Insight Mind Body Talk

Living With ADHD, with guest Lynn Hyland

November 20, 2022 Jessica Warpula Schultz, LMFT Season 2 Episode 6
Living With ADHD, with guest Lynn Hyland
Insight Mind Body Talk
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Insight Mind Body Talk
Living With ADHD, with guest Lynn Hyland
Nov 20, 2022 Season 2 Episode 6
Jessica Warpula Schultz, LMFT
Lynn Hyland, PhD, clinical psychologist and ADHD expert, is back on Insight Mind Body Talk!  Host Jessica Warpula Schultz, LMFT, and Lynn explore the complex diagnosis of Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Lynn discusses the different types of ADHD, the neurology behind the diagnosis, medication and treatment modalities, as well as provides applicable strategies for adults living with ADHD.

Produced by Jessica Warpula Schultz
Music by Jason A. Schultz

Insight Mind Body Talk. Also, check out our e-courses!

Show Notes Transcript
Lynn Hyland, PhD, clinical psychologist and ADHD expert, is back on Insight Mind Body Talk!  Host Jessica Warpula Schultz, LMFT, and Lynn explore the complex diagnosis of Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Lynn discusses the different types of ADHD, the neurology behind the diagnosis, medication and treatment modalities, as well as provides applicable strategies for adults living with ADHD.

Produced by Jessica Warpula Schultz
Music by Jason A. Schultz

Insight Mind Body Talk. Also, check out our e-courses!

Welcome to Insight Mind Body Talk, a body-based mental health podcast. We're your hosts, Jessica Warpula Schultz and Jeanne Kolker. Whether you've tried everything to feel better and something is still missing or you've already discovered the wisdom of the body. This podcast will encourage and support you in healing old wounds, strengthening relationships, and developing your inner potential- all by accessing the mind body connection. 

Please know, while we're excited to share and grow together. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for mental health treatment. It doesn't replace the one-on-one relationship you have with a qualified healthcare professional and is not considered psychotherapy. 

Thanks Jess. And thank you for listening. Now, let's begin a conversation about what happens when we take an integrative approach to improving our wellbeing. Welcome to Insight Mind, Body Talk. My name is Jess. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapists, a trauma foreign fitness expert. And your host. Today's topic is ADHD, and our guest is Lynn Hyland.

Lynn is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in ADHD treatment for adults. She herself was diagnosed with ADHD when she was five years old. She lives in some prairie with her awesome, adhd. Their house is often chaotic and loud, and they like it that way. Lynn's favorite hobby is to organize because moving spaces from overwhelming stimulation to lower comfortable stimulation gives her a nice hit of dopamine every time.

 She is a very big extrovert who occasionally blushes about her many impulsive acts in social situations. She also has to apologize multiple times a day for sticking her foot in her mouth. However, she is very happy with who she is and doesn't mind the apologies. You may remember, Lynn from the Insight Mind Body Talk episode, ADHD MythBusters.

Still to this day, one of our most popular episodes. So thank you Lynn, and thank you for coming back. Welcome. Thanks Jess. I'm very happy to be back. Lynn, a quick question before we begin adhd, not just on our podcast, but in the last year, I have seen ADHD content on social media explode. My friends are talking about it. My clients are talking about it. TikTok is talking about it, so you know, Why do you think.

So relevant right now? Well, just the, um, the, the pandemic really changed the dynamic for people's work. So, you know, having, all of a sudden you're working from home, it's a really big difference from working in an office. And so people who had not had been diagnosed with adhd, and we're really are able to function decently.

Maybe not optimally, but they were able to function okay. All of a sudden they're working from home and they're finding that they're not functioning anymore because the dynamic of being at work with other people worked for them, helped them keep on task and on track. And so we've had so many people all of a sudden thinking, You know what?

I can't do this. Why can't I do? Yeah, and they're really worried about it. They'll go in and see a therapist or their therapist, they'll talk to friends, they'll look on tech talk, you know, they'll Google things, trying to figure it out. And, and what peeps popping up for people is, you know, maybe you've got adhd.

So I've been, I've been treating people and, uh, evaluating people for ADHD for, you know, 20 years. And it used to be I'd. 6, 5, 6, uh, ADHD evaluation, referrals, uh, a year or people that I was seeing. Uh, I said maybe we should see if you have adhd. And um, now I get 50 a year and that's only from clinicians in I in at Insight.

I actually don't take any external referrals, uh, for ADHD evaluations cuz I don't have the time cuz I've got so many people referred to me. Uh, through inside therapists, people who have been seeing their clinicians for a long time and like, and. Quarantine happened and they ran into a roadblock and their therapist is like, you know, maybe this is, you know, this thing that we see happening with people with ADHD who used to function through it.

Um, and so, so I think that's why it's really exploded lately. I think there's, because it was so difficult and people became more aware of it, then we found, uh, more people started talking about it, started tick talking about it and everything, and. And now the, the, the words out there and people are able to Google, you know, do I have ADHD and come up with some evaluations, you know, some assessments, some descriptors that really help them say, Huh, yeah, I might.

Um, and I, I wanted make mention the, the, the reason people started having trouble functioning. Um, there's lots of different possibilities. One of the main ones I've seen is that all of a sudden they left a workspace that was. Um, you know, whatever space that they were in working, they were able to, It was, it was, there wasn't too much stimulation in that area.

There wasn't too little stimulation area. They had it all set up. There were people with oversight and one of the things that really helped people stay on task is, um, is by having accountability and. In an, in a workspace they have, they're supervised, they have more accountability. Mm-hmm. to and more people around watching them.

Then they get home and they're working from a, uh, working from home in a space that may not be very conducive to work. It may have a lot of stuff in it that distracts them. Certainly they might have family members at home that are now distracting them as well. Yeah. You know, there's just, there was, you know, a really huge difference that way because the, the, the environment was, uh, was working for them and now the environment is not working for.

Wow. That's, you know, I never thought of it that they, that way. It's a, a really interesting, one of the many interesting outcomes of the pandemic that what we've learned about how we're functioning as a society and, you know, um, We know a lot about how mental health changed and perhaps, you know, for a lot of people worsened during the pandemic, but I never considered, you know, how it could maybe be a little bit of a, uh, of a, a like instigating the discovery of adhd.

But if you think about, of course, the world completely changed and a lot of that external motivation, like we've talked about prior and prior episode, it wasn't there. That makes so much sense. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. So it was a, it was a huge change for so many people. I think we're also getting a lot of people, I know this is the ADHD talk, but um, with mild autism that didn't realize it, or were never diagnosed before the pandemic as well, because again, the environment changed and they were finding that they worked better.

From home. Right? Or they were less tense because they couldn't go out anywhere and there were other things that were working better for them, other things that were not working as well for them. So, um, yeah, I'm, I'm, I think we're gonna get, uh, some, some things outta this pandemic that we just didn't Of course, anticipate.

So, Yeah, definitely. Well, let's give a brief review before we get, you know, I'm excited to talk more about, you know, the neurology, medication, sleep issues, coping skills, things of that nature. But let's say someone doesn't really know much about adhd. Let's do a brief review of what the diagnosis actually is.

. Okay. Um, so there's three types of adhd. There's ADHD predominantly in attention, which a lot of people call a d d. Um, there's, uh, adhd, predominantly hyperactive, impulsive, and there's, uh, ADHD combined type. So, uh, adhd, the, the areas that are kind of.

Uh, described and measured are attention, hyperactivity, impulsivity. Uh, attention is just trouble paying attention, short attention span, uh, getting distracted very easily. Um, and you can be distracted by. External stim, but also by your own thoughts. Um, these are people who, uh, you know, struggle just to stay focused on.

I mean, reading a, a newspaper article can be just too much for them, uh, to read because it's just, uh, they, they get distracted constantly by it, uh, by, by other things. So they, they struggle to finish reading it, you know, their attention gets distracted by something they. Can't focus that long. Um, then there's hyperactivity, which is a lot of energy and in, and in children, you know, we have this image of, of children, uh, little boy, five year old boy running around the classroom while everybody else's sitting.

And we're like, Oh, that's adhd. Right? But actually it isn't necessarily so. That they're running around a lot, cuz the hyperactivity can actually be internal, it can be a hyperactive mind, it can also be very talkative. Um, it's also just kind of energy behind things. So for example, people with ADHD tend to speak louder than the people around them.

And that's because they have all this energy. They also tend to talk to themselves a lot. Um, like watching a show, they'll be. Commentary about the show, even if they're by themselves, because that's one of the ways to manage. And that's one of the outputs of the energy. Then there's the impulsivity, right?

Saying things and doing things without thinking about them first. And uh, you know, this comes up in a lot of ways for different, different ways for a lot, for different people. Um, you know, just, uh, like saying things sticking their foot in their. Just like I mm-hmm. definitely, um, running kids, running out in the street without looking both ways, that sort of thing.

Just, you know, switching things really quickly. So, for example, people with adhd, especially when they're undiagnosed, will often switch. Uh, jobs, like, they'll, they'll leave jobs on impulse and look for another job on impulse. And that's at a lot of that impulsivity coming out. Um, so yes, the, the, the, the kind, So we see the ADHD predominantly in attention.

Is somebody who has difficulty focusing and staying on task and, um, uh, getting distracted by things, zoning out, that kind of stuff. But they don't have a lot of hyperactive, impulsive. They may have some, but it's a little bit adhd. Predominantly hyperactive, impulsive, of course, is that. Lots of energy and not thinking before you, you speak, do whatever.

Um, but not quite as much of the distractability lack of focus. And then the, the ADHD combined type is the one where we see every, you know, we see a, a lot of all three symptom clusters. Um, and for somebody with adhd, Understanding that a child can look like that image we have of that five year old running around.

Or it could be a girl sitting very quietly watching the teacher but is drifted off in her mind and she's imagining things or. , you know, distracted by something out the window. Um, and it can be, you know, an adult who's functioning very well, but in order to function very well, has to work. Three extra hours a day just to get their work done because they're so distractable, so they're not getting the work done during the hours of work.

And so they have to put in extra time. And I think this is really important with the, the, the criteria for a diagnosis for a h adhd, it is one of the criterion is it has to interfere in functioning and a. People will with, uh, not knowing more about it. A lot of clinicians be they, uh, uh, medical personnel or psychological personnel will say, Oh, you're doing fine.

You've got a job. You're able to keep up with pain, pain bills. You are, you know, you're functional. So, You know, you're doing fine. You must not have adhd. But the fact of the matter is, is that you can have adhd, be totally functional, but what would it be? What would you be like if you didn't have adhd? Yeah.

What you have done, right? It's like you are not, you are not your best self. Or even have the opportunity or ability to be your best self because you have to compensate and compensate Also, um, Intel, particularly intelligent hierarchy, people tend to compensate for adhd. So you have somebody with ADHD who's just, you know, straight a student and doing great and all that stuff.

And they are just able to organize well enough. They're able to find tricks for themselves and hacks for themselves that really keep 'em on track, all of that stuff. Um, and so it, it's really important as, as, as people are assessed for ADHD, is to also assess how much more time do they put in? How much more organization have they made to be able to create an environment where they can focus, you know?

Are they having trouble in other areas? But they're okay in some, Thank you Lynn. That was great. I feel as though that really covered and helped help will help our listeners kind of conceptualize the different types of ADHD and also the way it may be presenting in their life or the life of one of their loved ones or friends or colleagues.

Yeah. Let's talk a little bit about the neurology. An area I'm really interested in. I know that neither of us are a neur. So please, you know, we're gonna do our best to explain how a D H D, comes from the brain and from our neurology. 

So the first is the area of the brain that is, that, um, is the reason for. Is the prefrontal cortex. And there's an area in the front of the brain, uh, that controls what we call executive functioning. Yes. And executive functioning is the ability to plan, to organize, to prioritize, to create motivation for yourself, to, um, manage your energy levels, to be able to take a pause when something happens.

So, Before you respond so you can think about it, uh, to be able to focus, to be able to not be distracted. All of that stuff comes from that area in the prefrontal cortex. And what's going on with that is actually. Um, and the, and the, the research on this just kind of keeps growing and we find out more and more about it.

So, uh, you know, it, it is, but what we're noticing what we think is going on is that there is a lack of certain neurotransmitters in that area of the brain, and those two transmitters are norepinephrine and dopamine and that, So people with ADHD have low. Much lower than normal levels of dopamine and or norepinephrine in that area of their brain and.

And so they, they, because of that, what's going on is if you don't have enough neurotransmitters in certain areas of the brain and the certain neurotransmitters you need, it is weaker. Your whatever, take controls that, whatever that, I'm sorry, whatever the brain controls in that area. Will be much weaker.

So, So for example, so people with adhd, because those are in that area of the brain where the executive functioning is controlled, there's low levels of those neurotransmitters, those people then have trouble with their executive functioning, so, mm-hmm. , So you see them with inattention, hyperactivity, iul.

Um, and the medications that are used for adhd. So we have, you know, the, the, everybody's heard of Ritalin and Adderall, Um Sure. Which, which are psycho stimulants. Right. And so they have a stimulating action on the brain and, um, And they kind of activate that area. What they do is they produce more dopamine and norepinephrine in that area.

Other medications that are used for adhd, whether on or off label, um, also do the same sorts of things. This one produces norepinephrine, this one produces dopamine. And, um, and the whole intent is to have enough neurotransmitters in that area. So that they can, that they gain strength, their executive functions are stronger.

Mm-hmm. . And when they're stronger, that means that they, uh, that they will show less ADHD symptoms. Mm-hmm. , I've had people who have wondered if they have ADHD or do have a diagnosis, but have asked, because they feel confused about why. If they have adhd perhaps, and they feel. Already overstimulated or already, you know, restless or, you know, impulsive.

And why would they take a stimulant? Why would, And so the, the, you know, the idea of it's actually that's caused by an under. Production of something in your brain. It's not like you're adding more stimulants to an already stimulating situation, which I think confuses people. What you're actually doing is giving your brain the capability to produce more stimulation in the brain, to kick in those other functions.

To help you feel more regulated and more balanced. Exactly. Exactly. And, and so, you know, psycho stimulants can actually, it, Well, the hope, hopeful hope is to calm people with ADHD down. Um, and, and in fact, uh, You know, every body's a little different and the biology may be a little different and it affects people differently.

What, what really works or doesn't work sort of thing. And, um, I myself just, uh, you know, when I was five and diagnosed with adhd, they put me on Ritalin and my mom quickly took me off of it cuz she said I was like a zombie. Now what that means is that it was too much Ritalin. It was too high a dose. Um, but she didn't know that, you know?

And, uh, And so, you know, it was too much. It was calming me down so much that it was a problem. Uh, years later in my forties I tried Adderall and when I tried that, uh, I think I just kind of had the doctor prescribe just a normal starting dose. and after a week I stopped sleeping. I was just totally scattered and hyper and jittery.

It was like I was loaded up on caffeine every day, and I just stopped sleeping after a week and I'm like, Oh, that's not gonna work. And just a, a couple months ago, I, I went to my doctor and I said, I'd like to try it again. Could I try the lowest dose possible and see if that helps? And so I started on the original Ritalin, uh, five milligrams, which is the lowest dose.

I actually started off with half tablets cuz I, I was a little worried about it and I've had just such a great experience with it. And in fact, I am sleeping better. I am having, my final dose is about six, seven o'clock at night, and I am finding I'm sleeping better and deeper than before. Um, and it calms me down as a, a friend of mine said it's like, like my intensity has just gone down a, not

Um, but I also, one of my favorite things about the, the medication really tru. Is, for the first time in my life I'm actually patient. I've always been an impatient person and an impatient driver, I'm sorry to say. And I just feel like I'm a better driver now and I'm a lot more patient. Uh, wish I had it once.

That's wonderful. Yeah, it's been a really great experience that way, which I think is really good cuz when I, when I'm working with people, I have a better idea. And you know, also it's a good example of, you know, sometimes, you know, you shouldn't go up on the dose. Maybe you need to go down on the dose. Um, yeah.

Yeah. I think it normalizes, You know, a lot of people say, Well, I tried that once. I tried that once five years ago. I tried that once, 10 years ago. It didn't work for me. And the thing is, is exactly, it could have been the wrong dose or maybe for where your body was at or your life stage, there could have been something different you could have tried.

And that it's, you know, medication is something that. There's a chance it can be helpful. Why not try it and ex, you know, work with your doctor on, you know, how, how to find how it works best for you. And that's what you did. Like you, yeah, you really went back to it again. And I just love hearing that experience because medication itself can be sometimes, you know, Have a lot of stigma or people are concerned or unsure of how to go about it.

And maybe, again, like I said, they try it once and they've crossed it off their list as an option, or they're nervous to try it at all. And yet when you work with your providers and your team, you can figure out what works best for you. Yeah, yeah. And you know, it's, yeah, it's good to have, if you've got a doctor.

Um, well understands this of course, but, you know, nowadays we can't, most people can't get in to see a psychiatrist. They are booked for months in advance, you know, with all the pandemic and there's a lot of stressors. Um mm-hmm. , it's very hard to get in to see a psychiatrist. Um, so, you know, hopefully you're working with your primary care doc that they will, uh, have some knowledge about it, you know, and, uh, be willing to kind of, uh, work with you on that.

Unfortunately, it's a lot of trial and error. But you know, if you stick to it, you might find something that that works. Um, yeah, which is good. Well, let's move on more to, I know you wanted to speak to the concept of maybe not trying harder when you have adhd, but maybe trying differently. Yeah. So, So when you know, I think it's really important for people to realize that ADHD is a physical disability.

Mm-hmm. , and the reason is a physical disability is because there's an area of your brain that's not getting enough neurotransmitters. Right. That's. A matter of willpower. It's not a matter of changing your mindset, it is not about right. It's like what the meds do is they, the reason they work is because they increase those neurotransmitters.

Now, I don't know about you, but I don't, I can't control where my neurotransmitters go in my brain or how high they are in those areas. I have no, no clue where even to start, right? Mm-hmm. . And so, so it's really, it, you know, a lot of people with undiagnosed adhd, um, going in through childhood, adolescence, into adulthood.

Uh, and it can, it can happen at any stage, are often told, Why don't you just try harder? You know, you're, you're, you're, you're unfocused. You're not getting your work done. Whatever. Just try harder. And most everybody, You know, everybody hears that, right? And, and people say it to someone with ADHD because they're like, you know, you're not, if you only tried harder, I know you're capable of doing this.

You just have to try harder. Oh, don't look around so much. Do whatever. You know? And people who have, who don't have adhd, people who are neurotypical, like don't really understand a lot of what's going on. They are trying hard. And in fact, if they are coping and able to, In a classroom or in an office or whatever for hours they have, they put in so much effort to do that.

It, they are trying harder than anybody else in the room. And, and it's just, it's really, it's so important for people to realize that because you know, so many people who get into adulthood with undiagnosed ADHD come in and talk to me. Thinking that they have a character flaw. Yes. Right. That they were lazy, that they didn't care, that they didn't have the character, they didn't have the willpower.

And, and they come into my office for depression and anxiety, not for adhd. Uh, and the, and the offices of many. Many therapists for anxiety and depression, and then at some point they find like maybe they have ADHD and, and, and the insight they're sent to me to an evaluation. Yeah. Um, and maybe they do, maybe they don't, but when they find out they have adhd, it's like, yeah, you got a lot of messages growing up that you're not working hard.

You're not putting in the effort. And the fact of the matter is, no, you've, you've worked so hard just to try and be functional. And it does, It takes a tremendous amount of effort, energy, and time to do that. So, You know, it sounds kind of, you know, to a lot of people might feel sound a little hopeless. You know, why, What are you gonna do then?

Well, the, the thing is, is like we don't need people with ADHD to try harder. We need them to try differently. Yeah. We need them to try smarter, right? Is have the knowledge. You have adhd, have an understanding of where, what's happening, what are your strengths and weaknesses because everybody has them strengths and weaknesses.

How do you compensate for your weaknesses? How do you use better your, your strengths? And so that's when you try differently. You try with knowledge, you try smarter. Yeah. and, and that is gonna work so much better than just say, Hey, just try hard . Oh my gosh. You know, I, for, you know, as a therapist for my clients with adhd.

Yeah. There's a lot of work around those, like younger parts. Who, who need a lot of support and a lot of inner child wounds because they have been told for so many years of their life that there's something wrong with them or that they're lazy or un dependable or you know, I mean, the. The list goes on and on.

Or even, you know, from school, the school's saying certain things when people didn't understand that there was a diagnosis of adhd and, and also the stress and, um, anxiety that comes with trying Yes. You know, I think at a certain point people stop trying because. It is so triggering and traumatic to try because of the responses they've received their entire life.

And, and so to be able to like find that hope. That's why I love that the, you don't have to try harder. It's like, ugh, what a sense or relief. Like I don't have to try harder, you know? That's all I've been told. And it's, it's not me. It's just, Oh, I'm gonna try it differently now. Yeah. I love that. Yeah, and I think it's really important.

I'm not blaming parents or teachers here. No. At all. No. It's like parents are trying very hard to, Mm. And teachers are trying very hard. And you know what, it's, it's not something where you can give everybody a blood test and that, you know, everybody get, you know, every child comes in with a blood test and oh, you have adhd.

You don't, you know, we, we don't have that capability that, that kind of diagnosis now. Right. And our diagnostic tools. And, and so I, you know, it. It's good when parents learn about this and understand and everything. Um, but you know, parents are trying really hard and especially if you're a neurotypical parent, you're like, Wait, I just work harder when I can't do that.

You could do the same, Right? Yeah. And, and, um, but more than likely, every, every child or you know, Uh, every offspring with adhd, you know, there's a parent that has the ADHD that passed it down to them, or a grandparent that did, um, because it's so very, very hurt. So, mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Well, let's get into a little bit more of like the, the lived experience of someone with adhd.

I know you wanted to take a moment and talk about sleep. Yeah. So it's really, it's actually really fascinating. Is that what we found, we being, not me, but. And you know, researchers, why not you? No, I think you're amazing. I think you phone this. No, I get it though. , you're doing the research, so you're doing the research like No, no, not research, not my cup of tea.

I can tell you that you're reading the research, that that's what I mean. Oh, okay. . I'll read that. That'll be good. Um, well, what we found is people with ADHD have a different sleep cycle than people without adhd. Really? Yeah. So they found that people with ADHD have a delayed onset of melatonin every night.

So melatonin is the, uh, is the, uh, chemical, the hormone, hormone, chemical? Yeah, I think it's a hormone. I mean, I'm here I am like someone who works in the wellness field and I'm, I'm on the spot, but I believe, I believe it's a melatonin is a thing that. That people get at night, that makes them sleepy. That sets them up for bed.

Circadian rhythm. It's part of our circadian rhythm. Yep, yep. Body produces, it starts to tell us it's time to sleep and rest. Yes, exactly. Yeah. And people with adhd, uh, This is generalized. Not everybody, but most people with ADHD have a delayed onset of melatonin. So you know, other people may get it, like I don't nine, 10 o'clock at night and people with ADHD don't get until midnight 1:00 AM and that's why a lot of people with ADHD are night owls.

Is because, and you know, Oh, you should go to bed. Oh, I can't sleep. You know, because you have your not ready for that. Uh, they're doing studies on it now and looking at taking melatonin supplements, uh, for, uh, to help with that and everything. And the research is looking pretty good on that. Uh, I'm not a physician so I'm not gonna make any recommendations, so, um, but you can certainly read the research on it.

Um, yeah, the other part about it is that the. The circadian rhythm difference too, is people with ADHD tend to sleep deepest and most solidly and get the best sleep between six and 9:00 AM Wow. Yeah. So people with neurotypical, they can get their deep sleep in the middle of the night. Um, but people with adhd, it starts about 6:00 AM And so think about this.

So there there's two things that will affect you here. One is the quality of your sleep overall, how much quality sleep are you getting? And the most quality sleep is that deep sleep, not how many hours, but how. Much how many, not how many hours you've been in bed asleep, but how many hours you've been having that deep sleep.

Like the percentage of your night's rest that is deep. Exactly. Is deep. Right? And the other is when you're waking up, are you coming out of light sleep or deep sleep? Okay. So what happens is for people with adhd, if they get up before six, . They're not coming out of deep sleep. They're coming out of light sleep.

So they're probably pretty alert and perky, but their energy's gonna run out through the day because they didn't get any of that quality sleep. They need to recharge. Mm. If they wake up between six and say seven 30, they're going to uh, Well, if they wake up sometime between six and. I dunno. Eight or something.

Mm-hmm. , uh, depending on when they went to bed at 8 30, 9, whatever in that time period, they're pulling out of deep sleep, which means they're gonna wake up groggy. Okay. And so people who have adhd, you know, they're like, Oh, I gotta get up at seven o'clock to get ready for work. Like, first they're gonna be groggy when they come up.

When they wake up. And two, they're also going to not have a lot of energy in the day necessarily. Because they've only gotten an hour of deep sleep. Oh, wow. And one of the things that we've seen for people, you know, during the pandemic, because people weren't commuting, they got an extra hour of sleep. I certainly did.

I used to get up at 7:00 AM and then I got to go up, get up at 8:00 AM when, when I wasn't commuting. And I've never felt so rested consistently in my life. Wow. Cause I was getting two good hours of sleep. It was. I've never heard that before. So what about all those peop I mean, our world does not work, uh, like society does not function in this capacity that adults can sleep until 9:00 AM.

No one can sleep till 9:00 AM you know, unless you have a non-traditional, you know, Career or, or things of that nature or, or different work hours that are flexible than you can, but a lot of people can't. So I mean, how, what's the work around on that, do you think? Is there one? I don't, I don't know. I don't know that there is.

Well, um, I don't know. So I don't know the research, if there's research on it or not. I just haven't come across it. But, um, about whether or not. Taking the, the medication for ADHD and providing more dopamine and epinephrine if that actually changes your sleep cycle. Yeah. Um. Also, I think melatonin is involved in getting deeper sleep, so, mm-hmm.

Uh, again, I haven't seen the research on it, so I don't know for sure, but I wonder if that would help. I don't, I don't know for sure. Well, I mean, if nothing else, it's really interesting to think about as we start creating more and more like work environments that support and are more inclusive. Yeah. And supportive of all different types of people, that, that's something to take into consideration, right?

Is that if my body and brain function best this way, is there flexibility that I can maybe go to work at 10 or 11 and, and catch, you know, what works best for my body? Absolutely. Absolutely. I've, I've had, uh, clients in the past where I explained this with adhd. I explained it to them and they were able to switch their schedule and it resolved so many issues cuz they were actually getting decent sleep.

Yeah, definitely. And the other thing is, is that ADHD and sleep deprivation look a lot alike. , right? When you're sleep deprived, you tend to have trouble staying focused. You can easily distracted. You might be a little hyper exhausted, right? Uh, you are more impulsive, uh, you're more reactive. And so, you know, it does not help somebody with ADHD if they're also suffering from sleep deprivation.

no. So, no. Wow. Well, for the listeners, I hope that information. If nothing else gives you more insight into your processes and what you're experiencing and how you can adapt and, and flow even if the research is still new. Right, and, and just coming out there. Yeah. Let's move into the idea of inertia and adhd.

So this is, I, I use the, I use the term inertia just as a, you know, I use it to describe something with adhd. The, the physics, uh, term inertia is if an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Mm-hmm. and people with ADHD tend to have a lot more difficulty switching tasks and, um, I have noticed that.

Even more so, it's not like nobody else does this, but more so than people who don't have adhd. Um, people with ADHD tend to have inertia. If they're at rest, it's hard to get going. Okay? If they're in motion, it's hard to calm down and stop and sit still. Okay? And so if you, if you know you've got this going on, you, you can work.

Right. That's the other thing about trying differently and trying smarter, instead of working against your ADHD work around and with your adhd. And so if you have a ton of stuff to get done, you know, in the morning, don't sit down and have a cup of coffee and read the newspaper. Yeah. When you, when you wake up, go straight to doing the things you need to get done.

Because otherwise, when you're sit, you sit and start a relaxed day. , you will have to work pretty hard to get yourself going. Mm-hmm. . One of the things I've, I've suggested to, to many of my clients with ADHD is, uh, who want to start a workout routine. And their ti, the time they can do that is in the morning, uh, is I tell 'em for put on, put on your workout gear first.

When you get outta bed, put on your workout gear first, and then that way you're already in your gear and hopefully that. Start you going, right? Yeah. And if you work out, you're, if you're in motion working out, then you're more likely also get other things done cuz you're in motion already. Um, I've actually have some clients who, who went to bed in their, you know, in their workout gear.

Oh my gosh, I love that , right? It's close enough to their sleeping clothes. They're like, Oh, the same thing. Better. Like, yeah. So they get up in the morning, they're already in their workout care. Um, and that's good for everybody. I think that's, Sleeping in your here, but you know, like if you plan to work out in the morning, don't put on other clothes if you can't, if you can help it.

Right. You know, there, there's a, you know, whole concept of, you know, in habit formation, can you like, reduce the amount of barriers between you and the habit you wanna create? Right. Right. Yes. So it's the, like, the sitting down, you know, is, is the barrier perhaps in that situation, same with. Like there is no way you will catch me going home before, after work, before I'm trying to like either meet friends out or go to the gym or go run errands.

Cuz once I am home, it is like my feet are in mud. I am not leaving that house. I have no more interest in the outside world, you know? And so you've gotta kind of catch that flow that you're on and ride the wave and. You know, until it's time to, to stop. Or if I sit on the couch before I make dinner, suddenly I hate the idea of making dinner.

But if I just kind of be off around and, and I keep cook and then I start cooking, I'm like, Oh yeah, this is fine. I have tons of energy to make a meal right now. So I like that strategy. That's a great strategy. Yeah. Yeah. And so, I mean, again, a lot of people have this, but I think people with ADHD tend to have it a little stronger.

Um, but knowing, knowing that, you know, just work with it, work around it. Well, and I love that because what a, like a what a way to like decrease shame, right? What a way to like validate and understand, like why it may be more difficult for someone with ADHD than the people they're watching around. Right?

Mm-hmm. and, and the comparing like, why can't I just do that? It's another, you know, that's a common theme I hear from my clients is like, Well, why can't I do what they're doing? You know, what's wrong with me? And so, okay, let's work it differently. That's all we have to do here is figure out like what works for you.

It's not that you're not doing it right, it's just you need to do something. That's helpful to you. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Well, you, it's the, the try differently sort of thing. I mean, you're not going to tell somebody who's blind to try harder to see, or somebody who's, uh, you know, uh, can't walk to try harder to walk.

Right? Like somebody who said, you know, in a wheelchair, it's like, but. Somebody who can't see, can still find ways to work around the lack of eyesight and have, and be functional and have a good life. Same with somebody in a wheelchair, right? Mm-hmm. . And, and so it's just the same sort of thing. This, this disability of the ADHD is like, Okay, well we, we can be upset about having it, okay.

Um, but we can do things to try and work around it so that we can have the best life we can. Yeah. You know, you just have to know. You have to know what you can do about it and then start definitely the idea, you know, um, we're kind of running close on time, which Lynn, there's always so much cool stuff to talk about with you.

You, there's so many things we'll bring, we'll bring you back sooner than like one year . But, uh, let's talk about the zone of comfort, because I love this concept. I've heard you speak on it before. I just think it's, you know, really fascinating and helpful. Yeah. Thank you. I, I, I, I like this idea. Now I call it the zone of comfort, and that's just my own term for it.

I don't know if there's any, uh, official terms out there. I, it's something that I thought about. I don't know that it, there's been any research on it or whatever as compared, you know, especially applied to people with adhd. But the idea of the zone, zone of comfort is that there's an area. There's band of, of amount of stimulation in which people are feeling, uh, comfortable.

Okay? So, uh, between too little stimulation and you get bored or too much stimulation and you get overwhelmed. , that's the, the zone of comfort. That's this band that works. Um, and in, and people try and be comfortable. Like most of us wanna be comfortable. Yeah. And so we try and stay, stay in that zone of comfort.

People with ADHD have a much narrower band. Than people who don't have, or people who are neurotypical people have. And so, and, and their band can be higher or lower or just in the middle, but there's a certain point where too little stimulation and they get bored or too much stimulation and they get overwhelmed.

And it's just a smaller area to be comfortable in. And not just comfortable, but just like you're able to think better and stuff like that. Yeah. Um, we use the term. Dysregulation or regulation when we talk about people with autism and um, and I think this actually probably applies people with autism, though it's not my area of expertise, so I'm not a hundred percent sure, but I think they have an ear even there, or a band of comfort compared to people with ADHD where it takes so little.

To dysregulate them, just a little bit of stimulation. They're out of there and dysregulated, just a little too little stimulation. They're overwhelmed, they're out of, and they're dis and bored and they're dysregulated as well. And there's a lot of things that people with autism do that are very, uh, repetitive and I think repetitive things gives them a sense of organization.

It kind of decreases the stimulation and um, or increases it if there's not enough. And I think it just helps regulate. Uh, but speaking of people with adhd, so you're trying to stay within the zone of comfort so you're not dysregulated, you wanna be regulated, you wanna feel comfortable. Mm-hmm. . So too much or too little.

Stimulation results in dysregulation. and dysregulation feels horrible. Um, it's incredibly uncomfortable, makes it hard to relax and think clearly. So if you, well, for anybody, but if you have adhd, keep an eye on your stimulation level and work with that. So you're too overwhelmed by a huge, messy living space to start cleaning.

Well, what do you do? Uh, the stimulus of chaos and scatter stops you from being able to decrease the stimulus by tidy mm-hmm. , Right? It's so overwhelming. You can't even get started on. And then it's just gonna keep being overwhelmed until you tidy it, but you're too overwhelmed to tidy it. It's, you know, a terrible, uh, trap there.

Um, so what can you do to decrease the chaos? So you can tidy, right? So decrease in the stimuli. Maybe you put on some relaxing music so you don't have as much noise stimuli going on, or make a plan like, uh, and like, I'll pick up all the books today and put them away, and tomorrow I'll pick up all the clothes and put them away.

What that does is when you make a plan, organizes it, which decreases stimulation, right? It decreases mm-hmm. chaos. Um, or you put your, all the stuff into boxes, so the place is tidy. Then you go through each ba, each box without increasing the mess, putting things away right away so that you are able to continue to be in, uh, the zone of comfort while you're doing.

But another issue that a lot of people don't get with this is another issue with stimulus is when there is too little and you get bored. Now you have to understand that people with ADHD don't just sign and go, Oh, I'm bored. They feel awful. It's like you're sick and are desperate to feel better.

Remember, this is dysregulating, right? Mm-hmm. , and if you're wanna feel regulated, being bored is not just a little something. I'm sorry, I'm trying to emphasize just how you, you're just like desperate to get out of this feeling cuz it just feels so awful. Um, so a person with ADHD who's dysregulated with two little stimuli will seek out an increase in stimuli, right?

Uh, but unfortunately oftentimes that's combined with impulsivity and a desire for novelty and what happens. Is that they, they, um, they jump into new things. So people, they will jump into new things to, you know, get that, get that stimuli, hobbies, social groups, TV shows, even careers. So what happens though is that they overshoot on the stimuli and ended up with too much stimuli and then they feel overwhelmed.

Um, so. Uh, you know, it's a matter of trying to, to figure all that out. So part of my job as an ADHD therapist is to help my clients find a way to stay regulated without overshooting and becoming dysregulated, right? Mm-hmm. . So I try to help them slow down a bit and increase or decrease the stimulation in smaller increments so they stay within the zone of comfort and they stay regulated.

And, you know, if you. You know, especially if you're undiagnosed with ADHD and you've just been doing this on instinct, right? You can blown up your life so many times. Just like trying to go from boredom, comfort, go from overwhelming to the zone of comfort. Um, one, you know. Do you think like that's the moments where people are like, I can totally commit to all these like, You know, Yes.

Social engagements like, Oh, I'm kind of bored on a Saturday, so I'll reach out to like five friends, I'll put all these plans on my calendar. And then, you know, come Monday when work is brought back into it and there's more stimulation, suddenly like, Oh, well now seeing all these people is overstimulating to me.

Yes. Like, I don't wanna do this anymore. You know, those parts no longer are interested and. You know, one day ago it was like, this is going to be so exciting and so great. And you know, the same with like relationships, you're right. Or career or we can do it on small levels. Uh, but you're right, we can do it on some pretty big levels too.

Especially if you're, I completely agree. Doing it on instinct and you don't know that you have d adhd. That's fascinating to think about, like to conceptualize yourself in that way. And you know, the other thing is you can know you have adhd, like, say me since I was five. Yeah. Um, and, um, still do it. So the, some, the examples you gave just this summer, I was like, Oh, I'm a little, I'm a little bored, a little lonely.

I'm gonna reach out to five people. Yeah. And then the next thing I know, my next week. So booked up. I'm like, Oh my God, it's too much. I have too much to do. I can't, I can't. Um, so even though I known I've had ADHD my whole life, I know about the, I made this zone of comfort thing, you know, created this. I, it, you know, the.

I love it cuz it can help you visualize what's happening, right? That like you, it gives a place to like put the patterns of behavior. Like, I wanna quit my job. Oh no, I'm good with my job. Oh, I'm gonna get a second job. That is my hobby, my job, but oh wait, why did I do that? I'm really overwhelmed now, so I'll stop that second job.

You know? And kind of, it, it does help you like, visualize the pattern. Yeah. And, and, and then take steps to breaking it down to feeling like you're. You have more control and, and that you're not feeling as dysregulated. Exactly. Exactly. Well, and I, you know, one path toward managing boredom and overwhelm that a lot of people with ADHD take is scrolling social media or streaming videos.

Um, and, and here's the thing, the reason is, is that scrolling through TikTok or Facebook is calming and regulating, right. It's, it's, uh, um, It's interesting enough, right? So there's enough stimulation Yeah. To keep from being bored, but it's not overwhelming because it's limited in scope, right? It's on the device, right?

You, you, you can always shut off your device. That there's, it's just kind of more of a limitation that doesn't overwhelm us as much. Um, and, and it demands very little from a person as. And so, you know, binge watching a TV show or YouTube is similar. You have to do something so you aren't bored. Yeah. But it can't be too demanding, Right.

Because, uh, you, you need to be able to. It. You get to the end of your work day and you have worked hard all day to stay focused, right? Yeah. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to stay focused for people with adhd. It's mentally and physically exhausting, right? You need a break. You need de decompress.

So you come home and you're like, Oh my God, I'm so tired from focusing so hard all day. I need to do something to relax. But the fact of the matter is sitting down and doing something that's not stimulating will bore you and then throws you into dysregulation the other way. So you need to do something to relax and decompress, but not be bored while you do it.

And social media and videos are actually very helpful that way, Right? Yeah. Is that it doesn't overwhelm you, but you also don't get bored, but you, so you can decompress and have a break. And one of the things that I, I, I like to mention, uh, that. I have had a lot of clients over the years say, I am so inefficient getting things done like around the house, and how do I, how do I focus and get these chores done and, uh, like on a weekend or whatever, you know, bouncing from one chore to another without completing them.

Uh, before you move on to something else, and I call these floating chores, and, and what this is, is that whole thing of like, Oh, you're, you're folding laundry, and then you think, Oh, I need to put this down in the kitchen. You know, I, I wanna put this. Dish cloth in the kitchen. So you walk to the kitchen and you're like, Oh, I forgot to clean the sink.

So you start cleaning the sink, and then, uh, you take off, you know, you, you, you wanna go dry your hands and you're go into the bathroom think, Oh, that's right. I wanted to rearrange the counter. And then an hour later you go back into the room where you're folding laundry going, Oh, that's right. I was folding laundry.

Right? Yes. And, and here's the thing. If you are working at a job where you have to work and put an effort to focus, so you spend each day effortfully, staying on tasks, staying on track. Going home and staying on track and on task just wears you out more. Whereas if you go home and you are doing your task, your chores, but not focusing to stay on task, not putting in all that effort to stay on task, it can actually help you be able to decompress and recharge.

Because you are giving your mind that break you really need. Yeah. So you know, and it may be that the only reason you are able to stay focused at your job during the week is because on the weekends you are not focused on your chores and you allow yourself to do the chores in a matter where you're floating and you switch between them so you don't have to put the effort to complete one.

And then the next, and then the. That's such a self-compassionate tactic, like a strategy. Excuse me. It is. It's that mindset is just, you know, I love that allowing yourself to just be, you know, not creating shame or judgment around that you didn't complete one thing before you moved on to the next. You know, just kind of looking at it from a perspective of, this is my brain taking a break and I'm just gonna let it flow and ebb.

It'll all get done, you know, eventually. And, and I, I think that's a really good thing for people to hear. Cuz again, for me, I think sometimes my clients are frustrated with themselves or have a, a, a certain narrative around that, you know, that's happening for them or that the end of a really stressful workday, they don't have the capacity that maybe their partner or roommates have or that, that they can come home and they'll do like two more hours of.

Very specific tasks and, and complete things on their partner's checklist and the order, their partner was like, Well, why isn't this done by now? You know, things like that. So I, I think that's a really good, like, new perspective to bring to the table. Nice. Yeah. I, you know, I, uh, a good weekend for me is a weekend when I don't have to get too much.

Like I, I don't have a deadline or something so I can float around taking care of tasks and, and I hadn't thought about that. It is very self-compassionate cuz people will berate themselves so much. Oh you know, I am, you know, I can't do this. Or like, inertia, right? They sit down on a weekend and they start drinking coffee and it's taking them forever to get up and get going.

So they're not getting as much done and they're mad at themselves and calling themselves lazy or something. It's like, You needed a break and you just, you know, you needed a break. You, in that case, you had inertia. If you wanted to get things done, you could have started off running. In the case of floating chores, you just needed that recharge and just saying, Okay, I'm functioning.

I. Well. Mm-hmm. enough, right? Yeah. Well, Lynn, thank you. Thank you so much for being here. It's always a joy, like I said, and I'll always say I could talk to you forever about it. Like your wealth, Dito knowledge. Your wealth of knowledge. And you know, I think every time you're here you just bring so much to our listeners.

 Thanks. Well, thanks for the opportunity and the time compliments. I, I appreciate it. I just wanna get the word out cuz there's so much, there's so many things that would go so much better for those with ADHD and the people who love them if they have more knowledge, right?

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. 

 Thank you again for joining us on Insight Mind Body Talk, a body-centered mental health podcast. We hope today's episode was empowering and supported you in strengthening your mind-body connection We're your hosts Jeanne and Jess. Please join us again as we continue to explore integrative approaches to wellbeing. Until then, take care.