September 5, 2023

Dealing With ADHD and Chronic Pain with FOCUSED Member Sue Pieters

I’m really enjoying these episodes with my FOCUSED community, and I hope you are too! Today, Sue Peters is with me, and we dive into the difficult world of chronic pain through an ADHD lens.

When Sue was finally diagnosed with ADHD in her mid-twenties, she had already identified that there was something different about her and had even tried reaching out for help. But ignorant and insensitive “experts” failed to give her the guidance and support she needed, which left her with a lot of rejection, shame, and emotional pain from childhood through young adulthood. Everything compounded when her family went through a scary surgery situation with her child, and one day she woke up with immobility and excruciating pain that changed the course of her life.

Sue and I discuss how things like trauma and emotional wounds can eventually weaken the immune system to the point of breaking down physical health, and how important it is to receive therapy and coaching in a way that’s sensitive to ADHD. Listen in to hear her incredible story of resilience with ADHD and chronic pain, and how she’s working through it all at her own pace, finding her path, surrounded by community.

Are you being treated for ADHD but still aren’t quite achieving your potential? Try my group coaching program FOCUSED and experience the difference.



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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. I am regulated and I am ready to roll. How are you? How are you so glad to be here with you today. So happy that you press play on this podcast. You’re not gonna regret it, I promise.

Today on the podcast, I have a dear client and focus member Sue Peters with me. She is here to talk all about her ADHD experience, and specifically, her experience with chronic pain as it relates to ADHD. That’s not something that we’ve talked about before here on the podcast. And I am really looking forward to getting her perspective. Because I think a lot of you audience members, a lot of you listeners are really going to be resonating with her story. But before we get started, I want to remind you to make sure you’re subscribed to this podcast. You don’t want to have to go looking for it in the podcast ethers. If you remember it, and you’re like, what was that podcast again, I need to go remember I need to go find it, just go ahead and press the Follow button then subscribe right now. And if you want to get back to the show, I would so appreciate you hitting that five star rating. It makes a huge difference. First of all in my dopamine levels, and second of all, and other ADHD years ability to find the show and get the help that they need and deserve. Thank you, I appreciate you so much.

And now let’s get to this amazing conversation with my client Sue, I know that you’re going to be so inspired by her story. I am so inspired by her her journey, her story and all of the amazing changes that she’s been able to make. So, Sue, hi, thank you for being here with me.

Sue Pieters 2:22
I thank you for having me. It’s so

Kristen Carder 2:25
it’s so exciting to have you. I think I’ve coached you maybe twice in the last couple years and focused. And whenever we’ve been able to connect, it has been in my opinion, magical. I’ve really felt just like a deep connection with you. So I think our listeners are going to feel the same way. Would you just share a little bit about your ADHD journey? When were you diagnosed? How did you come to the diagnosis?

Sue Pieters 2:51
Yeah, well, I was diagnosed when I was 23. I actually dropped out of college, failed out of college, and then tried to go back and did the same thing. And I was noticing that something just wasn’t right. Cuz I shouldn’t be failing because of intelligence. Because I knew all this stuff. I just couldn’t do it. And I didn’t understand why. And I just felt like there was something there. So somehow, I managed to ask for help. And I actually got a free diagnosis by going to see a psychologist. I don’t know how I did I somehow the planets aligned and I was able to get. So it came out with ADHD learning disabilities, obviously low decorative functioning, I feel I was sort of part of that first group of adults and first group of women to be diagnosed, especially being 23. But I was diagnosed and then sort of left with it on my own. There was nothing really given to me there wasn’t even go through doctor and follow up about medication there was there’s nothing I was like, here’s this piece of paper. A nice like, wow, I didn’t really know what to do with it. I was already sort of in debt. I couldn’t really go back. Cool. I had just gotten into a serious relationship. I was working full time and my full time job was going okay. It would the pay was was good. It had all the extras that one would want the job. Was it fantastic? No, but like, it checked all the books. And in the theories relationship, I could see it going places, which forward we’ve been married for 16 years. So the good thing I did that, so I didn’t know what to do. I was like what do I do? So I just sort of kept that paper in my back pocket. And when when I did weird and wonderful things was like, Oh, that’s my ADHD, you know, like I felt finally heard, but it didn’t know what to do with being heard or know where to go with. Yeah, because I wasn’t cool. I wasn’t doing I think I had an understanding of why but that was about it. I was working and when I would say weird things or you know blurt out those facts or not be able to focus on read an email, I would just blame it on my ADHD. But I didn’t. I wasn’t given any tools. I wasn’t given any. I think maybe they recommended reading a book. But we know how well that went.

Kristen Carder 5:20
Yeah, that’s such a dumb thing to recommend to an on medicated untreated, ADHD or like, yes, we enjoy books. I mean, many of us do. But we need a baseline level of executive functioning to make that happen first. So did you ever seek treatment? No.

Sue Pieters 5:39
Oh, no, because I didn’t even know that I could get treatment. Because basically, my opinions of this would have been 2005. So my understanding of ADHD was, the stereotype was little boys running around superduper hyper, I remember, I had a boy in my class that had ADHD, and the teacher would always tell him, did you take your pill today after lunch. So that was my understanding of ADHD. So sort of in my brain as bad as I didn’t want to be like little boy that the teacher talked to, I think this is important, I reached out for help. When I was in grade five, that same teacher that I’m telling you about that was being that little boy, I reached out when I was in grade five, because I knew something wasn’t clicking, I knew I was intelligent. My marks did not match what I thought they should be. And I was told that I watched too much TV. And I spent too much time talking.

And it was my fault. So that was my opinion, of ADHD. And that was my opinion of getting help, that I asked for help. When I was still I was, thank you, when you’re grade five, or 1010 or 11. Think I should know that having

Kristen Carder 7:11
children. I mean, in the US, that’s what it is. Yeah. So yeah, we’re

Sue Pieters 7:15
our system is the same. That was my opinion of getting help. So it wasn’t really worth asking for help. So for me to even get help, when I was an adult, was a challenge. Because I was afraid I would get rejected. Again.

Kristen Carder 7:35
Do you remember how it felt to receive that information at age 10? Did you feel rejected?

Sue Pieters 7:41
Oh, my gosh, I still feel it they on the deal? Feel it? I still feel it. In the fun part. Because I live in a small community. I still see that feature. Yep, good times. I felt like my opinion didn’t matter. Like I didn’t know what I was talking about. I have learned though, I want to say that I have learned that just because somebody is an expert, doesn’t make them an expert in you. You may be a medical expert, you know, like, or whatever expert but I’m an expert in me. And that really what I was, I felt like I my voice didn’t matter. Yeah.

Kristen Carder 8:25
So many of us who have not gone through any kind of healing journey, carry around that 10 year old self with us. And it’s the 10 year old self that makes decisions. It’s the 10 year old self that doesn’t reach out for help. It’s the 10 year old self that is afraid of rejection and is afraid of being shut down. And then I hear the adult version of you sue, saying now I know that I’m the expert in me.

Sue Pieters 8:58
And I don’t know if you remember that a year ago, you told me there was a time you need to go to therapy movie. And I knew that it needed to happen. But I was afraid of it happening because I did not want to have that and you’re feeling I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to have that. And while I knew it needed to happen. And you told me it’s fine. It’s time because I think a year before that you told me Have you ever gone to therapy? And I was like, I don’t really want to I don’t want to feel the growth. I don’t want to feel the gross I don’t want to feel it. I don’t want to I don’t want to be 10 again, you know, when when you told me that second time. I think I had done some healing already. And some understanding of myself that that when I went, and that when I learned that I am my biggest app, but it took me to be until I’m over 40.

Kristen Carder 10:12
Same same Z’s Ramsey’s, and I want to normalize that for us, for for those of us like, listener, if you’re like, I still don’t feel like an expert in myself, and I’m 50 or 60. Like, it’s never too late. It’s never too late. But it does require some vulnerability, which I think is what you’re expressing Su is like, the vulnerability to be exposed the vulnerability to feel a certain way that you have been trying to avoid for your whole life, you know? Yeah. Oh, funny. Yeah, those conversations, like sometimes in focus, we just coach on time management, and we move on with our lives. And other times, we have these like, very deep, connected conversations, where I really want to stay within the scope of my expertise, and make sure I’m not stepping out of my lane as a coach. And there are some times when I just have this very felt sense within me that like, this is not my area to be working on. Like this is something deeper and, and whoever is in front of me in that time, it was you sue, like deserves more care than what I can offer within this context. And anytime that I can advocate for someone getting even more care, even more support, even more validation, even more healing, I’m gonna do it.

Sue Pieters 11:37
And I am grateful for that as the amount of growing that I’ve done in the past year. So you record I just want to say that you recommended therapy, and you’re like you. And I sat on it for about a week. I had a Facebook ad that came up that said, new therapists coming discounted rate, they were students. And I thought, Whoa, I don’t know. I think this is a sign. So I clicked on the ad. And I submitted it. And it’s now been a year since that. And the amount and it took a while to process through it. But it’s been the growth feeling the Yep, feeling. You’ll feel amazing. I never thought I would actually say that. That I actually just had a discussion this morning, and it was frozen. And I cried. And but I feel so good afterwards, because I feel so emotionally light because I just that 10 year old self is not there anymore. Well, I shouldn’t say that. But 10 year old self is still there. But she’s not weak anymore. Ah,

Kristen Carder 12:57
she’s not calling the shots. She’s not running the show. She’s not directing your life.

Sue Pieters 13:03
That’s right. And we actually worked through and gave her voice and I actually worked through speaking to that teacher. Ah,

Kristen Carder 13:11
oh my gosh, I’m covering and she’s not

Sue Pieters 13:14
like not like physically, but like we practiced. And he and my therapist said, Now pretend I’m that teacher. What do you want to tell me? Oh, that felt so great. And I was like, peace out. You’re no longer with me.

Kristen Carder 13:26
Wow. And did that allow you to feel like that was kind of like a closed chapter rather than something that was still nagging at you. Yeah.

Sue Pieters 13:38
Yeah. So but that also helped my ADHD healing, because then it made me feel like my ADHD isn’t weird. And it’s not holding me back. It’s the thing I have, it’s who I am sure. I can’t change it. It’s who I am.

Kristen Carder 13:52
But it’s also not your fault. And that’s what the teacher was trying to do is say, You’re the problem here, you’re doing everything wrong. You’re not trying hard enough. You’re watching too much TV. You’re being distracted. You’re like you are the problem. And so to reframe it as like, not ADHD is the problem and I am a delight.

Sue Pieters 14:12
That’s very fun.

Kristen Carder 14:16
Do you mind sharing with us? What you said to the teacher?

Sue Pieters 14:22
I think I just basically told him that he doesn’t get permission to tell me what I am. He doesn’t get permission to tell me that I cannot help. He doesn’t get permission in my life. That I’m sort of sharing.

Kristen Carder 14:44
Okay, so take me to the point where you had to advocate for yourself because you were experiencing physical symptoms that were out of the norm. Can we talk about that because that was prior to your joining Okay, just correct. Right. Okay. So, yeah, what was that like for you?

Sue Pieters 15:04
So in 2015, it was December 3, I woke up, and I could walk. My, and I was in extreme pain, you know, when you wake up in the morning and just do like your morning stretches. Like I couldn’t move my leg. And I didn’t understand what’s going on. I couldn’t stretch, and everything hurt, everything hurt. It’s a pain that I have never experienced. I have had pain, I have two children. So, you know, this pain was different. So I was able to be diagnosed within a week, which is very unheard of, again, the stars and the planets align for me to get the right doctors at the right time and everything aligned. I was diagnosed with a condition called transverse myelitis. It’s a cousin to Ms. Basically a lesion on my spine. So my life’s dot, like physically and literally. So what was even though I was untreated, on done anything with my ADHD, I had a full time job. So I had routine, I built a routine for me, I had to do things, even though it was retail, and I sort of had different shifts. It was 40 hours a week, everything was the same. It was scheduled and planned out for me. Now, my life, thought there was no schedule, there was no nothing. There was chronic pain, and with a neurological disorder for me, I don’t know if anybody else feels that way. So I don’t want to speak in broad terms. I’m gonna say for me, emotional pain, also was felt physically. Oh, wow. So it even and that’s even, that’s even happy, happy thing. I felt physically. So if anybody’s experienced nerve pain, or my pain was, I describe it as busy and inside, and you can’t take Tylenol, or Advil or any sort of thing to cure it. Because it’s air. And I had nerve damage. So I basically sat around and did nothing for a year and a half. Whoa, well, I did physiotherapy and like, had to go to a lot. I had a lot of appointments. Oh, you want to talk about exhaustion. There was appointments, I couldn’t drive. So I had to get people to take me to places I had to. So try and get ADHD to function, the multiple appointments in different cities. Because I live in a small town and everything is sort of like outside of us. So I had to, to organize things. And that’s really difficult. I definitely miss a couple of appointments. Yeah, I’m sure. Definitely late. Definitely missed a thing. I had to rely on a lot old to be my person. So I also had I think my kids were five and

Kristen Carder 18:18
oh, they were little. Oh, you have little kids. And you. Were you immobile. Were you able to walk by this point? Or like how long did that take?

Sue Pieters 18:28
So because I don’t want to say I was lucky, but I was lucky. It just below my hip. Okay, so I could move. Not well. Very slow. I had a walker. I was 34. And I had a walker. I couldn’t drive I did. Just for fun fact, my feet were always cold and my hands were always hot. So I live with heating pads on my feet. And I saw my hands. Like, I also had my kids were both in dance. And my seven year old just started her first year of competitive dance. I don’t know if there’d be any dance moms out there. Know what that like? That’s not easy. I didn’t have very many fine motor skills as well. So I had to try it. Yeah. By putting on false eyelashes on it on a seven year old with your hands so work good time. Though there was like, like I had to do all the things. But my my brain was that it didn’t have that routine anymore. But I did try and build a routine with having absolutely no guilt. Which was incredibly difficult. This was also really before, like Google Calendar really became a thing. Yeah, it’s not like now wherever Isn’t isn’t my count, like even the smallest things are in there. And I have no shame for

Kristen Carder 20:05
that. Yeah, same.

Sue Pieters 20:08
Not only was I physically like not able to do things mentally sometimes I was so exhausted that I couldn’t do things, I was able to fall asleep. Because I was just so tired. The guy would just crash. I remember we had to go to, like a family function. And I couldn’t even stay awake through that. There’s no tire.

Kristen Carder 20:32
You talked about like Spoon Theory, which I had referenced in the podcast on capacity. Yeah. And you mentioned that like, you are using spoons from decades in the future, like you were borrowing spoons constantly.

Sue Pieters 20:47
I was always borrowing spoons. i i Because I mean, I feel if moms were just borrowing spoons, anyway. Sure. Then you have to now I have to borrow physical spoons. But then I had to borrow emotional. A year before my illness. My daughter also had knee surgery. So we were all emotionally recovering from her major surgery, the we weren’t healed yet. If you want to talk about PTSD and trauma, we were still trying to handle that. Which is why I think my body was just so tired.

Kristen Carder 21:22
is a neurological disorder, like the one that you have. And I’ve experienced, is that potentially caused by trauma, and PTSD and emotional issues? Like is that a possible cause?

Sue Pieters 21:39
It may not be a possible cause. But it was caused by a cold. I got a cold and it’s autoimmune. So instead of going to, you know, my nose to fix everything and decide to go hang out with my back. But was my body just so emotionally weak, that a cold was able to knock me out the way that it did?

Kristen Carder 21:59
Wow. Okay, that makes sense. That makes sense. Yeah. So when

Sue Pieters 22:03
it hit me, I was already running on students from the your, from your eye going forward, the guy was already not functioning well. So if we go back to the spoon theory, and that’s when I had heard about this, in theory was when I tried to do some occupational therapy, and they tried to tell me about the theory. And they said, Well, you need to save your spoons. And I said, Yeah, I’m a mom. Please, no, that doesn’t work. On theory and momming isn’t. They don’t go well together. Yeah. Usually when the kids were younger, no. They would still wake up in the night and do things. Yeah. Just always tired. Loved it, though. Like, I’m not complaining about it. But that’s reality. Yes. So focusing, and trying to do like, was very difficult. Because I one didn’t have energy to focus. I too, didn’t have energy to do. Everything was falling apart. The house was a disaster. The kids missed appointments, I missed signing forms I missed. Oh, I felt bad. I miss signing my youngest up for a thing. And I still feel it this day. Like, I still regret it. Like, I still remember. Do I hold shame and all that stuff? No, but you know, do I wish that she could have got it? Yeah,

Kristen Carder 23:24

Sue Pieters 23:26
And in a time where you would think doing nothing would be the most calming. And I know that we all sort of experienced that, you know, sort of doing nothing for a while. But I mean, really, I did nothing. And one would think, and I know shirt is not the right word. I know that’s a bad word. But I’m gonna use that one should be able to organize life because I had nothing to do,

Kristen Carder 23:49

Sue Pieters 23:51
I couldn’t, couldn’t organize things. I couldn’t get the things I couldn’t. I was missing appointments. I had nothing to do all day. How could I forget that? I had to go see the neurology neurologist. You don’t forget those appointments when you have a chronic neurological disease. I forgot though. Everything was just so chaotic. I did not enjoy that feeling. Oh, gosh. Yeah. Okay. It wasn’t fun. Yeah. Basically. I loaded through it. It was not fun. Like it definitely strain relationship. Relationships being a parent relationship, being a wife relationship, being a daughter relationship, friendship. They all sort of went, what friendship definitely got left behind. Yeah. And people sort of moved on not and I don’t fault them for that. I wasn’t there. I wasn’t present. Yeah, because I forgot every so with my condition, guy said mental energy takes the pool, and I couldn’t okay. So even if I experienced being happy like a dance company Shouldn’t my daughter want a trophy? I didn’t come home and sleep. Yeah. Because I was excited statement caused fatigue. Wow. Wow. Like one would think they meant wouldn’t cause fatigue because you’d be running on adrenaline and you’d be running on, like all like, like dopamine, like a low. Yeah, like dopamine was exempt.

Kristen Carder 25:24
And now, a word from our sponsor. Hey, Kristen here. I’m the host of this podcast and 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 coach is, 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 two, 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, 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 today. So how does one heal from this kind of condition? Because when I met you two, was it two years ago, I think, right? I believe you are still struggling. And I’m curious, like what has been helpful to you in your healing journey.

Sue Pieters 27:15
Because my physical healing journey was early diagnosis. And I did take a lot of high dose steroids, which are not fun. But that helped me. Physiotherapy was amazing. But when I met you two years ago, I started a regression, if you will, I was losing function in i My body was not working the way that it had. Obviously, we had as a society been through some really stressful things. Right? We

Kristen Carder 27:45
were just coming out of the pandemic at this time, I believe. Yeah.

Sue Pieters 27:49
So and I and at home was not going very well, I I had, we had some home life challenges that I think I’ve shared with you that a daughter that was really struggling with things. And then who also has ADHD. Surprise. And so an online school and the stress of that that’s stressed that me back in my program. So I needed to go back to physiotherapy and retrain my nerve. Do things again, like I had to bring out my cane. Because I had lost the physical stress of trying to get through the stomach the physical stress of trying to do all this and not dwell. Put me back physically. Two years.

Kristen Carder 28:43
Oh, wow. Oh, that must have been so hard.

Sue Pieters 28:47
It was challenging, though, I was able to connect with an amazing physiotherapist. And I had actually been at the same physiotherapy clinic that she worked out of. So she had seen me, she saw me when I walked in with my walker. And I guess it was sort of like lunch room topic is that young girl coming in with a walker? Because she doesn’t look like she was in a car. It didn’t have any credit with Merrick acid in these bars, you know, like what’s going on? So she had sort of seen me progressing me walk out of there, essentially, without a walker later on, right? So she was around for that, again, because the small community I connected with somebody that that I really wanted to work with her and they made it happen. And so I got to work with her. And she said, we just need to retrain your brain. If you want to know what’s funny is that she also knows a lot of people with ADHD. So she was like, we need to train your brain slightly differently than the way I would train somebody out. Because she said you need to focus differently. So a lot of my physiotherapy exercises were slightly different same or different. So I had to do a lot of things with my eyes closed a lot of things with my eyes open, I wasn’t allowed to look at my feet, I had to, because I have to, I literally had to think to wiggle my toes. Oh, my goodness. Look at my toes and they move. So she knew that I needed to be treated differently. And she also knew that, because I needed to do exercise at home, she knew that I needed to be given them different. And taught differently. I needed to physically do it. She couldn’t just hand me a paper instead. So yeah, she knew I wasn’t even though they were so important to me. Yeah. So she was able to talk to me different. And it was so great. And so I worked with her for about a year. Actually, that was right around that time, that last coaching call that we had that was all right around that time. And she said some things that were very similar to you. He told me not only did they have to sort of deal with the trauma from childhood, she also said you need to grieve your and grieve what you left behind. And you need to grieve the loss. And I said, to me, grief is physical law. Like, like death? Sure. You know, like, like, you lost a job, you lost a person that to me is three. And she said, No, you lost who you were. Yeah. You You have lost your complete self identity. As even though we know we’re not supposed to identify as her job. Identified as my job identified as a mom identified as a person that could walk identified, like a Dr. Identified as somebody that could, I can do it now. But somebody that could braid braid hair, right, right. Like, I couldn’t do those things. And I can do all that now. But she said, You need to grieve that loss. And I didn’t understand what it meant. Because I was like, I don’t feel like I lost who I am. Yeah, I lost some things that I do. But like I haven’t, I’m still me, I’m still here. So she told me that you told me that. Here we are.

Kristen Carder 32:22
It’s so fascinating. And I appreciate you saying that because grief is such an important part of the journey of healing. It’s such an important part, whether we’re grieving, like, I came to an ADHD diagnosis late in life, like what, what maybe would my life have been before or I’m grieving? Like, I’m seeing my childhood through the lens of reality, and it was really, really destructive. And I’m grieving that or grieving like the person that I maybe would be if I was not dealing with this

Sue Pieters 32:59
illness. Right? Yeah. Grief is such

Kristen Carder 33:03
an important part of our lives that we don’t ever want to deal with. That’s not fun. Is that fun?

Sue Pieters 33:14
Once you deal with it? It’s much like, you know, how you talked about that ADHD tasks that we do? Like, check the email, like in your like, it took us five minutes, and then we were done with it. And like, Well, that was easy. Why didn’t I just do that first, not that dealing with grief is easy, but it sort of made me feel that wasn’t as bad as what I thought it was going to. Yeah. It wasn’t fun know what when I was done with it, like, wow, I sort of wish I did it sooner. But I know if I didn’t do it sooner. I wasn’t ready. But yeah, I’ve got full benefit from it. So good. If you want to tie it into the two focused, I joined two years ago. I joined because I was on tick tock like any normal person in 2021 Tick Tock. I saw this amazing woman, Dr. Thing, and she was talking about ADHD and making me feel normal, even though I told you normal is a drier setting. i She made me feel normal. She made me feel heard. And I don’t think that she knows the impact that she has on on changing my life. So shout out to Camden because honestly like that day that I saw her tick tock and she was playing your podcast. She was just a and you were talking I can’t remember what you’re talking about. But I heard that podcast and I was like that me. This can be me. This, this. I have the ability to do that. And I heard that

Kristen Carder 35:00
So everyone go to tick tock or Instagram and find Camden Haynesworth. She is a beloved member of our focus community. I had the privilege of training her as a coach last year. She is an incredible human. So make sure y’all go give her a follow. She’s the one that’s going to be dancing on tick tock, not your girl, Kristen Carter. I’m never gonna do it. I have paid Camden to do it. For me. That was like years ago, and I’m glad that I did. Because then I was able to welcome somebody like you sue into focus. But yeah, everyone go follow Camden. She’s amazing. So I

Sue Pieters 35:36
also got to be part of her coach training. Oh, cool. She did her coach training with me. I’ve actually been coached by her too. And that was just luck of the draw. So I don’t know, somehow I keep getting the good luck of the draw with all these things. You really do like

Kristen Carder 35:50
you’ve been dealt, you’ve been dealt a couple, like really tough hands, so to speak. But you’ve also really been taken care of, in some ways, and I’m so glad to

Sue Pieters 36:00
see that. And Camden, like, honestly, if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here. Well, maybe I would have, but I wouldn’t have found this path as easy. did. That’s amazing. Yeah. So thanks again. Awesome.

Kristen Carder 36:18
So you found the podcast,

Sue Pieters 36:20
I found the podcast. And I’m gonna do another shout out. And I’m gonna sound like a weird fan girl. And I know we talked about this, but I want to make sure that this person knows that I’m not weird and stalkery. So I heard a very similar podcast to this. You were talking to focus members. And you were talking about how focus help people and how what they have exactly the same thing that we’re doing right now. And then there was a couple of people on there, but the person that stuck out the most was Fonzie. And even though we’re on different continents, we’re a different continent. We are totally completely different people. She has a different life than I do. She was speaking as if it was me talking, how she was describing struggles she was having, and how she was able to work through those struggles and be on a healing journey. I thought I want that to be me. I want that feeling of having a path forward. I want to be able to have an option of having a path because at that time, I didn’t feel like I had a path. Because I lost my job. I’m I was working part time. Basically what that felt like physically do. And even that was a struggle. And when I heard her talking, I don’t even know what she was talking about. But the way that she sounded with calmness and with ease, and before this was hard, and now this is not as hard. Like I want that feeling. She said that and I actually didn’t sign up. I signed up for individual coaching. Oh. Because I thought, Oh, I don’t want to do group coaching. That’s weird. I don’t want to share my story. I don’t want to share it out here. I’m on a podcast.

Kristen Carder 38:21
The iron it’s so good.

Sue Pieters 38:23
I don’t want to tell anybody about my, my anything.

Kristen Carder 38:26
I’m so glad you’re saying this though. Because I think a lot of people do have that thought that like, which is fine. Like focus is not for everybody. And that’s totally fine. But I think that that is one of the drawbacks is like, oh like to be vulnerable in a group. Like I don’t want that. So you saw it one on one individual coaching. And did you find that to be helpful?

Sue Pieters 38:51
No. Oh, because it wasn’t. And this is nothing against that coach because I imagined this coach listen to this podcast. It was nothing against that coach. It was because I needed rigid no not rigid because you’re programming is rigid, but I needed structure. Because I didn’t I didn’t know what I wanted to quote unquote fix. Because I had nothing. I didn’t have a job that I was struggling with. I didn’t have anything that I was sort of like struggling with but I was just struggling to like be yeah, there’s no specific thing. But I didn’t know what I wanted to fix this. Like I didn’t know what I’m using air quotes.

Kristen Carder 39:34

Sue Pieters 39:38
I did my 10 sessions with with that coach and realize that I needed to join focus. I did, I signed up and I did nothing. I did nothing. I floated through. You know, I started I was in I came to it Few calls I did I think I actually did a coaching session. It was so weird. I wasn’t focused. I didn’t know what I wanted, you know. And so all over the place. It wasn’t until last year, which again, last year was sort of the year last year, I turned 40. Yeah, we had a lot to do with it, where I was just very impatient, and just sort of told myself that I needed, I needed to do this then to quit procrastinating, like, just do it, just love. So that’s when I really started working through the program. And also, that’s when, like the focus had changed to the tier system. And even though I was already an A Lister, because I had already been in there for a year, I told myself, I needed to treat myself like a new customer, a new client. Oh, I love that. And I also because I had listened to one of your calls about shame and guilt, that I had no shame and guilt of going back and being a new person, even though I should have completed everything because I’m an A Lister, and I’ve been here for a year and it’s really funny that even though I was there for a year, like you have to do stuff. Oh. Like, it’s not like osmosis, not like, Oh, I’ve been here for a year. I’m scared, right? To do some work. It’s good. So that’s when I really started investing in everything. So I went back in the private podcast, I didn’t feel any shame or guilt if I missed calls. Because I remembered my favorite person lives on a different continent and probably doesn’t listen to a lot of the calls anyways, because she’s in a different timezone. Yeah. She’s listening to the recorded calls and had that sort of excess. Why can I

Kristen Carder 41:57
So wait, we’re still an I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable. I want to actually like highlight. You still have problems in your brain? Like all the time, it frenzies doing this, I can do it too. All the time, that it’s so beautiful, though, I think it’s beautiful. But don’t we all need someone that we’re looking to as a model? And so many of us just never got that in like from a parent or from an aunt or an uncle or a teacher? Like when you’re surrounded by people who are not that? Like how lucky are we to be alive in 2023, when somebody that lives in Germany, or actually now England can be your like inspiration. And you can have a picture of like, like a map of like, I can follow in those footsteps. And I can do it too.

Sue Pieters 42:52
Yeah. So much. It’s very weird that and I’ve never talked to her. I’ve I’ve been on calls and she’s been on I’ve never talked to her. I’ve never supported this. So I hope

Kristen Carder 43:03
that she’s okay with this. She’s gonna love it. I really think she will.

Sue Pieters 43:07
But honestly, her telling her story. Again, I can’t even remember what it was. But her feeling the feeling that she had in her story. Yeah, what I resonated with. And that was what I want.

Kristen Carder 43:19
Let me ask you a question. And I’m not looking for any specific answer. This is truly curiosity. Do you feel like you got what you wanted? Or are you still in process?

Sue Pieters 43:33
Yeah, I think I’m in process. But I have that feeling of confidence. have that feeling where a path is going? I don’t know where it’s going. But I actually have a path. And I have this feeling of calmness, I have this feeling of understanding of why am I have the feeling of it’s okay. To struggle. And it’s okay to ask for help. And it’s okay to talk to. I mean, essentially, you’re a stranger, but I mean, you’re not a stranger anymore. But it was okay to talk to a different to a stranger in a different country. I’m in Canada, even though you’re not that far away from me. It’s okay to do all those things. Because if I don’t do it, do I want to having the same feelings that I’m feeling? To say yes, I have found what I was looking for. And that now I’m in the process of trying to figure out essentially what I want to do when I grow up, because I’ve had to really change everything in my life. My, my prospects that I was having in the company was I tried, you know, I, I sort of had to, you know, have in big companies, they have career goals, and they make you do all the things. I had done all of those things, and I was I had a plan. Yeah. And now I have two three You’re on what I want to do when I grew up at 41. Which is super scary, and super not fun, cause like, I also have to care for people. And I also have to, you know, even though my kids are now teenagers, I still have to, you know, make sure they eat actually more, I have to make sure they eat more now, when they were little, I resonate with that. And they need to be in I’m basically like a free Uber driver. I’m sure you Oh, yeah. That’s great. So yeah, I have found what I’m looking for. As the I found a path, I don’t know where the path is going. Is there probably lots of different apps on that path? Yes. But they actually found a path. For me. That’s what I was looking for. And I found it in the self concept. And I had to do it three times.

Kristen Carder 45:57
You did that course three times.

Sue Pieters 45:59
I did. You see the book, because you told me that I don’t have to do the workbook. And there’s no wrong way of doing it. I tried the workbook. And I was like, no, too much trauma and built up from school. So no, yeah. I’m gonna listen. And I listened to it. And then I went back and I watched it. Yeah. And then I went back, and I listened to it. For the very first course, even though I’d been here for two years, I had to redo three times, figure out what I wanted. Yeah. Or I still don’t really want but like to figure out that path creation of how I wanted to go through it. Now I have option. And now I sort of, I know who I am. And I know what I want.

Kristen Carder 46:44
applause to all the applause everywhere. I just love it. Because the person sitting in front of me is not the 10 year old girl who was rejected, who was made to be the problem, who was carrying around the weight of shame and self blame and self judgment that was imposed by somebody else. The person sitting in front of me as a grown woman, I feel it. I sense I sense it so deeply. And the fact that you are still in process of figuring out what you want, but you have the confidence to know that like, you’re gonna get there, you’re going to figure it out. Like that’s not a problem. I don’t sense urgency. I don’t sense panic. I sense a groundedness in, I know who I am now. And now I’m gonna go figure out what I want.

Sue Pieters 47:38
Yeah. You know how I said, I wanted that feeling. I found that feeling and having that feeling is absolutely amazing. And I yeah, I’m still a work in progress, they still have a lot to go, you know, but I know that I can do it.

Kristen Carder 48:00
As we wrap up here, I’m wondering if you have any words of encouragement for any of our listeners who have ADHD, and struggle with chronic pain.

Sue Pieters 48:11
I think that, for me, is being your own advocate. And going through and finding a group of people that understand your feeling, I was very fortunate that I found a Facebook group. Again, I found a group of strangers all over the world, that were able to help me feel normal. Again, I don’t like that word. But I felt normal. I felt hurt. I felt understood. So being able to find that community of people to connect with Tuesday, my hands feel like I was holding on to a blender all day. Somebody would say, I know what that feels like. Do you know how amazing that is? When somebody says I understand and finding your community and not expecting and not looking for it necessarily in the most traditional way? Yeah, thinking What 2023 in the world that we live in. We have to look outside we have to look differently we don’t need to be in a box I think that would be the biggest thing is and surround yourself with the people that don’t make you feel guilty for saying no

Kristen Carder 49:40
but so big. That’s so big, just as a human Yeah. But then add in a human with ADHD and add an a human with ADHD who also experiences chronic pain, chronic illness.

Sue Pieters 49:53
Yeah. I had to say no to things is that I can’t do it. I went to an event and I fell asleep that is I was in so much pain, sitting still so much pain from having to walk into the event. And I said, I don’t want to feel that anymore because I felt like I was disrespecting the people that I went with chairs, disrespecting the person that it was speaking, even though they couldn’t have been. But for me to be able to then say to my friends, I’m sorry, I can’t make it today. I’m really tired. And there was a small group of people that totally understood that. And that, what got me through. Yeah. And lastly, asking for help, doesn’t make you doesn’t make you a weak person. Honestly, I had to ask for somebody to come and do my dishes. I’m, I’m a grown up. I should be able to do my dishes. But I couldn’t hold onto the plate and stand. Yeah, yeah, I needed somebody to come and do the dishes. And I had a wonderful friend come over and do my dishes for me. And then she hung out with me for 10 minutes. She brought me coffee. And then she did the dishes. We talked and I said, I’m gonna fall asleep. And she said, Okay, great. And she left. And I don’t think she knows how much of an impact that was because I got to save those five spoons. Or when my kids came home, I got to talk to them.

Kristen Carder 51:27
Oh, that’s so beautiful. That’s so beautiful. That’s so beautiful. So thank you so much for being here. Thank you for tolerating the emotional labor of what goes into just sharing your story. I know it’s a lot. And like, you deserve a nap. After this. We will. Okay, good. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being here. I so appreciate you. I’m so honored to have you in our program. And it’s just, it’s just a joy. I just feel so lucky.

Sue Pieters 52:02
Oh, thank you. Thank you for giving us the space to be asked and not be ashamed to be asked with all of our weird and wacky perks and our fun sharing of infor information that nobody needed to know.

Kristen Carder 52:18
So great. I love it. If you’re being treated for your ADHD, but you still don’t feel like you’re reaching your potential you’ve got to join focused. It’s my monthly coaching membership where I teach you how to tame your wild thoughts and create the life that you’ve always wanted. No matter what season of life you’re in or where you are in the world. Focus is for you. All materials and call recordings are stored in the site for you to access at your convenience. Go to Ihaveadhd.com/focused for all the info.

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