Liz’s Short Bio:
Writer, coach, mom and awkward introvert. Liz lives in central PA with her husband, son, one dog and way too many houseplants. She spends most of her time writing, researching and overthinking. When she’s not doing that she enjoys reading, working out, and trash tv. Sometimes all at the same time. If you are looking for her follow the trail of seltzer cans.
Want to learn more about the ADHD book she’s writing and get her newsletter? Here’s how:
Web Site: healthyadhd.com
Resources: Liz invites you to ‘sign up for ADHD emails that don’t suck!’: HealthyADHD
Here are some moments that moved me:
I actually knew I had ADHD when I was like 12.
It was actually kind of played off in my family, like, oh, Elizabeth has problems, you know, that kind of stuff.
There’s a reason why all of this feels like too much. It’s almost like I hit a maximum capacity that I could handle. And then I was like, oh, it’s that ADHD thing.
I always thought I only needed to deal with this while I was still in school. So now that I’m reading more about this, it seems so obvious, like it’s been obvious this whole time.
People like my mom actually said something to me once, you have one baby and a dog. What is your problem?
I do think that there’s this internalizing masking behavior that goes on and we’re very well trained in it. I just think for that reason, it becomes invisible.
ADHD is one of those weird things, especially when you’re diagnosed later in life.
It’s like once you see it, you can’t unsee it.
I always had these things that I knew were different about me. But I knew I couldn’t come out with it.
We have these externalized behaviors and things that are diagnosable. And no one ever thinks to test for ADHD.
What parts of me are real? What parts of me have I been suppressing and hiding from the whole world? What parts of me that I put out there are real and legitimate? Have I been faking it this whole time? Am I an imposter in my life?
It can be really heartbreaking for people. They feel like they have regrets. They’ve made mistakes, they made bad decisions. That’s something that comes up a lot. I’ve made so many bad decisions.
I’ve even met some women that are pretty angry. I actually met one person who’s parents told her that the school psychologist told us that you had this thing, but we didn’t think it was that important.
I don’t like planning a project. I don’t even like planning a vacation which should be enjoyable. To plan your vacation should be enjoyable to me. It just feels like too much.
What she told her twice exceptional son:
Everybody in the world has a unique brain. And, there is no perfect functioning wonderful brain, we all have different brains, you have a special kind of brain. I have a special kind of brain and some of it we have in common.
My husband is definitely not ADHD.
He provides a lot of executive function, things that he’s just really good at and are easy for him that he knows I struggle with. There are things that I’m better at than he is. He acknowledges that, too. So we have a very nice sort of balance of language, beautiful.
He lets me keep a giant wall calendar because things have to be big for me to take them seriously and up in my face. It can’t be like a little pop up in my browser.
He’s totally cool with me sitting in this office with the door shut, hibernating. He does knock on the door, if I’m really in one of those hyper-focus states. He’ll knock on the door and be like, are we having dinner as a family tonight?
ADHD is about energy management as much as it’s about symptom management. We all have a finite amount of energy in a day. Part of where that energy leaks is when we try to make in the moment decisions and priority to prioritize. For us that’s really hard and takes a lot of mental energy if you’ve got a lot of options and a lot of pressure on you from different angles. For some of us, it can become debilitating.
I just sort of bucket my life. There’s home and family stuff. There’s personal and self-care stuff. And then there’s writing and career and community stuff.
It’s okay to live a life where there is a gray. I think a lot of us live to an extreme in one way or the other that life is great or life is terrible. Learning to surf that and see the gray and be flexible about the way you view yourself and your identity. I just want to show people there’s flexibility. It’s not all black and white, good or bad
We all need to think more about how we can be flexible, how we can be adaptable. When it feels like the world is on fire we can learn to try to be more adaptable, to look at things from a different perspective. Maybe to ask yourself, am I being really black and white here?
Let’s look for more nuance instead of jumping. I know that’s difficult for a lot of us. We don’t have the pause button. Flexibility is my big theme right now.
My family of origin is not the most complimentary of me. I think they would say very different things than my husband would say. My husband thinks that I’m very funny. He’s always thought that when I first met him that I was entertaining,
If I could travel back in time and talk to the younger Liz, I immediately go to my teen years and maybe my college years. I would say that you know yourself better than anyone else. It is not going to be the barrier to you doing the things you want to do. Yes, you will have to figure it out. You will have to build a toolbox, so to speak, and you will have to figure out how to do things your way. Sometimes it will take you longer and it will feel like everyone else is moving faster. But in the end, if you just keep moving forward, it’s going to be fine. Don’t buckle under pressure from other people.
If I were traveling forward in time, to the future, Liz, I would ask myself why I spent so much time frozen with fear; waiting around, holding back and not saying what I was thinking, not putting my work and my thoughts and everything out into the world. What was the point of all that fear? Because really nothing terrible happened. Nothing terrible ever happened. I’m glad that you persisted even though you were scared shitless the entire time.
(With Liz’s permission, these quotes have been edited ever-so-slightly for brevity and clarity.)