After advocating for himself to get the diagnosis he knew he needed, Alex Hey discovered a creative outlet that helps him on his ADHD journey.
Lindsay Guentzel (00:02):
Welcome back to Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel. What you’re listening to today, it’s a little bit different than the podcast episodes we’ve shared with you before. This episode, this person’s story is a part of Refocused, Together, a special series the team at ADHD Online and I have been working on for ADHD Awareness Month.
Lindsay Guentzel (00:22):
Every day throughout the month of October, we’ll be sharing a different person’s ADHD story, which is fitting because the theme for ADHD Awareness Month this year is understanding a shared experience. I can’t think of a better way to really get a sense of that shared experience than by telling a different story every single day. To be clear, yes, that’s 31 stories in 31 days. Did I mention I’m a bit of an overachiever?
Lindsay Guentzel (00:50):
My name is Lindsay Guentzel, and along with a team at ADHD Online, I’m so excited to present Refocused, Together, a collection of stories aimed at raising awareness on just how complex ADHD is and the different ways it shows up in people’s lives. When we share stories, it’s easier to find the perspective, ideas, and tips that help us live our best lives. I’m interviewing people with varying backgrounds, diagnoses, experiences, and perspectives. We’ll hear from working parents, advocates, engineers, writers, PhD candidates, and more to learn that while we may be different, we are all united by our own ADHD journeys.
Lindsay Guentzel (01:59):
Alex Hey was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 20. He had thought about it long before, always aware of his struggle with focusing and even feeling different from those around him, excluded, maybe even singled out because of who he was. The moment that pushed Alex to seek out help actually came from a conversation with a college friend. Sitting together in downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota, near the window off a busy street, he was sure his friend was judging him. Alex could focus on everything happening around him, except for his friend.
Lindsay Guentzel (02:33):
He was embarrassed, humiliated, and frustrated and so he turned to something that has always brought him peace, his faith. Except when he found himself inside a chapel, a place that has always calmed him, he struggled to pray. He simply couldn’t concentrate on something that had always been such a comfort to him, and that’s when the doubt and the concern crept in. Alex sought out an ADHD referral from his doctor, but when his first assessment didn’t go as planned, Alex, along with the support of his mom, pressed for one from a doctor who could conduct the test that Alex needed.
Lindsay Guentzel (03:10):
This appeal led to Alex’s ADHD diagnosis, and all this time later, it’s easy to see that moment of advocacy has led to Alex leading a vastly improved life in so many ways. Today, Alex runs Reset ADHD, an ADHD coaching practice where he helps people struggling to reach their full potential to work with their brains and not against them. He was also a guest speaker at the 2021 International Conference on ADHD. Alex, thank you so much for joining me on Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel.
Alex Hey (03:41):
Thanks for having me.
Lindsay Guentzel (03:43):
Let’s start by talking about your assessments, because you did have two of them, essentially. While you were in the midst of that first referral with your doctor, were there any red flags or moments that made you think it wasn’t adequate for what you would need personally?
Alex Hey (04:00):
Yeah. I felt like I had to do most of the talking, and as an introvert that’s just nails on chalkboard. Anyway, she asked me a couple questions and was like, “Yeah, I don’t think you have it,” and I basically had to advocate for myself. It didn’t feel like she was actually listening to me. She asked about my grades because I was in college at the time, and I said, “I got my first C, recently.” She’s like, “Ah, that’s not so bad,” and yeah, that-
Lindsay Guentzel (04:40):
But for you it was.
Alex Hey (04:43):
Later, fast forwarding I found out I’m in the 98th percentile for intelligence, so a C is not what I should be getting in school. My mom was always telling me when I was a kid, “You should be getting all As,” and I didn’t really believe in myself at that time. Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked from the story. Yeah, so the red flags were that she just didn’t seem that interested in actually testing me, looking for any sort of data other than just talking to me. It was just inadequate, I felt.
Lindsay Guentzel (05:16):
I imagine that you walk out of there, you feel frustrated because you’ve got to this point, you’ve advocated for yourself into this assessment, and then it’s not what you want and you don’t feel supported. I’m curious. What was so different about the second experience, that second referral for ADHD?
Alex Hey (05:34):
Aside from going to a different hospital system … If you’re in Sioux Falls, you know the two hospital systems, but if you’re not in Sioux Falls, it’s not going to make a whole lot of difference to the story. The psychologist I went to the second time actually did the interview but also ran tests to see, as I mentioned before, where my intelligence level was and where I was performing on certain tasks. It revealed that some areas, I was average in my performance when I should have been above average, if that makes sense. That’s one of the reasons I went so long without getting diagnosed is I’m smart. I can mitigate any sort of challenges I might be having or I can hide it. Hiding is something I do well, and so I’ve been working on that.
Alex Hey (06:26):
The second referral was much more thorough and I felt like, “Okay, yeah. I’m actually going to get some answers here.” They had me fill out one or two really long psychological profile things, and it took forever. Oh my gosh. The short answer is it was a very thorough experience.
Lindsay Guentzel (06:46):
I’m curious, how instrumental your mom’s support was in pushing for that second opinion? Because you were an adult and I think, as a society, we sometimes just expect adults to get things done. Obviously, both of us having ADHD and knowing what we know about ADHD, that can sometimes be incredibly difficult. How important was that kind of sidekick in your advocacy role?
Alex Hey (07:13):
It’s kind of funny. Growing up, I always felt like my mom was against me but in that moment, it was a moment of my mom saying, “Yeah, go seek out a second opinion.” Because she had seen the bill from the first doctor who was not in my insurance network, and so it was quite hefty. She’s like, “No, you should have gone to this other doctor,” or the other health system in town. She’s like, “Yeah, get a second opinion. They should actually run tests.” She’s a teacher, so she knows what an evaluation should look like, and she knew that the first one was not adequate, so it was a good moment for me and my mom.
Lindsay Guentzel (07:48):
It sounds like it. I know it can be hard. I’m not a parent. I try to sometimes view myself through my mother’s eyes and I think they always just want the best for us. Going back to what your mom would tell you as a kid, she had high expectations for you, probably because she knew you were capable of reaching them.
Alex Hey (08:04):
I wrote a poem one time and a line was she believed in me, but I didn’t believe in myself.
Lindsay Guentzel (08:11):
I also think too, again, hindsight’s so important with ADHD. Sometimes, we see support and encouragement as almost rejection. It’s like we can’t get out of our own ways, and so when someone’s pushing us, we feel that it’s very aggressive when in reality, it’s them wanting the best for us.
Alex Hey (08:32):
I would totally agree with that. I’ve just never thought of it that way.
Lindsay Guentzel (08:36):
Oh, yeah, no. It’s the things that you pick up talking to other people where you’re like, “Oh, so you weren’t being cruel in that moment. That was a good thing.” Yes, it’s again, going back, hindsight is so important. You’ve mentioned you know now where you fit in the intelligence scale. I love how confident you are saying, “I’m smart.” Because I think we sometimes are so afraid to shout out the things that are great about us. Being smart is such a setback for people with ADHD because you’re automatically taken out of the bucket. People go, “Oh, nope. You’re a capable human. You can’t have it. There’s just no way,” and obviously, we know that that is just not the case.
Lindsay Guentzel (09:22):
Knowing what you know now, when you look back at your childhood, are there any things that stand out as reasons why you didn’t get picked out as a small boy for having ADHD?
Alex Hey (09:36):
Yeah. I think it was just I’m more introverted and I’m the inattentive type. Those two things combined make a lot of my symptoms interior. I’m trying to think if there’s any like … Oh, here’s a good story. In the third grade, we were sitting in class and we were going through a workbook, worksheet, whatever it was. The teacher was bouncing around the room, having different kids do different questions, and they were moving slower than me.
Alex Hey (10:08):
I was getting impatient, so I started to work ahead, while at the same time, trying to figure out and remember where the rest of the class was. That way, if I got called on, I would know. The millisecond I let myself slip, that’s when I got called on. She goes, “Alex, do the next one,” and I read the one they had just previously done, and she said, “You’re not paying attention,” and chewed me out, and I got in trouble.
Lindsay Guentzel (10:37):
In your head, the shame that comes along with that moment and the embarrassment of your classmates, thinking that you’re not paying attention or you don’t know what’s going on when in reality, you’re trying to go ahead because you can’t sit at that pace.
Alex Hey (10:53):
Exactly. That’s exactly what happened.
Lindsay Guentzel (10:56):
I’m feeling some moments of my childhood coming up with that story. It’s hard. I think it’s very hard because in the moment, you don’t know what you don’t know. I didn’t grow up in a family where we talked about our feelings and so those moments, I wouldn’t have come home and been like, “Hey, mom. This thing happened in class today and it made me feel really bad.” I would have hid it, and I feel like you probably did the same thing.
Alex Hey (11:19):
Yep. I would not have wanted my mom to know that I got in trouble.
Lindsay Guentzel (11:23):
Yes. It’s so interesting you say that because I still, as a 36-year-old woman, have a really hard time with getting in trouble. I have a ton of stories. Anytime I do something that a normal person would just let roll off their back, I have to have a moment where I’m like, “This is something that happens. People make mistakes. It’s unreal the stuff that we allow ourselves to hold onto.
Alex Hey (11:52):
Mm-hmm, yeah. I’m thinking of the hiding that goes on, and just I think it’s societal too, where we want to just hide our faults and put out the best image of ourselves out there, and then it’s just not really who we are. Human beings are flawed, naturally. Everyone’s got their own foibles, or whatever you want to call them.
Lindsay Guentzel (12:18):
Well, that’s a perfect segue to my next question which is, knowing what you know about yourself now and all of the reflection you’ve been able to do, especially with the business you’ve built, Reset ADHD, what do you feel is your biggest struggle or your biggest hurdle when managing your own ADHD?
Alex Hey (12:38):
I would say getting stuff done is probably my biggest struggle, but specifically, things with no set deadline or a deadline that’s way out in the future. I’ll just not get around to it ever. One of the things I’ve had to do to prevent me putting things off, and putting things off, and putting things off is I have to schedule it like, “This is when I’m going to work on it. This is when I’m going to get it done.” I don’t necessarily say, “At 7:00 on Tuesday, I’m going to do it,” but it’s on my to-do list for Tuesday and I’m pretty good at checking off my to-dos for each day, just because I’ve written them down.
Lindsay Guentzel (13:21):
Is that a part of your accountability, the writing it down? If it’s written down and you know that it’s on your list for the day, at the end of the day, you need to have it done?
Alex Hey (13:30):
Yeah, I think that’s kind of what it is. I write them all down in blue ink, and then I cross them off in red ink, just because die to-do list item, die.
Lindsay Guentzel (13:42):
Here’s the thing is, you laugh, but it’s like in your brain, in your world, that works for you. I admire that because I’m still working on figuring out what me workaround is, because I struggle with the same thing. I love the early stuff. I like the getting started. I get really excited. I’m an ideas person, but it’s figuring out how to actually put the work in to get it done in a timely manner when there are no immediate deadlines.
Alex Hey (14:13):
Mm-hmm, yeah. The middle part is the tricky part because the beginning can be exciting, as you said. Sometimes, I have trouble getting started if it’s not exciting but if it is exciting, yeah, my ideas will flow and I’ll get started. That middle grind is a little tricky.
Lindsay Guentzel (14:36):
I’m curious if you had any idea you wanted to go into business by yourself before you were diagnosed with ADHD, because it’s clear people with ADHD like to march to their own drum. By that I mean they like to set their own schedules because we just, for the most part, a lot of us don’t function in this 8:00 to 5:00 capacity. When you were starting in college and looking ahead to what life would be like as an adult, did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Alex Hey (15:06):
Yeah. My first semester of college, my plan was to major in entrepreneurship. Then I transferred after that one semester and they didn’t have entrepreneurship as a major at my new school. I ended up going down the accounting road for a little bit and that was a mistake, but it did help me out later on. Because now I know what I’m doing when it comes to bookkeeping.
Lindsay Guentzel (15:33):
The silver linings.
Alex Hey (15:35):
Yeah. Yeah, I was definitely interested in entrepreneurship, even in high school, but I had no idea what sort of business I wanted to open.
Lindsay Guentzel (15:44):
It’s so interesting that you say you were interested in entrepreneurship in high school because I don’t think I even knew what that was in high school. I was also an ideas person in high school, but there was never that wrangling of putting what I was good at into an actual career path. Oh, the things we wish we could back and change.
Lindsay Guentzel (16:06):
You have your to-do list. You have set up this plan, this accountability plan that works for you where every day, you know exactly what you need to do and what you need to work on. You know that you don’t have to assign a specific time for yourself. It’s just like, “These are the tasks I need to get done during the day,” and you can flow through them however works best for you. Are there any things that you’ve tried in the past that you thought might be helpful for you and just realized very quickly that it was not going to be something that worked well with how your brain functions?
Alex Hey (16:41):
The first thing that comes to mind is scheduling out every minute of my day. That’s a lot of work and things happen in your day that you can’t account for. With ADHD, you’re not really good at estimating time, how long things will take, so the idea of working on a project for two hours, it might take you three, it might take you 45 minutes. You just don’t know. When I tried to schedule out every minute of every day, I found myself with a lot of down time or a lot of time where I was going over my projected time thing and it was just a mess. Now, I’ve moved to this to-do list where things are not time scheduled, but day scheduled and it works for me.
Lindsay Guentzel (17:36):
When you look at life and some of the struggles that you’ve had with ADHD, where do you see yourself thriving? Some people call it their ADHD superpower. What, for you, stands out as what makes you special because of your ADHD?
Alex Hey (17:53):
I guess, the thing that first comes to mind is creativity. Dr. Ned Hallowell calls creativity just impulsivity gone right. One of the ways my creativity has been manifesting over the past year and couple months is I’ve been doing improv. I did it in college and recently got into it again because a guy came to town and was like, “I want to start an improv group here in South Dakota,” so yeah, I just noticed that I do well on the improv stage.
Alex Hey (18:26):
Even something, one of the really important things about improv is listening and paying attention to what’s going on in the scene you’re acting out, and I’m good at that in improv. It doesn’t quite make sense to me because I have ADHD, and I shouldn’t be a good listener, shouldn’t in air quotes. Yeah, even my director, leader guy has said like, “No, you’re good at listening on stage,” so-
Lindsay Guentzel (18:52):
Right. Lots of air quotes in your lives, aren’t there?
Alex Hey (18:56):
It’s been a lot of fun, and I feel like I’m doing well in it right now.
Lindsay Guentzel (19:01):
It almost sounds like it’s a good workout for your brain because it’s something you’re passionate about and in order to be good at it, you have to listen. Whereas, if you were sitting in a boardroom or for me, it was the massive lecture hall at college where there’s 250 people and it’s like the voice from, oh gosh, Snoopy and the gang, the mom voice, the wah … Yeah, Charlie Brown.
Alex Hey (19:27):
Lindsay Guentzel (19:27):
Thank you, yes.
Alex Hey (19:27):
Lindsay Guentzel (19:28):
Yeah, the wah wah voice. In your moment on stage, you are enjoying this and you want to be the best improv you can be. You want to bring that to the stage, so it’s almost like it’s your own little brain workout, training yourself in that moment.
Alex Hey (19:44):
Yeah, yeah. I’ve also explored ideas of how improv and ADHD are related, and how improv can help with ADHD, and how improv helps me as a coach. I had to write a project for my coach training program and I wrote it on how coaching is improv. It was over 100 pages long, and I was not expecting to write that much but it’s what happened just because, yeah, I’m passionate about it. It’s a good workout for the brain and can help in a lot of different ways.
Lindsay Guentzel (20:19):
I love that you are able to take something that you’re passionate about that most people wouldn’t be able to connect back to your business, and be able to see how it makes you a better coach. I think that’s fascinating. It also is a testament to how powerful ADHD can be. Because most people would go on that linear path of, “Yeah, no, this is my hobby. This is something that I just enjoy doing,” and you’ve been able to take that skillset and bring it back in a way that I’m sure has been invaluable.
Alex Hey (20:49):
Yeah, it really has. Just yes-anding, listening, and co-creating and building together, it’s really fun for me. When I can do that with my clients, it creates a better coaching relationship.
Lindsay Guentzel (21:09):
I’m curious what has been the biggest struggle being an ADHD coach. I imagine there are a lot of people who go, “Well, you have ADHD. Why would I take lessons from you?” It’s almost this idea of you should be going to somebody who doesn’t have it who can teach me how to live, again, the air quotes, quote, unquote, normal life. The opposite side of it is, the power you bring to the conversation as somebody who gets it.
Alex Hey (21:37):
Yeah, and that’s what I’ve found is when I talk with potential clients, they’re like, “Do you have ADHD?” A lot of them want to know that I get it because they’ve been so misunderstood throughout their life. I just started with a client yesterday and when we were first talking, she found out I had ADHD and she was like, “What? I can’t believe that.”
Lindsay Guentzel (21:59):
Well, I think, as someone who has ADHD, I look at someone like you who is able to do something so structured … Like I can do work for myself and I can do work that has to be delivered, but you are setting up your life to support other people and that, to me, is fascinating. I applaud you because to figure out how to run your own schedule and make it work to help other people, I think there are a lot of us with ADHD that just are like, “Nope, no way.”
Alex Hey (22:27):
Everyone with ADHD has their own unique flavor to it so it’s going to be what works for you. Some people will do well in an unstructured environment. Other people will need that heavy structure. Sometimes, you need a hybrid of the two, so it really depends on the person.
Lindsay Guentzel (22:45):
I want to move on to looking forward because I think for a lot of us with ADHD, you get the diagnosis. You start to figure out how your brain works, and you go through these experimental phases of trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Going back to what you mentioned about plotting out your day minute by minute, and I laugh because I’ve tried to do it too.
Lindsay Guentzel (23:08):
You said, “Well, one thing takes longer than I expected it to,” and then all of a sudden, all the cards have fallen. The whole day’s a mess. I start to feel bad about myself. I start to think, “Why can’t I just stay to the schedule?” What is giving you hope right now? When you look at where you are right now, what’s pushing you forward?
Alex Hey (23:28):
It’s just that people are talking about it. Mental health, in recent years, has gotten more attention, and people are starting to talk about it more. Sure, maybe not enough but it’s growing. The number of people talking about mental health is growing. That’s one aspect of what’s pulling me forward, but the other aspect of what’s pulling me forward is knowing that there’s a lot more to do.
Alex Hey (23:56):
Here in South Dakota, I’m the only ADHD coach. I did recently learn of a guy who’s going through coach training, so I’m excited to have a colleague here in South Dakota. Yeah, resources for ADHD are just not plentiful here. They’re quite scarce. On the one hand, people are talking about it more. On the other hand, there’s a lot to do and so that’s what’s driving me forward, if that makes sense. Does that answer the question?
Lindsay Guentzel (24:23):
It totally does. Oh, absolutely. Going back, you mentioned you’re in a city where there’s two healthcare systems and that’s what you got to choose from, and you went to one and it didn’t work. Thank goodness you went to the other and it did work. What would have happened had you gone to the other one and you still felt disappointed? Like, there’s your options.
Alex Hey (24:43):
Yeah. I know people who, in rural areas, have had to drive long distances to find the help they need and to get that diagnosis. Yeah, I’m very grateful that the second one worked out.
Lindsay Guentzel (24:59):
Do you ever have dark days? Dark days where you feel like it’s just a lot of work? I get days where I just feel exhausted from all the added work I have to do to feel like I’m just scraping by, if that makes sense.
Alex Hey (25:15):
Mm-hmm. Yeah, I do have dark days. One of my comorbid conditions is depression, and so dealing with that is very hard to … Some days, it’s very hard just to check off the bare minimum of what I need to do. I think on those days, I have to be kind to myself and make deals with myself, essentially, where if I can just get these things done, I can give myself a break, or whatever. Or if I read for the class I’m taking, I’m going to take a nap afterwards because reading makes me sleepy. Yeah, so there are dark days, but hopefully, the dark days don’t outweigh the bright days, if you want to call them that.
Lindsay Guentzel (26:03):
That’s a great way to look at it. That’s kind of the only way you can look at it, right?
Alex Hey (26:08):
Lindsay Guentzel (26:11):
I do want to ask about your faith and the connection between your faith and ADHD. I’m asking this as someone who has faith, but I don’t belong to a church or a community, religious, like-minded people. I did grow up going to church and so I do know that sometimes, in certain churches and in certain religious communities, there’s this disconnect between psychology where ADHD would fall in and religion. I’m curious how you’ve been able to bridge that gap. I assume because faith is so important to you, that you have found a place where you do feel supported.
Alex Hey (26:51):
Yeah. The pastor of my church is a psychologist. He’s got a PhD and then went into the priesthood. He’s really interesting to talk to and he’s done just a whole bunch of stuff with his life. He’s a fascinating person, but that’s not the point of the story. Yeah, so the faith aspect of it is tricky because there aren’t a lot of resources out there that deal with faith and mental health. There are a few with depression and stuff like that. Then, a recent book came out on Catholicism and autism.
Alex Hey (27:32):
When I was looking for support with my ADHD specifically in matters of my faith, there was nothing. Or there wasn’t nothing, but there was a couple of things here and there that were just not adequate, in my opinion, and so I was really struggling with, how do I manage my faith and my ADHD at the same time? I was looking for a book that would help me, but I couldn’t find one.
Alex Hey (28:03):
That’s when the little voice in the back of my head said, “Well, one of your favorite authors only writes a book when there’s a book out there he wants to read that doesn’t exist,” and so I said, “Well, I can give it a shot. I’ll just do it as an experiment, start writing a book and see if it turns into anything,” and it did. Also, through the process of writing that book is when I discovered that I have a passion for helping others with ADHD, and that led to me becoming a coach.
Lindsay Guentzel (28:33):
It’s very clear you’re a problem-solver. I very much admire the fact that you have gone into learning about yourself, and when you’ve come to a roadblock where you didn’t feel like things were adequate, instead of feeling defeated or letting that get you down, you’ve looked at it as, “All right. I know that this is something that is needed because I need it, and I’m going to do what I can to make sure that whoever comes behind me and gets to the same roadblock gets to move forward.”
Alex Hey (29:03):
Yeah. That’s a nice way of putting it. I’ve never really thought of it that way. I think it’s one of those things where I just have a natural instinct to help people and make the world a better place. I like your observation that I’m a problem-solver, which is good but there are also times where it gets me into trouble where I’m trying to solve somebody’s problems and they just want a shoulder to cry on.
Lindsay Guentzel (29:30):
Or you decide to take on a problem that you feel like no one else is going to take on, and then you let it consume your life when in reality, you should maybe have thought about taking that on, give it a little bit more time.
Alex Hey (29:46):
Yeah, that’s the thing about my brain. It wants to solve problems, and if it sees a problem that seems like, “Oh, it’s just so simple,” I can latch onto it and then realize, okay, maybe it’s not as simple. The perfect example of that is immigration. Whether you’re on the right or you’re on the left, the two sides can’t agree and to me, there are compromises you can make that would make it so much simpler. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, “How do we solve the immigration problem in the United States?” and it’s exhausting. If I were to let myself dive even further into it and actually take action, I would have to run for office. That would mean having politicians as my co-workers, and no, I’m not going to do that.
Lindsay Guentzel (30:33):
Isn’t it funny how we see something and we can feel compelled to want to do something about it. Then, all of a sudden, you’re laying in bed one night re-plotting your entire life for this one situation that came out of nowhere.
Alex Hey (30:50):
Yeah. I think that’s just the beauty and the downside of having an ADHD brain. Our brain has great imaginational powers, and so it can lead to a lot of really good things, but it can also cause a swirl. That’s something I’ve had to be very careful about avoiding is the swirl of ADHD.
Lindsay Guentzel (31:13):
Well, I want to wrap this up by asking you, if you were to stake your platform on, this is what everyone needs to know about ADHD and the world will be a little bit of a better place, what’s that message?
Alex Hey (31:27):
It’s that the stereotypes aren’t true. I mean, yes, they are true, but there’s more to it than that. A perfect example is the stereotype of an ADHD person is a young boy who can’t sit still, but it’s more than that. It’s women and girls, it’s adults. It’s not just young boys.
Alex Hey (31:49):
One of the things that I’ve done recently is I’ve joined the board of the Inattentive ADHD Coalition. Their mission is to raise awareness of the inattentive type of ADHD because the symptoms are more internal. It’s easier to go undiagnosed when you have inattentive ADHD, and so their goal is to get kids diagnosed who have inattentive ADHD. If you go to their website, they’ve got a screening tool for inattentive ADHD in young kids. My platform, so to speak, is, “ADHD. It’s not what you think.”
Lindsay Guentzel (32:24):
I like that. I like that.
Alex Hey (32:26):
Yeah, yeah. I also wrote a blog one time about the squirrel stereotype of ADHD is, “Squirrel!” It really irritated me for a long time that people said squirrel whenever ADHD came up in conversation. I was thinking about it one day, and I was on vacation while I was thinking about it. I realized that while I was on that vacation with my siblings, I was pointing out every dog that I saw.
Lindsay Guentzel (32:53):
That was your squirrel.
Alex Hey (32:55):
That was my squirrel, was a dog. There are some truths to the stereotypes, but it’s so much more, and it’s a very complex issue. It’s not just simply, “Give them medication and have them go on their way.” I feel like that’s a lot of doctors in the world, but especially here in the United States.
Lindsay Guentzel (33:18):
It’d be great if you could.
Alex Hey (33:18):
Yeah, that would be great, but it’s so much more. Pills don’t teach skills, as they say in the coaching world. The way it was explained to me is medication just levels the playing field and then you have to, again, acquire the skills to get stuff done.
Lindsay Guentzel (33:33):
I like that. Pills don’t … What was it again?
Alex Hey (33:36):
Pills don’t teach skills.
Lindsay Guentzel (33:37):
Pills don’t teach skills. That’s a great thing to remember because I’ve had a lot of people ask me about my journey, and it’s like, yes, I started on medication right after getting diagnosed. I like that idea that it evens the playing field. It’s like, don’t feel like I’m so far behind when I start my day. It’s like my brain has more of what it needs to actually accomplish certain things.
Alex Hey (34:03):
Lindsay Guentzel (34:04):
Well, Alex, thank you so much for joining me on Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel, and for sharing your story in this 31 stories throughout the month of October. I truly appreciate your candidness and your energy of trying to help people, especially people with ADHD. I think it’s really, really lovely.
Alex Hey (34:26):
Thank you. Thanks for having me. It was a pleasure.
Lindsay Guentzel (34:29):
Alex Hey is the brain behind Reset ADHD, an ADHD coaching practice where he helps people struggling to reach their full potential to work with their brains and not against them. You can find out more about Alex’s story and the work he’s doing by visiting resetadhd.com.
Lindsay Guentzel (35:00):
Thanks to fellow Minnesota sports fan, Alex Hey, for joining me on Refocused, Together. To find out more about the work Alex is doing, you can visit resetadhd.com. I also have the link available in the show notes.
Lindsay Guentzel (35:15):
Refocused, Together is a special series created for ADHD Awareness Month with the help of Zach Booker, Dr. Randall Duthler, Tim Gutwald, Keith Brophy, and the entire team at ADHD Online. That includes my teammates, Keith Boswell, Suzanne Spruit, Claudia Gotti, Melanie Mile, Paul Owen, Kirsten Pip, Sissy Yi, Trisha, Merchant Dunny, and Lauren Radley.
Lindsay Guentzel (35:40):
Thanks to Corey Kearney, and Mason Nelly, and the team at Dexia, to Cameron Sterling and Candace Lefke. Thanks to Camilla Eden, Lauren Terry, Sarah Gelbard, Phil Roderman, and Sarah Platanitis. Our theme music was created by Luis Ingles, a songwriter and composer based in Perth, Australia, who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2020 at the age of 39.
Lindsay Guentzel (36:04):
To find out more about Refocused, Together or to share your story with me, head over to adhdonline.com and check out the ADHD Awareness Month page, which highlights this project as well as each day’s episode after they’ve been released. You can also find out more by following along on social @LindsayGuetnzel and @RefocusedPod.