Episode 94. Understanding ADHD and OCD – In Our Lives with Ashley Jacobs

Did you know that an estimated 30 percent of patients who have OCD also have ADHD? Dr. Roberto Olivardia shared this statistic 2 weeks ago in our first episode about OCD. We know there is a strong connection between ADHD & OCD, and it is really important to us to not only share clear, precise info about these co-morbidities but also real life examples of how they play out in our lives. This week we are joined by friend of the show Ashley Jacobs, who is graciously sharing real life examples about how ADHD & OCD play out in her life. It’s also interesting that Ashley shared she had never really thought about how her ADHD and OCD coincided with each other until we reached out to her to come on the podcast. 

REMINDER – if you haven’t listened to our two part series “Understanding ADHD & OCD with Dr. Roberto Olivardia” – this would be a great time to pause and go back 2 episodes. We all think we have an idea of what OCD is, but Roberto does an incredible job of illuminating parts of the disorder that many of us are probably unfamiliar with.

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Lindsay Guentzel (00:01):

You’re listening to episode 94 of Refocused, Understanding ADHD and OCD In Our Lives with Ashley Jacobs. My name is Lindsay Guentzel, and every week on Refocused we dive into the incredibly complex world of ADHD. Exploring the topics most important to our community by interviewing medical providers, mental health professionals, and ADHD experts.

(00:29):

We also just talk to other neurodiverse folks who share what it’s like living in a world not built for them. And of course all of that brings up lots of tips, tricks and workarounds that we can mix and match to fit in our own lives and needs. Whether you’ve been navigating ADHD your entire life or you’re just starting your journey, there’s something for everyone on Refocused. And I promise that while we take this very seriously, we also have a lot of fun because life is way better with a little laughter in it. So sit back, relax, or do whatever you need to do to get into your listening mode because the latest episode of Refocused gets started right now.

(01:19):

Welcome back to Refocused, a podcast all about ADHD. I’m your host, Lindsay Guentzel. Over the last couple of months we’ve been exploring the comorbidities that can come alongside an ADHD diagnosis. Roughly 80% of people with ADHD will be diagnosed with one in their lifetime. Which is why we’ve taken a different approach to how we are sharing this incredibly important information about comorbidities with you. We started by talking about anxiety. Where we spoke to Dr. Marcy Caldwell, who gave us an expert overview on the disorder and how it can show up for a neurodiverse person. And then we spoke to a neurodiverse person who also deals with anxiety, Seattleite, Jaye Lin. Then we moved on to OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder. And we were joined by Dr. Roberto Olivardia. A clinical instructor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, as well as a clinical associate at McLean Hospital who also happens to be an expert on both ADHD and OCD.

(02:30):

I was blown away by the statistic we shared in episode 92. That an estimated 30% of patients who have OCD also have ADHD. That we know there is a strong connection between this dual diagnosis. And Roberto did a great job of painting a picture of not only how that dual diagnosis can show up for a person, but even why it might be a thing. Hint, genetics. And in a sense who we are attracted to and then decide to procreate with. That can play a big role in this. When we were first talking about diving into these comorbidities, one thing that was really important to us was not only sharing clear, precise information, but also sharing real life examples. I don’t know about you, but I need to hear, maybe even visualize how something shows up in life in order to truly understand its effects.

(03:34):

And that is what I loved so much about Episode 91, Understanding ADHD And Anxiety In Our Lives. I thought Jaye and our coordinating producer Phil did such a great job of sharing not only the effects anxiety has had on them, but how it connects to and plays off of their ADHD. And we’re going to do the same thing today. Welcoming Ashley Jacobs, a fellow ADHDer who also deals with OCD to the Refocused community.

(04:06):

Now, here is where I remind you, if you haven’t listened to our two-part series, Understanding ADHD and OCD with Dr. Roberto Olivardia, this would be a great spot to pause and go back. We all have an idea of what OCD is, and I think Roberto does an incredible job of illuminating parts of the disorder that many of us are probably unfamiliar with. So with all of that out of the way, let’s get into Episode 94, Understanding ADHD And OCD In Our Lives, with Ashley Jacobs. The purpose of our conversation today is to talk specifically about ADHD and OCD. And how they come together as a comorbidity for a lot of people who have ADHD. But to get started, I would really love if you could share how you came to your ADHD diagnosis.

Ashley Jacobs (05:09):

So the way I came to my ADHD diagnosis was, I was originally being treated for postpartum depression after our second child was born when I was 24. And that diagnosis took a few years to come into bipolar II with major depressive disorder. But I was like in my early 30s and I was feeling pretty good, and I feel like the medication regimen that I was on was working. But I was still finding myself overstimulated and frustrated and annoyed. And I explained to my psychiatrist, I was like, I feel like things get stuck right here in the very front of my brain. And I didn’t know how to process another thing. I would tell my kids, bless their hearts, they were so sweet, but if you ask me another thing or if you need another thing you’re making my brain hurt. Not giving me a headache, but making my brain hurt.

(06:06):

And so I talked to my psychiatrist about that and after doing some research about how ADHD presents itself in female presenting people, I wanted to explore that further. And she originally said to me, “You don’t seem like a person who has ADHD, but I’m fine with you getting tested.” And so we went through the whole testing process, which was brutal if you have low self-esteem. I just found myself feeling so… Not being able to complete the most insignificant of task. It was just like, one of them is he reads you a paragraph and then he’s, “Okay, repeat back to me what I said.” And I was like, can I summarize? And he was like, “No, you have to tell me what I said.” And I was just like, I literally can’t do that. I’m going to do my best. And then so in my early 30s is when I was diagnosed and it came back clinically significant, inattentive, ADHD. And I was like, that means really bad in doctor terms.

Lindsay Guentzel (07:03):

It’s the nice way to put it. Right?

Ashley Jacobs (07:04):

Yeah.

Lindsay Guentzel (07:06):

I’m curious then how OCD fits into this conversation. You mentioned you have a handful of diagnoses that you deal with. When were you made aware of the OCD and what was that process like?

Ashley Jacobs (07:18):

So I’m 40 now and I’ve become more aware of the OCD in the last five-ish years. And mine has introduced itself in more of an aggressive, violent, intrusive thoughts, more so than anything. And I don’t know if I’ve ever… Really, until you mentioned it, I never really thought of them as coexisting together as something. I just always saw them as different diagnoses. But I was thinking today about how sometimes I do hyperfocus on certain intrusive thoughts. My kid is going to a concert today and it’s about two hours away and they’re going with a friend and they stayed the night with the friend last night and they took their laptop with them. And I texted the mom this morning and I was like, hey, do you think you can bring their laptop back home because I’m really worried about their backpack being in the backseat of your car and not really worried about them losing the laptop.

(08:13):

That’s just stuff, right? That’s not a thing that I worry about as much. But for whatever reason, I was really hyper-focused on the idea of their car being broken into because my kid’s backpack was in the backseat of that car. And until they responded to my text, I could not let that go. It just sat in my brain for the longest time because I was just like, what happens if their car gets broken into, and it’s because their laptop was in the backseat or their laptop was in the hatch and it wasn’t in the trunk? And I just went back and forth and back and forth. My husband was like, “It’ll be okay. They’re going to bring the laptop back by the house. It’s going to be fine.” I couldn’t let it go. For a good couple of hours I just stewed in it.

Lindsay Guentzel (08:52):

Where do you see the OCD showing up in your life in a way that is most detrimental? And you mentioned the intrusive thoughts and I have struggled with those as well. And even just the example you use, in my mind, I can totally see where that would play out. Not only, okay, the backpack is in the car, the car gets broken into, it’s our backpack, therefore I am responsible for this person’s car getting broken into. And then how do I manage those feelings of guilt and shame and how am I going to make it up to them? And it is kind of a snowball effect.

Ashley Jacobs (09:25):

Absolutely.

Lindsay Guentzel (09:26):

So when you look at your life with the OCD and the ADHD, and you can add in, with the bipolar and the postpartum as well, where do you see it showing up that is just kind of there and it’s so frustrating.

Ashley Jacobs (09:38):

The OCD gets me the worst when I’m alone and I have a lot of time to myself. My partner works nights and my kids are older now, and so they don’t really need me as much. I mean, they’re 18 and 16, they’re substantially older. They really don’t need me. It’s not just a little bit. And so when I’m alone, I find myself really wrapped up in it. And can really hyperfocus on those intrusive thoughts more than I would like to.

(10:07):

I had to go through some CBT not long ago over locking our doors. So there were three doors in our house. There’s a back basement door, there’s a sliding glass door, and there’s a front door. And even though the back basement door is always locked, it rarely ever comes unlocked, the sliding glass door is sometimes unlocked and the front door is obviously unlocked more often. At night unless I would go through and physically touch every single one of those locks to know for sure that they were locked, I would give myself panic attacks at night. Because I would just sit there and just think about everything that could go wrong. I mean, we live in a safe neighborhood. There’s nothing that really would warrant that kind of thought process, but unless I went through and physically touched them all before I went to bed, it was awful. I could not get through the night.

Lindsay Guentzel (11:01):

I’m curious if your partner says, “No, I checked the doors.” How does that play into it? Because I have similar things with our doors, and sometimes my partner will say, “No, I checked the door.” And I’ll be laying in bed and I can’t turn off that thought until I get up. And sometimes you go, no, you can do this, you can do this. You can stay in bed. You don’t need to get up. John told me the doors are locked. I can trust John. I trust John. I trust John all the time. But when those thoughts get in there… And then it’s this constant disruption.

Ashley Jacobs (11:32):

I mean, there could be some nights where I could handle it just fine and it would be okay. And then other nights it’d be like, no, I still need to get up and I have to physically unlock and relock them all to know for sure that they’re all locked. And I had to go through some therapy for that. And some of it was just not touching the locks and going to bed without touching the locks. And it was a painful, really hard week, week and a half of really being like, okay, I didn’t touch the doors, but I know they’re locked. And just accepting that they’re locked. And moving on with that.

Lindsay Guentzel (12:16):

I want to get to the conversations that I had with Dr. Olivardia and get your insight on that, but I do want to ask, when you are going through the therapy process, what was that like for you and what was it like initially when you started talking about the OCD? Because I think sometimes these situations that people find themselves in, especially with intrusive thoughts, because to us we can’t comprehend that anyone might actually understand what is happening because it seems so bizarre and out there. And so what was that process like for you opening up about it?

Ashley Jacobs (12:55):

So I’m really thankful and really lucky my psychiatrist and my therapist exist in the same office. They both have access to my chart and they both have access to the same information. And so if I forget something or if he thinks of something that she needs to know about or if she thinks of something that he needs to know about, they can talk in the office and it works out really well. So I personally was pretty comfortable with going to my therapist and being like, okay, I think these intrusive thoughts that I’ve been having are a little more than just my depression. Because that’s what I really associated it with, because I could just be driving home from work and I would be like, what if I just kept driving and didn’t go home? And got a hotel and just stayed somewhere else for the weekend but didn’t tell anyone?

(13:42):

And then it was just like, well, if you do that, then people are going to worry about you and you have children to take care of and your husband has to go to work. And it really kind of would all spiral out of control from there. And I had always associated it with my depression, so it was kind of easy for me to bring it up to her. But like, I’m having these really weird, depressive thoughts. I live in Indiana and I work in Kentucky, just outside of Louisville. And so I drive across the bridge every single day to get to work. And normally I’m very comfortable with driving across the bridge. Sometimes I’ll be stuck in traffic on the bridge and I’m just like, what if the bridge just fell out from underneath me? That’s not uncommon. But it is uncommon, right? You hear about it, but it’s a very uncommon thing compared to how many bridges there are in the United States.

(14:29):

And I brought that up to her and I talked to her about that. And she was just like, “Actually what you’re experiencing is not a depressive episode or part of a depressive episode. It’s actually obsessive compulsive disorder. And it’s something that we need to really talk about and then dig deeper into.” And I was just like, okay. And then that’s when like, I think I have more to that. And she was like, “Oh, really? What else is going on?”

(14:53):

And then I told her about the locking situation and she’s like, “That’s something we need to really, really focus on now. Because that’s actually inhibiting you from being able to just do something as normal as going to bed. And that’s something that we really need to focus on.” So I’m very lucky that I have a good relationship, and a good, stable relationship with my therapist and my psychiatrist where I felt comfortable going to her with that information. I’m not medicated for the OCD. I probably should explore that some, but I’m already medicated for my ADHD, for my bipolar disorder, for my major depressive disorder. And so I feel like those things are all pretty well handled. I can use my coping skills that I’ve learned in therapy to handle my OCD. And she doesn’t feel any different yet. So until she feels differently about that, then we’ll cross that bridge.

Lindsay Guentzel (15:44):

The conversations that I had with Dr. Olivardia for me were so insightful because it really was a great opportunity to shed some light on how complex OCD is. And I think for a lot of people who are unfamiliar with obsessive-compulsive disorder, we just think of people who are neat and tidy. But obviously, even just from the short conversation we’ve had so far, it’s so much more in depth than that.

Ashley Jacobs (16:11):

What really resonated with me, one of the things is, he talked about how he personally strives to be healthy and a good person, and then he talked about how he had the patient that thought that they had ran over a person. And in that moment I was like, oh, that sounds familiar. Because that is the exact kind of spiraling that I would do if I hit a bump. And I was unsure of what it was. Because he was talking about how she drove all the way back around and came back to the situation.

Lindsay Guentzel (16:42):

Scene of the crime.

Ashley Jacobs (16:44):

The scene of the crime. Right. Yeah.

Lindsay Guentzel (16:46):

Yeah.

Ashley Jacobs (16:47):

And realized that there was no crime, there was no scene. It was just like, “Well, maybe the body fell into the ditch nearby. And I need to check the ditch and I need to do this.” That really resonated with me because that’s just really how my obsessive thoughts really go. It doesn’t matter. Say I did think that I hit a person. And I went back and I was just like, okay, there’s no person there. Clearly I didn’t do it. It doesn’t stop there. It just, there are other ways that this could have played out, and I’m going to play out every single one of them in my brain until my brain is fully satisfied with the result that we have come to. And that really stood out to me. So I was just like, that is really how my brain works.

Lindsay Guentzel (17:28):

What is it like when you’re in one of those moments of having these intrusive thoughts? What is it like for you and how does your body respond? Because one of the things I think we don’t talk enough about is the brain body connection. You can be having thoughts in your brain that will then present physically through your body. And what is that that like for you?

Ashley Jacobs (17:50):

So if it’s just a regular episode, I guess I’ll call that a regular episode. If I’m just driving across the bridge to work and we’re stuck in traffic and you can feel the bridge sway underneath you, my first reaction is a little bit of a panic. And then I will just kind of let it go because I will say to myself, the bridge is not going to collapse. It’s stable, it’s fine. And I’ll have to talk myself down a little bit.

(18:15):

But when I have a really intense episode, I get really sweaty, really clammy. It’s almost like a panic attack. Sometimes it’s hard to breathe. I need to sit down. Or if I’m sitting down, I need to stand up. Or if I’m laying down, I need to stand up. I kind of have to do the opposite of what I’m doing to catch my breath or take a moment, get myself to a point to where I can actually talk myself down. Because that’s what I really have to do when I have these episodes is talk myself down. That can look, depending on the severity of the episode, can really look differently.

Lindsay Guentzel (18:53):

You mentioned talking yourself down is one of the coping mechanisms that you use. Is there anything else that you have found that helps in maintaining kind of order in your life, so to speak?

Ashley Jacobs (19:06):

Wow. No. I don’t know. Maintaining order is very interesting way to put it. Because I feel like my life is in constant chaos in some sense, in a way. Not that it really is, not that… I mean, sometimes it’s very boring and that’s fine. I raised [inaudible 00:19:23] two kids. That’s very chaotic. Children are very chaotic. I love them. But that’s just the reality of it, right? Children are very chaotic and raising children is chaotic and takes a big chunk of your life. And then being married is its own different thing. So the last few months have been very stressful for us. And so I guess this would be a good example of how I’ve maintained… Because my therapist was actually very proud of me. I’m going to say that. My therapist was proud of me. On May the 5th we experienced a house fire that ended up being a total loss of our home.

(19:54):

It is very traumatic. Yes. The brick is still standing, so we’re able to rebuild the inside of it. But my husband and I went to the store and we came back home. The front windows were open and there were just smoke billowing out of the front of our house. Our oldest kid was still in there sleeping. We had to get our kid out, our four dogs. It was chaos. We lived in a hotel for 20 days. Now we’re in this rental house. It’s fine. We’re stable, we’re doing okay. Two weeks after we lost the house, I was in a hit and run. Someone just rear ends to the back of my car. I go to get out to be like, hey, are you okay? Is my car okay? Are we good? And they just drive off. And so I just get back in my car and I’m just like, State Farm is going to cancel us.

(20:40):

You’re just like, you can’t have a hit and run and a house fire in the same month. That’s not acceptable. But thankfully I get back to work and the car is shockingly fine. I don’t understand how it’s not totaled, but it’s okay. But through all of that, I was able to really just use the skills and techniques that I had learned in therapy to just take a deep breath. This is not the end of the world. Everyone got out of the house okay. What’s left in there is just stuff and what’s not taken by the house fire we can get cleaned or we can salvage some things.

(21:16):

It’s going to be all right. And we’ll get through it. We’ll get through it together. I have my husband, I have my kids, I have my therapist, I have my team. It’ll be okay. And to get to that point I think was really groundbreaking. Because my therapist was just like, “I’m really proud of you for being able to work through that on your own and not call me crying. And if you did call me crying, that would be totally, totally valid because that’s a lot to deal with.”

Lindsay Guentzel (21:43):

I am so proud of you, and I hope you are proud of yourself too. I know you mentioned your therapist is proud of you, but that is… What you have gone through would send anyone, the most stable person into a spiral. And for you to be able to separate yourself from those moments… And you said you don’t know if it’s an ADHD thing, but being able to repeat to yourself, “This is just stuff. We are all safe. We can replace that stuff.” Bravo.

Ashley Jacobs (22:09):

Thank you.

Lindsay Guentzel (22:10):

Because you’re right. What you went through would very much be a completely acceptable reason to stay in bed and pull the covers over your head and just be like, “No, not today.” So I just… My goodness. That’s quite the stretch for you guys.

Ashley Jacobs (22:28):

Yeah, it was a lot, like I said, to deal with. And I tell people too, with the house fire, the rental house that we’re in is not far from the house that we lived in, which is really great because we can go by there and look at it. And I was like, it gets less traumatic every time we go there. And it gets easier every time. And I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and she was talking about the house she’s in. She really hates it and she inherited it from a divorce and how she’s looking forward to remodeling.

(22:57):

And I was like, might I suggest a house fire? I mean, it’s really bad at first, but it gets better. And so I think the fact that I’ve worked really well with my psychiatrist and I’ve worked really well with my therapist, we’ve really been able to get to a good spot. I can talk about what I’m experiencing and I can talk about what I’m going through and I can use a little humor to cope and deal with it. But also see the seriousness that is behind it all.

Lindsay Guentzel (23:22):

One thing I’d love to touch on is, you mentioned being diagnosed with inattentive ADHD. And then having these intrusive thoughts that come from the OCD. Do you feel like, and again, this could be in the past since you have been putting work in to be able to talk yourself down, have you seen or have you experienced those intrusive thoughts kind of making the inattention worse? What comes to mind is, if I were having those intrusive thoughts, it would make getting through the day even more challenging. And then you’re already kind of a step behind because of the inattentive ADHD. And so what has that experience been like for you?

Ashley Jacobs (24:03):

I guess I’m really… I don’t know if I’m lucky or different or… They’ve always been seemingly separated. I’ve never really had a lot of… Like, when I’m at work. I think that’s when I experience the largest portion of my inattentive ADHD issues. I don’t really have a lot of intrusive thoughts or problems with my OCD at work. And I don’t really know why that is.

Lindsay Guentzel (24:30):

It’s a great thing.

Ashley Jacobs (24:31):

It is. It’s really great. I always found myself having more problems with my obsessive-compulsive disorder at home. Where my ADHD didn’t really need to play a factor as much. So until you asked me about being on the podcast, I never really saw them as being together. Because I never really… I experienced my larger portion of ADHD problems at work and then the OCD thoughts more at home. So I guess I’m just really lucky that they’ve always been kind of separated. But I think too that my brain needs to always be going, which might be an inattentive ADHD thing. And so that’s why the OCD turns on when I’m at home. When I don’t need to focus on anything as deeply or as intensely. So yeah, I’m sorry. I wish I had a better answer for that one.

Lindsay Guentzel (25:23):

No, it’s a great answer. I mean, even just saying that up until very recently you didn’t really know that ADHD and OCD can coexist and really affect one another.

Ashley Jacobs (25:35):

Having him say that the two existed together was really eyeopening to me. Because like I said, I’ve always had them separated in my brain and I never really thought of them as coexisting together. And then the more I really thought about it, I was just like, wow, this is really interesting. I do find myself hyper-focusing on some intrusive thoughts or find myself hyper-focusing on compulsions, or like where I wouldn’t have seen them before as being hyper-focused on, I would’ve just thought of them as just more of being an obsessive thing. But really when you think about it and you break it down being obsessive and hyper-focused, are they really that different? They’re kind of one and the same. And so to really hear that and experience that was very validating. So I was just like, okay, maybe I’m not as weird and different as I feel. I do have all these multiple diagnoses. And sometimes it can just feel very overwhelming.

(26:32):

Like, why me? And then when you hear that it’s pretty normal for them to exist together, that was very validating and I was really glad to hear because a lot of people are misdiagnosed bipolar because of their ADHD or vice versa. And I’m very lucky to have both. And then also with that, bipolar II, I also have major depressive disorder. Which like, it almost feels redundant because bipolar II focuses on being majorly depressed, but then you just have that extra depression. I’m just lucky, I guess, just to be validated in my feelings and my diagnoses was really nice to hear.

Lindsay Guentzel (27:11):

Well, I’m so glad that you had that validation. And one thing I want to point out is that I think one of the reasons why you have these multiple diagnoses is because you’re so comfortable talking about them. And I think more people would have diagnoses if they opened up, but there is kind of that barrier.

(27:33):

For example, I was almost 35 when I was diagnosed with ADHD. And a lot of the stuff that was happening in my head, had I ever vocalized it, I could have probably been diagnosed at an earlier age. But I think for a lot of us, we just assume that what’s going on in my brain is the exact same that’s going on in your brain, Ashley. Even though we are completely different people. And you mentioned seeing a psychiatrist when you need to talk about your feelings and talking about stuff that’s going on inside of your head. We also don’t really talk about the fact that our brains change. And that trauma can change the makeup of our brain and can influence things differently. And it is just so fascinating and it’s just another reminder, we know so little about how the human brain works.

Ashley Jacobs (28:22):

And I grew up in a home where… I mean, I’m not going to dig deep into it or whatever. I don’t want you to be like, “Oh, Lord. Here comes an ADHD story on childhood trauma.” But I grew up in a home where my mother was severely depressed a lot. And I watched her go through that, and I watched her go through that alone. And that was really hard to grow up with and watch and process. When I got older and I had my first kid, not as young as everyone else in our family, but I had my first kid at 21 and my second kid at 23. And I experienced some postpartum after Audrey, my oldest was born. I had a really good support system at the time.

(29:00):

But when you have a second kid, that support system is not as strong as it was before because two kids are a lot harder to deal with than one. And I think if I would have really talked to my Dr. Moore at the time about some of the frazzelness that I was experiencing, I would’ve also got a diagnosis much earlier than 30 of ADHD.

(29:21):

I just chalked it up to just, it’s just mom brain. I have two kids, one is a newborn, one is two. No wonder you can’t get anything done. It makes sense, right? When in all honesty, it was the ADHD that was the reason why I would go from room to room to room to room, and work constantly, all day long, and never accomplish anything. It wasn’t mom brain, it was a ADHD brain. That was another thing too that made me really realize that I need to really speak up and talk about this more. One, to my doctors so they’re aware of what’s going on with me. And then two, to like… I’m very vocal.

(29:58):

Because you know, you found me on Twitter. So I’m very vocal on social media about my experiences and my struggles and when I’m going through a rough spot. Because watching my mom be alone in her depression for so many years, I just don’t want anyone else to feel that way. You don’t want anyone else to feel alone. I want other people to feel validated in their struggles or validated in their sadness or to know they’re not alone. You’re not the only person that’s going through this. The world is hard. Being a person is hard. And we should all really acknowledge that and understand that we’re not alone in these experiences.

Lindsay Guentzel (30:35):

Thank you for sharing that. I know that there are so many people who are just going to hear what you shared about your mother and your childhood and seeing that, and how it’s shaped you as a human now, and they’re going to be able to connect to that. And I think a big part of that is, we didn’t talk about postpartum, we didn’t talk about depression. It was even just the stigma behind a diagnosis like depression. It’s wonderful how far we have come, but I love your outlook on, “I share this so that no one else feels alone.” Because we need so much more of that. So thank you so much. I imagine that the vulnerability sometimes is a lot, and there’s that fear. But I love your mindset of, this is helping someone.

Ashley Jacobs (31:22):

I mean, my goal really is to just go through this life doing as much as I can to make sure that people… Just being a helping person. I saw a TikTok that was just like, “Are you the eldest daughter? Are you an elder millennial who’s also the oldest daughter? What helping profession did you get into?” And that really hit me hard. I work for a men’s homeless shelter, right? So I was just like, oh, okay. Wow. Thanks for that. This app is the worst.

Lindsay Guentzel (31:54):

Oh, I love it. No, the internet is the best and the worst, all combined into one. Any last things that you would like to share that you took away from the conversations with Dr. Olivardia or from your own experience that you think would help shed some more light on the experience of a person who has ADHD and OCD?

Ashley Jacobs (32:13):

Yeah. I think what I really want people to really get and know and understand is that you can have these things, and they can be debilitating at times, but you can get through it. Right? It’s going to be hard and it takes a lot of work, and it’s not always easy. Don’t be resistant to the therapy that is out there and that can be available to you if you have those resources. And really just, if you put in the work and if you try really hard or if you try a little bit, right? You do your best that you can give at the time, that you have, you can really make some great progress. Way more than you think you can.

(32:54):

When I go back and I think about my journey from 24 to 40, it was a really hard journey. And we’re not doing easy things while we’re doing that. Some of us are raising kids, we’re having marriages, we’re getting divorced, we’re dealing with our parents getting older. It’s just life.

Lindsay Guentzel (33:14):

Having your house burn down.

Ashley Jacobs (33:16):

Having your house burn down, right? There’s a lot of things that can really be thrown at you, but if you really take the time and put in the work and listen to what your doctors have to say, you can look back and say, “Okay, I really did that. I made myself better. It took me 15 years. It wasn’t an overnight thing, but I did it and I can do it.” And I think that’s really important for people to know that it’s a slow process. It’s not an overnight thing, but you can do it.

Lindsay Guentzel (33:50):

Ashley, this was such a wonderful conversation. The energy you put out into the world is just… It’s really lovely. And with everything you’ve been facing these last couple of months to be able to take time to do this, thank you so much. Honestly, I’m so appreciative.

Ashley Jacobs (34:05):

Yeah, no worries. I was just really glad to be here.

Lindsay Guentzel (34:09):

Whether you’re looking for a second opinion, are ready to get answers for the very first time, or you just want a little extra information about your brain, ADHD Online is ready to help you on your journey. And in case you missed the great news, they’re now offering our listeners $20 off their ADHD online assessment. To get this offer, all you have to do is use the discount code Refocused20 at checkout. It’s that simple. Head over to ADHDonline.com to get started today.

(34:48):

I am so grateful to Ashley for sharing her story with us. Something that Dr. Olivardia brought up, something really important for people dealing with OCD behaviors to remember is that their first instinct to avoid the repetitive behavior will actually make it worse. Ashley shared about the treatment that she went through to help with her compulsion about checking doors to see if they were locked or not before she went to sleep. Hearing her talk about how hard this was for her, to not get out of bed and physically check the locks on every door, and how it actually felt painful to her, I can totally envision myself lying in bed wanting to get up and go check the locks. But knowing that it isn’t good for me. It’s a back and forth tug of war in a way, and it reminds us that sometimes in order to move forward, we just have to face things head on.

(35:49):

I also found it interesting that Ashley shared she had never really thought about how her ADHD and OCD coincided with one another until I reached out to her to come on the podcast. And as I’ve mentioned, what I thought OCD was, and what it actually is… Well, it’s like the iceberg metaphor. We only see a little bit, and as I was talking to Ashley, I realized I wanted to dive into this even further. So in next week’s episode, we’re going to continue our look into the connection between these mental health cousins, ADHD and OCD. This time hearing from an ADHDer whose life was upended by OCD behaviors. And how therapy helped them put things back together again. As always, thank you guys so much for listening. I truly mean it when I say that it means so much to me and the entire Refocused team that you guys are loving these episodes.

(36:48):

And there’s a very easy way for you to support the show. If you haven’t already, make sure you are subscribed to Refocused on whatever platform you’re listening to us on now. That way new episodes will just show up ready for you to listen every time they’re released. You can also give us a shoutout on social media. It is super easy to share a favorite episode or just give us a follow. We’re working on getting up and at them on Facebook, Threads and TikTok, and you can find us sharing lots of episode highlights over on Instagram right now.

(37:24):

Just search refocusedpod. Refocused is a collaboration between me, Lindsay Guentzel, and 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 a ADHDonline.com. A huge thanks to my managing editor, Sarah Platanitis, who is instrumental in building these conversations for you guys. She is the yin to my ADHD brain yang, and I’m so lucky to have her on the team.

(38:05):

Our coordinating producer Phil Rodemann does everything in his power to keep me on track. It is a monster task, and I am so happy he came out of retirement to give podcast life a go. Al Chaplin is our go-to for all things social media, and I love what they’ve been creating for us. Make sure to give it a like and a follow at @RefocusedPod over on Instagram.

(38:30):

Lauren Terry is our fearless associate producer who tackles everything I give her with tenacity and a great sense of humor. And I absolutely have to give a shoutout and a huge thank you to Jake Beaver for his help in editing this episode. Refocused couldn’t happen without my partners turned to friends at ADHD Online. High fives to the ones that I bug the most. Keith Boswell, Claudia Gatti, Melanie Meyrl, Susanne Spruit, and Trisha Mirchandani. Our show art was created by Sissy Yee of Berlin Grey, and our music was created by Louis Inglis, a singer-songwriter from Perth, Australia. Who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2020 at the age of 39. Finally, a big thanks to Mason Nelle over at Dexia in Grand Rapids, Michigan for all of his help in getting our videos ready to share with you guys. Links to all of the partners we work with are available in the show notes.

(39:31):

To connect with the show or with me, you can find us online at RefocusedPod as well as at Lindsay Guentzel. And you can email the show directly. [email protected]. That’s [email protected]. Take care of yourselves, please. And in an effort to reduce the unbelievable amount of stress we all carry around with us unnecessarily be a little kinder to yourselves this week.

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