I have to take it?” You don’t have to take it at all. ADHD is not a life-threatening condition. It’s not like insulin for a diabetic. You never have to take these meds.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You see, the ADHD is not going to kill you, but it can impair your life significantly, so you may find that you want to take it. Untreated ADHD can… Russell Barkley has shown this over a lifetime, reduce your life expectancy because of all the mishaps that can accompany untreated ADHD, but you don’t ever have to take the medication. Now, if you find a dose of a medication that you like, that helps you, that doesn’t cause side effects, chances are you will want to take it indefinitely for as long as it continues to be effective, and not cause the side effects. It’s really straightforward that way.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Then, what kind of doctors should you see? Again, I did another mini episode on this, but any doctor who has experience in prescribing. It’s got to be an MD, or a nurse practitioner, or a physician’s assistant who works with an MD. Anyone who has medical training can prescribe stimulant medication. That means psychologists can’t, social workers can’t, but psychologists and social workers almost always work with someone who has an MD, so they can refer you to their… What’s called medical backup, or whatever term they want to use for it, but someone who works with them, and can prescribe. You need to have somebody who has a medical degree, an MD, overseeing the prescribing of the medication. You’d never want to take these meds without careful supervision.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
While they are very safe and effective, they can be dangerous if you are not… If you don’t know what you’re doing. If you do know what you’re doing, or working with a professional who knows what he or she is doing, then they are indeed among the safest meds we’ve got, as long as they’re used properly. They are controlled substances, so you have to take them again, with respect and with caution.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You never want to give these medicines away, you never want to sell them, you never want to… If somebody says, “Could I borrow one of your Adderall? I have a test.” You have to say, no, you can’t, and please don’t ask me again because it’s illegal. You need to be careful. In any case, medication is a powerful tool in the toolbox. Just work with a doctor who has plenty of experience in prescribing. Well, that’s it for me for this mini episode of Distraction.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thanks to our sponsor OmegaBrite Wellness. Save 20% on your first order at omegabritewellness.com with the promo code Podcast2020. Please reach out to us with your questions, and comments by emailing [email protected] If you’re on TikTok, you can find me there with the username @drhallowell. I’ve posted lots of videos about common ADHD issues, each one only 60 seconds. Take a look, and let me know what you think.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the wonderful Scott Persson, and our producer is the also wonderful Sarah Guertin. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell, until next time when I will still be Dr. Ned Hallowell.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at OmegaBrite, and that’s B-R-I-T-E wellness.com.

Share:
Why Some People Believe Fake News

Why Some People Believe Fake News

Legitimate fake news is a real threat to democracy, says Michigan State University psychology professor Zach Hambrick. And as you’ll hear him explain, there are reasons why some people believe fake news more than others. It’s an eye-opening conversation that reveals how all of us can fall victim to confirmation bias, the importance of fact-checking, and what happens to people’s beliefs when politics are removed from the equation.

Professor Hambrick’s Article in Scientific American: Cognitive Ability and Vulnerability to Fake News

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Pre-order Now!  Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0.

Check out Dr. H on TikTok! @drhallowell

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

What do you think? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

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 is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their omega-3 supplements for many years, and so as my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at OmegaBriteWellness.com. And bright is intentionally misspelled, B-R-I-T-E. OmegaBriteWellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have a warm personal relationship with, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at LCDistraction.org.

Zach Hambrick:
What’s critical here is that people be critical of their own beliefs.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Zach Hambrick:
We constantly, in this information age where we’re constantly bombarded with information, some of which will be true and some of which will be false, we just have to be cognizant, A, that there’s a lot of mis- and disinformation out there and, B, that you have to take responsibility for your own beliefs and interrogate them to see whether or not they’re true.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. We have a fascinating topic and a fascinating guest to talk about that topic, and particularly appropriate of the era, election era we’re in right now. I guess it’s not an era, it’s a time, but in any case, a psychology professor at Michigan State University, Zach Hambrick, co-author of the article Cognitive Ability and Vulnerability to Fake News.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Cognitive Ability and Vulnerability to Fake News, that appeared in Scientific American in February of 2018. And the article suggests that real fake news, this is an oxymoron, but real fake news is a serious problem. Analysis by Buzzfeed revealed that during the final three months of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, the 20 most popular false election stories generated around 1.3 million more Facebook engagements, shares, reactions, and comments then did the 20 most popular legitimate stories. That’s just amazing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And the most popular fake story was Pope Francis shocks the world, endorses Donald Trump for President. So let’s get right into it. Why do some people have a hard time rejecting misinformation?

Zach Hambrick:
Well, one reason is that misinformation is often repeated. And the more a piece of misinformation is repeated, the more likely people will come to think it’s true. We should distinguish between misinformation and disinformation. Misinformation is some false piece of information where the person disseminating the information didn’t necessarily intend to mislead. Disinformation is information that’s intended, false information that’s intended to mislead. It’s a subtle distinction, but definitely relevant.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, disinformation is a lie.

Zach Hambrick:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And misinformation is an accidental misrepresentation.

Zach Hambrick:
Right, right, right. [crosstalk 00:04:02]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Okay. So I could say today is Thursday, and that would be misinformation.

Zach Hambrick:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But if I said my name is Bill, knowing full well that my name is Ned, that would be disinformation.

Zach Hambrick:
Right. That’s the basic idea. Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, why do we believe the lie, the more it’s told?

Zach Hambrick:
Well, one reason, based on research from cognitive psychology, is that as a claim, a false claim is repeated over and over it becomes more familiar and we process it more fluently. For example, if you’re reading it, you’ll read it more quickly. And we use that fluency as a judgment for the truthfulness of something, rather than its actual truthfulness.

Zach Hambrick:
This is one of the mechanisms that seems to account for, or what called in cognitive psychology, an illusion of truth. You’re rating the truthfulness of a claim or a piece of information based on its familiarity, based on how fluently you read it or how easily you process it, rather than it on having some knowledge in your long-term memory that it’s the truth.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, how can the innocent citizen like me detect misinformation that’s information [crosstalk 00:05:49]

Zach Hambrick:
Yeah. Well, I think what this… As I write about in the Scientific American article, one of the things that you can do is begin to serve as your own fact checker. Okay? And if you hear a claim and you’re convinced that it’s true, then ask yourself why you think that’s true. Is it because you have some credible evidence that the claim is true? Or is it just because you’ve encountered it over and over? And on a related note, you should ask yourself if you know of any evidence that refutes the claim. And I think that not infrequently, if you query yourself in this way, you’ll be surprised to find that you actually do have some evidence that refutes the claim.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But most people… I’ll speak personally. I’m not going to take the time to do that. I’m not going to… So if I read, “Pope Francis shocks world, endorses Donald Trump for President,” I’ll say, “Wow, that’s amazing!” And I’ll just swallow it whole. So, am I not typical? Do most people naturally get skeptical?

Zach Hambrick:
Well, I think that’s another problem here, is that you come across something and you read it quickly on the subway or something. And you may not even remember where you got that piece of information.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, right.

Zach Hambrick:
And this is a problem with what we call source memory. You might forget that you saw this as a headline on the National Enquirer in checkout at the grocery store and not in the Guardian or the New York Times or The Economist. And I think that, again, what’s critical here is that people be critical of their own beliefs.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Zach Hambrick:
We constantly, in this information age where we’re constantly bombarded with information, some of which will be true in some of which will be false, we just have to be cognizant, A, that there’s a lot of mis- and disinformation out there and, B, that you have to take responsibility for your own beliefs and interrogate them to see whether or not they’re true or credible.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I mean, how much does a, what’s the term, observant? What’s the term where you agree with what you want to…

Zach Hambrick:
Illusion of-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What is it called?

Zach Hambrick:
Illusion of truth?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Okay. How much of that is, do we believe what we want to see and not believe what we don’t want to see?

Zach Hambrick:
Well, that’s another dimension to this. It may well be the fact that people are more likely to believe misinformation that comports with their preexisting beliefs.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, is that what’s meant, is confirmation bias?

Zach Hambrick:
That would be an instance of confirmation bias, yes. That, along with seeking out information that confirms your pre-existing beliefs. If you only look for and focus on and process the information that agrees with your preexisting beliefs.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, how do you take someone who doesn’t want to… Let’s take climate change as an example. I happen personally to believe that’s one of the most pressing problems that the world faces today, but there are intelligent, responsible people who think I’m completely wrong and that it’s all a hoax, that it’s just some kind of made up scare tactic that liberal politicians have invented to, I don’t know… I don’t know why they do it, but in any case, responsible people can disagree about the validity of global warming, which I personally think is the most pressing emergency that we’re facing in the world today.

Zach Hambrick:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, what do I do, and what do the people who think I’m full of it do?

Zach Hambrick:
Right. Well, there’s this interesting research that seeks to use online forums where people discuss and try to come to an understanding of issues in groups. And what this has found… There’s another… I actually wrote a Scientific American article with my colleague and friend Jonathan Jennings on this. Jonathan is a director of an environmental organization called Health and Harmony.

Zach Hambrick:
And so what they did in this was quite interesting. They gave people a graph showing, I believe it was the amount of ice in the Arctic Sea. Yes, it was the amount in the Arctic Sea. And their task, working in groups, was to make a forecast for the future. Okay?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Zach Hambrick:
And the overall trend is in fact downward, indicating further loss of ice in the Arctic Ocean. And what they did was quite clever in this experiment. In one condition, they didn’t make any political orientation information salient among the group members who were chatting in this online group, and in another condition they did.

Zach Hambrick:
And basically, the finding here was that people were more accurate, the groups were more accurate, when political information was not made salient, was not made salient. And these groups included both conservatives and liberals, people who identified as such. And so the implication here is that when political information is made salient, whether you’re Republican or Democrat or a liberal conservative, then people have a hard time thinking rationally.

Zach Hambrick:
And when we set aside politics, we can actually… There’s a real value to having conversations with people with whom we disagree. In fact, we’re more likely to come to the right answer, in this case with respect to climate change. And so I think that’s one way. If there were ways in which people could harness the power of what we might call collective intelligence and work together to solve these difficult problems, while setting aside politics, then I think we would all be better off.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, why can’t computers do that for us? I mean, we can make computers talk to each other.

Zach Hambrick:
Right. Well, to some degree they can, like make forecasts. I mean, definitely computer models make forecasts that are relevant, for example, to climate change. But then in the end, people have to interpret what the computers say. And in the end, it’s humans making decisions based on value judgements that are informed by, but not completely dictated by, evidence.

Zach Hambrick:
So in the end, when we decide about what we want the world to be like, whether it’s with respect to environmental legislation or any kind of legislation for that matter, then I think that humans are ultimately making the decisions. And computers, they can inform those decisions, but there’s still a human interpreting what the computer model, for example, says.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to my friend, the founder and creator of OmegaBrite Wellness, Dr. Carol Locke, about the benefits of taking OmegaBrite’s Omega-3s, CBD, and other supplements. Here’s a clip from one of those conversations.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I’ve certainly found them to be mood stabilizing. My mood is all over the place. I don’t know what diagnosis I have other than ADHD, but my mood is very labile, up, down, in-between, and quick to change. And I’ve found that the omega-3s really helped me with that, not only with my musculoskeletal issues but the mood issues as well. It is a wonder drug. I mean, what can I say?

Dr. Carol Locke:
Thank you. We hear that a lot from people. Particularly in the pandemic, we’re hearing from customers that they’re finding it essential with their mood. They’re also finding the OmegaBrite omega-3 essential in their relationships. Keeping their mood stable, positive, and feeling less anxiety helps them with their family relationships.

Dr. Carol Locke:
And I think anything we can do to help kids, parents, and teachers right now, because of this added stress of do they go back to the classroom, a changed classroom with partitions and masks and social distancing, or are they at home with their parents who are stressed is such a powerful situation. I think we want to help give people tools to put in their toolbox to succeed and to feel like they’re thriving and able to learn during this stress.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction listeners, you can save 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com by using the promo code PODCAST2020. All right. Let’s get back to today’s topic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, as a professor of cognitive psychology, to what extent do you think emotion, confirmation bias, and lack of information contributes to our so-called opinions?

Zach Hambrick:
I think they do greatly. And I think they really do when we’re talking about highly politicized issues, whether it’s abortion, or the death penalty, or meddling in elections, and so on. I think that we know, in fact, from a lot of research on the general topic of rationality, we know that our preexisting beliefs, our politics, influence the way we think and behave. Even highly intelligent people are prone to react to irrationality. This was really the fundamental insight of a program of research by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Kahneman, yeah.

Zach Hambrick:
… beginning in the 1970s. And Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize for this. And so, yes. I think it’s a big problem. And-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And Kahneman’s basic thesis was what, is that we are far more irrational than we’re aware of?

Zach Hambrick:
Yeah. I mean, his basic demonstration and basic argument is that people make decisions based on intuition rather than reason. And those intuitions might be right, but they quite often are wrong. And this leads people to make irrational decisions.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I always like to remind myself there was a time in history when the absolute, most smartest, intelligent people in the world knew quote, unquote, the world was flat.

Zach Hambrick:
Yeah. Yeah. There you go. Exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It brings you up short. So we are, by nature, pretty easy to manipulate, if somebody knows just what buttons to push.

Zach Hambrick:
We can be. We certainly can be.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So what’s our best safeguard against that, Zach? What’s the-

Zach Hambrick:
Well, one is the kind of engineered environment that I was talking about before, where for example, people are interpreting evidence concerning climate change and they’re doing so in an anonymous virtual setting.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Zach Hambrick:
Another is basically having the, we call it metacognition. It’s thinking about your own thinking, having the metacognitive skills to know when you’re prone to errors in making judgements and decisions. For example-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So it’s like going shopping when you’re hungry.

Zach Hambrick:
Right. Exactly. That’s a good analogy, or knowing that there is such a thing called the confirmation bias. How do you make yourself less susceptible to confirmation bias? Well, the first way is knowing that such a thing exists.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Zach Hambrick:
And there’s some evidence to suggest that training about such things de-biases people, at least to some degree. I think those are examples of ways in which we might, if not making ourselves completely immune to these sorts of errors and biases and judgment decision-making, making us less susceptible.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I want to tell you about Landmark College in beautiful Putney, Vermont. It is the best college in the world for students who learn differently with ADHD, for other learning differences, or autism spectrum disorder. It’s fully accredited, not-for-profit, offering bachelors and associate degrees, bridge programs, online dual enrollment courses for high school students, and summer programs.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
They use a strength-based model at Landmark which, as you know, is the model that I certainly have developed and subscribed to, to give students the skills and strategies they need to achieve their goals in life and really expand upon what they believe they’re capable of doing. It is just a wonderful, wonderful place and I can’t say enough good about it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I myself have an honorary degree from Landmark College, of which I am very proud. Landmark College in Putney, Vermont is the college of choice for students who learn differently. To learn more, go to LCDistraction.org. That’s LCDistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Let’s get back to today’s topic. It’s humbling, it really is, to know how, at least in my own case, how easy it is to manipulate me, whether it’s with food or money or whatever temptation I might [crosstalk 00:22:03].

Zach Hambrick:
Right. Well, that’s right. And I think that your awareness of it is absolutely critical, because now you want to understand. Okay, you recognize that, you’ve had the humbling insight, that you’re prone to making irrational decisions and that your buttons can be pushed. And so now, beginning with that insight, you seek out ways in which you can kind of protect yourself from that.

Zach Hambrick:
There’s this amazing research by a psychologist named Philip Tetlock, where they basically tried to identify people who were good at predicting world events, political events like, “Will Iran and Iraq go to war,” and stuff of this sort. This is a program of research funded by the military. And they identified people who they called superforecasters.

Zach Hambrick:
And the superforecasters were able to forecast these seemingly unpredictable events, or at least very difficult to predict events, better than anyone else. And they did so by not falling prey to biases like the confirmation bias. They were bright, but they weren’t geniuses in kind of the traditional sense of the term intelligence, but what they did know about were these kinds of biases and making judgements that we all seem to be prone to. And they were able to avoid making errors based on these biases.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And was there any variable that separated the superforecasters from the rest? Or is there any cognitive trait?

Zach Hambrick:
That was the one. That was the one. It wasn’t intelligence.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Zach Hambrick:
It was knowledge of how biases in judgment, decision-making, like the confirmation bias, the my-side bias, and so on.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So like in football betting, people are more likely to bet on the home team.

Zach Hambrick:
Yeah. There you go. Yeah. A perfect example, yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. So if you-

Zach Hambrick:
I guess, let me just say a little bit more. They were also people who didn’t think they had one big idea that could kind of dictate all of their predictions, and said they were information seekers who were willing to change their mind if that’s what the evidence dictated. They weren’t ideologues, maybe, to put it another way.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Zach Hambrick:
They were people who sought out evidence and revised their beliefs as that evidence dictated. They weren’t dogmatic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Well, and again, that brings me back to wondering why couldn’t a computer do it better, because there’s no emotion involved? Then the computer is only as good as the information you give it.

Zach Hambrick:
Well, yeah. That’s exactly right, how the computer’s only as good as the information that you give it. Somebody has to write the programs. And in fact, computers are better than humans at certain things, like predicting the stock market.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Are they really?

Zach Hambrick:
That’s not… Go ahead.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I said, are they really? That’s interesting.

Zach Hambrick:
Yeah. In general, there was a long series of studies beginning in probably the 1960s, 1970s showing that statistical models do better than humans in predicting certain things, the weather-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
For all of the reasons we’ve been discussing.

Zach Hambrick:
That’s right, yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, this is so spot on for living in today’s world. So what did your article conclude? I haven’t read it. I will, but-

Zach Hambrick:
The take home message of the article… This is the Scientific American article on the Illusion of Truth. The take home message is, as I said before, that we have to be our own fact checkers in this information age, in this misinformation age. And I think that it really… This type of research that I write about… Incidentally, this is not my own research. This is other cognitive psychologists’ research… is that this thread of fake news, it poses a real threat to democratic society.

Zach Hambrick:
This research really underscores this threat that fake news poses to democratic society. And of course, the aim of fake news is to make people think and behave in ways that they wouldn’t otherwise-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Zach Hambrick:
… including to hold views that are contradicted by scientific consensus and scientific evidence. This is very relevant during this pandemic. Recently, Trump tweeted that he was immune from COVID-19. I don’t think any doctor who knows anything about this would agree with that. It may, it may not. We don’t know this.

Zach Hambrick:
And so when this nefarious aim of fake news is achieved, we as citizens no longer have the ability to act in our self-interest. We’re misled. We’re deluded. And this, of course, isn’t just bad for an individual, it’s bad for society as a whole, as starkly illustrated by the pandemic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. It just brings you up so short. I mean, everyone would love for our president to be immune. And so when they hear him say he is immune, the confirmation bias says, “Okay, great. You’re immune.”

Zach Hambrick:
Well, that’s right. So, what comes out of his mouth, some people think of that as news.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Zach Hambrick:
And in this case, that is fake news.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, right, right.

Zach Hambrick:
And so this research, again, just highlights the pernicious effects of misinformation and disinformation in a democratic society,

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Boy, it’s really cautionary to not let yourself seduce yourself into believing what you want to believe. It’s hard not to, because it’s very tempting to just think [crosstalk 00:29:28]

Zach Hambrick:
Right. And we have to constantly ask ourselves, “Why do I believe this is true?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. Right. And then, as you say, talk to someone who disagrees with you, wrestle with it instead of just talking to people who agree with you.

Zach Hambrick:
Sure, that’s right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If you’re liberal, you should watch Fox News. And if you’re a conservative, you should watch MSNBC. You should test it out a little bit anyway.

Zach Hambrick:
Dig a little deeper than the news story.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Don’t just eat what you’ve been fed. No, exactly, exactly. Then we wonder about the motive of the person who’s saying it, and what are they leaving out, and what are they lying about, frankly? Well, you’re a very smart man. And thank you so much. Zach Hambrick and his article, Cognitive Ability and Vulnerability to Fake News. He’s a psychology professor at Michigan State University, a great university. And it’s a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Zach Hambrick:
Thank you. Okay. Thanks. Goodbye.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Take care. Okay. Well, that’s our show for today. Please continue to reach out to us with your questions, comments, and show ideas. Email us at [email protected] That’s [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the wonderful, ebullient Sarah Guertin, and our recording engineer and editor is the equally ebullient and wonderful Scott Persson, and that’s with two S’s in Persson. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell with four L’s. Thank you so much for joining me and we’ll see you next time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at OmegaBrite, and that’s B-R-I-T-E, Wellness.com.

Share:
ADHD vs. ADD: What’s the Difference?

ADHD vs. ADD: What’s the Difference?

So what’s the deal… is it ADD or ADHD? Dr. H answers this common question and explains how symptoms determine which type of ADHD you have.

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Pre-order Now!  Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0.

Check out Dr. H on TikTok! @drhallowell

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

What’s your opinion? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

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 is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their omega three supplements for many years and so has my wife and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritetwellness.com and “brite” is intentionally misspelled, B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College another institution that I have a warm personal relationship with in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to Distraction. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode. One question that comes up in the ADHD world all the time is what is the difference between ADHD and ADD. So let me clarify and bring some resolution to the confusion.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Technically, attention deficit disorder, ADD, no longer exists. In the diagnostic manual the DSM-5 there is no ADD. When I first learned about the condition back in 1981, it was, indeed, called ADD, attention deficit disorder, and that was what was in the DSM-3, the third incarnation of that manual.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, as the years went by, the good people who make up the names of these conditions decided to insert the letter H, ADHD, attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder. And then rather than saying, “We have ADD and ADHD,” they said, “No, it’s all going to be under the umbrella of ADHD.” And those people who are not hyperactive, we will call ADHD primarily inattentive because their main symptom is distractibility and inattention. And those people who are both inattentive, and hyperactive and impulsive, we’ll call them ADHD combined type. Now that leaves room for a third type, which would be only symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity with no problems with attention, but you virtually never see that so it’s only of academic interest.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So there you have it, ADHD. There is no ADD, but clinically there is, and we call that ADHD primarily inattentive. Now, why is that relevant? Well, because a lot of people who have ADHD, primarily inattentive, mainly women and girls, but can be in men, never get diagnosed because they don’t have the disruptive symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. They don’t call attention to themselves, be they a child throwing spitballs in the classroom, or an adult raising hell in the landscape.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So what happens is the women, the females usually, get overlooked because they’re demure, they’re quiet. They’re sitting in the back of the room daydreaming. You have to ask them what’s it like in the classroom? And they say, “Well, I’m almost never there.” You see? Because they’re off in their own world. And that’s why they don’t get missed.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And then when they become adults, if they show up and ask for help, almost always, they get diagnosed with depression or anxiety or both. And sure enough, they are a little bit unhappy, depressed, because they’re underachieving and they know they could be doing better and they don’t know why. And they are kind of anxious because they don’t know how they’re going to screw up next. But both the so-called depression and anxiety are caused by the untreated ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And so if you’re a woman who is underachieving and it has a tendency to be a daydreamer and is creative and all the positives, things that go with it, consider ADHD, primarily inattentive as your diagnosis and don’t take depression and anxiety as your primary diagnosis because if you do, you’ll get put on an SSRI, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor, which might do a little bit of good, but it has side effects that are not pleasant and also won’t get at the underlying condition, which is the ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
For that if you’re going to take a medication, you need stimulant medication. Okay, which by the way, is safe and effective as long as it’s used properly. That’s it. That’s the explanation. It’s very clear and causes a lot of unnecessary confusion. It’s an important clinical point to know that you can have ADHD without being disruptive, without being hyperactive. There you have it. Okay, before I go, I’d like to thank our sponsor, Omega Brite Wellness, go to omegabritewellness.com and save 20% on your first order with the promo code podcast 2020.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineering editor is the wonderful Scott Persson and our producer is the also wonderful Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell wishing you well until we meet again.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at Omega Brite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at omegabrite, and that’s B-R-I-T-E, wellness.com.

Share:
Strategies for Successfully Working From Home with ADHD

Strategies for Successfully Working From Home with ADHD

Being prepared and developing routines are key to staying organized and being productive if you have ADHD and are working from home. Our go-to productivity expert and ADHD coach, Kristin Seymour, offers a ton of simple life hacks you can utilize to help you stay on track in your job and increase your overall happiness.

Kristin’s website is ADHDFogLifted.com. Get her book and her resource binder!

Pre-order Ned’s new book, ADHD 2.0 on Amazon.

Check out Dr. H on TikTok! @drhallowell

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

What’s your opinion? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

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 is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years, and so has my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com… and brite is intentionally misspelled B-R-I-T-E… omegabritewellness.com

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have warm personal relationship with, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to Distraction. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell, your host. So glad you’re with us once again. Today, we have one of my favorite… and I can say our favorite… guests. I can’t remember how many times she’s been on the podcast, but more than twice. She’s a remarkable woman. She’s one of those people who just gets it when it comes to ADHD. There are experts and then there are people who get it and she is, yes, an expert, but she also gets it. That just means when you’re with her, if you have ADHD, you feel understood. For a lot of people, particularly adults, they almost never have that feeling of being understood without being marked down, without being judged negatively. They feel understood, appreciated, and it’s just being with her, for many adults, is in and of itself pretty much all the therapy they need.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
In terms of credentials, she’s got them all. She’s a board certified clinical nurse specialist. She works with cardiology patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. She also is an author. She wrote a wonderful book called The Fog Lifted: A Clinician’s Victorious Journey with ADHD. I highly recommend it. The Fog Lifted. She works with ADHD kids and their families, as well as adults. She consults to businesses, hospitals. You just can’t slow her down. Of course, she has ADHD herself, as she’s the first to tell you, and she’s just a tremendous gift to this world with her energy, her knowledge, her expertise, her empathy, and her undying devotion to all the people she serves, which is quite a few people. I can tell you, I’ve called her on a Sunday and she’ll say to me, “I can’t talk long. I’ve got another client coming in.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I don’t think she ever stops working. In addition, she’s married to a wonderful man and has two of the best daughters you could ever find.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Welcome, Kristin Seymour, MSN, RN, AHCNS-B.

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you, Ned. Thank you for your kind introduction and kind words. I most appreciate it and your support over the years. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, it’s a treat for me and our audience to have you. Now, we are going to get into a topic that you proposed because you’ve been seeing it a lot, and one that we have not really covered on the podcast. Why don’t you tell us about it.

Kristin Seymour:
Okay. What I have been working with, with countless of my adult patients in the past several months, is the reality of the overnight shift for the ADHD employee to go from an office setting or work setting outside the home, instantly to a home setting, which provides much distraction and is a big, huge challenge for many of my adult patients.

Kristin Seymour:
The reason I believe that this massive change and this debilitation for many of them is because there’s no mental or physical mind shift. You know how when you go to the gym from your house, you’re in the moment to work out. Or you go from your dorm or your apartment or your home to the office, you are in a work mode. Without that mind shift, many people are finding it very hard to be productive and stay on task. We’ve had to adapt their lives and implement strategies that they have found to be pretty effective and helpful in making this new environment successful and productive.

Kristin Seymour:
In order to help that mind shift, I even have some of my patients, once they get up, make their bed, brush their teeth, and get dressed as if they are going to an office, some of them even go drive around the block just to move their mind from the thought of, “Okay, I’m going from my home as a sanctuary and a place of rest to, now, I’m coming back to the house or apartment or whatever as an employee, as a producer.” That’s been really helpful. But keeping that routine and structure in place, same wake and sleep time, maintaining their prescription medication as directed and prescribed, is all key to being successful with this work at home environment. Creating a schedule, writing it down, keeping it visual, things like that are really essential for these visual learning ADHDers.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, absolutely it is. One suggestion is to do the mind shift.

Kristin Seymour:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And what’s the second one?

Kristin Seymour:
Oh, I have many.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay.

Kristin Seymour:
Waking up at the same time every day, even if your first meeting, Zoom call, conference call, whatever platform you’re working from isn’t until maybe an hour after you typically wake, still get up at 6:30 or 7:00. Go for a walk, exercise, keep your body on that same routine.

Kristin Seymour:
The biggest thing a lot of my patients are missing is they don’t have a good understanding of writing down each platform of a meeting. For instance, you have Google Meet, Adobe Connect, Zoom, Google Classroom. You have all these different ways people are communicating and a lot of people have different passwords, different usernames, so I tell them, “Log on 10 to 15 minutes and be sure you have the right meeting platform, the right time zone, and have everything charged and ready to go,” because a lot of patients are missing simple things like that. It has nothing to do with their production or their productivity or their content, it’s just being organized, on time, and on the right platform, with a charged device. Those are all things we can control.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. All right. What’s next?

Kristin Seymour:
Another thing that will be really helpful for them is to space their appointments, if possible. If my patients are able to schedule all appointments… whether they’re a phone call, a virtual video call… everything 30 minutes apart so that you have that 30 minutes to recapture yourself, jot notes, stay on top of it, stay on time, stay organized, so that at the end of the day you’re not playing catch up.

Kristin Seymour:
On that same note, you want to make sure that you answer your emails as they’re coming through, but don’t get all tied up and hyperfocused on them if it’s going to take more attention than a couple of minutes. Print that, put it to the side, and know you have to get to it later. Those are all things that have been real time suckers and get my patients down a rabbit hole of they get tied up in one email or they run late on a meeting. Use alarms. Use technology. Space your appointments.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to my friend, the founder and creator of OmegaBrite Wellness, Dr. Carol Locke, about the benefits of taking OmegaBrite’s Omega-3s CBD and other supplements. Here’s a clip from one of those conversations.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now, there are many different products, brands of fish oil. Why is OmegaBrite the best?

Carol Locke:
What I can speak to with OmegaBrite is it’s a very different formula than typically what you can get in the store or online and OmegaBrite is clinically proven. We have over 10 studies in major academic centers showing OmegaBrite improving mood, helping with bipolar, with depression, with ADHD, with anxiety, with inflammation. So, it’s a very proven product for you to gain these benefits and these benefits, we know, come from OmegaBrite. You can’t get that with a typical Omega-3, which has, say, 180 milligrams of EPA in it. That just isn’t going to provide that benefit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction listeners, you can save 20% on your first order at omegabritewellness.com by using the promo code PODCAST2020.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right, let’s get back to today’s topic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What should they do about the lack of human contact?

Kristin Seymour:
That’s a good one. One of the most important things they should do is, if they’re living alone, to check in with another adult. Whether it’s a significant other, a neighbor, a family member, to everyday check in with someone either on a walk social distancing, have a Zoom call just socializing with friends, but mask, get together. I think the social isolation is really difficult. I think not having the camaraderie of a team in a work environment around you is difficult. As long as you check in with yourself, check in with one other person, and then always socializing with your spouse and stuff. Make sure you tell your spouse and your significant other, roommate, family what you need right now. Because what I need is different than what you need. Maybe that friend needs to give them reassurance. Maybe it’s their boss telling them they’re doing okay. The social isolation is really devastating to these people and they have to think outside the box in how to see one another, but there’s lots of things that we can do that aren’t in an office.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Maybe they miss their boss and they want someone to yell at them, so you could ask someone to yell at you.

Kristin Seymour:
Right. Exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m just kidding, Kristen.

Kristin Seymour:
I have a man I’m working with-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m just kidding.

Kristin Seymour:
… I have a man I’m working who, he’s in his mid-20s, and is a very successful architect type of position and he was really struggling with all of them, with the lack of structure and time and to-do lists and things being visual. So, we got his significant other on board. She was such a partner in it. We utilized a white noise machine to drown out distractions of delivery trucks and barking animals and just typical things.

Kristin Seymour:
Then, we actually also contacted his supervisor and just said, “He’s adjusting to this. These are the things we’re implementing.” The boss was so empathetic and understanding. He didn’t have to go into this whole history of his diagnosis, but he just said, “Look, this is a whole new world, particular for my distracted mind.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I was kidding when I say get someone to yell at you, but I think a lot of people miss having the cheerleading, and that could be yelling, “Come on, team. Let’s go. Let’s go. We’re going to nail it today. We’re going to go through the roof.” And it’s just not there. It’s crickets. I think the encouragement, cheerleading that people often dismiss as superficial is, in fact, profoundly important.

Kristin Seymour:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I think you’re right on. I think your first point of with crickets, when you said that, an idol mind can be a devil’s workshop. These people that can be so prone to that default mode or hyperfocus or going down a dark place, this is a real serious time for them. So, like you said, the camaraderie, the team work, the cheering them on, is really essential. It can be, I think, knowing as you say, Ned, no one should ever worry alone, whether it’s worrying about their work, worrying about their family. They need to tap into someone they trust. If they don’t have someone, there are a lot of resources. There’s a lot of hotlines. There’s a lot of support groups and people you can talk to.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yep.

Kristin Seymour:
The other thing is utilizing those grocery delivery apps or food delivery apps to help maximize your time during the day. Auto pay all your bills. Make sure you remind yourself on your calendar to have your medication refilled. A lot of those controlled substances, people forget about them. When you’re at home, you just kind of assume things are going to be done. You got to remember to call and get your medication refilled.

Kristin Seymour:
There’s a lot of things we can do to help them be organized and be focused.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You mentioned the food delivery services. On the other hand, I look forward to going out to the food store as sort of my outing. Oh good, I get to go to the food store and push my cart, get a little exercise, see some human faces behind masks, smile at them, talk to the deli counter guy. It’s my little trip to the park and I get my shopping done. So, I don’t want a delivery service, but I can certainly understand people who do. You’re absolutely right, it is a way to save time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I can’t not add that no one needs to be alone. Get a dog. I know this is a broken record because I squeeze it into every podcast, but it’s no accident that God spelled backwards is dog. Particularly if you’re alone, if you have a dog, believe me, you won’t feel alone.

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah, I loved when you said in a lecture at one of the conferences a couple years ago, you said you had written more prescriptions for dogs or a pet than you did for anything else.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes. Yes, I don’t know how many people filled those prescriptions, but I really-

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah, I think the dog, having someone to love unconditionally there, is great, or take care of. I just can’t stress enough how much this lack of a mind shift and getting them into that mind space of production for these patients has really been a challenge. I don’t think many people are really talking about it. People are just really struggling with their jobs and there’s been a lot of layoffs and furloughs. It’s just a really tough time right now. I love your quote, “Just never worry alone. Be there for each other.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… The only reason I go to my office… I live in Arlington, have an office in Sudbury… and the only reason I get up and drive the half hour drive to the office in Sudbury is just for that mind shift. There’s nobody there. A couple of administrative assistants, but I don’t see any patients live. It’s all done by Zoom, which I could just as easily do from home, but I want the feeling of getting in my car, driving out there, coming in, unpacking my briefcase, setting up my laptop, getting a cup of coffee, sitting down, opening it up, starting the Zoom. You’re so right. It’s a kind of a ritual that my brain is accustomed too.

Kristin Seymour:
Exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If it doesn’t get it, it’s sort of saying, “Okay, what the heck’s going on here?”

Kristin Seymour:
Exactly. That lack of a true shift happens when one physically moves from one environment to the other, like you said, and when that’s out of our control we have to create a natural shift. That’s why I said I have a couple of my patients driving around the block-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a great idea.

Kristin Seymour:
… and then going back into their home as an employee because it’s just so going to the hospital to do my job, or coming to my office to see patients and Zooming them from here. Just like you, it makes me feel like I’m in a different head space.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Don’t you think it should be more than around the block? Maybe drive a few miles?

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah, that would be great, depending on how big their block is. But it’s just, I would say, in the exercise piece and movement, the ADHD brain loves movement. So, I will do one part of my role from Zoom in my office where I see ADHD patients and then I do another part of my role from my home because we can’t go to the hospital right now, due to limiting COVID exposure unnecessarily. It’s interesting. You have your different head spaces for your different places and I think people really need to play into that and really think about that because it’s a big deal.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What I’m going to do now is engage in a conversation with a delightful young woman by the name of Katie [Labumbard 00:17:43]-

Katie L.:
That’s me!

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… a student at… there you are… a student at Landmark College, our podcast sponsor and the college of choice for students who learn differently. Welcome to the podcast, Katie.

Katie L.:
Thank you so much. Love to be here.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, the reason we want to talk to you and follow you along is track your progress at Landmark College. You’re a senior, is that correct?

Katie L.:
Yes, correct.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And you’re graduating in the spring?

Katie L.:
Yes, so that’s one more semester after this one.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Tell me what it’s been like to be at Landmark.

Katie L.:
Well, as we all know, this semester in particular has been very different, but beforehand it’s a life changing experience. High school is absolutely terrible and I can’t speak for everyone, but most of the people I have met here, we share a universal experience of having a terrible high school experience, whether it was from segregation into the special ed classrooms or just not getting exactly what we need in terms of education or that social experience that helps us grow.

Katie L.:
So, I came to Landmark, I think, very developmentally delayed, very awkward, very not ready for anything in the real world. To come here and be able to not start over but have different supports that I wasn’t used to, have people that understood what I was going through and see me of the same light and go through what others have gone through, that was so helpful, incredibly.

Katie L.:
Now, I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be. Now, with this whole pandemic going on and classes being different, everything being different, it’s hard to learn, but as I said before, people here, we’re used to adapting. We’re used to needing to step it up and learn maybe more than other people would have to. So, I think we do have a leg up there, but that being said, it’s still difficult.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What are your hopes and dreams? What do you hope to be doing after you graduate from Landmark?

Katie L.:
Oh man, that’s definitely a scary thought. My broad dream is to open a business. I’m an entrepreneur. I think that career style fits good with how I work and learn, especially with being my own boss, but that’s really as much thought as I put toward my future, especially with the career. Within my recent years at Landmark, I’ve gotten really into activism, especially with the newer diverse movements and with women’s movement and women’s rights. I’ve also really gotten into that. We’ll see where that takes me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good. Good for you. Most entrepreneurs have ADHD, so you’re in really good company. Thank you. Thank you so much, Katie.

Katie L.:
Yeah, you too. So nice to meet you. Thank you so much for doing this.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Listeners, if you’d like to learn more about Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently, go to lcdistraction.org. Okay, let’s get back to today’s show.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How under the weather, so to speak, psychologically, do you think most people are because of this? I think I say none of us is getting enough of the other vitamin C, vitamin connect. We’re all suffering from a little bit of a vitamin connect deficiency, but are you seeing it really bothering a lot of your folks?

Kristin Seymour:
Yes. I don’t think I’ve ever honestly been as busy right now as I am and a lot of it is because my patients are struggling, young and older, particularly this 19 to 30 year-old cohort of patients. Whether they’re single, married, whatever their state is, they are struggling. It’s hard enough to think differently and have our super powers as ADHDers in a typical environment with just regular pressure, social media, and everything else, other pressures. But then to have this social isolation and restrictions is just making people feel even further apart from each other and it’s really affecting my folks in a big way. It’s affecting the students with their assignments. It’s affecting their action in class. It’s actually setback, significantly, a few of my patients who I’ve made a lot of progress with, because it’s so unfamiliar and isolating. They feel terrible. We’re really working hard to be outside and create new habits and find new sports and things like that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, being outdoors, whether permitting, is another key strategy?

Kristin Seymour:
Yes. I actually told a patient the other day, I said, “Well, get a rain coat and go walk in the rain.” Come on, it doesn’t have to be sunshine and lollipops and rainbows every day. Just put on a rain coat, get an umbrella, and as long as it’s not thundering and lightning, go take a walk. I’ve been biking. I’ve got a little girl I’m working with who’s 10 who’s taken up golf because she gets to be outside and she can be a part.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow, that’s wonderful. That’s really wonderful. And a walk in the rain, well you know my children’s story, the only children’s book I’ve ever written, the title of it is A Walk in the Rain with the Brain.

Kristin Seymour:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Walking in the rain [crosstalk 00:23:41]-

Kristin Seymour:
So, getting outside, changing the environment, changing your work environment home, connecting with your friends and family, making sure you stay compliant and on a schedule and routine. People just expect it to happen and people who are on a routine and get ample sleep every night and eat, and have hard-boiled eggs, something protein packed, things ready in the fridge to grab if you’re in a hurry in the middle of the day to eat between meetings, just start to prepare yourself. Those life hacks we always talk about. Have things ready so you’re not flailing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… And you’re so good at those, you really. So, half a dozen hard-boiled eggs and some carrot sticks ready and a pickle or two.

Kristin Seymour:
Exactly. I always tell people, I’m like, “Grab some sunflower seeds. Have about six hard-boiled eggs ready in your fridge. Have some bottles of water. Fill your big… You have a cooler in the back of your car so if you do go, Ned, like you to your office and work from a Zoom and you want to do errands on the way back, throw your produce in a cooler. Leave a cooler in the back of your car. Have your car always at a quarter tank full.” Our people always run out of gas.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s another great suggestion.

Kristin Seymour:
Or else they’re coming to me on fumes. Those are just some simple life hacks. Have your prescriptions post-dated and put on the hold file in the pharmacy if your state allows that. It’s just all those kinds of things. Make your bed every day. Then, you’ve done one thing right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, it’s so true. Filling your tank. Another suggestion I make is to have a joke book nearby at all times. I think we can-

Kristin Seymour:
Oh, I love that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… I think these days we can suffer from excessive solemnity. It’s got to be jokes that you think are funny, but not just any joke book.

Kristin Seymour:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But a joke book that will reliably make you laugh because it is true that laughter does dilute a lot of negative feelings.

Kristin Seymour:
It does. And just smile. When you start your Zoom meetings, smile at each other. I read the other day that a smile is the starch of peace. It really is. If we all just took a minute. Everyone’s in such a hurry and so angry all the time right now. It’s really a crazy time, but the one thing we can do is be gentle with ourselves, plan ahead, be cognizant of a mind shift, and just try to be gentle with yourself. Everyone’s so hard on themselves right now too. But I’m your boss-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And be kind. There was a big survey, hundreds of thousands of people, voting on what are the three most attractive qualities in a person. Not physical attributes, but what are the three most attractive qualities. What do you think the top three were?

Kristin Seymour:
… That aren’t physical?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Not physical.

Kristin Seymour:
A positive attitude?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, kindness. Number one was kindness.

Kristin Seymour:
Kindness.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
They called it kindness. Yep.

Kristin Seymour:
What were the other two?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Number two was health, to be in good health. And number three was intelligence.

Kristin Seymour:
Wow. That’s fascinating. That’s probably so true. Being kind is important, but I don’t think enough people are right now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, no. Really, we’ve really got to do something about it, no matter who the president is. We really need to.

Kristin Seymour:
Oh, I know. I was in line the other day and this little elderly woman was behind me and had one item and I let her go ahead of me and the person two behind, even though we were all six feet apart, got mad at me. I was like, “What is wrong with this scenario here?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Really. That’s amazing. Got mad at you for letting a little old lady with one item get in front of you?

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s just-

Kristin Seymour:
I was just like, “Wow.” So, it really made me think, “Okay, we all need to be a little gentler with ourselves, a little kinder, a little more forgiving and just get through each day right now,” because this is not as easy time for anyone.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… No, it’s not at all. No, we’re all a little frazzled, I think. These are great suggestions, Kristin, as always. [crosstalk 00:27:59]-

Kristin Seymour:
Oh, yeah. You’re welcome. I just think that the idea of the mind thing is really… it’s kind of, when you really think about it… it really can help people then framework how they can be most productive, how they can take this nuance, this new way we’re living and try to make it work because you’re home and your home should be your sanctuary. Yeah. But you can make it. I don’t care if you live in a studio apartment, you can find another little corner-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… Yes, absolutely.

Kristin Seymour:
… that’s different and put a little plant there. Figure it out. A little change up. People can help you. I’m always here.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You are. Now, if someone wants to reach you or go to your website, what’s the best way to do it?

Kristin Seymour:
Well, just going to my website’s probably the best and that’s my ADHDfoglifted.com website. I have this whole-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wait a minute. Let me say that for the listeners that don’t know it. ADHDfoglifted.com?

Kristin Seymour:
… Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
ADHD, fog, F-O-G, lifted, L-I-F-T-E-D, .com and that’s Kristin’s website and you can reach her through that. Then, of course, her book, The Fog Lifted: A Clinician’s Victorious Journey with ADHD. It’s a wonderful book. It’s autobiographical, but it’s full of [inaudible 00:29:14] and it’s full of wonderfully useful and amusing and deep and moving anecdotes and ideas.

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you. Thank you, Ned. There’s also my binder that’s on there that gives virtual learning tips for the elementary school student, the college student, the adult that I think has been real helpful for parents because it’s a whole new… parents turned into teachers overnight. I think that this provides some real good tools that are from different articles and different resources all at your fingertips in a few pages. That’s on my site too, if anyone needs help with that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wonderful. I can tell you if that binder is like taking a special ed consultant home with you. It really is amazingly detailed. Not in a boring way, in an encyclopedic useful way. It’s a wonderful resource.

Kristin Seymour:
That’s right. You saw that. I just added a tab for virtual, so you know exactly. Yeah. It’s even more robust now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good word, robust. Well, Kristin also wrote a robust blurb for my new book, which won’t be out until January but I am tickled to have her name on the back of my book.

Kristin Seymour:
Oh, the new book? ADHD 2.0 is fabulous.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you.

Kristin Seymour:
Honestly, as an ADHDer who finds reading to be something I have to do and usually don’t want to do, I wanted to finish that. I wanted to read it. It was awesome.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you so much. Well, I think you can order it in advance on Amazon now, but it was wonderful to-

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah, it is excellent. It’s informative. It’s a great navigator and guide. I loved it. I think you and Dr. Ratey did a great job. I mean, it’s wonderful.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… Thank you.

Kristin Seymour:
I hope everybody…

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you.

Kristin Seymour:
I thought it was great and I think all the books are great, but I think that one and Distraction are fabulous. This is even better.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you so much. And yours, we’ve got this mutual admiration society going here, but it’s true. You really are like the ADHD whisperer. You just get it in a way that very few people do. Anyone who-

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… is lucky enough to have a consultation with you, comes away the better for it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, will you promise to come on my podcast again someday?

Kristin Seymour:
Of course. You know I love it. It’s so fun. I always love chatting with you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good.

Kristin Seymour:
We always share some great information.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Well, it’s been great having you.

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you so much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you for this wonderful contribution today and we’ll talk to you soon. Take care, Kristin.

Kristin Seymour:
You too, Ned.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right. Well, that’s our show for today. To learn more about Kristin Seymour, go to ADHDfoglifted.com. You can watch the short videos she creates every week for parents of school-age kids with ADHD and you can also get her 100 page resource binder filled with strategies and tools for success with ADHD at home and at school.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Kristin is also on Instagram with the username ADHD Fog Lifted. You can also find Distraction on Instagram too, as well as Facebook and Twitter. You can find my 60 second videos clips on ADHD on TikTok. We now have over three million views on TikTok, so it’s worth going to check it out. It’s @DrHallowell on TikTok. I’ve unloaded a bunch of videos there and I’d love to hear what you think.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Our email is [email protected] That’s [email protected] Okay, as I said, that’s it for today. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the wonderful Sarah Guertin and our audio engineer and editor is the brilliant Scott Persson. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell and thank you so much for joining me and us.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at omegabrite… and that’s B-R-I-T-E… wellness.com.

Share:
A Post-Election Plea for America

A Post-Election Plea for America

As we await the results of the presidential election, Ned shares his wish for all Americans.

hanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

What’s your opinion? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

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 is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBritewellness. I’ve taken their omega-3 supplements for many years, and so has my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com and bright is intentionally misspelled, B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have warm personal relationship with, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. Now that the election is in its final phase, I just thought I’d make a prayer or a plea, as we move forward, for decency and civility, grace and humor, regardless of which side ends up winning. And it looks like there’ll be winners and losers on both sides. Couldn’t we all enjoy moving forward, guided by those pretty much solid and eternal qualities of decency and civility, grace and humor. Wouldn’t it be nice to turn on the TV, open the newspaper, turn on the radio and hear reasonable, calming voices, laced not with vitriol, venom and hatred, but with humor, with humility, with curiosity.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The people on the other side of the election, whichever side you were on, nonetheless, our brothers and sisters. We’re all brothers and sisters in this world. And my plea is that we learn once again to treat each other that way, especially the people who are on the other side of the divide. I’m reminded of a prayer that I particularly like. It goes like this, “Lord, help me always to search for the truth, but spare me the company of those who have found it.” It’s the people who have found the truth and want to ram it down everyone else’s throat that I think cause the most trouble. No one, after all, has a monopoly on truth. We’re all human. We’re all flawed. We’re all biased. We’re all more apt than not to look out for our self-interest before we look out for the other person. Let’s keep that in mind as we try moving forward, to move, not just onward, but also upward. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a reflection for Distraction.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Before I go, I’d like to thank our sponsor, OmegaBritewellness. Go to omegabritewellness.com and save 20% on your first order with the promo code, Podcast 2020. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is Scott Persson, a brilliant man, indeed. And our producer is the equally brilliant and always rich with ideas, Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell, and thank you for joining me. We’ll see you next time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBritewellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at OmegaBrite, and that’s B-R-I-T-E wellness.com.

Share:
How to Keep Politics from Ruining Your Relationships

How to Keep Politics from Ruining Your Relationships

Psychotherapist and author, Jeanne Safer, PhD, shares strategies and tips for maintaining relationships with your friends and loved ones in spite of political differences. Advice for handling social media and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday are addressed in this conversation that took place just before Election Day in the United States.

Jeanne’s book: I Love You But I Hate Your Politics

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

What do you think? How are you handling political disagreements with your loved ones? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

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 is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their omega-3 supplements for many years and so has my wife. And that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com and brite is intentionally misspelled B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have a warm personal relationship with in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at LCDistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. Here we are coming hard upon election day. And I think most of us have opinions, maybe even all of us, you know the line about opinions. And I had a guest on some time ago who wrote a fascinating, wonderful, absolutely brilliant book entitled I Love You, But I Hate Your Politics. How many of us have people in our lives that that applies to? And then of course there are I hate you and I hate your politics but there’s no book on that. So my guest is Jeanne Safer. A lovely last name, Safer. And she wrote a book called I Love You, But I Hate Your Politics. And you will or may remember Jeanne because we did have her on the podcast around this time last year. Thank you for joining me again, Jeanne.

Jeanne Safer:
I’m delighted to be with you, Ned. And I think there’s no time more important than right now to deal with this issue that destroys relationships. Really [crosstalk 00:02:08] destroys relationship.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, absolutely-

Jeanne Safer:
Because-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And you speak from personal experience because you are a liberal and your husband is a card carrying National Review friend of William F. Buckley conservative as I recall.

Jeanne Safer:
But he’s not a Trump supporter so that has made life a lot easier, I have to say.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good.

Jeanne Safer:
We still don’t agree on anything except Trump.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What percentage of true conservatives, intelligent, true conservatives like your husband, do you think will vote for Trump and what percentage do you think will vote for Biden?

Jeanne Safer:
Now, not voting for Trump doesn’t mean voting for Biden, you have to understand in that [crosstalk 00:02:49]. I would say true conservatives are appalled by Trump because they feel that he’s destroying things that they hold dear. And a good percentage of National Review writers and editors do not agree with Trump. But Rick is not going to vote for Biden, he’s just going to not vote for Trump. So one out of two ain’t bad from what I think.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Will he vote at all?

Jeanne Safer:
Yeah. I don’t know what he’s going to do exactly. But I said to him, “I think you should vote for Biden, we’ve got to do everything we can.” But at this point, and we’ve been married 40 years, and you learn how much to say, if you’re lucky and you work at it, you learn what not to say. And I’m not going to hawk him about voting for Biden, really. As long as he doesn’t vote for Trump that’s all I can ask. It’s been very interesting to hear his point of view on these things because authentic, decent conservatives are outraged by Trump.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I cast my ballot this morning and I sat at my kitchen table and got my paper ballot that came in the mail. And I took my black pen and it brought me back to days when I took those SSATs and SATs and what not and I cast my various votes and then I had to vote on question one and question two in Massachusetts. That was the most perplexing part of the whole thing because it was really hard to figure out exactly what they were all [crosstalk 00:04:22] about.

Jeanne Safer:
Isn’t it? They never explain it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, well they had a long explanation but I couldn’t penetrate that either. But I did cast a ballot for each of those questions. I hope I voted in the right way-

Jeanne Safer:
The right way.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But it was a very satisfying feeling and then I put it in the envelope and signed it and I was bold enough to take it to the mailbox down the street. My wife said, “How can you trust that?” I said, “Well, we have a mailman and I see him empty it and I think he’s going to take it to the town hall like it’s addressed to.” So I trusted the United States Postal Service and dropped my ballot into the blue mailbox and walked away feeling very satisfied that I had voted, exercised my opportunity as a citizen. So-

Jeanne Safer:
Without having to go to the polling place which is also important [crosstalk 00:05:17]-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, exactly. I kept social distanced between me and the mailbox and dropped it in. So what is your advice to people who have good friends who they just, as you say, I love you, but I hate your politics? How do you reconcile that?

Jeanne Safer:
Well my advice to people is, and I know this will shock you, but self control is an awfully important thing in having relationships. Even with people who totally agree with you politically. Why pick a fight? You’re not going to win it, I guarantee you, I can swear to you, you will never win a political fight. They’re not winnable and [inaudible 00:05:59] with that like, “How could you vote for that creep? How can you… ” Hear my voice, right away you’ve lost the other person. Now, you can learn and I have a lot of recommendations about how to learn and based on a lot of my own experience of you can learn to have a political conversation but not if you want to change the other person’s mind.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Why do people not change their minds?

Jeanne Safer:
People do not change their minds because we try to make them. They may change their minds but not because of us. I think of trying to change a person’s mind is very much like trying to get somebody to fall in love with you. Have you ever tried that? I have and I haven’t had very good success. You can’t make somebody feel what they don’t feel. And it’s very hard for us to accept this, it’s really… we can’t bear it. How can this person-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m just going to interrupt you for a second, Jeanne. I have a friend who I’m working closely with on a big project and I’m a Biden supporter and she’s a Trump supporter and she says, “Ned, I think I could convert you.” And I said, “Well [crosstalk 00:07:12] have at it. I’m always open.” So she feels that she can convert me. She’s only got a few days left but I-

Jeanne Safer:
What’s she doing?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I tell my kids when they would say, “We want to have permission to stay up all night.” And I would say, “Well, go ahead and try and persuade me.” Learning how to talk someone into something is a life skill so I’d say, “Go ahead and try. If you can do it, congratulations.” They were never able to do it but at least I honored their attempt to try. And this friend who is very persuasive, I said, “Give it a shot.” But you say it’s an undertaking but you say it’s an undertaking you can never win.

Jeanne Safer:
I do believe that. I really do. I think that it’s possible to open a person’s mind, if they wanted to be open. But in your case, you already knew what you felt and you weren’t going to change it because somebody else was a persuasive person because you weren’t open to the arguments. And I think one of the ways to save relationships with anybody is to know the limits. We don’t agree, even with people who have exactly the same politics, we’re not on agreement about everything important. And I think that is something that people don’t want to hear because, look, Thanksgiving is coming, remember? This is a nightmare because people start all these horrible political fights.

Jeanne Safer:
And one of the pieces of advice that I want to give people is you can say no. You can say, “This is Thanksgiving, let’s talk about anything other than politics.” And everybody will kiss your feet because they feel the same way ultimately. Nobody likes these fights.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. Now, particularly, they come very close equating you’re an evil, despicable person if you hold this point of view.

Jeanne Safer:
Yes. Now, I’ve been fortunate that because I’ve had to be around people who disagree with me about a lot of things that I hold dear for many years because Rick is senior editor of National Review. I’ve been part of National Review, a mascot… I call myself the liberal mascot. I haven’t changed one opinion but I have learned that some of these people are good friends, some of them came through for me when I had cancer, where my liberal friends did not, and they’re sensible people and they have a right to their opinion. And I avoid it like the plague. They ask me all the time, “Well, what do you think about this? What did you think about the supreme court?” I said, “Let’s not.” And I feel delighted that I can say that. I don’t feel a need to convince people who aren’t convincible. And, like you, I convince people for a living, they pay me, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to my friend, the founder and creator of OmegaBrite Wellness, Dr. Carol Locke, about the benefits of taking OmegaBrite’s omega-3s CBD and other supplements. Here’s a clip from one of those conversations. Could you tell us a little bit about the recent study that showed OmegaBrite reduced inflammation and anxiety in medical students?

Dr. Carol Locke:
Yeah. This was a great study, it was done at Ohio State. And it was done on medical students, 68 medical students without any medical problems, done over 12 weeks. And it was a blinded study meaning the researchers and the students did not know if they were taking the OmegaBrite or the dummy capsules. And what it found was a 20% reduction in anxiety and a 14% reduction in the inflammatory cytokine IL-6 so that you had a very powerful benefit from the OmegaBrite shown in this study. And that’s something that people could use right now in their life, reducing their anxiety and stress and inflammation.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction listeners, you can save 20% of your first order at omegabritewellness.com by using the promo code Podcast2020. All right, let’s get back to today’s topic.

Jeanne Safer:
So you were asking before about some tips about how to deal with these fights. So I have some specific ones as well as the basic one of recognizing it’s all based on knowing that you can’t change a person’s mind. That’s the simple logical notion, anymore than you can make a person fall in love with you, can’t be done. And once you realize that, then a lot of other things open up for you. But if you’re in a situation and somebody is goading you to have a political conversation, here’s some things you can do. The first thing is do not raise your voice. As soon as you raise your voice, it’s interpreted as shouting, rational discussion goes out the window. And you have to be conscious of this.

Jeanne Safer:
And one way to not raise your voice is to not drink alcohol before you have the political fight. Then you will raise your voice and then it’s over. I had two guys [crosstalk 00:12:58] delightful guys, who had such a fight over Trump and they were both Trump supporters. They broke each other’s cell phones over this because they had been drinking. Don’t do it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Very good advice.

Jeanne Safer:
Very, very important. And here’s another thing, I created a word which I offer to you to use. I call it article thrusting. Can you [crosstalk 00:13:25] what this is? It’s I take an article from my point of view and there I’m sitting with somebody who disagrees either my spouse at the breakfast table or some friend, and I stick it in their face and I say, “Read this. It’ll change your mind. [crosstalk 00:13:38].” Do you think that ever worked in history?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, no.

Jeanne Safer:
Do you think people do it every single day?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But let me ask you a little bit more less strategic and more underlying question like I’m a rabid Red Sox fan. And I know why that is, I grew up in Cape Cod, my family are Red Sox fans, I went to Fenway part with my father when I was a little boy. It’s perfectly clear to me why I’m a Red Sox fan and why someone who grows up in New York is a rabid Yankees fan and we just stick with our teams. But that’s not true with politics. I grew up in a pretty apolitical family. I think they voted for Eisenhower and Nixon. They were republican if you pushed them but we never talked about politics ever. And it wasn’t until-

Jeanne Safer:
People didn’t.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What? Yeah, it wasn’t until I got to college that politics came on the main stage and it was the height of the Vietnam War, I was in college between ’68 and ’72. And that’s where my political views got formed. And where do you think they come from and why do some people, at a certain age, declare, “I’m conservative. I’m liberal”? And do you think it comes from the background, their socioeconomic status, their being left handed or right handed? Do you have any theories to [crosstalk 00:15:13] where the… what?

Jeanne Safer:
I think it’s a very tough question. Some people identify with their parents as they get older, sometimes people change, by the way. They’ve been liberals, say, most of their lives and when they get older they get conservative because their father or mother was. I had a few couples like that. I have been pretty consistent my whole life but my parents never discussed politics. My mother was a democrat, my father was a republican, I think they both voted for Roosevelt. But political fighting just didn’t happen. But there’s a statistic that might disturb and interest you too. When Rick and I got married which was 1980, if you can imagine that, I was a child bride, when we got married, 20% of people married across party lines. Would you like to know what the figure is now?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What is it?

Jeanne Safer:
Nine and going down.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow.

Jeanne Safer:
So people are never around anybody that disagrees with them.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow, that’s why I love examples like Scalia being best friends with Ginsberg and John Kenneth Galbraith being best friends with William F. Buckley. I just think that’s such a good example that you can be absolutely diametrically opposed to someone philosophically and go out for dinner and to the opera together and be friends. I think we’re losing that ability right now.

Jeanne Safer:
Totally. One interesting thing about Bill Buckley, because I know you have some interest in him, is he was dear friends with Allard Lowenstein who was an extremely liberal congressman. He endorsed him because he thought so highly of his character.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. But now it’s character assassination. I just think that’s really too bad because not everyone who roots for Trump is a bad person and not everyone who roots for Biden is a bad person. You find people equating your worth as a human being with the candidate you’re favoring.

Jeanne Safer:
Well it’s a disaster to me because I’m married to a man who disagrees with me on pretty much everything, I’m pro-choice, he’s pro-life. That’s our biggest problem. Not anymore, I mean, we figured out how not to do it anymore. But, I mean, in every other way he backs me up, he loves me, he reads every word I write, he’s proud of me. I mean, so he’s going to vote a different way and he has a different idea about things. I’ve lived long enough to know that that’s not the only thing in life.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. One of my favorite prayers is… I happen to be a Episcopalian but one of my favorite prayers is Lord, help me always to search for the truth but spare me the company of those who have found it.

Jeanne Safer:
I love that. I wouldn’t a better prayer, Ned.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
There’s too many people out there who have found it and they’re beating each other over the head with it.

Jeanne Safer:
Oh my god. Being so self righteous is just unbearable.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Isn’t it?

Jeanne Safer:
And the right and the left are the same damn thing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, exactly. David [Reisman 00:18:33], years and years ago, wrote a wonderful chapter in his book, the title of the chapter, The Ethics of We Happy Few. And it’s sort of this smug self satisfaction that we know the truth and all the rest of you peons just don’t get it. And that infuriates people and rightly so. Where do you get off claiming that you know and I don’t know? I mean, that’s-

Jeanne Safer:
If you think of the number of people that you have cut out of your life or dismissed before you even know them, who could be true friends to you, who could be intellectual companions, it’s tragic. It’s just tragic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, it is, it is.

Jeanne Safer:
Let’s look for what we have in common. I mean, as a therapist, I have Trump supporters, I have Biden supporters, I have socialists, and I want to know who these people are. I don’t care who they vote for.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, yeah. Me too. And you scratch the surface of any of them and you find a really decent, interesting person.

Jeanne Safer:
Often.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Not always. That’s true.

Jeanne Safer:
I think people need to know that they don’t have to discuss politics if they feel goaded into it by somebody else. You can stop the conversation, you can say, “Look, we’re at Thanksgiving, we’re out for a drink,” whatever, not these days of course, but, “Let’s talk about something else. We’re not going to change each other’s minds here.” Or, “What do you think about this?” Which is very different than saying, “You should think what I think.” So there are ways to have a political discussion but you have to really be a disciplined person to do it. So I’m all for discipline. I don’t say things to people at National Review that I know that we… I know where we stand, how differently we stand. What am I going to do with that? I look for things in common. I look for humanity.

Jeanne Safer:
And I think the last time we talked, I mentioned the test that my husband and I created for with somebody you want in your life. It’s not about politics. It’s called the chemotherapy test. And that is if somebody is standing next to you while you’re getting chemotherapy in the bed, which both of us have been through, you do not ask that person’s political affiliation. [crosstalk 00:21:03]. But when someone shows up for you when you need them, that is a real core value, that’s what counts in character.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely.

Jeanne Safer:
And one of the people who I interviewed had a family, a young woman I’m very fond of, had a family, they were all serious liberals, very, very serious, towards socialism. So when her father died, it was a terrible situation, the only person in the family who helped her was her uncle who had become an evangelical and moved to the south, he was in the military. And she used to fight with him on Facebook, another terrible thing to do. And she did something that is very rare, she wrote him an apology. “I want to tell you I apologize for being obnoxious to you because now I know who you truly are.” A really good example for all of us.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And to watch out for the hypocrisy of the self righteous. I will never forget, I was pulling into a parking spot back in the days when I drove a Suburban, so ecologically wrong, but anyway, I did. And so I needed a big place to park and so I was backing into a spot and this little car snarked in and stole it from me. And she had no right to do it, I had full claim to that spot. But she had a little car and she just stole it outright right from under me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And I wanted to get out and scream at her but I didn’t. But I did happen to notice when I finally did park that she had a bumper sticker on her car that said, “Practice random acts of kindness.” So that was her random act of kindness for the day. And I think that’s the trap many of us liberals fall into, we claim to be so giving and generous but when it comes down to a parking spot that you both want, we’re just as nasty as the other person. And sometimes I think the conservatives are just more honest about self interest and how much it governs behavior.

Jeanne Safer:
Yeah, I think at times they can be, having spent an awful lot of time in that world as a visitor. But human nature, core values, and politics are not the same. It’s a big mistake to make because-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a very good point, that’s a very good point. Underline that, say more about that.

Jeanne Safer:
Well because people that you agree with do not necessarily hold your values.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Exactly.

Jeanne Safer:
They don’t pass the chemotherapy test necessarily. They won’t necessarily be there when you need them. And people who disagree with you can come through for you and once you see that, it breaks the sense of self righteousness that I have the truth and I only want to be around people who have the truth.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Jeanne Safer:
And I’m passionately against Trump. But I’m proud of the fact that I know Trump supporters, some of them are my patients, some of them are my colleagues, and I can have a conversation with them and I’m proud of it because it means I’m an adult and I’ve learned something.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And they’re not evil people.

Jeanne Safer:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You may thoroughly disagree with them but they’re not evil people.

Jeanne Safer:
Absolutely not. Now there’s some people on the right and some on the left that I think are monstrous. Anybody who… violence, right or left, is on my list.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, exactly.

Jeanne Safer:
But most people are not like that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, no exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I want to tell you about Landmark College in beautiful Putney, Vermont. It is the best college in the world for students who learn differently, with ADHD, for other learning differences, or autism spectrum disorder. It’s fully accredited, not-for-profit offering bachelor’s and associate degrees, bridge programs, online dual enrollment courses for high school students and summer programs. They use a strength based model at Landmark which, as you know, is the model I certainly have developed and subscribed to to give students the skills and strategies they need to achieve their goals in life and really expand upon what they believe they’re capable of doing. It is just a wonderful, wonderful place and I can’t say enough good about it. I, myself, have an honorary degree from Landmark College of which I am very proud. Landmark College in Putney, Vermont is the college of choice for students who learn different. To learn more, go to LCDistraction.org. That’s LCDistraction.org. Okay, let’s get back to today’s topic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Most of us would be willing to do almost anything to preserve freedom for everybody. I just love the title of your book and I love how you’ve lived it in a marriage. You love Rick and [crosstalk 00:26:31]-

Jeanne Safer:
That’s why I offered to write it because I really do love him and I hate his politics. But only on certain issues do I hate them. But you need to be able to live in the world with other people, otherwise we turn into two countries and that’s a disaster and it’s tragic how much it’s happened. I hope this next election will change that a little bit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh it’s got to because we really need to come back together. I mean, we really need to create a culture of forgiveness, not accusation and understanding, not preempting the other person’s right to have an opinion different from ours. It’s…

Jeanne Safer:
I like the idea of forgiveness as a goal. This kind of forgiveness, I really do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, absolutely. I wrote a whole book about forgiveness and one of the main points was forgiveness [crosstalk 00:27:23] is a gift… Yeah, I know, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, that you rid yourself of the hold that anger and resentment have over you. What was the title of your book about forgiveness?

Jeanne Safer:
Forgiving and Not Forgiving because I also-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Forgiving and Not Forgiving.

Jeanne Safer:
[crosstalk 00:27:39] that there are some situations in which you don’t have to forgive. You can have a resolution without forgiveness. So that’s my-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You never have to forgive. Some people go through…

Jeanne Safer:
You don’t have to forgive in order to work through something. That doesn’t mean that forgiveness is not very precious and important. I [crosstalk 00:27:58]-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But I don’t define forgiveness as condoning the deed that was done. You can abhor the deed that was doe. But you renounce the hold that anger and resentment have over you.

Jeanne Safer:
Well my position was that you could renounce anger and resentment without forgiving. I think image is based very much in a religious context and people feel terrible, they say, “I’m not angry anymore but I don’t feel forgiveness to my father who beat me every day of my life.” And I say, “Okay, you don’t hate him. You won. You don’t hate him anymore.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How do you deal with disagreements in social media like Facebook? There are lots of nasty exchanges and unfriending happening on social media these days.

Jeanne Safer:
I counsel people to never have a fight on social media. It’s a disaster. It can ruin your relationship with your grandmother, with your children, awful, because people are uninhibited on social media and they say things that they can’t undue. Like my friend who was saying things to her uncle that she found, “Oh my god. I’ve said that this man’s horrible and he’s my only friend in the family.” Never read anything that somebody that you know disagrees with you writes on social media because you’ll be tempted to get into an argument. You have to use self control as I said before. And then you can have a relationship, otherwise you can’t.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. It’s one of those things where being right is so overrated.

Jeanne Safer:
Oh my goodness, absolutely.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How about advice for our listeners as we head into the upcoming election and the fallout afterwards?

Jeanne Safer:
Well, things keep changing. Whoever wins, there’ll be another change later. Politics changes all the time. Try hard not to be bitter about if your side doesn’t win and try not to be too delighted around people who lost if your side wins.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Jeanne Safer:
That’s my main piece of advice. Thanksgiving is coming after the election. You’re going to have to sit around the table, very likely, with people who look the other way. So one thing not do is say, “I am so glad your side lost.” What do you think [crosstalk 00:30:30].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s obvious but a lot of people will be saying exactly that.

Jeanne Safer:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
They’ll be saying, “Na, na, na, na.”

Jeanne Safer:
Listen to me now and put it in your head to not do this because otherwise when you’re there, you’ll do it and if somebody does it to you, deflect it. Say, “Let’s not get into that.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Really, exactly.

Jeanne Safer:
Right? “Let’s pray for the president to do well, whoever he is. And bring the world a little bit more together.” And one time I was at a party where people were starting to fight and I was a guest there, I wasn’t the host. And I said, “Excuse me, could we please stop this?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good for you.

Jeanne Safer:
Being a therapist gives you a certain ability to do that. I said, “What are we doing here?” [crosstalk 00:31:18] at a party, what are you talking about, why are you screaming at each other?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And they just want to get along.

Jeanne Safer:
I give everybody the permission to intervene and stop it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, absolutely. Well I’m inviting you to my Thanksgiving dinner party, that’s for sure.

Jeanne Safer:
I’ll come into New York to come to it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You’re a godsend, Jeanne Safer. And your book, one of your many books, I must say, but the book we talked about today, I Love You, But I Hate Your Politics. And Jeanne Safer, you’re a lovely lady to talk to and I can’t thank you enough. You have to promise to come back on ext election year, okay?

Jeanne Safer:
Absolutely. Delighted, and any time you want to have me, give a call.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well thanks so much. That’s going to do it for today. And as always, please reach out to us at [email protected] That’s [email protected] Write in with your show ideas, if you like Jeanne Safer, and I’m sure you did, tell us that and tell us who else you’d like us to have on, what other topics, ideas, thoughts. Please, we are guided by you 100% and we depend upon your feedback. So [email protected] And please remember to like Distraction on social media and check out my videos, I’ve just started doing videos on TikTok, can you imagine that? Only not too long I didn’t know what TikTok was. And now if you go there, you’ll see eight or nine videos that I made. The handle is @drhallowell on TikTok, @drhallowell. And let me know what you think of those too, please. I’d love to hear from you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay, Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the amazingly talented Scott Persson, that’s with two Ss. And our producer is the also amazingly talented Sarah Guertin, rhymes with curtain but it’s spelled G-U-E-R-T-I-N. And I am Dr. Ned Hallowell which is spelled phonetically. Thank you so much for joining me. Look forward to hearing you, seeing you soon. Bye-bye.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just hear was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at omegabrite and that’s B-R-I-T-E, wellness.com.

Share:
How to Manage Racing Thoughts and Idea Overload

How to Manage Racing Thoughts and Idea Overload

The best part and the worst part about having ADHD might be all of the thoughts and ideas that are generated, according to Dr. H. Racing thoughts and/or having an abundance of ideas is common for those with ADHD. But how do you manage all of them? Ned offers several suggestions for organizing your thoughts and keeping track of all of those great ideas. But he cautions listeners to recognize that you can’t accomplish every idea you have, so it’s important to prioritize them.

Keep listening after this episode for a special segment with Dr. Carol Locke, Ned’s friend and the founder of OmegaBrite Wellness for 5 ways to help manage stress. Learn more HERE. Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

Do you have a question for Dr. H that you’d like him to address in a future episode? Send it to [email protected].

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 is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years, and so has my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com, and brite is intentionally misspelled B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have warm personal relationship with, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Hello, and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you for joining me today for a mini-episode. People love the mini-episodes because they’re quick, they’re short, and that’s the world we live in, quick and short and to the point. We received a question from a listener that I think many of our listeners will be able to relate to, so I wanted to share it with you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It goes like this. “Hi there, Distraction team.” Smile.” Wanted to get advice on having lots of ideas. I wake up and meditate most mornings. So even if I get my mind quieted, it can still get racing and come up with lots and lots of good ideas. I write them down, but there are just so many that I end up feeling bad about not pursuing most of them, or they lead to the feeling of never achieving enough. I obviously need more self-acceptance, but any advice on how to best approach tackling large amounts of ideas and things to do? I use the TickTick app, and it’s great, but still doesn’t help with the output of my brain. Love the podcast. Kiran.” Well, Kiran, thank you very much for that note, and what you describe is the blessing and the curse of ADHD. The great thing about it is we have so much going on and the curse about it is we have so much going on.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Our brains I often compare to a popcorn machine, just pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, ideas popping all the time. They come in bunches like bananas. We’re just surrounded by all these bananas and all these popped popcorns. Whatever analogy you want to use, we have an abundance of ideas, and you have to be grateful because contrast that to people who have what I call attention surplus disorder, they almost never have a new idea. They come by and see you surrounded by all these bananas and popcorn and they say, “Oh my gosh, where did all those come from? I never have any of those. I have no bananas and no popcorn.” And they just never, rarely, have a new idea. And you say to them, “Fine. Take them, please. I’ve got too many of them. I don’t know what to do with them.” So that’s one solution, is to share them with other people who need them and get a team of people to implement your ideas and share the credit for them.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If you grow my idea, I’ll share it with you. Because often those folks, the ones who can’t come up with new ideas, are good at growing them. They’re good at taking them and developing them and turning them into a business or turning them into a piece of art or turning them into a new line of clothing, or turning them into a well tilled garden. Whatever the project might happen to be, if you can find someone who’s good sweating details with attention surplus disorder, you and that person can make an excellent team. They can take your new ideas, sort through them, and they’re good at prioritizing while you’re not, you can dump 25 ideas on them and they’ll pick out the one or two that stand the best chance of succeeding, and then they’ll get to work on it. And you can just keep up more bananas and more popcorn, and just keep feeding your good attention surplus friend, partner your ideas.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a really good recipe for success. Most of the successful adults I know who have ADD have someone, an admin assistant, a partner, a mate, a favorite employee, somebody who’s the chief implementer, the one who makes things happen and gets things done. And so that’s a really good team. As for you yourself, you’ve hit upon a very good strategy, which is writing things down. And once they’re written down, they don’t disappear. So even if you say, “God, I had a great idea. What was it?” Well, you can say, “Well, I’ll just look at my little journal where I keep my ideas in, my idea bin, and I’ll be able to retrieve it.” Be grateful that you have this copious, fertile, fecund imagination. Be grateful, but at the same time understand that you can’t do everything. Don’t become the victim of your own enthusiasm. Nobody can do everything. Nobody is obliged to do all that they could do. Just do enough to keep yourself satisfied and in the game, as I like to say.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
A great life is staying in the game until your life is over. The victories and the defeats will happen. They’re part of the game, but the definition of a great life I think is finding a game you love to play and then playing it until you can play it no more. That’s my answer to your question, Kiran. I hope it makes sense to you. I hope the rest of you will send us your questions and ideas, because we really love to get them. Keep listening after this episode for a new paid feature from our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. Dr. Carol Locke, the company’s founder, will share some key information about how Omega-3s, CBD, and other supplements can help with issues like anxiety, inflammation, depression, and a host of other issues.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Remember to reach out to us with your questions, thoughts, and show ideas. Send an email or a voice memo to [email protected], and check us out on social media. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We’re trying to build a new presence there, so please help us do that. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer and editor is Scott Persson with two Ss. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell. Goodbye for now.

Dr. Carol Locke:
This is Dr. Carol Locke, and I am here with five ways to reduce stress. It’s going to be a tough week that we’re facing with the election on top of everything else. So here are five easy things that you can do to reduce stress and get through any tough time. Number one is get up and move. Moving is so important. It activates the brain and it releases BDNF, brain derived neurotrophic factor, which increases our brain’s ability to connect to new learning, to neuroplasticity, reduces depression, anxiety, and increases your resilience. Number two is compassionate mindfulness. This is an exercise where you close your eyes, and then you imagine someone that you have a very positive relationship with. And then you imagine you’re sending good will, good wishes to help them through some difficult obstacle in their life. We know from research done at University of Wisconsin that increasing our ability to have compassion, feel compassion and caring, increases our overall sense of well-being and positivity.

Dr. Carol Locke:
Number three is limit social media. How can you do that? Well, if you’re on Twitter all the time, you can take Twitter off your phone. This will make you have to go to your computer to check and you can set a time that you need to check. If you’re just checking other social media, you can set a time each day that you’ll check in with social media and the news and check out. Number four is laughter. Laughing is super important. It increases the blood flow to your brain, relaxes your body, and causes a release of oxytocin, the feel good hormone that gives you a tremendous sense of well-being. So schedule a time to laugh every day. Number five is you can take a supplement called OmegaBrite. OmegaBrite is an Omega-3, high EPA supplement that I developed while I was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School. OmegaBrite has been shown to reduce anxiety by 20% in healthy adults in a double blind placebo controlled trial by Ohio State. So this is an important way that you can add health and reduce your anxiety, reduce your stress every day, by simply taking OmegaBrite.

Dr. Carol Locke:
If you’d like to learn more about these five ways of reducing stress or about the study on OmegaBrite by Ohio State, you can go to our website at omegabritewellness.com/reduced stress. That’s O-M-E-G-A-B-R-I-T-E wellness.com/reduced stress. This is Dr. Carol Locke. Stay safe, stay well.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at OmegaBrite, and that’s B-R-I-T-E, wellness.com.

Share:
ADHD Questions About Diagnosis, Medications, Doctor Disagreements & Helping Family Understand

ADHD Questions About Diagnosis, Medications, Doctor Disagreements & Helping Family Understand

What does it mean when you’re one symptom short of an ADHD diagnosis? Dr. H answers this and other listener questions including the difference between short-acting and long-acting medications, how to explain ADHD to family members, and what to do when your child doesn’t like their doctor.

Do you have a question for Dr. Hallowell that you’d like him to address in a future episode? Send it to [email protected].

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes their supplements every day. 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 is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years, and so has my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com and Brite is intentionally misspelled B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have a warm personal relationship with in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. I’ll be answering in today’s session your questions and responding to emails we’ve received recently from many of you. Remember, if you have a question you’d like me to answer, please, please, please send it to [email protected] That’s [email protected] We love these Q and A sessions. Of course, we can’t have them without your questions. So off we go. Off we go to the races. Let’s get started. My wonderful producer, the inimitable Sarah Guertin is joining me now to read your questions to me, as well as your comments. And so let me ask Sarah, the wonderful, wonderful Sarah, who are we starting with today?

Sarah Guertin:
Hi, Ned. Today, we are starting with an email from a listener named Tim. Tim wrote to us in response to the episode we released about an ADHD diagnosis being good news, and he wrote: Hi, Dr. Hallowell. I haven’t technically received a diagnosis of ADHD, but the process wasn’t good news for me. After struggling and underperforming through grade school, community college, and university finally earning my bachelor’s degree six years after graduating high school, I finally had myself tested for ADHD when I was put on academic probation after my first semester in grad school. I was told that I was one self-reported symptom short of a diagnosis of ADHD. They found that I had a good IQ, but my working memory and processing speed scores were three standard deviations below my other scores. My university was unwilling to allow me any accommodations. And the representative told me that, “No one was going to feel sorry for me if I was able to get a bachelor’s degree.”

Sarah Guertin:
I later worked with a psychiatrist that allowed me to give ADHD medication a try, but they didn’t seem to help me. This was around 2003, and they had unpleasant side effects. A few years later, I tried treating my dysthymia pharmacologically, and that didn’t seem to help either. I’ve worked with a few different therapists over the years and have made only a little progress on that. I currently take dextroamphetamine because of daytime sleepiness associated with insomnia and sleep apnea that is not treated well by APAP/CPAP. The dextroamphetamine sort of helps the attention piece a little, but also makes me more distracted in other ways. Anyways, the point is that the news isn’t always good, but maybe that is just because I didn’t get a clear ADHD (VAST) diagnosis. Take care, Tim.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, thank you so much, Tim. For people listening VAST is the term that John Ratey and I came up with in our new book for ADHD because ADHD itself is so inaccurate. VAST stands for Variable Attention Stimulus Trait. Tim, yes, what you suffered is not good news. What you’ve suffered is terrible news. It reflects both how difficult it can be to have ADHD or VAST, but also how hard it is to get competent help. I mean, the idea that you were one self-reported symptom short of a diagnosis is ridiculous. It’s like my friend and colleague, John Ratey, kids, “If you’re one symptom short of a diagnosis of depression what does that mean? You’re just miserable.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I mean, these diagnostic criteria are not supposed to be taken that literally so it’s hard and fast if you have five symptoms, you don’t have it. If you have six symptoms, you do. Technically, that’s the definition, but a true evaluation, a good evaluation is based on the totality of your presentation. What are you struggling with? And how long have you been struggling with it? And how intense is it? And these are not amenable to being so concrete that you say, “Well, you have five symptoms. You don’t have it. You have six symptoms. You do have it.” That’s just not right. You were suffering and you were not given any help. The idea that no one was going to feel sorry for me if I was able to get a bachelor’s degree that’s also absurd.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
There are plenty of high achievers who have ADHD. I have any number of physicians in my practice. There is a Nobel Prize winner who has ADHD. You can be a CEO, a self-made millionaire, or billionaire, and have this condition. So the fact that you were able to get a bachelor’s degree doesn’t mean you don’t have ADHD. Again, we’re dealing with misconceptions. It breaks my heart to see how hard you’ve been trying, which is also typical of folks who have ADHD, not getting the right help. In fact, getting wrong help. I don’t know about the medications that you were given, but if my guess is right you weren’t given the full range of possibilities vis-a-vis medication. Now, medication does not always work. It does work about 80% of the time and by work, I mean, you get target symptom improvement, improved efficiency, improved focus, improved performance with no side effects other than appetite suppression without weight loss.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
In my own case, meds don’t work. I’m one of the 20% for whom meds don’t work, but I have found a medication that I like, namely, coffee. So I have my coffee every day, and that’s my version of stimulant medication. I think if you were to work with a psychiatrist who really understood the condition, and if you were given help beyond simply try this medication. If you were given some education, some coaching so you could have a fuller understanding of what your strengths and vulnerabilities are then you could maximize the strengths and minimize the vulnerabilities, but you need to find somebody who really gets this. I refer you to my book Delivered from Distraction. If you read that you’ll know enough to be able to actually teach whoever you go to see and you’ll know what the various meds are, but also what are the non-medication interventions that are available, and there are many of them.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We’ve talked on this program before about the Zing program. And if you want to learn about that go to distraction.zingperformance.com, Z-I-N-G performance.com. And it’s just a series of physical exercises that stimulate the cerebellum, which in turn is connected to the frontal part of the brain where the action is in ADHD. My buddy, John Ratey, has written a whole book about how physical exercise, just exercise in general can help with ADHD. And we know also that meditation can help. I’m a big fan of promoting finding some creative outlet, something where you can use your imagination to create, build, or develop something. That’s something that the reason I write so many books. I’m starting my 21st book is not because I’m ambitious to write books it’s because if I don’t have a book going I get depressed. I need a creative outlet to keep me to keep me going.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, long-winded, but yes, this condition undealt with can be horrible, but if you find someone who can guide you to deal with it properly, you can tap into your superpower. You can tap into your unique talents, and your special abilities, which we all have. It can take some doing, some scratching, some probing, some trying, and failing to find what are your special talents and abilities. Tim, don’t give up. It’s not like people with ADD to give up, but I’m sorry you had that negative experience. I’m sorry you’ve had the bad news side of ADHD. Let’s see if you can get some help and get to the good news part of it. Thanks so much for writing in. Sarah, do we have another one?

Sarah Guertin:
We sure do. Actually, it ties into what you were just saying. This one is about changing careers from a listener named Sarah. She asks: Can you do a podcast about ADHD-ers who want to change fields or careers? I have tried to switch a few times with no success. I have never been “happy” in a job. I have an enormous amount of student debt to pay off, which weighs on me every single day of my life. I would like to find something I can be happy doing day in and day out. Like you, Dr. Hallowell, I’m a writer at heart and I am depressed when I don’t have a creative outlet. My husband has even said, “You are so much happier when you write.” With three school-aged kids it’s very hard to find the time for all the things to keep us healthy, exercise, cooking, et cetera, and sane. I’m not a novelist yet. How do you find the time?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, Sarah, as one writer to another my heart goes out to you. I mean, you’ve got to make money, and it’s very hard to make money as a writer. So for now I would put the writing under the category of hobby, avocation. It’s probably not going to pay you what you need to make right off the bat. So you want to find a job that is at the intersection of three circles. One circle are things you really like to do. The other circle are things that you’re very good at doing. And the third circle are things that someone will pay you to do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So where those three circles overlap, what I call your sweet spot, that’s where you ought to be spending as much of your time as you possibly can. Just sit down at the kitchen table with your husband because we’re not good self-observers. We so often sell ourselves short. Make a list. What do I like to do? And then another list. What am I good at doing? And see where those two lists over overlap. And then the third one. Okay, given these overlaps, which one of them will pay enough to make it worth my while, worth the time I put in? And I know you can find probably a few things in there where you can try to get a job in that overlap in your sweet spot.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And then for the writing, I would recommend you get it’s a very short book. I can’t remember the author’s name, but it’s This Year You Write Your Novel. It’s a very short book and it’s very practical. It’s written by a man who’s written 20 books so he knows what he’s talking about. I’m just going on my cell phone to see if I can find the actual … Here we go. This Year You Write Your Novel. Okay? The author is Walter Mosley, M-O-S-L-E-Y. It’s in paperback. It sells for $15.99. I can tell you it’s money well-spent for you. This Year You Write Your Novel.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Basically, what he recommends is that you write for an hour a day. Now you may not be able to find an hour a day. I think he’d approve if you put in a half an hour a day, but that’s how you do it. You find the time. You create the time. And then you protect that time religiously. And it gets so you really look forward to it. And even if you spent the half hour staring out the window, you’ve committed to doing it. Since you’re a writer at heart, I love your phrase, I’m a writer at heart and depressed when you don’t write, you got to write. Just don’t think that it’s going to pay your bills right off the bat. Now the day may come when it does pay your bills.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
One of the main reasons I went to medical school is I didn’t want to put all my financial eggs in the basket of becoming a successful writer. And it took me a while before my book started paying me, but now they do, and they’ve helped me put my kids through college. I’ve achieved my dream, but my primary job is being a doctor is helping people. I specialize as you know in this condition, ADHD, terrible name, but that’s what they call it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I hope this answer helps. Try to find a job that’s in your sweet spot, the overlap of what you’re good at, what you like to do, and what someone will pay you to do. And then have your writing. Don’t give up on it. Absolutely have it. Commit to it at least a half hour a day, ideally, an hour a day, and get Walter Mosley’s book This Year You Write Your Novel. I want you to come back to me, please. Let me know how you did with this. Congratulations, Sarah. Don’t give up on your dream. Okay. We’re going to pause for a little break right here to hear from one of our sponsors.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
OmegaBrite, omegabritewellness.com has been a sponsor of this podcast for I don’t know how long. I invited them to join us because my wife, Sue, and I have taken their Omega-3 supplements for years and years and years. I’ve known Carol Locke, the woman who developed all the products for many years. She’s a graduate of Harvard Medical School and a superb physician, and incredibly careful with the products that her company creates. She has extremely high standards that are uncompromising. She’s also a really nice person. They’re a natural fit for the show because their products help with mood regulation, anxiety, as well as focus and attention, as well as being good for your entire body their powerful anti-inflammatory action. You can find all of their supplements online at omegabrite B-R-I-T-E wellness.com. That’s omegabritewellness.com. And Distraction listeners you can save 20% on your first order by entering the promo code Podcast2020. That’s Podcast2020. All right. Now, back to the show. All right, this next question comes from Kristen. Sarah, you want to read it?

Sarah Guertin:
Sure. She writes: Hi Dr. Hallowell. My son is moderately gifted, IQ approximately 135, so nothing profound. I would think he hits about six to seven check marks for inattentive ADHD. It does definitely affect him at home and at school. He gets pretty stressed about writing, prioritizing, organizing, planning, ignoring distractions, et cetera, but because he is gifted, he seems pretty average to the teachers. Just seems to “need a bit of help to stay on task.” He is going into grade five in Canada, but he does like school so that’s good. He does have some success there, thank goodness. He has accelerated by one grade for math.

Sarah Guertin:
At home, he has a hard time following more than two-step directions, forgets what he was going to do, avoids hard stuff, emotional regulation is difficult and can be quite extreme, et cetera. Basically, I am on the verge of considering medication. I will see how this year goes. I just wonder if these struggles are holding him back from his potential. Kristen notes that her son has had an assessment and that he scored well on all tests, including working memory, but he was in the clinical range for visual attention, and visual-motor processing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good job with that visual-motor pronunciation.

Sarah Guertin:
I looked it up.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Visual-motor. Well, okay. Kristin, 135 is more than moderately gifted. “IQ approximately 135, so nothing profound.” That’s profound. 135 is real good and it’s certainly the top one or 2%, so I think he is indeed at least on the basis of IQ a gifted kid. You said in your letter, “Basically, I am on the verge of considering medication.” That makes it sound like it’s some kind of last-ditch intervention. Medication used properly is very safe and very effective. Putting it off it’s like saying, “Why don’t I do a year or two of squinting before I get eyeglasses?” Medication is proven to be effective in 80% of cases. Effective means you get results and you don’t have side effects. 20% it doesn’t work, but 80% is a pretty good batting average.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And it makes no sense to defer hoping that the non-medication interventions will take care of it because the non-medication interventions become far more effective if the person is on medication that works. In other words, you can do all the coaching, and organizing, and planning that are part of the non-medication interventions far more effectively if you’re taking a medication that is helping you. So I would absolutely get my doctor to give my son a trial of Ritalin, or Adderall, whichever he or she likes to prescribe. Make the trial involved enough so you don’t just try one dose of one medication. You try various doses of one from the amphetamine category, and one from the methylphenidate category. The holding off on medication is real common. People have a tendency to think of it as an extreme intervention and it isn’t. It’s not surgery. It’s not last-ditch when all else has failed. Unfortunately, that’s the way a lot of people approach it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If they approached it more like, okay, let’s get the proven intervention, namely medication, and then do all the rest you’d get much better results with a lot less heartache and struggle. People talk about the side effects of medication, and all those side effects can be controlled simply by lowering the dose, changing the medication, or discontinuing it altogether, but what they really ought to talk about are the side effects of not taking the medication. Year after year after year of underachievement, of frustration, of knowing you could be doing better if only you could get the mental eyeglasses that medication can provide. I hope you’ll give that some thought. Please do get back to us. We love to get follow-up emails from these calls. Okay, Miss Sarah, do we have another one in our mailbag?

Sarah Guertin:
We certainly do. We have lots of parents this week. You can tell it’s back to school time, but this next email comes from Lisa, who is the mother of a 12-year-old girl in the seventh grade. Her daughter was diagnosed with ADHD in the second grade, but didn’t start medication until fifth grade. She writes: Please share more on the psychiatry of ADHD medications, and interaction with the brain. My very specific question is about why a 10 milligram methylphenidate seems to be more effective than the fancy slow-release Concerta. What are the risks of me sending methylphenidate to school for my immature 12-year-old to take at lunch hour? (I heard kids sell them). Thank you again for all you do to help me learn to be the best mom I can for my challenging child. Lisa.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, thank you so much, Lisa, for writing in. 12-year-girl in the seventh grade. You got the diagnosis in the second grade, but didn’t start medication until the fifth grade. That’s sort of in keeping with the previous call. There’s a tendency to put off starting medication, which again, I don’t think makes much sense. Everyone does it so don’t feel bad. Everyone thinks that medication is this last-ditch intervention, but it really isn’t. It’s a first-ditch intervention. At least I think it ought to be because there’s very little downside. The meds work right away, and if you don’t like what they do you stop it. That’s only common sense. And if you do like what it does, you say hooray, and you continue it. And that whole process can take a week. You can really find out pretty quickly if the meds are going to be helpful or not. Sometimes more than a week, maybe a month, but it is a process of trial and error.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now, your specific question, why does 10 milligrams of methylphenidate seem more effective than Concerta, which is a slow-release medication? The short answer is we don’t know, but specifically with Concerta, it may very well be if you’re taking the generic Concerta that the osmotic pump, the generic manufacturer didn’t get it right. Concerta was the first long-acting medication we had. And when it went generic, all of a sudden people were saying, “My Concerta doesn’t work anymore.” And that’s because the osmotic pump, which was developed at MIT, and allowed for the medication to be slow-release, a lot of the generic manufacturers didn’t get it right. They didn’t know how to technologically reproduce the original Concerta so all of a sudden people were getting different generic formulations that suddenly didn’t work so that could be why.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now there are other slow-release forms of methylphenidate. There’s Ritalin LA, for example. LA stands for long-acting. And if you want a long-acting formulation, I would suggest giving that a try, or trying a different generic of Concerta, or trying brand name Concerta because there’s a distinct advantage to not having to bring your medication to school. Most schools will not allow kids to bring it in for one of the reasons being you already cited that some kids sell their medication. Some kids lose it. Some kids pass it around to friends just to see what it does. You know how kids are with experimentation. That’s dangerous. You don’t want to be doing that. So I would not have my son or daughter bring their medication in their pocket to school.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What schools do do is you can give it to the school nurse and she can dispense the medication. Now that’s inconvenient. The child has to go to the school nurse at recess, or lunchtime, and a lot of people don’t want to do that. So I think it’s worth it for you to hunt down a long-acting methylphenidate that does work. And don’t forget if you don’t find a methylphenidate, there’s always amphetamine, Adderall, or Vyvanse the long-acting version. Adderall XR, extended-release, or Vyvanse.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What can you do to be the best mom you can be? Learn all you can about ADHD. My most recent book is Delivered from Distraction. There’s a ton of information in there. Superparenting for ADD is another book that is worth it. And there are many others out there by many other authors. This field has become richly written about, which is great. And you might subscribe to the wonderful magazine ADDitude. That’s A-D-D-I-T-U-D-E. Terrific, terrific magazine full of really good articles every month that it comes out. I hope this answers your questions. I’m just looking back and trying to see. I think I addressed it, but the main thing you can do for your daughter is to love her, which you’re already doing. Sorry about that. My cell phone just went off. The producer always tells me to turn off my cell phone and, of course, I forget. And so then I will get my wrist slapped during the break for not turning off my cell phone.

Sarah Guertin:
Everyone knows your ringtone.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Anyway, I’m sorry for that interruption. There’s methylphenidate and there’s amphetamine. Those are the two molecules that comprise the bulk of the stimulant medications that we use to treat this condition. And it is a matter of trial and error. You can’t predict which one will work best for any given child, but it’s worth trying a few before you give up, different doses, and different formulations. As I said, the best thing you can do for her is love her, and you know that. Provide structure. Provide a routine. Provide what her brain usually doesn’t do so very easily.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And make her feel proud of having it. The more successes she experiences, the more she feels proud of having the imagination I’m pretty sure she’s got. Having the kind of spontaneity, the kind of humor, all her quirkiness make her feel proud of because she should be proud of it. We need this in today’s world. These are the people that make the changes that bring us what we’re hoping for. Anyway, Lisa, thanks so much for writing and please give us follow-up. We love hearing about what happens to the people that our listeners write in about.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I want to tell you about Landmark College in beautiful Putney, Vermont. It is the best college in the world for students who learn differently, with ADHD, for other learning differences, or autism spectrum disorder. It’s fully accredited not-for-profit offering bachelor’s and associate degrees, bridge programs, online dual-enrollment courses for high school students and summer programs. They use a strength-based model at Landmark, which as you know is the model that I certainly have developed and subscribe to, to give students the skills and strategies they need to achieve their goals in life and really expand upon what they believe they’re capable of doing. It is just a wonderful, wonderful place, and I can’t say enough good about it. I myself have an honorary degree from Landmark College of which I am very proud. Landmark College in Putney, Vermont is the college of choice for students who learn differently. To learn more, go to lcdistraction.org. That’s lcdistraction.org. Okay, let’s get back to today’s topic. So do we have another email?

Sarah Guertin:
We have a couple more here. This next one comes from Tricia and she writes: I enjoy listening to your podcast to help me learn more about how I can help my 11-year-old son use his ADHD superpowers. I have read your Driven to Distraction book as well. Where we struggle is explaining his brain to the grandparents that don’t see him on a day-to-day basis to know how to deal with, or understand his behaviors. They are used to the other grandkids that are very organized and even keel with their emotions. Do you know of a concise general resource that we could point them to so they can better understand and appreciate his unique brain?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, this is common. Grandparents, and people who didn’t grow up with ADD as part of the lexicon often get grumpy about it and say, “What is this nonsense? All he needs is more discipline.” And that’s simply wrong. It’s understandable because they don’t know what they don’t know, but they need to know what they need to know. Now it’s hard to educate your parents. As people get older and more fixed in their ways, they become less open to hearing the truth. So how do you present to them the truth? Sometimes you can’t do it as their child. So sometimes you rely on a book, and the book I would give them would be not Driven to Distraction, but Delivered from Distraction because it has newer stuff in it. The first chapter is called The Skinny: Read this if you can’t read the whole book, so get them to read the highlights.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now, if they’re willing to listen to you, and if you’ve read it, just explain to them. Keep it simple. The analogy that I like best is the one that I use most often. Having this condition is like having a Ferrari engine for a brain, but with bicycle brakes. It’s not hard to understand that analogy. You’ve got a powerful, powerful brain, a powerful imagination. Your challenge is in controlling it. It’s not easy to control the power of the brain that you’ve got so you need help in strengthening your brakes. That’s a pretty good analogy, and the grandparents should be able to understand that. And the way to strengthen your brakes is not to punish or shame the child. In fact, that’s the worst thing you can do, but to support and give structure.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And when they screw up, say “Your brakes failed you.” You see, because that’s not shaming. There’s no shame in my brakes failed me. It’s a mechanical problem. So I got to work on my brakes. Okay, now how do I do that? Well, I exercise. Maybe I take medication. Maybe I practice more. Maybe I work with a coach, or some teacher. Maybe I get extra help. Maybe I eat right, get enough sleep, not too many video games. These are all ways of strengthening my brakes. And if grandma and grandpa can reinforce that, then that’s so much better than undermining it with grumpy remarks about all he needs, or she needs is more discipline.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Telling someone with ADD to try harder, or get more discipline is about as helpful as telling someone who’s nearsighted to squint harder. It’s antediluvian. It misses the biological science, the point. And even though we live in an age that people are not always receptive to science, we ought to be because science means knowledge, and knowledge is powerful. Lack of knowledge on the other hand is hugely destructive. So try to go with knowledge and science, and try to help your parents help their grandchildren. Grandparents are the greatest blessing next to dogs God ever created. And so let your child’s grandparents live up to the blessing that they have to offer. Thanks so much for writing in.

Sarah Guertin:
Okay. We have one more and it, too, is from a mom. Her name is Denise and she wrote: Good afternoon, Dr. Hallowell. I have enjoyed your books and podcasts for many years now as my husband and I are learning how to help our 13-year-old son with ADHD. My son has been under the care of a child/adolescent psychiatrist since he was nine years old when he was started on Concerta. In the recent 12 months, my son is not liking his doctor. My son describes him as confrontational, and he feels like the doctor is trying to make him mad, or put him down.

Sarah Guertin:
I have a professional relationship with the doctor and have subtly brought up the fact that my son does not like coming to see him recently in hopes that things would improve, but they have not. I would very much like my son to have someone he likes to talk to and can connect with, a physician, therapist, or social worker. These teen years are hard, and I know my son is frustrated with his ADHD. I’m writing to see if you know of any child/adolescent psychiatrists, or therapists in the Chicago area. With much gratitude for your work and positivity in the area of ADHD. Warmly, Denise.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, Denise, it is very important that your son like his doctor. Everything will go better. The meds will work better. The interventions will work better. Your son will feel better about himself. And if he’s come to a point where it’s time to part ways with this doctor it doesn’t mean the doctor is bad it just means the chemistry. People leave me because they don’t like me. It happens to all of us. It doesn’t mean we’re bad doctors. We can’t be liked and appreciated by every single person who comes to see us. Just like you can’t like every food, or you can’t like every movie you see. There’s an element of chemistry in the doctor-patient relationship that you really need to respect.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The doctor won’t take it personally. If the doctor is being unpleasant to your son your doctor probably doesn’t like seeing him either. So if you leave him, he’ll probably be relieved. He probably knows that their relationship has gone a little bit sour. Again, no bad guy here. It just happens in doctor-patient relationships. It happens in clergy-parishioner relationships. It happens with merchants. You have a merchant that you’ve always liked and suddenly you’re not getting along with the merchant, or the plumber, or the gas station person. You have people that you’re working well with, and then you’re not. And rather than getting mad, and pushing forward move on. Fortunately, there are many doctors in the Chicago area. Plus your son will be relieved that you’re listening to him that you’re understanding what he’s saying and just say, “Well, this doctor helped us for a while. Now we’ll find another doctor who can meet you more on your terms and get along with.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I don’t have a specific referral in Chicago, but I can tell you the best psychiatrist in the world, in my opinion, is the head of child psychiatry at Northwestern. His name is John Walkup, like you walkup to a store. W-A-L-K-U-P. John Walkup. Now he won’t have time to see your son himself, but his office I’m sure could give you a referral either within their department, or somewhere. Just to have John Walkup’s name in your book of names, he is an amazingly wonderful child psychiatrist. He’s both an academic, but also just a wise, knowledgeable, commonsensical, down to earth human being. And since you’re in Chicago, I would try calling his office and seeing if you can get a referral, and explaining to your son, you respect what he’s saying, and you’re going to find him a new person because it’s important, not just for medication, but for understanding this condition as he continues to grow and develop. And, also, that you have an ally in the doctor that you can turn to and trust.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Like I say, I don’t treat disabilities. I help people unwrap their gifts. And in order to have someone unwrap your son’s gift, your son has to like that person, and believe in that person, and enjoy seeing that person, and laugh together, and be silly, or whatever your son’s stock-in-trade is. And they’re out there. A big city like Chicago there are plenty of clinicians. It’s not easy to find. You have to do some legwork, make some phone calls, but I’ve given you a starting point. Good luck in unwrapping your son’s gift.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, thank you. Thank you, thank you for sending in those emails. Please keep sending them in. Send it to [email protected] You can send us an email, or record a voice memo. You can put a message on a carrier pigeon, but it’s got to come to [email protected] And I don’t think the carrier pigeon could get onto the internet. It’s a sad thing that we don’t have carrier pigeons anymore, or smoke signals, or any of those ways of communicating that we used to. I’m just saying that tongue-in-cheek. Of course, it’s a wonderful thing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s going to do it for today, unless you want to send me a smoke signal to the contrary. Thank you so much to all of you who wrote to us. Really, we rely on your messages. Please keep them coming. It’s the way we exist is because of you, and without you we wouldn’t exist. Remember to like Distraction on social media. We’re trying to beef that up and be sure to subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen so you never miss one of our lovely episodes. And please let us know how we could make them even better. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is Scott Persson, the wonderful Scott Persson. And our producer is the also wonderful, talented Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at OmegaBrite, and that’s B-R-I-T-E wellness.com.

Share: