- talking about it in our daily lives and experiences as women, professionals, parents
- Advocating through sharing our own lived experiences to expand understanding
- Using the language of Executive Functioning, naming our challenges in regular conversation
- Moira shares normalizing and de-mystifying ADHD is a goal with the podcast
- Increase awareness that having ADHD as an adult means our struggles are often broader based than others, impacting all parts of our lives—a major difference from neurotypicals
- any teenage girl who is being looked at for anxiety, depression or eating disorder, need to be screened for ADHD because there’s a very high link
- when women are experiencing postpartum depression (PPD), and they also need to be screened for ADHD as there is a much higher rate of PPD in women with ADHD due to the dramatic drop in estrogen post pregnancy.
- being uncertain was normal for both as new parents
- both moms were certain something wasn’t going well, and it seemed harder than for most
- having people who have been there, or know ADHD really helped identify what was going on, let us know that medication helps, things we can do for them, and with them
- Early diagnosis can be so helpful as getting diagnosis and treatment improves self-image, internal self-talk and having coping strategies and skills
- There are some amazing women leading the way, for over 30 years, including Sari Solden who had to push to have her book Women with Attention Deficit Disorder published in 1995
- The advocates who have tried to pave the way for us and have fought an uphill battle, are literally asking for other women, younger women, to pick up the torch to be able to share that we exist, that we deserve acknowledgment, treatment, research, and support.
- Moira shares how in BC, Canada a child with a learning disability and ADHD will receive an IEP and accommodations yet having a diagnosed medical condition of ADHD that impacts learning is not documented or require any specific accommodations.
- Despite that, for a teenager who has knowledge of their ADHD, treatment, and support outside of school means a completely different and more positive experience than going through school and life undiagnosed or aware.
- For some things like writing, start doing the thing without expecting it to be good
- Brendan Mahan’s Wall of Awful talks about various ways, both healthy and not healthy to try to get over that wall to what we want to do
- Understand how we are and aren’t motivated—our brain wiring is different, we need more external things to get going, and more rewards too, or anything to make the thing more palatable
- Creating artificial urgency sometimes helps too
- Is it a task or a project?
- how can we reduce the friction to make it easier
- Having or creating your own reason WHY you are doing the thing, that may be different than the obvious
- Moira shares that she starts making her way to dinner not because she wants to stop what she is doing and go to dinner but because she wants to be on time for her husband (so he will keep cooking or because she loves him—maybe both?)
Moira Maybin 00:05
We are going to be answering listener question. And as my quote of the day says, today, I will give it my some. I have a very special friend who I hope to meet in person one day once the borders between Canada and the USA are open again. We met through the ADHD rewired coaching and accountability groups, Marisol and I meet weekly and we help each other with accountability, support, and having some fun with our ADHD.
Moira Maybin 00:31
Welcome to the ADHD friendly lifestyle This is the place to practice putting on our own oxygen mask so we can breathe and make it possible to show up in our own lives without guilt or shame. I’m your host, Moira Maybin, a woman, Mom, educator, and I have late diagnosed ADHD. We can have an ADHD friendly lifestyle that includes more time with our strengths and passions. Less with our challenges has ways to adjust what and how we do things to suit us better and expand the ways and places that ADHD is understood and accepted. I suspect many of us have asked the same questions I did. 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 that are allowing me to make different decisions to make my life better and more ADHD friendly. And I want to share them with you. I finally understand that to live well. My lifestyle is not negotiable. It must work for me. It has to be healthy. And Yep, it’s got to be ADHD friendly. We’re in this together. If you have questions or ideas for me, you can share them at ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com. While you’re there, subscribe to the podcast and sign up for emails to get every episode delivered to your inbox and be the first to hear what is going on. I want to thank you for choosing this podcast. It is a labor of love for me, and I have been touched deeply by the emails and reviews sharing how my words are helping you. Please take the time to review, share, and subscribe to the podcast on the player of your choice. Okay, let’s get started.
Moira Maybin 02:18
So, we’re back today with my friend, Marisol Hall.
Marisol Hall 02:22
Moira Maybin 02:22
Hi. Thanks for coming back. So, we’re doing another episode of listener questions and answers. And today we’re going to jump right in, get ourselves going. And we have some questions related to ADHD and women and girls. And so, the first one is how can we help to normalize ADHD and women and girls? And then the follow up is how to get providers in the public to be more aware of the various types of ADHD that girls have avenues for understanding themselves earlier in life?
Marisol Hall 02:53
That’s a huge question. I think it’s huge question, but I think it also has, I don’t want to say a simple answer that kind of kind of downplays it. But for me, the answer to that is exactly what we’re doing, which is talking about it. For me, I’ve taken on a role of being an advocate for people to hear ADHD, and attaching it to, to me. And so, they see that I’m a biology professor. You know, I’m according to as a woman, I was in that kind of thing, and attaching that label, to me, things that it’s not just little boys, and you know, running around that kind of thing. So, I try not to be obnoxious about that. But if it comes up, I will mention that I have ADHD. I’ll casually mentioned in conversation, that maybe today was a hard day, because my executive function was low. And so, I kind of tried to use the terminology or kind of sprinkle in some of that information into regular conversation. And that way, they get a sense for me like, hey, does she have ADHD? Or it may just affect say it so that it does become more normal? In other words, talk about it like it’s normal.
Moira Maybin 04:50
Yeah. And I think like that’s one of the main reasons why I’m having the podcast and why I am just so open about what my struggles are and what my thinking is, and but I also coming from an education background, I spent several years working in helping to normalize and demystify autism. And in doing that, one of the big things that we were trying to do was help kids and adults understand behaviors that they didn’t understand, and how they were similar to things that we do. And yes, that’s true with ADHD. But I think when people who don’t have ADHD, have a conversation of like, everybody’s struggling as a parent, things are really hard. But the reality is, is that it is harder. And it is harder in every aspect of your life. It’s pretty consistent when you’re feeling that struggle and that overwhelm. Yeah. And so I think as women and as girls are still that inculturation, of trying to fit in trying to have yourself fit. And so, I’m learning a lot from listening to the experiences in gender diversity in neuro diversity in any marginalized group, right? Anytime when you’re sort of something other than the, the expectation and so the more that we can have normal be a whole wide variety of things normal being new, and what those expectations are of people. But I think the talking about it is the number one thing, yeah, Jessica McKay with how to ADHD, her videos are so good for that, especially for girls, right for helping them understand and being able to see themselves. I do know the one other thing I was gonna say that sort of a bit on the serious side, if there’s any teenage girl who is being looked at for anxiety, depression or eating disorder, they also need to be screened for ADHD. Because there’s a very high likelihood and the other one that I just recently learned about, which is going to be in an upcoming episode, is it’s the same issue with postpartum, postpartum depression, when women are experiencing postpartum depression, and they were screened for ADHD, I believe it was around 60%. So having that screening is super important.
Marisol Hall 06:40
You know, that’s a really excellent point. That’s a great link there because it makes so much sense, especially having did not have postpartum depression. I will say that there were a few kind of, you know, there were some, like anybody, there was some rough patches, right. But I can absolutely see how I mean, having a baby is a huge, incredibly huge deal. And then if you already have difficulty, you know, just kind of organizing your life in general. And then you throw in this massively huge, for lack of better word disruption. It’s an amazing disruption. But it’s a disruption nonetheless. That’s huge. That’s incredible. And then throwing in hormones. Just the effect that hormones have is enormous.
Moira Maybin 07:28
Yeah, cuz because women, women are pregnant, their estrogen goes up. And so that helps her ADHD, and then postpartum it drops. And so it’s much more difficult. And then I had both my kids had ADHD, none of us knew we had it. So, for me, one was hard, but I was doing okay. But she wasn’t the child that everyone wished on me. You know, how do you know for some people, they’re like, Oh, I hope you’ve got a kid that’s just like you. But she had real challenges with sleeping. And then my second was the child who, because he just never stopped and he was very tall, so he could get into everything. And and so the wheels were off the bus. And I thought I was losing my mind. I just thought I can’t manage this. Yeah. And then and that’s when I was treated for anxiety and depression. But the but the overwhelm, never went away. It never went away. Right.
Marisol Hall 08:18
And, and I totally agree with you so many stories that we’ve heard of, you know, one had one. And things were kind of it got harder, but it was okay. It almost for some reason seems like having the second one. Like, that’s just kind of all of a sudden, things become too much. Um, I had my first daughter and, you know, things, things were generally Okay, obviously, you know, when she was an infant, but then as she got older, like they had mentioned in the previous episode, by the time she was 18 months, and in daycare, and that, you know, preschool and that kind of thing. It was just something different. And I remember mentioning to my friend, she would get so mad, she would get it and I was like she was my first, so you know, I didn’t really have a lot of experience. But I’d seen other people’s kids and stuff. She would get so mad if you didn’t let her do something or whatever. And I said, I remember telling a friend Shannon says this. I don’t think babies are supposed to get this mad. Like, I don’t think this is right. And she’s like, well, she’s eating. She’s 18 months, we’ll see. And I remember it. I remember because we knew someone at the time. She had a daughter with ADHD. And but she was also diagnosed with odd, oppositional defiance disorder. And I remember telling her I said, why she has odd. And, and my friend was like, no, you know, that’s not you know, I wouldn’t worry about that, or whatever. And the funny thing is, you know, in the next year, you know, six months, one of the daycare workers actually mentioned it, she said, she had worked with kids with ADHD. And she said, you may want to think about ADHD. My kid is like, you know, between 18 she’s like, maybe 20 months old. And I’m like, how in the world? Could you tell? Well, now looking back, yeah, no doubt.
Moira Maybin 10:09
Yeah. And that’s the thing when you when you start to know this stuff, and I, because I had a pretty similar experience, and it’s important to like having kids really helped me realize how much of who we are, we arrived that way. Right. And so that, you know, that really helped me, my daughter, when she was probably around that age, starting around the age of two, she would get stuck in emotions, that’s the way that we would hurt, right, and it would typically be upset, or she would get stuck. And so a lot of the, you know, typical, let them go off and calm themselves down, that wasn’t gonna happen, she was just going to spin her wheels. And so what used to help her when she was smaller, was if we held her, but then she started physically fighting against that. So we started to try and learn more. And we were learning more around the ideas of attachment theory, right. And there were some things with that, that were really good, like, she struggled with going to bed at night. And really, that was ADHD. But the notion of where we were talking about leaving and separation and stuff like that, that was helpful. Spending, the amount of time that we were there, prevented us from looking further. And we might have found ADHD sooner. So here we are, now she’s in her teens. And she’s, you know, she struggled a little bit, but one of the things that I remembered, because what’s happening to her is, she’s talking through something, and then she sees the different perspectives, but then she comes back to where she was. And so I shared with her, you know, when you were little, you will get stuck. And this is basically just a more developmentally mature version of getting stuck, that notion of, there’s a lot of these things that this is just sort of our natural way that we are, we can make it harder for ourselves, or we can try and get help and support to figure it out.
Marisol Hall 12:02
I think in in kind of bringing this back around too, how do we make it more well-known or advocate for girls with ADHD? One, you know, the fact that we meaning to you and I are people in the ADHD community with girls, you know, we’ve been through those struggles, and we’ve been through having to recognize that ourselves in our own kids, not having probably not having the benefit of understanding that Yeah, girls have ADHD just as much as boys too, we’ve gone through that, and so that when I see someone else struggling, or I see another parent who might be questioning, or something like that, that if I can, you know, in a gentle way, because I don’t want to just barge in, but um, be a resource. If it even gently comes up, like, Oh, hey, you know that that’s happened to me? Or to be a resource for them? and let them know that it’s okay. It’s not, because I remember when you don’t want to think about maybe she really does have ADHD. At first, it was very scary to me. I didn’t know a whole lot about it. But I did know, you know, the very surface and things like oh my gosh, is this going to disrupt their schools, it’s going to disrupt their life, and that it would have been nice to have somebody who had gone through and said, Oh, you know, what, there’s some hard parts, but there’s help, there’s things you can do, there’s medication and that kind of thing. So, um, anytime it comes up, and just being a resource, and, and actually, I’ve wanted to take a greater role in my kids’ elementary school, of course, I don’t know how, I don’t know how to add that to my plate.
Moira Maybin 13:41
You’re trying to trade it in for a bigger plate, right? They only come in one size, there’s only 24 hours in the day. My dad used to say to my mom, you can do between midnight and eight. I’m doing that on, on the online groups that I’m on. And it just made me think of one that there was a couple days ago where someone shared all their traits, and, you know, looking for a diagnosis for the from the support group. And someone else said, you know, I, I do all those things, but I see them as my best parts. And so I responded that, you know, getting diagnosis and treatment didn’t take away my best part. It just it made life less hard. And I didn’t have to struggle as much. So I think there are things just to sort of close this off as well. I recently heard I’m Sari Solden, who wrote the book, Women with Attention Deficit Disorder, and it came out in 1995. She had to fight her way to get that published. And people were saying it didn’t exist. It really was women themselves, leading the call leading the way, saying this is an issue. We need to deal with that. And I know from when at any involvement I’ve had at the International Conference level that you know, the handful of women who had been working in this area for 30 years, they are looking for women our age and younger, to, you know, to pick up the torch because we just need to get the word out. Like who we are what we look like, you know where it’s so different than how it stereotype. So yeah, its kind of really it. Unfortunately, it’s up to us.
Marisol Hall 15:22
You just gave me goosebumps, like, honestly, the fact that series open had to fight to get that book published. Because it’s an amazing book. It’s incredible. If anyone hasn’t read it is an Incredible book. It just gave me goosebumps to think that people were just like, no, it doesn’t exist. And how many people have been unheard. And how many people struggled thinking that they’re all those things? struggle thinking I’m not good enough. I Why can’t I do this? Why? What’s wrong with me? And thinking of our own daughters. And see now I’m really going to get emotional, but thinking of our own daughters growing up through that, and not understanding and that’s one of the things. I’m sorry, I know you’re trying to close this out. But the last, the last thing is, I’m so grateful for two things about my daughter’s diagnosis. When she had that oppositional streak she has that it was very outward, she wasn’t the typical kind of girl, you know, the daydreaming inattentive type. And so she says teachers didn’t notice. So things were noticeable. And that’s why she was diagnosed so early, it’s six, and actually before, but we just didn’t do a formal diagnosis. And so I’m thankful now I am thankful for that. As well as her teacher who was who was willing, and I say daring, because I know a lot of teachers are told to kind of shy away from actually telling parents like, Hey, you may want to consider something as I realized the liability and that kind of thing. But I think for teachers so much for, for being daring enough to have a frank conversation with me. Because that is just the sad feature if we don’t take up that torch
and move it forward.
Moira Maybin 17:32
And I had to fight for my daughter’s diagnosis at the school level. They didn’t see it. There were teachers that saw it earlier. But she had, one of the best things is she’s in ninth grade. She has been with the same group of friends since kindergarten. And so she can lean on them. And the year that she didn’t have them was the year she was diagnosed and she was falling apart. Because when she miss things, they would be able to tell her what she missed. And when she had a hard time starting, they would help her get started and, and all of that and all of those things. But nobody recognized her ADHD. And you know, my son, my son was diagnosed when he was seven. And he also had learning disabilities. He wasn’t able to get it through school, but we were able to get him the support that he needed right away. And he’s had consistent support. And he is doing really, really well. You know, he’s reading at grade level. He’s got lots of things, and he’s going to a school for kids with learning disabilities and ADHD. And that’s a really good fit for him. My daughter was 10. And so she had 10 years, like in British Columbia, my son is entitled to an individual education plan because he has learning disabilities, my daughter is entitled to nothing. It’s not tracked, it’s not followed. There’s no support. So As parents, we really had to say okay, like not only did she have longer, you know, and being the first child, right, training up the parents, but back to what you were saying, My kids experience is completely different than mine. You know, they don’t see the things that I saw as character flaws and moral failings as that at all. You know, there’s some sensitivities and there is that, but it’s, they know it for what it is. And so I think their experience is going to be completely different than mine. for the better. So just want that for more people.
Marisol Hall 19:36
Moira Maybin 19:43
So, we’re gonna switch gears here and lighten things up a little bit. What can I do when it’s impossible to just start a task?
Marisol Hall 19:53
I would love to know the answer to that question.
Moira Maybin 20:00
I have a right solution to that one to just start writing. Yep. Like you it could be like, I don’t know what to write, I’m just gonna keep going here.
Marisol Hall 20:11
Because, you know, that wall of awful and Brandon talks about the various ways to try to get over that wall. And to me that’s a lot about starting from I’m resisting starting am I going to Hulk smash my way through it or, you know, climb over it and that kind of thing. Eric Tivers says starting is the hardest part, the person asked the question is, why is it so impossible to just start a task and that kind of thing? The why I think is pretty easy to answer because of ADHD.
Moira Maybin 20:44
But that really, I think they’re asking about to like, what can I do? Like you said, what can I do with this? I think it also comes down to what’s and maybe this is too much analysis. Why are you not starting?
Moira Maybin 20:56
You know, I want to back it up a little bit. Because with the Why is it impossible, because there are lots of people who don’t know that we are not motivated the same way. So when somebody else can just make themselves do it, we do not have the same chemicals in our brain, our brains don’t work that way. So, we do need to use more external things to get ourselves going. And it could be rewards, it could be giving yourself, you know, either doing the thing in a nice location, like tweaking some part of it to make it more palatable.
Marisol Hall 21:40
or artificial deadlines, comes in there as well. And kind of giving you if you don’t have a deadline, giving yourself a deadline, or this is also where accountability comes in. Yeah. So having making yourself an artificial deadline and having somebody else help to keep you accountable to that deadline. And just knowing that somebody else knows, you need to finish something didn’t give you that, that artificial urgency. Yeah, like when there were things that I wanted to do that I wasn’t doing. And I asked this question of Eric, and he gave me a really good suggestion. And it was that back it up against something that does have a timeline that does, right. So, if I want to do something, then or need to do something, then attach it to happen before the other thing, so that there’s really no other option. Sometimes it’s also that we don’t know how to start the task. Sure. Or is it? Or is it really a project? Is it really something that’s big? Yeah. Right. And that’s, that was a huge thing for me in learning the difference between a project and a task? And because in fact, you know, talking about to do lists, recently, recognizing that something is a project and it has multiple steps to it, you know, I would always wonder, like, why, why does my vote to do list take me so long? Well, recognizing the this item that I think is one item on my list is in fact a project. And it has multiple steps to it. Of course, it’s going to take me longer than you know, the Oh, it’ll be you know, 30 minutes? Well, if it has seven steps to it, it’s not going to be 30 minutes, but I want it to be 30 minutes.
Moira Maybin 23:13
You know, there’s a lot of things I want. Yes. And sadly, usually don’t get them. But, um, so yeah, but I think it’s a it’s a good, it’s a good point to think you know, what our brain chemicals, our brain is not working the same way, we don’t get the same amount of dopamine from doing the same action that someone else does. And so ways to, to deal with that. And we also don’t get the same level of reward. So, when we actually do the thing, we don’t get that reward feeling that other people get. And if we get it, it doesn’t last as long. So there’s no ability to sort of like pull from that memory of Oh, yeah, when I do this, you know, when I exercise, I feel good. We don’t get that same reinforcement. Yeah, it doesn’t imprint, you know, that whole idea of memory and remembering, if you don’t have as much of a stronger reaction of reward, it’s not going to that memory is not going to last as long. It’s just not as impactful. So yeah, and that’s a constant. That’s a constant struggle, but there are things that we can do. Yeah. And so I think this is like the reason for bringing this up is not to say, okay, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to do anything, because I can’t motivate myself and but if you’re beating yourself up about it, or you know, giving yourself a hard time, cut yourself some slack there, but then how can we reduce the friction to make it easier? Yes, to do the thing. Yeah. Yeah, just beating yourself up is just one, you’re wasting time and two, you’re really making it harder, we always need more time to save.
Marisol Hall 24:47
making it harder to do it again next time because in fact that beating yourself up probably does, you know, stick a little bit longer. And so next time you’re gonna you’re gonna feel that shame and it just kind of keeps compounding. So yeah, finding the finding the things that work to motivate you whether, and one of the things is remembering your why. Why, you know, why is doing this thing? Or whatever it is that you want to get done? Why is it important? Do I have somebody that needs something from me? Is this a step that will get me towards a bigger goal.
Moira Maybin 25:22
So yeah, the y can be very motivating, I’ve got a good example of that. It’s, it’s not really starting a task, but it’s, it’s getting myself to the dinner table. Because I don’t like to stop what I’m doing to eat pretty much ever. So, and nor does the rest of my family. And so consequently, the one non ADHD person is the cook. And then he makes food and nobody is there. So after years of struggle, or he wants us to come in, like two seconds, and we need transition time. So I have an alarm on my watch, that tells me it’s a warning time of like, start to pack up what you’re doing. And there’s many days where I’m surprised when it goes off. I’m like, Oh, what’s this alarm? And What’s it for? And then there’s another one in 10 minutes to say like, okay, get out of the chair. And then that gives me five minutes to go to the bathroom. Because I wouldn’t have done that either. And go to the table, and I’m not doing it because I want to go eat dinner. Because I’d rather keep doing what I was doing. I’m doing it because it’s important to my husband, that when he’s made us a meal that we come and I care for him, and I want to follow through on my word. So that’s my why. And then I put a nice little song. it’s a muppet Song Mahna Mahna. So I’m pleasantly surprised every day when it plays.
Marisol Hall 26:35
Actually, you know, I was gonna say that kind of double alarm idea is fantastic. And I use that all the time. And in fact, you were saying you’re surprised when it goes off. And I completely agree. But I also that’s another reason why I have to label my alarms, because it’ll go off and then I’m like, why did I mess that again? Oh, I need to go pick up the children so that I am not neglecting them? Yes. So so I don’t leave them at daycare. But at least that why that you mentioned because your why is not to go eat your why is because you want your husband to know. I appreciate what you’re doing for me.
Moira Maybin 27:13
Please keep cooking, don’t stop.
Marisol Hall 27:17
See the truth comes out. Your Y is I don’t want to make dinner.
Moira Maybin 27:23
Yeah, my kids and I would be happy we could live on cereal and breakfast products. Thank you so much for coming. I hope you consider coming back again.
Marisol Hall 27:32
This is the funnest. So yeah, like anytime you anytime you want me.
Moira Maybin 27:50
I hope you enjoyed 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 are not alone. And ADHD friendly lifestyle is for those of us who are done with trying harder and want healthy, sustainable lives that pay attention to our own particular needs and challenges with ADHD. We want to have the capacity to pursue our goals, dreams and passions with more joy and ease and have tomorrow be a more ADHD friendly day. I’d love to know your thoughts about today’s episode and appreciate questions you’d like to hear on the show too. All questions will be anonymous, respected and appreciate it. And I can’t wait to continue this conversation with you. To get in touch you can check out my website, ADHD friendly lifestyle.com. Email Moira at ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com. Please remember, I am not a doctor. The information presented in this podcast does not replace the individual recommendations from your health care providers. You can help by subscribing to the ADHD friendly lifestyle on Apple podcast or the podcast player of your choice. You can also help spread the word by sharing this podcast with the people in your life and by taking the time to rate and review. Thanks for listening. See you later.