Brittany Bronson And The Cost Of Her Impulsivity

Brittany Bronson is a global diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) leader, research professor, and first-generation doctoral student. She also loses her keys, locks herself out of her home, loses her bank cards, and can compulsively spend money for the dopamine rush. So at age 31, she sought out answers.  

Today, Britt teaches two research courses and promotes an inclusive classroom environment. She discloses to her students that she has combined type ADHD and encourages students to come to her with any accommodations they need. She’s also a mom to three children and together, they embrace ADHD as a family.

Tune in to hear about Britt’s experience, the obstacles Black women face getting a diagnosis and care later in life, and why it is more important than ever to create better spaces for neurodivergent students. 

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 Britt on Instagram here!

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Brittany Bronson (00:01):

I washed the dishes, so I need a reward, or I finally didn’t have to wash the laundry four times before I remembered to put it in the dryer. Or something as simple as times where I will run out of time to wash laundry, so I go buy my kids a week of clothes. People don’t see the ADHD tax of, “Wow, your kids look so clean and they look so well-dressed.” And it’s like, because I keep buying new clothes because I can never remember to do their laundry.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:30):

You are listening to Refocused, Together. And this is episode 15, Brittany Bronson and the Cost of Her Impulsivity. Welcome back to Refocus, a podcast all about ADHD. I’m your host, Lindsay Guentzel, and that was Brittany Bronson, known to most as Britt, whose story is a part of Refocused, Together. Our series for ADHD Awareness Month. This is our second annual Refocused, Together with 31 brand new stories from 31 new people who have generously shared their ADHD stories with us.


Brittany Bronson is a global diversity, equity and inclusion leader, research professor and first-generation doctoral student. Despite being high achieving academically and professionally, she wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until she was 31. Britt’s ADHD manifested in so many ways, like losing her keys, locking herself out of her home, losing bank cards and compulsively spending money because the dopamine rush of retail therapy and buying something new felt better than saving for a rainy day.


These behaviors, coupled with the pressure and anxiety of her doctorate studies and professional career motivated her to seek out a diagnosis and intervention. In her role as a professor, Britt teaches two research courses and promotes an inclusive classroom environment. She discloses to her students that she has combined type ADHD and encourages them to come to her with any accommodations they need.


She’s been in the shoes of her students, turning in assignments at the last minute, so to support them, she shares with them all of the strategies that she’s used as a doctoral candidate, academic professional, and professor. Britt is currently writing her dissertation and has a host of other things on her to-do list, like being a dedicated mother to three children and raising a family with her loving partner.


You can find her on Instagram under the handle @__bossy_britt__. It looks like this. Double underscore bossy, underscore Britt, double underscore. We’ll link it in the show notes for you as well. Let’s hear more from Britt about her experience with ADHD, about the obstacles Black women face when it’s time to get a proper diagnosis and care for ADHD later in life and why it’s more important than ever to create better spaces for neurodivergent students. And with that, let’s meet our next guest for Refocused, Together, 2023 Britt Bronson.


We start every Refocused, Together interview with the same question, and that is when were you diagnosed and what was that diagnostic process like for you and what started those initial conversations that led to you seeking out a diagnosis?

Brittany Bronson (03:40):

Sure. I’m now 33. I was diagnosed when I was 31 and I sought out a diagnosis because I was always viewed as high performing and just able to juggle multiple things, but as I got further in my career, I recognized that I was juggling things, but the balls were never coming back down. Balls were just in the sky essentially, if you could understand that metaphor that things weren’t reaching like a full completion.


I also started just shopping all the time, spending money and buying new things and loving to get new things. And my husband always jokes that I would keep tags on clothes in the closet because I never know which bill I might’ve forgotten and I need to take something back. And just understanding that there was a different or a better way to live, and I think as more folks became comfortable talking about ADHD with the memes and social media, I started to see myself in some of those memes.


And so once I lost my keys for the umpteenth time and my husband had to come let me in the house, we realized that there could possibly be a better way. Also, just doing the research to understand how ADHD looks different in girls and how that might have been a reason why my diagnosis never happened in my younger years because I wasn’t what folks were used to seeing in boys, which might’ve been hyperactivity and fidgeting and jumping around.

Lindsay Guentzel (05:15):

What were those early conversations like when you had the idea that it might be ADHD?

Brittany Bronson (05:19):

It was really hard. [inaudible 00:05:22] I talked to my husband, I was like, “I think I have ADHD.” And he’s like, “No, you don’t. You’re just forgetful. Or No, you don’t. You just need to slow down.” Because I think when people hear hyperactivity or when people think of ADHD, they have this view of a person who maybe is chaotic or maybe doesn’t get things done. But for someone like me, by the time I began pursuing a diagnosis, I was a second year doctoral student at a leadership level in my career, obviously pursued several master’s degrees by then.


And so I was so “successful” that it was hard for folks to see me as possibly having ADHD. Folks just thought I was doing too much. Whereas I felt like, well, I have to do too much. It’s just the way my brain works. And so there was almost, particularly being Black and in the Black culture, there was a disconnect around what ADHD looked like in successful people and moreover, what ADHD looked like for women.

Lindsay Guentzel (06:23):

I want to come back to your experience as a Black woman and the disconnect you just mentioned, but I’m wondering if you can talk a little bit about the dichotomy in these two Britts. The Britt that the world saw that was so successful there was no way you could have ADHD and the Britt that you were seeing who had to do so much.

Brittany Bronson (06:43):

We have a running joke where it’s like every day I have about 05, oh shoot moments and at the height of my ADHD and the dichotomy of being super successful. The other side was seldom sleeping, horrible anxiety because I was always on the edge of, “Oh my goodness, am I going to lose my job because I am sending in an annual report three days before it’s due, and I just started working on it.” And some of this wasn’t even work I had to do, I just had to send the email to another team to get the data, but delaying it.


So on the face, people saw the successful person who had nice clothes and drove nice cars, but in the inside it’s like, I need something new. I need to order something new. I washed the dishes, so I need a reward. Or, I finally didn’t have to wash the laundry four times before I remembered to put it in the dryer. Or something as simple as times where I will run out of time to wash laundry, so I go buy my kids a week of clothes.


People don’t see the ADHD tax of, “Wow, your kids look so clean and they look so well-dressed.” And it’s like, because I keep buying new clothes because I can never remember to do their laundry.

Lindsay Guentzel (07:58):

Let’s talk about that ADHD tax, and I’m wondering from the time you were diagnosed, you’ve got about two years under your belt, what has changed for you now that you can identify what you were seeking out in those moments?

Brittany Bronson (08:11):

So I’d say for starters, the biggest difference around the ADHD tax was my car keys. I was constantly paying to get my car keys redone, whereas now we finally were just like, “Okay, you want a nicer car?” I drive a nicer car, but it has key fobs, so I just leave them in my purse and there’s never a need to take the key out. We also decided since I kept losing my house keys, we needed to change the lock on the front door. So now I just use a fingerprint and that’s how everybody gets inside the house is either a code or a fingerprint.


Because the cost of replacing keys was ridiculous. I’d also just say the way that I have financial security, that I know my bills are paid on time because I know that I didn’t forget about a bill and I also know that I didn’t get a compulsive, I need this stupid thing off of TikTok, gives me a lot more peace. We talk about the ADHD tax. I was able to buy a new car and not have to put money down because I didn’t have horrible credit.


Whereas when I started my journey and my diagnoses, my credit was so bad because I was just constantly spending, spending, spending. I’d also just say as a parent feeling like I can really be at my kid’s school to volunteer. I can take off to do field trips because I feel so much more competent at work. I deliver things early or I deliver things on time or I deliver things with less mistakes. So I’m able to show up more at my kid’s school or I feel less anxiety saying, “Hey, I’m going to take the day off because I don’t feel well.


And that’s okay. Whereas before I never felt like I could take a day off because I was just running on fumes all the time.

Lindsay Guentzel (09:43):

I bet that’s a wonderful feeling as a parent. I want to ask you, and you touched on some of it, but when you look at life right now with everything you’ve worked on and all of the things you’ve identified, what is your biggest struggle with living with ADHD day to day and then what are you doing to manage it?

Brittany Bronson (09:58):

I would say my biggest struggle since being diagnosed and then starting treatment is the feeling of, “Oh, I can do anything now.” As I mentioned, being someone with ADHD who was always just overly involved, overly committing overly, “Yeah, I could do that, I could volunteer, I could be on this committee and I could help you do all these wonderful things like build a farm from scratch.” But even though I was struggling to do it before, now that I’ve started treatment which involves medication.


Sometimes there’s a feeling of, “Wow, now I really can do it because now I’m so organized that I feel competent enough to do it.” And it’s like, “No girl, go rest.” Just because you have the tools and the resources and the executive functioning doesn’t mean you still have to do all of those things. Also, recognizing that as a person with ADHD, a way that I was masking my ADHD was always being super available to everyone and doing all the things and never wanting to say no.


When the reality was I was more afraid of people thinking that if I didn’t deliver, I was lazy or if I didn’t deliver, I wasn’t a good friend. And so just also recognizing how rejection sensitivity dysphoria was also showing up in my ADHD. But now getting to a place where even though I’m still doing things, I’m doing the things where I feel confident that I can put them in my schedule before I commit to something.


I say, “Hey, let me check my work schedule first.” I have no problem now saying, “Can you please send me a calendar invite because I’m not going to remember and I want to show up for you.”

Lindsay Guentzel (11:29):

Can you share a little bit about how rejection sensitive dysphoria shows up for you?

Brittany Bronson (11:33):

So as a person with ADHD, I am very sensitive to criticism because I am already my worst critic and I already know that I’m operating as a neurodivergent person. I already know that I’m operating more distracted than everyone else in the room. I already know that I’m operating with more things on my mind. I already know that I’m kind of at a disadvantage already. I already am having, “Oh, shoot, did I forget this? Oh shoot, did I forget that? Did I fill out this form for the doctor?”


And so when someone else notices an error, it feels like I’ve been exposed. It feels like everyone knows I’m incompetent. It feels like everyone is now seeing my diagnosis and not seeing me as this person who is successful and helpful to others and loves to be a part of community. When other people notice a flaw in me, it is exacerbated. And while medication isn’t super helpful with that, therapy has been really helpful in just understanding the social anxiety around rejection, sensitivity dysphoria.


And also understanding people make mistakes and even people who are neurotypical make mistakes and sometimes life happens with them and they’re late with things. So I’m still doing that continuous work of learning that just because my husband says, “You forgot to close the cabinet doors.” He doesn’t think I’m incompetent. He just wants me to remember to close the cabinet doors so he doesn’t bump his head in the kitchen.

Lindsay Guentzel (13:07):

One of the issues we have with ADHD is that so much of the research for so long was isolated to white boys and you brought up being a Black woman and the disconnect between what people think of with ADHD and how they see you. And I’m wondering if you can expand on that a little bit.

Brittany Bronson (13:23):

As a Black woman or as a Black child, being in spaces that are predominantly white, because we know many children with ADHD are usually very, very… They seem like they’re disruptive in the classroom, but some of the disruption is a matter of if they finished their work and some of them are highly gifted and very awesome. I was that child, which meant I had a lot of behavior problems in the classroom. I would not stop talking no matter where you moved me, I was talking to everybody.


They would bounce me to other classrooms. I’d do my work over there, I’d talk over there, and so I got a reputation for just, “Oh, my goodness, Brittany talked so much.” I would be busy, and then eventually they’d give me little chores like go print stuff at the office. The school created informal accommodations for me so that they could teach their classroom without me being a disruption. But as a Black child, no one ever said, “Hey, let’s get some formal accommodations that will help you to thrive in the classroom.


Let’s get fidgets.” I’m 33, so this was the nineties through the early 2000s, there were no fidgets. Nobody cared about this stuff. There was no rubber bands on chairs. And then furthermore, as a Black child in these gifted programs, you’re almost told you’re lucky that you’re there, so don’t mess it up. You’re lucky that you’re there, so you need to be quiet. When in reality we’re talking about a disability and a child who doesn’t have the tools and the resources to control this.


So I got in a lot of trouble. I was on a punishment a lot as a kid for getting in trouble in school. And then as I became an adult, some of the ways that I was masking was not only masking my ADHD, but it was also masking or trying to overcompensate for how corporate America saw Black women. And I was now doing this triple work of, “Okay, I’m a woman, I’m a Black woman.” And I didn’t know it was ADHD at the time, but I was like, I’m just procrastinator.


I’m barely getting things in on time and going through all of those experiences, once I did get diagnosed, I really tried to be as open and honest about my diagnosis as possible because we do have to normalize that Black girls have ADHD, and it presents different, and maybe it presents as talking a lot. Maybe it presents as running errands throughout the school all day, just all of the ways that it could present that isn’t playfulness in the classroom, even if it’s finishing all the assignments.


I remember I would stay up and read the whole book or do the whole workbook at night because I would get down a rabbit hole and just couldn’t stop what I was doing, and I would just be so engrossed. But it’s like, well, what do you do with this child when they’ve burned through the book? Because they had an ADHD moment where they just could not bring themselves out of this workbook? And so I definitely recognized that in my culture.


It was not something that was talked about in the spaces that I was in. It was viewed as a bad thing to be neurodivergent, especially around ADHD, but I certainly see now that there is a lot more education and there’s a lot more acceptance and there’s a lot more advocacy to get Black girls in particular, the support that they need in the school systems.

Lindsay Guentzel (16:33):

I want to go back to the diagnostic process and I want to talk a little bit about the masking that you had experienced. Do you feel like as you were starting the process of looking into ADHD and what that might look like as far as going through an assessment? Do you feel like the masking you had been carrying around prevented you from finding things easier or presenting yourself in a way that was really showing the true Britt?

Brittany Bronson (16:58):

So I would say for me, by the time I pursued my diagnosis, I had already been through just regular therapy because maybe it’s stress with my kids that I’m struggling to deliver. Or maybe it’s my husband getting on my nerves, or maybe it’s the stressors of being a doctoral student. So I had been through just regular one-to-one therapy, and I still was delivering things late.


Even though I was addressing traumas, I still wasn’t delivering. And so by the time I got to the diagnostic piece, I was looking at those questions like, “Oh, that’s definitely me.” For me, it was very affirming. I went through the questionnaire and the diagnostic process and I felt seen. I felt like, “Okay, these are real questions. These are asking how often I lose my keys, how often I lose my bank card.” These are practical adult ways that ADHD shows up.


And I think it was very affirming for me because previous quizzes were almost geared towards a child in a classroom, and so I wasn’t really able to connect because I’ve always thrived in a classroom, but the diagnostic asked questions about the way I live my life in terms of keeping up with bills, keeping up with my bank cards, keeping up with my keys. Things that were very practical in the ways that my ADHD was showing up.

Lindsay Guentzel (18:13):

There’s this fine line between connecting what is presented in the DSM-5 in the way that it shows up in symptoms for people, and I think it’s kind of like this middle ground of psychology becoming every day. I want to ask you right now, when you look at your life, where do you feel like you’re thriving?

Brittany Bronson (18:31):

Honestly, some days it’s everywhere, and some days it’s nowhere and I’m okay with it. And I would say that giving myself grace with my diagnosis has allowed me to be okay with the days where I don’t thrive anywhere. Most days I get up, I take my medicine, I get my kids to school. And by the time my kids are suited and booted and off to school, my medicine is kicked in, I’m able to get on my computer, I get my morning tasks done. I get through my email, I get through my meetings.


By the time my hunger kicks in, it’s three o’clock, 3:30, it’s time for me to go get my kids, but my workday’s done. Those are days I’m thriving. I might even do a couple of loads of laundry throughout that workday. On days where I give myself grace as a person who doesn’t want to medicate seven days a week. Maybe a Saturday, I want to take a break. I’m okay not thriving. I’m totally okay with the fact that my kid’s going to have to do the dishes. Maybe they’re going to eat cereal, but everyone was alive, and that’s okay with me.

Lindsay Guentzel (19:24):

Your story is so interesting because prior to being diagnosed with ADHD, you were already working in the space for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and I’m wondering if you can share a little bit about how you have changed your mindset with what you’re doing in regards to DEI now that you have this new neurodiversity diagnosis that you’re carrying around so publicly.

Brittany Bronson (19:44):

So for starters, I recognize a barrier to receiving a diagnostic or a diagnosis. So even though I was able to do so, I recognize that as a professor as well as a practitioner around DEI, folks might not have the resources. People might be intimidated by the process, and so I always let folks know that whether they have a formal diagnosis or they’re just like, you know what? I saw some memes and I think I relate, that’s okay also.


I talk to them about the ways in which I provide accommodations or I recommend accommodations or the ways in which I get through my workday and I let them know that everything is not going to be a formal accommodation. Some stuff is just a matter of, instead of masking, you figure out the best workaround for you. For me, I’ve recognized my highest hours of productivity. They start at about 11:00 PM and they go until about three or four o’clock in the morning.


I had to learn that works for me because there’s less people on social media, there’s less stimulation. My medicine is able to really fully work in full swing. I’m not worried about the mail coming, FedEx knocking on the door needing me to sign or the school calling me. I just recognize that this is what I need. So I had to communicate that my end of business day looks different than your end of business day.


So if you need this by Friday close of business, you need to tell me that you need a Thursday close of business because I’m going to work on it from Thursday in the middle of the night into early Friday morning. And so it’s really just been around me being very honest and transparent, letting folks know if they don’t have a diagnosis, but they feel like they relate and could use some accommodations, that’s okay also.

Lindsay Guentzel (21:27):

You recently started working as a college professor and you’ve been open about your diagnosis with your students and you mentioned sharing some of the accommodations that work for you or that you’re willing to add into your life as a professor. What are some of those?

Brittany Bronson (21:41):

For starters, I don’t require my students to take notes. I actually give them my lecture notes at the start of every class. I just say, “Hey, here’s the Google Doc, make a copy of it. And if you want to write stuff in or type stuff in, that’s totally fine.” But for me, as someone with ADHD, it was often hard for me to pick out what part of what my professor was talking about was really important.


And either I would drown all of it out or I’d spend so much time writing down every word that he or she said that I literally didn’t even comprehend what I was taught that day because I spent so much time writing or I couldn’t really engage with the lessons. I provide a copy of my lecture notes to my students. I record every session, whether you’re in the class or you’re on Zoom. We all have a recorded lecture because I understand all of my students aren’t going to get it in the first day or they may need to go back to it.


I also don’t make my students read every week. So I understand that students, for a variety of reasons, understand content in a variety of ways. So whatever lesson I’m teaching, I find a podcast or a YouTube video that talks about it. I try to find a TED Talk that talks about it. And for people who love to read, I also find articles to supplement and I tell them, pick two sources. I don’t care which two, just pick two because it’s all pretty much the same content, and we’ll talk together.


People with ADHD need a variety, so I might want to read twice in the start of the semester, and I’m like, “I hate these articles now. I want to do podcasts for a little bit.” And then finally, a strategy that I tell my students is that I love your nice, shiny planner in the fall semester, but it’s okay to use Post-Its, it’s okay to use note cards. Sometimes I write in my iPad, sometimes I use the nice, shiny planner.


I provide my students stickers, and then finally, I’m always letting my students know that I don’t have firm due dates, and an incomplete is always available. I’ve taken incompletes as a student because I needed more time and I poorly managed my time. But I always try to let students know, you’re not going to fail if you show me that you’re trying and we can always create a work back plan together.

Lindsay Guentzel (23:48):

I love that you’re creating this space of vulnerability and comfort for students. College was so hard for me. I saw this hilarious meme the other day where it was an open textbook. And it said, “Ask a person with ADHD to highlight everything that’s important.” And every word is highlighted because I feel the exact same way. You tell me to highlight something that is important. My brain thinks, “Oh, everything you’re saying is important.”


And I realize now looking back at college, that I was so insecure in myself. You’re 18, 19 years old, and you’re expected to be vulnerable with older, much more professional people, and no one really kind of prepares you for those conversations. So I just want to thank you so much for creating that environment because I think the more we talk about it and the more we encourage people in these spaces, the ripple effect continues.

Brittany Bronson (24:37):

Absolutely. I’ve just recognized that even just pursuing a diagnosis, there’s a certain level of privilege to that. There’s a certain level of self-advocacy for that. Many of my students are first generation students, and so they’re learning how to self-advocate even around, “I need a scholarship. I need more financial aid. I don’t have money for this book. Is there a digital copy?”


And so as they’re navigating that, navigating advocating about their health, I don’t even have time to add that on. Like I said, I didn’t get diagnosed until I was 31 because I was doing all of the things that first generation students are trying to do as they navigate higher education.

Lindsay Guentzel (25:14):

This is a new journey for you, and you’re in the midst of it figuring it all out and learning so much more about yourself. So I’m wondering, when you look to the future, what’s giving you hope right now?

Brittany Bronson (25:24):

I would say my diagnosis gives me hope because I know that there’s so much more education around neurodivergence. That it’s not a bad word anymore. There’s so many accommodations that are federal laws around ADHD, so my workplace has to provide reasonable accommodations, and so I’m not worried about losing my job. I don’t have the anxiety now of, “Oh my God, I’m one F up away from losing my job.”


I also just recognize that I have a lot of hope for people who look like me on this journey to change the stigma, because when we think about the stigma of ADHD, like you said, we think about these white males who are rambunctious in the classroom. And it’s like, well, no. Sometimes it’s the Black girl who’s sitting there reading all the books in the corner and finishing her work early and who’s testing for gifted, or it’s the Black male who’s a problem in the classroom because he’s bored after he finishes all his work.


So as I look to the future, I certainly look at diversity, equity, and inclusion being included in the conversations around ADHD in educational systems.

Lindsay Guentzel (26:36):

You touched a little bit on how your ADHD diagnosis has changed you as a mother, and I’m wondering if you can expand a little bit more about who Britt is now following her ADHD diagnosis when you are not working.

Brittany Bronson (26:49):

As a mom, I definitely have a lot more grace because I recognize… I saw this really awesome meme you mentioned to me. It said, “What if I told you that many neurodivergent children actually have neurodivergent parents?” And finding out my own diagnosis allowed me to have so much more grace with my son and so much more patience and also being medicated allows me to finish tasks at work, which allows me to be available as a parent. Because I’m not feeling like, “Oh my God, I got to rush in, get my kid a snack, but I got to get back on this computer because I didn’t turn this in earlier.


Or I got to put my kids to bed really, really quick and I got to get back on the computer all night because I am running behind on things.” I feel like I said I can volunteer at my kid’s school because I know that I’m delivering at work, and so I have the autonomy and the trust that I can take off work and still deliver something timely that is little to no error. I also recognize that as a mother, it allows me to begin again, to change the stigma. To talk to my son to say, “Okay, you have a diagnosis, so do I. I’m getting a doctorate. I drive an nice car.


This diagnosis doesn’t mean something’s wrong with you or you’re dumb.” No, not at all. My son’s great. He’s in the gifted program, but he has ADHD, and that’s okay. It’s allowed me to again, just have grace. It’s allowed me to advocate better. It’s allowed me to understand, obviously there’s significant differences in how it shows up in males and how it shows up in females, but I’ve definitely been able to take a different approach because I’m not burning my candle end to end and I have a certain level of empathy.

Lindsay Guentzel (28:29):

I also have to imagine that all of the issues that you dealt with, and I say issues and there are things that we’ve all dealt with, losing your keys, locking yourself out of the house, the stuff with money. While you can laugh at them, they also bring stress. And I’m wondering, as you’ve worked on reducing some of those, do you feel like there’s less stress around on a day-to-day basis?

Brittany Bronson (28:49):

There’s less stress, there’s also less dependency, and so feeling like, “Oh my goodness, I got locked out of my house. Let me call my husband again to come unlock the doors and let me back in the house. Or, oh my goodness, I’ve lost my bank car and I’m in the middle of grocery shopping.” Things such as simple as I just put everything on Ample pay, everything’s on this phone. As long as I can find this phone, I’m good to go. My keys for my car is on the phone, the door is fingerprint and my bank cards are here. And even when it comes to the phone, I can find the phone using the find my feature.


And so I just have recognized there are so many tools and there’s nothing wrong with utilizing these tools to help me to navigate, but it’s also completely okay to not overwhelm myself with stuff. I used to have a huge tote bag. Many days, I don’t even do it anymore. I just carry a fanny pack and whatever I forget, we’ll just buy it. If we forgot bug spray, we’ll just buy more bug spray. If we forgot band-aids, I don’t care. We’ll just buy more band-aids.

Lindsay Guentzel (29:50):

I love that answer. I have not thought about it that way, but the word dependency is so powerful, especially as an adult. And for me personally, when I would have those things where I’d have to call my partner or I’d get to the end of the grocery store line and everything would be checked out and I wouldn’t have my card with me. Your inner voice, that mean inner voice kicks in and having less of her around has been so helpful.


I want to wrap up by asking, when you look at ADHD and everything that we know about it and the public perception, what is something you wish we all understood better?

Brittany Bronson (30:23):

People with ADHD deserve grace. I think so often we see people with ADHD when we think about boys. The hardest part for me with my son was so many teachers would say he’s so smart, he knows better. His function in his brain, what he can achieve academically does not necessarily align, one, with his maturity, but also, two, with the compulsive behaviors that come with ADHD. And people with ADHD deserve grace.


I recognize in myself, I have to give myself the same grace that I give other people because oftentimes people with ADHD are also very accommodating to others, and we don’t extend ourselves the grace for our mistakes that we extend to others when they mess up because we understand what it’s like to forget something.


But so often people don’t really understand how we forgot that huge date or how we lost track of time and what is time blindness, but we get it so much that we’re always like, “No, it’s okay. I totally understand.” We deserve the same grace that we give to others.

Lindsay Guentzel (31:29):

That’s a great message to end on. Britt, this was such a lovely conversation. I love your outlook on everything, and I really love the way that you have shown yourself grace. You mentioned all of the things that you’ve added into life to make it easier for you to erase some of the dependency. I have a dear friend. She loves to use the saying, “When you can throw money at the problem, you set yourself up now that all of those things that were kind of dragging you around aren’t an issue anymore.”


And I think that’s just a really important lesson for people that this life is not one size fits all. What works for you and what works for me are going to be very different, but we all have the capacity and kind of the ingenuity to switch things up in a way that are going to be helpful for us. So I’m so thankful for you for sharing those examples. I think that’ll really get people thinking about how they can make small changes in their everyday life.

Brittany Bronson (32:17):

Absolutely. It was a pleasure to be here. I’m so happy to just share that people with ADHD are thriving. People with ADHD are professors. People with ADHD are all colors. They’re successful. They’re on top of their bills. Sometimes they’re not on top of their bills, but they deserve grace. And so I really appreciate talking with you today, sharing my experience and also sharing some of the ways that I’ve gone from masking to thriving.

Lindsay Guentzel (32:46):

I had such a wonderful time chatting with Britt, and I’m so glad we got to touch on so many different things that are affecting the ADHD community. One of the many things I ruminate on that makes me feel absolutely terrible about myself is how much money I’ve wasted because of my ADHD. And I’m so glad Britt not only talked about it, but was so honest about her experience. There is so much shame tied into money, and I really appreciated her sharing how out of control she felt trying to stay in control.


I’ve finally stopped feeling bad about how much I spent on my prom dress senior year of high school. My 20-year reunion is next summer, so really felt like a good time to give that one a rest. And the good news is the dress is still at my mom’s house in case I ever want to shorten it and wear it to another event. My conversation with Brittany also made me think about a really glaring fact about ADHD.


That while ADHD affects people of all races and ethnicities, research shows that historically white children have been more likely to be diagnosed, treated, and studied than other racial and ethnic minority youth. This disparity extends into adulthood with BIPOC populations facing even higher hurdles to getting the help they need. And that brings up the question, what happens when we leave people out? We’re seeing some of those answers come to light in real time right now.


There can be serious consequences like misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis and treatment plans that don’t work. Britt shared how ADHD behavior in minority girls and women can also be misinterpreted due to cultural differences and preconceived judgments. She mentioned negative experiences with and mistrust of the healthcare system, plus fears of stigma and medication addiction as big concerns in Black populations.


So how can we increase health equity for Black girls and women living with ADHD? First, we need to include more Black girls and women in ADHD research, both as participants and as the researchers leading these studies. We also need to fund this research, just like all the other research we do here in ADHDlandia. It’s imperative that we keep talking with clinicians and educators about what ADHD looks like and the role of racial bias in diagnosis and treatment.


Partnering with community organizations can also increase ADHD awareness and understanding, especially when it comes to stigma and treatment. Last but certainly not least, we must include the lived experiences of BIPOC populations when developing guidelines, resources, and best practices for the ADHD community. Look where awareness has gotten us so far in understanding what we’re going through with ADHD.


When we leave people out, it’s impossible to move forward together. That’s why we’re turning the car around and going back, because when we mean everyone, we mean everyone. I’m so grateful to Britt 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. And to learn more about how ADHD Online can help you on your mental health journey, head to adhdonline.com.


And don’t forget to use the promo code REFOCUSED20 to receive $20 off your ADHD assessment right now. Support for Refocused comes from our partner, ADHD Online. A telemedicine mental healthcare company that provides affordable and accessible a 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, Susanne Spruit, Melanie Meyrl, Claudia Gatti and Tricia Mirchandani 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 Rodemann, 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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