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Jesse Anderson and Juggling Chainsaws

We know it’s ok to be weird. And it’s nice to know we’re not alone. Jesse Anderson helps us feel seen and reminds us that sharing makes this journey so much better.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:00):

Welcome to Refocused, Together.

Jesse J. Anderson (00:21):

My name’s Jesse J. Anderson. I write a lot about ADHD online. I’m writing a book on it and I also have a newsletter with videos and I’ll just like to write lots of funny little things about it. So I’ve been diagnosed for about five or six years now and it’s been a couple of years since I started becoming more of an online advocate, telling people about how ADHD works for me and helping educate a lot of people that are just learning maybe for the first time that, hey, maybe they have this thing called ADHD and it’s a lot different than they probably thought it was, like I did.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:55):

I’m your host, Lindsay Guentzel, and this is a special ADHD Awareness Month series of my podcast, Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel. If you’re a regular listener, you know that the Refocus Podcast is where we change the narrative around ADHD and share the tips and tools we need to refocus and live our best lives. If you’re new here and found us because it’s ADHD Awareness Month, welcome. We are so glad you’re here and I truly hope you’ll stick around long after October ends.

Lindsay Guentzel (01:30):

Now, there are parts of this ADHD journey that some of us have figured out and there are parts that we still need help cracking. And so for ADHD Awareness Month, I’m collaborating as always with my partner, ADHD Online to interview 31 people. That’s one interview for every day of the month about their own ADHD experience. We’ll hear from people who were diagnosed as kids and those diagnosed well into adulthood, we’ll talk about hyperfocus and distraction, stigma and shame, grief and acceptance and so much more. And we’ll see that ADHD can affect anyone, all genders, orientations, backgrounds, nationalities and cultures. And while there are differences in how we live this truth, there are also so many similarities that bring us together in community.

Lindsay Guentzel (02:25):

This special project is very near and dear to my heart, and although talking to 31 different people has been a lot of talking, I’m so grateful for each person who shared their story, and I’m truly forever changed by these conversations, and I cannot wait for you to meet my guests and get to know them. Be sure to subscribe to Refocus with Lindsay Guentzel so that you don’t miss a single story this month.

Lindsay Guentzel (03:00):

Now a very brief introduction for today’s guest, Jesse J. Anderson, known to some of you as ADHD Jesse on social media. He started looking into the disorder after his best friend went through testing and was diagnosed. And after digging into some of the symptoms, it became very clear to the software engineer that this was the missing piece that explained so much in his life. Jesse’s been actively sharing little snippets of his life with ADHD on social media since he was diagnosed at 36. He also hosts the podcast, ADHD Nerds and writes the weekly newsletter Extra Focus that reaches 30,000 subscribers each week. You can find out about all of the amazing stuff Jesse is creating for this community by heading to adhdjesse.com.

Lindsay Guentzel (03:54):

What’s so fun about this conversation is that I followed Jesse J. Anderson on Twitter prior to even thinking about telling 31 stories in the month of October. And some of your tweets, it’s like a little too close to home, but in a very humorous way. And so when you signed up for this interview, I was just beside myself because your humor and your honesty online is so easy for me to connect with. Literally I was like, I think one of the tweets, I was like, stop reading my diary to the public. This is super uncomfortable. But you have this way of just opening the curtain. So one, thank you for that because I laugh all the time. But two, thank you for coming on and sharing your journey with us.

Jesse J. Anderson (04:46):

Oh, thank you so much. Yeah, I get a lot of people that reply and say, “I feel both seen and attacked” by things that I tweet about. And so yeah, I’ve really kind of found … I don’t know, I guess I found my sweet spot there, kind of just being really authentic about my own journey and my own struggles and trying to often present it in a humorous way, to kind of laugh at myself. But also just help other people feel not so weird because I grew up feeling super weird and super different and no one really understood how I worked or why I did things the way I did. And I didn’t even understand it. And so yeah, I find that just being really open and vulnerable about that, but with a more humorous slant, I find that it really helps a lot more people feel accepted as they are. And that hey, it’s okay, It’s okay to be weird. We’re all kind of a little bit weird and it’s nice to know that we’re not alone.

Lindsay Guentzel (05:47):

I couldn’t agree more. And I think there’s something very lovely about having control over what you put out there. But I want to start with your own ADHD diagnosis story. What was that process like for you? What were some of the initial things that were going on that made you start to question or seek answers? Just take me back to those early days.

Jesse J. Anderson (06:14):

So I had been married for close to 10 years at the time and I was basically oblivious to most of our problems. I thought everything was great, things weren’t exactly great. When you have somebody undiagnosed ADHD, there’s problems that can crop up after a while. She had a conversation with a friend of hers who’s actually my best friend’s wife. So my best friend had been diagnosed with ADHD. I didn’t even know about it. And then his wife and my wife were kind of talking about it and my wife was suddenly like, wait a second, what this is sounds a lot like Jessie. And so I think she tactfully kind of told me about it. But I think she knew if she said, “Hey, I think you have ADHD, you need to get diagnosed” I probably would’ve rebelled against that idea. So she kind of tactfully told me a couple of things that she heard from her friend and that got me curious enough that I started looking into it myself.

Jesse J. Anderson (07:15):

And then also after that I met with my buddy and sort of asked him some questions too. Because I was like, oh man, a lot of these are starting to sound familiar. Some of the most obvious ones. Well he told me about hyperfocus because prior to being diagnosed I used to think, I think I even said this to my wife. “I can’t have ADHD because I haven no problem focusing on the things I’m interested in.” Which when you know ADHD, is pretty hilarious because that almost defines what ADHD is in a way. So yes, that was sort the first, oh, well maybe that could be a thing because I’ll spend hours and hours and hours on something that I’m really interested in.

Jesse J. Anderson (07:55):

And then there’s a few other things. Being late, I’ve always been late to everything ever. That’s always been a struggle for me. And finding out about the sleep issues that are often associated with ADHD, like delayed sleep phase syndrome, which I’ve always had. I can’t go to bed until two or three in the morning, which is a problem when you have to wake up at seven for a job. And I remember in particular, I was reading just … I don’t know, going through random websites and seeing lists of symptoms and someone pointed out that it’s common for there to be sensory issues and they specifically said t-shirt tags. And that was this light bulb moment for me because that’s something I never really talked with anybody about. But t-shirt tags drive me just nuts. So I always rip them out of t-shirts because the sensory just itch of a t-shirt tag really, yeah, just drives me wild.

Jesse J. Anderson (08:48):

So it was pretty quick that all that kind of happened within the span of a couple of weeks. And I remember reading things that would say, don’t try to diagnose yourself online, see a professional. So I of course ignored all that advice and did all the online tests and everything that I possibly could. And they all seemed to pretty strongly indicate, yeah, this looks like it really explains a lot of things. So my actual diagnosis process, I looked around a little bit. I found several people that only wanted to help if you’re a kid. So there was a lot of people that were like, yeah, we’d love to help diagnose your kid, but we don’t really want to see you. But I found one person, I just looked at my insurance specialist directory and I found someone that said they specialized in adult ADHD.

Jesse J. Anderson (09:31):

So I went and saw her and had a notebook full of all my symptoms, things I’d started writing down that I thought, oh, these are all the problems I’ve had my whole life and now maybe I have an answer. She listened to those and we talked about some of them. And then I think the second week when I went to see her again, that’s when she said, “Yeah, you pretty clearly have ADHD.” I didn’t actually go through any sort of formal test at the time. She just heard my story, talked through things and then said, “Yeah, you have it.” And then as far as medication, I guess that’s when I was technically diagnosed and that was probably nine months later. So at the time I was like, “I don’t want any meds, I just want to understand what’s going on with my brain.”

Jesse J. Anderson (10:11):

And then eventually said, let’s try this out. And she referred me to a psychiatrist who mostly only saw kids, but she was willing to see me. And I think because I’d been seeing a therapist, talking about for eight months, she pretty quickly diagnosed me without me having to go through much of a formal process. So I know I’m lucky in that regard because a lot of people have to go through a lot of difficulty to get that diagnosis. I’m not taking any meds now because I tried several. We did a kind of a plan, I probably tried eight different medications and none of them ended up landing for me. So I basically self-medicate with coffee now.

Lindsay Guentzel (10:48):

I want to touch on one thing. When you made that call to your buddy and you were like, “Hey, I want to ask you some things.” Did you preface it? Was it like, “Hey, can we go get coffee? I want to ask you some things.” Or it was just like, let’s go hang out and then I’m going to pounce because … And the only reason I ask is I’m going to go off of the stereotype that men are kind of notorious for not wanting to talk about feelings. Again, cliche. But when you said that, that you got together with your buddy and you were asking him questions, that immediately to me shows this willingness and it’s almost like this drive to get some answers.

Jesse J. Anderson (11:29):

So for us, I don’t remember how I asked him. I think we just met up for lunch like, “Hey, you want to go grab by it or whatever?” And we’ve actually been best friends since sixth grade, so we’ve known each other for a long, long time. And part of that, looking back, it makes it a lot more obvious like, oh, we both had ADHD, so that’s why we connected. And I remember in school, the first day of school, we were sitting right next to each other and we talked to each other the whole time. Instantly we were buds and talked a lot. And so then our teacher, a couple weeks in, she rearranged seating and she had us on opposite sides of the class and we still just talked to each other the whole time. So after that, she gave up and anytime she updated the seating chart, she just made sure we were together and kind of off in the corner somewhere because she figured out there’s no stopping them, they’re just going to talk across the whole class to each other if that’s the case.

Jesse J. Anderson (12:25):

So yeah, we have a pretty good friendship and really understand each other. And so it was pretty easy for me to just be like, all right bro, what is this? I’m reading all this stuff and it sounds like all the weird things that we’ve done our whole lives, tell me more about it. What was your process getting diagnosed and stuff like that. And so I was lucky to have that relationship already. So it was pretty easy to have someone to just pepper with all the questions, tell me what is going on here? Because it sounds weird and it sounds nothing like what I thought ADHD was growing up.

Lindsay Guentzel (12:58):

And it is. It’s so complicated and complex and some of the things you start to learn about, you can’t quite comprehend how it actually happens. I mean, for me, you mentioned some of the ones that you first started reading about that you were like, wait, what? I had never heard the term rumination until the week I was diagnosed. And then it was this aha moment. I was just like, wait, you mean other people aren’t thinking about things that happened in first grade as a 35 year old? And it’s kind of unreal. When you look back at your journey, you get this diagnosis, it’s kind of influenced from people around you who are seeing what’s going on. What are some of the areas or what are some of the things that stand out that were a little bit trickier for you? Or you can now see as that was my ADHD, there it was, I just didn’t know?

Jesse J. Anderson (14:01):

In school, basically at some point I just stopped doing any homework. I just knew, eventually I figured out, I was like no amount of effort that I put into this really gets a satisfactory result. I just try for hours and hours and basically practically be crying, trying to get myself to solve a problem and just couldn’t get myself to do it. And my parents would get frustrated and it was a whole big thing. And eventually I was just like, I’m just going to not do it. And lucky for me, I always aced my tests because I was learning everything and I just couldn’t do the homework. And so I had some teachers that saw that and they would basically kind of adjust their grading plan to account for me, which I’m super thankful for. And some wouldn’t. And then I would usually scrape by with Ds in those classes.

Jesse J. Anderson (14:53):

But yeah, that was, I think a really big thing pretty early on, just figured out. I didn’t know why, but I knew my brain just cannot do this, what felt busy work to me. Doing this work isn’t helping me learn stuff, it’s just helping me hate the topics. So I quickly learned, stop forcing yourself to do it. I know that I’m learning stuff, the grades are what they are, and I’ll just sort of deal with the ramifications with having to tell my parents that when it came report card time or whatever. So I think that was one of the big early things where it was really obvious that ADHD was part of that.

Jesse J. Anderson (15:31):

Another thing was just, I’ve probably had around 30 jobs in my life. I would just jump from job to job. Because I would try something, and I would either get bored of it or emotional dysregulation would pop up and the boss would say something that I took the wrong way or just hit me wrong. And I was like, you know what? I don’t even need this job. I’m out. And I would just quit jobs on a whim. But because of that, I got really creative at … I was really good at selling myself for new jobs and I was very creative with my resume of, all right, which jobs should I put in here that I’m not lying, but look the best. And so I put the year, don’t put any dates in there so that it looks like a little bit less ridiculous of a job history rather than putting 20 jobs in 6 years or whatever. So yeah, I think those were some of the big things.

Jesse J. Anderson (16:23):

And then like I said before, just being late to everything. It didn’t matter how important it was. I was late to most job interviews and nothing I could do seemed to change that. It would be the thing where I’m like, all right, I’ve got 20 minutes to get there. So that means I have 10 minutes before I have to leave. And then five minutes before I had to leave, I would think of, oh, I have to do this real quick and this real quick. And I’d have 20 minutes worth of tasks that I would try to do really fast before leaving. And of course I just ended up being late to everything.

Lindsay Guentzel (16:56):

In our house, we call that you need 15 minutes? Okay, I’m going to plan for 45.

Jesse J. Anderson (17:00):

Yes.

Lindsay Guentzel (17:03):

I’m sure you can very much relate. It’s the second my computer’s open and I’m working on something and I’m excited about it, I’m like, no, I only need 10 minutes. And my boyfriend’s always like yeah, okay. I’ll come back in an hour.

Jesse J. Anderson (17:17):

Yes. Yep, yep. Yeah, Notorious for that.

Lindsay Guentzel (17:21):

I would love to ask a little bit about the journey you went through with trying different medications. And was there something that stood out with what wasn’t working? I know you mentioned some issues with sleep. That’s a big one for me as well. This night owl, I was always like, oh my gosh, I’m a night owl. And it’s like, no, I don’t think so because now that I am medicated and I have a somewhat decent routine, I wake up in the morning and I’m like, it’s kind of nice here. This is kind of nice.

Jesse J. Anderson (17:53):

Yeah, yeah. So my medication journey, I don’t remember the order of things I took. I tried Adderall, Vyvanse, Ritalin, Concerta, Strattera and I think a couple more. For me, most of them basically did nothing. We would kind of titrate up and it never felt like it was benefiting me. So titrate, if people don’t know, is just slowly increasing the dosage. So you start really low and then increase the amount that you take. So I tried that and it never seemed like I hit a point where I was feeling any sort of benefit without negative side effects. I took Adderall and that one, I only took it for two or three days because it just made me super angry. I took it and I just felt I was mad at everything all the time. So a couple days into that, I said to my wife, “I think I’m going to stop taking this one. It feels like it’s not really working, it’s just giving me kind of high annoyance factor.” She was like, “Yes, please stop taking it.” So apparently that was a couple of rough days in the household.

Jesse J. Anderson (19:00):

Yeah. Another one, which one was it? Strattera, I took. That was the only one I took that really seemed to make somewhat of a difference and it was less obvious to me, but my wife said she could tell, it just seemed like I noticed things more is what she said. It was like I was aware of things around me a little bit more. But unfortunately that one had side effects that was just made … I was just really sick to my stomach with that one a lot and I could never figure that out one. So I eventually stopped taking that one. I want to go back and try again because I keep wanting to have that moment that I’ve heard so many people have where they feel like it’s putting on glasses and then now they can see this whole new reality or whatever it is. And I’ve never had that moment and I’m hoping that I just haven’t found that right mix of the right medication and the right dosage. So I hope that’s out there for me.

Lindsay Guentzel (19:55):

I like the glasses analogy, which is a much more mainstream analogy than the one that I use, which is that it felt like prior to being medicated, I had dryer sheets stuffed in my head. I don’t know where it came from, but as I was trying to explain the brain fog, and for me it was a monstrous difference. And again, you don’t know what you don’t know. And so you’re like, oh, everyone feels this way, it’s sometimes kind of crummy, but we’re all just here going along.

Jesse J. Anderson (20:28):

Yeah, yeah. The glasses one I think really works for me. I have heard other people say it, but I had that exact experience with glasses. I was 15 or 16 and I was hanging out at some family event and my cousin had her glasses, she had put on the window sill. And I put them on, and then I was like, what? What is happening right now? I remember very distinctly looking out at a tree that was outside the window and I was like, I can see all the leaves on the tree. This is amazing. I had no idea that it was a thing. You’re just sort like, what you’re used to just is your reality and you don’t even think that there could be something to improve upon it. And so that was just this mind blowing moment for me of realizing, oh, there’s things I can do to help me see a lot better than what my current reality is experiencing. Yeah.

Lindsay Guentzel (21:25):

So when you look at your ADHD, do you consider it hyperactive, inattentive, combined? And the only reason I ask is because your personality to me is so jovial. You come across as the class clown, the guy that everyone wants to hang out with, super fun and outgoing. And I love that you mentioned you took the Adderall and you were like, I just was so angry. And to notice that means you’re kind of a happy person. And so I look back at my experience growing up and the class clowns were kind of the kids that the teachers were watching. And so I was interested to know when you were really young in those years, when boys were getting pulled out of class left and right because that’s what they were looking for, was there no hyperactivity? I just have so many questions.

Jesse J. Anderson (22:18):

So I think a more combined type. So I definitely pull from both sides of the presentations. And when I was a kid, I had sort of the internal hyperactivity, but I don’t think I was ever running circles in the classroom and stuff like that. And I was also pretty introverted, pretty shy kid. Around my best friend where we connected with each other, we understood each other. And then I was a lot more kind of, I guess … I never felt like I was quite class clown, but definitely lots of humor, laughing, being loud and things like that. I’ve always been kind of loud but mixed with being shy and kind of introverted. So I think that’s probably a big reason why I never got that diagnosis early on when they were looking for boys that were being super hyperactive. I think I just wasn’t hyperactive enough for that to really kind of be enough of a problem.

Jesse J. Anderson (23:15):

And I also wonder if partly because I was testing so well, that was part of it too, it was like, well, he’s doing well on his test, so there’s that big of a problem that we feel like we need to do something. Sometimes I get kind of frustrated looking back. Like, man, would this have changed everything if I had been diagnosed back then? But also it was the 80s and 90s, and they didn’t really know what to do with kids then anyway that were diagnosed. So I don’t know if it really would’ve even made that much of a difference. Thankfully, that seems to be changing.

Lindsay Guentzel (23:50):

I’m going to steal that little nugget that they wouldn’t have known what to do with me anyway, because that’s a big part of my working through the grief and the sadness of it is what could have been? And hey, rumination, can’t go back. Nothing’s going to happen. It’s not going to fix anything. So when you think of ADHD right now in your life, what is your biggest struggle? What is the one thing every day that you’re like, okay, I got to be on top of this because this is what is my hurdle?

Jesse J. Anderson (24:22):

Yeah, I think a big one is, when I feel myself slowing down, I like to add more projects to my plate. Sometimes I refer to it as juggling chainsaws. Juggling three chainsaws is really exciting until you’ve done it for a while. Then it’s like, well, you got to add another chainsaw or it’s going to get boring. And so I feel like I’m constantly adding new chainsaws to juggle and new projects, new things to do. And it’s good in that it does, that helps me continue forward motion. And sometimes I’ll get bored with one project and it’s super counterintuitive to someone that’s neurotypical, so I’ve had to tell my wife. I announced that, “Hey, I’m going to start working on this new podcast.” And she’s like, “But you have this other thing you’re supposed to be doing?” And it’s like, “Yeah, but doing this new project will actually help me get to the old project,” which I know doesn’t make sense. But that forward momentum, getting that energy, building up my own energy will enable me to take on more stuff.

Jesse J. Anderson (25:29):

But because of that organization, this is one thing I didn’t mention before, but I’ve always had super messy desks and that was a big problem growing up. Organization was always difficult and it remains difficult, and it’s easier to lose stuff now because so much is digital, so it just gets lost in the email and stuff like that. And so I think one of my biggest struggles is I take on so many projects, and I have so many chainsaws in the air, and then I struggle to track everything. And so things will slip through the cracks where I don’t realize, oh, I need to finish that video that I did most of the work on and I never published it. I need to do that part.

Jesse J. Anderson (26:12):

So the biggest struggles I think I run in with is I just have so much going on and I really should hire some sort of personal assistant or something, but I don’t know how to get organized enough to know what to do if I had a personal assistant. And so yeah, I think a lot of what I’m doing is just sort thriving and surviving in chaos, and not knowing a better way to do it other than knowing that there should be a better way to do it. And I just don’t know how to land with that. So that’s kind of my biggest struggle.

Lindsay Guentzel (26:45):

I feel very connected to the wanting to ask for help, but also realizing that asking for help and getting prepared to have them help you is a lot of work. I have hired people and they will ask me, “Let me do things for you.” And it is very hard to ask for help because in our heads we’re like, it’s more work to show somebody how to do this. I’m just going to do it all. How are you balancing all the things you’re doing on the side and this role you’ve taken on as an advocate for ADHD and awareness and the humor that comes with it? How are you balancing that, and work, and life and the messy desk that I also very much relate to?

Jesse J. Anderson (27:33):

Yeah. I don’t have a great answer because it’s a little bit chaos. Because becoming sort of an ADHD advocate sort of came out of nowhere. About two years ago, I just started writing online sharing of my own story, but I also have a family. I’ve got a wife and three kids and a lot going on there. And two of the three kids are diagnosed with ADHD. And the third one’s probably just about to be. We just haven’t actually taken the step yet. And so there’s a lot going on there. And I also, I have a full time job. And the way I’m managing it all is, I have no idea. It’s chaos. I’m just sort of filling in the gaps. And part of it is I make sure that the projects I’m doing I enjoy doing because I feel like time is so weird when you have ADHD that somehow I can just cram a lot of stuff in if I’m really enjoying a lot of it.

Jesse J. Anderson (28:27):

So a lot of just, I stay up late, and I work on a lot of stuff in the evenings and on weekends and stuff like that. And yeah, it’s chaos, but it works for me for the most part. I will say I’m sort of in a weird position right now where the work I’m doing is … There’s something there that I haven’t figured out. Is this something I could do full time? Because I’m writing a book and so I’m sort just starting very early, but just sort starting to explore what could that look like? Is there a move that I could do to do something full time? Maybe this sort of train him on, doing all this side project stuff will turn into a business of some sort, which would be amazing because then I’d have more time to pour into it and have more resources. But who knows? It’s all sort of up in the air right now for me.

Lindsay Guentzel (29:16):

And you put it out there.

Jesse J. Anderson (29:17):

Yeah.

Lindsay Guentzel (29:17):

You put it out there. Hopefully answers come. Can we talk about the book?

Jesse J. Anderson (29:22):

Yeah, absolutely. It’s been about a year since I announced that I was writing a book, the book’s called Refocus. I did a course last month and I called that Refocus Your ADHD Brain. And the book itself, it’s really aimed to be that the guide that most people don’t get when you get diagnosed. Because if I hadn’t really sought out, tried to find more information, I wouldn’t have known that much about ADHD, I wouldn’t have learned about rejection sensitive dysphoria, or time blindness or emotional dysregulation. All these really kind of key foundational things that if your doctor diagnoses you, they’re not going to tell you about any of that, which is astounding because it’s so important to understanding what it’s like to live with ADHD.

Jesse J. Anderson (30:06):

So my goal with the book is for it to be that sort of starter guide of, hey, you just got diagnosed, or hey, you think you might have this. This is your starter guide to kind of understand, almost like ADHD 101, those basics of what does it mean to have ADHD? What does life look like with it? And then how can you thrive now that where those differences lie in the way your brain works.

Lindsay Guentzel (30:32):

Obviously what we’re talking about right now with ADHD isn’t going anywhere, but you’ve mentioned like, oh, I found this really cool new research. It’s coming out all the time. And I think it’s just going to continue to grow in the subject for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder because so much has changed. And I also think there’s this renewed interest because of the pandemic.

Jesse J. Anderson (30:56):

For sure. Yeah, I think a lot of people ended up working from home or whatever it was, and then their routines went away and then suddenly they realized, oh, there’s a real problem here. And that kind of combined with the rise of people on TikTok and stuff like that, sharing their own journey. And so I think awareness is really kind hitting an all time high. Some of that can be problematic because there’s people on TikTok saying stuff that’s not actually the case.

Jesse J. Anderson (31:24):

But I think overall, I still think view it as more positive than negative because it’s really helping break a lot of the myths that people have believed, like myself that I believe for 30 years about ADHD. And so even though there is some misinformation out there, in general, I think it’s really helping a lot more people become aware of it. And there’s the whole neurodiversity movement, which is really helping propel things for it as well. And yeah, because of that, I think, like you said, there’s already a bunch of research in progress and I think there’s going to be more just because there’s more people aware of what ADHD is really like.

Lindsay Guentzel (32:02):

Yeah, there’s always going to be people who are putting out stuff that is not necessarily accurate. Anyone can go on the internet. I think for me, I have had such a positive experience interacting with the ADHD community online, and that to me is so welcoming because I think for a lot of us, middle school, high school. I mean it’s probably just been my entire life, like relationships have been hard. And so then you have this entire group of people who understand you and want to see you thrive. And so I would love if we could just touch on that. You put yourself out there and people respond to it. And that is exciting and it probably comes with some concerns, but what has your experience been like?

Jesse J. Anderson (32:48):

Yeah, I think the community aspect has been amazing. So many of us grew up feeling isolated, feeling weird and different and not really knowing why and feeling it seems like everyone else got some instruction booklet or something and I missed it. And I feel like I don’t know how to connect. It really feels like we all sort have each other’s back because we’ve all felt so isolated for so long and now we’re finally finding other people that understand us.

Jesse J. Anderson (33:18):

That’s another thing. For so long, I just felt not only isolated, but misunderstood. I feel like a lot of people with ADHD have really great intentions and because of the ADHD, our actions don’t always line up with that. And so I think we’re commonly misunderstood and people think we have bad intentions because our actions don’t tell the full story. And finding other people that understand that and really get it, that actually believe that that’s true. Because it just feels like, even when I would explain that to people before, they were like, “Okay, but maybe you’re actually just lazy or whatever.”

Lindsay Guentzel (33:57):

And I think every conversation I have with someone, I hear them mention something that they know about that I haven’t been exposed to yet. And I’m like, oh, I have to go look that up.

Jesse J. Anderson (34:07):

Yes.

Lindsay Guentzel (34:07):

Because it is so in depth. I want to ask you, we’ve talked a lot about all the amazing things you have going on and all of the chainsaws, the chainsaws that are in the air. Running chainsaws? Is that …

Jesse J. Anderson (34:21):

Yes, absolutely.

Lindsay Guentzel (34:21):

I picture they’re running because otherwise they’re not as dangerous. Where do you see yourself thriving?

Jesse J. Anderson (34:27):

Yeah, I think I’m in a place where I’m trying a lot of things, and I’m really able to lean into my strengths and they’re almost like strengths I didn’t even know that I had. You sort of mentioned before, very kindly, my sort of jovial personality or sharing humorous takes on things. I feel like I have a strength in getting to how can I communicate a big idea with a little amount of words? How can I help teach people and grab that feeling that is common, that’s hard to describe? And whenever I’m able to lean into my strengths, I always feel like I’m thriving. That just feels like, it’s almost finding purpose. This is what I was building towards. I had no idea.

Jesse J. Anderson (35:14):

For example, I mentioned before that I’m a software developer. I’ve given talks at conferences about tech topics. So I’ve talked about machine learning and things like that at conferences. And it almost feels like I was doing that in preparation to be able to help teach people about ADHD. And I had no idea why I did that before. And now it feels like, oh, that was almost just training for this moment now where I feel like I’m able to make a really big impact in people’s lives. Getting diagnosed with ADHD made such a huge impact for me and understanding my whole life. And it feels amazing to be able to be part of that story for other people, to help other people have that moment of realizing they’re not lazy, crazy, spacey, stupid, selfish, or all those negative labels we get. That isn’t the reality. Doing this stuff I do and being able to be part of that story for other people is so fulfilling, and yet just feels like I’ve kind of found this purpose and yeah, that’s where I feel like I’m really thriving these days.

Lindsay Guentzel (36:18):

And I will just say, I do hope that you get your glasses moment with medication, but if you don’t, what you just said is also pretty awesome. How easy it flows from you that you want to help people. I think that that is something that is just like, we need more of that in the world, this community needs more of that in this world. To wrap up, I would like to ask, when we talk about ADHD and kind of the public perception, what is at the top of your list of what you would want people to know?

Jesse J. Anderson (36:53):

I think it’s great, like I said, that the neurodiversity thing is starting to pick up that we’re really beginning to accept that people have different brains and that that’s actually a good thing. That’s not just something to accept, but to embrace. I’m reminded, in the course at some point somebody asked, they were talking about a career path they were considering, but they were worried that because they had ADHD, that that career path was not possible for them. And I just sort of said, you may need some help, some coaching or something like that. But I think people with ADHD are amazing. I think we can do anything. We can do incredible things. There’s a thing that Dr. William Dodson calls omni-potential, which is sort of this idea that people with ADHD, when we embrace something, when we get excited about something, anything’s possible. Any sort of direction that we can go down, if we can get engaged and moving forward, we can learn anything.

Jesse J. Anderson (37:56):

I’ve never found a thing where I’m like, I want to do this. And then found, oh, I can’t. If I look at something I instinctively or innately feel like I can do that, if I dive into it. If I want to learn to do this thing, I’m going to make that happen. I think as people learn to embrace that, there’s a lot of strength that can happen from embracing what people with ADHD can sort of add to an organization, or business, or just their own unique takes on the world and starting something new. I don’t know the stats offhand, but so many entrepreneurs are overwhelmingly ADHD. Like the percentages are really high there. And part of that is because a lot of us learn that, hey, I don’t really function well in a normal nine to five job, and so I’m going to follow my own path. And because of that, really creative, unique things get discovered and created and built. And it really makes the world a more interesting place, I think, and a better place.

Jesse J. Anderson (38:59):

You asked earlier where I feel like I’m thriving and I feel like in my life, the last five years have when I’ve been really thriving the most because I’ve felt like the shackles have been off, and I can just sort of embrace who I really am, and how my brain actually works and stop trying to force other things or strategies that are supposed to work and don’t for me. I can just say that those don’t work for me and I’m going to move on and do what does work for me and go forward with that.

Lindsay Guentzel (39:27):

Jesse, this was such a pleasure. I am so grateful for this time and for you sharing your story, and I’m so excited to see what comes and to read this book and to dive into what you know and to increase my knowledge. And I’m really grateful. I had so much fun, my cheeks hurt from laughing, and thank you for putting that energy into the world. It truly is like a hilarious gift. If you’re not following him, you have to because it is like someone telling your deepest, darkest secrets to the world, but in a way that’s kind and funny and self deprecating.

Jesse J. Anderson (40:06):

Well, thank you so much for having me. Yeah, this was a blast. I had a great time.

Lindsay Guentzel (40:29):

A huge thanks to Jesse J. Anderson for sharing his story on Refocused, Together. Again, you can find all of the awesome stuff he’s working on through his website, adhdjesse.com. The thanks continue in a big way to the entire ADHD Online team, Zach Booker, Dr. Randall Duthler, Tim Gutwald, Keith Brophy. My teammates, Keith Boswell, Suzanne [inaudible 00:40:52], Claudia [inaudible 00:40:53], Melanie Mile, Paul Owen, Kirsten Pip, Sissy Ye, Trisha [inaudible 00:40:58], Lauren Radley, Corey Kearney, and Mason Nellie. And the team at Dexia, Cameron Sterling and Candace [inaudible 00:41:05], Camilla Eden, Lauren Terry, Sarah Gelbar, Phil Rodaman, and Sarah Platinitus. Our theme music was created by Lewis Engles, a songwriter and composer based in Perth, Australia, who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2020 at the age of 39. 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 at Lindsay Guentzel and at Refocused Pod.

Our ADHD Online corporate office will be closed Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25 so our employees can enjoy this special time with their families. 

As always, you can still take our assessment at any time online, whenever and wherever is best for you.

Please note that each clinician sets their own holiday hours and may be processing your requests during this time or they may be out as well.

We will resume normal business hours Monday, November 28. Thank you for your understanding and patience as our staff enjoys time with family to celebrate the Holiday.

Behavioral Therapy

  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Missouri
  • Texas
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia

Assessments

Assessment services are available in all 50 states.

Assessment and Treatment Plan Development & Implementation**

The patient completes our asynchronous assessment and receives the report from a doctorate-level psychologist within 3-5 days.

The patient schedules an initial appointment with one of our providers to develop a treatment plan through a secure virtual appointment.

The patient schedules subsequent follow-up visits with our providers for ADHD medical treatment or behavioral therapy.

**If available in your state

Assessment and
Treatment Plan Development**

The patient completes our asynchronous assessment and receives the report from a doctorate-level psychologist within 3-5 days.

The patient schedules an initial appointment with one of our providers to develop a treatment plan through a secure virtual appointment. We provide you and your patient with a copy of our full report. You take it from there.

**If available in your state

Assessment

The patient completes our asynchronous assessment and receives the report from a doctorate-level psychologist within 3-5 days.

We provide you and your patient with a copy of our full report. You take it from there.

Assessments available in:

All 50 states

Medical Treatment available in:

Arizona
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky

Maine
Maryland
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Mexico
North Carolina
Ohio

Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina*
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
Washington, DC
Wisconsin

Teletherapy available in:

Georgia 
Michigan 
Missouri 
New Jersey 

Ohio
Pennsylvania
Virginia


*Prescriptions via telemedicine for Schedule II (stimulants) medications are not permitted by state law in South Carolina. Patients can receive prescriptions from our providers for non-stimulant medications. 

south carolina

Prescriptions via telemedicine for Schedule II (stimulants) medications are not permitted by state law in South Carolina. Patients can receive prescriptions from our providers for non-stimulant medications.