Indy Louder and the Art of Self-Advocacy

Like many ADHDers, Indy was seen as a good student who excelled in the ‘gifted and talented’ program at school but struggled with turning in homework and keeping up with organizational tasks. Diagnosed with depression and anxiety at 15, she often felt different and while she underwent treatment for her mental health, she still felt like something wasn’t quite right. 

College provided a new set of challenges for Indy and she introduced new ways to help her cope, like her rescue dog. After earning a BA in psychology, she started working in the mental health field at a group home where she was introduced to the idea that she might be neurodivergent. 

While only a year into it, Indy’s ADHD diagnosis has helped her embrace her wild, quirky, ambivert self and is giving her the confidence and understanding she needs to complete her master’s program for counseling.   

Listen in to hear more about Indy’s experience with ADHD, her passion for clinical mental health counseling and her hopes for the future when it comes to raising awareness for neurodiversity and its community of individuals. 

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! 

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Indy Louder (00:01):

I think with the accessibilities thing it was, this is what’s offered to me and I have to figure out, okay, what’s going to work, which is a lot of work and a lot more effort in navigating our education system than most people probably have to do. And so it has cultivated a different perspective, I should say, in kind of just some of the things that people have to go through when navigating a system that didn’t keep them in mind.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:34):

You are listening to Refocused, Together. And this is episode 25: Indy Louder and the Art of Self-Advocacy.


Welcome back to Refocused, a podcast all about ADHD. I’m your host Lindsay Guentzel, and if you’ve been listening to Refocused for any length of time, you know that ADHD is complex and it shows up in each person’s life in a very different way. That’s why we created Refocused, Together, the special project we started last year as a part of our commitment to ADHD Awareness Month. You just heard today’s guest Indy Louder.


Indy was an independent child growing up, but struggled with academic success and managing life in middle and high school. Diagnosed with depression and anxiety at 15, Indy spent most of her life feeling different and broken. After earning a BA in psychology, she began working in the mental health field and was later introduced to the idea that she might be neurodivergent. After researching and getting diagnosed with ADHD combined type, Indy began to understand herself better.


Now in her early twenties, she realizes she isn’t different or broken. She is just her self-described wild, quirky, ambivert self who loves adventure and spending time at home watching her favorite shows with her rescue dog. Her diagnosis helped inspire her to pursue a master’s degree in counseling. And although her professors are supportive and she has access to resources, Indy still needs help completing assignments and reading textbooks. Despite these challenges, she hopes to work with teens and young adults in the future, including those diagnosed with ADHD to help them understand and embrace their unique qualities.


Let’s hear more from Indy about her experience with ADHD, her passion for clinical mental health counseling, and how she hopes to continue raising awareness for neurodiversity while creating a more inclusive and understanding society where everyone feels accepted for who they truly are.


I make this very easy for me and for you, because I ask everyone the same questions to get started, which is when were you diagnosed and what was that process like for you and what sparked that initial conversation?

Indy Louder (03:03):

I was working in a group home and one of my clients was actually on the autism spectrum, and we just bonded how neurodivergent people do, and the client was like, “You stim a lot for someone who’s supposedly neurotypical.” I was like, “Well, it’s funny you say that because I have always wondered.” When I first learned about autism spectrum disorder, I was like, “Some of this clicks a little bit,” but I just didn’t know enough and I kind always felt like an outsider and just kind of like I never fully fit in. I was really able to very quickly adapt to different social settings, different friend groups, but never fully, truly fit in. And so I was like, you know what? I have somebody who’s on the spectrum that’s saying this. Let’s just take a look at it.


As I started doing some research, that’s why I found out for ASD, a lot of women are getting diagnosed later in life because of their ability to mask. So with that, I booked an appointment. I think my first appointment was in September. I had kind of three total appointments. The first one was to just kind of gather my personal history. I’ve been in therapy since high school, so it was pretty easy for me just kind of sharing everything. I think it was an hour long appointment.


And then the second time around that was the actual testing portion of it. So I’m just shocked after I first came in that she didn’t immediately go like, “Oh, it’s ADHD.” My leg was going crazy the whole entire time. I brought in a fidget with me that I was constantly using. And then the first test that we did, it’s kind of… So a number flashes on the screen, and then it’s said as well, and you have to click the mouse every time the number pops up on the screen. And so it has two 30-second test runs, and then you do that for 15 minutes because it’s to see how is your sustained attention. And by the time we got done with that, that was the first test and I was like, “My brain is dead.”


So that was the second time around. And then our last kind of final meeting, I think it was just primarily her sharing the results that she had had and just kind of talking through all of that.


So I officially received my diagnosis in November of 2022, so we’ll hit a year this November of being officially diagnosed. And yeah, I think that probably, I think, hits all of the questions there.

Lindsay Guentzel (05:57):

You nailed it. I’m wondering, in those moments when you were going through the results, what stood out to you and what connections were you able to make when you looked back at life in maybe one of those aha moments that you had been waiting for?

Indy Louder (06:13):

I think the first thing that stood out to me is I did not expect an ADHD diagnosis, so I had to do some research on it, because I think it’s been talked about before, but kind of the idea of like, oh, it’s just a hyperactive kid. And kind of also too, growing up, a lot of the kids that I knew, friends that I knew that were diagnosed with ADHD, maybe were in the more general classes or sometimes even special ed classes. And I was like, that doesn’t make sense. I excelled at reaching a high level of education. It was the homework that always tripped me up. And then as I was reading more about the executive functioning piece and realizing that, okay, IQ actually doesn’t factor in at all to having an ADHD diagnosis, that was very helpful.


I stumbled across rejection sensitive dysphoria. That was brutal. I think it answered a lot of the questions I had as a child. I do have a bit of a kind of unresolved childhood trauma was also part of that diagnoses. And so it was also, I think, part of that is amplified by my ADHD diagnosis.


Then the things that stood out to me was task completion, time management. So where I work currently, I am very open and honest about this journey that I’ve been on, and so, one of my coworkers, I was like, “Yeah, I’m thinking it’s either going to be ASD or it’s going to be ADHD.” When I came back, I was like, “It’s ADHD and unresolved childhood trauma.” He’s like, “Called it.”


And we actually had this really funny moment too when I told my little sister who’s eight years younger than me that I was getting tested and it came back with ADHD. She was like, “Haven’t you always had ADHD?” So my little sister called it way before anybody else.


And so I think it was a lot of those executive functioning pieces and there was definitely some frustration because I was like, “Oh, if this had been caught sooner, where could I have ended up?” So there was also that piece that I really had to let go, especially in my academic setting because I placed a lot of my value in academics growing up, because I did so well. But I always struggled with homework. I think it was somebody else that was previously on Refocused talked about how their mom called them the absent-minded professor, and that was something that stuck out to me because I was constantly reading as a kid, and I did practice my violin, I just never recorded it. And it drove my mom up a wall because she’s like, “They celebrate these things. Like the kids that read the most get to have lunch.” And I never had to have lunch in the classroom, because I just didn’t fill it out. And also for me, I was like, I’m reading. This is for people who are struggling to read. The motivation is not high enough. I’m already motivated to do reading. Why are you also asking me to do the added step of writing it down?


The biggest thing for me as a kid growing up is I was very much like most of my practice and learning happens in school, and then the concept of homework outside of class and school did not make sense and sometimes still doesn’t. I do recognize you can’t learn everything in an hour-long period.


I think I primarily reflected back looking at school, but then as I learned more about how ADHD impacts interpersonal relationships, that was another thing that stuck out to me. Once I started digging the ADHD I was like, “Oh, this makes a lot of sense.” It makes too much sense, which is a good thing.


And when I was 15-ish, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and so a lot of that depression and anxiety was coming from undiagnosed, untreated ADHD. I think what was helpful with getting diagnosed is with having my depression and anxiety, I was able to find bits and pieces of like, oh, this is why I’m anxious. Oh, this is why I’m depressed. I was able to find myself like, oh, okay, if I address this, that actually does solve some of my mood or anxiety issues. And so being able to better take care of myself was huge once I received my diagnosis.

Lindsay Guentzel (11:14):

You mentioned homework, and what came to mind is kind of this idea of a cross between body doubling. Which you’re in school, you’re following along with what everyone else is doing, and then in the second you’re out of school, you’re expected to set your own routine, which executive functioning we’re not great at, doesn’t tend to come very easily for us. But on the flip side, there’s also the distraction. So you’re out of school and there’s so many possibilities. I’m wondering how you are managing that now that you’re in grad school and also managing a job because that is a lot of balls to have in the air and there’s this expectation now as a grad student that you’re supposed to have it quote unquote “all altogether.”

Indy Louder (11:57):

I think one piece that definitely stuck out to me when it was in high school was just mental fatigue. I often found myself taking, literally, just coming home and sleeping in high school, because I was so emotionally and mentally exhausted and it turned into physical exhaustion. And so I have had to find ways to kind of mitigate that. I lean kind of ambivert in the sense of I do get energy from my people. I am not a huge group kind of person, but if I’m with my friends, I am very outgoing, willing to meet and talk with new people. And so with work and school, that is one of those things that I have to be mindful of where am I making space for myself to just be alone, nobody but me and my dog. And maybe even minimal contact with the outside world just to regroup, reset, and kind of gain back that energy.


And I think with grad school, the beauty of being in a grad program for future counselors is that self-care is a big thing that we talk about. And so having to take that time to think about, “Okay, am I just mindlessly zoning out because that’s what I’ve always done? Or am I actually taking the time and space to recuperate and regroup?”


With the homework piece of things, once I was diagnosed I ended up sharing that with my… I had already started the conversation pre-diagnosis, so I brought that to the Office of Accessibilities and started working with them and then also started seeking kind of my own supports because many people with ADHD know it’s not just an academic setting, it’s a life setting. So I was like, yes, my primary focus is getting this academic stuff under wraps, but I am also struggling to clean my house on a regular basis, and take my dog out after work, and sometimes shower on the weekend.


So I started working with a coach and making sure our primary focus is with school, but we also kind will sometimes check in on, “Hey, how is eating three meals a day going? And how’s walking your dog after work going?” So that’s one of the ways that I’ve worked on managing homework is because I will bring assignments to her that are coming up or I’m behind on and I’m like, “Hey, this is when it’s due.” I’m very much a planner, so I very much bring my plans to her and then she is like, “Okay, cool. Love your plan. How can I help you? How can I build in accountability around this?” So that’s kind of what we do there. And then I have been lucky enough that I’ve been able to do homework at work, so getting in a lot of reading or writing papers. And then I’ve also then made the plan as things start to pick back by doubling.


So I have hopefully once things get a little, unfortunate for my sister but good for me, when things get a little bit busier with school, my sister has agreed to potentially meet up once a week to work on homework at the library. And then I’m always rearranging my space, because I have moved many, many times over my lifespan. So I’m always used to things constantly changing around me. So I’ve kind of revamped my study space in the hope that every time I revamp it, that’ll get me working at the study space for a little bit. So that’s kind of been something is just making sure that I have a space that that’s where I do homework and then also building in like, okay, these are the times and the people that I do homework with.


And then the other piece that has been huge is my coach actually shared an app with me, because I also really struggle with readings. I was an avid reader as a child for personal reading. I read a majority of the Magic Tree House books and loved Junie B. Jones, and I was one of those kids that literally mastered reading and walking at the same time, because we didn’t have phones. We did, they were just landlines. So you can’t really take them with you. So I was avid reader, but as soon as you ask me, “Hey, read this for class,” biggest struggle, which in part does have to do with human psychology. At the moment you ask somebody to do something, for some reason our brains go, “How about no.” But I’ve always really struggled with readings, and then as soon as assignments or readings pile up, then my task paralysis sits in. So being able to listen to readings has been huge. So utilizing Siri and the app that my coach shared with me has been huge in staying on top of readings, so that way I have less anxiety when things pile up because I’m like, “Oh, I can just listen to this while I’m cleaning my house,” and then I feel extra productive.


Those are some of the ways that I’ve helped manage homework. And I think also too, it’s still very much a work in progress. I have also utilized my hyperfixation with novelty seeking as well. So when the syllabus comes out, I’m trying to get on top of what assignments are the biggest and the baddest ones, but also sound really exciting at first. So I get a lot of the work done and out of the way right up front because it’s new. I’m interested in it. I want to put time in it. So that way later on down the road when I have a little bit less motivation to do it, the majority of the work’s already done. So I just have to write the paper or find a few more research articles.

Lindsay Guentzel (18:34):

I know from conversations we’ve had in the past that the accessibility offerings in college are not the greatest and that there are a lot of roadblocks and hurdles you have to go through. I’m wondering if you can share a little bit about that journey for you, because I think for a lot of people there’s hesitation to even reach out to begin with, and then to know that there’s a lot of work there. It can be frustrating.

Indy Louder (19:02):

I would say that if you have a diagnosis and you are in need of supports, always start with the Accessibilities Office. I also just wonder if we don’t necessarily know what the Accessibility Office really does. So accessibility was kind of a foreign concept for me. It was just something that I had a couple of friends that had worked with it in high school, but with having depression and anxiety, that’s not a diagnosis that gets you into the Accessibilities Office unless it’s super severe, which for me it wasn’t. So I just didn’t really know. And then one of the more difficult things is it takes a lot of executive functioning to get accessibilities, and ADHD is a deficit in executive functioning. So that was kind of difficult.


And then I came into the conversation and I was like, “Hey, recently diagnosed with ADHD, never worked with accessibilities before. How does this work? What are our next steps?” They’re kind of like, “Well, here’s these three things that we offer with people with ADHD,” which are definitely helpful and beneficial, and yet I also had to find what works best for me. And it was also kind of just interesting too because when I think of accessibilities, I think it is more adapted for those who are maybe a more severe end where symptoms are impacting their daily life more severely than maybe somebody who’s mild or moderate or able to mask it pretty well. I did actually find navigating accessibility is a little bit difficult.


So the things that were offered to me, because I kind of came to them and I was like, “Here are the things that I’m having struggle with. I feel like I write good papers, but I am not time or task managing them well. And I am also struggling to keep up with readings.” So what they had to offer was extended deadlines, and then they did have an app where I could access audio versions of our textbooks. And then the other piece was recorded lectures or having printouts of the lecture slides.


They were all very good, and I did utilize all of them at one point, starting with the audio textbook. A lot of our textbooks that we have for our courses, our professors have been really kind and recognize that graduate textbooks are really expensive, and so they’ve kind of purchased an online format that is now accessible to anyone who takes the course. But in order for me to use the app that is offered by the Accessibilities Office, I need to purchase a hard copy of the textbook. So then there’s an added expense for me. Plus then also too, having that executive function of planning out, okay, here’s the textbook. I need to go in and buy the right textbook, because I’ve bought their own textbook on more than one occasion.


And then a lot of our grad textbooks are not on the app, so then I have to reach out and request that they look and see if there’s an audio version of the textbook, and that all takes time. And then I’m falling behind on readings, and then in that case, it’s not as helpful. So I kind of found maybe this works for some people, maybe this works for undergrad, but this isn’t really going to work for me. And luckily I found a workaround with Siri and the app that my coach found for me.


Next step was the slides in class, which again too, I think is really helpful because sometimes at the end of the day, I am exhausted because I do classes after work. So I’ve worked a full eight-hour shift. I ran home briefly to walk my dog, and then now I’m off to either a two or four hour class. So sometimes my ability to retain information and stay on task is a little bit difficult, but I would say I’m very much auditorily-inclined and I am very interested in the things that I’m learning. So I am very much engaging the class, what the professors are talking about. In fact, maybe a little too well, because I have been told, “Hey, make sure you’re giving space for others to talk.” And so I didn’t find that to be as… It was helpful because sometimes I’d be like, “Oh, this one thing on the PowerPoint made me think about this, so I want to ask this.” Which it was kind of helpful for that. But again, I felt like staying on task in the class and processing the information that was shared during class wasn’t as big of an issue for me. So it wasn’t something that… I tried it. It wasn’t necessarily something that was needed for me in terms of an accessibility from an accessibility standpoint.


And then the last thing that was offered was extended deadlines, which has been helpful, but I will lean back on something that Russell Barkley shared. He was talking about extended time on tests and how that can actually be more detrimental for a child with ADHD because having an issue with time management, if you just give us more time, that’s more time for us to then have to figure out how to manage. And also one of the things is I was like, I don’t want to learn how to turn in things late. I want to learn how to turn in things on time. So how do we do that? And that wasn’t something that was really offered.I also know though that for some people, having those extensions have been huge lifesavers for people in their grad school.


So I think with the accessibility thing, it was, this is what’s offered to me and I have to figure out, okay, what’s going to work, which is a lot of work, and a lot more effort in navigating our education system than most people probably have to do.


And so it has cultivated a different perspective, I should say, in just some of the things that people have to go through when navigating a system that didn’t keep them in mind. I have to make sure that if I do request accommodations, I have to make sure that I am sending out my accommodations letter in time before the classes start. And if I do request an extension on a deadline, I have to send an email out 24 hours in advance to both my professor and the Accessibilities Office.


It has been a journey, and I think it has also shown me just how resourceful I’ve been able to be in kind of finding my own accommodations, because I was able to take some things that the Accessibilities Office had and I was like, “This is great. It’s just not going to work for me.” And then bring it to somebody else and be like, “Hey, I really wish that there was an app out there that you could just take a picture of textbooks and it would read it to you.” And then my coach was like, “Actually, I do think there’s an app for that.” And then also two other things of recognizing it really helps me to plan out all of my assignments as soon as I get the syllabus. And so it’s not necessarily an accessibility thing, but it’s a routine and a habit that I’ve built that as soon as I have access to the syllabus, pulling it up, I’m going through all of those assignments, I’m plotting out when things are due. And so just things like that where I think the Accessibilities Office in that sense was a great starting point for me to then grow and develop what’s going to work best.

Lindsay Guentzel (27:36):

I want to move on to where you are thriving, and there’s so many things that I see in just how you’re advocating for yourself and all the work you’re putting in, which is exhausting. I know. I know what it is like, but it is so important. And so I’m curious, when you look at life right now and what you’ve been able to do for yourself since your diagnosis, what stands out for you?

Indy Louder (27:58):

I think the best place that I’ve been thriving is discovering me and getting to know myself better. Again, as I touched on with the accessibility things of like, okay, what’s going to work with me for me? What’s not going to work for me? And then sticking to that.


And I think also one of the things that’s also been kind of deconstructing, okay, what was a norm that was set for me growing up? And there might be some reasons as to why that was a norm, because that was efficient and effective for maybe my parents or the majority of people, but how can I adapt that so I have what’s going to be most effective for me? So with cleaning right now, for me, I was just always like, I just have to pick a day, and that’s where I clean the whole house. While that might work for some people, that does not work for me. And then it becomes really stressful because then I am like, “My apartment isn’t clean. And I feel chaotic. And I feel out of control, because having a clean space makes me feel happy and healthy.” I was like, “Okay, well, everything I feel like has to get done either once a week or every other week.” So then I just set up a cleaning schedule. So on Wednesdays that’s a vacuum and take out the trash day. And then I’ve vacuumed and that’s done for the week. I just clean different parts of the house or do different things throughout the week.


And then I do also have a reminders on my phone, so I know, “Okay, I don’t have to remember, okay, today’s Wednesday. So that’s vacuuming and trash day, and then Fridays is dusting and what else?” It’s written down. I don’t have to remember it. My phone does it for me. That’s a little less overwhelming than I have to vacuum, and wipe down the counters, dust, change the sheets, and remember all of the other things that I have to do to keep my house clean.


And then also, I think I’ve just been learning more about myself. What is ADHD? What does ADHD look like for me? How does it look like? I work with a lot of neurodivergent individuals, some of the people that call in, but also to my coworkers. And so realizing how my ADHD presents externally is sometimes similar, sometimes very different than those around me who are also diagnosed with ADHD. So that’s been huge.


And I think one of the places that I’ve been thriving is just learning more about myself in a way that can then make me more mindful about others and maybe how they’re doing.


And then I would also say I’ve been really thriving in probably both work and school. I do feel like I have much more growth I can be doing in school, but even my professors have remarked how just much of a turnaround from being diagnosed in November and having some assignments that I turned in months late to I am starting my second year and the only assignment I’ve turned in late so far was a day late.


And then I’ve also just found within my workplace, I really do love the people that I work with. I work with some of amazing individuals. It really has been a safe space for me to develop and grow within. They’re super accepting about things. I’ve had a coworker, because I’m always saying sorry, and she was like, “You don’t have to apologize for doing what works for you.”


I set alarms throughout the day because I know if I don’t set an alarm, I’m going to work until I realize, “Oh crap, I’ve got two hours up to the day and I never took lunch.” So I set alarms throughout the day of like, “Oh yeah, this is around the time I like to take my 15. This is around the time I like to take my lunch.” And the noise that I’m just enjoying right now is cricket noises. That’s because on the iPhone you can set your timer to be a cricket. And I did that, and now people think we have crickets in the office, and it’s just me. Literally, my manager was like, “You’re the cricket, right?” And I was like, “Yeah, that’s me.” So just that acceptance of this is what works. And my hope is that if it was a big annoyance that somebody would come and talk to me, but that they’re like, “No, we love that you do this and that you’re working in a way that works best for you.” Just really allowing me to do what works best, and whether it’s a minor annoyance to maybe some other people. So those would be the places that I would say that I am thriving for sure.

Lindsay Guentzel (32:52):

I want to know what’s giving you hope right now? And what is maybe pushing you towards the future that you’re excited about?

Indy Louder (32:59):

In general, always my biggest motivator is probably my little sister. We’ve got a pretty good bond. It was rough at the beginning just given the age gap, but now we’re both a little bit older, so I would say my little sister is definitely my biggest motivator. I think also too, what really pushes me forward is I just want people to feel safe to be themselves, and I want to work. I’m working towards being a licensed counselor, so obviously I want to do that professionally, but I also want to do that personally. I want to be an authentic person that also allows space for people to feel safe to be themselves as well. And so that is one of the things that really pushes me forward is I want to hear others, and I want to get better at letting people be comfortable being themselves. So that really pushes me forward.


As part of my depression, I did struggle with some self-harm and also suicidal ideation. And I think for me, being in a place where at one point in time I didn’t want to exist anymore, and now being in a space where I want to make a difference where I can. And realizing that some days I might get really frustrated, because I’m just one person, what can I do? But also at the same time, change starts with a person. And I might not be able to change the world, but I can change a moment for somebody, and that’s kind of what really drives me forward in the things that I want to do. That even in my most difficult moments, I still want to be around for the people that love and care about me, and I also want to be around for those that I can impact and hopefully give them hope to continue on in their own journeys.

Lindsay Guentzel (35:13):

Well, first off, thank you for sharing that. It breaks my heart that you ever felt that way, but I know that it’s a really common thing in the ADHD community, and you opening up about that is so important. And going off of what you mentioned the one moment, sometimes it’s all one moment, but I’m really leaning into the ripple effect these days. You start the ripple effect and you just never know where it’s going to go, and so I’m so excited that you’re on this path because it’s clear that it’s where you’re supposed to be, and I’m so excited to see the ripples.

Indy Louder (35:47):

Thank you.

Lindsay Guentzel (35:48):

I want to wrap this up by asking you what is something you wish people understood better about ADHD? And maybe it’s something that you’ve experienced in your own life or you’re starting to understand better, but that you see there’s a big disconnect.

Indy Louder (36:02):

I think the thing that I… It’s primarily in the ADHD and just neurodivergent community, but I think it’s just important in general is just masking. You don’t have to assume people are always putting up a front, but realizing that the person you see who is calm, patient and doing great at work also goes home, vegges out, and struggles to eat proper meals. And that the worst thing you could say is, “You don’t seem like, you don’t look like you have blank.”It’s one of the things that Brene Brown said is she is under the assumption that everybody is always doing their best.


I think one of the things that I try to keep in mind is when somebody’s angry, when somebody’s upset, part of my conditioning is, “Okay, what did I do wrong?” But recognizing that I may have not done anything. Or if a person is just a grumpy person, that is no reflection upon me, but also recognizing that we’re human beings. Part of our existence is struggling, and to not acknowledge that is to do a disservice to others. And some people are really, really good at hiding that they’re struggling, and if we don’t give them a space to say, “Hey, I’m not doing okay.” Then all we’re doing is really just putting pressure on them to continue to mask. And so that is one of the things that I kind of thought about in preparation for this is we can talk symptoms all day long and where people are struggling, but if we don’t recognize that people can hide those and we do so to make those around us feel more comfortable. I think for me personally, I feel like there needs to be a move towards recognizing that even non-neurodivergent people, we mask and we struggle to be vulnerable about the things that we’re struggling with. So being able to be comfortable taking off the mask in some areas or allowing people to take off the mask is going to be important.

Lindsay Guentzel (38:12):

First off, thank you so much for emailing me all those months ago.

Indy Louder (38:15):


Lindsay Guentzel (38:16):

This was so wonderful. I’m so glad that you were willing to share your story for Refocused, Together. Like I said, I’m so excited to see what’s to come for you, and we are going to be cheering you on, and I love that we live close.

Indy Louder (38:29):

Yes. That was the one thing where I was like, “Okay, I heard you were in Minnesota,” and I was like, “You know what? Impulsivity riding high. Let’s just throw it out there.” So that was super cool. Yeah.

Lindsay Guentzel (38:43):

It meant the world to me. I am sure you can, I don’t want to say commiserate, but empathize with this. I love what I do, and it means the world to me when people talk about what this podcast means to them, but I’m not good at accepting it. I like to keep it at an arm’s length. It’s like, don’t be too boastful. It’s a lot of years of childhood trauma. There’s a whole series. We’ll just add it to the list for 2024.

Indy Louder (39:12):


Lindsay Guentzel (39:13):

Thank you so much. This was so enjoyable. I’m so appreciative for your honesty and your candor, and like I said, we’re going to be over here cheering you on.

Indy Louder (39:21):

I always wanted to share my story, I just didn’t know where or how. And I am super grateful for this experience, so thank you for having me.

Lindsay Guentzel (39:31):

A little background. In May, Indy sent me an email. Her diagnosis sent her down in an ADHD research rabbit hole, and somehow she found the podcast. Imagine my delight, when after receiving this incredibly kind email, I discovered she was a grad student at a university across town from me, which made it very easy for us to not only meet for coffee a couple of times, but for us to record her episode of Refocused, Together in person. It’s been truly wonderful getting to know Indy over the last six months or so, and I’m so grateful she’s sharing her story with us on Refocused, Together.


It’s surreal to think she’s about to celebrate her first ADHD birthday. It’s clear she spent a lot of time learning about herself and her brain over these last 12 months.


Our conversation made me think about a lot, but especially about the unique challenges that ADHDers face in educational settings. We can advocate for ourselves and succeed in a classroom with the right strategies and support.


Oh, and before you say, “Lindsay, I’m actually trying to take things off of my to-do list.” Here are four things I want to encourage you to try when it comes to advocating for yourself in an educational setting, and I promise they’re worth the extra workload.


To start, educate yourself. Learn about your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which includes ADHD as a recognized disability. Understand the accommodations you’re entitled to and how to request them. Seek out the help of a disability services office or an advocate to help you navigate the system.


Next, talk to your teachers. Let them know about your ADHD and how it affects you. Share your strengths and weaknesses and talk about strategies that have worked for you in the past. Ask for accommodations like extended time on tests or different seating if that’s helpful.


Then start to use technology. There are so many apps and tools available to help ADHDers stay organized and focused. I’ll be honest, one of my goals for 2024 is to get more organized, and that means finding the right ones that work for me. I’ve tried a bunch, but have struggled getting into a routine with them. Without a doubt, just one of the side effects of how chaotic this year has been, but you heard Indy mention working with a coach. She’s one of the many ADHDers utilizing Shimmer, an app designed specifically for adults with ADHD. And I know it’s been a big part of her journey, especially as she works her way through her grad program.


The Refocused team has used Asana, one of the many task management programs available online. We went through an extensive deep dive and found it to be the least overwhelming, and I’m really looking forward to having the time and energy to get it back up and running for us soon.


It’s important to remember, you might have to try a few things before you land on what works for you, but with time practice and repetition, you’ll figure out some great tools that can be your go-tos.


And the final tip, build a network. Surround yourself with people who understand and support you, whoever that is, friends, teachers, mentors, it’s important to have them around when you need advice, encouragement, or just to recharge your batteries.


This is by no means an exhaustive list of how to advocate for yourself. It’s just a means to get you started. If we’ve learned anything from this podcast, it’s that ADHDers are capable of so much academic success. We just need the right support and strategies to get there. I also love that Indy gave a shout-out to one of our guests from last year’s Refocused, Together

Kathy Murphy (43:16):

For many years in school I can remember not bringing all the paperwork home. It was always hard-pressed to get that all the way to where it belonged. And so my mother would refer to me oftentimes after school as the absent-minded professor because she’d have to follow up on everything.

Lindsay Guentzel (43:32):

That’s Kathy Murphy, the absent-minded professor who was diagnosed at 58 after noticing similarities between the students she was working with who have ADHD and some of her own behaviors. When we first started dreaming up what Refocused would be and what it would sound like, one of our biggest goals was building a place where people could come, settle in, learn about their brains, and feel seen, find connection. And in a world where success seems to be measured by downloads and ratings and followers, this moment having a guest reference a moment from the year before that they felt connected to, well, that just takes the cake as far as I’m concerned.


I’m so grateful to Indy for sharing her story with us here on Refocused, Together. I hope if you’ve been inspired by the stories you’ve heard, you’ll consider sharing yours with us here on the podcast and take a page out of Indy’s book and reach out to us, [email protected].


We’ve just been blown away by the support you’ve all shown us here as we continue to power through Refocused, Together 2023. We have so many incredible stories still to come as we count down the final episodes to the big 31. Join us back here bright and early tomorrow as we dive into episode 26, and please if you found yourself connecting to a guest or an episode, tell us about it. Email us [email protected], over on social @refocusedpod, or leave us a review on whatever streaming app you’re listening to right now. We absolutely love hearing from you guys.


Support for Refocused comes from our partner, ADHD Online, a telemedicine mental healthcare company that provides affordable and accessible ADHD assessments and treatment plans. To learn how they can help you on your journey, head to a ADHDonline.com and remember to use the promo code refocused20 to receive $20 off your ADHD online assessment right now.


The biggest thanks go out to our team at ADHD Online, Keith Boswell, Suzanne Sprewitt, Melanie Mile, Claudia Gotti, and Tricia Merchant-Dunny for their constant support in helping make Refocused, Together happen.


These 31 episodes were produced thanks to our managing editor, Sarah Platanitis, our production coordinator, Phil 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 @refocusedpod and you can email a show directly [email protected]. That’s hello@refocusedpod com.

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