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Dee Lynn and the Comfort In Knowing

Dee Lynn is very new to this whole ‘having ADHD’ thing. Diagnosed just this last summer, the patient support specialist for ADHD Online knew what ADHD was before joining the telemedicine healthcare company. Her son was diagnosed in grade school. But it wasn’t until she was interacting with patients on a daily basis that she started to see the many different ways the disorder can show up for people. Especially for women. 

Like so many adults diagnosed later in life, Dee Lynn can now see plenty of signs of her ADHD when she looks back at her childhood. Raised in the 80s – a time when mental health was rarely discussed – the healthcare provider struggled with focus and attention and was afraid to ask for the additional help she knew she needed. 

Despite the whirlwind nature of her journey, Dee now feels a huge sense of relief and by working with her primary care doctor and her therapist, is figuring out the right treatment plan to help her move forward in life with the support she needs.

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! 

READ: What Is Integrative Medicine for ADHD? A Holistic Health & Wellness Guide

READ: 4 Natural Ways to Cope with ADHD Symptoms

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Dee Lynn (00:01):

I feel like there’s an awakening within myself just now knowing that there is this diagnosis, and that is a lot of those mixed emotions and feelings that I never knew why I felt that way or why I was that way. So now that I have the this is why, now I just find it as empowering to now move forward knowing that I have ADHD, and just it is caused me to look into different things and start to research for myself on ways I can better myself.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:38):

You are listening to Refocused, Together, and this is episode 28, Dee Lynn and The Comfort in Knowing. Welcome back to Refocused, a podcast all about ADHD. I’m your host, Lindsay Guentzel, and today, we’ve got another story in our Refocused, Together series. This special project we started last year as a part of our commitment to ADHD awareness month. You just heard today’s guest, Dee Lynn. Dee was officially diagnosed with ADHD in the summer of 2023. She grew up in the 80s, and people around her rarely talked about mental health. She never thought about ADHD until her son was diagnosed with it, and like so many parents, she became his advocate. Growing up, Dee always struggled with focus and attention in school.

(01:37):

She sometimes needed more explanation or for someone to repeat what they said, but she was hesitant to ask because her teachers simply saw her as a distraction. She was outgoing, sensitive, sweet, and compassionate, but often [inaudible 00:01:54] opposite of all of those wonderful traits because during conversations she was constantly interrupting. She had trouble listening because she always wanted to be ready with a reply or an answer when the other person stopped talking. After high school, Dee became a certified nursing assistant and worked in hospitals for years doing patient-facing work, including registration, financial counseling, and admitting. During the pandemic, like many other healthcare workers, she became overwhelmed and dealt with a lot of anxiety.

(02:29):

She started talk therapy but was still having a hard time and experiencing a level of frustration that wouldn’t go away. It wasn’t until Dee started working at ADHD Online that things began to fall into place. Working as a care navigator, she uses her training in mental health first aid to help patients traveling through their own mental health journeys. The conversations she’s been having with patients and the connections she’s felt to their stories and experiences, those are, ultimately, what led to Dee wondering if she might have ADHD herself. And while she was incredibly curious about what she might learn through the assessment, she was still scared and nervous about the results.

(03:11):

Dee was lucky. She’d already established a great relationship with her primary care doctor and felt confident bringing the results to her. There they were able to go through the treatment options together, talking extensively about the different types of medications and how they could work for Dee and the symptoms she’d been experiencing. She was also able to add in ADHD-related skill-building practices with her therapist, giving her an incredibly well-rounded treatment plan to address the whole person and not just her ADHD. It’s been a whirlwind. Keep in mind this all started just this summer, but the good news is Dee finally feels like she has some answers.

(03:53):

There’s a plan for her next steps with support built in along the way, and she feels relieved like she can settle down and enjoy this new version of herself for a while. Her self-talk is kinder, and she feels like she’s living more in the moment. Medication has improved her focus and clarity, helping her gather those tools to better herself and make life and work easier. And the mom of four even has thoughts of one day going back to school to become a social worker. Dee’s journey with ADHD has been a roller coaster of emotions, but she now understands the why behind who she is, which has helped her move forward and advocate for herself and others with ADHD.

(04:38):

It’s made her life, both personally and professionally, more optimistic and less chaotic, and she’s looking at the future through a lens of anticipation she hasn’t felt in quite some time. Let’s hear now from Dee about her journey with ADHD, how the connection she’s built with patients motivated her own mental health story and her brilliant concept of a treatment sandwich, and what fixings she would make sure to have on hand to make the perfect combo. We open all of these Refocused, Together interviews with the same question, and that is when were you diagnosed with ADHD, and what was that process like, and what sparked those initial conversations that pushed you to seek out answers?

Dee Lynn (05:31):

I am really a baby in ADHD, to be honest. I just was diagnosed. I’d say it’s been about two months, to be honest, Lindsay. What led me to be tested for ADHD is I do have a son. I’ve got three daughters and one son, and my son was tested for ADHD when he was around seven or eight, and I didn’t know much about it. I just know he had what I thought was behavioral issues in school, a lot of behavioral issues, a lot of focus issues, just a lot of things surrounding school. And to be honest, I had never heard of anything about ADHD or anything like that from my parents or anything.

(06:17):

So just it was really new when my son was diagnosed, and I just tried to be the best advocate or parent I could be to have a child that had a new diagnosis that I wasn’t familiar with. So that’s kind of what led me to working at ADHD Online. They end up… Actually, they found me. They found my resume and reached out and wanted to have a series of interviews, and so when I started to interview, that’s one of the things that my manager said that drew her to me because I had my own kind of personal story of just kind of witnessing ADHD from my son’s perspective.

(06:57):

When I started working for ADHD Online, I was a patient support specialist, and I just was taking incoming calls and outbound calls for patients that were calling about questions for our assessment and just questions about what to do next and things like that. So being a patient support specialist got me a little more into things and just kind of started to spark interest within myself about just the things they were saying and the questions they were asking. And I guess that’s what made me want to know or want to be tested or want to know more if ADHD was actually something that I had as well as my son.

(07:42):

And then, maybe about a year in working for ADHD Online, I finally was just going through things in my own life and just wanted to get into more exploring myself. And just, I don’t want to call it like a midlife crisis, but I’m in my 40s now, so just wanting to know more about me and learn more about me as a person. So I decided to have the ADHD testing, and I did, and I was diagnosed with ADHD, and it was kind of, to be honest, a little… I was scared. I was nervous. Like I said, I only knew from what I knew from my son having ADHD, but me being his parent wasn’t the same as having ADHD for yourself.

Lindsay Guentzel (08:27):

It sounds like a combination of things. You have this connection because of your son, and we know that there is the genetic connection for ADHD. That there are a lot of parents in your situation right now who were diagnosed after their children were diagnosed, and especially women because we know that women were predominantly missed when we talk about kind of what ADHD used to look like.

(08:53):

So you have that side of it, and then you also have all of these interactions with patients where they’re sharing parts of their own journey with you, and you’re able to make connections. I’m wondering, from both of those, what stands out to you now that you know have ADHD and you’ve lived 40-some years with it as some of the things that stand out in how ADHD shows up in your life?

Dee Lynn (09:17):

It’s a lot of things, to be honest, but now I just feel like I’m more aware. I feel like there’s an awakening within myself just now knowing that there is this diagnosis, and that is a lot of those mixed emotions and feelings that I never knew why I felt that way or why I was that way. So now that I have the this is why. Now, I just find it as empowering to now move forward knowing that I have ADHD, and just it’s caused me to look into different things and start to research for myself on ways I can better myself.

(09:57):

I didn’t ever know that I was always an interrupter and always taking the conversation and always waiting on the person’s last word so that I can then say my sentence because I’ve already been thinking about my sentence during their whole sentence. I knew I wasn’t a rude person. I felt like my personality is outgoing, and I’m super sensitive and sweet and compassionate. But I just knew when it came time to conversations, I didn’t know why I felt like aggressive that way, but now I know that’s why, because of my ADHD, there’s something there that’s saying, “Get your answer out there. Get your answer out there.”

(10:35):

And it’s like, now I’m like, “It’s okay. Wait your turn. It’s okay. You’ll get your answer out soon enough. Just because you have to wait until they speak doesn’t mean it takes away from your validity of what you’re saying.” So it just helps me do more self-talk and more self-help for myself to take a moment, look at what’s going on, listen to what’s going on, be present the moment instead of just trying to take over the moment.

Lindsay Guentzel (11:07):

Are there things that you’ve been surprised by as you started this journey with your own diagnosis? But also, looking at what you’ve learned through your time working with ADHD Online and the experiences that you’ve had connecting with patients?

Dee Lynn (11:22):

Working in the mental health field, it was just kind of surprising just to kind of see some of the responses from our patients. Now that I’ve been diagnosed, it’s kind of like it’s not surprising at all because I can relate. I can relate to, for me, sometimes I do need a little more hand-holding. Sometimes, I do need a little more explanation. Sometimes, I do need you to repeat it. Just now that I’ve been diagnosed, now it’s like, “Oh, now I understand where they’re coming from. I understand their frustration. I understand because, in their mind, that’s where they are, and that’s all they really see.”

(12:02):

It definitely was surprising to now be able to relate more directly on why some patients respond that way or some of the things that we deal with sometimes just working with patients and mental health. I’ve always been compassionate and patient with patients. Coming out of high school, I went and got my CNA early on, so I’ve been in a certified nurse assistant admitting just a lot of things that our customer service patient-facing. But then, as I got a little older, it started to be a little overwhelming for patient-facing, and I think that’s because we went through COVID, and that’s when I learned that I was diagnosed with anxiety during COVID as a result of COVID because I was having some issues where I was getting overwhelmed at work and things that I just was kind of like, “Well, something’s just… what is all this? Where is all this coming from?”

(12:59):

But I feel like having to be forced to be at home, forced to be with just your family, forced to be with just myself at times, to be honest, then started to just open up just dimensions of myself that I wasn’t aware of, and that’s how I got to the anxiety. But then, after the anxiety, I was like, “There’s still more, but I just didn’t know what” until I started working at ADHD, and I said, “Oh, ADHD is the what more.” Someone that has ADHD can take things the wrong way and misinterpret things. So to be on both sides and know how patient you need to be in customer service, but then to be the other person and say, “Oh my, yeah.”

Lindsay Guentzel (13:41):

People with ADHD tend to be drawn to positions where we get to help people. It fills up our buckets. It makes us feel worthy. It makes us feel like we are contributing. And at the same time, there’s also so much of us that is kind of weary of confrontation. We don’t like to deal with things that make us uncomfortable, and that tends to come in situations where people are passionate about something. And we can look at the last few years and what people with ADHD have gone through, and we can talk about the medication shortage and all of the changes that have come down because of COVID. And we’re all scrambling to keep up with these really, really intense executive functioning skills needed areas where we tend to struggle, and we’re being asked of so much.

(14:30):

So it makes total sense that we would be frustrated. And I read this really great LinkedIn post the other day, and it was a man describing himself, and he has ADHD, and he was like, “I am fiery. I am quick to get mad. I am quick to be on the defense, but at the same time, I’m the biggest empath in the room.” And I have never related to something more because if you push my button or if I’m frustrated by something, I’m impulsive. I am very, very quick to get frustrated, but at the same time, I am the one that will go to bat for whoever needs it. I am that person in the room. And I just was like, “Ah, yes, the ADHD.”

Dee Lynn (15:11):

I was born in the 80s, so when I was in school, I just got… Wasn’t a bad kid. I just… Often at conference, my teachers would often tell my mom that I’m very social, too social. They would call me too social and say I was social at the wrong time. I was social when I was supposed to be learning. So basically, calling me a distraction in a way. But I can get how I was a distraction to the other children that were trying to focus. So my mom just always, she never really knew what to say about me being so social and why I was always talking or why was I talking out of turn.

(15:55):

She never really said anything about it. She never touched on it, never really… So that’s why I said that to say I never would’ve thought of being tested for ADHD. I know it’s hereditary, but I thought it came from my son’s father’s side, to be honest, because my mother and father have never said anything about ADHD. I know there’s some different things, like maybe diabetes or something, but nothing mental health-related has ever been discussed. That’s why it’s just so mind-boggling for me because it’s like, had I not been where I was supposed to be working for ADHD Online to then have that, “Aha, what if you have ADHD?”

(16:35):

It’s like I still will be, in a way, lost because that’s how I feel like I was lost and without the tools that I need. So now that I have, I know I have ADHD, I can work on gathering those tools and bettering myself and making things easier for me, making life easier for me. I’ve even looked at how can I be more structured in the workplace. How can I be more on task? The wonderful thing is I have no complaints from my management. They love me. They’re like, “We know she’s passionate. We know she’s driven. We know she’s a hard worker. And it’s like my ADHD works wonderfully for work. For me, it’s just learning those little things that can be stressful for me.

(17:18):

Those little things that may trigger me in a little bit, those little things because I find when I have a lot of little things, and I don’t get ahold of them quickly enough, they kind of just build up, and then it’s a pow, and so I don’t like that. I don’t like the explosion. So I am working on the explosion part of just kind of keeping myself at a peaceful bay, at a peaceful place that those little things that are adding up, I’m starting to just take them down and put them here, take that here and put that there and just work through it instead of letting it build up and overwhelm me.

Lindsay Guentzel (17:58):

I feel like I learned something new every day, and it’s one of the reasons why I love Refocused, Together is because every person I talk to, I hear something in their story that I’m able to go, “Aha. Like yes, these dots connect.” And that’s the part with these later-in-life ADHD diagnoses is for so many of us. We are spending so much time putting those puzzles together and figuring it all out.

(18:21):

You mentioned being diagnosed with anxiety and how that came from everything that was going on during the pandemic. Following your diagnosis and now how you know a little bit more about how your brain works and how your body then responds, have you been able to manage the anxiety in a new way with this diagnosis?

Dee Lynn (18:43):

I would say yes. I already… So when I was diagnosed with anxiety, my doctor kept recommending that I do counseling, and to me, the first thing you think of with counseling is, “Oh, I don’t need that, or I don’t need counseling, I don’t need to talk to anyone. I’m fine.” And then another thing was I have anxiety but I didn’t know that the amount of anxiety I have is more than the average person’s anxiety because it affects me internally and more than the average person. So I think I kind of was in a little bit of denial, so I was kind of like, “Mmm.” But it took me… Even after I was diagnosed with anxiety, I still didn’t start counseling for about maybe one to two years later.

(19:27):

It was very helpful just building skills to kind of help with my anxiety, but it was only for my anxiety because we didn’t know anything about me having ADHD. I felt like things just came to a head where I just couldn’t go anywhere. They just came to a head, and I was just at a level of frustration and not knowing what to do. And so just reaching back up to… out to my doctor and just letting her know, “I work here. They’re offering ADHD [inaudible 00:19:58].” She just was kind of like, “Okay, okay. Well, let me know what you do with that.” So I’m like, “Okay.”

(20:04):

So then, when I got tested, first thing I did was share my results with my primary care provider. We already had a discussion prior to that, if I took the test, what would be my option? If I was diagnosed, there’s some answers. There’s somewhere to go next. I’ve already got that support being built up already to help… just kind of help me be in a good place if I do have ADHD. So just with the help of my primary care provider and ADHD Online just kind of opening up my eyes through servicing our patients, let me know that there was a good chance that I had ADHD. And then, once I took the test and I was diagnosed, it was a relief.

(20:52):

It was a relief of aha. I just felt like now I can settle down. Now I can whoosah. Now, it was just something in my mind that just let me know, “It’s okay. Now you’ve arrived to where he needed to get, so go back to your doctor, let her know, and then discuss what are the next best steps for you.” So that’s where I was at with my doctor, and I’d let her know there’s different things I’ve heard about control substances and things like that. We went over those concerns, and she was honest with me, but she didn’t just say, “This is what I think you should take, or this is what I think you should take.”

(21:33):

We kind of made that decision together based off my concerns, and just based off her knowing me, she just thought, “Maybe let’s start you off with a non-stimulant.” And then I’m like, “Okay.” She’s like, “There’s only one dosage.” I’m like, “Okay, okay.” She’s like, “Let’s do that, and I’ll have you follow up.” And to be honest, Lindsay, she prescribed the medication. I picked it up from the pharmacy, and I was scared to take it. So then finally I told my doctor. I said, “I’m going to start it. I have the medication, but I haven’t started it. I’m going to start it Monday.”

(22:07):

So the next day, I did exactly that, and it’s been smooth balance since then, Lindsay. It’s like within the first 48 hours, I can’t explain the clarity and focus that the non-stimulant brought me, it was like, for so long, I’ve just had all of these things just going on in my head, just all at the same time and even through 48 hours of a non-stimulant, just having that clarity of all those things, just I don’t know where they went, if they stopped or they just don’t bother me, or I don’t notice them, but I have so much clarity now, so much clarity where I can focus on one thing at a time.

(22:51):

I have the ability to say when my mind is trying to start going that way, it’s like I have a control in my mind now that I didn’t have at first. At first, I was out of control, and my mind just did what it wanted to do and thought what it wanted to think when it wanted to think it. So now starting on that non-stimulant, it’s like my mind is like, “Hey, come over here. It’s okay. Okay, think this out. Take your time. Calm down.” Now it’s like I have that ability to stay calm because I think that was my anxiety that was out of control because my ADHD wasn’t being treated. So now, with my ADHD being treated, it’s like now I can control my anxiety also.

Lindsay Guentzel (23:36):

I love that for you, and I love that you have a primary care provider who is open and willing to talk about this with you, and sounds like is providing incredible care. Because I know I’ve heard from so many people that having these conversations with their primary care providers can be really difficult because you can stumble upon a provider who doesn’t think ADHD is real. And so just kudos to your primary care provider, a big shout-out, and how wonderful for you to feel that connection and to feel supported by them.

Dee Lynn (24:07):

It’s almost like a sandwich. You want your primary care provider, and if your primary care provider is going to medically treat you, great. If you want to do our online services and have all things ADHD provider, that’s great as well. But I still would recommend having a primary care provider because that’s the provider that’s going to help you handle your overall self and not just your mental health. So I think it’s important to have both. That’s why our providers strongly recommend counseling because it’s a sandwich, counseling, medication treatment, and a primary care provider or counseling and medication treatment and yourself.

(24:46):

It’s a layer to it, and I see that the layers are definitely needed for me to be successful. Not to say that if I stop counseling because I’m one of those that I’ve been in counseling for a year consistently, [inaudible 00:25:01] I feel like, “Okay, I’ve got the skills, but does that mean I just stop counseling?” No. Because I feel like I may not necessarily have to see her as often, but I feel like it’s important for me to still maintain that relationship with my counselor to just make sure that I stay on the right track. Life happens at any time, and it throws curveballs at any time.

(25:20):

So what if something happens in life that’s thrown at me and then kind of throws me off of what my new regular is? It’s all new to me still, so I don’t want to go back to my old ways of thinking, old ways of handling things, old ways of acting out, and what I say exploding. I don’t want to do that anymore. I’m really taking pride in working on myself and working to become a better me. I think it’s important on each patient finding out what’s the best sandwich for you. Do you need meat, lettuce? Are you a vegetarian, lettuce and tomato? What type of sandwich do you need? Because we need probably a few layers of something. You can’t just expect from medication treatment to 100% take away all of your issues.

Lindsay Guentzel (26:11):

I love sandwiches, so I’m all about this analogy. I unapologetically love mayonnaise. I used to be really embarrassed by it because people would be like, “Ugh, mayonnaise,” and I’m like, “Oh, no mayonnaise. I love it.”

Dee Lynn (26:21):

I love mayonnaise as well. That’s so crazy. I love mayonnaise as well. I really do. It’s one of my favorite sauces.

Lindsay Guentzel (26:31):

I want to know, you mentioned a few things. You are great at your job, and it’s being recognized by the people you work with, and you love the opportunities you get to work with patients. When you look at life, what else stands out as some of the ways that you are thriving?

Dee Lynn (26:48):

Work is going well. Work is going wonderful. I just felt like my mental health journey is going well. I guess if I separate that from work, my mental health overall is going well for me because I’m at that point of the exploring and finding out I got my answer. Now, I have actions in place to make things better. So I feel like my mental health overall is going well. I also feel, to be honest, I was a little intimidated, a little nervous to step out and say, “I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD.” I was fine saying I work here. I was fine with that.

(27:35):

But to then say, “I work here, and I also was diagnosed with ADHD,” I was a little nervous because it’s just one of those things. ADHD, we’re learning a lot more about it. But like I said, I was born in the 80s. It was something that wasn’t even mentioned in the 90s that was mentioned. My son that was diagnosed was born in the 2000s. So just to show you how far along things have been going, and we’re just getting to the point in mental health where we’re talking about it. We’re okay talking about it. It’s you shouldn’t be embarrassed. Mental health is everything. For my oldest daughter, I kind of… I talk to her. She knows I was diagnosed with anxiety.

(28:19):

Just being open with her, just letting her know, “If you wanted to be tested for ADHD or anxiety, it wouldn’t be a bad idea.” And just then sometimes she’ll kind of pick my brain and say, “Well, what if I was? What if I did have anxiety? What then?” And I’m like, “Well, it’s all, depending on you, what you want to do with your information. What you choose to do once you are educated.” So I kind of let her know, “It’s up to you if you want to know. If you don’t want to know, that’s fine. But just as far as your history goes, when you start to have children and things, just keep in mind that ADHD does run somewhere in our family. So does anxiety. Not that it’s a bad thing, but just things to be mindful of.”

Lindsay Guentzel (29:03):

It’s just another reminder of how important it is to have answers and how, when we have them, we can actually move forward. And that’s my next question. When you look to the future, what’s really exciting for you?

Dee Lynn (29:17):

One of the things that got me down when I was growing up was the whole school thing, and it got me down to the point when I got in high school, I was ready to graduate high school and just be done with it because I had gotten frustrated with school and I didn’t… I never knew why I was so frustrated with school. But now I know that not to say I needed to be in a specialized class, but there needed to be some different structure in my learning and teaching environment that would’ve helped me be a little more involved and engaged.

(29:53):

So we’ll leave that there. But I struggled with school to the point where I graduated from high school, I went to college, but I didn’t go right to college. But I eventually went a year or two later, and I went and I’ve been enrolled in college like three times since I graduated, and I’ve never gotten past the first semester. I’ve had thoughts now of maybe one day going back to school, and now that I’m being medically treated, I don’t know if I will be at that time. But right now, I am being medically treated, and I can definitely see how that would benefit me in the learning environment at school.

(30:32):

So I kind of look, not that I want to go back to school, but there are things like I always wanted to be a social worker, and I can’t be a social worker without a degree. So that was kind of like my stopping point. That’s as far as I could go. I have those thoughts now, “Hey, would you go back to school part-time?” And I don’t feel overwhelmed about it now. I can really think about considering it because I feel in a good place that it’s not overwhelming, it’s not scary anymore. I’ve got to control over what was my biggest issue when I was in school. So that’s something that I possibly look forward to.

Lindsay Guentzel (31:12):

My goodness, it’s just it feels very, however you want to look at it, the stars aligning, the universe coming together, your prayers being answered, it really is where you’re supposed to be. I wrap every interview by asking our guests, when you look at what the general world knows about ADHD, what is one thing that you wish they understood a little bit better?

Dee Lynn (31:37):

I wish that we as a world were more aware or more knowledgeable about ADHD as a whole because people are quick to just slap the label or the stigma of ADHD. There’s always common thoughts about ADHD, or there’s common thoughts about people that have ADHD, and I feel like it’s so… our world is very naive as far as mental health goes, and I just wish the world was more mindful of that because I feel like right now we need to open up and look more into mental health. I just feel like it makes it really hard for people to be honest about mental health and to be honest about where they are and where they’re struggling mentally.

(32:23):

So I feel like if the world was more kind of in tune with mental health or in tune with being open to learning about mental health maybe, that could possibly make our world a little better to live in. One thing COVID taught me is that it taught me more about myself, and I feel like COVID taught a lot of people about themselves. The main thing is, what do you do now that you know or are educated about yourself? What do you do next? So that can be sharing your knowledge to other people, that can be being an advocate for what it is, the knowledge you have. It could be different ways.

(33:02):

But if we all kind of were a little bit more open to the mental health journey and just mental health or just behavioral health, just overall people’s wellbeing, taking that moment and asking, “How are you today? I really want to know how are you doing today?” And you just never know how far that can go. I know one of the things that ADHD has offered to me, my manager had us sign up for this free mental health first aid. It’s something that’s offered free, but she went out and signed up our patient support team to take this free class. It was just so eye-opening to just see. It was just based off the main thing of just if someone’s depressed.

(33:44):

We talked about the different things about just regular depression versus manic depression. How can you tell if someone’s having a manic episode versus just someone that may just be having a bad day? Just things like that that we really don’t take the time and think about. So I need to be a little more present in the moment because what if I’m the only person that person has to confide in, and then God forbid something happened to that person, and I already asked them, how are you doing today? So it’s just little things like that about how we can be more conscious and more aware of other people’s feelings and what they’re going through and not always be about ourself, but be about someone else even for just a few seconds.

Lindsay Guentzel (34:28):

This was such a lovely conversation. I’m so grateful that even though you were nervous, that you joined us today and that you shared your story with us here on Refocused, Together. I mean it when I say you are exactly where you’re supposed to be right now. And I’m so excited for all of these opportunities that are going to come for you because you were meant to be an advocate, and you were meant to build awareness, and I just… I’m really grateful that we have you in this space, so thank you.

Dee Lynn (34:57):

Thank you. I appreciate that so much. That’s just confirmation for me because even though I was nervous to hear you still say that, that’s me unlearning that ADHD untreated. My mind wants to say that, but you’re like, “Nope, I’m confirming with you. You’re right on. This is what you’re supposed to be doing. You’ve got that.” So that doubt and fear, all of that old ADHD untreated mind, we’re just going to, “Nope. No more of that. Moving forward to positive and bigger things. Moving forward to just empowering people, empowering myself, and just making the best of this thing.”

Lindsay Guentzel (35:41):

I am so grateful to Dee for opening up and sharing her story with us here on Refocused, Together. It’s incredibly inspiring to know that while she was doing her job, helping patients with ADHD navigate their own mental health journeys, she was also finding herself, finding similarities through their experiences and connecting them back to her own life. Those moments of clarity and connection are, ultimately, what pushed her to seek out her own diagnosis. Life gives us so many opportunities to grow, and sometimes, we know these moments are happening.

(36:16):

We are expecting them to happen, and other times, they show up quietly, unannounced, and it’s up to us to put the pieces together. It’s a nice reminder to be on the lookout for those quiet arrivals, tiptoeing in without much fanfare or ruckus. I love how Dee looks at mental health treatment. This idea of building your perfect sandwich because while we can learn from those around us, it’s also important to remember that what works for you might not work for me. Just like what you might order from your favorite sandwich place might be very different from my go-to order.

(36:58):

There’s really only one right way to treat ADHD, and that’s having an individualized plan that takes into account your specific needs and goals. What I have found is having open and honest conversations about our ADHD and what we’re doing to help address our symptoms, it allows us to find ways to make adjustments so those methods that might fit okay but aren’t perfect, they can end up fitting better into our lives in the way we need them. There’s an Integrative Medicine guide in ADDitude Magazine that was recently updated that includes incredible insight from Dr. Lidia Zylowska, a psychiatrist, as well as an ADHD and mindfulness researcher at the University of Minnesota.

(37:42):

The in-depth guide looks at ways to address the whole person because, as Dr. Zylowska opens with, “ADHD treatments work best when they don’t just target symptoms, but also promote health, calm, and productivity.” There are the conventional treatments we all tend to think of, medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, executive function, or ADHD coaching and parent training. Then there are the holistic wellness and lifestyle approaches that can also help ADHD symptoms, like mindfulness and self-compassion exercises, adding in movement and exercise to your routine, sleep hygiene, and self-care.

(38:23):

Then there’s what Dr. Zylowska refers to as complementary and alternative medicine options, like looking into your brain, gut health, identifying supplements or herbs that could benefit you, along with the help of your doctor, and using techniques like acupuncture to help regulate the body. Going back to the sandwich analogy, what you might be hungry for today may change down the road. Some days, I’m a more toppings, the better kind of gal, and some days, I’m a classic PB&J. We need to be comfortable tailoring things, to not only our needs, but our capabilities in the moment, and being comfortable sticking to those changes regardless of what everyone around us is doing.

(39:07):

For some people with ADHD, finding that perfect plan might happen easily, and it could be something that works. For a long time for other ADHDers, the unfortunate reality is you might always be on the hunt for the perfect plan, and you could constantly be making changes to see how you respond. What Dr. Zylowska recommends when moving into the whole-person approach is to start treatment gradually. Don’t try to do too much at one time. For one, you’re more likely to get burnt out and give up.

(39:40):

And two, if you overlap too many things, it’ll be harder for you to see the actual results of each technique, so you’ll have a harder time knowing what’s actually working well for you and what you can set aside to try at a different point in life. It’s also crucial to get your support system involved, your family, friends, healthcare providers, the ADHD community. Having people in your corner will make the frustrating moments way more manageable and will keep you moving forward towards your goals. I’m so happy Dee Lynn took the time she needed to think about sharing her story with us on Refocused, Together.

(40:16):

I sometimes forget that even though it’s very easy for me to just bear it all, it’s a very different story for most people, and it means so much to me truly that she felt comfortable in this space to open up about her journey. This trust, it’s something I take very seriously and I feel very fortunate to get to be here and to share these moments with all of you. I’ve included the link to Dr. Zylowska’s Holistic Health & Wellness guide from ADDitude Magazine in the show notes, along with a handful of articles from ADHD Online, looking at different treatment options that can help you start to think about your own sandwich and what fixings you might want to add in the future.

(40:59):

It’s also a topic we’ll be diving into next year, so my team and I will be taking a peek at our own treatment plans very soon to get the research ball rolling. It’s meant the world to me that you’ve all stuck by us through this very chaotic Refocused, Together series. This season of life has been anything but smooth sailing, but having this podcast and specifically, this project, getting to share these incredible stories has meant the world to me, and some days is one of the only things getting me out of bed. We have three episodes left, and I’m so excited we are actually able to share them with you.

(41:35):

There were many points where it felt like the easiest path forward was just to say, “We did enough.” But knowing myself and knowing how my brain works, it was really important to me to see this through, and to be this close to the end means so much. So for all of you who have sent notes of encouragement, who have had patience with us as we took our time to do things right while allowing me the time and space I needed to heal and take care of myself, we are so appreciative of the love you show, not only us, but this podcast. Support for Refocused comes from our partner, ADHD Online, a telemedicine mental healthcare company that provides affordable and accessible ADHD assessments and treatment plans.

(42:28):

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 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 @refocusedpod, and you can email the show directly, [email protected]. That’s [email protected].

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