Allie Rivera and the Emotion of Laundry

Allie Rivera found her turning point in a load of laundry. After spending a Saturday afternoon stuck in ADHD paralysis while the very loud and very critical voice in her head insisted she do the laundry, Allie began reading about ADHD and seeing more ADHD content on social media. She received her official diagnosis in 2021.

Today, as an underwriter or on stage as an improv comedian and teacher at the Sea Tea Comedy Theater in Hartford, CT, Allie sat down to talk with us about what it’s like to be diagnosed in your mid-30s, and her experience working with a doctor on a treatment plan.

Refocused, Together is a collection of 31 stories told throughout the 31 days of October, a part of our commitment to ADHD Awareness Month. Make sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts so you don’t miss a single story this month! 

Connect with Allie on TikTok and learn more about Sea Tea Comedy Theatre in Hartford, CT!

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Allie Rivera (00:01):

All I needed to do was a load of laundry, that’s all I needed to do in that day. Which doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but I found myself sitting on the couch for hours internally screaming at myself being like just get up and put a load of laundry in. Just get up and do it, it’s easy, you can just get up and do the laundry. But I couldn’t physically bring myself to get up and do it, and I couldn’t understand why.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:34):

You’re listening to Refocused Together and this is episode five, Allie Rivera, and The Emotion of Laundry. Welcome back to Refocused, a podcast all about ADHD, I’m your host, Lindsay Guentzel. When we share stories we find the perspective, ideas and tips that help us live our best lives. That’s why I’m so excited to be interviewing people like, Allie Rivera, who you just heard for Refocused Together, our series for ADHD Awareness Month. Because while we all may be different we are all united by our own ADHD journeys. Allie, received her official ADHD diagnosis in early 2021 after seeing a lot of ADHD content on social media. She began to read more about it, and the more she did the more she realized that it described her perfectly. Allie, sought help after spending an entire Saturday stuck on the couch in ADHD paralysis with a very loud and very critical inner voice instead of tackling the day’s to-do list item laundry.


Since her diagnosis so much of her life has started to make sense, whether at work as an underwriter or on stage as an improv comedian and teacher at the Sea Tea Comedy Theater in Hartford, Connecticut. Allie, is walking through the world more easily. You can find, Allie, on TikTok and Instagram @alliebeingallie. Now let’s dive in and hear more from, Allie, about her ADHD experience, what it’s like to be diagnosed in your mid 30s after growing up in the ’90s and the ins and outs of working with a doctor to find the proper medication. What’s nice about these interviews is that they all start with the same question, which is when were you diagnosed and what was the diagnosis like for you and maybe what even sparked those early conversations?

Allie Rivera (02:52):

Sure. I was diagnosed in 2021 and really it started out almost as a self-diagnosis. I was really just struggling, I had written it off as just like I’m just bad at being alive and when I was in lockdown staying home I started honestly getting a lot of things on the internet that were just popping up on my social media feeds that felt pointedly about me, pointedly accurate. So I started doing some research on my own and I spoke to the therapist I had at the time and mentioned it to her. She was like, “Oh, you know what? That might actually be it.” So I found an ADHD specialist and met with her and after speaking with her for about an hour, she’s like, “100% absolutely, surprised this wasn’t caught earlier.”

Lindsay Guentzel (03:50):

I’m wondering what stood out to you. So you’re in the middle of the pandemic, which is a great excuse for all the things you’re feeling. We were all thrown off and it happened so quickly, so there’s that side of it where you’re like maybe it’s just that I’m in lockdown and life has changed so drastically. But then you are doing research, you’re seeing stuff that comes up on the internet. What stood out to you? What was it that made you go, oh my gosh, that is me?

Allie Rivera (04:17):

It started as just a lot of little things. I did kind of have one moment though when I realized that this is a problem that’s negatively affecting my life and I need to actually address it instead of making a joke of I’m just bad at being an adult. Where there was one Saturday where all I needed to do was a load of laundry, that’s all I needed to do in that day. Which doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but I found myself sitting on the couch for hours internally screaming at myself being like just get up and put a load of laundry in. Just get up and do it, it’s easy, you can just get up and do the laundry. But I couldn’t physically bring myself to get up and do it, and I couldn’t understand why and it was where I had this almost out of body moment. Where I was like, if someone was here watching me it would look like I’m just being lazy, sitting on my couch doing nothing.


Where inside it’s like I was screaming at myself saying, why can’t you just get up and do a load of laundry. I had a friend after I told her about this recommend a book to me called You Mean I’m not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! And that was kind of my turning point for knowing that something needed to be done just because that one day I had such an internal struggle that I couldn’t fix.

Lindsay Guentzel (05:47):

What were those internal voices like for you? They’re screaming at you and there’s obviously frustration, but we know the plethora of lovely emotions that can come with ADHD. So I’m wondering if you can kind of talk me through that, you’re having the Saturday, it’s the one task. What were those conversations like that were happening inside of you?

Allie Rivera (06:10):

It was very, very negative towards myself. It was almost as though there was another voice in my head saying, how are you incapable of this? How are you failing at doing one of the most basic of tasks? Later speaking with a therapist who specialized in ADHD, it was in my brain it wasn’t just a task. Doing laundry didn’t feel like one task, it felt like a million tasks because I knew I had to gather up the laundry, I had to separate it into different colors, I had to find my quarters because it was still a coin operated machine. All of the things that go into the one task of laundry felt like 20 tasks, and I didn’t feel capable of taking that on and so that internal monologue was just very negative. It was a very dark feeling of just feeling like I’m failing. It wasn’t a new thing I’ve had that before, I don’t know why this just felt like the breaking point for me really.

Lindsay Guentzel (07:23):

And over something so simple, something that doesn’t have a lot or shouldn’t have a lot of feelings attached to it.

Allie Rivera (07:30):

Right, absolutely. I know that there shouldn’t be that much emotion behind a load of laundry, but there was in that day.

Lindsay Guentzel (07:40):

But it’s ultimately what pushed you to start the conversation so in a sense it’s great that, that moment happened. Later in life ADHD diagnoses can be tough for people to handle, and I’m wondering how you’ve managed looking back at life and maybe some of the things that you can see were now affected by your ADHD and wondering the what ifs. It’s impossible to avoid them, it does us no good. I say it’s the rocking chair, you can sit in it all day and rock and rock and rock but you’re not going anywhere. But it’s what we do as humans, right?

Allie Rivera (08:15):

It’s a combination of frustrating but also very freeing in a way. Once I got that diagnosis I was able to look back at all these moments where I thought that I had been failing and reframe it as I wasn’t failing. It wasn’t that I was lazy or bad at being [inaudible 00:08:37], it’s that my brain is wired differently that makes executive function difficult and to know that has been in many ways such a wonderful thing. I think I am very fortunate that I am surrounded by a very supportive family, I have a wonderful partner who’s very supportive. My job especially, I was able to be open and frank with them and say, “I have this diagnosis. I’m still learning what it means. I don’t know how it will affect, especially while trying to find medications and everything for myself, I don’t know what it means.” I’m fortunate that my bosses were like, “Tell us how we can best support you, no shame about that.” Which I know is not the case for a lot of people, but to go back to a tangent I did there.


But that happens I’m assuming. Looking back on moments in my life it does make faith so much clearer and in one of the first conversations I had with my mom about it. She recalled when I was in second or third grade, my teacher was saying that I wasn’t able to finish math problems in time during class and she thought it was because I was struggling with the math and my mom said to her, “I bet if you ask her when she’s working on these problems what every single person in the room is doing at that moment she’ll know and it’s accurate.” It wasn’t that I was incapable of doing these things, it was always written off as I was very chatty, I was very social, I was very aware of what was going on around me and easily distracted. But growing up as a kid in the ’90s no one ever chalked that up to ADHD, because we only thought of ADHD as hyperactive boys bouncing off the walls and not a girl who was able to sit still but my mind was everywhere.


So it’s been both frustrating to look back and see that maybe if I had known then and had different resources things could have been different. I’ve been very fortunate and I don’t think I would change anything to be honest. I had great experiences because I was surrounded by so many wonderful people, but it’s been more freeing than frustrating to look back.

Lindsay Guentzel (11:01):

I appreciate that outlook so much and that you’re able to show yourself that grace and say you were doing the best that you could under the circumstances. Because I think for most people it’s the opposite. For me, it’s been so hard to let some of that go and so to hear you say that I’m like, yeah, you’re right. I was doing the best I could and I was working really hard at doing the best that I could. So I really appreciate you sharing that because it’s important that we hear that from people that you are able to show yourself grace because it’s a hard one for us to show ourselves sometimes.

Allie Rivera (11:39):

I think ADHD in general comes with a lot of shame and a lot of guilt and a lot of negative self-talk. So to be able to… I’ve always been an optimist, so I don’t know if maybe that’s just who I am as a person. But to be able to look back and reframe my past through this, it’s been a good experience for me. Certainly there are those what ifs, but I had a good life, I had a good childhood. Yes, I had to work harder and didn’t even realize I was working harder. But I don’t think I would make any changes to my life looking back.

Lindsay Guentzel (12:19):

That feels like a very peaceful place to be, I’m very happy for you.

Allie Rivera (12:23):

Thank you, I’m happy for me too.

Lindsay Guentzel (12:27):

I’m wondering what your biggest struggles are when it comes to having ADHD and what you’re doing to actively try and make it a little easier in life for you.

Allie Rivera (12:36):

It’s funny it feels like… And this is again, some of that negative self talk I’ve had to work through with myself is it feels like the normal things you need to do to be a human adult are the challenges for me. Whereas bigger things that other people I know have problems with, managing my improv classes that I’m teaching and those types of things aren’t a struggle. Laundry still is really hard for me to do, it’s a constant struggle, preparing food, things like remembering to take chicken out of the freezer those are very hard. I know one that for me has been a real struggle that I’m actively working to get through is paying bills. If they come, the paper bill comes and I’m not able to set it up to autopay I put it down and I go it came in, I’m going to do that as soon as I am able and with the time blindness in my brain, I’m like, oh yeah, that just came in yesterday when really it came in long enough ago that now it’s late.


And I’ve had so many times where I then send in a bill, I write a check, I send it in but by the time it got there it’s late so then another bill comes with the interest and then that sits there and it piles up. I mean the hardest struggle for me has been financial things that other people if I talk to are like, “Well, when it comes in just pay it.” And it sounds so easy, it sounds like such a simple solution and yet I find myself unable to keep up with it at times. I had a bill that had been lingering for a very long time, that I finally paid off. Well, I had finally paid off and then they sent me a bill for $2 because it was late and I called I was like, “Please, you don’t understand. I’m trying so hard here.” And they took pity on me and got rid of that $2 charge. But yeah, it’s something I’m actively working on.


Having a supportive partner who does things like remind me that I have a pile of envelopes on the table that I need to go through is helpful, but that’s been a struggle for me.

Lindsay Guentzel (15:00):

It is a struggle for me as well and I wonder sometimes if how taboo money is adds to it. There’s this weird shame, secrecy about money in society and I think that, that plays a role in why it adds to the struggle for some people with ADHD at least from my experience and I also have a very supportive partner and I’ve been working on it, and my credit score has been getting better. So I’ve been proud of myself because that shows that I’m doing what I’m supposed to and I had a bill come in and what my partner did was write on it, “If you don’t pay this, this is bad for your credit score.” And I was like, oh yes, ramifications from my action but I have to tell you about your $2 charges. Now I have gone through the process, I had to submit insurance for it and so it’s been like six months and I have no answer yet and so I keep just refreshing tell me what I have to pay you, I need to pay this bill.


And it’s just sitting in this limbo and I’m like, stop adding more to my list.

Allie Rivera (16:01):

Yes, exactly. But that idea of needing a consequence has been my entire life. That’s one of the big things that looking back, I always just thought I’m a procrastinator and I need a deadline. But it’s true if I try and do things… I know in college if I knew I had a paper coming up I’d try to start early and I would sit down and just not have any words come to my mind. But at 10:00 the night before it’s due I could write an incredible paper on a book I didn’t read and be able to get away with it. So I think part of the reason why my diagnosis didn’t come for so long is because I am fortunate enough to be kind of smart and be able to get away with it. My entire college career I wrote every paper… I was an English major. I wrote every paper either the night before or the morning it was due, and I was able to manage with a decent grade point average.


So there was no need to see if there was any kind of problem there because I was managing fine and then I worked a job. I was a reporter for a while for a monthly newspaper, which was great but I would have 10 to 15 stories I was working on that were all due by one date. What I would always end up doing, I would have the best intentions to work on things in advance but the three days before it was due were a frantic caffeine filled nightmare especially for my then roommate… My God, Alison, you were a gem. Of me just in the living room frantically typing for three days straight to get all of these articles done and I would, and I did that for years until I was feeling kind of like a shell of a human because we’re not supposed to live like that. So that looming deadline thing is a huge part of it for me.

Lindsay Guentzel (18:05):

I feel that so much in so many different ways. I cannot believe that you would have that many deadlines due on one day that to me as somebody who has also worked in journalism a nightmare.

Allie Rivera (18:17):

Oh yeah, it was a horrible idea. Again, I was fortunate to be surrounded by great people, my editors were very understanding and very patient with me. My direct editor would always be like, “Maybe you should get started earlier so that you don’t then send me 15 stories on the same day.” And I couldn’t, and didn’t understand why I thought it was just because I was a procrastinator at the time.

Lindsay Guentzel (18:46):

That’s a word that comes up a lot. You mentioned that you are someone who has always had a positive outlook, and you’ve talked a little bit about some of the things that stood out when you were a kid. Which is for a lot of us women who were born around the same time, very similar stories of being chatty, being good students, probably a lot of that coming from masking. But I’m wondering, for me in particular and I know for a lot of people with ADHD there were other comorbidities along the way. Was there anything that ever stood out for you? Anything that you dealt with that you now connect back?

Allie Rivera (19:21):

Yeah. The first and most obvious one was anxiety, before an ADHD diagnosis I had gotten an anxiety diagnosis. That was originally what I was speaking with a therapist about what is that anxiety and fear and things like I would wake up in the middle of the night panicked about things that I haven’t done now, even though at 3:00 in the morning there’s literally nothing I would be able to do to fix it anyways. So anxiety was the big one and I also recently read an article that it was one of those that every single word just felt like it was written specifically about me. But it was speaking about the connection between ADHD and obesity and my weight has been… I wouldn’t say I’ve struggled with it my whole life. I was fortunate to have a very supportive family that never made me feel bad about being overweight. That was just society that did that, just being a teen in the early 2000s is what did that.


But the connection between those two, it wasn’t until I was reading this article that it struck me so deeply how much it has impacted the impulsivity, the poor decision making, not being able to control. I’m going to have to read it again because it was one of those, I read it and cried a little and then I was like I’m going to stick that to the side and come back and read it again. But yeah, that connection I’m really just learning more about now and I find fascinating, and that’s been a big part of my life personally.

Lindsay Guentzel (21:09):

I’m really excited to talk with you about improv and how it fits into your life, and I’m guessing it’s going to come up in this next question. So the next question that I ask everyone is, where do you see yourself thriving right now?

Allie Rivera (21:22):

The answer would be improv.

Lindsay Guentzel (21:23):

I had a feeling.

Allie Rivera (21:25):

Yes, here in Hartford we have this incredible community. There is a theater called the Sea Tea Comedy Theater, which is where I perform and where I teach that is filled with… A lot of people there have ADHD, I have also come to learn. So they’ve been great resources for me as well. But I feel great about my teaching and working with students and being able to perform on our stage. I have such a passion for improv, not just as a fun art form but also for the positive effects that it can have on people. I know there are some great studies coming out of the University of Chicago about ways that children with autism are able to use improv games to better understand facial expressions and emotion. We’ve done work with caregivers who work with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, how you can use improv to create a safer space for them and all of that I just find so fascinating. I’ve had so many hobbies in my life but this is the first hobby that I have stuck with for nine years now I’ve been doing improv.


It’s my passion, my joy and my community and I love it so much.

Lindsay Guentzel (22:39):

I’m wondering if you can share a little bit about improv, just in case there’s people listening who aren’t familiar with it and then what it is about it that drew you in and that you love about it.

Allie Rivera (22:50):

Sure. I mean I think one of the things that does help me is it doesn’t require much prior planning which I am bad at, surprise to no one. So improv as an art form is essentially making up comedic scenes on the spot without any prior planning of characters or dialogue, any of that. It’s a team sport and I think that’s why I love it, you’re building something with the partners that you have in your scene and you’re creating a new reality for a couple of minutes. It’s adults playing pretend which we need more of that in this world I would say. But I have seen so many of my students come through who have been shy or work in jobs where they are just at a cubicle all day and they don’t get to talk to people and it’s helped to really bring them out of their shell and that’s a big piece of joy for me. So I just love it, I can talk about improv forever.

Lindsay Guentzel (23:50):

I want to touch on what you just mentioned there about improv not requiring prior planning, because I’ve never heard it explained that way before and it is kind of perfect. Obviously there’s ways that you can rehearse and practice and I’m sure that there are kind of like warmups you do I would imagine. A baseball player has warmups that they do or strength training that they do and I imagine that that’s similar for improv. So tell me a little bit about what the preparation process is like? Because you said that there’s no prior planning, but I can’t imagine that you just show up and that there’s nothing happening. So I’m wondering what this little gray area is because you say no prior planning, but what does that look like?

Allie Rivera (24:35):

You are absolutely correct. The thing with improv, like I said it’s a team sport and the way you best succeed is if you know your teammates really well. I was on two different house teams for several years before some of our people moved away and I’m on a new team now, but these two teams I was on for five or six years. I knew my teammates so well because we would get together and we would practice usually weekly and at our practices like you said we’re doing warmup games, we’re doing exercises to try and get on the same wavelength mentally. But I also got to know my teammates so well that I could start to guess what they would do if I put them into some kind of scenario, which is super fun to be able to do and to play with. But in our classes that we teach, these are all strangers coming together. It’s not like the teams that I was on where it’s friends who get to know each other and then are able to perform that way.


In our classes we’re teaching you things like how to think on your feet, how not to get bogged down in your head of, “Well, what would be the funniest line I could say here?” Instead, teaching them just what would you naturally say here? Because in life you find funny moments all the time and that’s what we do on stage as well, we’re not trying to force it to happen. So we’re teaching people to get out of their heads, to face in the moment, to listen. I always tell people, “The biggest skill you need to be good at improv is listening. It’s not about what you have to say, it’s about hearing what your partner is saying and then just responding honestly.” A lot of those skills are things that don’t come naturally to everyone and so we work on those through exercises and through practices and get people to really listen to those who are with them.

Lindsay Guentzel (26:30):

It sounds like following your diagnosis you walked into kind of an ideal setup, meaning you had this incredible support system from family, friends, your partner and then I want to touch a little bit on work. You opened up at work about your new diagnosis and I liked what you said about, “I don’t know how this is going to affect me or affect my role here and kind of what I’ve been doing.” I’m wondering what you might have changed at work or how you may have looked at work and some of your tasks differently following your diagnosis and what that has been like for you?

Allie Rivera (27:04):

I think one of the big things is I’ve recognized that I don’t work as well from home. It’s not the ideal environment for me to be able to focus because while I’m here… I’m in my home now. But while I’m here I am thinking of the other things that I could be doing. I’ve known coworkers who were like, “Oh, I just threw a load of laundry in and then came back and did work.” And then my brain is like I could be doing laundry right now and instead of either working or doing laundry I’m sitting here thinking, I could be doing laundry while working. If I’m in the office that’s not an option, all I can do is work and so when we reopened the offices we were optional for a while and for a while I was the only person from my company going into the office. Which worked out beautifully for me and knowing that that’s what I need and being given the opportunity to do that helped me so much.

Lindsay Guentzel (28:09):

I also feel the same way, working from home is very difficult for me because I get into this phase of trying to figure out the most productive way to do things. So you sitting there going, “I could be doing laundry and I could be working.” In my mind I’m like, how can I multitask the most extreme way to make sure that I am monopolizing every single second of this day? And then I typically do nothing.

Allie Rivera (28:33):

Yes, that’s what it is. You think about all the things you could be doing and then instead do none of it, and so I would rather be at an office where I am killing it at work and that’s all that needs to be done. So I’ve been thriving doing that, I was going in three days a week. I cut down to two because I spontaneously adopted two kittens, another real impulse move of mine that happened. So I cut down so I could be here with them for a little bit but I’m probably going to be upping my office time again.

Lindsay Guentzel (29:08):

As a cat lover I love your impulse decision. I won’t lie, and when I say that I have been thinking about it for the last couple of weeks and then I have to remind myself like, you are not in any place which is a sign of growth.

Allie Rivera (29:22):

Yeah. Well, so I had the best of intentions as we all always do. My girlfriend and I were at our theater talking to a friend of ours and he was saying that he was going to an adoption event the next day to get a new kitten because his cat was lonely and he was like, “You should come watch me adopt this kitty.” And I woke up that morning and said to my girlfriend, I was like, “We can’t get a kitten, we don’t have the space for it, that would just be crazy.” And she was like, “Sure.” And then we walked away with two kittens, they were very cute.

Lindsay Guentzel (30:02):

I’m sure they’re still very cute.

Allie Rivera (30:03):

They’re adorable, I love them so much.

Lindsay Guentzel (30:06):

Well besides the kittens, I’m wondering when you think about the future what is giving you hope? What is really pushing you forward right now?

Allie Rivera (30:16):

A good question. I have to say the community that I’ve been able to build, especially my family is wonderful and I love them. The community I’ve been able to build in the improv community in Hartford has been so heartening and wonderful. For example, one of the many hobbies I’ve taken up in my life is cross stitching and I’m going to be teaching a cross stitching workshop at my hometown library in a couple of months and I was able to reach out to my crew of improv people and be like, “I need to practice. Who wants to come to my house and I’ll teach you how to cross stitch?” I know that not everyone has that, that they could just reach out to a crew of supportive people who will be there for you and drop anything if you need it and I’m lucky to have found that here in Hartford. So I’m looking forward to seeing my friends’ kids going to school and hanging out with them, I’m looking forward to more time with my girlfriend who recently moved in. Yeah.


Things are going well and having the ADHD diagnosis I think has been a big part of it because it’s been able to help clarify a lot of my life and now I’ve finally found my right medication combination. So that’s also helping me a great deal to finally feel like I’m in that place. So yeah, I’m excited for my future right now.

Lindsay Guentzel (31:49):

And you mentioned finding the right medication, what has that journey been like for you?

Allie Rivera (31:53):

Lengthy, not horrible. I have friends who have some horror stories, I fortunately don’t have horror stories. I finally found a doctor, I hadn’t had a primary care doctor visit in about 10 years because of weight issues. I had a doctor who I would go to her and say, “Oh, I have this problem.” And she’d be like, “Well, if you lose 150 pounds.” Which saying that to me I was like you might as well tell me to climb to the moon, that’s impossible. So I finally found a doctor who is really wonderful, listens to all these things, she’s been helping me with my medication. She started with one kind, I was on it for a while, it didn’t feel any effect so she changed the dosage. It helped for a week or two and then she was like, “Well, that’s the top we can get but we can’t cut that off.” So I had to do that one and a new one at the same time and so it was that balancing act of trying to figure it out.


But the most recent one that I’m on seems to be helping me immensely, it’s not a cure all and that’s something I think is important to tell people. Being on medication doesn’t cure you of the things that impact your life with ADHD. But the thing that I’ve found was so many times at the end of the workday I would be exhausted because I’d spent 80 to 90% of my energy on trying to focus on what I was doing, and now I get to the end of the day and I maybe needed to use 40% of my energy on trying to focus and I get to end day. I’m like, I don’t feel like I need to take a nap from sitting at my computer all day which has been amazing. It’s been a long journey but now that we have found something that works for me, it’s been wonderful.

Lindsay Guentzel (33:54):

I’m wondering if there’s anything that you think the community at large needs to understand better about ADHD?

Allie Rivera (34:04):

So much. I mean, I myself was so misinformed about it even a couple of years ago before my own diagnosis. There’s all those stereotypes that we hear of like, “Oh, a squirrel that I think can be harmful.” I think ADHD is thought of as just like a joke diagnosis at times when in reality it’s a true neurological difference in your brain that makes it difficult to function on a day-to-day basis. But I think most people don’t understand the full impact that it has on absolutely every aspect of your life and so I wish the community at large would know that your friends with ADHD, sure they might joke about it because I also use humor as a coping mechanism. But it is a challenge, it is a struggle and just because they’re able to laugh about it doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard and so having patience and grace with your friends will go a long way.

Lindsay Guentzel (35:14):

Allie, this was so enjoyable. Thank you so much for coming on Refocused Together and sharing your story with us. I had such a lovely time hearing about you and about improv and I also am a hobby collector and there was a split second where I was like maybe I should try improv.

Allie Rivera (35:30):

You should.

Lindsay Guentzel (35:30):

We’ll see, Minneapolis has a great improv scene as well and maybe I’ll take a couple classes and I’ll have to come and visit you in Hartford because I have fallen so in love with it.

Allie Rivera (35:38):

Absolutely, I think you should.

Lindsay Guentzel (35:46):

I’m so glad, Allie, talked about ADHD paralysis. When someone with ADHD feels so overwhelmed that they can’t move or think properly. We know that ADHD affects the brain’s ability to make decisions and process information, ADHD paralysis can happen at any time. At work, school or home and makes it difficult for individuals to start or take action, prioritize tasks and make decisions. There are three types of ADHD paralysis and understanding which type you’re dealing with can help you overcome it. There’s mental paralysis when you’re overwhelmed by thoughts, emotions or information. There’s choice paralysis when too many options are present for a decision and then there’s task paralysis, when you are hesitant, scared or unmotivated to start a task to the point where you’ll procrastinate or avoid it completely and while ADHD paralysis may seem like procrastination it’s a totally different ballgame. It’s like the 50 tabs open in a person’s browser brain crashes, causing the person to freeze up and sometimes quite literally. There are strategies that can help like simplifying your schedule, gameifying tasks and rewarding yourself when you complete something.


We’re going to do a whole episode on this next year, so stay tuned. Something else, Allie, talked about was improv comedy. Improv is a great way for ADHD’ers to channel their energy and creativity in a positive and productive way. I mean, the golden rule of improv is saying yes and to everything which I can only imagine invites in a sense of optimism and can outwit negative thinking over time. There’s lots of quick thinking in improv and research shows that the ability to improvise is strongly linked with divergent thinking in adults with ADHD. Improv can build confidence, reduce anxiety and even provide a sense of community and belonging for ADHD’ers who may struggle with feeling isolated or disconnected. One day I will get to Hartford and see, Allie, on stage and witness the joy that she feels when performing. It sounds amazing and I am here for it. I’m so grateful to, Allie, for sharing her story here with us on Refocused Together. To catch all of the 31 stories this month subscribe to Refocused wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also learn more about Refocused Together at adhdonline.com/refocusedtogether.


Support for Refocused comes from our partner ADHD Online, a telemedicine mental healthcare company that provides affordable and accessible ADHD assessments and treatment plans. To learn how they can help you on your journey head to adhdonline.com and remember to use the promo code Refocused20 to receive $20 off your ADHD Online assessment right now. The biggest thanks go out to our team at ADHD Online, Keith Boswell, Suzanne Spruit, Melanie Mile, Claudia Gotti, and Tricia Merchant Dunny, for their constant support in helping make Refocused Together happen. These 31 episodes were produced thanks to our managing editor, Sarah Platanitis, our production coordinator, Phil Roderman, social media specialist and editor, Al Chaplin, and me the host and Executive Producer of Refocused, Lindsay Guentzel. To connect with the show on social media you can find us online at Refocused Pod, and you can email the show directly [email protected]. That’s [email protected].

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