College Student Katie Is a Great Role Model for ADHD Girls

College Student Katie Is a Great Role Model for ADHD Girls

School has never been easy for 22-year old Katie LaBombard. Even though she was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age and found a treatment plan that worked, she still struggled. Now Katie is set to graduate from Landmark College this spring, despite never imagining she’d even make it through high school. 

We found Katie through our sponsor Landmark College, and she graciously and openly shares her story in this episode. We can’t say enough good things about Katie, and we’re confident you’ll feel the same after listening! 

If you have a question or comment you’d like Dr. Hallowell to address in an episode reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].  

Learn more about the programs being offered this summer at Landmark College! There’s a summer program for high school students, a summer bridge experience, and a college readiness program. Go HERE to learn more. Landmark College in Putney, Vermont is the college of choice for students who learn differently. 

Learn more about our sponsor OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the #1 Omega-3 supplements for the past twenty years. Ned and his wife, Sue, take them every day. Distraction listeners will SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Distraction at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media and produced by Sarah Guertin. 

Check out this episode!

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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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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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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:
Once again, I want to tell you about the favorite supplement that I take and my wife takes, OmegaBrite. Go to OmegaBriteWellness.com for their fish oil supplement, their omega three supplement, their CBD supplement. They’ve been our sponsor so, of course, I’m going to tell you to go buy their product. But in addition to sponsoring us, they have really helped my health, my wife’s health, and the many of my patients who I’ve encouraged to take the OmegaBrite products. That’s O-M-E-G-A-B-R-I-T-E. Particularly with all the stress we’re feeling these days, the antioxidant effect of OmegaBrite, the anti-inflammatory effect of OmegaBrite is a real stress reducer and health promoter. Omega Brite CBD and omega-3 three supplements are top of the line. You can find all of their supplements online at OmegaBrite, that’s B-R-I-T-E, OmegaBriteWellness.com. Distraction listeners, you can save 20% on your first order of omega-3 and CBD supplements at OmegaBriteWellness.com by entering the promo code Podcast2020. All right, let’s get back to the show.

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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From Our ADHD Archives: Women and ADHD Q&A

From Our ADHD Archives: Women and ADHD Q&A

To help celebrate ADHD Awareness Month we’re re-releasing some of the most popular episodes from our first four seasons!

Women and girls with ADHD face a number of unique issues in dealing with their “race car brains.” In this episode from Season 2,  Terry Matlen, ACSW, who specializes in helping women with ADHD, joins Dr. Hallowell to answer questions from our female listeners. Topics include pregnancy and medication, hormones, exercise, toxic relationships, social isolation and much more.

Listen to the second part of this conversation: Women and ADHD Q&A Part 2

Other Links:

ADD Consults website

What Does Everybody Know That I Don’t? by Michele Novotni, PhD

The Queen of Distraction: How Women with ADHD Can Conquer Chaos, Find Focus, and Get More Done by Terry Matlen

Survival Tips for Women with ADHD by Terry Matlen

The Hallowell Center 

Do you have a question for Dr. Hallowell about ADHD, or a struggle you are facing? Write an email or record a voice memo with your thoughts and send it to [email protected]. We regularly release listener Q & A episodes!

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

And thank you to our other amazing sponsor, Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. Click HERE to learn more about our the college of choice for students who learn differently. (Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!)

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 Omega bright CBD formulated by Omega Brite, wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Shop [email protected] 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

Terry Matlen:
With the right treatment, your life can change. I know that mine changed when I was diagnosed and treated, to such an extreme that that’s why I wanted to be out there helping other women. I can see how quickly and how wonderfully women can improve their lives.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is dr. Ned Hallowell for the podcast Distraction. Today, we’re going to devote the episode to women and ADHD. And when I first learned about what was then called ADD in 1981, I was taught that the ratio of males to females was 10 to one. 10 males for every one female. That’s because we weren’t catching onto the fact that girls and women usually don’t have hyperactivity, aren’t disruptive. Quite the contrary. They’re the quiet daydreamer sitting in the back of the room, staring out the window. And they were passed over or dismissed as not very bright or maybe depressed, but they didn’t get their ADHD diagnosed.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, thankfully that has changed in the ensuing however many years is 1981 ago. And one of the leaders in the field today of helping women with ADHD is my long time friend, Terry Matlen. One of the kindest women you’ll ever meet, as well as one of the smartest. She’s, by training, an MSW social worker. And she’s also a psychotherapist, a writer, a coach, a consultant. Her books, plural, the Queen of Distraction and Survival Tips for Women with ADHD, I recommend very highly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So we are really lucky to have Terry with us today. And we received a bunch of questions from our listeners. And thank you by the way, for writing in with your questions. All right, with that introduction, let me bring Terry onto the line and welcome Terry.

Terry Matlen:
Hello Ned. Thank you so much for inviting me to your very popular podcast. I’m thrilled to be here.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s wonderful, wonderful to have you. So how did you get into this line of work? How did a nice girl like you find yourself in a place like this?

Terry Matlen:
Well, I have two daughters and my youngest daughter was diagnosed with ADHD at a very young age. Her story is pretty unique, so I’m not going to get into it, but it’s not the typical story of she was born with ADHD, she had trouble with school, and then all that sort of thing. But suffice it to say that in trying to help her, oh I’d say from the time she was about four, I was learning about ADHD and kids. How can I help? Here I am, a social worker. How do I help this kid who was totally out of control with severe hyperactivity and impulsivity? So along the way is I was reading and reading and reading. In those days, as you know, Ned, this would be early 1990s, there weren’t a lot of books out on ADHD in kids, let alone ADHD in adults.

Terry Matlen:
So I was reading and somehow I came across a book, the only book in the early nineties, I believe, that was out there. And then I read that, and came across your book, which has changed millions of people, which changed my life dramatically. So that’s Driven to Distraction. And reading your book, I’m not quite sure why he picked it up because it was really more about adults, and I didn’t even think I might have ADHD. I just thought I was quirky, that I couldn’t get my life together. Maybe it was because I had two very active kids, one with the ADHD, but your book really changed my life.

Terry Matlen:
And so I read more, as the years went on, more books came out, but yours really is the bible. And then I got evaluated by a local psychologist who happened to specialize in ADHD in adults. And when I was diagnosed and treated for my ADHD, this was back, gosh, over 20, over 25 years ago, I saw how much it changed my life for the better. I never went through the stages that we talk about that many with ADHD do go through with things like grief and loss and anger and all those sorts of things. I took it and I ran with it because of how positive it was for my life. And when I saw how wonderful my life became, well, not bed of roses wonderful, but it changed significantly. I wanted to help other adults with ADHD and that’s how I landed in the field of ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, thank goodness you did. And then you wrote the books, and then you have a very robust online presence as well.

Terry Matlen:
Yeah, what happened was I got involved, even before the books were written, I got involved with nonprofit organizations like CHADD and Addup and I was very active on their boards. So what happened was people were emailing me from all over the world. And I thought, well, how can I help people who are in Africa or Sweden and Canada, US? So I took everything online and started my website at addcounsults.com. But still I needed more outreach, because I wasn’t giving people what they needed. And because of my passion like yours, I was thinking, what else can I do? What else can I do? Not much of a podcast kind of person. So I started a bunch of groups on Facebook, because Facebook had gotten extremely popular. And I focus more of my work for women with ADHD, so I have one group on Facebook for women that has over 22,000 members. So I really have taken to social media because I think that’s one way that a lot of people can find what you call vitamin C connection online.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. If someone wants to look into those, how do they do it?

Terry Matlen:
If they want to get to the women’s group, Facebook, the URL is facebook.com/groups/womenwithadd. And if that gets to be too confusing, folks can just email me and I can send them in the right direction. My email address is Terry T E R R Y at addconsults.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And that’ll take them to your groups?

Terry Matlen:
That’ll take them to that group. I have another group for specifically, for moms with ADD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Ah, what’s that one?

Terry Matlen:
I don’t have that one in front of me, but I have all kinds of Facebook groups to cover a lot of my bases. I have one for, let’s say for professionals who have ADD, they have their own group of problems that they feel misunderstood. So there’s all kinds of Facebook groups that I run, but this one is the biggest, the one for women. It’s just gone crazy. I’ve gotten about between 25 and a hundred people a day who were trying to join.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What happens you? So you’re in the group. How does it work?

Terry Matlen:
Well, it’s like a support group. I don’t spend a lot of time in the group. I have a large group of volunteers who moderate things to make sure everything stays calm, because imagine being in a room with 22,000 with ADD, I can’t quite handle it myself.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So do people just post comments?

Terry Matlen:
Yeah they post comments. A lot of it has to do with have you experienced this? Am I the only one who can’t handle a conversation at a party? And then other women will jump in and say no, you’re not the only one I have the same problem. So what it does is it validates people’s experiences.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s wonderful. So it’s become a successful business for you.

Terry Matlen:
Yeah. And that’s been a really great outcome of embracing my ADHD. And I think that’s an important message for not just women, but men and women, that you get to a stage, hopefully, in your journey with your ADHD that you can embrace it and take it and run, and use the qualities that are positive and use them to your advantage.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Tim Armstrong, have you ever heard of the company called Oath?

Terry Matlen:
No.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Oath is the result of the merger of Verizon, AOL, and Yahoo.

Terry Matlen:
Oh, okay.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So those huge companies merged into one called Oath, and Tim Armstrong is their CEO. And he and I have become friends because. He and his wife and I have become friends because Tim has big time ADD. And he’s very proud of it, very open about it. And he is committed to funding and making a documentary with me and his wife based on just what you were saying, the strength-based approach. That you’ll get the best outcome if you own it, embrace it, and manage it, as opposed to hiding it, and we all know the terrible outcomes that can result if you don’t take it seriously. But Tim is, is going to make this wonderful documentary and I think, Terry, it’s a real chance for finally the cloud of stigma to be blown away. And some people misunderstand what people like you and me are saying. We’re not saying ADD can’t be a severe problem. It sure can. It can be horrible. Lives can be ruined. But at the same time, if you learn how to manage it right, it can turn into a tremendous asset.

Terry Matlen:
Well, that’s what it did for me. I Learned what I’m good at. I learned what I’m not good at. I learned to use what I call accommodations, just like we use for kids in school who have special needs in a learning environment. And I bring that into the adult stage of, well, you have a problem with keeping your house together, you have a problem getting your work done at your job. And then you bring in an accommodation, and I emphasize that it’s not a luxury. It’s not a luxury to say have some cleaning crew come into your home, because it might take you 10 days to do what a cleaning crew can do in one hour. And a lot of women feel absolutely horrible about asking for that kind of help. When I reframe it as no, it’s not a weakness at all.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Anymore than eyeglasses are a weakness.

Terry Matlen:
Exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So it’s smart. It’s called working smart instead of just working hard. Well, we’ve received a bunch of questions from our listeners and I thought rather than me answering them, it would be really nice for you to answer them. But before that, we want to take just a moment to hear from our wonderful sponsor Landmark College.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You know, when I was growing up, there weren’t many options for students like me, students who learn differently. Basically we had two diagnoses, smart and stupid, and one treatment plan, try harder. And they’d get you to try harder by punishing you and shaming you. It was, it was a pretty primitive system.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Having ADD and dyslexia, which didn’t have names back then, it made learning a challenge. But as I’ve mentioned on the show before, I was lucky. I had a first grade teacher by the name of Mrs. Eldridge, whom I’ve talked about many times, who helped me simply by putting her arm around me. She didn’t excuse me from reading, but she made a classroom experience without fear, without shame. It was okay to be who I was. I may never have learned how to read where it not for Mrs. Eldridge. I’m still a very slow reader. I have dyslexia, but I’m not the least bit ashamed of it. I majored in English at Harvard and did pre-med. So I’m a slow reader. So what? I can read, that’s what matters.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And that’s one of the things I love about the sponsor of our show, Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. It’s a college full of teachers like my dear old Mrs. Eldritch. They uncover how each student learns best, and then they create an environment to help that student succeed. They truly do teach differently. For those of us who learn differently, we need that. And I couldn’t recommend this school more highly for students with ADHD, ASD, other learning differences, or really any kind of brain.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
To learn more about Landmark College, go to lcdistraction.org. That’s lcdistraction.org. And now back to the show.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. So I’m here with my wonderful friend, the expert on ADD, Terry Matlen. And we’re about to answer some questions from our listeners. And again, thank you so much for sending these questions to us about women and ADHD, or as Terry and I still call it, ADD. Our producer, Sarah Guertin is in the studio with me now, and she’s here to read the questions we received from listeners. Terry, are you ready?

Terry Matlen:
I’m ready.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right, let’s go to our first question.

Sarah Guertin:
Okay. Hello everyone. This first question we got comes from Lauren C in Maryland, and she writes, I am 31 years old and was diagnosed with ADD and anxiety at the end of last year, after struggling, primarily with activation and focus my whole life. Since the diagnosis, I’ve been on Adderall and Zoloft. They are working really well. And I am seeing an ADHD coach to improve on habits the medication hasn’t resolved. My question is this, my husband and I are interested in conceiving this year, and I am most concerned about stopping my stimulant medication while pregnant. My main concern is that I will have to endure a year or so of distraction during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Do you have any suggestions for supplements or other medications for ADD that are safe for mom and baby?

Terry Matlen:
Well, I’m going to answer part of it, but I’m going to also defer to Ned because he’s the MD on this team. First of all, a lot of women find that during their pregnancy, their add symptoms improve, and that has to do with the estrogen levels changing, and Ned, you might be able to explain why that is.

Terry Matlen:
But before that, a couple of tips to help you Lauren from Maryland, is to consider exercise. I know that you’ll have to check with your doctor to see what kind of exercise will be beneficial and what will be safe for you during your pregnancy, because obviously towards the end, you’ll want to be careful with that. But there are studies out that show that exercise can be extremely helpful in taming ADHD symptoms. So I know that swimming, a lot of women say that swimming has been extremely helpful with their ADD symptoms and safe for their months in their pregnancy.

Terry Matlen:
Also prenatal yoga classes. They’re out there now. They’re all over the place, and that can help with your focus and calming you down. If you have the hyperactive impulsive component to your ADD, that’s an excellent option for you.

Terry Matlen:
I’ve heard things about neurofeedback, Dr. Hallowell can probably address that better than I can. What I found just in general is meditation. Meditation can calm your mind, so that would be something to look into during the pregnancy. There are brain training courses that will be safe for you during your pregnancy. Again, Ned, I think you can address that better than me.

Terry Matlen:
And you mentioned in your question that you’re working with a coach and I say bravo. That would be a huge help, not only throughout your pregnancy, but now and after you have your child, because we find that working with an ADD coach is like working with a second brain. They help us with the executive functioning that we often lack as adults with ADHD. So I would hope that you continue working with your coach to help you get through some of these things.

Terry Matlen:
Also, maybe working with a CBT, cognitive behavioral therapist. They often can help you with some of the aspects of living with ADHD that can be problematic. So I think those are some of the main things that I think that help you, but also keep it in mind that you may find that while you’re pregnant that your symptoms may actually improve.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Just to reinforce that a pregnancy is a good treatment for ADD, so you may not miss your medications much at all. I would advise you not to take any medications during pregnancy at all. As for supplements, obviously talk to your doctor, but fish oil is a real good one. We like Omega-Brite, the best O M E G A hyphen B R I T E, ordered online. Fish oil is a real good supplement, but talk to your doctor before you ingest anything. And I would stay off the ADD meds and pregnancy may take care of it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And absolutely echo what Terry said about meditation, physical exercise, yoga. Coaching is absolutely wonderful, whether you’re pregnant or not. But if you work with that coach. The brain training stuff, I don’t think we’re there yet. The best way is just to use your brain, with stimulating conversations, reading a book, crossword puzzles. And neurofeedback, for ADD, I don’t think we’re quite there yet, either. For trauma, yes. Bessel van der Kolk is a big proponent of neurofeedback for trauma. But I think the ones that Terry ticked off are plenty and enough.

Sarah Guertin:
Okay. Now here are two questions from two different listeners, but they kind of go together. Is there any evidence on how hormone changes impact the symptoms of ADHD? For example, many young women take hormonal birth control. Could this cause problems with our ADHD symptoms and or stimulant medication? Regards, Monique. And then Jane asked, I read that the effect of ADD on a woman may change with hormonal changes, such as puberty or, later, menopause. I heard that it could help to have your hormone levels tested, if like me you’re in your late thirties or forties. Do you think there is a hormonal element?

Terry Matlen:
Absolutely. In the work I do, which is probably 99% with women, this is what I’m hearing from puberty on to post-menopausal stages of life. Hormones have a huge, huge effect on symptoms in women. And I think that we’re not doing enough work in explaining this to women, because they’re coming to me distraught at these different areas, different times in their lives of why am I getting worse? Am I developing Alzheimer’s? These are the perimenopausal, post-menopausal women. And even in the younger women, going through puberty, there’s a change in hormones, obviously with that. And because of these changes in hormones, we see an increase in ADHD symptoms.

Terry Matlen:
So we first need to really learn about this, and there’s literature online. Actually, I have a chapter in my book on hormones and women with ADHD. It’s very important to understand yourself. So during all these phases of life, you’ll see a change, often for the worse, I hate to say it. But not every woman has a terrible time with hormonal changes, but we do see fluctuation in how they affect symptomology.

Terry Matlen:
So one thing that I would recommend, even though it wasn’t really asked, but I’m going to offer it anyway, is to start a journal. When do you feel best? When do you feel worse? Is it two weeks before your period? Is it during your period? Is it as you’re entering perimenopause when your estrogen levels drop? Is it certain times during your pregnancy that we kind of alluded to? It’s to really start tracking this down and taking this information to your psychiatrist, but also to your OBGYN, because there are ways to help you during these times in your life when you are struggling.

Terry Matlen:
So absolutely these changes in hormones will often affect how you manage your ADHD, but there are ways to work with it for some women. And again, Ned can address this better than me. For some women that might be adding a anti-anxiety or anti-depression medications during times of change. It can be hormone replacement. Dr. Patricia Quinn talks a lot about using hormone treatment, especially during menopause, perimenopause, to help with some of the cognitive changes.

Terry Matlen:
I get emails all the time from women who really do think they’re losing it, that they’re developing dementia at 40, 45, 50. And we know that statistically, that’s probably not the case, that it’s more likely the ADHD that is affecting you because of the changes in your estrogen levels. So absolutely. It’s a great question. It’s something that women really do need to better understand so that they can take proactive action in helping themselves. So Ned, if you have some more specifics about…

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, no, you covered it very well, Terry. Absolutely work with OBGYN, internal medicine, endocrinology, take the hormones seriously and make the proper adjustments.

Sarah Guertin:
The next question. Does it appear that women with ADHD are more isolated socially regardless of treatment? Growing up, I was the only girl I knew diagnosed and I was more tolerated than accepted. That carried into adulthood, and I was in my thirties before I met another woman with ADHD. I find now that the more I open up about it, the more ADHD women I find. Thank you, Sabrina.

Terry Matlen:
Hi Sabrina. If you’re listening to this, your story is not the only story that I’ve heard like this. And I think there’s a number of reasons why women with ADHD feel more socially isolated regardless of treatment. And I think it has partly to do with how girls grow up. And this is from the work from Sari Solden, that is a colleague of Ned’s and mine. And she talks about how girls are taught very, very early on what society’s expectations are of girls and women in this world, whether you have ADHD or not. But we’re taught that we’re supposed to carry a lot of responsibility for keeping the family together, putting meals on the table, having holiday dinners and just making the doctor and dental appointments for our kids. It’s really holding the family together.

Terry Matlen:
I think that’s changed a bit and men are definitely taking on more of the responsibility, but I think girls are still taught from the time they’re little by their mothers, and even in ways that we’re not aware of through media, that this is how girls behave. This is how girls carry on as adult women. So if you feel that you’re falling short because you have an ADHD brain and you’re 30 years old and you just can’t juggle all of these responsibilities, what’s going to happen is you’re often going to feel like you’re different, that you’re out of step, that there’s something wrong with you. There’s something off. And that of course can lead into symptoms of depression and anxiety, and even substance abuse.

Terry Matlen:
So this feeling socially isolated, I think comes from a long history of girls hearing this message and then feeling that they don’t measure up. Because we’re constantly comparing ourselves to our sisters, our mothers, our neighbors, our girlfriends who may have it more together because they don’t have the challenge of living with this ADHD brain.

Terry Matlen:
So I think it really comes from a very early experience that just continues. And especially if you’re late in getting diagnosed and late in getting treatment, that can just be a huge part of your life. And that, again, can change with the right treatment. Your life can change. I know that mine changed when I was diagnosed and treated to such an extreme that that’s why I wanted to be out there helping other women. I can see how quickly and how wonderfully women can improve their lives, so it’s not a lost cause.

Terry Matlen:
There’s another piece to this that I think that’s important. And that is a lot of women and men, it’s not dependent on your gender, have problems with social situations. We don’t always read social things appropriately or correctly. There’s a number of reasons for that. And there’s ways to get help with that. So learning to listen in a more proactive ways can help with feeling more socially in tune with other people.

Terry Matlen:
There’s a really good book out there, Ned I don’t know if you’ve read it, Michelle, Dr. Michelle Novotni, another colleague of ours, wrote this book a number of years ago, but it’s still a fantastic book to read, and it’s titled What Does Everybody Know that I Don’t? And she specifically gets into this feeling of being out of step and how you can relate better to people around you. And once you learn some of these tricks or whatever you want to call them, then you’ll find that you’re not as socially isolated because now you have a toolbox of, well, how do I say hello to people? When do I stop talking? When do I start talking?

Terry Matlen:
And then lastly, it’s finding connections. Dr. Hallowell talks about this all the time, the vitamin C. And as we talked about earlier, finding groups of other women with ADHD so you can see that you’re not alone. And finding me on Facebook or wherever online, reading books and women with ADHD, going to conferences. We didn’t really mention CHADD and ADDA put on fabulous conferences where you can connect with women who have ADHD. And that was also life altering for me, when I found people like me losing things, dropping things, forgetting names after I just met someone, was just life-changing. So connection is the key.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And go to facebook.com/groups/womenwithadd and you’ll get into Terry’s group of adult women who have ADD, and 20,000 members. You’ll get a lot of support, and a lot of knowledge and the vitamin connect, as I say, is the best, the best thing going, and now you can get it online again. facebook.com/groups/womenwithadd to join Terry’s group.

Sarah Guertin:
Okay. Here’s another question from Sabrina. Does it appear that women with ADHD have an increased risk of becoming involved in an either toxic or abusive relationship? Is this more attributable to the ADHD brain overthinking the reasons to justify abusive behavior? Or is it more societal norm driven? You mentioned during your how to ADHD interview last year, Dr. Hallowell, that we are attracted to train wrecks, she quotes, and after coming out of narcissistic abuse, I can not think of a possible bigger train wreck than an abuser.

Terry Matlen:
Well, I think that I love that quote. The being attracted to train wrecks is so true because the ADD brain is always searching for stimulation, stimuli, and being in an abusive relationship certainly does spark that part of our brain that is searching for the train wreck.

Terry Matlen:
But I think there’s more to it than that. I think it has to do with a lot of adults with ADHD have very poor self-esteem. So we might be attracted to people who may not be the healthiest match or us.

Terry Matlen:
If I’m losing my voice it’s because I’m here in Michigan where the weather keeps changing from 40 degrees to below zero. That’s a train wreck, if you want to enjoy that kind of abuse.

Terry Matlen:
But yeah, I think it’s a combination of looking for stimulation of the ADD brain, but also growing up with a feeling of a lack of self-esteem. If you’ve been in your own mind, you’re perceived as someone who has failed in many areas of your life, you haven’t gotten the right treatment, you haven’t gotten the right support. You haven’t had a great relationship perhaps with your parents, or your teachers in school, with peers. Then it kind of sets you up for continuing that type of behavior in your adult relationships the love, romantic relationships.

Terry Matlen:
So it’s something that needs to be broken. And the way to break that is to get the appropriate treatment, seeing a therapist who can walk through your life with you and look at the different things that you’ve done over a lifetime and how to break that, and working on your self-esteem, and talking about the things that you do well and, and focusing on that and putting your energy into the good stuff. So I think it is a combination of those two things.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’d add a third reason. Most people with ADD are remarkably intuitive and remarkably generous. And so they see into these train wrecks and believe they can help them and save them. And so they go ahead and do it, because they’re so generous. So it’s not a good idea. That’s one time where you want to hold back on your instinct to save. You probably do understand the person, but it usually does not work. It usually, when you become intimate with the train wreck, usually you get hurt. The other person doesn’t get saved.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But I completely agree with Terry on the other two reasons, and to get a coach, a therapist, someone to help you put on the brakes, or get out of the relationship if you’re already in it, and find a healthy relationship, which is, really great when you do it. Well, my sincere thanks to Terry for joining me today. We’ll continue this conversation next time when we’ll answer more of the questions that you listeners have sent into us about women and ADHD. So Terry until next week.

Terry Matlen:
I am. So looking forward to continuing our conversation, Ned, on this very, very important topic. Thank you so much for having me as your guest.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, my sincere thanks to Terry for joining me today. We’ll continue this conversation next time, when we’ll answer more of the questions that you listeners have sent into us about women and ADHD. It’s so great to hear Terry’s thoughts and to hear her. I mean, you can just hear in her voice what a calming wise woman she is. It’s really fun for me to listen and know the knowledge she’s imparting comes wrapped in kindness and experience. If you’d like to learn more about Terry Matlen and her work, just click the link in the episode description, or go directly to her website, ADD consults that’s plural, addconsults.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
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. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you so much for joining me. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is Scott Person. The wonderful Scott Person. 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 sponsored by Omega-Brite CBD, formulated by Omega-Brite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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