So below are some show notes I used to prep for the conversation above. Enjoy some of my pre-processing!
Can you tell us about yourself and how you came to be involved in coaching people with ADHD?
I’m Amy Voros. I am a certified ADHD and Life coach, through the International Coach Federation. and the ADHD coaches Organization. I’ve been coachign for 10 years, over 500 hours, and was surprised when I counded that I’ve worked with dozens of people, part time, as I work to manage my own health issues including my own ADHD. In my early 30s, I was struggling to manage a very independenly paced job that was a good ethical match, but the work was very repetitive. Trying to work from home, I stumbled across an adhd quiz online and proceeded to go to my general practitioner with probably a dozen articles and points of research to “prove” my self diagnosis. Because if you’re smart, you can’t have adhd, right? About this time, I was also laid off, and out of work. With a shiny new ADHD diagnosis and no structure, I went back to school. We had worked with a life coach at my prior company, so I suddenly was aware that there were people who helped otehrs plan, organize, and stay accountable, thigns I had tried to revers engineer my boss to help me with (as an executive assistant—I’m supposed to be the one doing all the planning!) So, I got my certification in life coaching, along with a lot of self-directed learning about how ADHD shows up. And then realizing that if I really wanted to work with people like me, there was a sub-nicche that was emerging in coaching for ADHD coaches, as mentioned in the book “Driven to Distraction” by Ned Hallowell, himself a MD with ADHD, I could get additional specialized training.
For people who may be thinking that they might have ADHD but never got a diagnosis, what does it look like in adults?
It can show up in all sorts of ways. ADHD is primarily a challenge/alternate wiring/brain chemistry around your Executive Functions. So challenges can show up in any combination of 6-7 domains that EF is often divided into:
Running late for meetings, messy desks, needing to say all the things now os you don’t’ forget them, hard to start, hard to complete, always chasing the next new thing, if youre in the right environment, it may not even show up. Emotional disregualtion, information recall, time blindness, unable to prioritize or to get motivated by external priorities. May often come off as being self-centered/uncaring due to executive function challenges.
Upsides- out of the box thinking, quirky, can assimilate big picture information, Innovative, persistence, unwilling to give up, see unique solutions, especially in domains of strength.
We’re going to talk about some coping stuff that may be helpful for anyone, but when does it make sense to seek a diagnosis and possibly medication?
ADHD, or any health issue or medical issue both (physical and mental), when you are impacted in your daily functioning or it’s causing unhappiness, getting a sense of why it’s not working can be liberating. But our socieity also puts a huge burden or stigma on needing help, support or beign different. If something is different, you’re supposed to pretend you don’t notice it or it isn’t a problem. Btu this makes self-esteem take a huge hit. Meds are one of many options and supports. Uually, a multi-modal approach is far more effective. So, some ways for this include meds, education, self-awareness, environmental modification, habit & diet support, and often living a healthy lifestyle are all things that can contribute to beign able to show up how you want in life. You can’t imagine or will it away. It’s not a moral flaw or character weakness, although most of the behaviors and manifestations are treated that way. If I could get over, well if I just try harder. What I have to do is try differently.
If you’re not functioning, getting an evaluation for ADHD, depression, anxiety and others is going to help identify the cause, which can help locate a solution.
From Sarah: How do you stay on track for long-term projects and effectively break them down into achievable daily goals?
Understanding and doing/staying on track are two different skill sets. Part of it stems from
From Sarah: My nephew really struggles with negative self-talk, and that’s part of his attention-deficit disorder. How can he make that stop?
(And define negative self talk? Examples?)
Negative self-talk. https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/self-talk#how-does-it-work
Rumination: Negative self-talkRumination is the flip side of positive self-talk. It happens when you replay upsetting or cringe-worthy thoughts or events over and over again in your head. Thinking through a problem can be useful, but if you spend a lot of time ruminating, small issues tend to snowball. Constant rumination can make you more likely to experience depression or anxiety. This statement show negative thoughts can grow and become self-defeating:
“I look so fat in this dress. I really am fat. Look at those thighs. No wonder I can’t get a date. Why can’t I lose weight? It’s impossible.”
The hard side of ADHD is that over time, all the things you have a hard time doing: gettign to a meeting on tiem, getting work done on a timeline, finishing stuff that should be “easy” really starts to eat at your belief that you can be successful. It’s often reinforced by “helpful” people sharing how to try harder.
So how do you counter it? Some of it is brain chemistry, and some of it is working to find ways to be good at that you care about to get a sense of achievement and mastery: school, sports, video games, astronomy (or finding a peer group!). Sometime that is helpful to work with a professional counselor on. Sometimes it can be a sign of depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. Sometimes the criticism or rejection is imagined, but not always. ADHD researchers estimate that by age 12, children with ADHD get 20,000 more negative messages about themselves than other kids their age. All that criticism can take a real toll on their self-esteem.
From Rue: How can you manage the brain-inertia that for some people is ‘writers’ block’ but for those with cognitive issues is going to be a LOT MORE than that; like sitting there wanting to write but not being able to get your body/brain to do it. Big big issue.
Sometimes it is a body/energy/expectation mis-match. How do you make what you’re doing easier, more exciting, or novel in some way. Why are you stuck? And that feels like a cop-out answer. 😊 But there are so many reason this can be a problem from perfectionism, to competing demands, to chronic health issues, and ADHD. (see executive functions above)
From Rue: How can people with Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) deal with perceived rejection from reviews, sales rankings, emails, etc.
(Define first? I looked this up for me: “extreme emotional sensitivity and pain triggered by the perception that a person has been rejected or criticized by important people in their life.”)
https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/rejection-sensitive-dysphoria Ouch. RSD is often associated with ADHD. Unfortunatly, emotional regelation is not recognized officially as part of the ADHD profile for adults. Logically, talking with others who have been in the same boat can help. Taking a deep breath and
When you have ADHD, your nervous system overreacts to things from the outside world. Any sense of rejection can set off your stress response and cause an emotional reaction that’s much more extreme than usual. Up to 99% of teens and adults with ADHD are more sensitive than usual to rejection. And nearly 1 in 3 say it’s the hardest part of living with ADHD. You’re not alone in this feeling. I wish I could say I had an easy answer. Normallizing it can help. Treating ADHD can be another.
After you get the novel published, you have to market it, and there are a zillion things people advise doing, everything from building a social media platform to learning Amazon/Facebook ads, to building reader magnets and a mailing list to more. Any tips for focusing on the marketing while still finding time to write the next book?
When possible, outsource what you don’t like, and do what you do like! And, when you’re bootstrapping, like so many I know, that becomes what feels like nearly impossible. Automate tasks as much as possible. (autoresponders, social media posting) Sometime, even just 1-2 hours of support: hired, trade, etc can make a huge difference. Look at what energizes you. What drains you? Block your tasks to match your energy. If answering emails is easy, but boring, can you do it while listening to a podcast? If you’re doing it when your energy is highest, that’s not a good match of energy to return.