When we share stories, we find the perspective, ideas, and tips that help us live our best lives. Listen in as Lindsay interviews 31 people in 31 days for 31 ADHD stories.
Who’s ready to flip the script? Lindsay is. Because there is no better way to kick off Refocused, Together, our ADHD Awareness Month Series, than with our Lindsay Guentzel herself. Listen in as she opens up about the emotional toll of being undiagnosed and what’s working for her post-diagnosis. 31 days of stories starts right here, right now.
Lindsay Guentzel (00:00):
Welcome to Refocused Together. I’m your host, Lindsay Guentzel, and this is a special ADHD Awareness Month series of my podcast Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel.
Lindsay Guentzel (00:31):
If you’re a regular listener, you know that the Refocused 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. 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.
Lindsay Guentzel (01:32):
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. 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 Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel so that you don’t miss a single story this month. And with that, let’s get on to today’s episode, the very first episode of Refocused Together, which, if you’ve been listening for a while, flips the script on the regular roles we’ve all fallen into playing here before.
Keith Boswell (02:43):
Hi, I’m Keith Boswell, I’m the vice president of marketing here at ADHD Online. I’m joined today by Lindsay Guentzel. She is the podcast host of Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel. We are really excited today kicking off, really you’re the first guest in your own story.
Lindsay Guentzel (03:00):
Yeah, I guess, aren’t I?
Keith Boswell (03:02):
Lindsay Guentzel (03:03):
Is that it?
Keith Boswell (03:03):
Lindsay Guentzel (03:03):
Is that what we’re doing?
Keith Boswell (03:04):
I think so.
Lindsay Guentzel (03:05):
It’s very interesting. When we think back on this idea to tell 31 stories in 31 days, I’ve been trying to figure out when it came to me. I know it was early July, because I remember pitching it to you guys middle of July, and I think I said something like, ”This crazy idea, but I’m really excited about it.” And what I love is every time I approach ADHD Online and the team of people we work with about an idea, everyone is really gung-ho. And the great part about this is that then such a collaborative effort to not only figure out how we want to tell these stories, but to find people to talk to and to make sure that we are finding a really diverse group of people.
Lindsay Guentzel (03:50):
We are talking to people in their early teens, all the way up to their late fifties and sixties. This phase in life, mature adults in this new routine of their own. And it’s a very ADHD project. It’s very much like, ”Yeah, one podcast a week could have been just fine.” But it’s a go big or go home. And for me, honestly, this is my first ADHD Awareness Month. I was diagnosed in January of 2021, but I don’t think I even knew it was ADHD Awareness Month in October until the last week. And to me, that’s just a sign that we’re not doing a good enough job talking about the awareness and the complexity of what this diagnosis is.
Keith Boswell (04:39):
And how many people are going through it.
Lindsay Guentzel (04:41):
Yes, and the numbers just keep rising. And that’s honestly been the best part about this podcast, is the people who reach out, who talk about hearing themselves and feeling connected. And it’s truly unreal. It’s a little overwhelming at times, not because I don’t understand where they’re coming from, but it’s the imposter syndrome for sure. It’s very much like, ”I’m not deserving of that praise.” And it’s just been really amazing to see how people have connected and refocused.
Keith Boswell (05:17):
Yeah. It’s one of those things, when we even… We talked about, ”Oh, we’ve wanted to launch a podcast.” And you were like, ”I wanted to launch a podcast.” And we thought, what might we do? And we finally had it ready in May, and I remember nervously telling people, ”We’ve launched. We have a podcast.” And I hate to say it, but it’s one of those things now where it feels like everybody’s got a podcast.
Lindsay Guentzel (05:39):
Oh everyone does have a podcast.
Keith Boswell (05:40):
So it doesn’t seem that special anymore. It’s not like bringing a cake or cookies and everyone’s excited.
Lindsay Guentzel (05:46):
No, it’s not innovative. We’re literally 10 years behind the game on this.
Keith Boswell (05:48):
And I was telling people, and it was always with bated breath, because what are they going to say? Will they listen? Will they care? And the great thing for me was all the feedback that came back that people were like, ”Wow, this is really good and better than I expected.” Things that you hope for, but you just don’t know until you put it out there. Let’s talk a little bit about your diagnosis story.
Lindsay Guentzel (06:15):
Keith Boswell (06:16):
I know you’ve shared it before in the podcast, but give us the setup. What was going on that led to you thinking you might want to get tested for ADHD?
Lindsay Guentzel (06:26):
Yeah, it’s really interesting. In episode two, I shared my story and I actually interviewed one of my older sisters. And in just that time, we’re talking May to October, I’ve learned so much more about my own story. And so I actually think it is very interesting to be coming back to it on October 1st, the first day of ADHD Awareness Month. I can look back in my phone and I have screenshots from 2020, with Dani Donovan. And there were screenshots of tweets she had sent out that I just connected with. And I screenshot them, I put them into my phone, and I don’t think I ever really went back to them. And knowing what I know now about my ADHD, I’m combined type, but I think, for me, the inattentive side of that, the comorbidities, the anxiety, the depression, started very, very young. I remember holding shame about stuff that happened in first grade. Having a really hard time when I would get in trouble. And I say get in trouble and that makes it sound like I got arrested or something. It was no, I turned in a paper late.
Lindsay Guentzel (07:36):
Or… The story that I love to tell, and it’s the perfect analogy for somebody who was ADHD combined type but was undiagnosed was, I had a really hard time figuring out a schedule or sticking to things. And of course in late elementary school, middle school, is when they started having, you would take your planner home and you had to have your parents sign it, and show them. I never could remember, we’re talking the nineties, it wasn’t like you had smartphones or watches to tell you, ”Hey, it’s Thursday night, grab your planner.” It was one of those things, you had to have your own routine, get the planner, set the bag out, all of those things, and that was not happening in my life. And I was so afraid of getting in trouble for not having my planner signed that I forged my mom’s signature. Now, here’s where the ADHD combined type… The very confident fifth-grader who thought that she could match Karen Guentzel’s perfect handwriting, her immaculate cursive. I went into that classroom thinking-
Keith Boswell (08:39):
Lindsay Guentzel (08:39):
Done deal. No, not at all. Mrs. O’Neil was a very good teacher cause she did not buy it for a second. And you want to know what’s so funny is that I still run into Mrs. O’Neil when I go home to visit my mom. And I don’t know if she knows this, but I have held shame. I get emotional saying this, I held shame for so long for something that every kid does. Every kid gets in trouble, every kid thinks that they’re smarter than the teacher. And I’m sure Mrs. O’Neil… Maybe she remembers it because it was a surprising thing for me to do, but I don’t think that she’s holding this grudge against me for… But that’s how it plays out in your brain.
Keith Boswell (09:21):
Those things hold in your head in ways it’s really hard for others to understand.
Lindsay Guentzel (09:25):
Yeah. So I can see it at a very early age. And I was very good at school. I was not great at homework. It was those things of setting up my own routine. I can look at… Really when the wheels fell off in college, I didn’t even know what program I wanted to study or what school I wanted to apply to. And there’s so much grief with that because college for me was a really amazing experience. It’s when I met my closest friends, all of the things that I got to do, but I never got to really dive into figuring out who I was.
Lindsay Guentzel (10:05):
And what’s great about college is that that’s the time to do it. You get to look into random programs and take classes that interest you. And I was just… There were so many things happening. And I even remember… I needed a part-time job and a much easier route would’ve been getting a campus job, but I didn’t go that route, I got a nannying job where I had to be in this house at 6:30 in the morning. It was not a good fit. But on the inattentive side, I didn’t know how to say that, and so I faked mono. It’s so embarrassing. It’s so embarrassing, but it was such a bad fit, and my only way out was like, ”Okay, how do I get out of here without having to tell them that this isn’t a good fit?” I was very always on edge about disappointing people and so it-
Keith Boswell (11:04):
And are you playing out all the what ifs in your head?
Lindsay Guentzel (11:06):
Oh, all the time. All the time. Which is why, and I’ve said this numerous times, this partnership with ADHD Online has been such a gift, because you guys have welcomed me with open arms and we’re learning this as we go. And it became very clear that I could come to you with all of the hiccups and all of the issues. And I didn’t have that fear. Maybe the first time, getting it out. But the growth that I’ve seen just from my diagnosis to now, and with this podcast… Somebody asked me the other day about how I view my life with ADHD. And honestly, the last year and a half is the happiest I’ve ever been, because I think once you realize… I was lucky, I got to have that Aha! Moment with medication. I’m very happy with my medication right now, with my treatment plan, knock on wood, because it’s very likely that that could change.
Lindsay Guentzel (12:01):
I have a great therapist. I am working on establishing better boundaries, not only with work… As a freelancer, I have so many different relationships, but really, instead of just saying yes to everything, only saying yes to the things I want to do, it’s that people pleaser in me. But on the other side of things, the day I took the medication, it was like, ”Oh, this is how I’m supposed to be feeling. This is how my brain is supposed to feel.” I used to joke that I was a night owl, and it’s like, ”No, I think I’m actually a morning person.” But I’m a morning person when my ADHD is being managed. And I’m lucky because I get this next chapter, the next 10, 20, 30 years are going to be incredible. And I’m working on letting go of the rest of it. And it’s hard, it is very hard.
Keith Boswell (12:59):
It is hard, because that’s the piece where… We talk about this often, the what ifs, not just the what ifs that you can run through in day-to-day, but the, ”What if I had known sooner? What if I had…” I know it’s an active thing, but how are you with that now?
Lindsay Guentzel (13:25):
I have days. I still really struggle when I see people doing what I thought I wanted to be doing, and the jealousy roars its ugly head. And I also think… I came from this generation of you can be whatever you want to be. ”What do you want to be when you grow up? Yes, you can be that.” And I think there was this expectation, it wasn’t like it was ever said, but it was like, ”Oh yeah, no, you’re going to do that in your twenties.” And then you get to your twenties and you’re looking around and you’re like, ”This isn’t what I was promised.” And so it goes back to, even, the conversation with a treatment plan. We know what we’re supposed to do, but we aren’t given a timeline for that. And I think it’s really hard, not just for people who are neurodivergent, but for everyone to dive into something without knowing, ”Yes, this is exactly how long it’s going to take me.” And it’s with everything, like training for a race, or redoing your basement, we give ourselves these deadlines that have no real basis and truth.
Keith Boswell (14:31):
Lindsay Guentzel (14:31):
And then to go off of somebody with ADHD, we have time blindness. It’s hard, it’s really hard. But I do think, and it sounds cliche, and it makes me feel a little bit like I’m selling something online late at night and I’m asking you to call a 1-800 number, but I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. And so everything that led to this point got me here, whether it was jobs that I left or quit, because I didn’t feel like I was a part of the team, which we know is a big part of the inattentive side of ADHD, the rejection and the rumination and the fear of not belonging.
Lindsay Guentzel (15:21):
And it’s all of the mistakes. It’s fixing some of the things I did in my past, mostly with money, because we didn’t know better, and we didn’t know what we were doing, which was feeding our brain with dopamine. And so I know I’m where I’m supposed to be, and that is really, really powerful. And so to get to be doing what I’m passionate about, in a way that’s helping people, I think it combines all these things that I wanted in life. I’m an Enneagram too, I’m definitely the helper. So this podcast and connecting with this community of people has been really instrumental. But on the flip side, I get to do what I’ve always wanted to do, which is be a storyteller, and that’s been awesome.
Keith Boswell (16:09):
Feeling like you’re where you’re supposed to be is a big win, at any point in life. What are the parts of your ADHD that you still struggle with the most?
Lindsay Guentzel (16:17):
Oh gosh. Money.
Keith Boswell (16:18):
Lindsay Guentzel (16:19):
Money is terrible for me.
Keith Boswell (16:21):
Is it impulsivity? Is it… What is it?
Lindsay Guentzel (16:24):
It’s a big picture on money. It is the impulsivity for sure. But it’s almost like not having an understanding of what money is. What is a dollar? What is my time worth? What is my work worth? It’s all of those things. And I think money, and being in debt, and all of the things that come with that, that itself is just a load of bricks on your chest. And I’ve been very fortunate. Generational wealth is real. There were very many times in my twenties where my parents picked up the pieces, and I know that that is a gift, that I’m constantly repaying by making my mom my plus-one to every fun thing I get invited to.
Lindsay Guentzel (17:03):
But I think I have a really hard time with that. It doesn’t get fixed when you have money. You can start making more money and your problems are still there. So that’s a big one. Organization. When someone has a plan in place, I can stick to that, I can follow that order. It’s when I’m asked to set it up for myself. And trying to do too much, which I know is very hilarious to say on episode one of a podcast special series that is 31 episodes in 31 days. Yeah exactly.
Keith Boswell (17:43):
Just taking on something else.
Lindsay Guentzel (17:44):
Yes. It’s not even big picture for the project stuff, it’s even day-to-day. There’s times where I’m like, ”Oh, I can do all of this stuff. I can do this, this, this, and this.” And then you’re in the middle of it and you’re miserable, because you’re stressed out, and you’re running late, and you’re trying to get all of these things done because you’ve overloaded yourself. And in the moment you’re like, ”I’m never doing this again.” And then it’s next Tuesday and you’re in it again.
Lindsay Guentzel (18:08):
And so it’s cutting back some of those things. I used to be so impulsive. If I got an idea or I saw something I wanted, and it was at a store across town, I would drive there. I would drop whatever I was doing and drive there. And going back to the grief of things, I think that has played a big part of it, the impulsivity and the lack of focus, even in the pandemic. And I know I’m not alone in this, I feel like people who are neurodivergent and neurotypical probably feel the same as well. We were gifted all this time and we look back and we’re like, ”What did I do with it?”
Keith Boswell (18:43):
Yeah, there’s nothing to show for it.
Lindsay Guentzel (18:45):
And that’s the part of our brain where we’re like, ”There’s nothing to show for it.” But think of all the things that you did do. We all spent more time with our families.
Keith Boswell (18:52):
Lindsay Guentzel (18:53):
My boyfriend John and I created these amazing traditions around the holidays when we couldn’t see our families. Those things wouldn’t have happened had we not had that time.
Keith Boswell (19:02):
I wouldn’t have got to sit in on an orchestra class and choir.
Lindsay Guentzel (19:05):
Keith Boswell (19:05):
Lindsay Guentzel (19:08):
Right. And so it’s changing the way we speak to ourselves, which is very hard, but it’s also such an important part of the process.
Keith Boswell (19:16):
Right. Well then let’s go to the positive.
Lindsay Guentzel (19:20):
Keith Boswell (19:22):
Where does ADHD give you your strength?
Lindsay Guentzel (19:25):
Yeah. It is a strength. I love so many different things, and I love to do so many different things. Everyone asks about my career path, and I have to explain, ”I was really into this and that I was really into that.” And I still am really into them, but trying to find something that I wanted to do every single day was such a struggle. And I know I’m supposed to stay on the positive side of things. It’s knowing that I can still be passionate about those things and that they don’t have to be as big of a part of my life.
Keith Boswell (20:04):
I know what you’re saying. Yeah, it’s still giving them the energy without the weight.
Lindsay Guentzel (20:11):
Keith Boswell (20:13):
Does that make sense?
Lindsay Guentzel (20:14):
Yes. One thing that I will say that I have changed leaps and bounds is my connection to things. When we talk about money and we talk about the dopamine rush and the impulsivity, we don’t talk about the flip side. When you’re trying to get your life in order and you’ve come to terms with the fact that these behaviors have to stop. Getting rid of the stuff brings in this whole level of shame and disappointment. We are really brutal to ourselves. And it’s the power that we attach to money and that, ”We’ve spent money on this, we should keep it.” And so we never make the moves that we want to.
Lindsay Guentzel (20:56):
And I have this moment not too long ago where I just went closet to closet. It was a Monday afternoon, and there was no attachment to things any longer. It was, ”Get it out of my house, I want it gone.” And it was so funny, I think it was in one of the webinars we were hosting, I was talking about all of these craft items and half-finished things, and someone in the chat very kindly suggested, ”Well, there’s a website for that. You can go on this website and people will take your half-finished projects.”.
Keith Boswell (21:26):
Oh right, yeah I remember that.
Lindsay Guentzel (21:27):
But that’s another thing to add to my list. And right now I need it out of the house. And getting it in a box, getting it in the car, getting it to the donation site and not feeling sad about it, not feeling the feelings of grief of-
Keith Boswell (21:42):
You’d given up, or not done.
Lindsay Guentzel (21:44):
Exactly. And I do think mine is very much tied to the time, energy, and money that I spent on it, and I think that a lot of people can relate to that. So just detaching from it, working on accepting the fact that that time is not something I’m going to get back. And I could sit there and ruminate on it and make myself feel terrible, which I do, sometimes that does still happen, it’s not just like I woke up one day and it’s gone. But it does me no good.
Lindsay Guentzel (22:13):
And the best part about that is knowing moving forward, working on saying yes to what I want to say yes to, and saying no and being okay saying no. A lovely human taught me a great line that I have used more frequently than I thought I would, because I think I was afraid to say it. I don’t like to disappoint people. It’s, ”I would love to help with that right now.” Or, ”I would love to do that right now, but I’m at capacity.” And you don’t need an explanation. I think we, as people pleasers, are very quick to feel like we owe everyone an explanation-
Keith Boswell (22:53):
Lindsay Guentzel (22:53):
For why we can’t do something, or why it’s not going to work for us. Even things from someone asking you to go to dinner on Friday night, to taking on a project at work or whatever it is, having boundaries, standing up for yourself. And I used to equate standing up for yourself and confrontation. They were interlinked to me. And I laugh, because we have had many conversations about emotional regulation and, hello, so much of my life, not being able to communicate my feelings without getting angry. And I say getting angry and I don’t even know if I’m angry in the moment, but I couldn’t hold a calm conversation about something that I was passionate about.
Keith Boswell (23:43):
Lindsay Guentzel (23:44):
My voice would go up or I would cry, and then no one knew what to do and then I would feel bad. And so it’s being able to say, ”Hey, it really hurt my feelings when you did this.” Or, ”I don’t like the way this was done. Can we do that again?” I had this moment where I was explaining my fear of upsetting people. And the number of times that I would go into a store where salespeople would help you, whether they worked on commission or not, where I would buy whatever it was that they were selling me, knowing I would come back and return it, because admitting in the moment that I wasn’t interested or it wasn’t what I was looking for, and I’m never going to see those people again-
Keith Boswell (24:34):
And you’re just giving them, both times.
Lindsay Guentzel (24:37):
Yes. And so it’s really this moment of acknowledging, raising yourself up, knowing what your weaknesses are. I have a ton of weaknesses. They’re very present in everyday life. They’re very present in the podcast. And I think being open and honest about them is the only way to move forward. And like I said, I think the last year and a half, it’s the best year and a half of my life because I’m finally who I thought I was in my twenties, who I pretended to be in my twenties. I was this really confident, the quote unquote cool girl. I didn’t let anything bother me. I was go with the flow, which none of that was true. That I ever described myself as go with the flow is pretty comical.
Keith Boswell (25:27):
That’s really funny. You touched on something there that I think a lot of people… Or it’s interesting to me, I’ll put it that way. Just getting medication, to me is not enough.
Lindsay Guentzel (25:40):
Keith Boswell (25:41):
This is something I’ve learned now having started treatment, that it’s not a magic key that suddenly my ADHD is magically cured. And I’m just interested, part of I think what you’re talking about is that growth, that a lot of people that are wondering if they have ADHD, or they might know they have ADHD, they may not have put that work in. I know I didn’t for a long time. So I’m just wondering how much does addressing it beyond medication mean to you>
Lindsay Guentzel (26:16):
Oh, it’s the only way forward truly, because you’re addressing the big picture. Medication is one of the tools. For me, truthfully. I had an incident not too long ago. I went down to stay with my mom for the night and I forgot my medicine, and it was not pretty. It was not pretty, in part because it’s a part of my routine, My brain felt foggy. I felt very much like I had for almost 35 years. But I also think it was my brain playing tricks on me that I didn’t have this. I had four interviews that day for the podcast lined up, so it was very intensive, very hyper focused on these things, and I got done and I was exhausted. And it was such a crash course in understanding the power of the medicine. But at the end of the day, what has really helped change my routine and change my patterns is therapy.
Lindsay Guentzel (27:19):
I have an amazing therapist. Some days we come in and I talk about my feelings, and some days we make lists. We have a running to-do list, and every week we go through it. She takes things off of it. It’s this level of accountability that comes from somebody who really just wants to see me succeed. And it was great to do that first, because now I’m feeling more comfortable asking for that support from other people in life, from friends, from my partner, from my mom and my sisters. And getting to that level of feeling comfortable saying, ”Hey, this is how I work best.” Or, ”This is what I need from you.” Or, ‘This is not working for me. Can we reevaluate this?” Being comfortable asking for that.
Lindsay Guentzel (28:05):
And then I had this moment, and I think it’s so funny, because we really like quantitative results when it comes to how well we’re doing at something. Qualitative is just too hard for us to see. But not too long ago, I had this moment where I was like, ”God, I am feeling great. I’m sleeping well. Everything is… I’m feeling great.” And I was going through the things in my head, ”Well, I’ve been doing this and I’ve been doing that, and I take my medicine, I’m going to therapy, and I’ve been eating better.” And then there was this moment where I was like, ”And you’ve been working out regularly for three years.”
Lindsay Guentzel (28:43):
It’s not like I got a notification, ”Hey, you’ve improved your health.” It doesn’t happen. It’s not like that. And I think we’re always waiting for that. I’ve never had issues with my blood pressure or anything like that, so when I go into the doctor, they’re always like, ”Yeah, you’re good.” It wasn’t until I sat down and I had this moment of, ”No, I’m feeling as good as I am, because I’m doing all of the things that they said.” Isn’t it crazy to think? They say if you work out regularly, and for everybody that looks differently, but you move your body on a consistent basis, it’s likely you’ll feel better. Who knew?
Keith Boswell (29:20):
All right. What are some of the tips you have when you’re noticing ADHD in your day, that you turn to that help you cope with it?
Lindsay Guentzel (29:30):
It’s really interesting, because I’m really excited to get back into a normal routine, once we get Refocused Together launched, because the conversations that I’ve had with these people, these so many different stories with ADHD, I’ve learned so many amazing tips and tricks that are working for them, that I can’t wait to go back and implement into my own routine, that I can see are things that I haven’t been doing. The biggest being, and I know we’re going to talk about what I do that’s good, but I think the biggest thing is that I leave my schedule too open for other people.
Lindsay Guentzel (30:03):
I was talking to somebody and they were like, ”No, I only take meetings on Monday.” Or, ”I only take meetings between 10 and noon.” And I was like, ”Really?” And they’re like, ”Yeah, if they want to meet with me, they can meet with me then, or they can ask for a different time. And yes, I’m willing sometimes to accommodate, but this is how I work best.” So I’m super excited, very geeky, to get back and set a routine and try to stick to it, because I’ve just not had that. Also, on the flip side of, I tried to implement that over the summer, which… It was the last week of August, and I was like, ”Maybe summer was not the best time to establish a new routine.”
Keith Boswell (30:39):
Lindsay Guentzel (30:40):
What has worked for me is notes, is setting timers, is having reminders, is turning off notifications to all of the shiny objects on my phone. I don’t get notifications for any social media. I don’t get any notifications for email unless it’s a specified sender. I say to people, ”If you are trying to get ahold of me, this is the best way to do it because I am blocking the rest of it out.” And then I’ve actually started adding in meditation when I need it. Every once in a while, that midday exhaustion, that I dealt with for almost 35 years, that feeling at two or three or four, depending on how busy my morning’s been and how on I’ve had to be, I want to go to bed. I want to crawl into bed, if the weather’s crummy I want to crawl into bed.
Lindsay Guentzel (31:34):
And what I’ve started doing instead is I pull out my satellite, or I go out in the deck if it’s sunny, and I turn on a 20 minute breathing exercise. I just go to YouTube and I find something. And it’s just that 20 minutes of breathing and being with my thoughts, and it’s kind of scary how… If it were a video game, that would be the moment when all the energy comes back up and I rise from the dead and I’m like, ”All right, what are we doing?” But it’s acknowledging and setting that time aside for yourself, and giving yourself grace. I used to beat myself up if I scheduled something and I was like, ”I’m too tired.” And being aware of how we feel and when we work at our best, it’s such a game changer.
Keith Boswell (32:24):
What do you want people to know about ADHD that you feel like a lot of people either misunderstand or it just doesn’t make sense to them?
Lindsay Guentzel (32:38):
It’s the complexity. And I truly think when I go back to the beginning of thinking about telling 31 stories, is telling as many different stories as possible, because everyone’s story when they were diagnosed is different, but how it shows up in life is different. We don’t talk enough about the comorbidities that come with a diagnosis like ADHD. I can explain to my friends… I can go back to scenarios where I didn’t behave my best, or I was upset about something and I couldn’t quite figure out why. And now I know and I can explain to them like, ”Hey, I know that this doesn’t make sense to you. Or maybe when I say it sounds really strange, but this is where my brain went.” Especially for stuff like rejection sensitive dysphoria.
Lindsay Guentzel (33:30):
I’m not at the point where I’m saying ADHD is my superpower. There are obviously things, like producing 31 podcasts in 31 days, that are very ADHD. And I can say yes, being creative and being outside the box and thinking that way is amazing. But, ADHD and some of the side effects of it have been incredibly destructive in my life. They’ve pushed me out of jobs, they’ve pushed me out of relationships, they’ve pushed me out of things I worked incredibly hard to get to. And then you get there and you feel like you don’t belong and you feel like everyone is against you. And it’s the stories we tell ourselves. And what I love about that phrase is I say that phrase to dear friends who are neurotypical, and they can relate in that sense. Because every single person has walked into a room, or has not been invited to something, or has had something happened where they’ve internalized it to make them think it’s all about them.
Lindsay Guentzel (34:32):
They’re the bad egg or they’re the reason that that happened. There’s so many ways to go with it, but when you start to think about why your brain is doing what it’s doing, and the stories that you’re telling yourself, it’s incredibly powerful. And I think it’s really interesting getting this later in life diagnosis, because I do think when I was a kid, and I hate admitting this, but I do think that the children who fit into that category of having, at the time, ADD, and would be getting extra help, or were loud and would get kicked out of the classroom, they got labeled as, and I’m going to say this word, they got labeled as dumb. They were the dumb kids. And it’s so disheartening to say that and to know that that was such a common misconception. And I do think it’s that outdated stereotype that ADHD is tied to intelligence and what you’re capable of accomplishing, that holds a lot of people back from talking about their own ADHD.
Lindsay Guentzel (35:39):
And so telling all of these stories, telling my story, and just highlighting how prominent it is. When we look at psychology and when ADHD was first talked about, it’s very new, this is not a… I was at stuff last week where I still heard people referring to it as ADD. So it’s not even as commonly known yet that it’s called ADHD, and there’s three different types, and here’s where they fall in, and how people get diagnosed and given a specific diagnosis. And that to me is the most important part, is one, changing the stereotype, and two, making some of the other things that are a little lesser known, like rejection sensitivity dysphoria and rumination.
Lindsay Guentzel (36:26):
Let’s go back to Mrs. O’Neil’s class in fifth grade and talk about how much time I wasted. Sitting in that rocking chair, just rocking away, got me nowhere. Got me nowhere, it just made me feel terrible about myself. But again, it was the story that my brain was telling me, and it was so incredibly powerful. And so just sharing some of those things, and I hope the more stories we tell and the more people who see themselves in those stories and start to get the answers that they’ve been looking for, that’s incredibly powerful. And the last thing that I’d like to add in is getting a diagnosis doesn’t mean that you have to change your life.
Keith Boswell (37:04):
Lindsay Guentzel (37:04):
It’s giving you a manual to your brain in a sense. It’s just giving you a better understanding. It doesn’t mean you have to start taking medicine or start therapy, you don’t have to tell anyone, but it opens up those opportunities.
Keith Boswell (37:17):
Yeah and just being able to recontextualize yourself, that’s huge. Well, I just want to thank you from the team at ADHD Online as we kick this off, because we’re so excited to bring these stories forward. And I think part of our mission in putting the faces of ADHD out there is to break through some of the symptoms and the common misconceptions that people have. So we were thrilled when you came with this idea. We continue to love what you’re doing and we just can’t wait to get all these stories out there and see where it leads, so thank you so much.
Lindsay Guentzel (37:59):
Thank you. Thank you for letting me come into that meeting, guns a blazing, and roll off that pitch, and not one person, not one person tried to talk me out of it, which is maybe a-
Keith Boswell (38:11):
I remember us chatting and we were like, ”31 days. All right.”
Lindsay Guentzel (38:15):
Couldn’t have been February right?
Keith Boswell (38:18):
No. Well, and we were like, ”That’s just how we roll.”
Lindsay Guentzel (38:18):
Yes. It fit.
Keith Boswell (38:18):
It seemed to fit yeah.
Lindsay Guentzel (38:18):
Keith Boswell (38:30):
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here and thanks everyone for listening.
Lindsay Guentzel (38:31):
Lindsay Guentzel (38:50):
This is my first opportunity to thank everyone who has helped make this project happen, so just give me a moment, won’t always be this long, I promise. First and foremost, Zach Booker, Dr. Randall Duthler, Tim Gutwald, Keith Brophy, as well as the entire team at ADHD Online. Thank you for supporting this collaboration from day one and for always welcoming me into Grand Rapids with open arms. To Keith Boswell, Suzanne Spruit, Claudia Gotti, Melanie Mile, Paul Owen, Kirsten Pip, Sissy Yi, Tricia Merchant Dunny. Lauren Radley, the entire team at Dexia, but most importantly, Corey Kearney and Mason Nelly, who made set days the most fun, which of course wouldn’t be the same without Cameron Sterling and Candace Lefke, two incredible talents who made me look and feel amazing. Thank you for your dedication and enthusiasm and for helping keep this train on the tracks. We have learned so stinking much in the last couple of weeks. Next year, it’s going to be an absolute breeze.
Lindsay Guentzel (39:59):
To my production team, Camilla Eden, Lauren Terry, Sarah Gelbard, Phil Roderman, and Sarah Platanitis. Sarah, you created the most beautiful spreadsheet I have ever encountered. You are a true genius for putting the chaos of my brain into a document that actually worked for me. And I am so grateful you shared your talents with us these last few months. To my team, I’m a better storyteller because of your support. Thank you for sticking with me. To the wonderful people who have shared their stories with me already, and for those that maybe now are feeling a little bit of motivation to share their own, thank you for trusting me, I’m truly honored.
Lindsay Guentzel (40:44):
To my family, my mom, my sisters, Allison, Angie and Kate, my awesome brother-in-laws Terry, Eric, and Senior. Thank you for encouraging me to share my story and for helping me understand myself better. I’m constantly reminded of how lucky I am. And to my dad, I miss you. So much of who I am is you, and you’re woven through so many of these episodes. And finally, to John, thank you for understanding how much this project needs to be. That’s truly been the best support you could have ever given me. And that’s it. That’s the very first episode of Refocused Together. Here’s to 30 more episodes you guys.
Lindsay Guentzel (41:49):
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. 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.