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The Reality of Living With ADHD

Listen to The Mighty Podcast episode, “The Reality of Living With ADHD” We’ve also provided a transcript below. To talk about the episode or share topic ideas, join the Podcast Peeps community on The Mighty.

In this episode Mighty Host Ashley Kristoff is joined by Mighty staff members Camara Rauen and Monique Vitche as well as Conor Bryan to talk about living with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They’ll discuss how ADHD impacts the way they see the world, the differences in their diagnostic journeys and a few lighthearted and relatable anecdotes about living in a neurotypical world.

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Transcription:

Ashley Kristoff
Welcome to The Mighty Podcast where we infuse the health space with positivity, humor and vulnerability. The Mighty is a safe and supportive community here to help you find the people and information you need to navigate your health journey. We’re so excited to spend some time together today. Today’s episode is sponsored by the online therapy platform, Talkspace. We’ll talk more about this later in the episode. Now, let’s get into what the health we are talking about today.

I am your cotton candy-haired host and Mighty staff member, Ashley. I am joined by three other lovely humans here today Camara, Conor and Monique. Do you guys want to give a little intro? Camara.

Camara Rauen
I am Camara I am the Digital Media Producer and Co-Podcast Producer here.

Ashley Kristoff
Alright, Conor.

Conor Bryan
Hi, I’m Conor, I’m a maintenance guy at a live-in community for folks with physical and mental developmental disabilities and I live every day with ADHD.

Ashley Kristoff
And Monique.

Monique Vitche
I’m Monique. I’m the newsletter editor here at The Mighty and I’m the group leader of The Neurodiverse Crowd. I also live with ADHD and was diagnosed later in life.

Ashley Kristoff
Awesome. So as you can tell, we’re gonna be chatting about ADHD today, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. So before we really jump into the meat of our conversation, I want to do a little bit of a warm-up get us rolling for today. While people often know that people with ADHD may have trouble keeping focus, what they don’t seem to realize or don’t know as often about is the opposite can be true. And you can have hyperfocus. So I want to know at least one thing or something very fun that you have at some time hyperfocused on.

Conor Bryan
In particular, I love to do crafts, I like to make stuff, I make a lot of whittling, making wood projects and whatnot. I usually end up bent over, scraping something with a small chisel. And if I’m not careful and not being very mindful, I will forget to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and realize that it’s 2 am and that I’ve been carving for 16 hours straight. And I’m like, oh, that’s why my hands hurt so bad. Now I get it. And then I pack up and make sure I have something to eat before I go to bed. Luckily, I have a very mindful partner who’s very good at interrupting me if I’m hyperfocused on something for an unhealthy amount of time and reminds me to eat my meals and you know, occasionally stop for a beverage or a bathroom break.

Monique Vitche
I can definitely relate to that I have hyperfocused for hours and hours on end while coding where I have missed meals and have just sat at my computer hunched over unable to move or stretch and then I’ll get up and wonder why every bone in my body is just so stiff. And why I just cannot move.

Conor Bryan
Yeah, I routinely would have co-workers tell me like, “Hey man, if you need to stop and take a bathroom break while we’re, you know, building this barn or whatever, you know, feel free!” and I’m like, “Oh, I’m fine, I’ll forget about it in a minute.” And then in like an hour and a half I’ll remember and I’ll go then it’s fine, we don’t, we’re not at a good breaking point. For me at least I’ve learned how to maybe abuse my hyperfocus to some degree for the sake of productivity.

Ashley Kristoff
Hey, I mean if it helps you get the job done, you’re not hurting yourself then it’s fine.

Camara Rauen
If the barn gets worked on, the barn gets worked on.

Ashley Kristoff
I know for me like this is one of those things that I now looking back on it’s very funny that I got diagnosed with ADHD so late because I remember this specific instance of when the last like the most recent the final Harry Potter book came out. I remember getting it the moment it released, sitting on my couch and I did not move until that book was finished. I did not eat. I did not use the bathroom. I read that book cover to cover, no breaks in between and I spent probably just like 10 hours straight just pouring over this book.

Conor Bryan
I will routinely do that with shows or other media particularly if I find a new game like a good RPG. I just started the Outer Worlds the other day, oh masterpiece. I will lose track of days and in worst cases a week sometimes. I used to play World of Warcraft quite a bit and boy, I’ll tell you what when the new expansion or new content drops, you will forget life for a few days at a time while engrossing yourself in a new little adventure escapade.

Camara Rauen
Having like a new media or a new game to like really focused in on I remember like when Queens Gambit came out and I give it my second shot to get through it. I’m like, “Oh yeah, I’m not I’m not gonna stop watching this, this will get done. We are going through, we are finishing this.”

Ashley Kristoff
I also do that I noticed with songs like if there’s a particular new song that I’ve heard, I need to just listen to it on repeat until I know all the words and know that melody, I know the individual like instrument tracks, like I just have to keep listening to it until it’s like fully ingrained inside of my head.

Conor Bryan
I’m the same and then once that songs over, I’m like, “Oh, I hope the artist has other ones like this.” Start going through their whole discography until I know the entirety of their work. And then someone’s like, “Hey, have you ever heard of Coulter Wall?” and I’m like, “Hmm hmm boy, have I.”

Camara Rauen
I feel that very hardcore. As someone who loves music and loves to dance, I feel like I will hyperfocus on a new song that comes out and play it over and over and over again until I have a ridiculous improv routine that’s always different. Either that that I’m hyper focusing on or the outfit that I put on in the morning. The third favorite thing to hyperfocus on once I can be editing, I’m just like, it’ll take me forever, but if I’m in the zone, I’m just like, I’m here, we’re going for it. We’re getting, especially when it’s like podcasting and like the ‘uh’s,’ the ‘um’s,’ I just get like a high on being like, “Hi-yah ‘um,’ hi-yah out.”

Ashley Kristoff
I love that I’ve been there.

Monique Vitche
My favorite thing to hyper focus on when it’s not coding is probably crochet, and everything that has to do with picking out the right kind of yarn to the right kind of pattern and just I spend, I think I spend more time hyper focusing on the right pattern, yarn, yarn color, that by the time I actually get to sitting down and doing the project that I’m so tired, that I don’t get to around to doing the project.

Conor Bryan
Yeah, I have three unintentional hyper focuses, which is the ocean, wide-open fields and clouds. And if I happen to be between focus and hyperfocus and catch a glimpse of one of those three things, I’m going to be gone until somebody reminds me that I’m a human being and shakes me out of it, because I’ll just stand and watch clouds for hours at a time without even realize I’m doing it.

Ashley Kristoff
Well, I can’t think of a better way to move forward and thinking about clouds and open fields. That’s really lovely. But let’s dig into other parts of living with ADHD. So I want to give a little bit of a definition in the background. Because, you know, what I’ve been noticing is there is a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings as to what ADHD is what symptoms and traits of ADHD can be. So let’s just dive into the more clinical side of things briefly. So the DSM V criteria for diagnosis people with ADHD show a persistent pattern of inattention and or hyperactivity/impulsivity, that interferes with functioning or development. Now there’s no such thing as ADD what was once referred to as ADD is classified differently now. So ADHD is classified in three types. There is the hyperactive/impulsive type, inattentive, and combined presentation. They’re basically each checklist and every person with ADHD falls somewhere different on that checklist. So no person with ADHD is gonna act quite the same as somebody else with ADHD, which I think through the course of this episode, I think between the four of us, you will be able to see I think we’re all quite very different people. But I think that is kind of the joy and wonder about it.

With that, I would love to talk about how we were all diagnosed because I feel like our stories were very similar but very different. Conor and Camara, you were both diagnosed as children. So do either of you want to start with some details on how and why you were diagnosed?

Camara Rauen
Yeah, I’ll go through a little bit. I was 13 when I was diagnosed, and back then they still use the ADD term. They were thrown it around. I don’t know if it was still allowed to be used or if that was the right, right way. But I had grown up in my school and had an IEP an individual, I believe that’s Individualized Education Program. I’ve been diagnosed earlier when I was very young, kind of more six to seven, eight, with an audio processing disorder. As I went to therapy growing up and kind of having different opportunities. I did end up talking to a psychiatrist when I was 13. I can’t remember exactly what the test was, but she had me do some kind of games and some workshops and worksheets, and eventually, she told my parents that I had ADD in me that I had ADD, I don’t remember any other conversation with there was not the conversation of medicine or anything, but that was a simple diagnosis. That I had gotten, and I’m on the journey to get re-diagnosed to find out if that was true.

Conor Bryan
Oddly enough, I had almost the same experience. As a kid, I could not sit still, in class I struggled to just listen to someone else talk for a full hour at a time, with no breaks. I’m one of those kind of people that I routinely will figure out kind of where you’re going interrupt you without meaning to, because I’m just like, “Yeah, I grasp what you’re saying, let’s move on to the next part of the conversation. Let’s go.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t really work well with teachers. And as most folks with ADHD can attest, as soon as you know that you’re no longer interested in this, brain checks out. And when your brain checks out, you want to start doing other things. And when you’re six or seven years old, that’s talking to the kid next to you, or space and out the window or starting to draw my desk or whatever else it was. Teachers and my parents both noticed at a pretty early age that I was not really doing things like the other kids and I got diagnosed by two different pediatricians. One said I had ADD at the time, they still used the–this is the early 90s, still had the ADD diagnosis as a thing, and then the other actually put me somewhere on the autistic spectrum. And I still haven’t got that as an adult hammered out. I actually do have an upcoming appointment next month with a neuropsychologist to get that actually figured out because I am definitely noticeably different I suppose I would say and to a degree that I would, I wouldn’t be surprised by either diagnosis in particular.

Ashley Kristoff
And Camara you mentioned, getting potentially re-diagnosed, what made you want to pursue that?

Camara Rauen
Well, I think I’ve been noticing just in my life a lot recently wanting to kind of restart my mental health journey in a lot of ways. And also my brain journey kind of seen when I was in school and seeing how I was very inattentive, I would space out a lot. Conor, what you were saying kind of I relate a lot to being like, I couldn’t focus on one thing for a very long time I had, I always thought it was because of my audio processing disorder and different things. And when I had gotten that initial ADD, now ADHD, diagnosis, I just like “Oh, yeah, that fits” and never really thought about it until the past few years. Now not in school, and haven’t been in school or college for a while now and kind of noticing what ADHD kind of means for my life and my work and just how I present in life with friends, family, colleagues. I want to get a rediagnosis to see kind of if that is still something that’s present in my life and how I can best manage it in just take care of myself the best, so I can be the best that I can be. Yeah.

Conor Bryan
That’s interesting. I actually, school is the major one for me that kind of hammered home to me that that was a thing that I struggled with was I you know, I went through the high school system and was just terrible at school, felt like an idiot for most of my life because I couldn’t really grasp how people were able to do, you know, school so easily it seemed like. And then I think my junior year, start of my junior year, I got placed in an independent study program where they instead of having like a structured rigid classroom, they would just give you a stack of books and papers and go, “Get it done. I’ll see you on Monday.” And then I would take that home and do it at my own pace at my own time. And then hey, it turns out hyper focusing is super when it comes to rummaging through a pile of paper and books at whatever pace I feel ready for, because I would finish that entire week’s worth of paper in about a day at some point during the week. Whenever I had that hyperfocus day I would just power through it after that, you know, take it in, take my desk at my next stack and go home. And I ended up making up my entire high school worth of credits within like a couple of months rather than suffering through the remainder of the school system that wasn’t quite designed for people like me.

Camara Rauen
Yeah, I want to add I don’t think that every, obviously we’ve learned not everyone learns the same way and I think that the school system is, at least the public school system, is really set up for one way of learning, I think a very neurotypical way of learning. And I, I’m very thankful that I had my IEP and being able to have an extra class that I would go to, to work on my homework to ask questions and to like have that time to hopefully have hyperfocus or be able to just space out and do my work and sometimes not have to do as many problems as certain classmates to just really get through my work in the pace that I needed to. So I’m hoping that schools can kind of be more supportive of that.

But yeah, I want to know what other people’s experiences were maybe before obviously Ashley and Monique, you were not diagnosed as children. You were diagnosed more later. I’m curious about what that was like, for you.

Monique Vitche
I actually didn’t seek out a diagnosis myself. It came about while I was just seeking treatment for my bipolar disorder. And we were talking, me and my psychiatrist, and my psychiatrist started asking me these questions about, just standard questions. Later the questions started getting more involved, I realized were about my attention and basically leading whether or not I had ADHD and ultimately said that I had ADHD. He actually said I had ADD, he was still using this term, it was in 2018, but he was still using the term, relatively still used around that time. So it was really interesting to me because I had never really considered it but looking back on it, I used to be really talkative in class. When I was younger, I was very much considered a ‘chatty Cathy,’ I would do really well in school but I had a hard time focusing. I had a hard time paying attention, sitting still, I often would get my seat moved around because of those reasons, because I couldn’t stop listening to what the teachers were telling me to do. And I couldn’t stop fidgeting. Another thing was, I would fidget a lot, and they didn’t like that.

Conor Bryan
On the note of fidgeting, I have always doodled as a fidget, that’s the thing that like I can pay attention to what I’m doing. If I’m being honest, I’m doing it right now. That has driven most of my teachers nuts since I was a kid. But I do remember very fondly the couple of teachers that realize that, like, “Hey, if I just let him do it, he pays attention the entire class and will answer questions and interact and stuff as long as he’s got something to like, keep him stimulated.” And then that was actually why I want to say it was like seven when I got the ADD diagnosis. My elementary school teacher suggested to my parents that I might have ADD because she noticed that I was always drawing during class. And that was the only time that I would pay attention.

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah, that’s funny. I didn’t know I had ADHD in school at all. But looking back on it, like I did always have a doodle going on, or I was drawing between doing tasks. And I think I was just very good at hiding and getting my work done so quickly. That it always just looked like I was like following along with the other kids. So I think that’s in part why I got diagnosed much later. But I ended up pursuing my own diagnosis. For context. My partner is Conor, we’ve been together for how many years now? 7 years. And, you know, I knew that he had ADHD when we had met. And it wasn’t really–

Conor Bryan
Pretty hard not to notice.

Ashley Kristoff
It’s, he was describing certain things to me. So he was describing some of his experiences, some of the things that, you know, he either struggled with or did things a little differently. And there was just enough things that lined up, and I wasn’t finding success. So when I had tried therapy previously, for just anxiety and depression, I wasn’t finding success. And I think it was in part due that I wasn’t, I didn’t feel like I was diagnosed with the right things or I was missing something or there was a key part of me that wasn’t being represented. So when I saw these things align, I found a psychiatrist. I had her do an ADHD screening, which was basically just like a big long, like 100 checkmark list of like, check off if you do this. And then through that, she was able to diagnose with ADHD, the inattentive type. And it’s been, like, honestly, just so great to get a diagnosis because like one I can contextualize a lot of things in my past, like, especially like hearing all of your stories of growing up in school, like I did a lot of those things, but I did not know that I was doing it because I was I needed to fidget and I needed to do something to keep myself entertained. I knew that I couldn’t focus in history class, because I found it extremely boring. I just thought it was boring. I didn’t know my brain legitimately was just like not having it didn’t want to be there for it. But it’s just it’s been really good to give myself context for the way I do things. And it helps me be almost more forgiving for myself because I realized like my brain works a little differently. I can’t expect for myself to act and function the same way based on the neurotypical world and experiences that I had. So learning how to reframe that and forgive myself and be more accepting has been just a huge life changer for me.

Conor Bryan
I would say on that note, too. I wasn’t told about the fact that I’d had an ADD diagnosis until I was well into my teens, and spent most of my childhood similarly to what you just said, like, just kind of going, “I’m not really sure why this isn’t working for me. Everybody else seems to be doing just fine.” I’m like, “Am I, am I dumb?” Like, I commiserate with that on a deep level, I suppose.

Ashley Kristoff
So I want to go back to a point that you talked about a little earlier Camara. You mentioned that you were diagnosed with an audio processing disorder prior to having your ADHD diagnosis. So I guess what I want to know is, does anybody else have any kind of similar types of like co-morbid diagnoses that you either discovered your ADHD through or you learned about it because of it? I’m just curious to know.

Monique Vitche
Well I, in addition to my ADHD, I’m also on the autism spectrum. And I and I found that out after being diagnosed with ADHD, so that was pretty eye-opening for me, but also made sense at the same time.

Conor Bryan
Likewise, I have a hypersensitivity disorder. I’m very sensitive to stimulus of all kinds. I see real well in the dark but bright lights make my eyes hurt. You know, I hear exceptionally well, which sounds really great, right up until, you know, the end of the day where my ears are just loudly buzzing, because I’ve had so much audio input, as I’m sure Camara can commiserate with that one. I do have a really sensitive sense of touch, I can feel textures down to a real fine degree, which is super great for my job, but can be a little overwhelming sometimes. But that is actually what’s spurred me to pursue this autism diagnosis because I’m just curious if this is just a separate my, you know, my neurons are firing a little harder than other folks or if it is actually tethered to a neurodivergent diagnosis.

Camara Rauen
Yeah, I definitely relate to having the high sensitivity to sound. I have always said that I have really good hearing but I also have very, like I can choose one thing to listen to. And if I get distracted by something, then it will interfere with the conversation at hand. And I may hear you completely clearly and everything you’ve said. And if I’m not looking at you, or if I’m looking away, it’s because I’m visualizing you telling me the story. So that I will actually take it in. Yeah, that’s more of my main thing. I don’t think I have the texture or stimulus as much. I think it’s mainly I’ve always been like, hyperear-focused, which is good and bad. Like audio processing doesn’t necessarily mean you have an issue with audio or hearing, it really is more of like how you process the audio and what you have to select and how you intake the information.

Conor Bryan
Hmm, yeah, I don’t struggle with that nearly as much as it’s just, everything’s loud all the time. Everything’s bright all the time. If there’s a smell, I can tell people apart if they haven’t showered in a couple of days. I know exactly who walks in the room. You know, like, I can’t eat a lot of different foods, because the taste is just so strong that like it overwhelms me, I can’t have more than a couple bites. So it’s interesting to see that the differences there, but also the similarities.

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah, I thought it was interesting what you said Camara about, like, visualizing things, because like I actually had a conversation with Conor the other day about how when, when I’m having a conversation with somebody, the way I’m processing it is like, I’m basically imagining, I’m like playing out what they’re saying in my brain because that is how my brain is going to actually absorb it. And it’s in the other way, too. I’ve noticed that it’s really, really hard for me to identify emotions I’m feeling and verbalize them. And I realize it’s because like everything it comes to me. So visually, that’s why I like to turn to art to kind of express how I’m feeling because that makes sense. It’s like, I can go straight from brain to whatever my art is. But brain to words first is just like an extra very difficult step for me to take a lot of times.

Conor Bryan
That’s interesting, I hadn’t actually thought about it, but with the way you describe that I can actually kind of commiserate with that in texture. A lot of the time if I’m feeling really, like grumpy or salty. I kind of get the feeling of like sandpaper on my fingers. I don’t know how better to put that. But like, if I’m feeling really happy and nice, then my hands always feel kind of warm and soft. So that’s interesting, I wonder if there’s a correlation between sort of synesthesia between your senses not firing right and processing of information. science, science people get on that.

Camara Rauen
Now, there’s a lot of cool co-morbidities and I think it’s interesting how our senses kind of process things. I mean, what’s it like for you with I mean, senses and I mean, like, obviously, I’m focusing more like audio processing and Conor is talking about like sensations and touch and smell has been something that you’ve experienced at all.

Monique Vitche
It’s a mix of both, honestly. For me, it’s definitely, I can relate to what I like to call ‘tunnel hearing,’ where I will, like you, focus in on one particular voice, an example will be my mother could be talking, but if the TV’s on I will hear the TV, and that’s all I will hear, I will be looking at my mom, but I’m hearing the TV. And like anything my mom says is going in in one ear out the other because all I hear is Ari Melber on whatever channel Ari Melber is on.

Conor Bryan
In that same vein, if there’s a TV on in the room and someone’s talking to me, I can’t hear either of you. Like all I’m hearing is just a wall of noise. And I just go, “Ahh!” and my brain just short circuits, and I can’t process anything that’s coming in. So that’s, that’s funny.

Monique Vitche
I’ve had that experience too, once or twice. That’s only when I’m feeling extremely overloaded or overwhelmed. There have been times when I’ve had to leave like physically leave rooms because I’ve been so overwhelmed. Because there’s too many sounds and sensations going on. There’s too many people talking. The lights are too bright. Like, “I have to leave. Goodbye.”

Conor Bryan
Yeah, that’s a very common thing for me. I can’t be in large crowds or go to places like shopping malls or even I discovered Costco. Costco is overwhelming. After I can maybe spend like two/three minutes in a crowd and I’m like, there’s just too much, there’s too many people. There’s too many sounds too many smells. I’ll be outside, I’ll go wait in the car. You guys take your time. Do what you got to do, but I can’t do this anymore.

Ashley Kristoff
I do have to say candle stores are nightmares. That’s like an immediate headache. Like if you if I go into one like I’m done. I’m out. I’m out of commission for the rest of the day. I need to rest after going inside a candle store because of how much smell there is.

Camara Rauen
For me growing up it was Home Depot. I disdain Home Depot. I think Home Depot is very noisy and very just walking around bigger stores like Costco where I relate to that I’m like, I’m not a fan of it. I like the smaller stores. I don’t know why but I’ve always felt like, I don’t know if this is an ADHD thing or not, but I like big spaces that have tight spaces in them. Like I feel safer when I feel enclosed sometimes, which makes no sense. But that’s where I am.

Conor Bryan
Barnes and Noble, man. Big, high ceilings, narrow little, you’re surrounded by books on every side, they absorb all the sound, that nice paper. You know, everyone’s quiet because it’s a bookstore. Mmm, Barnes and Nobles are where it’s at.

Camara Rauen
I have to say bookstores are a good vibe for that.

Conor Bryan
That nice paper smell you know? That’s, yeah, that’s where it’s at. Even better if they’ve got a Starbucks downstairs, so you get that waft of coffee and fresh-baked cookies. Ooo.

Camara Rauen
Yeah, I don’t know but the thing is, for me what’s kind of interesting, I mean, it depends if I’m overwhelmed or not. Sometimes I do need a break from a party or from a big atmosphere, but half the time, I don’t know if I’ve tricked my brain into liking it once in a while, but before the pandemic, I would go to networking events and such and yeah if they were in tighter spaces, I liked it better. But I could, as long as I was hyper focusing on the voice that I wanted to hear and just closing out everything else, I felt like I thrived in like these smaller kind of condensed parties where I’m like, “Ah, yes, there’s three other people over there.” I think it was kind of like, being smart about like, I will talk to these people, I will talk to this person, this person is who the focus is, I can narrow out this noise but if I want to start focusing on one noise, I will change my eye-sight, mind, ear-sight, my ear-sight to where that is going. So sometimes it works, I don’t know why, but sometimes it just depends on the atmosphere, I guess, or the space.

Conor Bryan
I have found if somebody has a pet, like a cat or a dog or something I can pet you know, something real soft and fuzzy, better, even better. Cats purr, they give that little vibration, that tactile sensation of having something soft on my hands. It’s like all the other over stimulus just disappears. I’ve also noticed brushing my hair now that my hair is nice and long again, it just resets my brain if I’m really overwhelmed at work, you know, I’m stressed out. I just go sit at my desk for like five minutes, brush my hair out and I’m like, “Oh, that’s nice. OK, good to go.”

Ashley Kristoff
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What I want to talk about now is how ADHD comes up in your life today. So in your work, in your relationships, in the way you navigate the world. How do you notice, how and when do you notice that you have ADHD? And how does it affect all of those spaces in your life?

Conor Bryan
Well, I know in relationship speaking, one of my favorite things that I do, apparently that drives Ashley absolutely insane, is I will ask her a question because I think better out loud than I just let it ruminate in there. I like to say I’ve got a lot of tabs open. And so if I try to think of something in my head, I’m gonna get lost off on some other, you know, side tangent. So if I want to really get a point across, I kind of think out loud, kind of like I’m doing right now. And so I’ll ask her a question, immediately realize the answer to it. And now that I know the answer, ADD brain kicks in and I check out from whatever she’s replying. So I ask a question, know the answer, stop listening and then she’ll start talking to me. And then because I’ve switched gears off to something else, I’ll turn around and go, “Huh, what’s up, hun?” And she’s like, “You asked me a question.” And I know that drives her nuts. I don’t know. Ash, do you have any comments?

Ashley Kristoff
Can confirm, just can confirm. Definitely does drive me nuts that sometimes. But we again, we’ve been together for seven years, we kind of know each other’s quirks at this point so.

Monique Vitche
Similarly, I will ask a question however I will stop mid-question because I will have figured out the answer myself. And then the person will get very agitated and I will not figure out why they’re agitated. But I’m like, I figured out the answer. Aren’t you proud of me?

Camara Rauen
I feel like there’s a point where it’s like, I have to say this thing. There’s this thing I need to say out loud, even if I figure out the answer if or if I don’t get what I’m looking for. I just need to say it. And I think that that’s something that I’ve definitely worked on, like masking or like, holding down I’m like, don’t talk, no one else is talking, there is not a need to fill the space, you can be silent, you do not have to ask this question. There is something that you can figure it out on your own. Trying to have inner dialogues with myself. the one thing that I feel like with ADHD that I’ve seen really affect my life is time, the way that I’ve been like really working with like, I know, there’s like a term for it. Ashley, maybe you know this term or maybe someone here knows this term, of just kind of like, I call it time loop. Just kind of how time waste just affects me in a way. Like I will hyperfocus getting an outfit put together or getting to where I need to go. And I will think I’ll be like the hare, that’s what it is. It’s like, it’s like you’re the hare running the race against the tortoise. And you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I got so close. This is good. I can take a nap right here in hyperfocus nap here, do whatever I’m doing. And I have all the time in the world.” And then you realize, “Oh no, I only have 10 minutes until I have this meeting, or I have this thing or I need to be that this place like. Where did all the time go? Like it was just right there.” And that’s something I’ve worked, been working on and really figuring out how to manage.

Conor Bryan
I really struggled with that for years and I, fortunately, found a specific type of work that I can basically ignore that problem that I have because as a handyman, I basically have like I need to get X amount of things done today. I have this list, I can get four out of these eight done realistically speaking, and so what I do is just pick one do it from start to finish and then go, “OK, now what is next with the next window of time that I have.” and I will go from start to finish with that. And then you know if I know lunch is coming up in a half-hour and all of the things that I have to do will take an hour I don’t start any of them and I do something that I know will take exactly a half-hour or I take my lunch now and then that way when I come back from lunch I can immediately do the next thing that I know will take X amount of time. And that frankly, this is the only job I found where I can just decide what tasks I want to do in what order and basically ignore that time exists and just go “Task has to do, do task till done.” and it has been a tremendous help as opposed to a lot of other jobs that I’ve worked with that does not work.

Camara Rauen
Yeah, that’s the fantastic way to deal with is like not having, I feel like my brain wants to like here are the three things that you need to get done today. Very doable things. What if we think about everything at the same time and I’m like, I know that I do better if I think about one thing at a time, because my brain wants to multitask, but I know that I will efficiently be better if I focus on, OK let’s do these little things now, this will take this amount of time. And then let’s go to this thing and not think about them all at once, or otherwise, I’ll go into freeze mode so.

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah, I totally get that too. And I also, part of that is I just sometimes have issues just starting tasks and just figuring out so like, a lot of time, I can just, I can speak for work like I know, when I have something timely or it has a specific, you know, time or date that it has to do a thing, I know exactly at what time I need to get that done. Because it’s timely, it has a deadline. Other tasks or projects, I find difficulty starting and then prioritizing and figuring out which is the most important and which one ends up being the most timely, because I’m just so like, like what you were saying Camara, like, you know, I have these three things to do today. And I could do them in any order. And I’m gonna think about all of them at once even though I know I should just start with one. So I usually do have to like write stuff down and just tell my mind to just like “Delete. Delete tasks two and three until task one is done.” and do my best to just, you know, jump around, especially like what I’ve noticed is like my, I say my brain stops working like if I get disinterested in a task, I have to be able to have the flexibility to just jump around to be able to go to those other tasks, so that I can just go, “I can still be productive right now my brain just broken to do this particular task right now so we’re just gonna pause on it. Wait, come back to it. Jump to this one until, you know, my brain either gets back to where it was, or it’s done with this task.”

Conor Bryan
Yeah, that is an absolute huge mood, and that there are times where I’m like, I have a bunch of background things that I’d like to get done. Right, you know I need to tag some water shut-offs or something that are there like small, small activities that are just going to be tedious and take a long time. But if I’m not in a productive mood, or like, I know that I’m having one of those, like, I’m not hyper focusing today I’m getting nothing done, it’s like, the best thing that I can do is just do something physical, because I can trick my physical body into doing stuff, regardless of whether or not my brain is doing anything. So it’s like, you know, we have this huge maintenance shop full of all kinds of tools and parts and stuff that’s never been organized until I started working there. And so it’s just like those days that I know, I’m like, I’m not gonna get anything done, I can’t focus on anything. I’m just like, alright, body, putting some music on, brains checking out, clean! And I just set my meat suit off to get some work done and I’m like you know, today, we’re writing today off, just accept that nothing’s getting, nothing real major is getting done and you know, you can get back to your list and your actual projects tomorrow.

Monique Vitche
I know for me, especially in relationships, and this was with my last relationship, keeping spaces clean and organized was definitely a huge challenge, especially with executive dysfunction. I struggle with executive dysfunction a lot, as did my partner who also lives with ADHD. So it would just be complete chaos. Another thing is just being forgetful, whether it’s forgetting a promise that was made or something that was discussed, that was really important if I didn’t write it down, which is why I always write everything down now. I can’t trust myself not to remember it. If I type things I’m not going to remember after handwrite things, that’s my trick.

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah, I totally get that too. Like, I’ve noticed that if someone will verbally tell me something, and then they go and just say like, basically play the telephone game, it’s like you tell me this, and then it’s my job now to go tell somebody else it, it’s gone. It’s completely gone if it’s spoken to me. But if it’s written down for me, it doesn’t have to be handwritten, I just have to be able to see the words. But if it’s written down, it’s either there or it serves as a visual cue or it’s there to like, basically keep the space out of my brain to think about it so that all the memories come back and all the thoughts about it come back when I look at it, but I don’t have to use that brain space when I’m not looking at it.

Camara Rauen
I feel like for me depending on the thing, as long as I write it down, usually physically writing it down. I agree with you all like the writing it down is, I will forget as well. I’ve learned sometimes it, I need it three different ways. I need to be told it, I need to be typed it, I need to write it down myself to remember. This is also how I learned like, I need to do things five different ways and five different times before I get it like the first time and also like remembering things like, “OK, I have to write this down this way. Do this, this way.” And then there was some things it’s like, “Oh that’s in the back of my head. It’s always going to be there.” and it always be the most minute thing that does not matter. But the most important things, like I have to write this down, put this somewhere, put it in my calendar and also like write it here or type it here so that I remember.

Conor Bryan
There are things that executive dysfunction decides that I’m not doing. The bathroom in our office is supposed to be regularly maintained and cleaned. That’s not something that I’m actively electing not to do. That’s just something that executive dysfunction says, “Ugh, I don’t want to do that.” and then I forget, because it doesn’t, it’s not something that I go, “Oh, I need to do that.” Because that’s how my brain would work if I were neurotypical, but unfortunately, it doesn’t. I routinely tell him, “Hey, you got to write stuff down, or you got to send me a text or an email. And like, the more detail you can go into the better because the more detailed it is, the more my brain goes, ‘God, that’s a lot, I got to remember that.'” And like if I can trick myself into, like, needing to remember three or four steps, even if it’s one thing that really wouldn’t be that much I can kind of, you know, trick my brain into thinking this is more of a big deal than it really is. And then I can, I can remember it a little easier.

Ashley Kristoff
On that note, I want to know in what ways like, how do you cope and function in a neurotypical world that’s, you know, not always designed for the way our brains work?

Conor Bryan
I mean, personally, I cry a lot. Just kidding. I’m just kidding, Nah I mean, honestly, in a world that I, I’ve spoken Ashley about this, this isn’t gonna be new information for her, but I have felt like an alien since I was a little kid because I’m at least intelligent enough to notice that I’m very different in the way that my brain works. I’m also a very observant person, much to my own chagrin. I notice a lot of things a lot of the time, that’s not even things that need to be noticed. But it’s enough that like, you know, I can tell when somebody’s irritated in particular, and that’s something I’m hyperaware of, because I’m like, most ADHD behaviors are irritating to neurotypical people in my experience, at least I don’t know what you guys, hopefully you haven’t had the same experiences as me. I don’t wish that on you. I do find that like, trying to describe that, like, no, my brain just doesn’t work like that. It sounds like an excuse to a lot of people, in particular, people that have no neurodivergent behaviors or experiences can just come across like, you’re going, “Well I can’t do that, because I don’t want to.” And it’s like, that’s not the case. I’m not doing it because my brain genuinely heard that and threw it in the dumpster and didn’t want anything to do with it and completely ignored this.

Camara Rauen
I relate to that though of like trying to work in a neurotypical world. I feel like I’ve learned to reflect and mask a lot. I definitely have worked through people-pleasing habits, where I will just go forward and act like I am neurotypical. Try to reflect and act kind of mirror the way that is supposed to be, even though I eventually won’t completely live up to the exact expectation. I know that I have the ability to do things and I do believe that although I know I’m different and ADHD can make my mind a little funky, I do believe that I’m smart, and I have the abilities to get everything I need to do–and this is an ADHD ramble because I, I’m like, where am I going with this point? I was going somewhere.

Conor Bryan
Do you forgot the question ’cause I forgot the question about halfway through mine?

Camara Rauen
I, how do we function in the world? I think the main thing I was going to talk about was the masking. This is bad I used to, it was the battle of how many questions do I ask of certain thing and how many do I ask myself, I feel that I’ve learned to advocate for myself and then having to pull back on the advocating and being able to just divulge on my own as well.

Monique Vitche
One thing I ask for, in addition to the detail, because I also ask for people to be as detail oriented with me as possible when they’re giving me directions on something, is to be direct, and not beat around the bush. Be upfront with what you want me to do. Or even just like what you want to tell me, what you want to talk about. Don’t leave me guessing what you want from me, that makes it a lot easier for me to understand and then process what you’re trying to say.

Ashley Kristoff
I 100, I was literally just talking about this yesterday of how if someone is communicating me with me in a passive way, or they’re being passive-aggressive like I’m going to miss a lot, there’s going to be a lot of things that like I’m not picking up that maybe you’re implying that I’m not going to get it. I’m not going to pick it up. I might get that there’s subtext going on there, but you’re not giving me enough information. So my brain is just going like, well, we have to act on the information we have. And so I find like I get into tricky situations because you know, timeline expectations are different between me and the person who’s talking to me. And it’s because I do need someone to be very direct and just like, “Fact, fact, fact here are details.” and not just like, “You know, you know, it’d be good if this was done soon.” Like, that kind of feedback doesn’t tell me anything, doesn’t make my brain want to go.

Conor Bryan
If I hear this needs to be done soon. I’m like, “Cool, I have between two to three weeks, maybe a month before that needs to be done.” If I hear, if I hear, “I want this done today.” I go, “Hey, man, I’m putting that top of my list. I’ll get that done right now.” If you say like, “You know when you get around to it.” I’m like, huh? No, “So six to eight months, OK with you, if I remember when that comes up? Because spoiler alert, I ain’t gonna’. I ain’t gonna remember when I get around to it. Like if I don’t have a deadline–

Camara Rauen
I’ve had creative projects.

Conor Bryan
Creative projects, oh, my sweet, sweet pile of creative projects. If I could turn this laptop around, there’s a poncho, and a backpack I’m making, a couple of staffs.

Camara Rauen
I feel like everyone who, well I don’t know about everyone, but from my experience, most of my friends who are like ADHD or have some form of ADHD, we all have this pile of the hobby/unfinished project/great idea I had that one time I was hyperfocused. Look at this opportunity that could have really gone somewhere. And where did it go? We don’t know.

Ashley Kristoff
100%

Conor Bryan
You know, that little meme picture of ‘I’m in this post, and I don’t like it.’ I feel targeted.

Monique Vitche
Do I have to show you all my gigantic pile of unfinished works in progress?

Ashley Kristoff
I feel like we have very comparable, we all probably have very equal piles full of very interesting things.

Conor Bryan
I had a barn in our house in Washington that I built my own blacksmithing forge in. Bought an anvil, bought a forge, bought all this stuff. I got two projects and was like, “Damn, this is a lot of work. I’m not into this.” Like, I guess, I guess I’ll sell it? I had no idea what to do.

Camara Rauen
Yeah, for me, I tend to like I actually tend to work better with others, knowing that I’m accountable to someone is helpful. What, especially with creative projects, I’ve worked on creative projects, where people be like, oh, you know, and also in work, where it’s like, oh, we’ll get around to it when we do, we’ll figure it out. Like eh, when you have time, like no, tell me when we like, let’s set a deadline, let’s set a schedule because I won’t. Like my brain will not unless it is told there is a schedule and this is when something is needed.

Monique Vitche
Yeah, I did self-paced for my coding boot camp. And it was a nightmare. I actually, spoiler alert, did not finish on time, at least to graduate. I’m going to finish, but even with an extension, because I didn’t have that accountability I was not able to finish out what I had to do. And it’s really unfortunate because I won’t get the nice little fancy certificate, but I will have some neat projects. So that’s not terrible, I guess, but still sad.

Conor Bryan
Now interestingly, this is one of the first times that I’ve had, but I’m very different from you in that regard. I do not like group projects or deadlines. I work absolutely best if you hand me a list of things that need to get done and say, “Get them done in whatever order you think is particularly important.” So I’ll look at my list of stuff from work for example, and go, “Well leaks cause water damage, leaks got to be first. Electrical problems are like fire hazards.” You know, anything that’s like dangerous, I’m like top of my list. If it’s like, we’ll say, Bob, I don’t think we have a Bob at work, you know, say, say Bob is like, “Oh you know, my light bulbs out.” I’m like, “OK, Bob, that’s not like a big issue. I’m gonna put that on my ‘if I’m driving between your house and another house, I’ll swing by and I’ll come by and do the light bulb.” Having somebody who’s going, “You need to get these done in this order.” And I’m like, I know what order I need to get these done and I’ve been doing this for a while. I don’t like having that, I don’t even really necessarily like working with another person doing the same job because it’s like, I know what order I can get these done in today, that I’m going to be able to get eight hours of work done succinctly. If I don’t have that freedom to wiggle and make my own schedule I won’t be able to hyperfocus myself and use my little tips and tricks that I’ve figured out to trick myself into doing this. It’s gonna’ throw my whole rhythm off and as soon as that rhythms thrown off, like productivity is gone. Today’s a wash.

Camara Rauen
I feel like I’ve seen this, this meme where it’s like, oh, give me structure, please. And it’s like, OK, here’s the structure. It’s like when now I’m like constrained. It’s like OK, you have all the time in the world. Like, no, no, don’t do that I need structure. It’s like the balance of trying to find, for me anyway, like the right like, I do need structure and I do need accountability but also can’t be like micromanaged or like, watched over even like by friends and creative projects like that, that’s not going to work either. So it’s like, I think finding what works for you the best, especially with how ADHD is affecting you.

Ashley Kristoff
In this episode, we’ve shared some of the ways ADHD affects how we interact with the world. And because of that, we’ve already kind of talked a little bit about how we’ve made some accommodations to the way we do things to work better with our brains. So in today’s Brain Bites section, I want to know what one of your brain hacks is, or something you do to accommodate and help you you know, whether that means following through on tasks or starting a task or getting your brain to focus for the day.

Monique Vitche
I am really big on the Pomodoro timer technique. So basically, it’s 25 minutes on where you’re “on” and five minutes off. You’re taking a break, and then do that for a couple rounds. And then you get a 15-minute break, and then you repeat the process over. It really helps me with focusing, because I get the chance to take a little break and stretch and I don’t feel like I have to hyperfocus as much or fidget or lose concentration or run out of steam eventually, and then all hope is lost for the rest of the day.

Conor Bryan
Maybe TMI, I don’t take actual breaks at work, except for my lunch. My fifteens that I would normally take, at like you know, the two-hour marks between lunch and going home. I prefer to take a 10-minute bathroom break in the middle of the day. And then I have that small bubble of peace and quiet to like, readjust where my brains at for the day, if that makes sense. And so I’ve, it’s like I know, no one’s gonna bother me and so I know I have this 10 minutes to really just like, relax, check my texts, be away from everybody else, be private, maybe look at some memes on Tumblr or something for like a few minutes. And then when I come out of that now I have two hours of strong productivity from that point forward. And I know every day that I don’t do that, that I don’t take those two little 10-minute breaks, you know at those two-hour points, even if I don’t need to go to the bathroom, I still just go in there and I shut the door and I lock it and I take 10 minutes myself. Because if I don’t do that, I end up exhausted by hour like three out of those four, if I don’t take that break in the middle before, by hour three, I’m burnt. And I’m burnt for the rest of the day.

Camara Rauen
I tried to have the combination of working for 25 minutes Pomodoro like taking breaks. But sometimes like I get into this hyperfocus, where am I, oh my goodness, I have this hour and I’m like just going and I don’t need to eat, I don’t need to do anything. I should like take this and enjoy this. And so I feel like what I try to do for myself when I need to sit down, because half of the time my body wants to dance or wants to go and take a walk, I will give myself the sensation like I still am. If it’s a podcast editing or editing, then it’s just in the zone there, but for me, it’s having music or having a distraction in the background. Like I work really randomly well with having something distracting that I don’t pay attention to while I pay attention to the main thing, because I’ve learned silence is my biggest freeze point. So I learned how to eliminate silence in a productive way for myself.

Conor
Yeah, on that note, I have those little wireless earbuds. Single best investment I could recommend for people with that specific set of things. If I don’t have music that I can sing along to in particular, if I can’t sing along to it, it only has about half the effect. As anyone that I’ve worked with ever can attest to, I sing and I sing loudly while I’m working because as it’s using up a lot of other extra functions. That means that I can focus really heavily my brain and this on that. Now if I’m doing something that’s totally mindless, like recently, I’ve been cleaning our pool. That doesn’t take a single lick of mental attention. I have to kind of do the reverse of that and I usually put on an audiobook of some philosophy or mysticism or something that’s really heavy and intricate that requires my full brain’s attention. Because then meat puppet here can just get to scrubbing and like I don’t even notice that he’s tired because I’m really far off in space listening to this cool philosophy. And then four hours have done, pool super clean. Everybody’s happy.

Camara Rauen
Yeah, find the cool balance of like education versus fun.

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah, I’ve definitely done that before. I’ve noticed that there is a really really fine line for me with the distraction though when they do just become distracting. So I try not to do that when I’m working because I find it’s easier for me to get distracted, like too distracted, than it is for me to get a benefit out of it just in terms of keeping checks on myself. But one of the things that I do for myself is, I don’t know about you, but when I wake up, I know how my day is gonna go, like, I know how my brain is going to be that day. And I will basically like, obviously, there are some things I can’t not do, right? I can’t not feed my dog, I can’t not take him out, I can’t, there are things that I still have to do regardless. But I can kind of take stock as to how I’m feeling today and, you know, in my brain, when I say my brains not working, it’s like that’s the day that I have tedious things that I need to do. They’re things that don’t require thought so that I don’t have to get frustrated with myself because that’s what ends up happening is I get frustrated because I can’t concentrate or I can’t, you know, finish a task or like be thoughtful on it. So I just give myself things that require minimum thought, they require mostly button pushing or just something where I don’t really have to think and I can kind of go through the motions until my brains in a better spot, and it’s functioning different. But I basically have all of like my tasks and activities like in lists of priorities, and like bad brain days, like the list is very small about what I’m getting done but I know that I need to do that so that I don’t get frustrated or annoyed with just not getting things done trying to push through.

Conor
Literally, as we speak I just realized I forgot to do something at work I have to text my boss about it. ADHD. Yay!

Camara Rauen
Yeah, I think it’s important to like have the list and have the like, also know like, what on this list can go like if I can get it done today, that’s great, but what can go to tomorrow if I have a foggy day or if I have a day that’s just gets thrown off, like what can be sacrificed? Because sometimes something is going to need to be. I think we have this expectation for ourselves that like, we feel if we’re in a, even like a good moment or a hyperfocus moment where it’s like, oh, I can get everything I want to do done. I can do it. I believe in myself and then we put too many things on our block, then it can be a little bit rough to actually finish and then show yourself that you can accomplish things. So make it reasonable for yourself.

Ashley Kristoff
So let’s move on to our Cheer Me On section where we ask the question, what made you feel Mighty this week?

Monique Vitche
I will go first. I finished cleaning my room and this is major. Because when you have ADHD like this is an arduous task that never gets done.

Camara Rauen
It’s a journey.

Monique Vitche
Almost never. It’s a journey. It’s a journey, not a destination. Today, it was a destination. I admit it was inspired by anger. I was mad about something that happened and I was, I fueled that anger into productivity. And I ended up finishing my cleaning and I’m really proud of the fact that I had to clean because I was actually not going to be able to see someone who’s in town if I didn’t finish cleaning.

Camara Rauen
I feel like an angry clean, I can relate to that. It’s like I think that there’s some times that like, ah, I need something that’s not too much thought but I just need to get out this energy and good anger clean, oh that’s an effective destination. That’s awesome, Monique.

Monique Vitche
Thank you.

Ashley Kristoff
Alright, I will go next. I’d say what made me feel Mighty this week, so I’ve been having a fun, fun time with my mental health treatment and this was the first week where I was able to catch myself before I kind of fell down and got stuck, you know, stuck in one of those lows. And this is the first week I’ve been able to do that in a couple months, honestly. So I just feel very, like I just feel very happy honestly, that like that came up again. And I was able to not get stuck this time. It was just a really good feeling.

Camara Rauen
That’s awesome. It’s really hard to like to be able to start catching yourself like that. That shows that you’re doing some really great work and yeah, I just think that’s amazing.

Monique Vitche
Teach me your ways.

Camara Rauen
Yeah. Please teach us how you catch yourself as you fall before you fall.

Ashley Kristoff
My new therapist is very lovely.

Conor Bryan
Yeah, I only catch myself when I’m like, “I’ve been listening to the blues for like three days in a row. Oh, I’m bummed out. That’s what it is.” It takes me about that long. I’m not really hyper perceptive of my mental state.

Camara Rauen
I feel like what made me Mighty this week was that I feel like I actually set up some structure for myself with food and I’ve been eating a lot better. I feel like I’m eating when I feel anxious or when I need to take a break I’m actually going to have a snack which is usually what I need and then that gets me back into working instead of just pushing through work and not getting as much done. Taking the break and actually having food and coming back and finishing what I need to do. So I feel like giving myself permission to eat more this week or like letting myself remember that I need to eat has been really positive this week so.

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah, if you want to teach me how to do that one, that’s the one I need help with is eating like on a normal schedule.

Conor Bryan
Do I need to start doing the thing that we do with Bear where I put your food in front of you and then I pretend to eat so that you get jealous and then will eat it?

Ashley Kristoff
See, I don’t think that work, will work. So I just don’t feel hungry is the problem. So it’s, you know, I don’t, I don’t know. We’ll have to try it. Conor, what made you feel Mighty this week?

Conor Bryan
Oh, boy, I rescued a frog, three salamanders and a gardener snake from the pool. I’m mostly joking. No, I did rescue all the little critters from the pool though. Now, what made me feel Mighty this week. I mean, this pool thing has been like a three-week excursion. I’ve been having to ignore my other responsibilities largely in order to get this done. But like Monday and Tuesday bud, I was able to set that thing up and running and then I had such heavily productive days of just cruising around getting all the things that were weighing on me that I know needed to get done that had been neglected, I was able to get all of them done. And I got like probably a week’s worth of work done in two days, which I’m now feeling. I’m quite tired last day and a half. Being able to make the best of the days that I know I can be productive is a really good feeling a lot of the time.

Ashley Kristoff
That’s such a great feeling and I love that. So let’s go into our final thoughts here or let’s call it this final thoughts ADHD edition. Did you forget to tell anything during this podcast that you wanted to share? Or are there any other thoughts that you want anybody listening to this episode to know?

Camara Rauen
I would let you know but I forgot.

Ashley Kristoff
Checks out. It’s, it’s perfect. Solid. We nailed it guys.

Camara Rauen
I really wanted to touch on a point that Conor brought up about observation. With me with my ADHD, I also am very observant of people and their emotions, their facial expressions, and I tend to have, I think it’s, I can’t tell if it’s my ADHD or my anxiety, that where I tried to figure out what people are giving me and how to internalize that and not internalize it on myself.

Conor
What I can absolutely recommend is don’t watch a single video on YouTube that describes how to understand people’s body language better.

Camara Rauen
I’ve watched every single video of that

Conor
Yeah, that’s where it is. I see cause I started, I started picking up on those things because of that observational nature. And then as soon as I now knew, oh, these are a bunch of things, now I see them everywhere. And then I asked people like, “Hey, man, are you mad at me? Because your foot positions like kinda.'” and they’re like, “What are you talking about? No, we’re fine. Relax.”

Camara Rauen
I think I’ve always just kind of noticed people’s energies and such and I know it sounds like hokey, but like, I noticed I’m like, “Oh, are you mad today? It’s not about me, is it? Is it? No, no, it’s not. This is not mine. This is this is yours. OK, this is not mine. This is yours. Cool. Cool. Cool.” So.

Conor
I had something but then Camara started talking and I was interested in her point and forgot what I was going to say.

Camara Rauen
Ashley? Monique, any other points? While Conor can remember his point.

Camara Rauen
Oh, yeah, I remember now, ADHD doesn’t mean laziness. Having ADHD doesn’t mean you’re lazy. When you freeze, with ADHD, that ADHD freeze, essentially, it’s very debilitating. The dysfunction, the executive dysfunction, the not being able to get your tasks done, being able to prioritize them, or even get them done at all is very disconcerting, very upsetting, and to be called lazy because I can’t get something done is very, makes me want to scream. I’m not going to scream on this podcast but that’s how I feel. That’s honestly how I feel. It’s a big misconception that we just don’t want to do anything. I feel like I could speak for some people. You want to get your things done. You don’t want to just sit around and do nothing all day. You want to do something, but it’s hard. It’s like you have 300 hamster wheels going at the same time. You don’t know which one to focus on.

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah, I’d say one point and thought that I have is something we didn’t discuss in this episode was like medications and treatments. I think what I wanted to just share there is, not everyone with ADHD, wants or needs medication. It’s not something that you fix, it’s, you know, it’s the way our brains work. So that’s just something I want to point out is like some people do take medication to help them focus or help them with managing some of the symptoms but it’s not required and you’re not going to cure ADHD with medication.

Conor Bryan
Yeah, on that note, like, I have zero interest, even if I do get the diagnosis, of having any medication. I am very content with the weird, squirrelly way that my brain works. I have found ways to trick it into doing things that the way that, I guess you called it masking, actually masking, that was my point I wanted to bring up. Nailed it! I think there is, there is a kind of a common misconception that because I can pretend really well to be neurotypical that that is my responsibility to do so. I have a squirrelly little goofy brain that doesn’t work so good in some respects and is really good at other things. Unfortunately, like, most of those things, don’t really get us anywhere when it comes to a workplace or, you know, a high corporate society or whatever you want to, whatever you want to call it. And I don’t think that people who have a condition should be necessarily forced to put these, you know, suits on in order to best suit the neurotypical frame of mind and the neurotypical idea of how things should be. It’s like, look, I can trick my brain into doing things the way that you do it, but I have to trick it and then at the end of the week, I’m exhausted and I don’t feel like myself. And it’s like, that’s just not really fair I think to require people. And then a lot of people will suggest, “Well then why don’t you take medication?” I’m like, I shouldn’t have to take a medicine to rewire my brain to better suit your idea of how people should act and how the world should be.

Camara Rauen
Yeah, I think that’s great. I think the one thing I want to reiterate on the medication thing is that some people do need it. And it’s OK if you are on if you are on medication for ADHD, or if you’re looking into getting medication for ADHD, that that is very valid and a really important thing to do.

Conor Bryan
I will absolutely reiterate that just because I don’t take medication doesn’t mean that it might not be a good thing for you. I can say there have been several years of my life where having a medication that would have maybe dulled some of the symptoms a bit to make it a little easier would have been a tremendous help.

Camara Rauen
It’s a tool like anything else. It might be a tool that works for you and it might not be so just know to like, look at your options and what works best for you.

Ashley Kristoff
I want to thank you Camara, Conor, Monique, for taking some time and chatting about ADHD today.

Camara Rauen
Thank you. This has been fun.

Conor Bryan
Yeah, I had a blast. Thanks for having me.

Monique Vitche
Thank you for having me.

Ashley Kristoff
Thanks for joining me. Alright. Thank you for listening to The Mighty Podcast. If you want to continue this conversation, head over to TheMighty.com or download The Mighty app to become part of our community. We’d love for you to give us a rating and review us on Apple Podcasts, follow us on Spotify or if you’re listening on The Mighty, give this page a heart. Join us on our next episode and Stay Mighty.