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I am wondering, is it just me? Is it? Or are my experiences as someone with ADHD who was late-diagnosed, has combined type and is female been anything like yours? Do you know how to have an ADHD Friendly Lifestyle?
Today’s episode includes stories from growing up undiagnosed, how ADHD impacts our health and well-being as adults, mothers, and starts to explore why girls are easily missed. We share some ideas to tweak daily tasks and introduce the background ideas for how to build and maintain an ADHD Friendly Lifestyle.
There is so much research-based information that can help, that isn’t common knowledge, and it starts here!
Topics discussed in this episode:
- Where did they get me? 01:39
- Umm, I did have a mischevious childhood
- By 12 years old, those with ADHD have had 20,000 more negative messages about themselves 03:28
- Feeling guilt and shame is common for those of us with ADHD.
- Struggling with ADHD as a teen and student 04:32
- overcompensation and perfectionism
- anxiety, an eating disorder, and negative internalizing
- some sort of girl code that I didn’t get
- What helped then 06:17
- PINCH: Play, Interests, Novelty Challenge Hurry Up!
- Ways to help get things done or started at home, work, or school
- Adapting & include these things in tasks or expectations to help with motivation, getting started, and keeping going
- How undiagnosed ADHD impacts people 09:17
- When ADHD is missed or is late being diagnosed, it can significantly impact our self-perception and self-worth
- it was very rare for anyone born before the mid-70s to be diagnosed with ADHD unless you fit the stereotype of a young, white boy bouncing off the walls.
- the fastest-growing group is women ages 25-44.
- ratios of ADHD in adults are almost equal
- this means many girls are still being missed or misdiagnosed
- More likely for those late-diagnosed ADHD to suffer from: symptoms of depression and anxiety, disordered eating, substance use, sleep disorders and feelings of failure
- ADHD impairments are both experienced and treated differently in women. There are physical, social, and cultural reasons for this. These differences mean anyone with ADHD, who is not male, experiences greater significant life challenges.
- When ADHD is missed or is late being diagnosed, it can significantly impact our self-perception and self-worth
- PINCH: Play, Interests, Novelty Challenge Hurry Up!
- Struggle and overwhelm being a mom with ADHD of kids with ADHD 12:16
- With the diagnosis came treatment 13:54
- HOW TO MANAGE ADHD
- Know you have ADHD
- Learn as much as you can about it
- Find others to share this experience with
- Have a life that fits you well
- When we are able to take a more active role with our ADHD, we can protect ourselves against the higher rates of health issues and challenges many of us face
- Typical treatment recommendations involve medication, therapy, and mindfulness
- HOW TO MANAGE ADHD
- Hope and ADHD Friendly Lifestyle 16:35
- Greater success when includes building acceptance, compassion, support, and a lifestyle that also has ways to shape our environment, routines, choices, and commitments.
- there is so much information that is not common knowledge that can really help us.
Moira Maybin 00:00
Today I’m wondering, is it just me? Is it? Or are my experiences as someone with ADHD who was late-diagnosed, has combined type, and is female, anything like yours? And what do we need to know to have an ADHD friendly lifestyle? If you have ADHD or know anyone who does and trust me, you do, you’re going to want to hear this. I learned this the hard way. I don’t want that for you.
Moira Maybin 00:27
For show notes and more information on this topic, visit ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com.
Welcome to the ADHD friendly lifestyle, a podcast for those of us with ADHD, who have had enough with trying harder and want to reduce frustration and overwhelm. It’s time to literally put on our own oxygen mask first, so we can finally breathe and make it possible to show up in our own lives without guilt or shame. Join me as we dive into the stories, adventures, and mishaps, all while trying to make sense of the published research that could make your tomorrow a more ADHD friendly day. I’m your host, Moira Maybin. A woman mom, an educator who had no clue about my own ADHD until I was 45.
Moira Maybin 01:07
I suspect many of us have asked the same questions I did over and over again. Why is life so hard? Why does it seem easier for literally everyone else? There are things that I wish I had known about my ADHD sooner. Now that I know what those things are. The knowledge allows me to make different decisions to make my life better and more ADHD friendly. I finally understand that to live well. My lifestyle is not negotiable. It has to work for me and it has to be healthy. And Yep, it’s got to be ADHD friendly.
Moira Maybin 01:39
The story of my childhood has a subtitle in my family. How did they get me? I was born in the early 70s in cold remote Labrador, Canada. My dad was a lifelong member of the Canadian Navy. My mom is long known for her intelligence, kindness, compassion, and slightly shy demeanor. By all accounts, my first 18 months in this self-contained town, passed quietly and peacefully. And then we made our way across Canada by train. Legend has it that I walked and talk from coast to coast and have never stopped unless I’m sleeping. And sometimes not even then.
Moira Maybin 02:18
Another family gem is when preschooler Moira was at a community picnic looking fine in my polyester dress and shiny new shoes. After a kids’ activity, my sister and brother sensibly took the bridge over the stream to reach our parents. Me, I took the direct route right through the stream. Is it just me, or doesn’t that make complete sense?
Moira Maybin 02:43
Stories of my adventures as a kid are plenty, there are ones about ketchup explosions, flying pancakes, burning things in the sink, making boats to try out on a pond, and on and on. Living through these and then hearing them being retold, over the years, I always felt both guilt and shame. Even though that was never the intent of my family.
Moira Maybin 03:06
I often felt different from my peers. I learned early that I had to tone myself down, talk less, put my hand up less, be quieter, and pretend not to be as sensitive as I felt. I kept myself out of trouble at school by being funny, working hard to please my teachers, and playing with things in my desk all the time.
Moira Maybin 03:28
It is estimated by the time someone with ADHD is 12 years old, that they have had 20,000 more negative messages and others. That’s a lot. Feeling guilt and shame is common for those of us with ADHD. Guilt is a feeling that can happen when either we have or think we have done something wrong. So sometimes guilt is appropriate when we actually have done something wrong. If we feel bad about it, then it can help us to do something to repair the situation. In that sense. guilt helps us. It doesn’t help us when we get stuck in guilt. Or if we’re mistaken in our thinking and feel guilty about something we didn’t even do or we’ve misunderstood the situation. I think I’ve done that before, once or twice or 500 times.
Moira Maybin 04:15
Then there is shame, the belief that there’s something wrong with us based on our experiences, repeated failures, and feeling fundamentally flawed. Hmm, that’s a big deal. Feeling fundamentally flawed. A failure. Is it just me?
Moira Maybin 04:32
By the time I reached my teens, my ADHD was in full force. There were parts of it that gave me the perception of success. I was really involved in school, in sports. And I felt compelled to do everything completely and very well. overcompensation and perfectionism was the order of the day. Lurking underneath that exuberant active exterior was anxiety, an eating disorder, and lots of other Negative internalizing habits. There were things that helped them, and I am incorporating them back into my daily life. Reading has always helped, it grabs my brain directs, and times it. being outdoors and time by myself have always been soothing to me too. I was able to spend time on things I enjoyed or was good at talking with friends, baking, listening to music, and playing basketball. I appreciate that I’ve always had some friends with who I felt good. Even though I tend to change my friends every two or three years. I didn’t know why. But thanks to Facebook, I have reconnected with most of them now. Even with having friends, I still always felt like an outsider, or that there was some sort of girl code that I didn’t get and remember feeling uncomfortable in many group situations.
Moira Maybin 05:53
Not having the internet in high school or university saved me, I think, well, the real internet, a version of it did start while I was there, but dial-up does not count. If I was trying to go to school now with undiagnosed or untreated ADHD, and the internet, I would never get anything done. As soon as someone said or did some I will be off exploring virtual rabbit holes all day long.
Moira Maybin 06:17
There’s an acronym PINCH, that neatly explains most of the strategies that work to help me get through school. pinche stands for play, interest, novelty, challenge, and hurry up. It usually took more than one together to get me going. I love new things and challenges, but only if they’re in areas that I’m interested in. Play is usually a good one. But if it’s repetitive or doesn’t have some sort of challenge or interest for me, I get bored and disengaged. Hurry up refers to procrastination and lighting an artificial fire under your ass. So maybe waiting until it’s like crunch time. But for me, I was usually too worried about what could happen to me socially, or not meeting expectations to find that helpful. I do know many others depend on that one. And as I’ve learned more about my ADHD, I begin to see that I definitely do procrastinate.
Moira Maybin 07:15
The 70s and 80s were a different time with different expectations and understandings. So I don’t spend too much time thinking about how it could have been. One thing that might have made me feel more understood was hearing more stories about my parents as they grew up. I recently heard one that shifted my perspective on everything. It turns out that my darling mother when as a young girl was sent off to swimming lessons at a local outdoor pool. She dutifully attended the first day. But when she realized she did not like the lessons, she came up with an ingenious plan. Well, a good plan of avoidance. But remember, she was young. Each day she would go to the pool day where she could watch the class. And then when it finished, she would go shower, wet her suit, and returned home. Her family was none the wiser. And she never learned to swim as a child. She did as an adult. Remember me I had already once nearly drowned by the age of five and we lived on the ocean. She wanted to be able to be close by Had I known that story. I would have recognized part of myself in her and felt less alone or like a misfit. I think my mum is patient zero without my impulsivity and physical hyperactivity, but I am not a doctor. And even if I was, I’m not sure she listened to me, that woman has a mind of her own. And it’s going all the time.
Moira Maybin 08:38
Being both hyper-verbal and impulsive has created a lot of problems for me, much less now that I’m being treated with both a stimulant and a non-stimulant. I believe that I had choices, and then I made the wrong ones. I spent so much time and effort so that I get hired well enough that people didn’t realize I was covering up difficulties. And when I couldn’t hide. My takeaway was the problem was me. I was too much I just needed to fit in better. In reality, there were so many struggles going on under the surface. I just couldn’t crack why I felt different why I couldn’t resolve certain challenges when I could successfully do other things.
Moira Maybin 09:17
When ADHD gets missed or is late being diagnosed, it can significantly impact our self-perceptions and self-worth. Our challenges are perceived as moral deficits or choices instead of brain-based impairments we are born with. We all recognize how height is passed down genetically. If your family is tall, you’re likely to be tall. Usually, family members are similar in height. Well, ADHD is as genetic as height. So if someone in the family has it there’s a pretty good chance they are not alone.
Moira Maybin 09:48
There are things that are more likely for those late-diagnosed ADHD years to suffer from. They include symptoms of depression and anxiety, disorder eating substance use sleep disorders. Feelings of failure and I struggled with many of them. No surprise that it makes it harder to fit in. No surprise that our stress level self-criticism, shame, and guilt levels are much higher than most. For anyone born before 1975. It was very rare to be diagnosed with ADHD. And the ones who were identified are mostly young, white boys bouncing off the walls, the rate of girls diagnosed with ADHD remains very low. Yet the fastest-growing group being diagnosed is women between the ages of 25 to 44. And the ratios of ADHD and adults are almost equal. This means we’re still missing what ADHD looks like in girls. I’ll be talking about that in future episodes.
Moira Maybin 10:43
By the time I was 30, I was on my way with a career as an elementary teacher. I had a history degree, an education degree, and a master’s degree in educational psychology. Sounds great, right? Well, during those University years, I also had mono, repeat, bronchitis, asthma, an autoimmune disease, an eating disorder, two concussions, and whiplash. And I seriously thought I was fine. I just needed to try harder. I was often highly discontented and stressed out. I used to exercise running a lot to cope. How did I become stuck, frustrated, overwhelmed, and burned out by 30? And nobody knew what was going on? What did I need to do to have the life that I wanted?
Moira Maybin 11:28
Now I know I was following a recipe, a recipe for how to make ADHD show up in its worst possible way. This includes spending years not knowing you have ADHD, add in knowing very little about what ADHD looks like in women, or yourself. feeling alone, having a life that doesn’t fit you very well. And being female. It is true that all people have the same list of possible ADHD symptoms. It’s also true that ADHD impairments are both experienced and treated differently in women. There are physical, social, and cultural reasons for this. those differences mean anyone with ADHD, who is not male experiences greater significant life challenges.
Moira Maybin 12:16
This proved to be true for me when my darling children came along. And I still had my yet-to-be-diagnosed ADHD showing up on a whole new level. With one child, it was hard was too it nearly took me out of the overwhelm the frustration, the sadness, realizing that my strategies were no longer working for me, and also not working for them. I was in despair. However, my old habits, pushing through, trying harder, and trying to figure it out, drove me forward. Even when I felt like I was losing it. And heading to my next illness and burnout, I still had no idea that I or they had ADHD.
Moira Maybin 12:57
I was treated for depression for eight years. And although medication and therapy helps somewhat, that feeling of overwhelm would not go away. I was working so hard to fit in, that I didn’t see any of that, who had the time or energy I was barely hanging on. I really wanted to find a way to be okay in my own mind and body. So I kept pushing to learn ways to get that. I tried mindfulness, yoga, and meditation. I had one teacher who told me I could find my center very quickly but could lose it very easily. A pretty good description of my ADHD. I practiced over and over again, how to be mindful in the moment, how to get out of my head, quiet it or be more in my body. It helps, but not for very long. I spent 10 years teetering on the edge. The diagnosis finally came after my child who fits the ADHD stereotype. A white seven-year-old boy bouncing off the walls was diagnosed and a wise pediatrician said, you know, it’s unusual that no one else in the family has it. Well, he was right. Turns out my family is predominantly made up of ADHD years, we had completely normalized it. We felt different from others but didn’t question that. There were so many things we hadn’t questioned, especially our motto of just try harder.
Moira Maybin 14:17
Learning I had ADHD explained so much. It was like being given the Insider’s Guide. Now I was able to find out what was going on and why. Then I was able to adjust and make things much more realistic impossible. I also realized that with my own professional background, I have been trying every strategy that I knew for me and my kids, and it wasn’t enough. The day I started medication was one of the best days of my life. Guess what? My thoughts slowed down enough that I felt peace. I could have quieted my head, at least more of it than ever before. It still can get pretty busy in there.
Moira Maybin 14:55
I know it’s not always the same for others who get the diagnosis and feel like there’s no way out. That’s a quagmire of ADHD, and they have no hope. It’s my dream that you can find that hope here. The life that I had before, the one that I thought I wanted wasn’t possible on easy, because I wanted a lot to do all the things now, all the time. Well, it turns out, the more I learned about ADHD, the more people with ADHD I know, the more I take care of myself and ask for help when I need it, the more my hopes and dreams are what I’m spending my days doing. I know that may sound a bit drippy, but it’s true, I would never have had the courage to start my life over at almost 50 years old. I mean, I would never suggest adding a worldwide pandemic at the same time. But that has given me some of the time and space I needed to figure things out.
Moira Maybin 15:47
If we rewrite our recipe for the negative impacts of ADHD and change it and how to limit them, it becomes know you have ADHD. Learn as much as you can about it. Find others to share this experience with and have a life that fits you well. That may not sound easy to do, but it is possible. And it is worth it. It is worth to learn more about ADHD. But when you don’t know what you don’t know, you can’t change anything. And that’s harder. When we are able to take a more active role with our ADHD, we can protect ourselves against the higher rates of health issues and challenges many of us face. Typically, treatment recommendations involve medication therapy, and mindfulness building over time, and with acceptance, compassion, and support a lifestyle that includes those pieces, and learning how to shape our environment, routines, choices, and commitments. To build a life that works starts with building knowledge about ADHD, and compassion for the struggles we face.
Moira Maybin 16:52
I have hope because there’s so much information that is not common knowledge, but is based on sound research that can really help us. I have hope in our power to share and connect with others who also want to have an ADHD friendly lifestyle. And I have hope that together, we can become clear about what is important to us what our day-to-day looks like. So we can have a life that takes us where we want to go. The things that I tried, were not a waste of time, I attempted so many different things in my search. yet they’re all parts of having an ADHD friendly lifestyle. I did that without knowing it. In an attempt to help cope with life. It gave me years to practice them. Well, sometimes when I remembered or had time, or felt like it, you get the idea. changes and improvements were always temporary, something was always missing, or there hi ADHD. Now with all the pieces to the puzzle, I’m able to put them together in a way that I want.
Moira Maybin 17:54
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops and rainbows. It’s a work in progress. I am better at recognizing when my ADHD is getting louder when it wants to take center stage and when it needs me to beat a hasty retreat. But I now know if I don’t listen. If I don’t do the work to help myself and my ADHD that I will end up even worse. I’ve become more tolerant and understanding of myself and my needs. I have also recognized how I am unique. This is an ongoing process to not just survive but thrive. And ADHD-friendly lifestyle has opened up a supportive community to me, it allows me to use my strengths, minimize my weaknesses, adjust what and how I am doing things to suit me better and create an environment where ADHD is understood and accepted. I wish the same for you. I know it isn’t just me. It’s a lot of and that’s where we’ll leave it for today.
Moira Maybin 18:53
Okay, you’ve done the hard work by staying to the end your reward. Here are the main takeaways from today’s episode.
Moira Maybin 19:01
Number one, when ADHD diagnoses are missed or late it can significantly impact our self-perceptions and self-worth. It’s rare for anyone who was born before the mid-70s to be diagnosed with ADHD unless you fit the stereotype of a young white boy bouncing off the walls. The fastest-growing group being diagnosed is women between the ages of 25 and 44. ratios of adults with ADHD are almost equal. And that means that many girls are still being missed, or misdiagnose.
Moira Maybin 19:31
Second, people who are diagnosed late with ADHD are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, disorder eating substance use sleep disorders, and feelings of failure, shame, guilt, and low self-esteem.
Moira Maybin 19:44
Third, treatment recommendations of medication therapy and mindfulness become much more effective when you know you have ADHD. There’s ongoing learning about ADHD. You can connect with others who have ADHD we really are an enjoyable bunch and Do you have a life that fits you? Well, this also means acceptance that we have ADHD and it has a role in our life. We don’t have to shout it from the rooftops. But if we try to hide or deny it, we can end up doing more damage to ourselves and probably to our loved ones too.
Moira Maybin 20:16
The biggest thing I learned when I had ADHD was that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I’ve gone deep, and I’m so excited about what is possible with an ADHD friendly lifestyle. This isn’t easy, but I think that ship has sailed. And there’s no doubt an ADHD friendly lifestyle leads to a better a longer life. Do you dare? Or is it just me?
Moira Maybin 20:39
We can use understanding ADHD and ourselves to spend more time with our strengths, less with our weaknesses, and to adjust what and how we do things to suit us better, and to create an environment where ADHD is understood and accepted. in future episodes, we will be exploring all of these topics. I’m so excited to share this journey with you. Thank you so much for listening today.
Moira Maybin 21:04
I hope you enjoy today’s show. This is the place for the late-diagnosed women, moms professionals. Those who want to understand ADHD, be heard, and know they’re not alone. An ADHD friendly lifestyle builds our ability to take care of ourselves and use our unique strengths and talents to create a lifestyle that works for us.
Moira Maybin 21:25
I’d love to know your thoughts about today’s episode. There are lots of ways to get in touch. You can check out my website, ADHD friendly lifestyle.com or comment below in this podcast. All questions will be anonymous, respected, and appreciated. And I can’t wait to continue this conversation with you. But please remember, I am not a doctor. And the information presented in this podcast doesn’t replace the individual recommendations from your healthcare providers. You can help by sharing the podcast with the people in your life by taking the time to rate review and subscribe to the ADHD-friendly lifestyle on iTunes, or the podcast player of your choice.
Moira Maybin 22:00
I’m thrilled to be part of the ADHD reWired Podcast Network. Every week, you can find new episodes of ADHD reWired with Eric Tivers, sharing interesting interviews and stories. Will Curb has amazing tips and insights at hacking your ADHD. Brendan Mahan hosts ADHD essentials, focusing on families, parents, and educators. And my fellow Canadian MJ hosts ADHD Diversified, where she’s diversifying the voices and experiences of ADHD and mental health. All of these podcasts including the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle, are available to everyone, everywhere, podcasts are available. You can join all of us at our live Q&A every second Tuesday of the month at 10:30am. Pacific to ask us questions, go to ADHDreWired.com/events to register. Thanks for listening.
Moira Maybin 22:50
Stay tuned for the next episode as we work to build our ADHD friendly lifestyles together. See you later.