Jevona Maniex and Advocating for Yourself



If you knew that something was going on, and had to convince your doctor to dig into it with you, then you’ll get where Jevona Maniex is coming from.

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Lindsay Guentzel (00:00):

Welcome to Refocused Together.

JeVona Maniex (00:21):

My name is JeVona Maniex and I’m a mother, a wife, and I live in Washington and I am 47 years old.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:40):

I’m your host, Lindsay Guentzel, and this is a special ADHD Awareness Month series of my podcast Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel. If you’re a regular listener, you know that the Refocused Podcast is where we change the narrative around ADHD and share the tips and tools we need to refocus and live our best lives. If you’re new here and found us because it’s ADHD Awareness Month, welcome. We are so glad you’re here, and I truly hope you’ll stick around long after October ends.

Lindsay Guentzel (01:15):

Now, there are parts of this ADHD journey that some of us have figured out, and there are parts that we still need help cracking. And so for ADHD Awareness Month, I’m collaborating as always with my partner, ADHD Online to interview 31 people. That’s one interview for every day of the month about their own ADHD experience. We’ll hear from people who were diagnosed as kids and those diagnosed well into adulthood. We’ll talk about hyperfocus and distraction, stigma and shame, grief and acceptance, and so much more. And we’ll see that ADHD can affect anyone, all genders, orientations, backgrounds, nationalities and cultures. And while there are differences in how we live this truth, there are also so many similarities that bring us together in community.

Lindsay Guentzel (02:10):

This special project is very near and dear to my heart, and although talking to 31 different people has been a lot of talking, I’m so grateful for each person who shared their story, and I’m truly forever changed by these conversations. And I cannot wait for you to meet my guests and get to know them. Be sure to subscribe to Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel so that you don’t miss a single story this month.

Lindsay Guentzel (02:42):

Don’t let JeVona’s soothing voice, fool you. She is full of fire. One of those passionate, determined humans who has truly been empowered by her ADHD diagnosis. Throughout her life, JeVona struggled to concentrate when reading, starting assignments and projects, and then finishing said assignments and projects. She long had struggles in her professional life and it was difficult for her to stay in a position or with a company once the day to day became boring or repetitive. Fear of failure and wanting to be successful kept her from getting help until someone else suggested it to her. And at the age of 45, she found out she had inattentive ADHD.

Lindsay Guentzel (03:24):

Not only has this diagnosis bolstered her own wellbeing, but it’s also helped her in her work as a human resources consultant focused on employee relations. It’s allowed her to provide insight to hospital leadership on better supporting employees having difficulties in their work. So not only has her ADHD diagnosis led JeVona to be a better advocate for herself, but it’s also made her a more confident advocate for those around her. I know you’re going to enjoy my conversation with JeVona Maniex.

Lindsay Guentzel (04:02):

I would like to start at the beginning because you and I share something in common. We went through a very good portion of our lives without knowing ADHD was something that we were living with. And I know hindsight is a fun little game to play when we are looking back at everything. But I want to start with your diagnosis because you have an interesting segue into it. Essentially, one of your professors pointed out that this was something that you should look into. You should have a conversation with someone about ADHD.

JeVona Maniex (04:34):

Yes. So it was during residency, my first residency, and I had flown into Phoenix with the university, and I was sitting down, and I kept fidgeting and going through my notes, and then he would start talking and then I would drift off, come back and ask a question. But it would be a question that he may have asked or a discussion he had five minutes prior to. And he kept looking at me and he kept eyeing me and I said, “I don’t think this guy really likes me at all.”

JeVona Maniex (05:11):

So later on down, we had a one on one, and we were talking and he kept looking at me, and then I started thinking, he’s not paying attention to me at all. And he said, he told me he had ADHD, and he found out in college during his dissertation process because he lost his dissertation, he had to type it all over. And he said, “I’m not diagnosing you, but it might be a good idea to go get a diagnosis and talk to someone because you have some of the signs of ADHD.” And I said “Me? No way.” He said, “Trust me, you need a diagnosis.” So I went home and got online and looked it up.

Lindsay Guentzel (05:57):

And started that process. How many people are in the room as you and this professor, he’s speaking and you’re going about what you feel like is a completely normal routine and are unaware that it’s something that someone would notice? And again, he has ADHD, so he’s looking at you going like, oh, I know those signs. And I have that too, where I’ll be out and I’m just like, oh, that’s ADHD, whether you know it or not. But how many people are around you as this is happening?

JeVona Maniex (06:24):

There in this class, a residency class had about 40 people in there.

Lindsay Guentzel (06:31):

So a decent amount. It wasn’t a one-on-one by any means, but oh my goodness. How the stars aligning for you to be in that room and for that professor to not only see it, but for him to be comfortable saying it to you. Because I imagine, I hope he was very confident going into it, but it could have been taken the wrong way.

JeVona Maniex (06:54):

It could have been, it could have been disastrous.

Lindsay Guentzel (06:59):

Well, kudos to him. I love when you hear about someone else stepping in and being kind of the catalyst because you go back, we don’t know what we don’t know. It’s like you’re just going through this.

JeVona Maniex (07:11):

And it’s normal life for me.

Lindsay Guentzel (07:15):

So you go home and you start looking into things. And I know that you went down the path of trying to figure out what was in your network for insurance, which is what most of us do, especially with healthcare in this country. And what roadblocks were you finding?

JeVona Maniex (07:28):

The roadblock that I found, my own provider said, “No way, you don’t have ADHD. You’re just not focused. I can count on my hand how many adult women are diagnosed with ADHD.” What he called me is middle aged. That was his first mistake. So I said, “Okay, whatever.” So I looked at my insurance, start googling ADHD, how do you get diagnosed? And then voila, I found ADHD Online, and I said, “Okay, will my insurance pay for it?” And it was like a hassle going through trying to figure that out. So I said I’ll just pay up front because I found out that your insurance can be reimbursed. So that’s how I did it and just paid up front.

Lindsay Guentzel (08:19):

And what was the assessment like for you? Because you had been told to look into this and so there was, I don’t want to say excitement, but interest. You were going through the process, you were putting in the work, you wanted to see if this was something that you were actually dealing with. And then you sit down and there’s a lot of questions and it’s very in depth and it’s very personal. And I think sometimes for people with ADHD, there’s so much shame attached to it because we know our “shortcomings” and I use that in quotes because it’s just stuff we haven’t learned. It just hasn’t been there. So you sit down with this assessment and what were those feelings like?

JeVona Maniex (09:05):

At first, the first thought in my mind was, I am wasting money right now because there’s no way I’ve gone through 40 plus years and not diagnosed, but I’ll do it anyway. And the emotions that I felt were get real. You do not have ADHD. Why are you wasting money? And then when I started the process, I was like, geez this test is taking a long time. I would get up, walk away, and I was like, maybe I do have it. So it was kind of like … Sometimes you think I’m making things bigger than what they really are, and this is not me. That’s what I was feeling the whole time, and this can’t be real. Why am I doing this that whole time.

Lindsay Guentzel (09:58):

The self doubt. I also think we are just designed to compare our problems to other people’s problems. And it’s a very dangerous game because as you and I can both share, I’m sure getting that diagnosis, just even knowing about it was so monumental. You take even just the treatment and all of the workarounds, you start to learn getting that answer, you’re like, oh, huh.

JeVona Maniex (10:27):

Yeah, very true. When I showed my doctor, my primary care physician, the one who said no, when I showed him the assessment, he said, “Well, I’ll be darned, you do have it. Maybe I have it too.” And I said, “Maybe you ought to go get an assessment.” But he started the whole conversation. He was just really amazed that I was able to go get the assessment. And then we started discussing medications, and I kind of feel like in the beginning, he kind of had a little doubt himself because he said, “Well, if I give you this medication, it’s supposed to bring you down. But if it doesn’t, then you don’t have it.” And I said, “Well, I’m going to put it to you this way. I’m going to school to get my doctorate, and if I have it, I have it, and let’s address it because I want to graduate. I don’t want to be in the same thing where I think I have it, but I can’t move forward in this dissertation.” So he prescribed it and then it was like, sky’s the limit from there.

Lindsay Guentzel (11:29):

So let’s talk about that because you are in the middle of all of this in graduate school, and how were things going before the diagnosis?

JeVona Maniex (11:43):

I look back, I went and looked at my grades prior to the diagnosis and I looked at some of my schoolwork and I thought things were going great. I thought I was just getting by. No issues. However, when I looked at my grades compared to after the diagnosis, I was a B- student all the way up until my diagnosis. After my diagnosis, all my grades were As afterwards. So I had the potential to be an A student prior to my diagnosis and I would’ve not have known that. But I noticed there were mistakes in my papers where I would switch words around or I would forget to put to or the. And it was mistakes that I would make that I wouldn’t normally make.

Lindsay Guentzel (12:35):

And that led to another diagnosis for you?

JeVona Maniex (12:37):


Lindsay Guentzel (12:37):

Can you tell me a little bit about that?

JeVona Maniex (12:39):

So that diagnosis actually came last year. And I was talking to, in the process, I want to mention I got a job offer. So I relocated from Michigan to Washington. So once I moved to Washington, I found a provider and she’s wonderful. And we were talking and I kept saying, “When I talk, I feel like I’m talking backwards.” And I said, “It’s kind of almost like I have Yoda syndrome.” And she burst that laugh and she said, “My son has Yoda syndrome.” I said, “It’s a real thing?” She said, “It’s called dysgraphia.” She said, “You have a problem with translation.” She said, “It’s almost like you’re trying to catch your words, but when you’re writing, transcription is a problem. You’re either talking with your sentences or typing with your sentences backwards and you end with the beginning.” And that’s when it was like this big light came off of me. I haven’t been like what I would have thought of myself as illiterate or not smart enough my whole life. I’m smart enough, just smart in a different way. But she diagnosed me with dysgraphia.

Lindsay Guentzel (13:53):

And again, not to go back, but it’s like all of the things that had to happen for you to get that diagnosis, and to find that provider, and to know what you were looking for in a provider. It’s always so eyeopening when we start to take stock of the advocacy we do for ourselves and what comes from it.

JeVona Maniex (14:14):


Lindsay Guentzel (14:15):

So I’m curious. You make this move and you find a provider that you are very excited to work with and I’m so happy that you have that great connection because I know what that is like, and it makes the world of difference. I know that you’ve been working on kind of a holistic approach and I think one thing that sometimes people with ADHD maybe lose sight of is like, medication will help, but that’s evening the playing field, that’s not going to solve all your problems. So you start on this treatment plan and what has that been like for you?

JeVona Maniex (14:53):

So the treatment plan, there has been a lot of test and trials, trying to figure out what works for me because what works for me may not work for the next person, or what works for one person may not work for me. So just figuring out that perfect spot and then realizing that that perfect spot is not a long term fix for me because for some reason, things work for this amount of time and then I have to readjust and find something else. So just figuring out, okay, I know that I need a reminder every day to take food out the fridge. I don’t take my medication every day because the medication does not … It’s not a fix, it’s a help.

JeVona Maniex (15:46):

So I put reminders all throughout my home. I have reminders in my phone, on my calendars. I even tell my Google and Alexa and I have to say that very quietly because for some reason they hear me and start waking up. I have to put reminders in there to remind myself. So my focus is through the helps that I create in my environment. So that’s calendars, timers, even the TV will turn off when it’s bedtime.

Lindsay Guentzel (16:17):

That’s actually genius. That’s very smart.

JeVona Maniex (16:20):

And when it comes to homework and things like that, or not homework, but reading articles for my dissertation, there are days where even if I take medication, I can’t focus and it’s just not the day. So what I will do is with PDF, it’ll read the article to you and as I’m listening, if I hear something, it catches me, I’ll go back and highlight it. So I figure out ways for myself to adapt and readapt and be successful.

Lindsay Guentzel (16:53):

I have added the listening aspect to it as well because doing research for me, and I think back on how big of a struggle college was for me. And it was like, oh, if that had been a thing, it wasn’t quite there yet. But I think of all the things I learned from listening to things, whereas reading is such a struggle because it is, you have to focus.

JeVona Maniex (17:16):


Lindsay Guentzel (17:16):

It’s so amazing that you have been able to add these workarounds in and obviously you had so much success prior to your diagnosis, but I’m wondering if we can go back to that pre-time, the time before you knew what was going on, where were you struggling, what do you look back on and go, that was really a lot of coping mechanisms kind of coming together?

JeVona Maniex (17:44):

I would say I struggled in every area in my life, whether it was work, my marriage, raising children, keeping up my home, even driving. And those are all the areas that I struggled with when it either came to keeping up with appointments or projects at work. I struggled with maintaining or keeping it focus at work. And I had a job where I was the director of a department, and I had to do reports, and the reports would be late often, and that reflected in my performance. And for some reason, I just could not get those reports out in time because they were so daunting. So daunting. And that was an area in my performance where it was perceived as if I was lazy, or not focused, or I didn’t take my position seriously, which was totally not true. I loved my job.

Lindsay Guentzel (18:50):

I can totally relate, the daunting fear, and then you can’t talk about it because it is so daunting. And there’s kind of this embarrassment that comes with it. And then everyone around you who would not struggle in that position looks at it as like, you’re right, she’s not taking this seriously or she’s not realizing the importance of this. In the meanwhile, it’s just this big churning disaster in the middle. But I think so many people can relate to that idea of things being just so daunting. So you’re in this role, things are overwhelming. Does anything else stand out from that time as something you look back and you’re like, that is definitely connected to my ADHD?

JeVona Maniex (19:39):

I would say that with the work, and it was always a struggle for me. And thank God that I have a husband, but with the children, I just could not sit down and say, “We’re going to go from A to Z and we’re going to have a discussion and I need for you to pay attention.” But I couldn’t pay attention. “I need for you to pay attention and I need for you to get this right because it’s important.” And I could not do that with the children. So for some reason, my husband could do that. He could sit down and go from A to Z and explain everything. And sometimes I’m like, I just can’t do that. There’s no way I can sit down for a half an hour and just talk to them. But he could.

JeVona Maniex (20:24):

And my oldest daughter thought that … She did not know that I also had ADHD. So she thought that mom just doesn’t want to be bothered. She even came one day and she said, “Mom, do you not like me?” And I said, “Why would you say that?” And she said, “Because you never sit down and talk to me like dad does.” And I said, “I love you more than he does. I gave birth to you.” And so I had to explain to her. I said, “Sometimes my mind gets fuzzy and it’s hard for me to sit down and have discussions.” And I said, “Sometimes we have to get out the house and talk.” And so she finally got it. She also laughed when we found out my diagnosis and she goes, “That explains the world to me.” And she was like, “Now I get mom.” But with my children, it was a task, even with my son who has ADHD also. So it was a task.

Lindsay Guentzel (21:24):

And I’m curious, the diagnosis for your son, was that something that stemmed from your own diagnosis or was he diagnosed prior?

JeVona Maniex (21:33):

He was diagnosed back in 2005. And I fought for his diagnosis. Did not know I had one myself, but I fought the school system to get him to a point where he could be successful and have a plan in school, a IEP.

Lindsay Guentzel (21:57):

That’s incredible. And it’s kind of like it was the setup for your own journey, your own advocacy for yourself. That’s amazing. So I would like to know post diagnosis, where you are thriving?

JeVona Maniex (22:14):

Where I am thriving? I want to say since my diagnosis, I have a new lease on life. So I feel like I am thriving everywhere. There was a small point in time where I cried because I had a diagnosis, didn’t know I had a diagnosis, couldn’t understand how I didn’t recognize it, no one else recognized it. And I was like kind of sad because there was so much potential for me early on. So finally I do have a therapist and she said, “Don’t worry about the past, focus on the future and the here and now because you can’t change the past.” That was a light for me. So I am thriving in every area of my life, and I am living with no apologies to anyone. And I let them know that this is me, this is who I am, and this is what makes me me.

JeVona Maniex (23:13):

And so at home I thrive with my husband. We laugh and sometimes I’ll say, “That could be the ADHD or it could be you.” So sometimes I’ll say we won’t discuss it because if it ends up being you but I am thriving at work. I stepped up and said I need an accommodation. I have ADHD and I have dysgraphia. I need an accommodation to be successful. So I’m thriving on the job. I am thriving in my home. I’ve learned new skills when it comes to how do I get myself refocused? I’ve picked up hobbies to, I want to say, put myself in a mind frame where I can focus and be happy. And I’ve accepted myself, I accepted my diagnosis, and I know that I am not perfect, but I am who I am and the things that I do, they look perfect to me. So I would say I’m thriving in every area of my life now.

Lindsay Guentzel (24:24):

I wish I could hug you through the screen because it is just such a lovely thing to hear. And your confidence, and your positivity, and your no nonsense, it is very refreshing. And I think it’s so hard for us to get out of our own way, and accept who we are, and accept that we didn’t ask for this. This is just how we were made and we’re doing the best we can. And I kind of sometimes think of all the things that people really love about me, and then all the things that they really don’t like about me that really bother them. And it’s like, you don’t get to pick.

JeVona Maniex (25:03):

All of me.

Lindsay Guentzel (25:08):

It’s a whole package. So what has led to that new lease? I know you get this diagnosis and I know you feel like everything is possible and I feel that. And I feel like sometimes I have a hard time putting it into words. So how did you get to this point?

JeVona Maniex (25:21):

Yeah. To be honest, I got to this point when I got my diagnosis in 20, was it 2020? Yeah, 2020. The end of 2020, COVID happened. So during lockdown I focused on me. I read more about ADHD, I picked up hobbies. And I read a lot about not self-help, but what is ADHD? What does ADHD look like in children? What does it look like in women? And learning that a lot of women are being diagnosed late in life is, I don’t want to say refreshing, but it makes sense. They’re being diagnosed late in life, and why are we being diagnosed late in life? So I read a lot about that and it helped me accept me and teach others to accept me when they didn’t understand. So those hobbies I picked up were cooking, painting. I taught myself to paint. Cooking, painting, and refurbishing furniture. Those are all ADHD skills.

Lindsay Guentzel (26:42):

Okay. It’s probably a good thing we don’t live close to one another because I haven’t taken up painting yet. It could very well be down the pipeline because I joke, I’m a collector of hobbies. I love hobbies, but I love refinishing furniture. And there’s just something about, I don’t even know what the process is, but maybe it’s something with the ADHD brain of giving something new life that we are just so enthralled by.

JeVona Maniex (27:10):

Yes, yes. My husband will come home sometimes and say, “Uh-oh, what new project’s going on now?”

Lindsay Guentzel (27:20):

I had a similar situation, but it was trading in my car and my boyfriend being very happy that I would not have room to pick up furniture on the side of the road any longer. We’re working on one thing in, one thing out. It’s kind of my work around.

JeVona Maniex (27:37):

That’s hard.

Lindsay Guentzel (27:39):

It is very hard because beginning’s the best part. Well, the beginning and the end, and the middle ground is where we need to work on it.

JeVona Maniex (27:48):

Even if it takes two weeks to finish.

Lindsay Guentzel (27:51):

Yes, yes. Let’s talk about work because I think there are a lot of people who would love to be in the situation that you were in where you felt confident going to the people who make decisions at work and saying, “This is what’s going on in my life. This is what I need from you in order to be better at my job, to be the best in this role.” And there’s fear of doing it. One, because the vulnerability that comes with putting something out there so personal into the workplace, I think we’ve just kind of been told that, nope, what happens at home or what’s happening in life doesn’t come into work. And that’s obviously not the case. But then there’s a side of people worrying about a poor reaction. And so I’m curious if you could talk a little bit about how you worked up to the decision to go to work and then what the response was like.

JeVona Maniex (28:44):

Okay, so in the beginning with this new job, my new boss, she said I was awkward, never talked to me, never met with me. It was three months before she actually met with me. And she made the comment that I came across as if I didn’t know what I was doing and I lack a sense of urgency. And I said, okay, my previous job, I could just say I have ADHD and didn’t need an accommodation because everyone got me. But here it was a little different. So I went to a different leader and I said, “I need an accommodation, I have ADHD and dysgraphia, and these comments that are made about me are not true. And they’re disheartening. And if you got to know me, you’d know that’s totally not me. Sometimes you would probably say slow your role, sit down.” So I went to my provider, she wrote up this beautiful thing of all the accommodations I may need and how to have conversations with me, which was wonderful. And I started the process.

JeVona Maniex (30:00):

But in the meantime, I had been assigned a new manager, which was a godsend. So this new manager was like, “We’re going to change any perceptions that was made about you. I am very happy that you’re asking for accommodation because most people would be afraid to do this.” And I said, “Well, actually I was. But I said, “I have to throw caution to the win because this is my livelihood and I can’t be successful being afraid anymore.” So she said, “Don’t worry about it, we’ll start the process and what do you need that I can do now?” And so I said, “I need a program to dictate my notes. I need extra time in the morning or the afternoon to do my reports. And if I’m going to do interviews throughout the day, I need them to be in the morning, but not after 1:30 because after 1:30 you’ve lost me.” So she said, “You’re in charge of your own schedule. Send in a order of whatever you need and we’ll order it and get you set up.”

JeVona Maniex (31:03):

And it was amazing. She was extremely supportive in everything that I thought I needed and things that was like, they probably won’t to get this for me because it’s super expensive. They still did it. And they said, “We just want you to be successful.” That just opened up everything. And I said, wow, if this job really values me like this with the things that I bring to the table, not just my skills and my knowledge, but ADHD also, I’m going to stay here for the long run and make the most of this because this is wonderful. It’s acceptance at the end of the day.

Lindsay Guentzel (31:46):

That is really awesome to hear. And I hope that people listening to this take your story and use it as inspiration. I think sometimes it’s really scary to put something out there, but I’ve learned that when we allow people to show up for us, and to show us grace, and to show us acceptance, and to support us, it’s so much better to carry the load together than it is to do it on your own. But I think we’re so set up to just assume that the answer is going to be what we don’t want to hear. And because that does happen. I mean, there’s a reason why we are that way.

JeVona Maniex (32:25):

Yeah, it does happen. Case in point, it does happen. But there’s always someone else out there who’s either familiar with what’s going on with you or they have a heart and they want to see you succeed also.

Lindsay Guentzel (32:40):

So let’s talk about the future. You’re very optimistic. You are very excited. I think I am so excited to see what comes next for you because it just feels like the sky’s the limit with where you are. So when you look forward, you have this new opportunity at work to make yourself even better at your job. You have developed relationships in a different way with your husband and your children, you have hobbies. What else is kind of on the horizon that you just go, yes, this is where I’m meant to be, this is what I’m meant to be doing?

JeVona Maniex (33:30):

I’m glad you asked that question. With this dissertation that I’m still writing, my dissertation is focused on women, work-family conflict, stress, and coping. I really wanted to focus on women with ADHD. But I knew that I was not at a place where I could do that and separate my feelings. So I said I won’t go there, But when I finish this dissertation and I get the letters behind my name, I want to use that as a professor in academia at some university, because I was helped in the beginning and it was recognized in me that I had ADHD. Can’t imagine how many other people out there who are wanting to pursue their dreams but feel like they can’t because they either don’t know they have ADHD or they know they have ADHD and feel they’ll fail. So I want to be that supporter in that academic arena.

JeVona Maniex (34:38):

And then also I want to continue to stay where I am in my current position. I’m not looking for management positions or anything, but I want to be able to help others who I recognize have either dysgraphia, or dyslexia or ADHD and help them be successful also. Right now, there are doctors and there’s employees in sanitation and the cafeteria at the hospitals who are living with ADHD, dyslexia, and dysgraphia and don’t know it and are suffering. And it’s showing in their attendance at work, they’re tardy, or they’re not showing up, or it’s showing whenever their boss is giving them instructions, and they’re talking to them, and the person comes and they haven’t done everything or they haven’t done it correctly. And someone needs to recognize that what we’re doing is not helping them. It’s not setting them up for success, and it’s actually pushing them away and they’re not successful.

JeVona Maniex (35:53):

And I can’t imagine how many doctors out there that have left … They’ve switched their specialty or they’ve changed jobs or they have not been the best that they could be because they have ADHD. And it’s amazing that some doctors don’t recognize they have ADHD. And I’ve recognized it in a few, and I didn’t say, well, you need to go get an ADHD diagnosis. Sometimes I would tell my story just as a, this is what happened to me, and let them decide to go do that.

JeVona Maniex (36:28):

And with the other employees who say, sometimes I’m hearing, but for some reason I’m just not getting it. It’s like someone’s talking at me, they’re not talking to me or with me. So there are times where I can take the manager and say, “Have a discussion with the person or ask the person, Do you understand? Or do you need help?” And let them come back, leave that door open for them to come back and say, “I heard you say this. Do I also need to do this?” Give them that room to be comfortable to come back and say, “I heard you, but I didn’t get it.” Because they’re not stupid. It didn’t register or it flew out the door somewhere.

Lindsay Guentzel (37:17):

Well, it’s true though. And I think we look back at all of our education, there was one way to learn everything. And I think we know very clearly now that that does not work for everyone. And there just were not the resources or the acknowledgement that there were going to be people in each class who learned differently. And so this one size fits all education plan. And I love what you said about going to the managers and just saying, “Hey, you might want to approach it this way, or you may want to ask what works for them.” I have found it so helpful when someone I’m working with who is in a management leadership role, who’s overseeing something I’m working on, asks me how I want to be communicated with or what I need.

Lindsay Guentzel (38:03):

Even when hiring a virtual assistant, the first day, Sarah, who’s done crazy amount of amazing work on this project, she was like, “How is the best way to communicate with you? Or how would you like me to reach out to you? Or What do you need in order to be successful?” And I was like, I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about that. But we’re all different. What works for some people isn’t going to work for everyone. But until we say it out loud, nothing’s going to change.

JeVona Maniex (38:34):

Right, exactly. That is a very good point that I even use at home. And I have grandchildren. I have a grandson with ADHD also, and I have to remind my son, what worked for you may not work for him. What did not work for you may work for him. And I said, “You have to remember who you are, who he is, and communicate.” And I also remind my children, you’re the manager of your child. You manage a child. So think how would you want your manager to communicate with you? And for my son, it clicked. And his son is like … It’s like they have a great relationship. Same way with home, same way with work. And the biggest thing about it is it takes a village, of course, but communication is key in everything. And communication, and it’s funny that I’m saying this.

JeVona Maniex (39:39):

Communication and being open with the person you’re communicating with, it makes them feel like they have a space where they can be themselves. Because let’s say I have this relationship with a person working with them, and I never talk to them, and I just bark orders at them, that relationship, it will never form or it will quickly deteriorate and I will lose an employee. But if I keep communication open and I continue to say, “What support do you need from me? Is there anything that you need help with? Or is there anything that you don’t understand?” Continue to communicate and have those conversations back and forth with the employees, even employees without ADHD I think would be successful with that. Because we are people that … We talk and I can’t place a value on open and transparent communication. It’s invaluable. We have to constantly do that with everyone. Everyone.

Lindsay Guentzel (40:54):

I want to wrap this up by asking you, when you think about ADHD, and I’m sure these are actually some of the messages you’ve shared, what are the things that stand out to you that you wish, and I’m going to say the general population knew or understood about ADHD? And this kind of goes to breaking down the old stereotypes and you mentioned your doctor. You’re a middle aged, how dare he? A middle aged woman. There’s no way you have ADHD. And obviously we very much know that that is not the case. And so these outdated, old stereotypes. When you think of what you’ve learned about yourself and your ADHD, what is that like, one you’re just working to break down?

JeVona Maniex (41:40):

Not everyone with ADHD is hyper. Not everyone with ADHD is uneducated. And one thing that I wish if I could change the world with this stereotype, that it’s a learning disability. When we hear the word learning disability, we think you’re disabled. Or we hear ourselves being not good enough or not capable of doing things, and it’s more of an ability. And to set a person with ADHD aside and say that we cannot be successful or we can’t do certain things, it breaks us down, it tears us apart and it puts label on us. Because if we look at it, if you have a student who’s not good in one subject, but great in others, we don’t say you have a disability. We say you have abilities in other areas. We do too. And it may be multiple areas, just not the areas you may want us to have, but we have to get rid of that.

JeVona Maniex (42:56):

We are very unique, we are very educated, we thrive wherever we go and we make things work, we figure things out. Even in our quiet times, we’re focused on how do we make things better? And it’s not about … And I hate to always say ADHD, but to understand where we come from, we have to always … Sometimes we worry about what do others think of us? What do you see in me? Or do you recognize ADHD in me? And the stereotype that I want to break down is that we are human beings like everybody else. We love, we deal with emotions like everyone else, we deal with failures, we deal with successes. We can be successful people, doctors, attorneys, lawyers, and we have great potential. Great potential. We just need somebody to recognize that in us. We recognize it in ourselves. But if we don’t have a support system, it’s setting us up for failure all the way around.

Lindsay Guentzel (44:11):

That’s a great way to end it. Everything you said, I’m like, yes, all of those things. And I mean, there’s so many ways to go back and look at where this idea of needing extra help in life or needing to learn a different way means that you’re not smart. And I think back to elementary school and the kids who got extra help, and there was such a stigma around it. And I think of myself, and what I was hiding and how I could have benefited from that. And you’re right, we just need to change the narrative in so many different ways. And I’m just so grateful for you for being so open and honest and sharing some stuff that I’m sure has been very hard to come to terms with, especially outside of your job, but with your husband and your children and the things that you’ve realized now. And you get to take that into the future. And thank you so much for joining us on Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel. It truly was a gift. I can’t wait to see some of these furniture projects that you have going.

JeVona Maniex (45:22):

The dining room table’s next.

Lindsay Guentzel (45:23):

Okay. Okay. That’s very funny. I’ve been eyeing up some dining room tables, but I luckily have been telling myself, you have a little much on your plate right now. Give it time. But again, the things you learn. Three years ago, I would’ve had a new table in here and we’d be refinishing it right now. Well JeVona Maniex, it has been a pleasure. Thank you so much and continued success to you and I can’t wait to see what’s down the path.

JeVona Maniex (45:52):

Thank you.

Lindsay Guentzel (46:10):

A big thank you to JeVona Maniex for sharing her story with us on Refocused Together, one of the 31 stories we are sharing throughout the month of October for ADHD Awareness Month. The thanks continue in a big way to the entire ADHD online team, Zach Booker, Dr. Randall Duthler, Tim Gutwald, Keith Brophy. My teammates, Keith Boswell, Suzanne [inaudible 00:46:36], Claudia [inaudible 00:46:38], Melanie Mile, Paul Owen, Kirsten Pip, Sissy Ye, Trisha [inaudible 00:46:43], Lauren Radley, Corey Kearney, and Mason Nellie. And the team at Dexia, Cameron Sterling and Candace [inaudible 00:46:50], Camilla Eden, Lauren Terry, Sarah Gelbart, Bill [inaudible 00:46:54], and Sarah [inaudible 00:46:55]. Our theme music was created by Lewis Engles, a songwriter and composer based in Perth, Australia, who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2020 at the age of 39.

Lindsay Guentzel (47:06):

To find out more about Refocused Together or to share your story with me, head over to and check out the ADHD Awareness Month page, which highlights this project as well as each day’s episode after they’ve been released. You can also find out more by following along on social at Lindsay Guentzel and at Refocused Pod.

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Each of our clinicians sets their own holiday hours. Check with your doctor for availability.

Looking to take our Assessment? That’s available all day, every day, whenever and wherever is best for you!