Podcast Episode #1: What Does Adult ADHD Look Like?

Join me, as I chat about the frustrations, challenges, and humor of living life as an adult with ADHD. Every podcast episode will be filled with education, encouragement, and support for adults with ADHD. I’ll help you understand your unique brain and implement systems to help you reach your potential. You know I have ADHD, right? So the thought of writing detailed show notes for every single podcast episode is laughable. It’s just not going to happen. You’re here to listen to the podcast anyway, not read boring show notes, right?

[00:00:00] Welcome to the I Have ADHD Podcast where it’s all about education, encouragement, and coaching for adults with ADHD. I’m your host, Kristen Carder and I have ADHD.

Let’s chat about the frustrations, humor, and challenges of adulting, relationships, working, and achieving with this neurodevelopmental disorder. I’ll help you understand your unique brain, unlock your potential and move from “point a to point b”.

Let’s get rollin’.

Hello, my friends. I am so happy that you decided to take a chance and press play on this podcast. Let’s get right into it.

It seems to me that people have a stereotypical view of ADHD and I find it to be very obnoxious. When I mentioned that I have ADHD I feel like people are picturing that little boy in the classroom that is  bouncing off the walls, not able to pay attention, hiding under the desk and poking the person in front of him.

That is just not an accurate picture or at least it’s not a full picture of what it means to have ADHD. I mean, sure. When I was a child, I was definitely impulsive. I was way more concerned about having fun and I avoided hard work like the plague. I didn’t care about consequences. I rarely worried about the future. I was generally pretty obnoxious, always talking, asking a lot of questions, and as a teen I was late, unorganized, scattered and always seemed smart, but lazy.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard a parent or a teacher say that I seemed smart, but lazy, I probably still wouldn’t have any money because I would have spent it all impulsively but you get the idea.

But that is not a full picture of ADHD, right? Because little children with ADHD grow [00:02:00] up to be educated professional adults.

So what does ADHD look like in adults?

Dr. Russell Barkley, one of the most respected and well-known ADHD, researchers and psychiatrists has a lot to say about this. I love his book taking charge of adult ADHD. He talks a lot about what ADHD looks like in adults and here are a few things that he lists:

First of all ADHD in adults looks like impulsive and risky behavior. Switching jobs often, consistently underachieving, drug, alcohol and nicotine addiction, car accidents, and traffic tickets, (many of which, I might add, will go unpaid). Am I right? Unemployment and underachievement at work, divorce and relationship issues, disorganization, poor planning, not reaching goals and financial [00:03:00] instability. Sometimes financial ruin. When you combine debt and impulsive spending and forgetting to pay bills, it can be disastrous.

Because of my day job, I’ve had a lot of cognitive training and behavioral therapy. And so I’ve mastered a lot of these ADHD symptoms. Plus, I’m married to the most consistent, patient and methodical man on the planet. I’ve learned so much from him and he’s a constant support for me. But still, every day is a challenge. For me, ADHD looks like having to work really hard to keep track of my schedule and responsibilities and still dropping the ball.

It looks like not being able to handle all of the noise and interruptions for my three kids and really not being the fun parent because of it. It looks like having to harness my explosive emotions so that they don’t steam roll the people that I love. Among many, many, many, many other things, which we will [00:04:00] talk about as we get to know each other better.

According to the latest research, at least two thirds of those who are diagnosed with ADHD as kids still experience symptoms as adults. But if you weren’t diagnosed as a kid, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have ADHD now. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 21 years old, which meant I spent all of elementary school, middle school, high school, and most of college without the support that I needed.

So, a lot of parents choose not to have their kids diagnosed, but why? Maybe that’s your experience.

For the record, I will never understand this.

In my day job I own a company it’s kind of like a glorified learning center where we work with students who struggle with reading and learning and, yes, attention issues.

We have a lot of clients who have been diagnosed with ADHD, which I consider to be such a privilege because I get to give kids and [00:05:00] teens the help and resources and support that I never had as a student. In addition to ADHDers who have been diagnosed officially, we see many clients who have attention issues, but who are not diagnosed.

Why? Well, some parents are very leery of a diagnosis and they choose not to have their child evaluated. And maybe that was your experience. Maybe your parents saw your struggle with attention, but just told you to work harder and get it together and do better. “You’re smart. You’re capable. You should be able to handle your academics and your life, right?”

And that can be so defeating when a person with ADHD is told to try harder to pay attention. It’s like telling someone who has poor eyesight to try harder to see. It makes absolutely no sense. So if that was your experience, I just want to say I’m sorry. But don’t let those negative experiences keep you from reaching out [00:06:00] for the help and the support that you deserve.

Hey, I wanted to pop in here just for a second to let you know that this episode is brought to you by my brand new website, I have adhd.com. I designed this site for adults, with ADHD who feel a little lost and are looking for some direction. On it you’ll find free resources, a link to my Facebook community and a roadmap to help you move from point a to point B.

Remember I’m not a doctor, a psychologist or a psychiatrist. I’m just a person with ADHD who has figured out how to achieve my goals and live successfully with this disorder. And I’m convinced that you can too, so make sure to check out I have adhd.com.

My theory is that there are a ton of people in the world with ADHD who are refusing treatment. And also a lot of people in the world who have [00:07:00] undiagnosed ADHD. I’m currently obsessed with Dr. Russell Barkley. I’ve mentioned him already before, and he agrees with this too. Only a professional evaluation can tell you if you have ADHD. Obviously.

The most important thing to keep in mind as an adult with ADHD is that you are the only one who is going to advocate for yourself. Mommy and daddy are no longer making choices for you. They’re not holding your hand through the different steps along the path of your life. This is solely up to you at this point.

Maybe you didn’t have parents who advocated for you. And so you’re reluctant to advocate for yourself, but take 30 seconds and reflect. Do you feel that you are managing your life well? Are you able to set and reach goals? If not, what support do you need to put in place today to help? There is a [00:08:00] world of support out there just waiting for you to take advantage. Talk to your doctor about medication. Research to see if there’s a cognitive behavioral therapy program for adults, with ADHD in your area. Maybe there’s a support group you can join. Find a therapist who has experience with ADHD, adults. Join my Facebook community. It’s called, I have ADHD support for adults, but do something. Don’t just try to go about your day to day as someone with a neuro-typical brain. If you have ADHD, you have a neurodevelopmental disorder that is affecting you in a negative way, and you deserve some support for it.

I’ve had so much fun with you today.

Thank you for listening. I cannot wait to chat with you again next time.

Hey, if you’re enjoying this podcast, would you do me a huge favor and leave a review on iTunes? It’s [00:09:00] estimated that roughly 5% of American adults have been diagnosed with ADHD. That means that there are over 16 million of us, ADHD years walking around. Support and guidance. If I’ve offered you any value at all, would you leave a five-star review for this podcast so that other ADHD adults can find it and listen, and be encouraged as well as always.

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