ADHD and Me
Welcome my darling Pretties to our Beyond to the Dawn of Business podcast for pretty empowered female entrepreneurs.
It’s time to step into your power Pretties! Lift each other, support the squad and choose a life filled with the autonomy and freedom to live your dreams.
I’m your host Dawn Beth, the Owner and Founder of Beyond the Dawn digital business brand and agency. My coffee is hot and my eyelashes are on, so we are ready to go!
I want all female entrepreneurs to feel empowered, supported and loved, and given the opportunity to really connect with other female powerhouses in the industry, in a way in which we lift each other up and inspire each other, and take care of each other in ways that we have previously not seen in business, possibly, listen to us waffling on about business and life our families, and our mindset, our financial goals and our freedoms and our autonomy. And what we hope for the world and what we hope for you, what we hope for ourselves, and all of the things that we’ve experienced through this very colorful journey of becoming successful female entrepreneurs and digital business owners.
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Hi, welcome to today’s episode, I hope you are doing really well.
Today, I want to dive in to expressing publicly a superpower of mine that I recently found out about, there’s a lot of talk all over the media and the news probably in the last kind of 12 to 18 months, about late diagnoses for females on the autistic spectrum and also aligned with ADHD.
And this is one of those topics that a lot of people want to talk about, but they’ll skirt around and they won’t want to discuss it because they won’t want to say something that’s inappropriate, they won’t want to address something that might make them look different, and I think it’s one of those things that as you see a snowball of positive conversation happening, you have to make a decision whether you’re going to hop on that snowball, or whether you’re going to let it pass you by. And I have so many amazing women that listen to this podcast and read our blogs and consume our content. And I know you’re out there and I think it’s really important that I share my experience in a positive way.
And because I do feel so positive about it I don’t mind sharing it. I wanted to do that.
So today I’m going to talk to you about my ADHD late diagnosis and why I feel like it is a superpower and also how I found myself in a position to actually even explore whether this was something that was for me. So a lady doesn’t reveal her age, but let’s just say that I am not 40 but I’m a little bit above 35. That would put it that way, if you Googled me, you’d find by age. So I don’t even know why I’m trying to conceal it. But it just feels right to add a bit of mystery to the podcast. And as a child I really, really found creative day dreamy, the projects just super easy. If you gave me something where I had to create a whole new structure of a world I could do it if I was able to completely immerse myself in my imagination. It was very easy for me. I was very artsy. I was very singy I was very dancey. I wanted people to understand me.
I mean, so much of this comes out now as an adult. And I really wanted to use my voice and for people to get to know me and struggled making friends. Like I think I have some friends that I still know from primary school well one friend, I have one friend that I still know from primary school. And I think if we were to ask her she would say that I was weird. Like I was weird. And I was happy. I was sunshiny but I was not neurotypical I mean, let’s just say it, let’s just put it out there. I wasn’t neurotypical at all. I had lots of academic strengths, but they didn’t always fit the way in which they were measured at school. Don’t get me wrong. I sailed, you know, a mediocre student all the way through my school career, both primary school and high school. I was well behaved, I was polite. And what I didn’t realise at the time was that I was masking really hard, all of the different feelings and things that happen for me as a child. I had a horrendous fear of the dark, I would worry about everything, I didn’t understand the way other people thought about things in terms of the world, I found the world to be a bit of a scary place. I remember as a child, I would look up at the sky and I would just be so overwhelmed with the idea that there was space behind that sky.
And there were a lot of really heavy emotional things for me that I can remember as a child that just felt incredibly overwhelming in a way that I didn’t know how to express. now, I was not aware of how hyper I was as a kid until I was maybe 11 or 12. And I caught my mom having a conversation with one of her friends about how as a young child, like three or four, I had to be given different foods at my friend’s birthday parties. You know, if I was ever invited to one of my nursery school friend’s birthday parties or cousin’s birthday party or whatever, I had to be given different foods because they wouldn’t allow me certain ‘e’ numbers. I don’t know if you’ve heard of those before. It’s the colorings that they put in fizzy drinks and things. They couldn’t allow me to have certain sugars, they couldn’t allow me to have certain ‘e’ numbers because I would have a hyper episode.
Now I don’t remember these hyper episodes, but my mom remembers them clear as day, I’ve definitely given her some trauma over the way I used to behave. And the way she describes them to me is that I would literally get myself on such a tizz, I would be laughing and joking, have fallen all over the place. And I would be inappropriate, so I would be saying silly things and I would be knocking things over, and I would be doing things for attention. And even as I’m saying this right now I’m smiling ear to ear because it is just so unlike me but I struggled with it horrendously apparently for a number of years until they managed to get it under control, or, as we know, now, I managed to learn to mask it. And managed to learn to control it. In order for me not to get the negative backlash that I would have definitely have gotten from those kinds of interactions.
I remember, as a teenager, I used to worry about every single thing, I had a real thing about critical thinking, which later on in my later years, once I became a mom, I and my GP was convinced, put me on the spectrum for OCD. And the reason why we explored that together was because I needed to have a plan B for everything. So for instance, any bad thing that happened in the world any a bad thing that you know, affected everybody’s consciousness, such as terrorist attacks, or plane crashes or anything that would just be absolutely, you know, monumental, I would need to have a plan B, like what would I do in that situation. I would find myself obsessing about the news and consuming things in order for me to make a plan to protect myself from them, because I couldn’t understand how they could happen.
We figured out quite quickly that from an OCD point of view, I wasn’t OCD typical, because people who suffer with obsessive compulsive disorder, have the obsessive and they think something bad’s going to happen, of course, and they have those feelings, they have the intrusive thoughts. But they also have the compulsion to do something that will counteract that. And I never had the compulsion I only ever had the obsession and the intrusive thoughts.
So I remember quite clearly the time that I came out, for lack of a better term publicly to say that actually, I do find myself on the spectrum of OCD. And now, it makes much more sense to me that actually I’m not OCD at all, it’s just another symptom of ADHD.
At high school, I didn’t stim at all, but I used to fidget, I could not sit still, and I used to get hold off all the time for dancing at the dinner table whilst eating. I used to do you know, like a chair wobble, and I just couldn’t sit still. And the main thing for me was, if you gave me a task that I was interested in, I could perform that task to a level of excellence that would astound the people around me. And I used to really thrive off that positive energy whenever that occurred. You know, academic structure doesn’t actually allow for that to occur too often, but when it did, it was fantastic. But I really struggled with things that I didn’t find interesting. For instance, maths was just one of the things that did not float my boat at all, I’ve gotten into maths, as an adult, because you have to, you have to figure out a way to kind of understand your finances and everything that’s going on. But at school, I really struggled. I mean, I had a willingness I really wanted to do well. And I really wanted everybody to be pleased with me. And this just comes back to the masking I made ways to cope, I made ways to learn but when it comes to focus, oh boy, it was so hard for me to get my brain where it needed to be, the struggle, the frustration can sometimes still come up for me.
Now, in my entrepreneurial style, and this is probably where some of the real clarity has come for me. My entrepreneurial style has always been to get in and dig deep and do what needs to be done. Okay? So if I’m interested in it, which of course in my business I absolutely am. It’s such a passion. It’s such a calling, it’s my purpose that that hyper focus I get in my business is really a massive superpower, its amazing, I’m an ideas person, I have 6 billion different ideas. The idea to do this podcast just flew into my brain, as well as 100 other things that flew into my brain as I was driving to the studio this morning. And it’s just one of those things that I can’t really fully describe but I’m so grateful for, I see things that other people sometimes can’t see, I see opportunities, and I’m just one of those people that can just go in, dive in deep and get like three weeks worth of work done in a day, on a good day.
But then there are other days when my brain doesn’t want to play ball. And nothing feels interesting right now. So it just wants to sleep, and this is where I feel like I’ve had to train myself a little bit to be proactive. And this is where my hyper planning, my hyper strategy, all of that stuff comes in. The reason why I’m so strong in those areas, whilst also not naturally leaning into those areas is because over years and years and years and years, I’ve had to force myself to learn how to counteract that natural kind of rhythm and I’ve given myself almost a comfort zone in the areas that are or would be naturally uncomfortable to me.
One of the best things I ever did, because I surrounded myself with finisher doers. So the people in my team know that I can sometimes be a bit flighty and you can have a conversation with me today. And today, this is what we’re doing. And this is what our direction is. And this is what our priorities are. And if you come back to me in two weeks time, I can tell you whether that’s a long term priority or whether that was a flash in the pan because things have moved on. Now this is why my superpower works really well in terms of business. Because nothing stagnates with me, we’re always moving on to the next thing I’m always firmly placed in gratitude, but I’m always looking for the next thing I’m always moving on to the next lily pad. And that fast paced nature is really just one of those things that supports the moving, thriving business that we’ve got today, especially with digital marketing and the online female entrepreneurial space because it is a fast moving space.
That being said, I do sometimes still struggle with focus. For instance, this is a big admission that when my team listen to this episode, they’re going to giggle about. Right now, I’m not supposed to be recording podcasts. You right now are listening to a result of me leaning in to hyper focus on the way to the studio today, I knew what I wanted to talk about, and I know that the thing I should be doing right now, which I will do if any of my team are listening, I promise I will do it. It’s just not got the same fire inside of me, so I allow myself to do the thing. Whilst it’s in my head to follow the rabbit down the rabbit hole. I love Alice in Wonderland and I use a use the terminology for that I use metaphors from Alice in Wonderland all the time. But if I see the White Rabbit I’m following that White Rabbit, okay, I’m going to I’m going to follow up I’m going to go down that rabbit hole. And I’m going to enjoy the wonder of what is pulling on my soul today. But at some point, I will slay the Jabberwocky, I will do the thing that maybe doesn’t feel quite as much fun for me, maybe feels a bit more overwhelming for me, might be giving me all the fields of procrastination or making me try to put it on the back burner because it just doesn’t fill me with ultimate joy.
Now the good thing is, is that 99.9% of the stuff that I do day to day fills me with some kind of joy like so it is it might be slightly less joyful than me fully immersing myself into this podcast, but I am lucky that I can tap into my flow and my purpose, whilst even doing the things that perhaps don’t naturally lean into that joy and flow, which does make it easier for me in terms of me being able to correct myself and make sure that I do the things that need doing and not just follow the passion every single day.
My team are really good at taking my ideas, letting me get them to the stage where I’m happy to pass them over, taking them and getting them done. And this is one of the things that I really credit our teamwork and internal brand community for, because everybody understands what my situation is, they get it, they get me, and they know exactly what I need for them to go and do. They just need to take the baton and run, which is fabulous.
And they also really good at managing me. My Business Operations Manager Steph is fantastic at managing me, and just sending me little emails to say, hey, that thing you were meant to do? Did you do it? Like every single thing is on my calendar, which is just amazing. Now, what I would suggest, if you have any kind of feeling like actually, I may feel like I want to explore whether I’m also ADHD, the first thing I did was I looked for resources online. I really enjoy funny reels on Instagram. And I’m actually I’m thinking about doing some myself just so that I can reach out to those of you that feel in some similar way. I really enjoyed watching other people’s reels, I really enjoyed seeing other people’s posts. And as soon as I started to fully recognise myself in those things, that was a moment for me when I kind of went, ah, okay, this makes total sense. Then I researched online, I also just want to just say real quick that there is a bit of a thing about self diagnosis, like if you self diagnose, then you don’t really know. I’ve spoken to my GP about this now, and my GP is like so totally on board with my thinking. They are, as far as they concerned, I’m ADHD and I knew before the GP told me, I had self diagnose. So if you’re sat there thinking like, oh, I don’t know, for certain, because I haven’t seen the doctor and I’m self diagnosing. Please don’t give yourself a hard time, what we do when we get a new situation is we go on Google, we look it up and like oh, okay, so that is a viral infection, I need some antibiotics, or that’s something where I need to have my ears cleaned or whatever. You wouldn’t worry about going online and self diagnosing yourself with something normal, like chicken pox, or the common cold. So don’t feel like if you recognise your, I want to say symptoms, although I feel like that’s the wrong word, but if you recognise those behaviours, and you go, actually, that could be me, and you go and take a test. Don’t feel bad about that, like the first step to finding how is that self diagnosis and nobody can take that away from you, I don’t really understand why there’s the thing about that, like I knew from the things I was reading, I was so sure. And I think if you if you’re looking at ADHD, the way ADHD was sold to us, and when it first started being spoken about, it was sold to us that it was something that was for teenage naughty boys who couldn’t behave themselves because they were just so hyper, that they couldn’t bring themselves back down off the ceiling. A little bit like that laughing scene from Mary Poppins, if anybody remembers that.
And actually, especially in females, that’s just not how it presents, you know, we’re often incredibly intelligent, we’re are often very, very bright. We have often found ways to mask it in very, very clever, sneaky, sneaky ways, which is why so many late diagnoses come out. And so often, it is assigned to somebody who can do amazing things that can really use it as a superpower. And I am not ashamed. In fact, I’m really proud, there’s a part of me that kind of feels like this is amazing and I’m so glad I was born this way.
Obviously, at high school and primary school, it wasn’t the most fun thing to deal with, but as an adult, is actually a massive superpower and I can see myself really thriving and having a life that I love, that I just would not have if I didn’t have all of the amazing traits that came with this particular diagnosis.
So go check it out. If you’re feeling that kind of way, go check it out. See if there’s anything that resonates with you go take the task go speak to your GP, you know, I hear that it can be quite difficult to actually go and have all of the tests. I’ve been very lucky because this whole situation has happened during the COVID situation, I’ve been able to speak to my GP over the phone and over video chat, I do not need to explore it any further as far as I’m concerned, so we won’t be looking at medication. We will be looking at really anything. It’s just good for me to know that the things that I have in place that I’ve built myself so that I can get by day to day are working for me, and obviously that there are more resources out there should I need to rely on them in the future. I would love, love, love to know if this episode has landed with you, let me know in the free group. If you haven’t already joined, please do come and join us. And I will leave it there and speak to you next time.