Episode 10 (Part I) – You have your ADHD diagnosis. Now what?

The moments following your ADHD diagnosis can be flooded by an overwhelm of emotions and for a lot of people, that can add to the confusion and uncertainty about what to do next.

These two episodes focus on getting you ready to move forward in whatever capacity you decide is best for you and our goal is to provide you some insight on what journey will not only look like but who it will include.

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Lindsay Guentzel (00:00):

You have your ADHD diagnosis, now what? This is Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel, and this episode will be delivered to you in two parts. Like a really great movie from the nineties that required two VHS tapes to fit everything. Titanic comes to mind. Truthfully, your listening habits have been all over the place. And after I was doing the interviews for this topic, I realized I had so much great stuff I wanted to include. And so two episodes feels like the right answer for everyone involved. These next two episodes of Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel, are going to die into the moments that follow finding out you have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and how to get yourself in the right place to find and decide on a treatment plan. Just as ADHD is different for everyone, so are the ways to treat it. What works for me might not work for you. And it’s also important to keep in mind, what’s right for me right now, might not be right for me in a year or two years or even six months from now.

My name is Lindsay Guentzel, and this podcast is a collaboration between me, a journalist and mental health advocate, more importantly, a human being living and working with ADHD and ADHD Online, a telemedicine healthcare leader who not only provides accessible, affordable and incredibly thorough ADHD assessments. But the team at ADHD online is constantly adapting and reworking their treatment options to make sure they are providing something that works for everyone with ADHD. It’s their commitment to treating the whole person, not just handing out a diagnosis and sending someone out on their Merry little way into the world, confused and wondering what the heck just happened. It’s that commitment that motivated me to partner with them back in February, to collaborate on this podcast. And I’ll tell you that decision has been reaffirmed over and over again since the day we met.

There is so much on the horizon for this podcast that I think you all are really going to love. And I will remind you of this over and over again. If you have something you want us to dive into, a topic or a question or if you have an idea for an interview, please reach out and don’t shy away from pitching yourself. I want to tell your stories because those personal moments, those are the things we are all able to connect to and learn from. So don’t be afraid to say, “Hey, Lindsay, I want to share my story.” I actually heard this idea a few months back and I can’t remember where I heard it, but I think it’s perfect for situations like this, where we struggle to get uncomfortable. Become your own pitch person, become your own “assistant”, literally send the email from someone else. Maybe it’s Jenny. Yes, Jenny, she’s your assistant or maybe she’s your neighbor or your cousin, and she thinks we really need to hear your story. I hope my email [email protected] is inundated by personal assistance, named Jenny from all different corners of the world this week.

And a shout out to Frankie, Marco and Don for getting in touch with us. It’s pretty awesome to hear people share kind words about this podcast. I take this very seriously and I’m really proud of what we’re producing. But what I’m most proud of or the comments I hear from people who have connected with something we’ve shared. I don’t expect everyone’s going to like this podcast, I mean, in a perfect world, yeah everyone would like it. But man, that is a lot of pressure. And as we all know, you can’t please everyone. It would be real easy for me to hyper focus on the people who left one star reviews for this podcast, but didn’t leave actual comments on how I could make it better. Are these people I know in real life, what didn’t they like about it? Was it the content or was it me? Those are the stories I’m telling myself, but I’ll likely never know the truth behind any of that.

And regardless of what the answer is, it shouldn’t matter. What’s that popular meme that seems to pop up whenever we need a reminder. It’s stop trying to be liked by everyone, you don’t even like everyone. And yeah, that could be said about podcasts too. I don’t like every podcast, I don’t like every TV show, I do think I like every kind of cheese and tacos. Well, I’m not a fan of hard shell tacos so that doesn’t work. But see it’s just life. And maybe I’m saying this to make myself feel better, I mean, I know I’m saying this to make myself feel better. The stories I’ve made up about who is behind those one star reviews, it’s seriously damaging and it does me no good. And it definitely doesn’t make me a better host or a producer or a researcher or human being. It makes me afraid, it makes me reserved, it makes me not me.

Years and years ago, a colleague was tapped to give a very important speech. They spent so long writing something they were super proud of and then they made the decision to have a friend give it a read. Well, the friend wasn’t a fan and they didn’t keep that a secret. And so my colleague, they rewrote the entire thing. In fact, I think they sat with their friend and went line by line through the entire speech until the friend, not the person giving the speech, was satisfied. And you know what? It wasn’t good. And it wasn’t good because it wasn’t my colleague, it wasn’t them. It was their friend up there on that stage. And not only could the audience not connect with it, my colleague couldn’t connect with it. And I’m certain that resonated with the audience.

It’s very hard to get out of our own way and do what we want and do what makes us happy and makes us feel good about ourselves. Because so often we hyper focus on the reactions of those around us. And if I allowed myself to let anonymous people on the internet dictate how I make this podcast, well, I’d be scrapping every episode and starting over just like my colleague did with her speech. There’s no doubt there is room for growth with Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel. And you know what, that’s how it’s supposed to be. And I see those opportunities and I’m constantly bouncing ideas off the team at ADHD Online, how can we do this better? How can we connect with our listeners better?

And you guys play a huge role in that. Sending me suggestions and ideas through email and on social media, reaching out to me when you see me in public and by leaving reviews. Do the five star reviews make me feel good? Obviously. But it’s the comments people leave. Sharing a bit about what they connect with. That’s the stuff that really propels us forward. So if you have a moment, I encourage you wherever you are listening right now, take a moment and subscribe, rate and review Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel and send us a note, a critique, a suggestion for a topic, an idea for a person to interview, [email protected]. Or you can reach me on social media @lindsayguentzel or @refocusedpod. Now onto the show.

In the next episode, you’ll hear from Dr. Rafiah Mohamed, the division chief of medicine and interim chief medical officer for ADHD Online. And we’ll walk through the specific things you should know as you start on your next chapter of your journey with ADHD. But I also want to run through how ADHD Online works. Some of you might be still in the pre-diagnosis phase and are wondering about your options to get yourself concrete answers. Others of you might have signed up and taken the assessment on a whim, a little impulsively and some of you might have been diagnosed years ago and are looking to find a better community to help you with your care. In order to be treated by the team at ADHD Online, you need to have completed an assessment with them, even if you’ve been diagnosed before. Well, you might be wondering why that is.

Well, ADHD Online’s assessment is incredibly comprehensive and it gives their team of clinicians an incredibly in depth look at how ADHD is affecting your life, if you have it. It can also provide insight into other comorbidities that need to be addressed. And it sets a standard for care. I keep saying the assessment is thorough and it really is. It is set up to give the most complete picture, which is instrumental in making sure treatment plans are accurate and on point, meaning you are simply setting yourself up for the best possible scenario for success. So here’s what you can expect from the moment you create an account with ADHD Online. It’ll take you about five to 10 minutes to set up your free account and then another 60 to 90 minutes to take your assessment. This comprehensive assessment was developed by psychologists and physicians. And while it can be done in one sitting, you do have the capacity to answer a few questions, hit save and come back to it whenever you want. Then in three to five days, you’ll get your results.

ADHD Online will send you an email when your results are ready to be viewed in your patient portal. And let’s say ADHD Online’s team of doctorate level psychologists do diagnose you as having ADHD. Then it’s time to find out about your options depending on where you live. Well, for me in Minnesota, I can work with ADHD online for my medication management, but teletherapy isn’t available here yet. But if you’re in one of the states where teletherapy is available like, Texas or Ohio, you can work with the team at ADHD Online for both your medication management and teletherapy. Every state has different guidelines for what’s allowed with telemedicine.

And what I love about ADHD Online is they are constantly working to make their services available to as many Americans who want them as possible. That’s been one of the few good things about the COVID 19 pandemic. It really opened up these important dialogues on the need and benefits for telemedicine in this country. And it is important to know that once you’ve received your diagnosis from ADHD Online, you can make the decision to take it to your primary care provider for treatment. You don’t have to use ADHD Online. For more information on treatment, pricing and to find out what’s available where you live, head over to adhdonline.com to start your journey today.

Jennifer Hagen (12:16):

My name is Jennifer Hagen and I work at ADHD online. I am someone who wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until I was 28. And so once I was diagnosed, I learned that ADHD is not the typical stereotype that many people think of and that the symptoms aren’t the same for each person. And so because of that, there isn’t a one size fits all in finding solutions and ways to help manage and thrive with your ADHD. And so it’s a little bit of a trial and error of finding the best ways to do things. So example would be my way of staying organized in my home, isn’t going to always work for someone else. So it’s definitely been a learning process, but having that diagnosis has definitely helped me figure things out and become more successful in life.

Lindsay Guentzel (13:35):

Now I want to bring in Keith Boswell, he is the vice president of marketing for ADHD Online and he has some of his own advice to share. Keith, thank you so much for joining us again.

Keith Boswell (13:45):

Absolutely, as always happy to be here.

Lindsay Guentzel (13:48):

I’ve been thinking about the few days around my own diagnosis and what I did and what I wish I had known. And I’ll be honest, it’s all very much a blur. It was in the middle of a pandemic. It was also winter in Minnesota, which is pretty, pretty miserable. And all I know is I was diagnosed, I went to the pharmacy, I got my prescription, the next morning I took it and that afternoon I was like, “Oh my goodness, this is incredible. I didn’t know. I could feel this way. I didn’t know that.” I felt like my brain was stuffed with dryer sheets, that’s the example I use, is just this weird veil. And you were kind of in the opposite boat than me, than my story, because you were diagnosed and then you just kind of sat on it.

Keith Boswell (14:44):

Talk about ADHD in practice. I was diagnosed without going through formal diagnosis by a therapist pre pandemic. When I was seeking therapy for other stuff and dealing with anxiety, depression and not really knowing what was going on. And the therapist said, “You clearly have ADHD.” And again, I just put it in my mind of like I’m not what I think of ADHD, so that can’t be me. And then coming to work here in October, so coming out of the pandemic for me and having been at home and coming back into the office and suddenly dealing with every day people talking about ADHD, talking to employees that have ADHD, co-founders that have ADHD and my wife has ADHD. And so it was kind of like, how many alarm bells do you need? So I took the diagnosis.

And I was actually just trying to look back.I think it was late February or early March that I finally took it. And I think I mentioned to you in chat this morning, I finally signed up for an appointment with a provider this Friday and it’s taken me this long and I’ve kind of gone through just the reckoning, I guess. But also kind of not holding myself accountable to kind of like, “Okay, you got some news that you can act on.” And there’s that little bit of like, okay, what if? But I mean, this is a process and I think to each their own. And I talked to my therapist about it, my current therapist, and it’s very encouraging, because I feel like I’m going into it this time differently. I mean, I tried a stimulant before after my first therapist said that and I was working with my general physician and I don’t think I probably gave it enough time.

I know you hear about titration and not getting the right dose. I definitely fell into that category because for whatever reason, I just felt like it’s just not working for me, it’s not doing what I was hoping for. So I’m going back into it with a different attitude this time. And I think I wish I had just known like, “Hey, it’s okay to do this.” I think there’s still kind of a part of me even having the diagnosis in hand where I go, I don’t know, sometimes doesn’t feel real. And I guess it’s just still a coming to grips with it.

Lindsay Guentzel (17:18):

Oh for sure. I think the way that I have handled the surprise of the diagnosis and sometimes other people’s reaction to the diagnosis, is just being as blunt about it as possible. Like it’s straight up ADHD overshare. I’m just like, “I have ADHD, this is why I do this. This is the reason I behave this way. This is why I am a very sensitive human being and I need you to treat me this way or we can’t spend time together.”

Keith Boswell (17:48):

Right. I know I need to do that myself honestly. Because I feel like sometimes now I’m in that phase of stumbling through that, of trying to figure out what to say about it, especially with my parents and others. And it’s not like we’re not talking about it, it just still feels like, I guess I’m trying to not make it feel like it’s a blame game and more of a, hey look at what we know now.

Lindsay Guentzel (18:17):

Right, it is hard. I mean, because we are dealing with our own feelings, we’re dealing with the feelings of people around us. And I’ve had this conversation a few times about the stigma that comes with wanting to take medicine or wanting to try medicine and see how it works. And when you know how the ADHD brain works and how stimulants then kind of come in, I remember I was talking with my therapist about people being concerned about the stimulants. Are you becoming too self-reliant on them? I think it actually happened when there was confusion about getting my prescription refilled and it was delayed. And I kind of went into that panic because I am a better human. I feel like a better human. I function as a better human when I am on my medicine. And all of a sudden there was this, it might not be there tomorrow and you have to go and do all of these things. And of course you know, anyone with ADHD, add another thing to the list and just can spiral so quickly.

And I remember in that moment I was worked up, I was very frustrated. I didn’t like the fact that I had done what I had been told to do and then I was being told to do something else, which is just so frustrating. And there were people in my life who kind of saw it and went, “Why are you getting so upset about this?” Well, one I’m a highly sensitive human being. I get upset about a lot of things and it’s not necessarily angry, I was emotional. And their reaction to it was, “Okay. She is becoming too attached to her medicine.” And I brought it up immediately in therapy because I needed to have an arsenal of ways to respond, that we’re not getting defensive. And my therapist straight up said, “If you broke your leg and you needed crutches, no one would take your crutches away from you. This is like that.” And I’ve said this, it

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