26: the one about transforming wounds into wisdom




Moira and Coach Natalie Stark cover a lot of ground in this episode! How the word queer is important for many reasons, how not living and living in a van were both ways to have an ADHDFL (friendly life), and the importance of access to treatment for ADHD, and why Natalie credits going to the hospital and therapy with saving herself from suicidal ideation and coaching with feeling worthy of building a life that she wants to live.

Welcome to the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle Podcast, for those of us with ADHD, who have had enough of trying harder and want to live a more comfortable, healthy, and happy life with less frustration and overwhelm. It’s time to get rid of guilt and shame–around having ADHD, our needs, and challenges through stories, knowledge, and humor to speak up about the experience of women, moms, and being late diagnosed with ADHD. 
We can build acceptance and growing our self-compassion over time, to help us take care of ourselves, ask for help when we need it, and be comfortable with who we are. Join me, Moira Maybin, as I share knowledge about ADHD to make your life easier, and what choices you have to make your tomorrow a more ADHD Friendly day.
Thank you for being part of the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle, hosted by Moira Maybin. Subscribe to the show on iTunes and leave a rating and review. Join the conversation today!
Have a question suggestion or want to reach out? Email Ask@adhdfriendlylifestyle.com

Show Notes:

Topics discussed in this episode:
Coaching—getting some and giving some can lead to big things TS 2:00
  • Moira shares about becoming a peer mentor in the ADHD community and learning from Coach Natalie Stark
  • Natalie shares how coaching came into her life, first being coached and then as a coach herself
  • Natalie confronted some big life issues including seeking medical care for suicidal ideation first
  • Having both therapy and coaching gave Natalie hope when she felt both lost and useless and inspired her to make some giant life transitions
  • Moira thanks Natalie for openly speaking about her mental health and getting help as women with ADHD are 3x more likely to try to commit suicide then men with ADHD and the rates among women with ADHD (24%) and those without (3%) are starker
  • Moira shares that it is time to get rid of the stigma around mental health, it’s a part of our health.
  • Talking about the ADHD Community with people on this podcast is because the relationships we form and the changes in our lives from being part of it are so important that we want to share
  • Natalie touches on the pros and cons of coaching as an unregulated industry—it allows from innovation like this program, and that while medical treatment and therapy saved her life, while coaching made her feel alive and like she had worth, and that it is very important
The things weren't working TS: 7:00
  • Natalie brings up how listening to ADHDFL has resonated with her, and how at 24 newly married, with a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy and life wasn’t working for her
  • They touch on their own fortune at being able to afford health care, treatment coaching and that they feel a responsibility for and to the many women out there with ADHD, who don’t have the finances or life situations that make getting the help and support they deserve possible
  • And that’s exactly why we got to talk about it and make podcasts
  • Moira welcomes any information that others can share with her, that she post/share free or reduced cost ways to meet health needs related to ADHD
Natalie's ADHD Friendly Lifestyle--RV style TS 13:44
  • In 14 months Natalie got a diagnosis, mental health treatment, coaching, a divorce and a RV to live in
  • When she joined an online ADHD community, she decided to seek a divorce and after being asked in group what she wanted to do with her life, she landed on travelling around the country, living in a RV to be more in nature and pursue her love of travel, and within a few months, she had the RV, and is now living in it.
  • She loves living in her RV–an ADHD friendly lifestyle–get down to like that few number of items it makes things way easier
  • Natalie shares how cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping are all easier now
  • Moira adds that research shows that being in nature reduces ADHD symptoms and increases coping skills
  • People can follow Natalie in her RV lifestyle on Insta @polypanvan
  • Natalie didn’t originally plan to live in her RV but be a weekender—only did it once and it sat for 18 months until COVID, and it sat some more as she appreciated having a home
Natalie’s work as an Occupational Therapist and Life Coach TS; 16:23
  • Pandemic meant an end to Natalie’s working as a travelling/in-home Occupational Therapist and transitioning more into coaching
  • She also worked virtually assessing an environment and understanding what to do with it to help people set up their life and environment to function more easily
  • A skill she has used in setting up her ADHDFL/RV life so that living in an RV for her makes her ADHD better, easier, and more accessible
  • Natalie now works as a coach at Queer Spectrum Life Coaching, and she offers 30 minute free consults to make sure it’s what people want and they will work well together.
What’s Queer Spectrum Life Coaching? We Welcome ALL, we stand here with you, you are safe here TS: 19:01
  • Natalie wanted queer in the name to represent her own queerness and for many reasons:
    • It’s really overarching and when you don’t know what you are, but you know, you’re not straight or cis queer works  
    • Labels are great for communicating, but not necessarily perfect
    • it’s a slur that we have reclaimed as a community, we love being different. It’s who we are. It’s a pride thing. It is.
    • It’s somewhat political
    • It’s incredibly important for that come across right away with potential clients
      • That she will not tolerate transphobia, not tolerate racism, not tolerate hate of any kind.
      • even within the LGBTQIA plus community, there are those who are transphobic
    • She embraces all sorts of people who are out there and welcomes whatever colorful version of you are in her presence
    • Spectrum represents a link to neurodiversity in general and that so many things are spectrums—gender, ADHD, Autism, all of life really
    • Moira asks about allies using the word queer and being misunderstood or uncertain about language, making mistakes and wanting to be sensitive to the challenges and experiences of others
    • Natalie shares that even queer people can’t keep up and as a queer person in the community who wants to do everything possible to do everything right to be politically correct to honor people to not trigger people will get things wrong.
    • That’s just how it works, especially in such a rapid growing community that is now able to flourish more than ever before, right?
    • We’re going to mess up so forgive yourself for messing up as long as we learn and change it, moving forward. That’s just what life is.
    • Moira thanks Natalie for her willingness to be open and go deep in their conversations, there’s still a lot more they want to share, so Natalie will be back soon.



Moira Maybin 0:07 

Today we are joined by my friend Natalie Stark, who has a totally cool name. And I met Natalie a few years ago, she helped me greatly because as I transitioned from being a member of the ADHD Coaching and Accountability community and into becoming a peer mentor, she was my mentor in becoming a peer mentor volunteer in the coaching accountability group. So, I was a little newbie, and Natalie was the experienced one.

Natalie Stark 0:44 

Thank you. I’m happy to be here. I remember you wanting to like to know more about how to do it and being like you’re really good at it in your life, but what is it?

Moira Maybin 1:02 

Welcome to the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle. I’m your host, Moira Maybin, a woman, mom, educator, and I have late diagnosed ADHD. This is the place to practice getting rid of guilt or shame and spending more time with our strengths and passions. 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 more ADHD friendly. And I want to share them with you. For show notes, including next steps, resources and articles on this topic, visit ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com.

Welcome to Life with ADHD, and it’s a friendly lifestyle. We’re just gonna keep going on. So welcome. Even yesterday, when I was talking about strategies that I learned from you, and being crediting me them, I credited you for them. So I’d like to welcome you now.

Natalie Stark 2:01 

And that means a lot that you mentioned me to people. I appreciate it. I’m excited to be here.

Moira Maybin 2:06 

So you said you first did Arc,  the ADHD reWired Coaching and Accountability

Natalie Stark 2:10 

Yeah, I was in season 12. And then I admin for season 13. And that was the first time I had was for 13. So yeah, I was ADDmin to Roxie and Marisol was my ADDmin to really pushed for me to do it. And it really helped me because, I went through a giant transition when I first was in Arc. This was back when he was doing individual interviews, but I ended up admitting myself to the hospital for suicidal ideation. And the one thing I did before going to the hospital was canceled my interview with him and reschedule. Wow. Yeah. And I talked to him a week after I got back from the hospital. And I was always I was very honest with why I had to reschedule and everything. And I sometimes I’m surprised that he was like, Yeah, you’re ready for this. But that had happened because I had felt so lost. And so useless. Because I was trying very hard to be a provider both financially and like, homestead wise for my now ex-husband. And I felt like I was failing. And I was like, I need to try and fix this ADHD thing. gotta fix it, you know, totally something you can use as we’re

Moira Maybin 3:34 

broken. No, we’re not. No.

Natalie Stark 3:37 

And so, right after my birthday. I was like, Wait, the reason this is bad is because I shouldn’t be here. And that’s when I decided to get divorced. And then I was going through all of that as I was an ADDmin and 13. And I think one of the reasons was because I wanted to keep that schedule. As everything else around, me was changing. It kept me grounded. It did.

Moira Maybin 4:08 

It’s not often now that people become an admin right after group because we realize that there’s so much to process. There are two things you mentioned that I want to touch on. The first one is we got in here we got deep right away. Yeah, mentioning your suicidal ideation. Last week, I recorded with a very bad cold a policy paper from a Canadian advocacy group for ADHD. And women with ADHD 24% attempt suicide, compared to 9% of men with ADHD and 3% of women without ADHD. And so that’s huge. And it’s huge being there’s a huge need that we need to talk about this stuff. Because I mean, my grandmother committed suicide when she was 86 and mental health doesn’t need to be a stigma. It doesn’t, you know, it’s a part of our health. We’re a whole being. And so, I’m glad that you reached out. I’m glad you made that a priority. And I’m glad you got the help you needed.

The people that have been on this podcast are connected to the ADHD community. And I’m not doing this as an ad. I’m doing it because this experience is so transformative and pivotal in our lives. That’s why we become so tight so quickly. And at the same time, it’s so important to us that when we get together, we want to talk about it.

Natalie Stark 5:45 

Right? Well, and here’s the other thing. I was commenting on somebody’s Instagram page the other day where they were like, Oh, these coaches, they can go in and not know anything. And that’s dangerous, and they’re hurting people, right? And I was like, Excuse me? No, right. I’m a coach. I also have a master’s in occupational therapy. And a lot of coaches know exactly what they’re doing. And it’s not regulated. Yeah. So, there’s bad coaches. But that’s also why they’re such good coaches, is because it’s not needed to be regulated, because we can create, like, these courses, these systems that work so well for people, right? And I mentioned in this comment on this post, you’re not wrong. You’re not right, though. I was suicidal. And what saved me from killing myself was going to the hospital in therapy. What made me feel alive, and like I had worse was coaching. And that is important. It’s, it’s very important. Because if you just do the therapy and the saving your life that can happen over and over and over again, and you won’t get anywhere unless you find like a reason for wanting to live

Moira Maybin 6:58 

and a way to do it differently.

Natalie Stark 7:00 

So, I say, like, the hospital saved my life. Coaching gave me a life I wanted. And that’s just so critical. Mm hmm. And yeah, it is a big deal. And it is like, I listened to your podcast about the one about ADHD and women. And like, so much of that resonates right. And I was only, I was only 24. I was only 24. When that happens. I was just married, like a year prior. I just graduated with my master’s. I was doing the thing, right. And I could tell that the thing wasn’t for me. Yeah, right. And that’s why I ended up in the hospital and why I was like, I got to do this coaching group like, and I consider myself incredibly privileged and lucky that I had the career that allowed me to be like, I’m going to the hospital for a week. And the money that allowed me to do that when you know, the health care system doesn’t really care one way or the other, they just want their money. Right? I had the money. I had the money not only for that, but for a coaching group. Yeah. Right. And how there’s so many people out there with so many women out there with ADHD, who will never come anywhere close to where we are. Yeah. Because of their money and because of their life situations. And that’s exactly why we got to talk about it and make podcasts.

Moira Maybin 8:32 

I appreciate you bringing that up, because that has been on my mind the entire time. Because I know I’m privileged. I’m incredibly privileged. And I recognize that some of the things that are within my reach are not within the reach of others. And so that is in my mind when I am talking and one of the things that I’m working on I’m collecting information is ways for people to get medication ways for people to things that I didn’t know about because I have been in you know fight and we both have been in financial situations that are not good and that are precarious. When you don’t know what tomorrow is gonna be like, when you don’t have you know, a lot of the things that we can still take for granted. It just makes everything else harder. You can’t focus on other things if you don’t have your basic needs met. And that includes your basic health needs and your so thank you for that.

I want to give you the opportunity to share about your journey.

Natalie Stark 13:44 

I got diagnosed when I was 24 in like June 2017. And it was February 2018 that I went into the hospital and then I was in season 12 started that April. You know I got divorced and all that I was having my occupational therapy degree I was still really into being an occupational therapist, and we had this exercise that like two days after I decided to get divorced. You want to do with your life? I’m like, I don’t know. I just abandoned all thoughts and plans is what I thought I was gonna do with my life. Right? So I sat there and I thought about it right and I was like I want to travel around the country. That’s what I want to do. I want to live in an RV and drive around the country because I love travel and I love nature and I just that’s just what I want to do. I got to do it. And literally that September I bought an RV. Right and now I’m living in that RV which is great. I love it. And I you know we were talking about money. I don’t really have the money right now for gas to get very many places but I still love living in my RV and talk about an ADHD friendly lifestyle. If you get down to like that few amount of items. It actually makes things Way easier, I find cooking easier. Cleaning is easier because there’s less to clean, then you’re just outside a lot more. Because it’s a tidy little RV. I bought one that can park in a parking spot.

Moira Maybin 15:12 

The research they’ve got, I want to do a whole episode about being outside because group of kids, you know, during the school day compared playing on asphalt to playing on grass. And the kids with ADHD had fewer symptoms and better coping skills when they were playing on grass compared to playing on asphalt. Like it’s just, it’s a Yeah, I wouldn’t say hopefully it’s an easy thing to do. But you know, again, it depends on where you live, how much concrete there is, and windows and things like that, where people can follow you in your RV lifestyle.

Natalie Stark 15:46 

Yeah, so I actually have my Instagram poly pan van, which is where I talk about my RV stuff. And that’s poly for polyamory. Kyo loi pan for pansexuality, PA, N and Van because I live in a van.

Moira Maybin 16:02 

And I’ll have those links on our website

Natalie Stark 16:04 

I was going to say, so I bought the RV. I initially didn’t think I was going to live in it. I thought it was going to be a weekend warrior, one of those people who work all week and then go somewhere over the weekend every weekend, right? That’s not actually very ADHD friendly.

Moira Maybin  16:19 

No. Oh, so many transitions. Oh, my God,

Natalie Stark  16:23 

I never once did it. I never did it. I never worked all week and went on a weekend vacation and then worked again. Never did it. No, I had my RV heart for a year and a half without using it. Right. And then the pandemic happened. And it still sat there because like we weren’t allowed to travel. Right. Um, and like now I’m lucky and happy that we’re at a place enough where I can live in the RV. There’s a lot of people in Van lifers that I follow who had to go find a place to live for a while, during the pandemic, because that’s just how it worked. When the pandemic hit, I stopped getting work because I was actually working as a travel occupational therapist. But like, locally, I’d go to places for a few weeks at a time, I was actually good at that. We’re talking about being unable to change up so many times it I actually was good at that in that regard.

Moira Maybin  17:16 

No, like well, that we’ve no mutually that you’ve helped virtually just the idea of someone being able to help me function better, just how do I set my life up? Right, and being able to come in and look at a space and how I’m doing things and how I’m moving? And yeah, no, I’m

Natalie Stark  17:34 

really good at that. Actually. Yeah,

Moira Maybin  17:37 

I know.

Natalie Stark  17:37  I’m really good at assessing an environment and understanding what to do with it. Yeah, and how to make that environment work for me, which is why I love my tiny little RV, I am making it and adapting it to be exactly what I want for myself, and even just living in an RV for me makes ADHD better. For instance, I hate going grocery shopping. But I have a tiny fridge now. So I have to go more frequently, which makes it easier because I can get to the store and just go what do I want to eat for dinner today. And instead of being like, Oh, I got to leave my apartment and get in my car. I’m already in it already in my car. That much easier. One less transition, because I’m in my car, one less transition to get to the grocery store. And it makes all of those things that much easier. For me everything just feels more accessible.

Moira Maybin  18:24 

My long term dream is to have a small motorhome and drive around North America with my husband. And then when we want to come home, we fly home from where we are. And then yeah, we’re ready to go again. We fly back and oh, I mean, there’s so many people who do it because I nest right like when whenever we do go somewhere, I will unpack my bag, set up my bedside table, because I know how I want things to function. And it’s also so I can find things. There’s a lot you’ve said that makes ADHD friendly lifestyle. We’re not going to have enough time to talk about today. No, we’re not. Holy moly.

Natalie Stark  18:58 

Like how can I wrap this up and like so.

Moira Maybin  19:01 

Here’s the thing that I want to know is I’ve got two questions. One, can you explain how you landed on your name for your coaching? Yeah, Queer spectrum,

Natalie Stark  19:10 

Queer Spectrum Life Coaching. I wanted queer right away. Yeah, I’m queer. I’m very queer. Picked queer for many reasons. One of the reasons being it’s like really overarching and when you don’t know what you are, but you know, you’re not straight or cis queers. Perfect. Right. Labels are great for communicating, but not necessarily perfect. There’s a lot of people in this world that don’t fit into the boxes, even the extra boxes that we are making and continuing to make queer tends to be a good umbrella term for that. And it’s a slur that we have reclaimed as a community, right? Where we say, well guess what, yeah, we’re queer. We love being different. It’s who we are. It’s a pride thing. It is. And I also think It’s somewhat political. And that’s incredibly important for me to have come across right away when people look me up. Because I want people to know that, like, I will not tolerate transphobia. I will not tolerate racism, I will not tolerate hate of any kind. And believe it or not even within the LGBTQIA plus community, there are people who are transphobic. Like, yeah, all sorts of people out there, and I’m not one of those people, and you are welcome to be whatever colorful version of yourself you are. In my presence, I embraced that. I think it’s wonderful. So queer was important to me right away. What took me longer to find was the second word because I didn’t want to be queer life coaching. I’m not helping people, like, with their identity of being queer. I simply am queer, right? So I had to come up with another thing. And I came with a spectrum, because it has that link to neurodiversity in general, right? And because so many things are spectrums, gender is a spectrum, ADHD, autism, or life in general, it’s a spectrum, right? Um, and so I picked spectrum, and then you tack life coaching onto it. And there you go,

Moira Maybin  21:13 

I love I appreciate your, what you spoke about the word queer, because those are my understandings of it. And what I am wondering, as you know, says, Woman, that is there any issue with me using that word? Because what my concern would be is that when someone doesn’t understand what you’ve shared that, but it being taken in the way in which I’m intending it, and is that me overthinking things, and so I’m just wondering, as I’m navigating, I guess things like a podcast would be really where or speaking more generally,

Natalie Stark  21:51 

right? I’m catching what you’re putting down. Queer is one of those words in the community that can be used how you want to use it, right? And, like, that’s part of the reason why it’s an umbrella term and something a lot of people use, and a lot of people who aren’t exactly sure what they are use it because it at least lets people know well, I’m not like, what society says I should be. I’m not like, sis or I’m not, like straight. I’m not monogamous. I’m not whatever, right? Like queer does that. But like a lot of people can. It’s like, things can be like queer, just like how gays to mean happy. Like, right? Like queer means off and weird, right? Yeah. Like, either queer, like, and so in that sort of way. There’s people who aren’t, you know, gay, or like, any of those things that we’re talking about? who say, Oh, I’m Bodhi queer. Right. And that’s a whole movement. And like, it’s weird. I have weird feelings about it. To be honest, I think that that makes sense to use that word that way. But I do think it’s very much an LGBTQIA word. So using it to describe just like how your body is, right. But also, like your body versus gender and sexuality are kind of related. Right? Yeah, it’s one of those words. It’s just one of those words that you can make it what you want it to be, if that makes sense. And,

Moira Maybin  23:23 

yeah, and I think what it is, What am I, one of my episodes, I recently said, and I said, this is evolving, and it’s changing, and I’m going to make mistakes. And I’m going to try my best. And I don’t mean to offend anybody. So but just I’m trying to be as inclusive as I can when I’m talking on the podcast, because there’s so many ways that people with ADHD are marginalized. And then when we add in other ways that we can be marginalized. Yeah, I don’t want to do that. Even more, right.

Natalie Stark  23:58 

So it’s very important for you and I tell this to, like allies all the time, that even us ourselves as queer people can’t keep up. Yeah. I as a queer person in the community, who wants to do everything possible to do everything right to be politically correct. To honor people to not trigger people will get things wrong? Yeah. Because that’s just how it works, especially in such a rapid growing community that is now able to flourish more than ever before. Right? And if I’m going to mess up, like, you certainly should forgive yourself for messing up, right? As long as you learn and change it moving forward. That’s just what life is. That’s a lot of my name. I didn’t

Moira Maybin  24:41 

Actually one of the things that I’ve missed about talking to you is that it’s just, it’s so easy to take something and then just go deep with it. And that’s just, I think one of the things about like, people with ADHD generally don’t like small talk right now. So you like to talk about the issues that I think about and I like to talk about, so I really appreciate it. We’re gonna wrap up here today. And so we’ve touched on things, I’m gonna have you back. So thank you very much.

Natalie Stark  25:08 

Very, very welcome. This is fun.

Moira Maybin  25:09 

And if people want to reach out and learn more about you, they can go to ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com I’ll have it on there.

Natalie Stark  25:15 

And you can go to Queer Spectrum Life Coaching.com to book me first 30-minute console is free, because I want to make sure you know what you’re getting into and that we will work well together.

Moira Maybin  25:25 

And I know that I’m going to have you back because there are so many things that we want to talk about. Yeah. All right, Natalie. Thank you

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Picture of Moira Maybin, M.Ed. (EdPsy.)

Moira Maybin, M.Ed. (EdPsy.)

I help people with ADHD who are tired of trying harder and are ready to give up the struggle. 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. An ADHD Friendly Lifestyle builds our ability to take care of ourselves and use our unique strengths and talents to create a life that works for us.

Picture of Moira Maybin, M.Ed. (EdPsy.)
Moira Maybin, M.Ed. (EdPsy.)

I help people with ADHD who are tired of trying harder and are ready to give up the struggle. 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. An ADHD Friendly Lifestyle builds our ability to take care of ourselves and use our unique strengths and talents to create a life that works for us.

I help people with ADHD who are tired of trying harder and are ready to give up the struggle. 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. An ADHD Friendly Lifestyle builds our ability to take care of ourselves and use our unique strengths and talents to create a life that works for us.

Moira maybin, M.Ed. (EdPsy.)