September 19, 2023

ADHD at 74: It's Never Too Late with ADHDer & FOCUSED Member Ellen

Most of Ellen’s life was spent feeling like a whirling dervish without direction. Everything was a struggle, from school to maintaining a job to arriving anywhere on time.

She learned how to use her big, bold personality to fake it and make it through, even though she regularly battled feelings of inadequacy, shame, and judgment.

Life, as it often does, hit Ellen hard with challenges through her young adulthood, and she found herself battling depression for decades. In hindsight, she now wonders if much of that heaviness came from being neurodivergent, misunderstood, and undiagnosed.

Ellen’s story is so inspirational to me because it’s a testament that it’s never too late to get an ADHD diagnosis and seek help understanding yourself better. Age and past failures will only limit you if you let them.

Surround yourself with a diverse community that will cheer you on, validate your feelings, and support you in the good times and the bad. If you’re looking for a group like this, I encourage you to come join FOCUSED.



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Kristen Carder 0:05
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 Carter 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.

Hey, what’s up? This is Kristen Carter and you’re listening to the I have ADHD podcast. I am medicated. I am caffeinated. And I am ready to roll. It is good to be with you, my fellow ADHD or how are you? Welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for being here with me, I think you’re probably going to notice that we’ve had like a month or two of interviews. And I just want you to understand that the last couple months of summer, I have not been able to have the capacity and the stamina to write a solo show. And so instead of just ditching the podcast altogether, I decided to start doing interviews because conversations are so much more doable for Kristen Carter, then coming up with an idea for an episode writing it all out, recording it. I mean, that takes like six hours usually of my time to record a solo show. And recording an interview takes about an hour and a half of my time. So I chose the easier road for the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a bunch of interviews, and that has been the easier road. But also, sometimes the easier road is the road to travel. Do you know what I am saying? It’s like either I’m going to stay in bed and not travel any road. Or I will travel the easier road. Sometimes we need to let ourselves off the hook and not make ourselves do the very, very hard thing because we end up just not doing it. And that’s where I felt like I was headed, where I was like, I’m either not going to record an episode at all. Or I’m going to do interviews. And of course I chose interviews. I actually love interviewing people. This is like a really fun part of my job. solo shows I think are really valuable. And I know y’all love them. But also my goodness, they take a lot of work, which I’m happy to do happy to do. Once my kids are back in school, which by the time you’re listening to this hallelujah, they will be back in school, Let the heavens open up, let let just the sunshine and the angels sing. And like all of the applause because the children will be back to school. You know, parents of school aged kids unite. It is not easy. And the summer starts off. So fun and like so exciting. And truly we had a great time. But also they they needed to go back meat they needed to go back to school, they needed to go back.

So as an ADHD mom, that is a mom who has ADHD who is parenting two neuro divergent children, one with ADHD, one with OCD and ADHD. It’s been a lot and spent a whole lot so I am holding you in solidarity. If you are also in this experience of like, could they just please go back to school? Three months ago, if you’d asked me like, are you going to feel that way? I would probably say, No, I’m so glad some are starting. It’s so great to just be able to like, be chill and have the kids home and they’re so great. And guess what they are great. But staying home all day playing video games and asking 7000 questions. It’s not what I consider to be a good. It’s not a good life for Kristen Carter.

So okay, I’m going to move on. I’m going to move on. I think the point in me wanting to say all of this is like if you’ve noticed, there’s been a lot of interviews lately. This is why because I want to bring you the value of this podcast. And the only way that I was going to do that is if I could make it through interviews. Okay, y’all, that’s just the only way so we’re gonna get back to solo shows soon. But please know, like interviews are my favorite as well. Because the best part about this is that you get to hear from other people with ADHD who have walked the walk. You get to hear other people’s journey and identify and really feel like you’re not alone. And I think that is a very important part of the community that we’ve created here through this podcast is knowing that you’re not alone. alone, knowing that you’re not the only one knowing that you’re not broken, knowing that there are other people out there like you who have experienced similar things happening.

And I’m so looking forward to hearing from my client, Ellen today because Ellen is, first of all, she’s an amazing human being. But she’s farther down the road than some of us here. So Elena is a 74 year old woman with ADHD. She was diagnosed in the year 2000. But only in the last couple years has she really taken ownership of her ADHD? And I really think that you are going to resonate with her story and feel so encouraged by the person that she is. When we were done recording. I asked her if she was taking applications for more children like adoptive children, she says she’s not unfortunately. So if that’s something that you are looking for from Ellen, unfortunately, she doesn’t have the capacity for that. Was like, are you taking applications for adoptive children because you are amazing. Let me tell you a little bit about her because I think you’re really going to be interested in hearing from her. She wrote in a bio, I’m gonna read what she wrote. It’s awesome. Ellen says it’s good to be 74 years old. I’m Ellen, and two years ago, I discovered this wonderful podcast called I have ADHD. Everything Kristin said resonated with my heart. And it was time to dive in an educate myself. I realized that my ADHD was always present, but I masked my insecurities with a competent attitude and hard work. Hello, anyone else?

Here’s her life in a nutshell. She’s one of 11 children. She was a stay at home mom, a sales representative was remarried at the age of 33 and relocated to California from the Midwest. She raised five children, two daughters, and three stepsons. She was an entrepreneur for 18 years. She’s a grandmother to 15. At 65. She retired because of her husband’s failing health, she moved back to the Midwest near family, and then her husband passed away and she was widowed. She’s now 74 years old. And here’s what she says experience is the best teacher and the focus program has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, it’s time to concentrate on me. Let’s go ahead and concentrate on this conversation that I have with my client. Ellen, I think you’re going to love it. Ellen, welcome to the podcast, I am so glad that you’re here. I so appreciate the fact that you’re willing to share your journey with us because to have someone in their 70s Be willing to just kind of raise their hand and say, Hey, I’d like to share my journey is so so important. And I would just love to just begin by saying welcome. And would you share a little bit about your journey with me?

Ellen 8:00
Well, it’s my pleasure. But I have to say, when you said somebody in their 70s I’m wondering who you’re talking to me, myself is in my mid 70s, but I am blows your mind, but life travels fast. I tell you just kind of just been a little probably like a little whirling dervish. I think my whole life, you know, and nobody knew what to do back in the 50s in the 60s, with a kid that was, you know, irascible, or, you know, disagreeable. And so you know, I just was kind of disciplined, you know, just disciplined a lot. Discipline a whole lot. Went to school and and I went to Catholic school. So, in those days, we literally had nuns and, and the, the classic story of the nuns wrapping your fingers with a ruler was real. And guess who got that quite a bit. I was always silly and funny. And so I got away with a lot.

Kristen Carder 9:06
Charming. Were you charming? To be charming? Yes.

Ellen 9:10
No, also because I grew up in a really large family. I grew up very confident because, and kind of arrogant, because that’s the only way you can survive in a large family. And I was number eight out of 11. And, you know, by the time my mom got down to us, she had her mothering style down to you know, the finest degree and everything ran like clockwork. I mean, I actually hit my, one of my my best friend is my sister who’s 13 years older than me. And I asked her once I said, I don’t remember messes around the house, because I’m very messy now. I mean, messy on the surfaces, I love surfaces. And, and she said, Oh, no, you guys. I said, Do we have toys? You know, and she said, Well, you spent happier Like outside, which is true, right? In the old days, but she said You all had toys which played in your room with them. And then we had really large rooms because it was a really large house. But I do remember my mother making a comment that she thought all tabletop should be in the shape of pyramids. It’s really, nobody could lay their stuff on it. So I guess we were well trained.

Wow. You know, I went through school. They didn’t send me to kindergarten for some reason everybody else went there. Not me. I don’t know why my birthday is August five. And I still would have made the cut for the public school kindergarten, but I didn’t go. Okay. I kind of got off to a really bad start. And I had learning disabilities eventually, of course, that popped out. But anyway, then, okay, you go through life, and you just feel I worked really hard. I was a hard worker had my first job at age 12 running errands for the lady that owned the flower shop in the little village in which we lived. And, you know, I was really responsible, and kind of older than my age, I imagine. But then I started struggling with school. And like I said, learning disabilities popped out and difficulty with reading and arithmetic. And that so that gave, you know, your confidence level with all that is pretty crappy. And then you get on to high school and I went to a girl school Catholic girls school. So there we are, again. So, and all everybody was being prepared for college and that more business it seemed like but I got lost between the cracks because I seemed like I’m smart. Because it was confident and bold. But I did terrible with my, my grades. So I came out of there totally unprepared for life. I wasn’t I didn’t go to college, because I wasn’t encouraged to nobody mentioned it to me. Wow. Not parents, not school authorities. I had all my friends went to college, but for some reason I thought I was really, you know, anyway, as it turned out, okay, so you start working. And then I started getting fired from jobs. You know, so. And, you know, I think I was just a little too much. You know, I mean, I don’t mean to brag, I just think my personality was like a little, just too much.

Kristen Carder 12:26
I love how that’s a brag, you’re like, Listen, I don’t mean to brag, but

Ellen 12:32
I was it, you know, if I didn’t have a competent employer, or staff that I’m working with there I go, you know, so I go through life, making mistakes, married way too young, you know, probably just get out of the house and, you know, be loved and all that and, and then I had my babies really young. And how many kids do you have? Well, I gave birth to two girls and one set of twin boys but they didn’t live too long. So they live just two days, nine days in. And that’s another factor that I didn’t deal with. Because in those days in the early 70s. You just like, Oh, you’re not pregnant anymore. But nobody would talk about it. Wow, wasn’t disgust I didn’t really grieve. I thought it was grieving. But it wasn’t. Wow, that my ex husband never grieved. So

Kristen Carder 13:28
did that exacerbate your ADHD symptoms? Like looking back? Do you notice a correlation between that and your ADHD symptoms getting worse? Would you mind talking about that a little bit?

Ellen 13:39
Oh, sure. No, it just taught me to mask more. Yeah. It taught me to pretend like everything’s, you know, like, I’m a little Mary sunshine. And yeah. And so if I made a mistake, or if I was late, or which I was all the time? Well, I think the masking is the biggest thing. I just wanted to cover up that I was a mature person. And I didn’t need to carry on and Waylon can sad and all that. And since I wanted a baby, I turned right around and had another one. In my last my my daughter who just turned 49. And I suffered horrible post partum depression, but we didn’t know that. What that’s what that was then. Yeah, in those days. I mean, my gosh, I stayed in the hospital seven days. And I remember that nurse coming down and saying, now the doctors coming down the hall. If you want to go home, you better put a smile on your face. So I did and I went home and I was just fortunately I had support. My mom came for two weeks she had to because she had to bring the baby to me feed me because I didn’t do anything. And my sister in law came for anyway, it went on and on and on that aftermath If and not knowing how to emotionally regulate how to who learn what to do, I didn’t have a support system then. Except physically my family but not an emotional one like, yeah, yeah, and most people today know to go get at least

Kristen Carder 15:21
I just want to highlight, you know, you said masking was one of the ways that your ADHD symptoms like really heightened and like, that wasn’t just you that was society telling you a mask, like the nurse saying to you put a smile on your face, if you want to get out of here, like, we want you out, put a smile on your face. And so you’re just like, Okay, I’ll just pretend to be fine. It’s like, it’s so fascinating. And I know that still happens today. But my goodness, 50 years ago, almost it was so much more prevalent at that time was no

Ellen 15:58
other way. I’ll be quite honest, I’d never heard of anybody. I happen to be down by the Gulf shore. My really large family gets to was at that time, got together every four years for one week, at some Sure. So anyway, and I went into labor and went to this very small hospital. And the first thing that emergency room doctor said to me was, what are you doing here? Oh, my goodness, you know? And he said, Don’t you know that when you’re pregnant with twins, it’s a high risk pregnancy. Now I was 24. So no, I didn’t know that. You know, I was doing everything safely. But, you know, like, taking care of myself while I was there, but when I flew there, I mean, you know, I did everything right. But yeah, so yes, I had to conform to what I thought society wanted from me that whole entire life. And finally, it might in my 50s, my early 50s. I am. I was really, I’ve had a kind of a privileged life. And I was with a nutritional counselor, and, and in therapy, and she said, you know, let’s go get this ADHD thing examined. And so she sent me to the Amon clinic down there in Newport Beach. And they did all the intake stuff. And when it came time to go see the psychiatrist who was the director of the clinic, and I came in, sat down and chatted with him. I mean, literally 345 minutes. And he’s, he said, Yep, yeah. And I said, Well, do I have any other test to do? He said, he said, Yeah, you could get one of these SPECT scans. He said, but check it out. Because a couple grand and I don’t think you need it, your frontal lobe, just, you know, problems there.

Kristen Carder 17:48
The symptoms are pretty clear. They were I

Ellen 17:50
must have had it all over me. And I did I know I did. But anyway, wow. From that point forward, but you know what, Kristen, it didn’t mean anything to me. I thought that just meant, oh, that’s why I’m so zany. You know, that’s why I forget things. You know, nobody gave me a formula, or I don’t know that there was a formula. I mean, I read it here was this. Do you remember? I was 52. I’m 74. So 23 years ago.

Kristen Carder 18:19
Okay, so I’m terrible at math. But 2003 or 2000?

Ellen 18:24
Okay, I just thought it meant, oh, that’s the reason I’m so crazy and wacky. Now at this time, I had my own business. And I was being I was very successful. I was successful in everything I did. You know, but it was just work. So I just felt like, I like salmon going upstream. Yeah, my whole damn life upstream against what everybody else seemed to be able to do easily. It was, I always said, because I had been in therapy since I was 30. Because of my marriage going downhill. I always said, Well, you know, I think therapy is really important. Everybody should do it. I said, you know, I just look at life. Like, there’s this we’re always going up, up up, you know, we got this ladder, you know, but if somebody can give us a little boost from behind it Sure. We get up the next rung easily enough. And that’s kind of the way I just looked at life.

Kristen Carder 19:23
So when you were diagnosed, did you choose to be medicated? No, no. And so,

Ellen 19:30
excuse me, let me back up. I was already on meds for depression. Oh, I see. But now I look back. And I’m, I’m getting my meds changed right now. I mean, today this week, I finally found someone because it’s very hard to find second psychiatrist to take somebody new. Like I said, been treated for depression since I was 30. Now I look back and I say so much of that stuff I was bringing me down was my age. DHD symptoms occurred because I wasn’t conventional. And I just thought, why aren’t I conventional? Why can I get up in the morning? Why can I go to bed? Why can’t I get stuff done easily? Why aren’t I organized? You know, why don’t I return phone calls, and it’s gonna make me money. If I do that. I had nothing motivated me to do to make me do stuff. I’d have procrastinated. And I realized other people do those things, too. But I kind of took it to a new level.

Kristen Carder 20:31
Yeah. And that’s the difference between someone who can obtain a clinical diagnosis and someone who might have some tendencies but wouldn’t be clinically diagnosed is do you do this to a debilitating degree? Right? Is it still a tating in your life? So like, every human struggles sometimes with like, you know, low motivation or poor working memory or trying to, you know, not being able to check things off the list, but is it persistent? And is it debilitating? And have you seen it throughout your lifetime?

Ellen 21:03
Oh, yeah. I’ve seen it from age three. Yeah, exactly. I can look back and see age three. But anyway, that is exactly it. It was debilitating. But oh, I was being treated for depression. I don’t know why. Nobody educated me. I don’t think maybe they didn’t. I just didn’t know it. I mean, I didn’t accept it. Maybe. I don’t know why, but I didn’t. And I read about it. I mean, you know, Amon has all those books. And, and I even he even started a weight loss group. I was in his initial group, and he ran it and, uh, but I didn’t follow through and lose the weight. You know, just no follow through.

Kristen Carder 21:44
Yeah. Okay. So you’re diagnosed 23 years ago. So in 2000, you didn’t really know much about ADHD and its effect on you. At what point? Did you start to make changes as far as like, seeking treatment seeking coaching or ADHD specific therapy? Like, when did that come into your life?

Ellen 22:06
Two years ago? Oh, my gosh. I mean, no, I’ve had, I’ve been with a life coach, I’ve been with a business coach, that helped me be successful. I even had a personal assistant once, and she clean off my desk, or she would go through my papers and go through my mail, she would clean up, she would help me clean out my closet. I mean, I used to tease her about being my my paid friend, you know, for sure. And she was wonderful. But I’ve always found a way. Usually, when I got smarter and older, to skirt around it, not until I discovered your podcast, Did I really say oh my gosh, I mean, this is a real thing. And people can do something about it. Or at least be in a, like a group of people that are like minded and understand you and don’t judge me because I’ve always felt judged. Judged, because I went through a lot of certifications and things in my life. And I, I would fail them the first time through, or, you know, if I took them again, I was fine. But at first time through, but, and then I eventually did go to college, when I was started when I was 40. After I retired from my career, and I kind of but I still had no goal. I just went went went to school when I started. I loved I just took things I liked. And then and then I’m interested in everything. So stuff. And then after a while, my husband said you know, have you ever thought of adding up how many credits you got? And I don’t know. And he said, you surely could get your A by now? Yeah, I went to a counselor. And she was fortunately a woman my age. Let’s say I was about 43 Then, and math was my bugaboo. I could not get. I mean, I finally made it to algebra two. And then three weeks in, we go on vacation for two weeks. And I come back and I’m going to what, two and two is what? Yeah, no idea. So anyway, I didn’t have the math requirements. And she said, Well, you’ve got so much stuff here. Let’s just write your own degree. So she gave me a humanities certification. You know,

Kristen Carder 24:19
I love that associates and humanities.

Ellen 24:22
associates in AAA. You know, in California, junior colleges are a big deal. Oh my gosh, I love it. Very common. Yeah. I mean, it’s 25,000 students there. I even work there, but I loved it. I love those days. But then I was introduced to the love of my life Pilates when at night in 1992. And then I opened my own studio in 98 and only closed it because we move back to the Midwest because my husband’s health was failing. So and then, unfortunately, he died eight weeks after we got back here and I got back he wanted, you know, I found out later he wanted to move me because, well, you know, we knew he wasn’t well. But I’m from this area. And so therefore, we had five kids between us. And they all nobody wanted to raise their families out there. So they all moved east. And if we wanted to see any of our 15 grandchildren, through life, we kind of had to move because they couldn’t afford you know, when your kids get to be like your kids age, you can’t afford to just take off because they have activities in summer and you don’t want people traveling at holidays. It’s so horrible and blah, blah, blah.

Kristen Carder 25:35
So are you surrounded by family now? Is that what you’re saying? That you’re living?

Ellen 25:39
Daughter two miles away in a step, son, 30 minutes away. So that’s something and I have a sister and a brother here. Go and see him a whole lot. But that’s great.

Kristen Carder 25:51
Yeah. So for you, what would you say was the hardest part like when you look back over your life? What were the ADHD symptoms that really were the most debilitating for you?

Ellen 26:07
I would have to say, the emotional like regulation? Because I just spent, I mean, Kristen, and if I had the money that I spent with therapy, over the last 40 years, I could buy a new home. I mean,

Kristen Carder 26:22
did you learn to emotionally regulate while you were in therapy?

Ellen 26:25
No. Oh, not not then. I mean, I was literally going to a psychiatrist every week. And in those days, $110 wouldn’t come up covered by insurance. And all I did was complain about why can’t I get up and get go away? There, he put me on lithium. And that, then I got lithium poisoning. And he

Kristen Carder 26:48
doesn’t mind. But in your therapy, like in talk therapy, I was emotional.

Ellen 26:54
I had a really good cognitive therapist over the years. And one of them used EMDR on me, and that really helped not totally eradicate this trauma that I had. But help was amazing. Yeah, yeah, I found it to be very helpful as well. And I’ve, I’ve dealt with a couple really terrific psychiatrists over the years, but I was being treated for depression. And then I found this somatic therapist, and then I hit gold.

Kristen Carder 27:27
Okay, yeah, that’s I’m talking about when was that? Recently, in years ago, 10 years ago,

Ellen 27:33
I still meet with her every two weeks on the phone. That’s great.

Kristen Carder 27:37
So for those that don’t know, do you want to share just a little bit about what somatic therapy is like?

Ellen 27:44
Well, it’s all about your body connecting with your mind and your thoughts. So, for instance, my very first appointment I walk in, and you know, how you’re so excited, your first appointments. And she said, So how you feel and and I said, I’m really excited. You know, it’s a real, wonderful, hopeful feeling that, you know, you can help me go forward. And she said, let’s stop for a second, where do you feel that? Right? And you’re going, Well, gosh, it’s all right here in my chest, you know, when she’s going? Well, let’s think about that for a moment, you know. So what she’s trying to do is to get you to identify your feelings with what’s happening inside you. And at the time that I started with her, if you got me too deep into my issues, I fall asleep.

Kristen Carder 28:31
Oh, wow.

Ellen 28:32
I mean, that’s what I had been doing for years, just checking out. And so she, you know, taught me to be grounded. And I don’t do this anymore. But I did. And we

Kristen Carder 28:45
talk about that, because I think that a lot of people are going to identify with as soon as they start. And I’d like you to share your perspective. But what I’ve seen in other clients is as soon as they start with something that’s really difficult, and that’s overwhelming, or something that’s like, whether it’s physically overwhelming, like there’s a lot of tasks or maybe emotionally overwhelming, literally, they start yawning and like craving the bed, and if they’re in a soft place, they will fall asleep even just sitting up is that what you experienced as

Ellen 29:18
well? Yeah, I would just close my eyes and just drift off and, and there’s nothing weird or one of these therapists I would find I would open my eyes and she’s staring at me.

Kristen Carder 29:31
But what not to do if you’re a therapist,

Ellen 29:35
therapist taught me not to go there. Let’s go here.

Kristen Carder 29:39
Let’s feel it. We’re Cymatics therapists here is

Ellen 29:42
that happening? Yeah. And when focus on that, and you could literally I mean, she trained me to literally feel it just exiting, like going down my arms and out my hands or, you know, I used to my pain used to pain, bipolar, I mean emotional pain. You be in different places in my body. But you know, now it’s much higher and more ready to pop out there if I have that, and, and it’s absolutely cached on her, it’s so great. It’s just, you’re still talking about, you know, it’s still cognitive, but you are getting to source. What’s it doing to you? And, you know, you’ve taught us many times our thoughts are not necessarily our reality. And so we have to see what our thoughts are. I mean, you say that all the time. So all these things, I mean, she was 10 years ago, and I’ve only gotten stronger and stronger and better and better. And then to discover your life’s work. But it is what it is right? And thank goodness, we have somebody like you, Gosh, darn, you know, it just, I love it so much. Because I love everything about it.

Kristen Carder 30:56
And now a word from our sponsor. Hey, Kristen here, I’m the host of this podcast, an ADHD expert and a certified life coach, who’s helped hundreds of adults with ADHD understand their unique brains and make real changes in their lives. If you’re not sure what a life coaches, let me tell you, a life coach is someone who helps you achieve your goals like a personal trainer for your life. A life coach is a guide who holds your hand along the way as you take baby step after baby step to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish. A good life coach is a trained expert, who knows how to look at situations or situations with non judgmental neutrality, and offer you solutions that you’ve probably never even considered before. If you’re being treated for your ADHD, and maybe even you’ve done some work in therapy, and you want to add to your scaffolding of support, if you’ve got to join my group coaching, program focused, focused is where functional adults with ADHD surround each other with encouragement and support. And I lead the way with innovative and creative solutions to help you fully accept yourself, understand your ADHD, and create the life that you’ve always wanted to create, even with ADHD. Go to I have adhd.com/focused to join. And I hope to see you in our community. When did you make the decision to join focus? How long have you been in

Ellen 32:32
listening to you for maybe six months on your public podcast? And then, you know, I’d research you know, your focus group. And I want her to join, you know, now I’m widowed and I have limited income and are and, you know, in the old days, you know, I want to drop that in two seconds. But well, you know what, I did some privilege girl things. I dropped housekeeping once a week, once a month. I don’t get my nails done, I do myself now. And all that adds up. I dropped a couple of subscriptions. Because this is so important. It has been I just can’t tell you, it’s choking me up now to think how important this is. Really, it’s just, it’s just been a savior. Wow. Well, it’s been, you’ve given us a path you’ve given us a roadmap that in the roadmap has lots of tangents we can go on if we want, you don’t have to just go that way. The tangents sometimes are important to take, you know, I mean, your brain just won’t let you go forward. So, okay, I’m gonna pull over to this parking lot, and catch up emotionally. And then I can go get back on the road. And I’ve just learned a lot about applying it. Hmm.

Kristen Carder 33:56
So how long have you been in the community? Year and a half year and a half? Amazing. And what was it like for you as someone we do have people in their 50s 60s 70s I would say the majority of the group is probably 30s 40s age range. I mean, we have people who are like 1819 20 So there’s like there’s a very wide range but I would say the majority kind of sits in the 3040 maybe 50 range and what was it like for you coming in as someone who might be one of like, in a smaller group age group? I mean, did that feel weird? Did you feel included? Like what was that like for you? I wasn’t

Ellen 34:40
even it didn’t even factor in I love it. I’m just one of the guys. Yeah. I can learn from a 40 year olds ah use every bit as much because what okay, I may not be in the workforce and I and they were dealing with a work issue and you know the world Coming down on them or whatever, but I can I can identify with the way that they’re addressing or not addressing probably, and you’re helping them address their issues. And that, I don’t know, I don’t like I said, I don’t really think I’m old. But I am, you know, on any age scale, I am older, but I don’t think I’m older. And so I learned from an elderly aunt when she said, You need to have friends of all ages. Yes. Yeah. Because otherwise you will get stale. So even though these people aren’t my friends, they’re keeping me a little more aware of what it’s like out there in the world. And, and I feel for them. I mean, I’ve been there perhaps, you know, I mean, I was cleared a couple times, well, three or four times. You know, I’ve lived through all those horrible work situations, and then the entrepreneurial thing have lived through that and lived through the marriage things and horrible marriage. And then I was fortunate enough at age 33. To Meet You know, like, Mr. Ideally, I mean, you know, he loved me to the moon and back and love me for all my quirks and my wackiness and put up with it. Even though he was an extremely linear thinker. I wish him I one of my bigger regrets is Dang, I wish I could tell him what I’ve learned. I wish I could share with him what I know now. Why I did this. Why I acted that way. Why I was always running late. Yeah, all the clocks in the house ahead. He used to call that Elon time. So if I asked him, because we’re getting ready to go out and I’m putting my makeup and blue, and I wouldn’t yell down stairs to him. I go. Time. And he’d go, do you want the real time or one time? Even though I had clocks everywhere, I still I couldn’t stop the look, you know, I had I just had to keep moving. Or I get distracted. Yeah. So I wish I could share with him everything.

Kristen Carder 37:11
He would appreciate it. He would be enamored with just the person that you have evolved into. He really

Ellen 37:21
would, you know, to think if he liked me, then just think what he would do. Oh, gosh, this is a man that just brought me flowers regularly. I joined a weight loss program once over at the University of California, Irvine. And the meetings were Tuesday nights, I’d come home, every single Tuesday night, there was a long stem red rose on the table for me, because he’s just wanted to support me. That’s kind of me anyways, you know, we are in love and incredibly attracted each other, mentally and emotionally. So it was a major loss major, that’s a

Kristen Carder 38:01
big loss. I’m gonna ask you a really personal question, and you do not have to answer it. I’m just gonna preface. Do you feel like you were more equipped to process the loss and grief of your husband that you love so dearly?

Ellen 38:17
No, no, I that was my biggest, biggest learning experience. I I lost him. I mean, you know, I knew he’d probably die. But no, I went to bed for one year, and I couldn’t get out. Yeah, I was constantly amazed at how I didn’t have the capacity to deal with this major loss. Even though I knew my whole life, I’d almost been prepping for it. I was never afraid to be alone. I was it was horrible. And, and I can I can bring that up right now

Kristen Carder 38:54
if I can do it.

Ellen 38:56
And it’s been eight years this fall, I can’t believe it. But you know, I, I not only lost him, but we only live here in our new house, which we bought online. I mean, for eight weeks, when I lost him and but then also just a month and a half before I closed some doors on my business. All those relationships of my community and my clients who you know, when you’ve had clients for 17 years you they’re very, very intimate relationships. So yeah. Anyway, it’s just lots of things. So

Kristen Carder 39:31
that was a lot of transition and loss at one time.

Ellen 39:35
Oh, gosh, yeah. Yeah. Retired me. Yeah. Yeah. bought a new house lost my husband, and just was totally lost. No friends here.

Kristen Carder 39:47
And then did your Cymatics therapist help you with that?

Ellen 39:52
Oh, yes. Beautiful. Yeah.

Kristen Carder 39:56
I can tell you’re still like the it’s still so tender and they’ll refer you goes away. It never goes. I can’t imagine. I don’t want to. I’m just gonna pretend it’s like Greg is gonna live forever. Just gonna pretend actly

Ellen 40:09
what? You were young? Yeah. I had my good life. I had a I had a wonderful life. So I say beautiful. I could never go backwards because absolutely nothing would be similar.

Kristen Carder 40:24
So true. That’s so true. How does grief affect your ADHD symptoms? Now? Do you feel like you’ve processed it enough? Where it doesn’t affect it? Or on the days where you are feeling deep grief? Do you see a correlation between the grief and your symptoms? Well,

Ellen 40:44
I’m actually happy to feel the grief now. I mean, because I know what to do with it. Because I’m learned. Yes, emotional regulation thing. I’ve learned that it’s not the end of the world. I can, I can work with this. I can deal with it. I’ve got the tools now. Yeah,

Kristen Carder 41:07
that’s beautiful. That’s so beautiful. So tell us about how you treat your ADHD now. So you are 74 You’ve known you’ve had ADHD for 23 years, you’ve been treated for mental health issues, but not I don’t know if you’ve been treated for ADHD specifically. So tell us about like, your treatment for ADHD now and what tools you’re using to help you.

Ellen 41:34
I’m having a review of my meds now so that I can get away of just treating the mental health aspect. I want help with ADHD. Specifically, specifically,

Kristen Carder 41:45
so you’ve been treated for depression still, like even after your ADHD diagnosis, you are still only treated for depression? Hmm. Fascinating. I just don’t like that. I’m sorry.

Ellen 41:58
You know what, it’s so disappointing to think nobody zeroed in on that. Nobody

Kristen Carder 42:05
am in clinic. Like, what’s up with that?

Ellen 42:07
Well, I was going to that director. And then he left the clinic. And I just followed him. But still, just I don’t know, I just remember I said I fall between the cracks. I think that I don’t have such a good story. People think I’m okay.

Kristen Carder 42:27
Saying that again. That’s important

Ellen 42:31
that I talk a good story. Yeah, I think I’m doing fine.

Kristen Carder 42:36
Yeah. You’re very put together, you are very charming. You’re you express yourself really well. You’re obviously brilliant. And people think you’re fine. And that is not okay. What that is is discriminatory. And not intentionally, obviously, nobody would intend a hopefully not. Well, I guess that’s remains to be seen. But let’s just hope and pray that nobody’s intentionally discriminating against you. But you are privileged, you are white, you’re intelligent. You are very well put together. I know. You’re like listening to this conversation, that looking at it, but she’s beautiful. And so when you walk into a doctor’s office, and you’re able to express yourself, I can see how you would fall between the cracks, because nobody is pinpointing you as like, oh, this woman is a hot mess. We need to get her help. It’s like, this woman is well put together. She’s able to express herself. She’s, she’s fine. And I’m

Ellen 43:39
highly functioning. Yeah. But that’s where I think I learned that word masking from being unfocused. And that’s exactly what that is. Right? Oh, I’m sharp. I you know, I? I’m doing fine.

Kristen Carder 43:52
Yeah, yeah. So masking. Here’s the thing with masking, I think we all do it. It’s a learned behavior. We do it out of self preservation. Like, if I don’t mask, then they’re going to know the truth. Yes. But there is a level of vulnerability that we do need to reveal to people in order to get the help we need. Right?

Ellen 44:19
Well, yeah, but I, I honestly never used that. I mean, I was vulnerable, but it never evidently got me to the correct result.

Kristen Carder 44:29
And I don’t want to imply that that is on you. I don’t think it is.

Ellen 44:34
I think I can make myself very vulnerable. And yeah, in fact, I’ll be quite honest, because I wasn’t educated. I didn’t go to college, get a formal education. So I use my personality to get what I wanted. And so you learn to hate just use the word manipulate but I would say that, you know, I can I’d make myself vulnerable and that would win someone over right. Yes. I mean, it’s totally manipulation. But once I’m doing it, and shame on me, I don’t I don’t do it anymore. But, I mean, that’s just I had to do something to get what I needed.

Kristen Carder 45:11
I resonate with that very deeply. And maybe, you know, for sure,

Ellen 45:15
get through a nasty marriage with a nasty woman.

Kristen Carder 45:19
Or to grow up in a family of 11. Children. Yeah, right.

Ellen 45:23
And you know that you just are we Oops, excuse me. You’re my lunch alarm. Ah,

Kristen Carder 45:30
don’t forget to eat.

Ellen 45:33
To eat. I have alarms for everything. It’s good. As you can see, I’m all over the place always. No, I

Kristen Carder 45:39
love it.

Ellen 45:40
There’s so much stuff to talk about isn’t there? There’s so life is so fascinating.

Kristen Carder 45:45
Yeah, and human connection is just such a huge dopamine hit, isn’t it just like sitting is face to face with you, I just feel so full. I just feel so lucky to be able to connect. Because, you know, we’re in different parts of the country. We’re different ages. And yet there’s so much to connect on because of the shared experience of human just being human. And then being a human with ADHD. And that’s why

Ellen 46:13
the community inside focused is important. Because it brings us all together over this central issue. And it doesn’t matter what you do for a living, how you were raised, what color you are, what? Gender nothing. It doesn’t matter. None of it. That I love that.

Kristen Carder 46:35
I love it, too. How have you used the focus program? Like, what does that look like for you? What have you found to be helpful?

Ellen 46:44
Well, when I joined, I remember one of the first calls I heard the guy said, I’ve gotten so much out of it. And I haven’t even done a workbook and I’ve been here over a year. And I thought she that’s crazy. I want to do everything. Well, I get into it. And of course I don’t do workbooks. And but I love them. I look at them, but I sitting down and doing them just take so much for him. Yeah. But I get so much from the podcast, but the coaching calls during that podcast, I think of as more of a learning experience. You’re teaching, educating, perhaps chatting to the coaching calls during the week for the members. Oh, my goodness. They’re just so valuable. And you have incredible speakers or

Kristen Carder 47:29
hosts, guests. Guest speakers? guest teachers. Yeah.

Ellen 47:34
Yeah. They’re all just, you know, you bet your people really well, I guess you just, you know,

Kristen Carder 47:39
we try. Yeah, you’re smart. Hey, thanks. What wisdom do you have to share with other I know, you don’t identify as as being older. And so I’m sorry that I keep bringing it up. That’s because I really want to highlight

Ellen 47:58
because I think that if you’re my age, or you’re 80 or 90, and you’re still in touch with yourself, Oh, well, this still matters. I wouldn’t stop mattering just because I get older. It doesn’t

Kristen Carder 48:14
like applause all the applause. Yes. What a privilege to know you have ADHD at the age of 74 years old or 84 or 94. Our mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers, they did not have that privilege. They did not have a diagnosis to point to to say, this explains so much of why I act the way I do.

Ellen 48:39
The validation I felt after I first found you. I’ve got goosebumps right now. It was just there’s not a whole lot of people that understand that I that I’m so excited over this. I mean, I adore my sister but she’s from a different generation. You know, she you just keep toughing it through you just keep toughening through. And she’s far more active than me. 88 still plays golf twice a week. You know on a Rachel I mean, everything so busy. Her husband, two years older than her still works. he mowed the lawn at the golf course. I mean, such examples such examples but anyway, but she doesn’t have this level of awareness at all.

Kristen Carder 49:29
Yeah. I think that it’s a really interesting divide between older adults who dabble in self development, coaching therapy, whatever the case may be, and then older adults who are like, either think that it’s hogwash, whatever that means. Or like I’m too like, what’s the point? I’m too old. There’s no point in you know, I am who I am. I’m not going to change like that kind of thing. And I just To love your example of like, it’s never too late to make some changes. It’s never too late to feel better. It’s never too late to be connected to yourself and who you are and what you want out of life. It’s never too late, like, why are we? Why is there this like line and whatever, it’s subjective, right? So for some people like after 50, I’m not going to do anything. And for some people, it’s later or earlier. But I just want to make a case for neuroplasticity. And our brains willingness desire to change, the brain will change from the cradle to the grave, that long like you can, your brain will change and adapt. So if you want to learn how to regulate your emotions, it’s not too late. If you want to know and learn how to treat your ADHD, it’s not too late. It’s never too late.

Ellen 50:49
I’m just really on board with that. Just some people just don’t quite get the deep dive. And, and then, but then I find I have to kind of explain why I’m doing a deep dive in this like, like, this is one of the more important things in my day, or my life, being part of this community. And, in fact, my daughter just said, I just don’t want you using your ADHD as an excuse. Oh, boy, can you imagine what my response

Kristen Carder 51:19
was? ln, but I said it.

Ellen 51:23
So intelligently. I responded so, so intelligently to her. And I just said, until you’ve been in my shoes, you don’t know how tough life was feeling stupid. Feeling dumb, not being able to read or feel smart at math. I mean, it wasn’t at all. You know how I had to pretend and, you know, use my personalities. I said, because I didn’t have any criteria of any physical like a degree or, you know, whatever. And shut her down. No reason that was kind of shocking is because she has a child that has ADHD and is treated for it. But not treated like I’m being treated. Yeah, what learning what I’m learning. So sometimes I send him little tiktoks. I’m the grandma, I’ve got 15 grandkids, and they all know Oh, my God, here comes another one. But that’s all right. I don’t care. I don’t care.

Kristen Carder 52:30
Grammar of the year, that’s what I think some time.

Did you all hear that? Sometimes I send him little tic TOCs.

I mean, that’s amazing. Because what you’re doing is helping to educate now, in a way that like, maybe goes beyond what he has been exposed to. I just loved it. I love it. It’s a sophomore

Ellen 52:52
in college now. And he is hard working and smart and all that. But he’s on medication. And and the first time I ever saw that, on the days, he doesn’t take this medication, like a Sunday or something. Well, what a different person. I just think to myself, and yeah, well, it’s true. Not everybody is coming from where I’m coming from my daughter tells me, so I have to look at that. I don’t want to be too obnoxious. But you know, maybe he gets frustrated and doesn’t know what to do with it like young people do. And maybe this was giving him a little tool or a hope or Yeah. I mean, wow. You know,

Kristen Carder 53:34
why don’t we role reversal? Because it’s usually the parent saying to the child’s, I don’t want you to use this as an excuse. And in your case, it’s the child saying to the parent, I don’t want you to use this as an excuse

Ellen 53:49
that older people do experience. Their kids are older now. And they look at you as you’re older. You’re so much older, and you probably need help, because you know what, you’re older, you know, like capable of taking care of myself. Once in a while. I really do need assistance for my kids. But yeah, I learned something in a podcast. I think it might have been a guest podcast and she was outlining friendships or whatever. And like there’s a tier one, tier two, tier three. And you know, when you put in tier one, and of course I put my children in there and middle booboo. And somebody said something like she said, Okay, everybody take their children out and put it over here in this box. Yes. And that your children don’t need you to be a friend. And they need you to be their parent, and you weren’t your parent until the day they die. And it helped me so much because with five kids and five of spouses, their five spouses, I love them all. They’re fabulous humans and I just love them all. Awesome. We’re all on different paths. And it let me step back and not be involved. because, you know, I never had any trouble with my kids when I was raising them, not teenagers. But when your kids get in their 30s, their problems are real. Oh, their problems are serious. Yeah. And you know, you know what I’m talking about your greeting. And

Kristen Carder 55:20
yeah, my problems are real. And they are serious, Ellen, let me tell you.

Ellen 55:26
So it’s so easy to want to coddle or, or give advice. And I know now, my mother and father had this mastered. Now, I interpreted that all this time until that phone call that my mother didn’t care. At, you know, she never got involved, you know, my wife, and, you know, she never gave me advice. And, you know, and once I left the house, yeah. But now I know that she had to do that for her own self preservation. But also, it was the right thing to do to make me stand on my own.

Kristen Carder 56:05
It’s beautiful. I think that that transition is so tricky, and we don’t talk about it enough the transition of like, your kids are adults. And now what is the relationship like? Are we friends? Are we like, what’s going on here? And I think that’s a really interesting perspective. And I love the idea of taking your kids out of tier one. And for those of you who are not sure, like, Tier one is your closest relationships, but they are mutual relationships, as in, like, partners, husband and wife, your

Ellen 56:44
loved ones, your best girlfriend, who you know, you can call in middle of the night,

Kristen Carder 56:48
yes. But there’s mutuality. There’s reciprocity in a way that there’s not with children, right, like a child, parent child relationship is not a mutual relationship. The energy flows one way, it’s a one way street. And so we take the kids out of tier one, because they go in a separate box, they’re there, your kids, you’re there to serve, love protect for the rest of their life. That’s it. That’s what it is. And I love it.

Ellen 57:12
They still need that in their 50s. Everybody’s in. I’ve got five kids in their 50s plus their spouses. And they still need me to be the parents. So

Kristen Carder 57:22
yeah, yeah. And I and I am prepping myself for that, where it’s like, the you don’t just end it when you’re eight, when they’re 18, or 20, or whatever. It’s like, No, I will be loving serving protecting them for the rest of their lives. And that’s not expecting neutrality in return. Just love.

Ellen 57:43
Yeah. And you know what that point of expecting? mutuality is really important. Because if you enjoy your child, you enjoy their company you enjoy. They enjoy you, you know, like, buddy’s friends or whatever. But you have to remember you’re not. Yep, yep.

Kristen Carder 57:59
Yes, there’s of course, residual benefits that come with the parent child relationship, where of course, I get a huge dopamine hit. When my son wants to come to me talk to me spend time with me, gigantic dopamine hit, but I always have to remind myself that I am there for him. He’s not here for me. Right? And do I get the residual benefits of that 100%. And so my heart is full of love. And my my brain is full of dopamine, and it is the best. But I always have to remember, I’m there for him. He doesn’t have to be here for me.

Ellen 58:36
I wish that I had known all this at your age.

Kristen Carder 58:41
I mean, and I wish that I had known that my sister has littler kids. Her oldest is seven. And I always say to her, I wish I knew what you knew what you know. Now, you know, when my kids were as little I think we all just feel like that as moms like Oh, I wish i i wish i could be perfect for my kid because I love my kids so much. Yeah.

Ellen 59:01
And you know what, the more I know about myself, the more confident I am. And the more authentic, authentic I feel with myself. I don’t put up with stuff from other people judging me anymore. And I don’t know if that’s an age thing because it does come with age. But I have to I like to think it comes from knowing myself and then I just don’t put up with people like that anymore. No, not necessary or just if I love them, I’ll just say you really mean that. Yeah, you know, my circles gotten smaller. It’s gotten narrower because I’m only got people in it that I really love.

Kristen Carder 59:38
How does that feel?

Ellen 59:41
It’s pretty darn good feeling. Because you know they say if you die with five good friends, you’re very fortunate. Got that cutter.

Kristen Carder 59:51
That’s beautiful.

Ellen 59:53
Thank you focused.

Kristen Carder 59:55
Just this is a beautiful way to wrap it up and I I again, I want to express my opinion Asians this time is such a meaningful conversation for me because to be able to have an extended convo with a client that I’ve been able to support for a year and a half and I do feel like I already know you, I’ve coached you, it’s it’s been so fun to just spend this longtime with you. So thanks for sharing your story on the podcast here. And I know that it’s gonna resonate with a lot of people, those who identify as older adults who needed some inspiration. So I do believe you are an inspiration. And those who are just feeling like stuck in emotional regulation, or really wondering like, what does it look like when I’m 70 in my 70s? Like, am I still going to be happy? Am I still going to be wanting to do the work and I think you give us a roadmap for that. So I’m just really appreciative to for that ln,

Ellen 1:00:55
makes me feel so useful. You are useful.

Kristen Carder 1:00:59
Dopamine, all the dopamine for you today. Thanks. Hey, ADHD, or I see you I know exactly what it’s like to feel lost, confused, frustrated, and like no one out there really understands the way that your brain works. That’s why I created Focus. Focus is my monthly coaching program where I lead you through a step by step process of understanding yourself feeling better and creating the life that you know you’re meant for. You’ll study be coached, grow, and make amazing changes alongside of other educated professional adults with ADHD from all over the world. Visit Ihaveadhd.com/focused to learn more

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