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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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From Our ADHD Archives: Productivity Tips to Get Stuff Done

From Our ADHD Archives: Productivity Tips to Get Stuff Done

Kristin Seymour accomplishes more in one day than most do in a week! And she might be the only person we know that travels with a cooler and ice packs in her car… just in case! This busy ADHDer (and previous Distraction guest) joins Dr. Hallowell to share her very best ideas for getting things done. The Clinical Nurse Specialist also shares some encouraging stories about some of the kids and adults she’s worked with to help accomplish their goals. Learn about incentives, buffers, prioritizing and more through the practical ideas and solutions Kristin offers up in this episode from our second season.

To learn more about Kristin or to get a copy of her book, The Fog Lifted, click HERE.

Do you agree with Dr. Hallowell? We want to hear from you! Reach out to us at [email protected].

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Ned 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.

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.

Kristin Seymour:
The mind is a powerful thing. If you want it bad enough, you can do it. Medicated or not, you can do it, right, Ned? I mean, when you want it bad enough, you can accomplish it. If you set out little ways with lists, prioritization, incentives, and timelines, anyone can do anything.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell, and welcome to Distraction. Today, we have one of our favorite guests, Kristin Seymour, all the way from St. Louis. She is, in terms of credentials, a board-certified adult health clinical nurse specialist. She’s a nurse practitioner with a specialty in cardiology. She’s at the world-renowned Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, one of the absolutely top-rated hospitals in the world.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
She also happens to have ADHD. In her spare time. She works on ADHD. She’s authored a book about her own experience with ADHD, a wonderful book. I urge you to go buy it. It’s short, which is good for those of us who have ADHD. You can actually read it. It’s beautifully written, full of stories and anecdotes. It’s called The Fog Lifted, and it tells you how Kristin discovered the fog she’d been living in and how she came out of that fog and went on to excel.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s quite something to excel in cardiology. If you don’t know it, cardiology is like the toughest field in medicine. It’s a thrill a minute, a crisis a minute, and she’s able to do that, and then in her spare time, like on weekends and evenings, take care of the crises that arise in the lives of these kids, mostly who have ADHD. I’ve met some of them, and she’s really working with some of the really tough cases, kids who are coming out of terrible poverty and abuse. So, Kristin doesn’t just serve the easy cases. She serves the tough cases.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
She’s really, no exaggeration, saving lives, changing lives. She’s one of these people who, honestly and truly, is on a mission. Much as her life was reclaimed and transformed by this diagnosis, she’s now going about doing that for a legion of people in St. Louis. The medical profession in that city swears by her. They all want their patients to see Kristin. She can’t take care of everybody, but if she had her way, she would.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
She’s just one of those people who’s always busy. Whenever I call her, she says, “Wait a minute. I’ll call you right back.” She’s always in between doing things, and it seems like she’s never tired. And even though she’s always tired, she is able to keep it going like the EVEREADY Bunny.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
She’s a remarkable woman, has two children herself, been married to a wonderful man for a very long time, and really one of the really good people in this world. It’s great to have her with us. I told her she could talk about pretty much anything she wanted. So, I will welcome her to Distraction. Kristin, take it away.

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you, Ned. I don’t know if I’m worthy of all the kind words.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You certainly are.

Kristin Seymour:
But thank you very much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You certainly are.

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you very much, and thanks for having me. The thing I thought was so funny is when you offered me open platform to discuss what I thought was important. I kind of reached out to some of the patients I work with and some of the mothers who have ADHD and those who don’t to find out what they’d be interested in hearing from me specifically, or me and you, and they all pretty much unanimously said the same topic. They said, “We all want to know, how is it that you get things done with pretty profound ADHD?”

Kristin Seymour:
Medicated or not, in my life, I’ve always been able to execute and task to completion. It’s not easy, but you learn to make it a habit. I had a very brilliant junior from Washington University, computer engineering student, in my office recently, and he said, “How do I just make myself do it? I look at all these things, and everything looks so insurmountable and overwhelming.”

Kristin Seymour:
As you and I both know, when things for people in general, but it’s particularly those with ADHD, see something that’s mentally exhausting or overwhelming, they procrastinate, avoid, completely blow it off until it’s too late, then end up doing poorly things, then they get behind the eight ball. And then this vicious cycle ensues, where you’re playing catch-up on a hamster wheel.

Kristin Seymour:
I explained to this young man that so much of it is, what do you want to get done? So you have to basically prioritize. And he said he had to get eight letters done with a résumé to send out to internships by Wednesday. And I said, “Okay. Well, let’s draft this cover letter. You just have to take one piece at a time. Don’t look at every other assignment you have to do by Wednesday. Just do this one.”

Kristin Seymour:
I always tell them to prioritize the most important tasks and timeline and put them down on paper. Whether it’s an old-fashioned list, putting it in a notes app on the phone or dictating it into your phone and then pasting it, whatever, you need to make a list because it feels so good when you can cross it off. Everybody agrees that accomplishing a task, whether it’s making your bed or finishing the letters, you feel great crossing it off. But the big-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s like losing a pound. It’s like if you’re trying to lose weight, each pound, you feel that much better.

Kristin Seymour:
Yes. Exactly. And as you-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I know that because I’m trying to lose weight. So yeah.

Kristin Seymour:
Right. But the biggest thing is, all of us are pleasers, and we all like to have rewards, right-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes.

Kristin Seymour:
… because it’s a little dopamine release with a reward, correct?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Kristin Seymour:
So, I like to incentivize myself and my patients. I always tell them, “Incentivize yourself.” And this kid likes to go work out. He doesn’t have time. I said, “Well, get it done by 6:00 PM, and then go work out for an hour. Make time.”

Kristin Seymour:
The mind is a powerful thing. If you want it bad enough, you can do it. Medicated or not, you can do it, right, Ned? I mean, when you want it bad enough, you can accomplish it. If you set out little ways with lists, prioritization, incentives, and timelines, anyone can do anything.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely.

Kristin Seymour:
There’s really no excuse because you just can take little pieces of the pie and finish it off. Because when you take a little teeny piece and break it into small, manageable tasks, it’s nearly impossible to get it all done at once, those small segments don’t look so overwhelming, and then your anxiety goes down and you can do it.

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

Kristin Seymour:
Okay. The next thing is how I get it all done in a day. I always set an alarm, do a routine, even on the weekends. But things like just putting a cooler in the back of your car with ice packs, for especially the moms, when you’re running around, going to and from work or going to and from helping at the school, and you think of something on your mind kind of impulsively or instantly, and you want to run to the grocery and get it and stick it in that cooler and then keep going your way, you don’t have to detour back home and then waste time. I live by having a little cooler in the way back in my car with the ice packs in it because you get all these little things done throughout the day without having to waste time and space. Another thing-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow. So it’s like you’ve got a refrigerator in your car.

Kristin Seymour:
Pretty much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow.

Kristin Seymour:
But it really saves time because if you can get to the gym a little bit early and there’s a grocery right in that strip mall, you can pop in there, get a few items. Then you’ve nailed two birds with one stone. You’ve worked out. You’ve gotten the groceries for the night. Go home, shower, go to work. It’s just so much easier when you can start to put interventions in place that will make life easier.

Kristin Seymour:
Life’s hard enough. We’re all busy. We’re all stressed. We’re all doing a lot of things. And people are like, “How do you do it?” I do it because I want to, first of all. Like you always say, get the job you love. Get the right job. I love what I do, love my kids. You always just have to prioritize. They’re always the most important. So, the clock stops at both jobs between 3:00 and 4:30 so I can get them off the bus, take care of my girls, and then I can go back to whatever I was doing.

Kristin Seymour:
People need to learn to prioritize what’s the most important and then take it off into little pieces. Eliminate, eliminate the stress that you’re able to. For me, social media was becoming a rabbit hole just going down a bad path. So, eliminating Facebook for a while, eliminating social media, for some of us, for a time, a little amount of time, is good. Then you can come back to it. It’s just sometimes it becomes one more thing to do, and you can eliminate it because it’s probably not the most important thing at the time. Does that make sense?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Total.

Kristin Seymour:
Another thing is, a lot of states are doing this-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If I could just stop you for one second-

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… because I want to do full justice to that because I think it is the single biggest time-waster. When people say I have more to do than time to do it, my word for it is screen-sucking. I say, “How much time do you give to screens?” Most people are just not aware of how much time. If you add it all up between email and Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and all of the different screen … the screen time, we’re mostly not aware of how much time we’re giving to screens. If you just go screen-free for even a part of a day, let alone a whole day, you’re going to have a lot more free time. And at first, you won’t know what to do with that time.

Kristin Seymour:
Right. Yeah, agreed, agreed. There is a platform for the promotions and the good things through social media and things like that, but I think, as you say, to just be cautioned about how much time you are on it and how it can be so addicting. I’ve seen your other pieces on that, and I think it’s really important because people need to get outside and play games, and play, and run, and do sports, and be active because it gives the same kind of dopamine feel-good release and gets your energy out there without having to sit there and worry about how many likes you have and if you’re liked or not based on amount of hearts. It’s just ridiculous.

Kristin Seymour:
And so, I thought role-modeling that for my own kids was a good idea, just showing them, “You don’t need this.” And then they don’t … Well, you got to kind of practice what you preach, if you will.

Kristin Seymour:
The other thing is, whether you have a housekeeper or not, or a helpful husband like I have, I have my girls pitch in, which helps also get things done during the day. Delegate, learn to say no. All these parents, a lot of these moms or dads see that they are … and they are so amazing and that they can do it the right way. That’s true, but it doesn’t mean it’s the only way.

Kristin Seymour:
So, sometimes I’ll be like, “Hey,” to my husband, “can you pick up the dog’s medicine?” or, “Can you get the girls today?” Delegate, learn to say no, build in buffers. Like on Late Start, I’m sick of trying to arrange that. So, I hired a high school girl to drive one girl in for Late Start. Parents need to learn how to just relax, know you’re doing the best you can, and that’s how you get it all done. You just have to put things in place that are going to help you be a success. Making lists and taking off little pieces, it’s huge. And by the way, the WashU student finished all eight letters and applications by Tuesday night.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow.

Kristin Seymour:
So he accomplished a goal in a matter of 48 hours of meeting together. He did one letter, I proofread it, he buffed up his résumé, and by Tuesday, he said, “I got them all in.” And what a great feeling.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But you didn’t put that on your list of suggestions, namely, work with someone like you.

Kristin Seymour:
No. Well, right. But I mean, just, he looked at me, and he said, “How can I just make myself do it? I keep looking at it.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But see, that’s not … You can’t. You got to work with a coach, work with Kristin.

Kristin Seymour:
That’s true. You do. You’re right. I mean, I guess I underestimate that role too much. But I think it’s very important because just saying, “Hey, that is a lot of work with your regular 14 credit hours, and you’re a brilliant young man.” Yeah, it’s a lot of pressure, and you’ve been sick, but let’s see how we can do this. What’s due first, second, third? And next thing you know, I got a text Friday saying, “I got everything in,” and he’s … It’s kind of a great little story because he said, “I couldn’t finish my entire exam because I was so sick and tired and behind the eight ball.”

Kristin Seymour:
I said, “Well, why didn’t you tell your teacher you were sick. Let’s shoot a quick email. He probably has no idea. You were flu-positive.” We did. The professor writes him back, says, “You know what? You have a 24-hour extension. I had no idea you were so ill over break.”

Kristin Seymour:
I think people just are so quick to give up sometimes, and I’m not saying he gave up, but they don’t realize you can think outside the box, and people want to help each other. And if they understand there’s a good reason that we can all work together, it just-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. When you’re doing it alone, you get overwhelmed.

Kristin Seymour:
Correct. You’re right. They don’t think outside the box, and you get overwhelmed. Exactly, Ned. That’s exactly right. And so, it’s good to … You’re right. You get overwhelmed. When you have someone there to help, you kind of think it through and kind of plan with, it’s a lot more … you feel not like you’re drowning. You feel supported. That’s a very good point. Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right, Kristin, if you could hang on for just a moment while I tell our listeners about our sponsor, Landmark College.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
For over 25 years, the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training has provided cutting-edge relevant and practical professional learning to individuals in schools. Informed by current research and decades of classroom experience, the Institute is a leader in the fields of learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder, and this spring is no different.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The Institute has lined up a couple of great webinars for educators, including one available now called Destination Education: Supporting Students with Learning Differences in the College Search. In this presentation, Landmark College’s lead educational specialist, who also happens to be a former admissions officer, offers tips that educators can use to assist their students with learning differences as they face common college search obstacles. You can register for any of the Institute’s webinars by going to lcdistraction.org and then click on Research & Training.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right, now back to Kristin Seymour.

Kristin Seymour:
I had a physician the other day, brilliant. He had so many thoughts on his mind, he didn’t know how to exercise documenting them. So, he dictated them while he was driving in the phone Notes app. And he’s like, “How do I get this to a document?” I said, “Just upload it in an email to yourself, copy and paste it to word, have it spell-checked and formatted, and you’ve got your outline for your paper.” There’s just all these shortcuts. And I-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So this is a physician.

Kristin Seymour:
That’s a physician who’s in a graduate program here in St. Louis. Yeah, he’s one of my patients’ parents.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Just to underline that for people listening, that this is not a problem that’s related to IQ or level of achievement. This is a problem that cuts across all levels of education, all levels of IQ, that is afflicting, I would say, everybody in the world today.

Kristin Seymour:
That’s a great point. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Everybody in the world today could benefit from just a few … like, just take it easy, how to do some shortcuts. ADHD, as you say, it’s across all types. And this patient’s … I believe you’ve spoken with him once. But anyway, his parents are both physicians, and they’re very bright. The dad I don’t believe has ADHD, but he was asking, he said, “Well, how do you get those thoughts out so quick?” And then because our minds are like, as you say, a Ferrari engine, and sometimes the thoughts are coming faster than you can write them down, especially if you’re maybe walking or-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Driving.

Kristin Seymour:
… driving. You can dictate, and it’s really … saves some time. And it also … some of your best ideas come when you’re stimulating your dopamine, exercising, walking, driving, listening to music. That’s why it’s just not convenient for a pen and paper. So, dictate, cut, and paste is a nice way that people can … “Hey, that’s awesome. I didn’t forget what I was going to say or do.”

Kristin Seymour:
Also, I always try to tell people what I do because I hate saying, “Oh, do this,” but if I know I can’t do it. I like to do things that are really truly reasonable and feasible because otherwise, you get frustrated and you’re like, “This isn’t going to work.” And then you get frustrated again.

Kristin Seymour:
So, I never quit. The sky is not falling. So many people freak out, if they don’t … and get behind on one assignment. That is the biggest mistake. Just chill out. The sky is not falling. Start up again tomorrow. Your professors are understanding. Teachers want to help you. You just don’t have to make excuses every time. But once in a blue moon, they want to help you too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, right, right. So ask for help, I guess, would be another tip, huh?

Kristin Seymour:
Ask for help is huge. I mean, to have so many bright students, especially the high school, the college students, the young professionals, I think it’s okay to ask for help. None of us are in this alone. It’s kind of humbling. I think incentivizing yourself is huge, from the eight-year-old I work with … Oh, my gosh, he’s so precious. If you could get up and make your breakfast every day without whining to your mother, I think … I’m sorry, he’s 11 now.

Kristin Seymour:
He is going to go with me to Shake Shack on a Sunday and get a shake. That was his incentive for like a month of good behavior. Incentives are great because they’re rewards. It’s that dopamine, that reward pathway again, the positive reward. You don’t have to kiss their behinds for just doing their job and being a respectful young person. But when it’s something that’s a challenge for that child, like making breakfast, getting up on time, getting homework assignments done without mom nagging, those are all things that deserve a reward and recognition after a few weeks or a month because that’s really hard for kids with ADHD and can’t focus, much harder than the child who can.

Kristin Seymour:
Those are just more reasons how we all get it done. I incentivize myself to get stuff done and all the time because I don’t always want to do something, but you have to. I mean, if we all did what we wanted in life, gosh, we wouldn’t be very successful probably. We have to do certain things.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). The thing about incentives, the more immediate they can be, the better. I mean, you brush your teeth to avoid getting cavities. That’s a long time away, but if you can have an immediate incentive, like your kid, so he can go work out, that tends to work a little bit better.

Kristin Seymour:
Right. I think even just something as simple as making the bed every morning, it’s so nice to see a clean and, you know-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes.

Kristin Seymour:
… all put together, so when you come home from work or your day, it’s just, it’s clean, it’s put together, it’s one task accomplished, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, yes, yes. Same thing about cooking dinner. You end up with a dinner.

Kristin Seymour:
Right. And so, I think that this kid, when he was able to … I have another patient who just wanted to be able to go swing dance every Monday night, and he is hilarious, in college. And I said, “Well, if want to keep that up, we’ve got to get the stats going. So, let’s have this our goal be, by Sunday at 3:00, everything is done and checked.”

Kristin Seymour:
You’ve got to have that incentive, no matter what it is. It’s different for everybody, what makes you tick. But when you have someone to kind of help … I feel like I’m more of an accountability coach, more than anything, because they want to make … We’re all pleasers, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Kristin Seymour:
When we’re pleasers, we love making people happy, we love pleasing people, especially those with ADHD. They’re so sensitive, and they love to please their parents and teachers and friends. When they know they’re pleasing you, they feel good. So when they know that I’m not their mom or dad, but I’m also not their friend or peer, they’re like, “I want to make Miss Seymour happier,” or Kristin or whatever, “I’m going to do this.”

Kristin Seymour:
And then it becomes a habit. So after about three weeks or four weeks, some kids about six months, of working together, they’re like, “Oh, it’s ingrained. I did it so long trying to make her proud and myself proud, that now I only want to do it because I like it and it’s a habit.” So I’m kind of creating positive habits with the kids and adults.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But one of your great talents, and I think anyone listening who is a parent or a teacher or a coach, you want to cultivate this. I happen to know this because I know you, you have a great way of showing that you’re pleased. In other words, don’t just sort of say, “Oh, that’s nice.” I mean, you really say, “Wow!” I mean, anyone would want to please you because you really show you’re pleased, and you don’t fake it. You really mean it. You’re like, “Wow! That’s great!”

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah, I really … Yeah, I celebrate it big time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You really get excited for them, not over just producing a good bowel movement. I mean, they’ve got to do something that matters. But if they do something that matters, you really get excited about it.

Kristin Seymour:
Right. Right. Especially if it’s something that was hard for that person or a challenge. I mean, this young man who I just met, his mom was really eager to get him in because we have to stay the semester. This kid showed up early to my office. We worked together. He completed it. He wrote me and said, “I’m going to go camping this weekend. I did all my work. I feel great.”

Kristin Seymour:
And I didn’t just write him. I called him, and I said, “I am so proud of you, you rock star. Look at this. You did everything and more than you wanted to do in one week. This should be celebrated. Enjoy your …” whatever. But yeah, I get really excited with them. I’m very proud of them because I know personally how hard it is to do what they’re doing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I think that’s something that anybody who works with people who are having trouble making progress and whatnot, that they need to be aware that when they do make progress at something that is challenging, it’s important to get really excited the way you do, Kristin.

Kristin Seymour:
Well, thanks. Yeah, I agree with you. I even think even just getting help … I mean, I have a lot of moms I’m working with just coming in to say, “Hey, how do I get this done?” And I’m like, “I’m just proud of you for being here.” Sometimes making the call and getting yourself in to get someone and help guide you or understand your child better is hard. It’s not easy, and just coming to get help is a big deal.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What advice do you have for moms or dads or anyone who says, “Well, my son or daughter just won’t get help”?

Kristin Seymour:
Well, that’s tough. If they’re on meds, or they’re in sports, or they’re not medicated, or whatever the situation is, I usually tell the parent, if they have me mind me, just to at least come and see, and then they’d let the kid decide because what’s worth an hour of their life? I mean, it’s one hour, and then they can reward the … My office is over a cupcake place, and I did that on purpose. They could bribe the child, again, incentive.

Kristin Seymour:
So The child can come with their parent, and a lot of these, I would say about seven out of 10, probably didn’t want to excitedly come here, but they all leave wanting my cell phone number and not actually wanting to leave. I had one young man yesterday for three hours and 20 minutes in my office. [crosstalk 00:24:48] one-hour meeting.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s so symbolic that your office is over a cupcake place. That’s-

Kristin Seymour:
I did that on purpose, my friend. That was a complete strategy.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That is so great. That is so great. I often say that any expert who says that you shouldn’t bribe children doesn’t have children. I mean, if it’s-

Kristin Seymour:
Oh, it’s all about threats and bribes, I’m just kidding, consequences and incentives because these kids … Think about how we … Or I try to think about how I used to be. I kind of tried myself and put myself in their position, and I think, “You know what? I didn’t probably want to be here at 9:00 on a Sunday morning.” And next thing you know, it’s like, I look at the kid and I’m like, well, this one’s 17, “This is probably the last place you want to be, but I want to help you, and I’m going to talk to you about a few ideas to get these grades up and make you feel more confident.” He didn’t want to leave. I had to literally take him out [inaudible 00:25:38].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You worked with yesterday for three hours. That’s-

Kristin Seymour:
17-year-old, yes. And then he texted me that night, and he goes, “Hey, thanks again.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Three hours on a Sunday afternoon-

Kristin Seymour:
Yes. I was only supposed to be with him for an hour. My husband’s like, “Hey, I got dinner. Are you coming home?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… with the 17-year-old, who at first didn’t want to come at all.

Kristin Seymour:
No, he didn’t, and he was so great. He’s already texted me today and said he’s going to do his flash cards during study hall, and he’s going to send me a picture of them because I’m going to prove to him … I said, “You have five days to do this my way, and if it doesn’t work and you don’t like it, then we’ll know we tried and we’ll do something else.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
See, Kristin, that’s just … You see, we have to do this again because you really have a secret sauce. I mean, this is solving a problem that I get asked about all the time by parents everywhere, “How do I motivate the kid who doesn’t want to do anything?” And so, you took a 17-year-old male, about the most difficult population you can imagine-

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah. I’m talking like six feet tall, football player, lacrosse player, darling kid that did not really want to be here.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, but who doesn’t seem darling to anyone else because he’s saying, “No, I don’t want any help,” and, “Get away from me,” and-

Kristin Seymour:
Pretty much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… and, “I’d rather sit in the basement and play video games.”

Kristin Seymour:
Exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. And somehow or other-

Kristin Seymour:
By the way, the video game is one of his rewards, by the way. Funny you said that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. So he walks into your office and, basically, arms folded and says, “Okay, what are you going to do for me, bitch?” And you somehow keep him for three hours. That’s-

Kristin Seymour:
Well, I started packing up. He kept wanting to stay. And finally, I start doing my stuff. I’m like, “We got to cruise.” And so, he walked out to my car with me, and he was lovely, gave me his cell phone number. And I tell the parents. I screenshot our messages to parents. I like to keep them in the loop. And the children know that that’s the rule, just to give them a feel of how we discuss goals and objectives. And this young man wrote me last night and this morning, both, and said, “I will send you my pictures of my flash cards. Thank you again.” And I-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
In 25 words or less, how did you engage him?

Kristin Seymour:
In how many words or less?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, take as many as you want.

Kristin Seymour:
I engaged him by relating to him and saying, “I know how much this is a struggle. But you know what? You don’t have a choice. You have to get through this class unless you want to spend the whole summer in summer school. So I want to help you do this, and that’s for …” And then he just looked up at me like, “Okay.”

Kristin Seymour:
And I’m like, “The last thing you need is another lecture or parent. You need someone to help advise you and guide you. So here’s what I want to try to do with you. You’re not an audio learner. You’re visual. You’ve already told me that. So, let’s figure out a way to implement and commit these terms to memory for this class. I want you to try these colored flashcards and colored gel pens because they stimulate dopamine. They stimulate your brain to feel happy when you use these.”

Kristin Seymour:
And they did. And he’s like, “Wow.” He took them home. I always have stuff stocked here just so they can start right away. And then he just started saying, he goes, “I’ve been to a lot of therapists over the years, and I sit there and tell them what they want to hear. But I really felt good today. I thank you.” And then his dad called later and said, “I’ve never heard him sound so peaceful.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow.

Kristin Seymour:
And that was the … And I’m like, “Usually, people who are done with me need a nap, but that’s good.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s good, yes.

Kristin Seymour:
He laughed, and he said, “My son was revived. He Just felt calm and was so happy.” So it was a good day. It was actually a great day. I worked hard, but it was worth it just for one more kid to feel comfortable and confident.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I know you have another place to get to, and I’m going to let you go. But you really are the Pied Piper. You really are amazing, whether it’s working with difficult parents or difficult children, you can engage just about anybody. And I think-

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you. Well, I learned for the best, I mean, you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, no, you learn from yourself and your own experience where you were in a fog, and then you wrote about it, how the fog lifted.

Kristin Seymour:
Truly, yeah. And I had great parents. I mean, they were really wonderful and instrumental. They weren’t perfect, but they sure did a heck of a good job, I think. And I then became out to say, “You know what? I don’t care what people think.” I put it out there about my struggles, and I just want to help people, as you say, burn, I burned, so they don’t suffer like I did. But you have taught me so much in [crosstalk 00:30:00] too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And you come up with these great ideas, like keeping ice packs in the back of your car. So you’ve got a traveling refrigerator.

Kristin Seymour:
It doesn’t have beer or wine in it, folks. Everybody always asks me if that’s what’s in there. I’m like, “No, friends. I wish. That’s for tailgate season. Okay?” But anyway, you’re the best. Thank you for everything. You have really taught me so much too, though, to implement with this.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, Kristin, it goes both ways. You’ve taught me so much, and we’ll have you again. I love the idea of, you’ve got a 17-year-old male who doesn’t want to talk to anyone, and he ends up spending three hours, and goes home, and has to take a nap. That’s fantastic.

Kristin Seymour:
Oh, he’s awesome. It was a great day. But you guys are great. Thanks for everything. You have a super rest of the day.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you.

Kristin Seymour:
I look forward to talking with you all again soon.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right. Take care.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thanks so much for joining me again on Distraction, Kristin. You really are remarkable. I hope her energy and imagination came through. I mean, what she’s doing, thinking on our feet, using her intuition and her experience, she really is engaging with the most difficult groups of people I know because she talks to me about them all the time. She can engage with anyone. I mean, if you can take a 17-year-old male with ADD who doesn’t want to talk to anybody and have him stay with you for three hours on a Sunday afternoon, believe me, that’s about as tough as it gets, short of someone who’s actively on drugs, in which case, there’s no point in trying because you have to wait for them to get sober. She’s really remarkable.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If you’d like to learn more about Kristin or get a copy of her book, The Fog Lifted, go to adhdfoglifted.com or click on the link episode description in the podcast. If you like what you’re hearing here, remember to subscribe to the show so you don’t miss an episode. We’d love for you to give us a review on Apple Podcasts as well. That really helps the show. So, just go to Apple Podcasts and review us.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Also, please send us questions or show ideas to [email protected], that’s [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction is produced by Collisions, the podcast division of CRN International. Collisions, podcasts for curious people. Our producer is Sarah Guertin, and our audio engineers are Scott Persson and Greg Session.

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.

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The ABCs of ADHD

The ABCs of ADHD

ADHD is comprised of positives and negatives, as you’ll hear Ned describe in this mini podcast. He talks about the triad of symptoms that define ADHD and how each negative trait can be turned into a positive. After all he says, “What is creativity, but impulsivity gone right!!”

Do you agree with Dr. Hallowell? We want to hear from you! Reach out to us at [email protected].

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Ned 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. 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. 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.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Today, and in subsequent episodes, I’m going to sort of give you a mini course in ADD, the ABCs of ADD, if you will. I still call it ADD, because it was ADD when I learned about it, but technically it is all ADHD now, what it is and what it isn’t.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Let’s start off with the term, itself, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It’s a terrible term. Just say that right off the bat. This is not a deficit of attention at all. We have an abundance of attention. I say we because I have the condition myself. We have an abundance of attention. Our challenge is to control it. I don’t see it as a disorder. I see it as a trait. Can it be a disorder? Yes, it can ruin your life, absolutely no doubt about it. ADHD at its worst can ruin your life. But it can also be a superpower. I know many entrepreneurs, talented artists, creators, writers, who say their ADHD is the key to their success.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The goal I have with myself and all the people I treat, is to unwrap their gifts; develop, identify, promote their talents, and in so doing, reduce the damage done by the downside, to the point where I’ve given it a different name, because ADHD is so dripping with pathology. I call it VAST, V-A-S-T, variable attention stimulus trait, V-A-S-T. That term was suggested to me by a woman who work in public radio in San Francisco. I just, I love the term, variable attention stimulus trait. It is a fascinating condition, because it’s composed of positives and negatives.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Most people who know about ADHD know about the negatives: distractibility, impulsivity, hyperactivity, the hallmark triad of symptoms. But if you take each of those negatives and turn it on its head, you get a positive. What’s the flip side of distractibility? It’s curiosity. That’s why we don’t let something go. Well, what’s that over there and what’s that over there and what’s that over there? We’re endlessly curious. We’re constantly wanting to go wherever our curiosity leads it. The ADD mind is like a toddler on a picnic, it goes wherever curiosity leads it with no regard for danger or authority.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The second one, impulsivity … That’s so bad, right? Well, no. What is creativity, but impulsivity gone right. You don’t plan to have a creative idea. You don’t say, “It’s 2:00, time for my creative idea,” and lay it like an egg. No, creative ideas pop. They come unexpectedly, unbidden, unlooked for. They’ll interrupt you in the middle of dinner. They’ll interrupt you in the middle of your sleep. They’ll interrupt you while you’re taking a shower or they’ll entertain you while you’re being forced to listen to a boring lecture or a boring conversation. This impulsivity, creativity depends upon. In order to be creative, you have to have a leaky braking system to slow you down. You’ve got to be able to get interrupted, to be spontaneously disturbed by some new idea.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Then the third element of the triad of symptoms that define ADD, hyperactivity … You get to be my age, I’m 70 years old. It’s called energy. I’m really glad I’ve got this little turbo pack on my back. Think of this condition as a trait that can be onerous and terrible, but if you learn how to unwrap the gifts embedded in it, it can become a superpower. That’s the true nature of this condition, positives and negatives, and the goal being of course, to maximize the power of the positives and minimize the damage done by the negatives. Okay, that’s my first in these series of short introductory talks about ADHD or ADD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I want to once again, thank you to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve been taking their Omega-3 supplement for years, and recently started their CBD supplement as well. OmegaBrite products, I trust them because I know the woman who’s in charge of the company, a Harvard medical school graduate. She’s very fussy about quality, efficacy, and is always looking to make sure that the product she has is the best in the business. Distraction listeners can save 20% off their first order with the promo code Podcast2020 at omegabritewellness.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay, that’s going to do it for today. Remember to check out Distraction on social media. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Please reach out to us with your ideas for show topics or questions you have at [email protected] That’s the word [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. The wonderful, beautiful, talented Sarah Guertin is our producer, and the equally wonderful, talented, and I hesitate to say beautiful, Scott Persson is our sound engineer and editor. 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 Omega Brite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at omegabright, and that’s B-R-I-T-E, wellness.com.

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From Our ADHD Archives: ADHD’s Practical Problem Solver

From Our ADHD Archives: ADHD’s Practical Problem Solver

ADHD pioneer, Dr. William Dodson, joins Ned to talk about the similarities he sees in neurodivergent people, the prevalence of Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria, the omnipotential of those with ADHD, and what he wishes your doctor knew about the condition in this episode that was originally released in our third season.

Dr. Dodson specializes in the evaluation, treatment and support of adults and teens with attention deficits, learning problems, and related behavioral difficulties at his ADHD Center in Colorado.

For more information:

Dodson ADHD Center

Additude Magazine

Reach out to us with your questions and comments! Email [email protected].

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Ned 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 of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction today. We are welcoming a man I’ve wanted to have on this podcast for a very long time. It turns out he and I are the same age and we’re the same vintage and we’ve been barking up the same tree for an awful long time. William Dodson, Bill Dodson, has been specializing in adult ADHD for most of his career. And I’ve been toying around with the same syndrome for most of my career. And Bill has come up with some wonderful observations. And so this is a treat for me to tap the experience and the brain, the mind, of a man I’ve respected for a long time and have really never had the pleasure of interviewing. And welcome to Distraction Dr. Dodson.

Dr. William Dodson:
Good to be here. I’ve been looking forward to this myself.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Give us just a couple of words about your background. How did you get into this world? How did you find yourself working with people who have ADHD, particularly the adults?

Dr. William Dodson:
I started back when I was a resident at Louisiana State University, and there was no place where anybody could go in all of New Orleans if they had learning disabilities and ADHD. So I and another resident started a clinic there that was still running until Katrina wiped out the entire hospital.

Dr. William Dodson:
But I’ve always been drawn to ADHD. I know it’s somewhat controversial nowadays to talk about it being the happy diagnosis, but it really is. There’s no place else in medicine where the outcome is that the person’s better than they’ve ever been. Usually in medicine we’re just trying to get people back to their previous level of functioning. But with ADHD, people are usually much better than they’ve ever been before in their lives. I mean, it takes a lot of work. I’m not belittling that. But the outcomes are usually wonderful outcomes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Just out of curiosity, who introduced you to the condition?

Dr. William Dodson:
No one. I think I heard a lecture from Randy Salle probably 25, 30 years ago, and that’s what really turned me on to really emphasize and specialize in it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That was at LSU?

Dr. William Dodson:
No, it was at a Continuing Medical Education Conference. The whole subject of ADHD was not mentioned in four years of my training, which I think is still at least 50% of adult psychiatry residencies just never mention it at all.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Sp you just kind of learned about it on your own.

Dr. William Dodson:
Yeah, I’m out here in the hinterlands.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How did you get to Colorado?

Dr. William Dodson:
I wanted to live here. I was actually practicing in Washington DC and had my first child and decided that was not a place to raise children. So I moved here to Denver.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You picked Colorado because it was a-

Dr. William Dodson:
Great place to live.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
When did you settle there?

Dr. William Dodson:
20 years ago.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So you just started seeing adults with ADHD and began to realize that it was a good news diagnosis. They were doing okay, but they could do even better.

Dr. William Dodson:
Well also because people with ADHD have another comorbid coexisting condition about 70% of the time. The statistic is that about one in every five people who walks into a mental health professional’s office is going to have ADHD. And what I was finding was that the diagnosis was being totally overlooked. I would see patients who had seen half a dozen other clinicians and the missing piece was adult ADHD. And it had never occurred to anybody.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Why do you think that is?

Dr. William Dodson:
I think again, it’s lack of training. It’s just not something that people look for.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s not on the radar.

Dr. William Dodson:
Right. When we were going through school, it was a disorder of little boys.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And a lot of people still think of it that way.

Dr. William Dodson:
You have to almost be hyperactive and disruptive before you’ll get the diagnosis.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So for people listening who don’t know what this condition is, tell them. If you’re an adult listening right now, Dr. Dodson, how would they know if they have this condition?

Dr. William Dodson:
Well, that’s one of the major problems that confronts us is that we don’t have diagnostic criteria for adults that have ever been research validated. That sort of stops at age 16. For an adult to continue to meet the diagnostic criteria that we have for children, they would have to be functioning on the level of an elementary school aged child with untreated ADHD. And if that’s your cut off, somebody’s going to have to be severely impaired indeed.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, how do you diagnose it?

Dr. William Dodson:
To me, ADHD is three things. There’s a cognitive piece, an emotional piece, and a arousal piece. The cognitive piece is if you ask a person with ADHD, look back over your entire life, if you’ve been able to get engaged and stay engaged, have you ever found anything you couldn’t do? A person with ADHD will think for a second, say, “if I can get engaged with something, I can do it.” The term that is out there that’s used out on the internet is it people with ADHD are omni-potential? They quite literally can do anything if they can get engaged.

Dr. William Dodson:
People with ADHD get engaged in one of four ways. The big one is they can do it when they’re interested. They can do it when they’re challenged or competitive. They can do it so long as it’s new, novel, or creative, but by definition, that one’s time limited. And they can do it when it’s urgent. That’s sort of the substitution for important.

Dr. William Dodson:
In those four ways, people with ADHD can get in the zone or get in the flow and be extremely productive, creative people. The other 90% of people that they rub elbows with, the neuro-typical people, for them being interested or challenged is totally optional. They can take it or leave it. Neuro-typical people use important and rewards as ways of getting engaged, getting access to their abilities, and getting things done. And so that’s one way where you can say always and never. A person who has ADHD is able to say, “I have always been able to do anything I wanted to do, if I could get engaged and stay engaged through interest, challenge, modeled in urgency, and I have never, in my memory, been able to make use of what everybody else makes use of, and that’s importance and rewards.”

Dr. William Dodson:
The emotional piece is what for 60 years has been called rejection sensitive dysphoria. I’m not responsible for these terrible names.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Who came up with that one?

Dr. William Dodson:
I don’t know. It’s very, very old, it’s 60 years old. But on my checklist, the question goes, for your entire life have you always been much more sensitive than other people you know to rejection, teasing, criticism, or your own perception that you’ve failed or fallen short. And virtually everybody that I see not only texts that, they put stars by it, they underline it. What it means is that the vast majority of people who have an ADHD nervous system are hard wired as part of the ADHD that if they perceive, it doesn’t have to be the reality, they just perceive that they disappointed somebody, and because of that, that person is at risk for withdrawing their love, approval, and respect, it’s excruciatingly painful. In fact, that’s what the meaning of the word dysphoria is. It’s Greek for unbearable or difficult to bear, because when they did the original work, they wanted to get right up there in the name just how severe this emotional pain was. And so just about everybody with ADHD will endorse that specific experience.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I mean, no one likes to be rejected. So you’re saying that it’s a quantum level beyond that.

Dr. William Dodson:
It’s several orders of magnitude greater. It’s devastating. If you ask people they can’t describe the quality of the emotional experience, but they do talk about its intensity is awful. It’s terrible. It’s catastrophic. It’s overwhelming. It just really throws people. If they internalize it they can look like as an instantaneous major depression. If they externalize it, it’s a rage at the person or situation that wounded them so severely. And so very commonly, these folks get misdiagnosed as being borderline because of that interpersonal nature of the trigger that sets off this emotional experience.

Dr. William Dodson:
The third piece is that people with ADHD have to have some sort of hyper arousal, either their having three or four simultaneous thoughts. They physically have a hard time sitting still. They have to be in motion. They can’t sit all the way through a movie for instance. Or, something that usually goes unrecognized, they can’t fall asleep at night. That as soon as it gets dark, they get a burst of energy, and when they try to go to sleep, they physically toss, turn, fidget, kick the covers off, and their thoughts bounce from one concern and worry to another.

Dr. William Dodson:
The average length of time is more than two hours before they can fall asleep, and so it’s a major cause of insomnia that generally goes unrecognized. In fact, people believe that the stimulant class medications are going to make this insomnia worse when actually it makes it better.

Dr. William Dodson:
In our group, what we do is, once we find to the medication as well as we can, we ask the person to lie down and take a nap after lunch, to prove that they sleep great on their medication, then they know they can take a second dose and sleep normally at night.

Dr. William Dodson:
Those are the three things that has to be. There’s a cognitive piece, where the ADHD nervous system works on the basis of interest and not importance. There’s an emotional piece of an exquisite sensitivity to rejection and criticism. And a third piece of some form of hyper arousal. That to me is ADHD and nothing else.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The usual triad of distractibility, impulsivity, and restlessness, you may find that, or you may not?

Dr. William Dodson:
You generally do, but what I’m looking for is most people come in, one of the first things they say as a goal is, “Do I have ADHD or not?” The vast majority of the people I see are self-diagnosed. Usually they have some, because ADHD is so genetic, they have somebody in the family who got diagnosed, got started on medication, they were transformed by medication and coaching, and they start talking to their cousin. Usually they try their cousin’s medication, know that it works great by the time they get in to see me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That leads to the logical next question. Now, if this is how you diagnose it, what are the interventions? What are the treatments? You say we’re going to make your life even better. What re the ways you do that?

Dr. William Dodson:
Well, medications are what we’ve been doing for 50, 60 years. The ones in the stimulant class do one thing spectacularly well, and that is when a person’s engaged with what they’re doing already, that it keeps them from being distracted. And that’s really what the stimulants do.

Dr. William Dodson:
What we’ve done is we’ve missed the first step, and that is, how does a person with ADHD get engaged in the first place? And they engaged through interest challenge, novelty, and urgency. So with our people, what we ask them to do is write their own personal owner’s manual for their nervous system. Most people with ADHD were given the wrong owner’s manual back in preschool. All of the helpful hints, techniques, methods, whatever you want to call them, that they were offered by people, usually people who are neuro-typical, and that they see working for other neuro-typical people, don’t work for them at all, and so they have to figure out how do they, as a unique individual, get in the zone and become omni-potential.

Dr. William Dodson:
It’s usually as somebody is coming out of the zone that they recognize they were in the zone. When somebody is deeply engaged with what they’re doing, they’re really not self-aware that they are, so it’s when they’re coming out of the zone and they say, “Wow, I just got a whole day’s work done in about an hour,” and we have them stop right then, write down for themselves, how did they get in the zone and become superhuman?

Dr. William Dodson:
Was it because they were interested and, more particularly, what did they find fascinating? Was it because they were challenged or competitive? And what brought out that competitive streak? A good example of that one for the people who are listening to this podcast, imagine somebody saying, “Ned, you can’t do that.” What’s your first response? For most people with ADHD is, “Oh, yeah? I’ll show you.”

Dr. William Dodson:
You’ll know from personal experience that if you do have that response of accepting that challenge, whatever that challenge was, you’re going to have it mastered today because you slipped into the zone. And so it’s picking up little subtle moments when you go from just day-to-day life to getting in the zone and writing those down so that then you can come back and do them on demand, is something we found to be very helpful.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So you have them sort of take an inventory of, what are the activities that put you into the zone? What are the moments? What are the prompts?

Dr. William Dodson:
Ways of thinking. What are the emotions that do that? So much of treatment in the past has been focusing on what doesn’t work. What are the executive function deficits? Which never made much sense to me because once you identify somebody couldn’t do something and then demand that they do it, you only get to failure with that.

Dr. William Dodson:
This is recognizing when things go spectacularly well and writing them down so that you can remember to do them the next time you have something that’s very important, but probably fairly boring.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. Do they do this one-on-one or do you have someone else work with them?

Dr. William Dodson:
Well, I’ve always found that people with ADHD work best in groups where they can feed off of each other, where they can learn from each other.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, you’ll do a group talking about what are the moments where you trigger into the zone?

Dr. William Dodson:
Right, and when things went. And then somebody else will say, “That’s what happened when I…” And they tell their story. The other thing that that does is being in groups helps people overcome a lot of the guilt and shame about having ADHD, is that they’re able to talk with people who really get it. Who’ve been through that themselves. That’s not going to make fun of them or tell them they’re doing it the wrong way because they’re not doing it in a neuro-typical way. So that the group has a lot of things going for it that no other modality of treatment does.

Dr. William Dodson:
You can also do it with family and friends. You can do it with teachers. You can especially do it with coaches who are able to pass on things that worked for other people they’ve coached in the past. You can do it with practically anybody anytime.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What else goes into your treatment plan, if you will?

Dr. William Dodson:
We generally refer people to coaches and, again, looking for different categories of things. There are some people who just need help with organizing daily life. There are some people who need coaching in relationships, because the relationship of somebody with ADHD with a partner who’s neuro-typical is going to have its own problems.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Do you find any particular problems recur more than others?

Dr. William Dodson:
The biggest one is that the neuro-typical person expects their partner to behave in a neuro-typical way. Intellectually, they know the person has ADHD and they may have even done some reading up about what ADHD actually is. But the knee jerk response is that their ADHD partner should be behaving in a neuro-typical way. The other big one is that the ADHD partner doesn’t seem to be listening to them, and that will really tick people off in a hurry.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And leads to all kinds of name calling, including by psychiatrists, like narcissistic and those kinds of words.

Dr. William Dodson:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I know you have particular medications in mind for rejection sensitive dysphoria. Do you want to talk about that for a minute?

Dr. William Dodson:
As with most everything in ADHD, it’s something that we just stumbled across and that is there are two medications that are FDA approved for the use of treating ADHD. They’re called alpha-agonist medications, Clonidine and Guanfacine are their names. They’ve been around since the mid 1980s. They were originally brought on the market as blood pressure medications, and so consequently they’re not controlled substances. You can just phone in a whole year’s worth at a time.

Dr. William Dodson:
As blood pressure medications, they were pretty poor. Nobody used them very much. But very quickly practitioners figured out, just through, again, real life experience that they were going to be the drugs of choice for a half dozen other conditions. They’re the treatment of choice for tic disorders, for Tourette’s syndrome. It’s the anesthetic they can do LASIK surgery under. A whole bunch of different uses.

Dr. William Dodson:
For years they’ve been the medication used for the hyperactive component of ADHD. And it’s in that context that we started seeing when we started a medication for hyperactivity, that in about 30% of people, the rejection sensitivity would just go away.

Dr. William Dodson:
It’s a different 30% for Clonidine and Guanfacine. It’s not the same patient population for either medication. So if the first medication doesn’t work, we stop it and we try the other one. We end up trying both of them sequentially, not at the same time, but sequentially, you get about a 50-60% robust response rate.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What kind of dose?

Dr. William Dodson:
If you take all the people who get a response, 80% of them are going to be at three tablets. That’s three milligrams of Guanfacine or three-tenths of a milligram of Clonidine, which still means a 20% are going to be higher or lower. But by far, the most common dose is going to be a three.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Is there any category of predicting which, whether of Clonidine or Guanfacine?

Dr. William Dodson:
Nothing predicts response to either medication or predicts [inaudible 00:22:54] is not going to respond. It’s just something you got to try and see.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Do it’s like Methylphenidate or Amphetamine. You can’t tell. You just got to try.

Dr. William Dodson:
With all the medications in ADHD. There’s no predicting. You just got to try them. And it doesn’t run in families either.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How long does the trial of Guanfacine last?

Dr. William Dodson:
It takes about two weeks. With the stimulants, when we give a stimulant, we’re going to see everything the stimulant is going to do in an hour.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s the beauty of stimulants.

Dr. William Dodson:
All of its benefits, all of its side effects, in one hour. With the alpha-agonist, it takes about five days for the benefits to develop. So we change the dose every fifth day. So Guanfacine we do one milligram for five days, then two milligrams for five days, then three milligrams for five days. So that takes about two weeks to do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And the Clonidine, you start with 0.1?

Dr. William Dodson:
With Clonidine it’s 0.1, 2.1, 3.1. It only comes in a 0.1 size.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. And then again, do you sometimes get a response at 0.1?

Dr. William Dodson:
Yes, you do. That’s why you pick it up. You can get a very good response just at one tablet.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And a response means if someone walks up to them and says, you’re ugly, they don’t go into a big depression.

Dr. William Dodson:
Right. They just say, well, that person’s unpleasant, and walk away.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What a difference

Dr. William Dodson:
The other thing that you see is that the number of simultaneous thoughts that a person has goes from three or four down to the one that they want. A lot of people, even when they’re on a stimulant medication, will still have two, three, four simultaneous thoughts going on. And that in and of itself is distracting.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Now you can of course combine the stimulant with the alpha-agonist, right?

Dr. William Dodson:
In fact, that’s how they’re usually done. In fact, they’re combined so frequently that the FDA has actually tested them and approved them for use at the same time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, this is a wonderful thing. And you’ve pretty much pioneered this, correct?

Dr. William Dodson:
I’m the first person that started writing about it. And again, it’s just one of those things that, as you say, we’re naturalists. If you see the same thing happening over and over again you know it’s important. You may not know why, but you know it’s important.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. Yeah, no, exactly. And it’s a great contribution, but so is your way of categorizing all this. I know you have a book that you’re on the brink of coming out with, is that correct?

Dr. William Dodson:
It’s been on the brink for a long time now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, but this time you’re going to… Do you think 2019 will be the year?

Dr. William Dodson:
I’m shooting for Christmas time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Excellent. Well, please allow me the honor of writing a blurb for it. Do you have a tentative title?

Dr. William Dodson:
Well, it’s either going to be something formal like, The Practice Of ADHD Medicine, or something informal like, What You Wish Your Physician Knew About ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, maybe one could be the title and the other could be the subtitle. That’s often a good way to combine those two. And if someone wants to find you, is there a website they can go to?

Dr. William Dodson:
Yes, it’s dodsonadhdcenter.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s D-O-D-S-O-N, right?

Dr. William Dodson:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
D-O-D, as in dog, S-O-N adhdcenter.com.

Dr. William Dodson:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If they want to reach you, they just go to that website?

Dr. William Dodson:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You will respond to them, or do you have someone else respond to them, how does that-

Dr. William Dodson:
I try and do it myself.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I know you’re very approachable. And you also write frequently for ADDitude Magazine, correct?

Dr. William Dodson:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a wonderful magazine. They do a great job at it. If they want to go to ADDitude, again, just go to… What’s their website? Just ADDitude?

Dr. William Dodson:
It’s ADDitude, A-D-D-I-T-U-D-E, mag, M-A-G, .com. It’s additudemag.com. One of the nice things is they’ve been publishing for 20 years, but they have everything they’ve ever published in a searchable format online. So if you want an article that they printed 10 years ago on ADHD and sleep, you can pull it up from that website. It’s probably the largest ADHD website in the world. They get more than a million discrete hits a month, so it’s very popular.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow. They’ve done a great job. Sarah Kaufman and Wayne Kalyn. You’re one of their mainstays.

Dr. William Dodson:
As are you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, thank you. And this is a real pleasure. And just again, Dodson, D-O-D-S-O-N, adhdcenter.com. And if they want to track down articles that you’ve written in ADDitude, like on rejection sensitive dysphoria, or on any… You write the most practical articles. Truly listeners, if you want practical, Bill Dodson is practical. He’s not in the clouds, he will tell you how to solve problems. And he also shares with me a very positive approach to all of this. He’ll tell you how to make things better for yourself and not get mired in the misery of it all.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
He and I have both seen a lot. We’re both getting a little bit older and we’ve seen a lot. But fortunately, what we’ve seen is how great life can be with this condition if you learn how to manage it, right. Would you agree with that, Bill?

Dr. William Dodson:
Th word I use is embrace it. If you embrace it and you start learning about it and you see what works, it’s a good life.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It hurts you if you run away from it, that’s when it does its damage, and that’s when you get addiction and the prison population and all of that. It’s when people, and a lot of men, unfortunately, don’t want to… How do you deal with them, Bill? How do you deal with the wife who says, “My husband won’t come to see you because he thinks it’s a bunch of crap”?

Dr. William Dodson:
Usually the last thing that somebody has to overcome is a combination of shame and the rejection sensitivity. They don’t want to be blamed. They don’t want to be the one that’s at fault, that’s got the defect, because it hurts so much. And usually if I can get the spouse to give them just something short, a one page on rejection sensitivity and the fact that it’s got a treatment, that usually can overcome that hopelessness and shame.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, gosh, I could talk to you for a lot longer, but I can’t thank you enough for coming on. I look forward to your book coming out and congratulate you on the wonderful career, and many more years to come. Thank you so much, Dr. William Dodson and dodsonadhdcenter.com. Thanks a million.

Dr. William Dodson:
Pleasure to be here. Good to talk to you, Ned.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Take care.

Dr. William Dodson:
Bye-bye.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, that was Dr. William Dodson. Really one of the great men in the field. He’s truly in the trenches, been doing it for as long as I’ve been doing it. He’s seen it all and then some. He’s taken what he’s seen and turned it into real pearls. He’s a naturalist. You can find a lot of his work in ADDitude Magazine. Again, A-D-D-I-T-U-D-E mag.com. And he’ll have a book coming out, hopefully around Christmas.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell. I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer and looking forward to a terrific fall. And I’ll look forward to talking to you again soon. If you have a question for me or a show idea for us, email it to [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode of Distraction you’ve just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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Advice for ADHD Parents Raising ADHD Kids

Advice for ADHD Parents Raising ADHD Kids

Raising children is tough. Having ADHD and raising children with ADHD is really tough. In this week’s mini podcast episode, Dr. H responds to one dad looking for help.

“I have ADHD and four of my children have been diagnosed with ADHD by their pediatricians. I wish I were a confident guide for them about how to thrive with this condition, but instead I’m a mess… What can I do to make sure they are best prepared to thrive when I can’t show them by example?” 

Ned offers reassuring advice that’s applicable to everyone facing a similar struggle. 

Books mentioned in this episode: Delivered from Distraction

Superparenting for ADHD

Can you relate to what Dennis wrote? Let us know what you think. Email [email protected].

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Ned 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 of “Distraction” is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to “Distraction”. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Today, I want to respond to a question we received from one of our listeners named Dennis. And, by the way, we love getting these questions. Dennis wrote, “Hello, Dr. Hallowell. I have ADHD and four of my children ages 15, 13, 10, and eight have been diagnosed with ADHD by their pediatricians. I wish I were a confident guide for them about how to thrive with this condition, but instead I’m a mess. I was diagnosed at age 37 after having developed anxiety, depression, and a panic disorder. All the kids have taken Ritalin, but none takes it regularly because of the way it suppresses the appetites of the two oldest.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The current pediatrician sees no problem with not taking it as long as they are doing well in school. My wife is inclined to use the same gauge for the necessity usefulness of the medication. But, I have seen my kids lose confidence and joy as they’ve aged, and I’m sure it’s partly because of typical ADHD woes. I think they just hide the effects well, as I did when I was a child. What can I do to make sure they are best prepared to thrive when I can’t show them by example? Should I try to get them under the care of an ADHD expert? If so, how do I even find one? I’ll appreciate any suggestions you offer. Dennis”.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, first of all, Dennis, I think you’re a whole lot better than you think you are, just judging from the letter you wrote. You’re a caring, attentive, loving father. And I think, like an awful lot of adults with ADHD, you sell yourself short. And you don’t need an ADHD expert. They are hard to find. I don’t know where you live, but the most reliable way is to go to the nearest medical school and go through the department of child psychiatry. That’s where most specialists reside, in medical schools and department of child psychiatry. But, failing that, just get one of my books. Honestly, not to peddle my own wares, but they’re very good. And I would get “Delivered from Distraction” or “Super Parenting for ADD”. Either one of those would have more than you could possibly need or want. “Delivered from Distraction” or “Super Parenting for ADD”. And read those and you’ll become an expert, not only for your kids, but for yourself.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And learning about this condition is the single best way to master it, to turn it from a liability into an asset. And that’s the goal. I don’t treat disorders. I help people unwrap their gifts. And the way to do that is to understand the condition, the ins and outs, the nooks and the crannies, like a Thomas’ English Muffin, which I had one this morning. A lot of nooks and crannies, a lot of little holes, a lot of interesting terrain in the world of ADHD. And the more you can understand it, the more you can anticipate the pitfalls and take advantage of the upsides. Regarding medication, I think you’re wrong to say don’t bother with it as long as you’re doing well in school because they may still be struggling even though they’re putting up good grades. You can be number one in your class and be struggling, not be performing as well as you otherwise could.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s like needing eyeglasses or driving on square wheels. So, I would not use grades as a gauge of whether or not you need it medication. However, I would work with your pediatrician, or whatever doctor you do see, to find a medication where you have no side effects other than appetite suppression without weight loss. So, you have to eat. And the best meal to pig out is breakfast. Have a high calorie breakfast: eggs, pancakes, bacon. If you’re in a hurry, make a shake with yogurt and ice cream and some frozen fruit or fresh fruit, whatever, and some powdered protein. You want to get some protein in for sure. But, 80% of the time you can find a medication regimen where you have no side effects other than appetite suppression without unwanted weight loss. And then you should take it every day.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
In fact, you’ll want to take it every day because it’s nice having eyeglasses instead of having to squint, or it’s nice having round wheels instead of driving on square wheels. So, I would learn about the condition, read my books. If you want to find an ADHD expert, go to the nearest medical school, the department of child psychiatry, and then work with your doctor to find a medication regimen where you can take the meds every day, including weekends, without side effects, just with target symptom improvement. And if you do that, confidence will rise because it’s nice to do well. And if they’re doing okay without medication, imagine how much better they can do with medication. And, again, the anxiety and depression that so often accompanies ADD is usually due to the fact that the ADD itself is not well-treated. You feel anxious because you know you’re missing stuff, and you feel quote/unquote depressed because you’re underachieving, you’re frustrated, and it’s disheartening to underachieve, not do as well as you know you could do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I hope that answers your questions. They’re very good questions, and you are a very good dad. Thanks so much for writing in, and keep us posted. Let us know how this goes. Well, I want to, once again, thank you to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve been taking their omega-3 supplement for years and recently started their CBD supplement as well. OmegaBrite products, I trust them because I know the woman who’s in charge of the company, a Harvard Medical School graduate. She’s very fussy about quality, efficacy and is always looking to make sure that the product she has is the best in the business. And “Distraction” listeners can save 20% off their first order with the promo code “podcast2020” at omegabritewellness.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right. Remember to reach out to us with your questions, thoughts, and show ideas, just as Dennis, who wrote in. We love to get your questions. We will answer them and keep you informed and up-to-date. To do it, to send us an idea or a question, send an email or a voice memo. Those are great because we can play them on the air. Send an email or a voice memo to [email protected] That’s the word “connect” at distractionpodcast.com. And check us out on social media. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We’re working hard to develop much more of a social media presence, so help us out with that, would you please? “Distraction” is created by Soundscape Media. Our producer is the wonderfully perfect and estimable Sarah Gertin, and our recording engineer and editor is the brilliant, talented Scott Persson, and that’s “person” with two S’s. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell. Goodbye for now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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Black Girl, Lost Keys Founder Empowers Black Women with ADHD

Black Girl, Lost Keys Founder Empowers Black Women with ADHD

René Brooks had to get diagnosed with ADHD three times before finally getting the right treatment. And now she’s using her superpowers to empower other black women with ADHD through her blog, books and brand, Black Girl, Lost Keys.

In this episode, René shares the struggles she faced as a smart young girl who felt defective because she couldn’t keep her room clean or do her homework. She shares the moment she knew medication was right for her and talks about how getting properly diagnosed with ADHD was critical to her success and happiness in life.

Check out René’s most recent book, Everything You Need to Completely Clean With ADHD.

Do you have a question or comment for us? Email [email protected].

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

Rene Brooks:
They wouldn’t stop telling me how smart I was, so I knew it had to have been defective. I must not care, I must not be motivated, I must not want to do these things, maybe I’m just obstinate, I don’t know what the problem is. They’re asking me to do it, I want to do it, but I can’t do it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello and welcome to Distraction. Don’t you just love joining us? I loved having you join us, it’s wonderful to have you with us today. It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. You know, I don’t have a sweater that I’m taking off, but it’s wonderful to have you, and it’s wonderful to be alive. Even as we’re living through all the stresses and strains that the glorious year of 2020 has bestowed upon us, at least, right now, we’re all alive and able to listen. I’m able to talk, you’re able to listen and pay some fraction of your attention and I hope I can engage you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I think I will today because I have an amazing guest. She is a great example of someone who has learned how to harness their ADHD superpowers. Renee Brooks is her name that’s R-E-N-E with an accent, a U over the E. Renee Brooks was diagnosed with ADHD three times, three times, before getting properly treated. Once when she was seven, once when she was 11. You’ve heard that kind of response before, well-meaning, but ill informed. Finally, at age 25, she got diagnosed and properly treated. Now she writes an extremely popular blog called Black Girl, Lost Keys. Isn’t that a great term? Black Girl, Lost Keys. Where she helps empower Black women with ADHD. I think she empowers an awful lot of people including this White man, and teaches them how to thrive. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for joining me, Renee Brooks.

Rene Brooks:
Oh, Ned. It’s an honor. I tell people all the time, when you’re learning about ADHD, you’re bound to run into Ned first when you’re ready to start taking it seriously. So when I got the request, I was like, yeah, of course I’m coming. When? Now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I’m honored as well. It’s remarkable, the Black community, in general, has been under served. In part because they’re suspicious of White men like me trying to control them. So there’s been an understandable skepticism and, at the same time, information travels slowly. As you experienced at age seven and 11, there’s a lot of wrong information out there. So there you were, a little girl having the condition, but not being aware of it. So what was it like as a little girl with ADHD, that you didn’t know you had?

Rene Brooks:
It was frustrating, I felt like I couldn’t make anyone happy. I couldn’t keep a clean room, I couldn’t keep a clean desk, I couldn’t get my homework done in a timely fashion. So everywhere I went, I was always faced with this disapproval, and it doesn’t do good things for your self-esteem as a child. Children want to make the people around them happy and know that they’re doing the things that they need to do to make that happen, and it didn’t happen for me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Say more about that, because I often say to people, you can worry about the side effects of taking medication, which we can control and there can be side effects, but I say, what you really ought to worry about are the side effects of not taking medication. You experienced those side effects as a little girl, correct?

Rene Brooks:
Absolutely, my favorite is when people say, I don’t want my child to get a label. Your child is going to get a label, it can either be ADHD or it can be lazy, unmotivated, stupid, uncaring. They’re going to get one, you want them to have access to the label that’s going to get them the help they need, to get where they need to go.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. Right, exactly. And you didn’t get that?

Rene Brooks:
No. So I underperformed and was frustrated all the way up through college.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And your self-esteem suffered?

Rene Brooks:
Majorly, because you feel like, I’m trying my very hardest, I’m being told that I’m not trying my hardest, which makes me think maybe I’m just damaged, bad, whatever adjective you want to give it. It’s a bad, bad feeling. I see other people who, I know I should be doing as well as, and I’m not and I don’t understand why.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So I just want to underscore that, because it’s so poignant and it is so common. Before I die, I want this never to happen because there you are, with a very diagnosable and treatable condition, and you are feeling, I’m trying my best, but everyone’s telling me I’m underperforming and I know I am underperforming. So maybe I am, then fill in the blank, stupid, lazy, [inaudible 00:06:00], deficit disorder or maybe I just don’t have what it takes in this world. That’s just, and year after year, you felt that way. Right?

Rene Brooks:
Well into adulthood.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow, wow.

Rene Brooks:
Well into adulthood and, as the depression got worse and worse, it finally got to the point. By the time I got to the point where I was sitting in that therapist’s office that day, I was on medical leave from work. I was so depressed, I couldn’t get out of bed. It should never have gotten that bad, it didn’t have to get that bad.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely, you could have been diagnosed and treated at age seven.

Rene Brooks:
And I often wonder, people talk about how remarkable it is to have made a transformation later in life, but what I’m more interested in, whether it’s productive or not is left to conjecture, but I’m very interested in who would Renee Brooks have been, if she had gotten what she needed then? If you think I’m great now, how much greater could I have been if I never went through any of this?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes. I just want our listeners to let that sink in a little bit. Here’s this little girl at age seven, presents for diagnosis and treatment, and it’s all right there, right? You were not a tough kid to diagnose, right? If someone knew what they were doing.

Rene Brooks:
I think that, in and of itself, and it’s funny… If you want to bring it full circle, my mom got diagnosed with ADHD about two years ago. So we were having a talk one day about this particular teacher, it was a second grade teacher, who had spotted this in me. I told her, with the disparity that there is in diagnosing not only Black people, but girls. For her to have cared enough about me and paid enough attention to me, to see what was going on and make that kind of recommendation, that lets me know she was a marvelous educator. My mom looked at me and she was like, Oh my God, I never once thought of it that way. She still saw it as an attack on her kid, and I’m sitting there going, no, she tried really hard to get me help. She was right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes. Did your mother apologize?

Rene Brooks:
She did, but you know, I’ll tell you, Ned, I don’t feel like my mother owes me an apology because she did what she thought was best at the time. There’s never been a doubt in my mind, she did it to protect me. If we have cultural competency, then we know that Black people have been preyed on by the medical community, we’ve been abused by various systems that are in place, that are supposed to protect us, but often take advantage of us-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So you’re naturally suspicious, yeah. Yeah.

Rene Brooks:
So for her to have snatched her child out of the clutches of that, who could blame her?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely. She said, you’re not going to label my kid, you’re not going to drug my kid, you’re not going to manipulate my kid in the way you’ve been manipulating black children for so long. In this one particular instance, she was wrong, but like you say, she owes you no apology. Today it’s happening and there’s less excuse today, but it’s still happening. We have the knowledge, but the consumption of the knowledge still lags behind the knowledge. Nowhere is it as true in medicine as it is in psychiatry, that we know so much more than people are using.

Rene Brooks:
Absolutely the truth. That’s another thing, swing back around to it. So I was one of those girls that got overlooked in the ’90s, but there was a young man who lived in my neighborhood, who I was close friends with, and he did have a diagnosis and he was on Ritalin. One of the things that I think genuinely scared my mother, was that she could see the difference in this child’s personality from when he was medicated to when he wasn’t, and he was a different person. I think maybe the dosage was just off, we didn’t know as much then as we do now.

Rene Brooks:
So it was like, there were all these things that were not working in my favor. If someone had taken the time to educate my mother on what ADHD was and what it meant, and what it could mean if I didn’t have access to treatment, I think the story would have been different, but she didn’t have that and no one tried to give it to her. It was just like, Oh, here’s this backwards Black woman, of course Black people don’t want to… That’s the impression that is left with so many people, that Black people are too backwards or too ignorant to know that their children need treatment, and that’s not the case. The case is that we are not being properly informed because people don’t think they need to take the time to inform us.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So say more about that, say more about the Black side of the story. Would it have been different if you were a little white girl?

Rene Brooks:
I don’t know, but I do know that my mother was a single mom, but she co-parented with my… So there were all these things that looked like some sort of stereotype that people are used to seeing. My mother had a solid job, my mother was a rock for our family. My dad is a great guy, we have a wonderful relationship. So they needed it to be a stereotype and it wasn’t one, and she wasn’t going to let them bully her. They thought that they could come in and give her the direction and that she had to take it, and she wouldn’t. So unfortunately, when people think they are in a position of authority, sometimes they can speak to people in ways that they shouldn’t. I’m quite sure, I would put money on the fact that this is how they came at my mother. I’ll tell you, if they came at me like that when I was trying to protect my kids, I can’t say I wouldn’t have make the same decision that she made.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
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Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Once you got the diagnosis, how did your life change?

Rene Brooks:
Oh man, on the blog I have a post that I wrote about the first time that I ever took medication. I was being treated for depression for six months, so they had jumped me around from trying to get me into an antidepressant that would work. I said to my doctor, you know, if this is another six to eight week thing, I’m just not going to do another med like this. I can’t, I don’t have the patience. She said to me, Renee, you’ll know in probably a few hours that this is going to be the right thing for you. My room was always jumbled, and scattered, and disorganized, and I had been working on it here and there for like the better part of maybe two years, trying to get it organized. By the end of the afternoon, I had it done and that’s when I knew, this is the thing, this is what I needed. Medication is not the only tool in the arsenal, but that was when I knew. They were right, it was ADHD. The meds were going to help me fix it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It was like you were given eyeglasses.

Rene Brooks:
Exactly that, for the very first time. It’s funny, if you had known me when I was 25 and 35, now I would never in my life have thought that I would be writing a cleaning book for people with ADHD, and that they would be like, Oh my God, this is so helpful. Because I was a slob, Ned.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It would be like the Pope writing a sex manual, right?

Rene Brooks:
It would have been.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh, goodness me. Well, there you go. You got your eyeglasses, and now your book is called Everything you need to completely clean with ADHD. Wow, what a turnaround.

Rene Brooks:
Every once in a while, I look around and I’m just like, this is a lot different. [crosstalk 00:16:25] be like.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, we should tell our listeners, if they want to get the book or see it, your website is Black Girl, Lost Keys. Those four words, Black Girl, singular, Lost Keys, plural, .com. And your Twitter handle is @BLKGirl, they wouldn’t let her have the AC. So it’s BLKGirlLostKeys. By the way, sometimes people ask for my Twitter handle and it’s @DrHallowell, no period after DR. Just @DrHallowell. I’ll tweet about you and you can tweet about me.

Rene Brooks:
You bet I will. I’m telling you, this is quite something, Ned Hallowell. If you would’ve told me at 25 I’d be sitting talking to Ned Hallowell, I’d have been like, you are a liar.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well Rene, we got to team up and reach all those little girls. Girls and women are the biggest undiagnosed group and, among them, Black girls, I’m sure, are the leading underdiagnosed group for all the reasons you mentioned. Boy, you’re perfectly positioned to change that, and I will help you in every single way I possibly can. Unlike so many diagnoses, this is good news, things can only get better when you find out about it.

Rene Brooks:
And that’s it. People talk about, Oh well, they’re trying to drug you up. First of all, no one told you, you had to take medication to treat your ADHD. Although, I will be honest, I’m very pro-medication, medication changed my life. Coaching changed my life, as well, but it was both of them. It wasn’t one or the other.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But you know, Rene, it’s a lot easier for you to use the coaching if you’re on the medication.

Rene Brooks:
Exactly that, and I always was. That’s the thing, it’s like, in order to absorb information, you have to be able to give it as much attention as you can give it. The medication gave me the opportunity to take in as much as I could.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. It doesn’t make you smarter, but it makes you able to use your smarts more effectively. A lot like eyeglasses.

Rene Brooks:
Absolutely.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Yeah. So, it’s a multi-pronged approach. You’re such a messenger to these little girls and their parents, because you know firsthand what it’s like not to have the diagnosis, and then what a liberating, uplifting thing it is to get the diagnosis and the treatment that comes with it. What would you say to people who say, I don’t have brain damage, I don’t have this deficit disorder, what would you say to that?

Rene Brooks:
I would tell them that I was in gifted and talented for the vast majority of my school career and I still couldn’t turn my homework in, but I can turn it in now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. Right. And you were being told to try harder.

Rene Brooks:
All the time because, of course, if I wasn’t performing, it must have been because I was bored because I’m so darn smart. Now we’ve got her in these gifted and talented classes that are really just additional work, if we’re being honest. So now I’m not doing homework in any of those places, and everyone is telling me, look, we know exactly how smart you are, kid. We tested you what’s the problem? How are you supposed to tell a group of adults what the problem is, when you don’t know?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Exactly, then you reach wrong conclusions like you’re not very smart or maybe you’re just defective, you know?

Rene Brooks:
Well, I’ll tell you, they wouldn’t stop telling me how smart I was. So I knew it had to have been defective. I must not care, I must not be motivated, I must not want to do these things. Maybe I’m just obstinate, I don’t know what the problem is. They’re asking me to do it, I want to do it, but I can’t do it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We are really happy to welcome Landmark College back as a sponsor. It’s my favorite place in the world, as far as a college for kids who learn differently. It is absolutely a pioneer in the field and has set the bar for how to teach, at a college level, kids who don’t do school easily. They find the gifts in these kids, it’s all about finding strengths, not about just about remediating problems. They really get it, and they have the added advantage of being in a beautiful town in Vermont, Putney, Vermont. It is an ideal college for students who learn differently. You could not do better. You’ll come out with confidence, direction, and a real solid sense of what your special talents are. It is the college of choice for students who learn differently, go to LCDistraction.org, to learn more. Such a profound difference between won’t and can’t.

Rene Brooks:
Exactly that. It was like, don’t you think I would rather… No kid wants to be in trouble. I’m not saying that every kid is the same, but what human being in general wants to be in trouble, if they have a method to avoid it? Why would anyone choose to not do their homework and not clean their room? Oh my God, I spent like half of my teen years grounded because my room was messy. Why would anyone choose that? No one chooses that, nonsense.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, right. Well, look how you turned it all around, and look at what you’re doing now. It’s really impressive. Again, the website is BlackGirlLostKeys.com and the Twitter handle is @BLKGirlLostKeys. Renee Brooks, do you have another book in mind?

Rene Brooks:
I would say, if you’re going to check books out on the store, I’ve got a style guide for ADHD femmes, that is also a lot of fun. There’s that one, I did one about tackling time blindness, that one was a lot of fun. They were just, they’re fun to write, they’re workbooks so they’re fast, they’re colorful, they’re fun. You can pick it up and go any place in the book you want. It’s not something where you have to read from beginning to end, we hate that. I have to write the book, so it has to be interesting to me. So you know it’s going to be generally… We’re not all the same, obviously, but it had to have been interesting enough to me to write it.

Rene Brooks:
So I try to keep it as engaging as I can. Because like, cleaning’s not very interesting, but this is fun. There’s sections in it, and that’s it. You know what it is? When you can succeed at something, it starts to not be so boring. Then it becomes like, okay, here’s this thing that I got to do, but I know I can get it done. It doesn’t feel insurmountable anymore. I don’t have to procrastinate as much because I know I can go in, spend this 10, 15 minutes and at least walk out with something accomplished.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, yes. Even just the feeling that I accomplished it.

Rene Brooks:
Exactly. Exactly that-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So like, for example, our dishwasher is broken, so after I finish with you today, I’ve got to go down and do by hand a big sink load of dishes, but I’m looking forward to it. I’ll tell you why, because I’m looking forward to the feeling I will have, of having done something concrete of value. Nothing can be more concrete than washing dishes.

Rene Brooks:
You do, you get that it’s right there waiting for you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, exactly, exactly. I can either hate it and put it off, and rue the day that I ever bought a dishwasher to break, or go down and plunge my hands into the soapy water and say, all right dishes, you’re not going to defeat me.

Rene Brooks:
That’s the attitude, that’s the way to come at it. But yeah-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s the ADD way. Look at you, look at you, you didn’t give up, you just kept plugging along.

Rene Brooks:
And I think that’s the thing. I think it’s normal for people to get discouraged and take a break, but don’t quit. Just keep going.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. What’s the key to not quitting, do you think?

Rene Brooks:
I don’t know, I wish I did. It’s just one of those things, where I just felt like, if I keep looking for the answer, I’m going to find it. I’ve got to find it because, you know what? It’s funny. I’ll tell you what the key for mine was anyway, my mother might not have gotten me treated for ADHD, but what she did teach me was that happiness was my birthright, but it was also my personal responsibility, that I had to find happiness and nobody else could find it for me. So when I would look at my life, I could say, I’m not happy, therefor I’m not finished yet. I have more work to do here.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, you’ve got many years ahead of you. I’m pretty much twice your age and I wish I could live long enough to see you go all the way. Do you have any immediate goals?

Rene Brooks:
I’ll tell you, this month… Of course you know, it’s ADHD awareness month. So I’m going to be speaking on the 17th at a neuro-diversity conference for Stanford University. I laughed when they called me, I said, you know I couldn’t get in Stanford with the grades that I had.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But with the brain you have, you could get in today.

Rene Brooks:
That’s the thing, my grades couldn’t get me there, but my brain took me there anyway. Isn’t that something?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It just shows how misleading grades can be.

Rene Brooks:
Then there’s that. I think that was it, so much of the grades in school were whether or not you could do the busy work. It didn’t have anything to do with whether or not you’d learned the material.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. No, exactly. Could you memorize and repeat back? We don’t do that well, we like to think, and create, and discover.

Rene Brooks:
Absolutely the truth.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I can’t thank you enough for joining us. Again, @BLKGirlLostKeys, the Twitter handle and the website, BlackGirlLostKeys.com. Her book, Everything You Need to Completely Clean With ADHD. What an irony that you would end up writing that book and teaching people with ADHD how to clean. And you’ve got another one on how to negotiate another tough topic, time. How we don’t have a sense of time, but you’ve got so much more yet to do in your life, Rene. Thank you, thank you, thank you for joining us and congratulations on having persisted and triumphed.

Rene Brooks:
Ned, thank you so very much. I’ll tell you, this was quite a pleasure. Thank you very, very much for having me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you, and let’s stay in touch.

Rene Brooks:
Absolutely.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right, take care.

Rene Brooks:
Take care.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right well, that’s going to do it for today. You can follow Rene’s blog at BlackGirlLostKeys.com and you can find her on Twitter @BLKGirlLostKeys, as well as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, where you can also find us. And you can find me on Twitter @DrHallowell, is the handle. Please continue to reach out to us with your questions, comments, and show ideas. Write an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected] That’s [email protected] You can follow the Distraction podcast on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Give us a like and follow to stay connected with the show.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media, our recording engineer and editor is the amazingly talented Scott Persson, we’re so lucky to have him. Our producer is the also amazingly talented Sarah Guertin, whom we are also so lucky to have. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell, I don’t know how lucky you are to have me, but here I am and hoping you’ll join us next time. That’s it for today. Bye-bye.

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

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