I HAVE ADHD PODCAST - Episode #263

May 14, 2024

Everything On My Mind Lately No. 2

I’m back with another “everything but the kitchen sink” podcast episode. 

Honestly, I was struggling with my capacity to create content for the podcast. So, I’m honoring the capacity I have. Because ADHD is all about meeting yourself where you’re at, right?

If you’re looking for tips and tricks on improving your life with ADHD, I might steer you to the other 250 podcast episodes we’ve recorded. This one is more of a wild look into my mind at the moment. So, buckle up.

I’m sharing some hot takes on a book I recently read that I wanted to throw against a wall, discussing a super ADHD-friendly book I highly recommend, and giving you TMI about what’s been happening in my family lately.

I’m offering my thoughts on turning 43 a couple of weeks ago and what it’s made me realize about life in general and, more specifically, my ever-evolving ADHD journey.

But also I’ve got a huge announcement about something I’m currently working on. Spoiler: it’s one of the reasons my creative capacity has been zapped in most areas of my life lately. If nothing else, listen until you get to that point.

I hope you enjoy this look into what’s happening in Kristen’s crazy brain!

Podcast episode referenced in this episode:

A Beginner’s Guide to ADHD, Part 2: ADHD is (NOT) a Gift



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Kristen Carder

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. What’s up? This is Kristen Carter and you are listening to the I have ADHD podcast. I am medicated, I am caffeinated. I am a regulated and I’m ready to roll.

How are you? Great to have you here with me, I am just recording another one of these everything on my mind lately episodes for a couple of reasons. Number one, I’ve never gotten so much feedback on an episode as I did on the everything on my mind episode from a couple months ago. So that’s reason number one.

Reason number two is I just could not pump out a podcast today. I don’t know what it is about the last couple of weeks. But I’m just struggling, I’m struggling with my capacity to create new content. And that’s just something that I’m taking a look at, I don’t think it means I’m a bad person, I don’t think it means I’m bad at my job, I don’t think it means I need to like throw in the towel with the podcast. But I do need to reevaluate my process and just make sure everything is smooth so that I have the capacity. If you struggle with a varying capacity, you’re in the right place. And I just want to say same.

And I also want to say there’s nothing moral about a fluctuating capacity, sometimes you’ve got it in you to do the things and sometimes you just don’t. And for some reason, which I have yet to discover, I just haven’t had it in me to create new podcast content other than making it pretty simple for myself. So here we are, the way that I manage a fluctuating capacity is when my capacity is low, I work so hard to make everything as easy as possible, I take away all of the resistance that I that I can possibly take away. And so this is that inaction.

And I hope that I can be an example for you of just how to be kind and gentle and nice to yourself. And to honor the capacity that you have not to expect yourself to have some magical robotic, same every day or same every week capacity. But understanding that as a neurodivergent human being, things are going to fluctuate, you’re going to you’re going to ebb and flow. And sometimes you’re going to be like I’m amazing, I can’t believe how much I got done. And then other times, you’re just gonna wonder, like how you’re even existing as a human and hate every task that’s in front of you and just not want to do anything. And my friend. That’s where I am right now, actually, I’m not hating every task. So that is interesting. But this like deep work flow task is a little bit harder. I’m gonna circle back to this later, because I think one of the reasons why my capacity for podcasting might be a little smaller is because of something really exciting that I’m working on, on the side. But I’m going to get to that. Let me tell you what we’re going to be talking about today so that you can decide whether or not you want to stick around.

My birthday is tomorrow. My birthday is tomorrow, we’re going to be talking about that. I’m going to announce something that I’m doing that I think is pretty exciting and monumental. I’m going to elaborate on the book that I wanted to throw against the wall. Maybe you heard me say that a couple of weeks ago, I’m going to tell you about a super ADHD friendly book that I’ve read that I think will be extremely helpful to those of you who struggle with self care and care tasks like laundry dishes, organizing, cleaning your house, that kind of thing. And then I’m going to give you a little bit of TMI too much information about my family, and my son’s journey in the autism spectrum evaluation process. So that’s what we’re talking about today. That sounds fun and interesting to you. Amazing. Keep listening. If you’re like wait a second, I thought this was a podcast about learning how to survive with ADHD it is but it’s also just me reflecting my life to you. But if you want to tips and trick podcasts, listen, we’ve got over 250 have added go listen, enjoy every second.

So what I’m going to start today is just talking about the fact that my birthday is tomorrow, and I’m going to be 43 And that’s just an interesting time of life. I’m entering midlife by no means do I think I I’m at midlife, but we’re like getting there. There’s a lot of transitions in my life, I don’t have little kids anymore. My youngest son turned 10 this year. So it’s just like a different season of life that I’m stepping into. And I’ve made a lot of changes in the last couple years regarding my husband’s work regarding my relationship with my family of origin, regarding kind of what I allow in to my life, and things are really, really different. As I reflect on who I’ve become, and just all of the changes that are made, I have a lot of satisfaction. And I feel very grounded and comfortable in my own skin.

But there’s also a measure of sadness, and realizing that my life, in some ways didn’t turn out the way that I thought it would, especially in relationships. I’m just gonna go ahead and let that kind of dwindle, especially in some relationships. There’s some grief there. And acknowledging that and honoring that, I think is a really important part of my journey. And so I’m just honoring that. But something that’s really wonderful is, as I said, I do feel more comfortable in my own skin, I do finally feel like a grown up. It took me 243 To truly feel like a grown up. Now I attribute this to a couple of things, I attribute it to the work that I’ve done in therapy, I attribute it to a lot of self trust work that I’ve done. I don’t think that we ADHD ears have like out of the box programming. For self trust, I think that is mostly work that we have to do on our own to feel grounded and grown, of course, many of us have experienced quite a bit of trauma.

And so our self trust maybe was eroded by the people around us and also being no divergent in a neurotypical world sets you up for a lack of self trust. But I think also just the neurodivergent experience, or at least my experience as someone with ADHD is just knowing that I have these skill deficits makes it really hard for me to trust myself and my own experience and feel grounded and grown. Feel like I can walk into, for example, a parent teacher meeting and not feel like I’m the one getting in trouble. I feel like I can receive a call from the principal today, saying that my child has cut class once again, true story. And not feel as though I’m the one that is being pulled into the principal’s office getting in trouble. But just having a very amicable back and forth grown up conversation with the principal and and not having like a shame spiral about it. Being able to make decisions for my family, being able to make decisions around my time. Like these are things that have been new to me in the last couple years because of the work of coaching and therapy and just really diving into self trust work.

And that has been so helpful to me. And another thing that I’m reflecting on is that I am happier. Just in my life in general, just with the mundane, boring, normal, you know, dumb stuff of life. I’m happy obering My kids around from, you know, soccer, to swim to water polo and all the things like I’m happy doing that I’m calm and satisfied and more peaceful with just like folding laundry and doing dishes. And I never think like, Ah, this never ends, I’m just kind of more satisfied. And I think that maybe that comes with age. And also seeing how much pain there is in the world and working with clients daily, who have, you know, really intense struggles and just being able to feel so much gratitude for the laundry that I get to fold. And now oh my gosh, that sounded so gross.

Like just feeling so much gratitude for the home that I get to clean and for the car that I get to drive my kids around in and do I sound like an old person I feel like I do. And I’m okay with it like this. It you know, I used to kind of roll my eyes at people who quote unquote, had perspective and we’re calm and grounded and peaceful and grateful. And now I’m getting to that point. I’m just like, oh, yeah, this is actually what I’ve always wanted. And that’s, that’s really nice. So yeah, 43 happy. I have zero plans for my birthday. I’m lucky that it’s in May. And so I get to, you know, hopefully enjoy a warm day. And we have soccer practice and the boys have us grew but we’re probably going to do it out dinner, and it’s just gonna be really simple.

And I’m really happy about that we don’t even have plans to go out this weekend and like, it’s fine. I’m just really, I feel loved I feel celebrated in my life. And I don’t, I don’t know, I’m definitely gonna have a big, amazing party for my 50th birthday, for sure. But 43 No, this is gonna be simple, probably go for a walk, definitely will work. gotta teach a couple classes tomorrow. And that’s it.

One of the things that I am going to do in my 43rd year is write a book. And that is official, I’m so I am so convinced that the book that I have in my brain and in my body needs to be written, and I can’t wait to write it. And so I am pumped about that, get ready to hear all about it right now, I can’t tell you much other than I did sign with a literary agent. So that’s really exciting. And she’s been helping me to kind of create an outline about first, like narrowed down on a book topic, create an outline. Now we’ve done chapter outlines. And I’m pretty much ready to get actual writing, like start writing sentences, which is wild. So that’s an awesome process. And then in the next couple of months, we will be submitting a book proposal, and hopefully signing with an editor and getting a book deal and all of that really fun stuff. And I am so looking forward to making this contribution to the ADHD community. And it’s just, uh, it’s, it’s massive, I have not had the capacity to do this. I’ve wanted to write a book for years. But I knew that I did not have the capacity. And now I feel like I do.

One of the reasons why I feel like I do have the capacity is because I still am not drinking alcohol. And it has freed up so much space, emotionally and mentally. For me, it is allowed me to start sleeping so much better. It’s allowed me to start, like really functioning in the mornings earlier, it’s allowed me to get more work done throughout the day. Sidenote here, I know, I’ve been saying that I haven’t been able to do a podcast. And now I’m saying that stopping drinking has, has helped me with my capacity. And I understand that those two are not congruent. And I don’t know what to tell you. But I have seen a marked difference in my capacity for dreaming and for being able to think about the future and make a plan and get this book writing process off the ground. So I really don’t know if I will ever go back to drinking regularly. And that’s just where I’m at with it. Do I miss it? Yes. I hate how much I miss it. I truly do. I hate it. It’s so annoying. It’s been four full months, all of January, February, March, April. Without you know, regular drinking. I’ve had two drinks total in the last four months, partially because I didn’t want to be super black and white about it. And like I’m never allowed to drink again. Like I just wanted to be like, chill about it.

But I’m not drinking at home. I’m not drinking in Pennsylvania. They’re not drinking in my home state, you know, and that has made a difference. And so like I said, I don’t know, like, I probably will never go back to drinking regularly. Which is shocking, because it wasn’t such a big part of my life. Such a big part of my life. But I can’t even explain to you what a difference it has made for me to stop. And so the benefits definitely outweigh the cost. But the cost is still there, my friend cuz gosh, do I love the taste of wine? Gosh, do I love how it makes me feel for the first hour or two? And so yeah, there’s definitely a cost. But I’m very, very happy with this choice. Maybe someday I will do a full episode on it. But right now I just have reflections. Right now I just have some reflections.

So yeah, Kristin Carter writing a book this year. Super daunting process. But I am up for the challenge. And this is probably why I have not had much capacity to think through podcasting stuff is because I’m thinking about my book. And so I need to figure out a better system. And I will be talking to my coach about this tomorrow. Like how can I give my brain space to dream about the podcast and topics and things that I want to talk about on the podcast, and also have the capacity and space to be thinking about the book and writing the book I hope I hope I can do both. Fingers crossed time will tell.

Speaking of books, the book that I wanted to throw against the wall when I read it which I believe I will continue to not name. Because I think the authors are kind and generous humans who want to do well, and to have hearts of gold, I think. But I think they missed the mark with this book, it comes out today, not the day that you’re listening to this, but the day that I’m recording it. And so I’m a little activated by that just knowing that it’s out there, that it’s probably going to be talked about on all of the TV channels, and Good Morning America and all of the things and it just makes me really, really upset. And so I want to say that I really encourage you to beware of toxic positivity in the mental health space. That is what I want our takeaway to be from books like this, we need to truly be aware of the harm that toxic positivity causes in the mental health space. I think that there is an important question to be asked, which is why do we need to put a positive spin on a mental health disorder? Why and why is ADHD, the mental health disorder, the prized one that everyone wants to spin positively?

I think mainly the big reason why is that a lot of parents have children who are being diagnosed with ADHD and they would never want their child to feel badly about themselves. And so there is this, because we, we struggle to hold negative emotion in our own bodies. We want to put a positive spin on the diagnosis for our child so that they don’t have to experience negative emotion in their bodies. As if putting a pretty label, like a gift or awesome on ADHD for our child makes them feel any better. Like I promise you, it doesn’t run with your doesn’t. I spent 10 years working with kiddos who many of them had ADHD prior to this job that I have right now. And listen, they all knew that they were struggling, they all were frustrated. They all just wanted validation. And for someone to say like yeah, this sucks. I’m sorry that you’re struggling. I’m here to help you. I’m here to help you. And there’s a reason why you’re struggling. It’s not because you’re lazy or stupid or dumb or crazy. Or fill in the blank. not trying hard enough. That’s not why you’re struggling. The reason is ADHD. Now if ADHD is a gift, or if it’s a superpower, or if it’s awesome. We can’t assign our struggles to ADHD because it’s awesome. So I guess I’m the problem. Right now. Okay, so now. So beware of toxic positivity within the mental health community. It doesn’t do us any good. It doesn’t do us any good. You are the gift. You have so many superpowers. Don’t delegate the good things about yourself to ADHD.

Don’t give ADHD credit for how amazing you are. Don’t do that you are amazing. Because you have innate gifts that you were created with because you have so much compassion and kindness and you’re justice oriented and you’re hilarious. And whatever you fill in the blank, empathetic, like, those things are amazing about you. It’s not ADHD, that’s amazing. It is she’s annoying. He is hard. He makes her life worse, not better. Don’t delegate the amazing things about you to ADHD, don’t give it credit. It is you don’t deserve the credit for who you are. You are incredible. And it’s not ADHD that makes you incredible. It’s who you are as a person. It’s your innate worthiness. It’s your personality. It’s who you were created to be in the contribution that you make to the world. It’s the way that you love the people around you. It’s not ADHD that’s awesome about you. It’s your gifts. It’s your it’s the amazing things about you.

Getting hot, I’m getting hot. Okay, I’m getting hot. Now. Um, if this is resonating with you, I highly recommend episode 238 of this podcast. It’s called a beginner’s guide to ADHD. Part two, ADHD is not a gift and I rant for like the entire 30 minutes about this topic. So if this is resonating with you go check out that episode. I actually just listened to it recently, because I was feeling all kinds of ways about this. And I think it was it’s a great episode, so I think you’re gonna love it. Something else I want to say though, is that while toxic positivity isn’t great, neither is toxic negativity. Okay, so victim mentality, feeling like you’re you’re broken that you’re never going to be enough that you’re that you can never make progress. That’s also not okay. And it’s not true. Okay, we want to steer away from toxic positivity, we also want to steer away from toxic negativity, from the victim mentality of like, well, great. Now I have this mental health disorder, which means I’m never going to amount to anything not true.

Not true, you may need much more support than the average human. But you can do what you put your mind to when you are well supported. So step number one is put the support in place, so that you can function at baseline level, okay? In my opinion, the truth is somewhere in the middle, we don’t want toxic positivity, we don’t want toxic negativity, but we just want to be realistic. We want to identify our struggles and own them and acknowledge them and put in lots of support for ourselves in a compassionate way.

So that we can do the things that we know we’re meant to do. And that we can allow ourselves to be creative and productive, and the kind of friend and partner and parent that we that we want to be, but we really won’t be able to do that without support. The reason for that is ADHD. Right. So because we have ADHD, or fill in the blank with your mental health condition, we’re going to need extra support. So we’re not looking at the world through the lens of toxic positivity, which is like ADHD is amazing. It’s awesome. It’s a gift. It’s a superpower. Like no, get out of here with that. But we’re also not looking through the lens of toxic negativity, which is like, Woe is me. I’m never going to be able to do anything. Now my life is over. I knew I was broken in the first place. No, that’s toxic negativity. Get out of here with that to the truth. Reality is likely somewhere in the middle, you’re going to need extra support.

And you can succeed really quickly. As we transition to the next topic, I want to shout out Casey Davis and her book How to keep house while drowning. I have been recommended this book many times by clients. And I just never bought the darn book. And I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I always intended to I was like sounds good. Yeah, I’ll definitely read it. And then I just never did. I finally finally finally after a client recommended it to me for like the 20th time, bought the book, ironically drowned the book with my water bottle that’s tipped over. So I had to buy another copy of the book. But it is a fantastic book, How to keep house while drowning by Casey Davis. This is a beautiful book, if you struggle with self care, if you struggle with around the house tasks. If you feel like a failure when it comes to your home or your car or your living spaces. You really need to read this book. I just reached out to her and asked if she would come on the podcast. So I really, really, really hope she does. If she doesn’t, I will do a whole episode on like a book summary. But I’m hoping to get her on the podcast to talk about it herself. I read this book this afternoon while avoiding podcasting. Okay, I read the whole book this afternoon. So it’s a really simple but profound read. And I just really want to recommend it to especially those of you who feel like, why can’t I just fill in the blank? Do the dishes, do the laundry, shower, brush my teeth? Why can’t I just I need you to read this book, How to keep house while drowning. It probably would be helpful for all of you.

But I think it would be especially helpful for those of you who struggle with home and self care tasks. Yeah, I could go on and on. It’s it is a wonderful, wonderful book. Alright, the last thing that I want to chat about today is that we did receive an autism level one diagnosis for one of my kiddos. And I just wanted to talk a little bit about that experience. It’s been a month now that we’ve been in the diagnosis process. And there’s a couple of reasons behind why we reached out for a diagnosis. In our focused ADHD coaching membership. We have a Slack community, and things that were being posted in that Slack community by Audi HD adults or adults with autism and ADHD who are in our program. I’m saying our program. It’s my program I guess I just want to share it with you. So it’s ours in our program, things that autistic ADHD adults were posting in the Slack community were really alerting me to like, Hmm, that sounds like my kiddo. And as I began to think about it, you know, just remembering that from the time that he was little I did think that he He was autistic.

And I asked every single pediatrician and every single teacher and anybody that I could kind of get my hands on whether or not they felt that he was autistic. And everyone said, Oh, he’s so verbal. He talks so much look at how he makes eye contact with you. There’s no way that he’s autistic, he’s just quirky. And we had our kids evaluated three years ago, and even when he went through that diagnosis process, and I said to the evaluator, I think that he might be autistic, she came back with a different diagnosis and kind of explained a way, autism. And, you know, the diagnosis did make sense. And he felt like it was very validating. And so we just, I just kind of let it alone. And then people within the community in the focus community, were talking about their experience as autistic adults.

And I like red flags, just I think it was more than red flags. It was like alarm bells were going off in my brain. So I have a sister who is autistic, and she was diagnosed in Philadelphia by this practice. And so I called scheduled a diagnosis evaluation for my kiddo. In the midst of that, you know, I asked my son, hey, what do you think about being evaluated for autism? And he looks at me and says, Mom, I already told you, I’m autistic. And I was like, Excuse me? What? What? Excuse me What?

And it’s true. I did not remember. But he did tell me one time kind of in passing. He remembers it very clearly. I remember it vaguely, but I do remember it. His reality is a spot on him saying, I think I’m autistic. And at the time, we were in therapy for something else. And we were working with other mental health diagnoses, and we were changing medications. And I was just like, okay, okay, well, let’s kind of continue down this track first, and see where that leads us. And if we don’t feel like you’re making improvements, we’ll circle back to autism. And then I promptly forgot about it, because I have ADHD, I totally forgot about that conversation. So when I said to him, hey, what do you think about being screened? And he said, yeah, duh, I already think that I’m autistic. I feel like a terrible mother. I felt like a terrible mother. But he accepted my apology when I was like, I’m so sorry that I forgot about that.

And so we just proceeded with the diagnosis process, what it looks like, for us was a meeting with my husband, and the doctor. So just the two of us alone with the doctor. And we had an hour long meeting, just talking about our experience with with our kiddo. And then we filled out a ton of paperwork. I’m talking many, many, many evaluation, you know, self reporting, only what to call them questionnaires. Yeah, lots of questionnaires. Then our son met with him twice, and filled out his own set of questionnaires. And then we met together and had a meeting. And he sent us a report. And lo and behold, autism level one.

So that’s a really interesting experience. Really, really interesting. I have always suspected that it was there. But after having probably 10 to 15 people say no, I don’t think he’s autistic. He’s just quirky. I put it out of my mind, especially after he was evaluated, you know, a couple years ago, and I was told that he wasn’t. What this doctor pointed out was, the evaluator from a couple years ago, did autism screenings, but never reported them in the report. So I’m just gonna leave that right there. I was just so overwhelmed by all the information in the report, I didn’t even notice that she didn’t include that particular test in the report. So I truly do not know what he scored on that test. I’m surprised that she didn’t just say, Hey, I did administer this test. He doesn’t meet the criteria. Here’s where he landed. I just don’t understand. I don’t understand but that that is what happened.

So I guess that I’m telling you this because number one, I enjoy sharing my life with you. And it’s very cathartic to process it out loud on this podcast. But also, I want you to know that if you feel like there’s just more going on and that you’re not getting answers, it’s okay to get a second opinion. It’s okay to go for a reevaluation. It’s okay to keep digging until you find answers. It’s so interesting, because when we did get the written report and I read like autism level one, I immediately was flooded with self doubt. I immediately thought to myself, What if I miss reported? What if I miss represented my kiddo? What if I gave wrong or false information? What if I was skewing the data? It was a very interesting experience.

And I really had to work through and bring in all of myself trust tools, like no, you’ve thought this since he was 18 months old. And you’ve only told the truth. And this is actually a validation of reality, it’s a validation of the truth. And so the self doubt makes sense. But it doesn’t need to be here. This is such an interesting experience. So now I get to learn so much more about autism. And I hope that that will only help, you know, this podcast and the listeners who are listening who are ADHD and autistic, or those of you who are parenting kiddos who are autistic. I’m looking forward to learning and growing, I really have some, I think, internalized ableism to work out with this truly. And so, you know, there’s this whole self acceptance process when learning about ADHD. And that took me a couple years to truly accept who I was and, and stop trying to fit myself into a neurotypical box. But, you know, looking now at my son through the lens of autism, it changes things.

And yeah, I’m going to really be needing to learn a lot. And I’m going to need to work on accepting Him and His neurodiversity, for who he is, and not trying to fit them into a box, which I’m pretty good at. But I’m still just a human who wants kids to be a certain way so that I can function in my home. And I need to be careful. And I see that I do. Here’s the thing.

The way that I’ve described it with my kiddo is I hear water running with this particular kiddo. And we received a diagnosis. And that turned off one of the faucets. And so there was less water, but there was still water. And then we received another diagnosis. And that turned off on the faucets. And that was great. That that was so helpful, and so wonderful, and the therapies and the medication and everything that we’ve been doing for those two diagnoses, and we’ve turned off the faucets. And that water is not running any any more.

But there’s still been this drip, drip, drip. And it hasn’t been super loud. But it’s been there. And I’m like, there is still water running. Where is this water coming from? What is happening? And it turns out that that fosse it was autism spectrum disorder. And I’m so happy to know and I’m so looking forward to helping my kiddo understand himself better. I want to help him to understand who he is, how he can support himself, how he can really be himself in a safe way in our neurotypical world. And I’m so glad that this is happening. While he’s under my roof, what a privilege to be able to work together with him on this, so I’m super pumped about that.

Anyway, that’s my whole life story. You’ve heard it now. It’s probably too much information. But there it is. There’s all of it. I adore you. Thank you for being here. If you love the free flow nature of this podcast, let me know I will do more of them. And if you hated it, let me know and I will do less. I am here to serve you. That’s why I’m here. I’m here to serve you.

And I’m here to make sure that ADHD adults do not feel alone in this world. You are not alone. Okay? And I’m going to be right back here next week. I can’t wait to talk to you then.

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 understand the way that your brain works. That’s why I created focus. Focused 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. Does it Ihaveadhd.com/focused to learn more.

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