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ADHD Coach Insights
In this insightful interview, Tonya talks with Arianna Bradford, an expert on ADHD and founder of the “Chase the Chaos” digital summit. Arianna shares her personal experiences with ADHD, discussing the challenges she faced growing up, the impact of her diagnosis, and her journey of self-discovery. She emphasizes the importance of understanding the diverse manifestations of ADHD and highlights the misconceptions surrounding the condition.
Throughout the interview, Arianna addresses common stereotypes about ADHD, debunking the myths and explaining how ADHD affects individuals differently. She emphasizes that ADHD is not solely a childhood disorder and provides valuable insights into the specific challenges adults with ADHD may encounter.
Arianna sheds light on executive functioning and the difficulties it poses for people with ADHD, including time management, organization, and impulsivity. She discusses strategies to cope with these challenges, such as creating routines, using reminders, and employing various tools and apps.
The conversation delves into the relationship between ADHD and emotional regulation, highlighting the heightened emotional sensitivity often experienced by individuals with ADHD. Arianna shares coping mechanisms and encourages seeking professional support to manage emotions effectively.
Tonya and Arianna discuss the benefits of a supportive community for people with ADHD, acknowledging the significance of connecting with like-minded individuals who understand the challenges and triumphs associated with the condition.
Arianna further explores the link between creativity and ADHD, describing how ADHD individuals often have a strong ability to recognize patterns, which is sometimes mistaken for psychic abilities. She encourages embracing this creativity and incorporating self-care practices into daily life.
The interview concludes with Arianna sharing her upcoming “Chase the Chaos” digital summit, a platform for people with ADHD who enjoy focusing on multiple interests. The summit aims to create a community where diverse interests are celebrated, and individuals can learn from experts and share experiences.
Overall, Arianna’s expertise and personal journey provide a comprehensive understanding of ADHD, breaking down stigmas and offering practical strategies for navigating life with this unique condition.
Connect with Arianna:
- Website: https://youradhdone.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thearibradford/
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@AdhDONE
Resource mentioned during this episode:
- Chase the Chaos Online Summit: https://chasethechaos.thrivecart.com/ctc-summit-ticket/
- Theta Wave Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4973024/
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“LazyDay” by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Meet Today’s Guest:
Arianna Bradford is an ADHD coach and multipassionate entrepreneur who believes in supporting ADHD adults through figuring out how to work with their brains instead of against them. After finding out she, herself, had ADHD in 2021, Arianna became dedicated to understanding the disorder and helping others around the way. She is also a writer, singer, amateur herbalist, and parent of two children, one of whom is also ADHD. She lives in Costa Rica with her husband, the aforementioned two children, her cat and her dog, and she’s super excited to be here.
Episode #70: ADHD Coach’s Secrets
Empowering Special Needs Parents for Success
(Recorded July 17, 2023)
Full Transcript of Interview:
Tonya: Arianna, welcome to Water Prairie.
Arianna: Thank you for having me.
Sure. This is, I’ve been looking forward to this interview. Um, we’ve talked a little bit trying to get our schedules meshed together, but I’ve really been looking forward to digging into this a little bit. Um, for those who’ve been listening, I have a son who has ADHD and I have never been officially tested, but, um, have many, many markers.
So, it’ll be interesting to hear your story and your own journey as well. But before we get started, this season I’ve been, um, playing a game called two, two truths and a lie with my guests. And I’ve asked everyone to share three facts or pseudo-facts about themselves. And Ariana has agreed to play the game with us.
So what are your three facts that you want to share with us?
Okay. So my three facts are, um, I have, I am one of nine. I have eight brothers and sisters. Uh, I moved to the country of Costa Rica in 2021. And I started college at the age of 15.
Wow. All right. So if you’re listening for the first time, the way that you play the game is you want to go, if you’re watching on YouTube, you want to go to the comment section and post your guess of what you think the lie is or the two truths, whichever way you want to type it.
If you’re listening to it or reading it on the website. Then go to our Instagram or Twitter accounts and post your answer there where the posting is for this. And we will post the answer a week after we, um, release this episode. So, um, so we’ll see how many, how many of you are able to get this right.
Right. Right. So yours are very different too. The three that are on there. So it’ll be interesting to see what everyone thinks.
I did that on purpose.
I like to try to confuse as many people as possible. That’s kind of my way of doing things.
So if you’re listening, the key here is listen through the interview because you may get some hints of what the answers are.
And then you can always go back and listen to that section again if you need if you need a reminder of what the three are, that you’re guessing on. But today we’re going to be talking about ADHD as the broad topic and digging in a little bit here. Um, Ariana, you have a personal journey with ADHD yourself.
But then you also, um, are an ADHD coach. So can you tell me how you came to know that you have ADHD and then what led you to become a coach from there?
Right. So my way of finding out I had ADHD is actually not that special. If I’m a hundred percent honest from all the people I’ve spoken to my age, uh, you know, I would kind of like to act like it’s a special service.
Really not. Basically what happened was, um, my son. He was five years old at the time and he was really starting to struggle at school and, um, it’s weird because without speaking to each other, my husband and I had actually both started to suspect he had ADHD at three, but we, you know, we looked up what the, the, the symptoms are for a child and it’s really hard when they’re that young to know how much of it is they’re a child and how much of it is they have ADHD.
So. We had been trying to hold out for as long as we could before we got a diagnosis, but when he hit five, it really started to cause problems at school, and it was really starting to mess with kind of his mental health and how he saw himself. So, uh, I took it upon myself to start doing some research into what the symptoms are for a child with ADHD, and it was like looking into a mirror.
Um, a lot of the symptoms that I was finding. So for children, you know, not so much, but then out of curiosity, you start looking into, okay, so what does this mean for adults? And the next thing you know, you’re like, I do that. I do that. I do that. I do that. And, and, you know, you, you kind of follow down this list, um, realizing that a lot of the things on the list so, you know, I’m looking at this list of stuff that matches me really well. And I always, it’s kind of a joke, kind of not. I always talk about how people, adults with ADHD, um, tend to go through five different phases in their ADHD journey. And the first, which was also where I was when I was looking up the symptoms from my son, is this idea of, I probably don’t have it.
Like everybody does these things, right? And as I started reading more, I started saying. Okay. I reached phase two, which is maybe I do, but I’m not actually having problems with my life. I’m fine. I don’t, you know, I don’t have any real issues with this. Like, yeah, but I figured out how to work around it. And some of us never reach past that point.
We always, you know, we stayed there, but, uh, those of us who get the diagnosis tend to reach phase three, which was, uh, after my son got diagnosed. I started really thinking about. Whether or not I was doing myself a disservice by not getting diagnosed myself for a few reasons. For one, I wanted my son to have someone that he could identify with in the family.
And, you know, he has an aunt who has ADHD, but he spends all of his time at home, you know, with us. I’m the person he sees 24 7, so there’s that. Uh, and also the fact that I realized that some of these things that weren’t problems, very well. Might have actually been problems. And I just didn’t want to admit it.
So, uh, I went into that phase three, which was, okay, I’m going to get diagnosed. Let’s see what this is. And I did. And, uh, it was really simple. People tend to ask me, you know, how did you get diagnosed? And it’s not this easy for everyone. I want to make it clear that it’s a super anticlimactic answer. I just Googled like.
People who do evaluations and, uh, ADHD in my area, I was living in, uh, in Florida at the time and very easily found a place that did it, called them, said, Hey, do I have to have a doctor’s referral to come see you? And they’re like, no. Said, all right, cool. Uh, I would like to get reviewed for ADHD. And they’re like, all right, you can do it via telehealth on Friday.
And I did it on Friday. Yeah. The lady was like. You have ADHD. Do you want to look into medicine? I said, Yes, sure. She goes, Okay, let’s go ahead and set you up for an appointment with a psychiatrist on Friday of next week. And by the following Friday, I had a meeting with a psychiatrist. So I always feel really bad for because, you know, people will ask me and I feel like I should be giving this long like Lord of the Rings type story of like, you know, my journey to get diagnosed.
But it was so much easier than a lot of people assume. Um, so You know, I, I did that. And after I got diagnosed, um, you kind of go through, this is, this is all part of that phase three that I’m talking about, where you kind of go through just your whole life again and start making these connections that you didn’t have before and relearning about yourself and re understanding yourself.
And you’re just like. Oh my God, that’s why I would never remember to turn in my homework, even though I would do it the night before, you know, like suddenly all of that makes sense. And if people are going to respond to that with different ways, some people respond to it with anger at what could have been, they feel like there were things that were lost.
I kind of just responded to it with more of a, whoa, and here are all these things that I’m actually doing that I shouldn’t be able to do supposedly, how did I get here? How am I doing these things? I had written a book. I was running a business. I was homeschooling two kids and I’m like, and I want to make it clear.
I wasn’t doing these things perfectly, but I was doing them. And I was like, how am I doing them? And I realized that I was, I have the kind of mind that likes to look at things from a very methodical perspective. And who tries to look at the parts of things and why they work. See, this is where that ADHD overthinking actually comes in handy.
Um, and as I started to learn that, I was like, I, I feel like this is a skill set that a lot of us probably do have somewhere. We just need somebody to help guide us there. Um, and so that was where I came with up with the idea of, I want to help others like me. Um, that also in the fact that like, I, I don’t want to discount, uh, cause I know there’s this whole argument going on right now online about, you know, as social media making is that everybody thinks they have ADHD and we could go into that forever.
But the one thing that I will say about that is that I would not have felt emboldened enough to go get checked, to go get evaluated, were it not for the fact that there were people already talking about what it was like to have ADHD. And being able to connect with those people and identify with those people is a huge reason for why I felt comfortable enough getting, getting looked at.
And that’s what kind of also pushed me to become a coach was the concept of being able to give someone that feeling of connection of community because we need that. Um, and in fact, I’ve had a couple of clients who have not. Um, who came to me because they suspected, but weren’t diagnosed yet and got diagnosed while we were working together.
So yeah, all of that to say, um, that’s why I became a coach. I became a coach because I want to help people kind of on their own personal journeys and that’s where I’m at.
When I think, you know, we hear more and more now about how, how many girls and women go without being diagnosed. And I think it can present differently from person to person.
So especially, I mean, you’re, you’re a lot younger than I am, but you know, even, even you’re saying you, you came all the way through school and it was never a question apparently. Yeah.
Yep. So nobody ever, nobody ever suspected it. I didn’t even suspect it. Not until I was in my thirties. So it’s just, yeah, it was one of those things that, you know, it was still mistakenly seen as a problem.
It’s a boy’s disease. And so if you were a girl who wasn’t really causing much trouble, nobody really looked into it that strongly.
So my son is diagnosed, my daughter is not, um, the suspicion is there, um, the same as with me. We kind of haven’t gotten to the point where we’ve gone to pursue any type of testing or diagnosis.
But, um, but with my daughter, I can remember her being three years old and sitting down and working through a first-grade workbook cover to cover without, I mean, just that hyper-focus. Um, and same way, and I’m the same way too, I mean, it’s, I, um, chose to go into education instead of computer programming because it was too addictive to go into programming.
It’s I would never leave a computer lab if I went into that. So there, so there are, so like you’re saying, and for you, you have, you have some skill sets there that, that allowed you to. To move beyond what might have been a problem for the next person because of the way that your brain is working there, but that can become a strength in some ways to have if directed the right way
So, um, so back to my questions that I do have a path here, but I have the questions for a reason, so we can stay on the path or come back to it as we get there.
That’s why I didn’t say anything. I could have kept talking, but I was like, no, no, no, no, this is a guided journey and I am, I am merely on this journey. I’m guided. So, yeah.
It’s, it’s fun sometimes the way that, that some of my conversations do meander a little bit, but, but, but I do want to make sure that, that I get through it within our timeframe here.
Um, so, so having a, being a parent of a child with ADHD, what are some effective strategies that you’ve discovered that help with supporting or empowering children with ADHD? Now you’re a coach, so you’re bringing in both the parent side and the coach side, but thinking as a parent yourself, like what, what have you and your son come up with that are working for supports for him?
I’ve got to say that at the very base of it, my strongest tool has been empathy. Um, being able, and I, and I want to make it clear right now, I actually for a while was, I, I spoke to parents and that was mostly what I did. Not an ADHD, just spoke about parenting a lot. And so I feel. Very compelled to say that I am not saying that I am perfectly empathetic to my son at all times.
There are a lot of times where I will get mad at him for the exact same stuff that I do. Uh, so, please do not think that I’m saying I’m perfect. But, what I do is I try to respond to a lot of his difficulties with an understanding that I can only have because I have the same issues he does. I don’t even have the exact same issues and I try to keep that in mind.
He is ADHD and autistic. Um, and I am, I’m just ADHD, but I try to keep in mind, you know, that there are certain things that he and I can both understand. Uh, and so sometimes the best thing that I can do is start what I’m about to say with, I get it. I know what you, I know what you’re feeling right now.
You’re feeling X, Y, and Z. And especially because he has that difficulty self regulating his emotions, that sometimes calms him down, I think, probably the fastest. Because there is this feeling that part of that dysregulation is coming from, I don’t know how to name what I’m feeling right now. And so me being able to say, Okay, I know what you’re feeling, and it’s this.
And I’m saying that because I’ve been there too. We do sometimes tend to make progress much faster. Um, and then, you know, just kind of keeping in mind that ADHD years are very visual. So, you can’t really expect, you can’t really expect most kids, but especially ADHD kids. You cannot expect them to remember anything that is not directly in front of their face.
So, you know, if there’s something that I want my son to remember to do, it’s got to be visible. It has to be. Written in a notebook or written on a, on a whiteboard or hanging on the fridge. It has to be somewhere where I can point at it and say, this is that thing I told you if it’s not, it’s kind of like, if you’re listening to this and you’re the kind of person who’s like, if it ain’t on my calendar, I’m not going to remember that’s, that’s what ADHD kids are like, just like 10 times worse.
So imagine if you will, you know, that you’re a kid trying to be told that you’re going to do something. But you don’t have it anywhere in front of you to remind you. So, that is, is also huge. Making sure that things are visible, and that they are covered multiple times. If I know that we are going to be doing something Sunday, I, if I, and I know that he doesn’t like it especially, I start telling him Friday.
I’m like, hey, I just want to let you know, Sunday at such and such, we are doing this thing. Saturday. Hey, Sunday at such and such, we are doing this thing an hour before. Hey, remember that that thing is happening. It’s happening today at such and such a time because he needs that reminder, right? We have those issues with short term memory and kids especially do not like being as especially ADHD kids do not like being caught by surprise.
So And all of this comes back to, and all of this comes from what I mentioned, it all comes from empathy, from me remembering, alright, how would I feel if somebody was responding to me this way? How would I feel if out of nowhere, you know, I’m super hyper focused on this book or TV show or video game, and someone was to come up to me, And tell me, Hey, right now you have to go put down this thing you’re hyper focused on and go do this other thing that you don’t want to do.
Of course, the understanding at that point, right? Like anybody would be pissed. They’d be like, I don’t know. Like, I don’t want, I don’t want to do that. So, you know, keeping that kind of stuff in mind makes us so that you remember to do things like remind them 30 minutes before 15 minutes before 10 minutes before five minutes before.
And it, it also takes the frustration out of it because I could, I could tell you right now, I could feel it, that some parents are probably hearing this and being like, that sounds like a real pain in the, I don’t know if I’m allowed to swear, but pain, pain in the butt. And it’s like, yeah, I’m sure, yeah, you’re welcome.
I’m not sure if, uh, it, and then that’s, I’m sure it is. It probably does seem like a pain in the butt, but if you are thinking about it beforehand and you are understanding that it is a necessity. For this other person to ultimately do something that you want them to do, it’s suddenly not as much of a pain in the butt.
It’s like, okay, this is, this is something that’s necessary for me to get what I want at the end of it. Um, so yeah, all like, again, I always feel like I have to come back and be like, I know I rambled a lot, but the very base of this whole thing is your number one tool is going to be empathy. And if you are listening to this and you have a kid who has ADHD, but you don’t have ADHD.
That can be difficult. You may not be able to empathize, but you can sympathize and sympathizing. You know, part of that is reading up on it, learning what what comes with ADHD, learning about what ADHD kids can do and can’t do and what they don’t like and what they do like, and then trying to remember that and inject that into the things that you ask for.
And that way you’re it’s a lot easier for you to say, okay. Um, maybe I don’t quite understand why you’re doing this, like from a personal perspective, but I do know that I’ve read somewhere that you don’t like when people do this thing. So that’s why, and I sympathize, but here’s what we have to do instead.
I think, I think you can bring up a good point because it’s really important that we understand that our children aren’t just trying to avoid what we’re doing or ignore what we’re doing. They might have their moments when they want to do that too. But, don’t read into their behavior that it’s willful disobedience that’s happening.
Because it might be they’re latched on to something and we didn’t give them that, that prep time. So I, I, I give you, you kudos for. Starting two or three days ahead of time because, um, I was good if I would remember to start an hour ahead of time with it.
Yeah, no, I, I, it is, that is one of the things that is decidedly not ADHD about me, if I’m being honest, is that I, I don’t, I don’t do like last minute very well or impulsive very well.
That frustrates me. So if, if I’m going to be doing something at four o’clock on Monday and you tell me three o’clock, I’m going to be mad. So I try very hard to make sure that I don’t do that to anybody else around me for that exact same reason.
Yeah. Yeah. So nice. I appreciate the input there. Um, so we’ve talked about, so you found out that you had ADHD.
After you were married, after you had kids. So you’ve got several relationships going on within the family there. How does ADHD impact relationships?
Oh boy. Um, so, um, if we’re talking about romantic relationships, there are a lot of things, and I can say that probably the thing that messed with my relationship the most, one of the things that finally pushed me to get a diagnosis.
is a difficulty in keeping promises. Um, because sometimes you forget, and sometimes you have executive dysfunction messing with you to the point where you don’t want to do it, and so you rationalize it away until you have not kept that promise. Uh, for me, the big thing was that my husband really wanted help cleaning the house.
And I would say, sure, I’ll help out around the house more. But then the moment that I started thinking about doing it, I would say, I don’t really feel like it today. I’m tired. I’m exhausted. And I would take a nap instead. And the next thing I know it would be a month later and I will not have helped with anything and we would get into arguments about it.
And you know, it made things very difficult because at the time I did not know how to explain that. I really, I really did want to, you know, cause to him on the outside it looked like I didn’t. I really wanted to, but I just couldn’t bring myself to. Um, and that is a common problem. A lot of people on the outside, executive dysfunction looks to a lot of people like, you don’t care, you’re lazy, you don’t want to.
Um, where deep down inside you probably do, and you’re probably thinking a lot at the time about how I want to, I want to do this thing, I know I should do this thing, it’s weighing on me, but you cannot make yourself. Um, so that really messes with it. There’s also the impulsivity portion. Again, I don’t really deal with that that much, but you know, that can get very frustrating in relationships as well.
Uh, everything from just randomly spending money that you shouldn’t be spending to, you know, cheating. Um, those are things that can also occur when it comes to parenting children. Uh, ADHD comes with a lot of sensory things as well. And so a lot of sensory things, a lot of anxiety issues, depression, things like that.
And you can imagine that trying to parent is hard when you are struggling through those things as well. Um, you know. I have had days where I have gone through panic attacks and tried to parent. And the, the result is that, I mean, I, I’m going through the motions, but I, I’m not really that great of a conversationalist at that point.
Like, you know, kids are going to bed with no brush teeth and like, you know, wearing the clothes for the day. Cause I’m like, I can barely function, you know? Um, And, of course, there are ways to work around pretty much everything that I’ve mentioned, but it’s really hard when the person involved does not know that they have ADHD.
Uh, it, it makes it so that, you know, they’re kind of like, why am I alienating the people around me when that’s not what I want? And, uh, if you don’t know why it’s happening, it’s, it’s just really hard to fix. So. Yeah. Yeah.
The, um. So, you’ve mentioned a couple of the executive functioning skills, just kind of as you’ve been talking.
Um, but one that I know with our family we’ve noticed, um, and a lot of people I’ve talked to have run into this as well, um, the struggle with time management and organization. You mentioned that some with the cleaning of the house, um, organization would come into that one too. What are your tips or tools for improving time management and staying organized?
I actually just had a class on time management, um, recently, because that is probably the thing that we struggle with the most. And the, the problem is we’ve got about three different things playing a part when it comes to time management. We have, uh, time blindness. Which is very common, which is very common, right?
We have that executive dysfunction, and then we have usually a lack of good tools to help us with both things. Um, and it really kind of depends on what your biggest struggle is. Uh, I find that most people have one out of three that is their worst issue. Um, for time blindness, you’re going to want to really, really rely on Alarms and notifications as much as you can, and it’s a tricky balancing act, because if you have too many notifications, you’re going to just ignore them and send them away.
Right? Um, and if you have too few, you’re going to wind up missing, missing, uh, whatever it is that you’re trying to reach. So you really want to try to find a happy medium where it is annoying you. But it’s not stopping you from noticing it. But kind of, um, kind of like what I mentioned with kids, the best way to do it is to set it at certain intervals.
So not to give yourself like, you know, four or five of them, but to say, okay, uh, I’m going to have something that’s going to remind me that I need to leave the house in 30 minutes, something that’s going to remind me that I need to leave the house in 15, something that’s going to remind me in five, and then something that’s going to remind me, like, when I need to get my shoes on, right?
Right. Because basically what that’s doing is stopping you from being too involved in whatever it is that you’re doing. Um, another huge, huge, um, favorite of mine, and I hope I’m saying this correctly because I always get the two mixed up. I believe it’s haptic feedback is the term I’m looking for.
Which is feedback on the outside of the body. That is also something that I’m a huge fan of. I know that everybody has access to like an Apple watch or whatever Samsung’s version is. I think it’s a Galaxy watch is what it’s called or something like that. But if you can get that, if you can have a way to have some sort of vibration on your arm, that’s going to kind of shake you out of it or something that’s going to make you feel when it’s time to pull out, that is going to be extremely helpful.
And you’re going to find that you’re, you’re not going to miss quite as many things. And it’s a huge help for Time Blindness. Um, For Executive Dysfunction, Executive Dysfunction is something more that you have to work with, rather than against. Um, some people really are just like, how do I force myself to do this thing?
And, I’m here to tell you that depending on the situation, sometimes you’re just not going to be able to force yourself. You’re just going to have to tell yourself, I will try again tomorrow. Um, Some things that help making sure that you are kind of already telling yourself in your head or setting that intention in your head that you are going to be spending energy on whatever that thing is.
If you can tell yourself the night before or the day of, today I have to X. Sometimes it’s a little bit easier because then your brain and your body already know I am going to be spending energy on this thing. It’s a lot worse when you don’t tell yourself this, going back to that warning, that warning system, right?
If you don’t warn yourself and you’re just suddenly like, I should vacuum the living room, your body’s going to be like, I didn’t put aside energy for that. I don’t feel like it. And then you’re just not going to do it. Um, so that helps. Keeping in mind, I am a huge, uh, proponent of the I C N U acronym, which stands for Interest, Challenge, Novelty or Newness, and Urgency.
Those are the four things that ADHD brains respond to. And if one of those four things is not part of it, or if all of those four things are not part of what you’re trying to do, your brain won’t do it. It doesn’t want to. So, you have to ask yourself, am I interested in this? Is this challenging for me? Is this new or boring, which one is it, is it urgent, and then you want to try to find a way to add at least one of those four things.
Generally, if you can do that, um, and, and there are all types of ways I could go into this forever, but if you can add something to what you’re trying to do, there’s a good chance that your brain is going to let you move towards it. Uh, and, and the last thing that I would suggest is trying to break it down into small pieces.
And a lot of people will roll their eyes at this and go, Oh, I try that all the time. And it’s okay. How small a piece? How small a piece? Because I’m talking teeny tiny, if you have to, like, if you’re writing a report. Okay. And you’re like, write report. And then you’re like, well, I broke it down to research.
First draft. Second draft. Edit or first draft, edit second draft. And then third draft. That’s too big. I mean, tiny. I mean, you break it down so that the very first draft, like when you say research, you’re like, research X, research Y, research Z, and then do one of those tasks. And if you’re like, I still can’t get started, then it’s not small enough.
Make it smaller. I don’t care if you come out of it saying, all right, all I did was, uh. Pick a font and my margins, you did something, then you did something. And the whole point is to make you feel like you did something. And then sometimes that’s enough to kick you in a high gear and you’re like, yeah, that’s not enough.
I really want to continue. And you’ll do two or three things. And sometimes you’ll find that you do that font thing and you’re like. I’m done, I’m finished, I have more tomorrow and that’s fine because you still touched whatever it was that you needed to do. And usually with ADHD brains, if all you did was pick a font and you’re done, it’s not urgent.
So you’re not, you don’t have to like get upset that you didn’t get it done today.
Those are the things that I would say would help with those issues when it comes to time management.
It’s a big hefty issue that we have, so it’s not exactly the shortest, but that’s what we have.
Right. Do I understand it correctly that urgency is, is a trigger that will allow you to succeed?
Or we’ll stumble.
Absolutely. Absolutely. Urgency is probably the most successful trigger, so to speak, for ADHD brains that I have come across. If you can make something seem urgent, it’s part of the reason why every single one of my clients does an amazing job at work, but life, life stuff that they want to get done, they don’t get it done because at work they have a boss hanging over them.
They have deadlines. They have people relying on them. So they have things that make it so that this thing that is sitting in their lap cannot sit in their lap forever. Whereas they go home, and is there really anybody standing over them to get them to fold the laundry? No. So the laundry just gets to sit there for a month and maybe move from the bed to the chair to the chair to the floor to the floor to the bed.
Right. And that’s it, right? So, yeah, urgency is… Urgency is, is probably the most helpful one. If you can inject it into what you do in a way that works, it pretty much works every time.
Well, my husband and I have joked our entire married life that I just need someone to come visit because then I could get this room cleaned up and it’s true, but if I could figure out a way to psych myself into thinking that someone was coming, then maybe I can keep things picked up a little bit better.
There you go. Exactly.
That adrenaline surge that comes with it isn’t that healthy either, though, to always live in that mindset.
Yeah. And you could also play with it actually. And, uh, even a reward systems can work sometimes towards urgency. If the reward is something that has a specific time. So if you’re like, yeah, you know, we’re all going to go to ice cream at six o’clock, but I got to have this done by then, or I can’t go.
You know, as long as the ice cream is actually something you really want, obviously, if you don’t really care about ice cream or you’re lactose intolerant, then that’s not a smart choice, but like, you know, or I’m going to go visit a friend, something like that, where other people are relying on you at a certain time of day is another way to use that urgency.
So, you know, maybe you can’t force someone to come over, but maybe you could go to someone else’s house, or maybe you could go, uh, run an errand you’ve really wanted to go do, or maybe go see a movie that you’ve really wanted to go see something that’s going to force you. To think about things in terms of time and in terms of that urgency, right?
Yeah. Well, cause, cause the black holes are huge and you can just get lost in them. My son’s in college now, he’s almost 21. Um, but he has for years told us that time is the enemy. It’s if, if, if people could just forget time. And just do what they said they were going to do when it happens, life would be so much easier and it’s, but he has identified that is, that is his biggest barrier is time and it’s, and you’re talking about the, the time blindness.
That’s the perfect description of what he’s trying to describe.
I think with that, it’s very hard.
It is because anytime anyone gets upset, it’s always had, it’s, it’s to the point where we have to do it now because it’s taken hours to get to this point and we have made no progress. So, so yeah, so we, we have a lot of those conversations around here.
So I’m always curious whenever I talk to someone and we’ve, I’ve asked this question about a lot of different situations, but, um, but I’m always curious about the myths, the misunderstandings, the misconceptions that come with different conditions that we face. And ADHD is one that so many families are affected by this.
Um, but I think we still have a lot of misconceptions that are tied to it. Can you share some of the ones that come to mind for you?
Uh, probably the biggest is that you have to be hyperactive to have ADHD. Uh, the, actually the number one thing that made me finally go get diagnosed was the fact that I was constantly fatigued.
I was always tired and, um. I have been doing a lot of like checking into that and research on that. And, and there does seem to be a hormonal component to it. That’s very common in people with ADHD. But at the time I was checking on it because it turns out that ADHDers can just have fatigue because their brains tired them out because you spent so much time trying to catch up to your own thoughts and catch up to what your brain thinks you should be doing all day long that you just tire yourself out. Um, in fact, what you were describing about how, Oh, I go into a room to clean and I’m just immediately overwhelmed and I’m tired and I don’t want to do it anymore is kind of that same concept where your brain has already moved 10, 20 steps ahead.
And is looking at all the stuff that has to be done in the room and how much stuff is going to have to be finished. And you’re still here in, in the present time. And your brain has just said, Hey, so you’re going to have to do this and this and this and this and this and this. And the next thing you know, you’re like, ah, that, that sounds like a lot.
I don’t want to do it. I’m tired now. That’s when you quit. Right. So. That, um, was probably the most eye opening thing for me, because I came into this, uh, with a lot of the same misconceptions that a lot of people have. Um, I initially talked myself out of getting my son diagnosed because I was like, well, he can focus on video games.
So, you know, if he can focus on that, obviously he doesn’t have ADHD. When it just so happens that people with ADHD can absolutely focus, but they only can focus on things that grasp their attention. And then depending on how much it grasps their attention, they can focus and can’t do anything else. So you would have to remind them to go to the bathroom, to eat, to drink water because they’re so focused, right?
So it’s almost like a lot of people also assume, Oh, well, if I can focus on this book for four hours, then obviously I don’t have ADHD. And it’s like, okay, but how are you at balancing that focus? Like when you focus on that book, do you still remember to go pee? Or like, you know, does something have to happen to knock you out of it, to remind you to go?
Those are the things that you need to be paying attention to, right? It’s, it’s why it’s a disorder, because it causes disorder in your life. It’s, it’s, it’s not, and I guess I’m kind of getting ahead of myself, because the other thing that drives me nuts is when people say, Well, everybody loses things.
Everybody’s forgetful. Everybody’s a little ADHD and it’s like, no, everybody is not a little ADHD. The reason why this is called a disorder is because it causes disorder for us. If you’re just losing things every once in a while, you lost your keys last Thursday, but you haven’t done that, you know, very often, then I don’t think that you can call yourself ADHD.
Uh, ADHD er has the keys in their hand. And then three seconds later realizes the keys are not in their hand and don’t know where they went and feels like they blacked out and people will be like retrace your steps and you’re like, okay, but I don’t really remember what I just did. I don’t know. There’s a difference between, oh, I just, you know, I put my keys.
Um, on the counter and walked away and forgot about it. Ha ha.
And no, they’re inside the fridge.
Yeah, they’re on the counter because I wasn’t paying attention. I went and I got a soda and I like just put my keys in there and just completely blanked out and don’t remember. So you have to kind of understand too, that like everybody’s not a little ADHD.
Everybody has different things that they do that could connect, uh, to ADHD, sort of. But the difference between a disorder, and I say this all the time, okay, you lose things and you might not have ADHD. My hands hurt. Sometimes I don’t have arthritis. I get headaches, but I don’t get, you know, I do get migraines, but the point being I get a headache, but I could tell the difference between a headache and a migraine.
It’s the severity. So also trying to assume that, you know, well. I, I lose things sometimes and, uh, you were talking about something that bored me and I stopped paying attention. So I must have ADHD. It goes much deeper than that. It’s so much more nuanced, so much more nuanced. It drives me nuts.
But I think, I think some of those that you’re mentioning where they’re finding a commonality there, parents that are listening who don’t have ADHD use those pieces for that empathy that you were talking about earlier.
It’s not the same.
Honestly, no, it’s not, but it, it really has to do with how you decide to use it to your point. If you’re using it and you’re saying, Oh yeah, I could totally understand how frustrating it would be to have been walking down the hallway and the next thing I know, I don’t know where my left shoe went.
But if you’re turning it into a way to downplay what the other person’s going through, yeah, that’s a problem. Yeah. If you’re saying, well, I lose things all the time. Suck it up. Okay. Well then now you’ve made a mistake. Yeah. Now that’s, that’s not what that’s for. You’re misusing, you know, that moment.
Okay. I was referring to the understanding the frustration that one time that I happened to you, not the hundred times that I happened to your child, but at least you can maybe connect with it a little bit. You can connect the dots. I hadn’t even thought about the other side of the coin there.
So yeah, so it is always interesting because you’ve run across it, you’re seeing it with your son, you’ve, you’ve had some of it with yourself as well.
We’ve had teachers through the years where it was almost a battle at times trying to get them to understand that the preconceived idea that they have is inaccurate because there’s a reason behind the behavior. It’s not. And, and defiance is, is probably the biggest one that comes in there. Of course, my son also has narcolepsy, so his brain would be asleep some of the times, too.
So, so he had different reasons for, for having those, um, those projected, um, theories that were inaccurate. Maybe that’s the best way to put it. Um, one thing that I always hear, hear about is, you know, you, you, you hear about people talking about those who have ADHD have these superpowers and all. Um, so I want to go a little bit deeper in this question, but, um, but wanting to share a little bit too with my son, we do, we don’t necessarily call it a super power, but he definitely is, is fast brained and, and there are definite benefits that he’s found.
He’s, he’s a college baseball player. The, I mean, he, he’s waiting where the ball’s landing because he’s, he’s that far ahead of where his feet are even. Um, and you see a difference. And his level of play on someone else. So there are some areas where you can kind of streamline those skills that are there.
But can you talk about some of the potential strengths or unique abilities that, that you’ve noticed just through your coaching and through your experiences that those with ADHD may, may show?
Of course. Of course. Um, and I really do appreciate, I want to say that you did not use the super power thing. Um, because I feel.
I, you know, cause I, I feel like, you know, just to go on a little side note here, I’m ADHD. You knew what this was, um, that I, I don’t really appreciate, and a lot of us don’t appreciate the superpower moniker because it feels like it’s kind of downplaying the struggles that we go through. And I know that some people will say, well, that’s not what it is.
We’re trying to look for the positive side. I’m like, okay, would you say that somebody going through depression, you’d be like, Hey, depression is a superpower. You wouldn’t do that, right? You wouldn’t say to somebody who has bipolar disorder, wow, bipolar is a superpower, even though, you know, sometimes when they’re manic, they’re, they’ve got like some things that they can do that maybe other people can’t.
No, you wouldn’t do that because the suffering is, is not something that you want to overshadow. So yeah, ADHD may have some things about it that are, that are kind of cool. And you know, I’ll go into this in a moment, but. Calling it a superpower to me is kind of infantilizing because it’s like, you know, oh, it’s the superpower and it’s like no There’s a lot of stuff.
That’s a problem. That’s why I have a job, you know what I mean? So
but yeah, there there are things to definitely be to be proud of. I ADHDers by and large. I have not met one yet who is not creative and a lot of them will be like I’m not artistic at all. And that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that you’re creative. By creative I mean that you will be put in a work situation where you are being asked to do something that generally does not work with your brain, but out of pure necessity, you will figure out a creative way to make that, to make that job work for you, you’ll figure out efficiency, efficient, more efficient ways to make things make sense and to get things done because the way that they’ve suggested it to you just doesn’t work with work for you.
And. You will probably come up with ways that will impress people. We’ll, they’ll be like, wow, I didn’t think of it that way before.
Um, so, you know, by creative, yes, there are a lot of artists who I know who have ADHD. Sometimes at this point, if I meet another artist, I’m like, you, you just, I just assume at this point.
So don’t get me wrong. There is definitely like a lot of the artistic creativity, but I have absolutely met a number of ADHDers who are like, I can’t, I’m not really much of an artist who are still creative, who I’ll send off with an action plan. And they’ll come back having done what I asked them to do, just in a way I never thought that they’d do it.
And I’m like, yeah, I didn’t think of it that way. And they’ll go, Oh, did I do it wrong? No, you just did it different. And that is, that is such a cool thing. And, and probably one of my favorite things about people with ADHD, um, another one that, uh, I recently learned that I think is really cool is that ADHDers actually have a higher incidence of what’s called theta brain waves.
So theta brain waves are the, uh, waves that are responsible for calming us before sleep. And we tend to have those, especially in moments of crisis. And so people with ADHD, generally we tend to be kind of like anxious and perfectionist and, you know, when we don’t need to be. But if there is a crisis, we actually have a greater chance of being calm under pressure.
Because of those theta brainwaves. Yeah, so this was in, uh, I don’t remember the name of the study. I would have to look it up. Uh, and it was a smaller study. So, you know, if someone comes up and they’re like, they did a bigger study and you’re a liar, Arianna, then I’m not a liar. Okay. It was just, there was a different study.
Yes, there was a study, uh, that showed that people with ADHD did have a higher, uh, incidence of those theta brain waves. And it kept them calm under pressure, which was really cool. Yeah.
Um, if you, if you come across the study, send it to me and I’ll put it in the show notes.
I absolutely will. I absolutely will. I know exactly where I can find it.
I just don’t have it on me right now, but I will, I will send it to you so you can share it. Cause I think that’d be a really cool thing for people to read. Um, yeah, I think, uh, and you know, I think those things are extremely, are probably my two favorite things to be, to be proud of. We are very creative people and we are calm under pressure.
Um, we also tend to be very good at recognizing patterns, uh, to the point where sometimes we’ll, we’ll, we’ll make the mistake of being like, Oh, you’re psychic. And it’s like, Oh, I’m not psychic. I just recognize patterns. You know, you recognize behavioral patterns, um, especially as you get older to the point where you actually tend to be a little bit more intuitive than most people.
Um, and again, that’s not, you know, psychic. It’s just, you’ve, I’ve seen how people act and you have put that together to kind of be able to figure out, you know, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had male friends who will be like, yeah, this girl, and she did this thing. And I’m like, you’re going to regret that.
Cause she’s going to X, Y, and Z. And then she does exactly what I said she was going to do. And they’re like, how did you know? And I’m like, I just, cause it’s a pattern, man. That’s just, it’s, it’s all patterns. It’s part of the reason why some of us are able to do really well in school without studying.
It’s not necessarily because, you know, again, not psychic, we’re not necessarily geniuses. It’s because we recognize that there’s a certain pattern to the class and patterns to the exam. The exam pulls from certain parts of the, uh, professor’s talk or certain parts of, uh, the book or whatever. And once we see that pattern, we just can roll into that pattern and pass the class.
And, you know, if nobody tells us that this is due to that, we’re like, oh, I’m a genius. I just don’t, I just don’t have to study. And then you wind up like me, where you have your first ever class where you actually do have to study and then you flunk it and you’re like, what happened? Am I not a genius anymore?
Only to realize that you never really were. It was just that you knew how. You knew those patterns. You could read those patterns really well. So interesting. Yeah, you got to be careful with that You know because that absolute power corrupts absolutely, but right very very It becomes very helpful in a lot of situations to be able to read those patterns.
So we were talking earlier about, um, Um, just some of the, um, maybe the chaos that can come with the disorganization, um, things like that. Um, and just some of the stress, like the fatigue that the brain’s going through with just the overwhelm that, that can come in.
Um, are there some effective self-care practices or habits that individuals with ADHD can incorporate into their lives?
Yeah. And that’s basically to make sure that you make time to do something that you really like, ah, every day. And I know that when people hear that, they tend to think, oh, well, that’s really difficult.
Easy for you to say. I work long hours. I work and it’s like, okay, if you can’t do every day, then do every other day. Do as often as you can. Um, and it doesn’t have to be anything big. Like, you know, maybe you really like racquetball and you can’t do racquetball every day, but we all have more passive, smaller things that we very much enjoy doing.
That we can make time for it, even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, right? Or even if it’s just going to bed early or, um, even if it’s just not doing anything. Sometimes there’s a joy and just getting to sit and stare at a wall with nobody asking you for anything for 10 minutes. It’s, it really doesn’t have to be anything crazy.
Uh, I try every single day. To allow myself to do at least one thing that I like doing. Sometimes it is mindless and it’s like watching people play video games on YouTube and coloring. Sometimes it’s reading. Sometimes it’s making a cup of tea and sitting out in the, in the, you know, while the rain is going.
Sometimes it’s playing video games. It doesn’t always have to be everything. It’s just one thing. And you would be surprised how often just allowing that one thing for yourself every day makes you feel so much better. Um, I can honestly say that there have been times where I’ve just been really excited about a project even.
And I’m like, I really want to do some research for this project, but I’m busy. That’s a perfect thing to do too, to say, okay, this little side project that I’m really excited about, I’m going to allow myself some time after dinner. After I finished this last thing that I can’t stand. And my gift to myself is that I’m going to sit here and I am going to just allow myself to hyper focus until the cows come home on this thing that I really like, right?
You just want to find something that really matters to you, that you really like to do. And it doesn’t have to be like a all encompassing passion, just something that you like to do and allow yourself to do it every day, every other day, every three days, how often, however often you have the time. Give yourself at least 10 minutes.
And one other thing that I have recently realized that I highly suggest is admitting when you don’t have it in you to do more and being okay with that. Guys, that is one of the happiest moments that I can, I can tell you in my life is when you take that pressure off of you to do something like when you’re like, oh man, I’ve got all these things to do.
I’ve got five things to do, six things to do, seven things to do. And I’m just so tired. The moment that you say, you know what? Today is not a day to get that stuff done. Today’s just not a day for that. Today is a day for me to just sit and read or sit and play on my phone. I don’t have to do that today.
The moment that you release yourself and give yourself that allowance. Oh my gosh, you have no idea. Or maybe you do. And if you do, you should be doing it more often when you need to, right? There is such a freeing feeling to that, you just feel so much more human, so those two things, you just incorporate those two things into your life, and I can promise, I can promise you, okay, I’d be willing to bet like my car, that that is going to automatically make you feel less stressed out and less like you’re not doing, and less dissatisfied.
With your everyday.
But I think just, um, giving yourself grace that you’re not always going to do everything that’s out there and it’s okay, like, like you’re saying, I think that’s as parents and I think as moms even more, well, I can’t speak for dads cause I’m not a dad, but for moms, I know it, a lot of times we take on that burden that we’re, we have this expectation, we have to do this, this, this and this.
And we’re so focused on our kids that when it comes to us, we feel guilty if we take that time for ourselves. So I think.
You know, having that reminder, whether you have ADHD or not, parents that are listening, moms that are listening, remember that it, it is okay to take some time to yourself just to, to re, regroup and refuel so that you’re ready to give for the rest of it. Yeah.
I feel like a lot of us are saying this and there are, I hope, you know, anybody out there listening has heard it a million times because sometimes we have to hear it a million times to finally get the point, but absolutely, you know, using that cliche, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Like you really can’t.
And it’s very, very important. That you make sure that you are putting little bits in your cup every day, however bit, however you can.
Yeah. Yeah. This is, this has been great. If our listeners want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you?
Um, you can check out my website at youradhdone.Com. Uh, I’m on Instagram as @thearibradford. Um, those are the two best ways. You can also watch my YouTube channel, which is also called The ADHDone channel.
That’s another one. Um, and that’s, that’s probably the best way to be honest with you. Those are three, the three best ways. And, um, yeah, I, I think that’s pretty much it.
We’ll put the links to all of those and the show notes so that anyone who is watching or listening, um, go to the show notes and you’ll be able to see the links, um, to all of hers and we’ll, we’ll, we’ll connect you YouTube as well on that.
So the other thing I wanted to ask you about was, I know you have a big project coming up soon. Yeah. Um, but tell us what all you’re doing. Do you have a YouTube channel? You have a website? What are you doing through that? Um, if they want to know about coaching, are you open to coaching clients and, um, and then tell us about, about your event too.
Yeah. So I do have some, uh, one on one slots available. I do do classes. Uh, however, my classes are hold right now because in September we are doing the first Chase the Chaos digital summit. Uh, it is something that I came up with because I have very slowly yet quickly, I guess, learned that people with ADHD really, uh, especially people with ADHD, but maybe not just people with ADHD, uh, really come alive when they are allowed to focus on more than one thing at a time.
Um, the more that we are told to pick one thing and stick with it, the more burnt out we tend to feel. Thank you. Uh, and that’s just really not how everyone works. Not everyone can just focus on one thing. Some of us love to have four or five different projects going on. And, uh, especially for women, I feel that there is this feeling of flakiness.
That there is this feeling of, uh, I shouldn’t be doing this unless it’s making me money. Um, and it leads to a lot of us kind of feeling like we are not, uh, we’re not productive, or like, what we’re interested in and what we’re trying to do isn’t worth the time and energy, and we’re just silly for wanting to give that time and energy, and that’s just not fair, and it’s not true, and there are not enough spaces out there for women who want to focus on multiple things and who like to do multiple things and who might have a business here and a side business here and then like three hobbies over here. We just don’t have enough room enough places for that. So I decided to make a place for that. And that is what Chase the Chaos is. It is for those of us who have that, you know, you use the term chaos either those of us earlier, those of us who have that chaos, uh, but we like it and we just really would like to learn to embrace it.
That is what Chase the Chaos is. Um, it’s a, and it’s a great summit. I’ve put together this list of speakers, myself, all of them. Uh, we’ve got psychotherapists, we’ve got divorce counselors, we’ve got, um, people who have gone through their entire lives, learning how to kind of mesh this stuff together and, and to integrate, to become full people.
We have 12 of them speaking over two days. And this is something that I believe in very strongly, and I really would love to bring you guys along on that adventure. So, uh, I will make sure that I send Tonya the link, and you should totally get a ticket. Um, our early bird pricing is ending August 15th, so that is when the prices will go up.
So, if you’re coming, probably best to get your ticket now. Uh, and I will also send the link for this. We have a Facebook group as well. For you, even if you haven’t bought your ticket yet, uh, you can still go ahead and join the group and kind of become part of a greater community that hopefully will continue to grow for those of us who, who need to be able to, to talk to other people about the 9, 000 things that we’re doing and how that’s totally, completely okay.
So will the Facebook group continue to go after the summit?
Yes. Uh, the plan is to have it going in between summits. Just as long as everybody needs it.
Nice. How often do you think you’ll run the summit?
Probably once a year. The, that’s the idea right now. Uh, we are starting out digitally, but the hope is that in the next two to three years we can start doing in person stuff.
It really depends on the growth. So hopefully if the growth continues, we’ll be able to, we’ll be able to start seeing each other face to face. That’d be great.
Yeah. I love, I love the, the name that. That that you’ve chosen. It’s
It is perfect. All right, so you have some one-on-one slots, we’ve got the website that’ll tell everything that you’re doing. I’m assuming. And then do they go to the website for this or this is a different link?
So they can go to the website for it. I do have a section that says ADHD friendly classes and events But if you just want to go straight to getting the ticket, I will send you the link for that as well, so people can just go straight to getting your ticket if that’s what they would prefer.
Excellent. And then the early bird ends August 15th, but it’s not too late to still buy after that. It’s just…
Absolutely. Right. After that, you still can. It’ll just be more expensive.
Right. Okay. Great. Well, that’s, that’s, that’s exciting. So, um, and if you’re listening and you attend the summit, I’d love to hear some of your feedback afterwards on that too.
So we can.
As would I.
I’ll pass it on to you.
Arianna, thank you. Thank you for spending the time with me today. This is, this has been really informative. I’ve enjoyed the conversation. Um, and it’s, it’s, it’s one of those topics that I haven’t really been able to dig into as much as I’d like to. So, um, so I really appreciate you coming in, um, to, to share your expertise with us today.
Well, I really appreciate you having me, this was great. Thank you.