Moira Maybin I acknowledge with gratitude that I’m a settler who lives in creates on the unceded traditional territories of the Semiahmoo First Nation, which lies within the shared territories of the Kwantlen, Katzie, Tsawwassen and Sto:lo First Nations.
Today, I’m very lucky to have Megan Rogers here with me. Megan is a brilliant, accomplished young woman that I met in the fall. She started listening to the podcast, I’ll let her talk about that. I was blown away by Megan’s take on some things. And as someone who has more than double her age, I wanted to talk to her about things that were similar in our experiences and different in our experiences. One of the things that Megan and I have in common is that we believe passionately, in helping to de stigmatize and normalize our experiences that we know many others share.
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.
I had the privilege of listening to Megan Rogers on another podcast Heavier than I Look hosted by Kiera Russo. And the fact that she’s closer to my daughter’s age also was a really of interest to me as I’m learning how to navigate letting her spread her wings. One of the things that Megan and I have in common, besides both being very driven and we were muscling our way through undiagnosed ADHD is that we believe passionately in our recovery and being advocates for ourselves and helping to de- stigmatize and normalize our experiences that we know many others share. So welcome, Megan,
Megan Rogers 03:09
thank you so much for having me. Well, I think I can just start off by saying that I wouldn’t be where I am without your podcast, and I wouldn’t have been able to have those words. Without that. So thank you for the work that you’re doing.
Moira Maybin 03:23
My pleasure. One of the things that I really liked hear you speaking about is the idea that we’re always looking for that optimal state, and the things that we’ll do to help ourselves get into it, you know, the whole idea that our brains are looking for this chemical level, like you talked about, like watching a movie, and I need to be doing something else while I’m watching a movie, unless I’m exhausted. If I’m exhausted, I can just lay there. But otherwise, I need to be doing something else. Otherwise, it’s like a poking at me.
Megan Rogers 03:56
Yeah. ADHD is a dopamine dysregulation disorder, you think dysregulation and you think of, you know, a deficit. But really, the effects swing both ways. And for so many women, that is how we get missed is this net positive, at least externally, life that we’re living, we’re still able to achieve all these things and take care of others and somehow managed to get it all done. When I feel it the most is when I have to perform neurotypical and it’s in settings like going to in person office hours where I’m sitting across the desk from a professor and I’m using all of my emotional energy to appear as normal as possible, and I’m sitting still I’m making eye contact. And at the end, I feel like the blood pressure cuff is around my entire body. That’s the physical sensation for me. And as a child, I didn’t realize that a day of Sitting with a blood pressure cuff around you, is going to require chemical reset. And so as a kid, I would come home and just eat and eat and eat. Always hungry, always trying to fix that extreme discomfort of just getting through the day.
Moira Maybin 05:22
I have a question for you when you were young and going to school, how did you get to school?
I would ride the bus.
Because that chemical reset, I think how I got to school help with that. You went on a bus?
Megan Rogers 05:34
yeah, I rode the bus. One of the best years of my life was freshman year of college, and I had a mile commute on foot. And it was so helpful. Yeah. Yeah, walking home, from the bus stop, as I got older and into high school, could have been good. But I was wearing such uncomfortable clothing and carrying all my books and my volleyball bag that I just hated it. Yeah,
Moira Maybin 06:01
cuz I actually had a walk-through nature to get to school and home every day in elementary school, and grew up in the era, that kindergarten, my mom took me to school because I was the only sibling going to that school. But from grade one on it was like, out the door on my own or with my siblings or friends. And that half an hour each way. Right, I think really helped with that reset, and just having that time outdoors. And then as I got older, and that wasn’t happening naturally. That’s when I figured out that helped me that way, which that’s why I was I was curious about that.
Megan Rogers 06:39
Yeah, I have an experience, similar. So, I didn’t have a huge bus stop commute. But I played outside every single day as a kid. And I think goodness, my processing speed is just total shit, because I was never good at video games. And so, I would just lay outside and climb trees and I had my little tree for, and I can’t, I’m like thank goodness, that’s just how it happened to work out. And then when I got older, I would go straight from being in school, the blood pressure jacket was okay, because I’d go straight to volleyball, high intensity,
Moira Maybin 07:17
same thing. I was a basketball player. I never got video games, because at that, and originally it was the arcades, and I’m like, why would you put 25 cents into a machine and really effectively get nothing out of it. Because it had I had treatment, I would have had the attention span to figure out, but like the whole, figuring out the game and paying attention to the game, you know, so there was no reward. So even like now we have them in our home. I just, I just have zero interest in that. I love how you described why Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is such a bad name. Could you share that for us?
Megan Rogers 07:59
So, ADHD, and I have talked to so many people, and they see the image of the five year old little boy running around in the classroom being disruptive Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is like naming, OCD, obsessive handwashing disorder. So, it’s like saying, Oh, if you’re not, you know, washing your hands every 20 seconds, then you don’t have OCD. I mean, I think ADHD should be renamed to be something along the lines of a dopamine dysregulation disorder, because it shows up in an infinite number of ways.
Moira Maybin 08:36
Yeah, with the attention piece. It’s not a deficit of attention. It’s a difficulty directing your attention, or shifting your attention, right. It’s not a deficit in it, because in the context that it was studied, and named, you know, been around hundreds of years. But this modern name of it was because of the observable symptoms that they could see in boys that were annoying. Yeah. And girls will work very, very hard to hide that. Yeah, as will people who don’t have the physical hyperactivity presentation, I thought that was really helpful when you described it that way, because it’s a symptom that doesn’t show up in everyone. And the whole emotional dysregulation part of it. That is such a key component. It’s in the criteria in other countries. But it’s not here because of how difficult it is to research it. Yeah, one of the things that you have mentioned in our conversation is the idea of being sensitive as like a part of how we’re, we’re made. And that, you know, it goes through to our emotions and our digestion, and all of those things are just more sensitive than it is for other people. And just that it’s really a huge it’s a huge piece of it that we Yeah, how pervasive it is in our lives. lives and in our beings. Yeah.
Megan Rogers 10:02
Being highly sensitive, I can share. I think it’s, it’s really difficult in so many ways to be living what’s supposed to be a parallel life alongside neurotypical peers. I’m so grateful that at a really young age, my elementary school teachers gave me the freedom to do what was interesting to me. And I have a very clear memories of sitting at my desk during silent reading time. And being like, so bored, it was a Scooby Doo book, and just having zero interest in it, and I wanted to write, and my second-grade teacher in my first grade teacher, and most of my other teachers, gave me permission to do something that was equally, you know, non-disruptive, interesting to me. You know, we were talking earlier about a conversation that I had earlier today with someone where, why does just being yourself have to feel like getting away with something or breaking the rule. So, there’s, you know, there’s different ways to feel about it. But in terms of being highly sensitive, there are so many rules, quote, unquote, that I’ve had to just wait for myself, because no one else is going to give me permission to meet my own needs, the way that I need them met,
Moira Maybin 11:16
one of the things I see has changed, and, you know, really, I, I want to credit, you know, people your age, and people, you know, throughout their 20s, and probably even their early 30s, is there’s been a shift in the expectation, like, I grew up in the era where it was like, suck it up, buttercup, right? Like, both my husband and I, our parents were pre baby boomers, so they weren’t even baby boomers. And so we had older parents. And so growing up in the 70s, we didn’t talk about emotions. And I grew up in a very liberal, very loving family, very neurodiverse family that did not know they were neurodiverse. And I think that’s why we were a lot more open with some things. But there were so many things that weren’t talked about and weren’t addressed. You know, like being told that there was a flasher, and if we come across him just to run away, right things that we just wouldn’t handle the same. And what I noticed, even in my teenage daughter, is this, all of this is changing. I’ve always been willing to talk about most things. And I know that me talking about things like mental health and, and my experience, and that is making it easier for other people to talk about it. But I do think that there’s has been a change in instead of people not saying something that there’s enough people who are like, No, we have to talk about these things, we have to, we have to do better. So as much as change like this is really slow. It has changed, I do have a lot of hope. Because I think people your age is just not going to accept it being any other way. Like I just realized last week that enduring situations that are not good for me, was something that was actually fairly normal. Where I think there’s a lot of people who just won’t do that. And yeah, and that’s good. Yeah.
Megan Rogers 13:15
There are so many thoughts that just came to mind when you were speaking. One of them that is the most it’s a very clear picture to talk about. I had this realization, because my friends that go out to bars and parties, I’m always in pain, like physical pain, because it’s so loud my years. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to go out, you know, it just it because I was silent about it. I didn’t even realize that it wasn’t normal. And then I realized, if everyone was in pain like this, the partying wouldn’t be a thing. Like, why would we? Why would humans do this? Like they’re all having fun. And my definition of going out to a bar and having a good time is so low, like the bars on the floor, a different type of bar. It’s on the floor, it just means I wasn’t miserable, like covering my ears. And just to give you an image, the sound of the toilets in our Student Center is so loud to me, that it makes me like tear up and cry. It’s so loud to me. And I realized if this was a thing that was normal, people would talk about it. Why is no one talking about crying in the bathroom at the sound of the toilets? Yeah. Oh, you know,
Moira Maybin 14:45
I drank a lot in my 20s and to deal with all of those social things. That’s how I dealt with it was Yeah, was by drinking because it made it easier for me to go through these situations, I think for the most part, I was like a responsible fun partier. But alcoholism does run in my family addiction, which we’re going to talk about is very prevalent with ADHD. And so there were definitely times where I knew I had to stop drinking. Because the issue, it wasn’t necessarily the frequency, it was the amount, right, it was more the binge drinking, as opposed to chronic drinking. And we have this weird, I don’t know, I think people with ADHD, and I don’t know how much of it is, when you’re undiagnosed or don’t have a full treatment plan. This idea that the default is always that there’s something wrong with us. And so we’re trying to hide it. Like when you’re talking about how you if this was the experience when you go out and everybody’s experience was like this, right? That it would be handled differently. Mm hmm. We just assume that we have to cope. Yeah, we have to endure because everyone else is yeah, like they’re having a good time. And I just, I guess how I’ve changed that, as I’ve gotten older, is, I don’t know if it’s accepting of myself. But it’s really kind of knowing what my wheelhouse is, you know, like, what I’m really good at. Because I remember being in my late 20s, and feeling like, like to have my shit together. Man, I needed to know how to do everything. Like I needed to know how to change tires in my car and change oil and manage my, you know, like the engine of a car. Like I thought, that’s what being a responsible adult was talking about an impossible standard. And then if not meeting it, then you’re failing.
Megan Rogers 16:49
Oh, yeah. It’s like, I think one of the biggest things, even pre diagnosis that I recognize within myself is that I’d been placing, and to no fault of my own. This is what society does, I’ve been placing so much weight on the product, another process. And so, it was okay, if the process of getting me to the 4.0 or two, whatever, killed me, it’s okay, as long as I still got the 4.0. So, you know, it feels like you have nothing to show for anything, if you don’t get the prize at the end, because you didn’t enjoy the journey getting there. So what was it all for? Yeah, really quick, going back to what you were saying about drinking as a small kid. And as a teenager, I always knew that my personality was sticky. In terms of, I really have a hard time stopping things that I like doing, which we now know, is ADHD. That is a better way of describing it as being than being hyperactive, even if you just defined it by that one thing. And so, I knew that I would never touch nicotine. Because I just knew that my friends would have a very different experience than I did. And so when I came to college, I was recovering from bulimia. And I was just fighting for my life, during my senior year of high school to be recovered, going to therapy multiple times a week, not seeing any progress, because I was basically just trying to muscle through my under stimulation, while still being a full time student in a very non ideal environment. And then still having access to binge fuel, which could have been any food. I didn’t drink at all, the first few years of college, because I knew that I would trade one monkey on my back for another. And so, you know, to I think there’s a camp of people that think that your child is managing fine. Even if they have ADHD, they’re even if they’re a couple fine, you know, let him tough it out, right? And it’s like your kids going to pick up a cigarette one day, or whatever, the friends are going to be able to stop that the child isn’t. And I just knew for whatever reason that I was going to be one of those people that would have a severe issue. If I tried anything.
Moira Maybin 19:29
Yeah, I mean, humans have always looked for ways to alter their experience, whether or not that’s going shopping, you know, whether or not the there’s so many different ways. And when you have a chemical deficit in your brain, if there’s things that are going to alleviate that, whether it’s helping you take a break from it, or, you know, feel things differently, that’s going to be very attractive, and you know, those neural pathways are very strong. Once we start, we create a habit.
Megan Rogers 20:04
Yeah. One other thing that came up when you were speaking, I was talking to a friend. And we came to the agreement that managing your stimulation level and managing your eating disorder recovery. You know; however, you want to look at it, the judgment around it shouldn’t be anything more than the judgment. And there shouldn’t be any judgment around managing something like diabetes, it’s not their fault. It’s just how it is. And you would never tell someone with diabetes to you know, suck it up or whatever. They just have this unconditional permission to take care of themselves how they need to, because they’re diabetic, and they will die if they don’t, why is it not the same unconditional permission to take care of yourself, when you have a stimulation, dopamine dysregulation disorder is I feel like I’m a diabetic without any of the permissions given.
Moira Maybin 21:04
Yeah. And the interesting thing is, like, sometimes people are like, well to hidden disability, when it’s a chemical dysregulation disorder. And I’m using the word chemical, because then its mood disorders fall into that, and having, you know, PMDD falls into that, and you know, ADHD, there’s so many things that are related. So Jessica McCabe said this in a presentation she gave once about the idea of if somebody short, and they need a stool, and someone who’s tall doesn’t need a stool, that makes sense, like to get like a step stool. But when you have these dysregulation disorders, they’re variable. They show up differently, depending on a whole bunch of different factors, that sometimes we have no control over. Some we can sometimes, but whether or not we need that stepstool some days we do sometimes we don’t. Yep. And that makes it incredibly difficult for anybody, us and other people to understand that, and then have compassion for it.
Megan Rogers 22:06
Yeah. And it’s so easy. If you don’t know what’s going on to gaslight yourself into being like, I’m so set. You know, I can do this. I always knew I could do this. And then you get to the second half of your cycle. And you’re like, oh, I was just doing it. So, this must mean that I’m lazy. I’ve dropped the ball. I don’t care enough. I’m not working hard enough.
Moira Maybin 22:31
Yet. The bottom line is if this if this shit was easy, we would do it I know we’ve got a few more topics we want to talk about disordered eating, because that’s something I’ve been wanting to get into on the podcast and I look forward to having you
Megan Rogers 22:55
back. I look forward to being back. Thank you so much an honor to be talking on the very podcast that has helped me so much in my life. Thinking to those listening that feel like you just listened to a firework show of different things going on. To that I say, take what you need, leave what you don’t. And also, that is how ad shares have conversations.
Moira Maybin 23:23
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s show. And we’d love to hear your thoughts. To get in touch you can write me an email at ask at ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com. Connect with me on my website, Instagram and Facebook at ADHD Friendly Lifestyle or Twitter at ADHDFL every episode has a website page was show notes transcripts next steps resources and articles related to the topic. To get these visit ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com. If you’d like to support the podcast, the best way is to subscribe on the podcast player of your choice and by taking the time to rate and review it there. There are other podcasts for your listening pleasure. On Hacking your ADHD Will Curb gives Tips Tools and insights. Brendon Mahan hosts ADHD Essentials focusing on parenting and education. Thanks for listening. See you later.