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The #1 ADHD podcast on iTunes, hosted by

ADHD Choices and Practices with Imminent College Freshman Evie Kirshner

by Faster Than Normal

Evie Kirshner is an 18 year old gap year student studying in Israel on Kivunim. She graduated from the Heschel school and will be attending Emory university in the fall. Evie has ADHD and anxiety. In her spare time, she loves photography, watching movies, and reading. Today we learn why she was diagnosed early in her life, about some of the choices and decisions she’s made thus far, how they’re working out and her advice to you. Enjoy! 

In this episode Peter and Evie Kirshner discuss:  

00:40 – Thank you so much for listening and for subscribing!

01:05 – The Boy With the Faster Brain comes out in about a month!!

01:40 – Intro and welcome Evie Kirshner

01:50 – How’s the weather in Israel today?  Ref: The Kivunim Institute 

02:34 – So you were diagnosed in 1st grade. Tell us your story?

03:28 – Kind of how things go in first grade with ADHD or ADD

04:23 – What were some of your symptoms? Did you get in trouble much?

04:40 – Were you put on meds? Did they work?

05:20 – To sparkle or not to sparkle…

06:20 – You can’t live the rest of your life just talking out of turn; or can you!? What happened?

07:02 – On resolution and resolve

07:54 – Is there anything you think you may need to change? Or for in the future?

09:05 – What was your parents’ reaction upon your diagnosis? 

10:00 – What would you tell a kid who’s seven years old and getting diagnosed today?

10:20 – How can people find more about you? 

Socials: @EVKirshner on INSTA and Snapchat

11:28 – Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits.

Guys, as always thanks so much for subscribing! Faster Than Normal is for YOU! We want to know what you’d like to hear! Do you have a cool friend with a great story? We’d love to learn about, and from them. I’m and you can reach out anytime via email at [email protected] or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterNormal on all of the socials. It really helps when you drop us a review on iTunes and of course, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already! As you know, the more reviews we get, the more people we can reach. Help us to show the world that ADHD is a gift, not a curse! 

TRANSCRIPT via Descript and then corrected.. somewhat:

[00:00:42] Peter: Hi everyone. Welcome to Faster Than Normal. My name is Peter Shankman. It is great to have you for another episode. If you are binging this welcome back. Uh, someone emailed me today and they go, Hey, I found your podcast last week. I’m like, really? Which one? How many episodes do they go? All of them. I’m like, Just doing some quick math in my head. That’s a lot of time, but either way, I am thrilled that you’re here. It’s great to have you guys. And if you haven’t already heard, uh, the Children’s book is launching in about a month. It is called The Boy With the Faster Brain. So I am super, super excited about that. We have a fun guest today. We’re going to Israel. We are going to the Promised Land today to talk to Evie Kirschner, who’s an 18 year old gap year student. She’s studying in Israel on Kivunim, and she’ll explain what that is. She graduated from the Herschel School. She’ll be attending Emory University in the fall. She has ADD and anxiety, and she got diagnosed when she was in first grade, so around seven years old. I love talking to kids who are like 18 years old. They’re like, yeah, I got diagnosed in first grade. I’m like, Mike Ben, when I was in first grade. They didn’t even know what ADHD was. Welcome to the show. It’s good to have you. 

[00:01:40] Evie: Thank you. 

[00:01:41] Peter: Well it’s snowing here in New York. How’s the weather in Israel?

[00:01:44] Evie: Oh, it’s, it’s actually pouring rain. I just got caught in the rain actually. It’s not pretty out.

[00:01:49] Peter: Okay. And I don’t feel so bad. good. Alright. Well, welcome to the podcast. Glad to have you. So I discovered you because I have lots of friends who send me articles and stuff all the time and say, oh, this person is adhd, you’s interviewing them, and, and you caught my eye cause you wrote a beautiful article and you so, so first of all, tell us what you’re doing in Israel. 

[00:02:07] Evie: This year I’m studying and traveling on a program called Kivunim. So five months out of the year we’re studying, like basically taking college classes, you know, five days a week. And then for three months out of the eight we are traveling around the world. I’m going to 13 different countries and studying contemporary culture and ancient history and Jewish history and communities that existed in all those countries. So it’s like, it’s really cool stuff. It’s, it’s pretty awesome. 

[00:02:34] Peter: That’s very, very cool. So let’s talk about ADHD so you were diagnosed in first grade. What was that like? What was what? How did it come about? What the teachers say? Tell me your story. 

[00:02:43] Evie: I thought it was cancer. . I, I was so em embarrassed. I was fir when I was told I was devastated and I wouldn’t tell anybody. It was like my deepest orca secret. I thought it was the only person in the world with adhd. My parents like sat me down and told me. I mean, they were running tests on my brain at NYU by the time I was eight. Really? Yes. I had a severe case especially, and this was in 19? This was in 2000, 2011. 12. Okay. I was always told I had the energy of a boy inside a girl and they had never seen anything like it, and that made me feel. I was like, oh no, I’m, I’m secretly like, have the energy of a boy, and this is like, I can’t tell anyone. I have this like, big, heavy secret weighing on me. 

[00:03:28] Peter: Yeah. And that’s in first grade. In first grade, that’s kinda hard to handle. 

[00:03:31] Evie: Oh, it was really hard to handle. I was devastated and I, I, I really felt it all the time. Like I had something that made me different that I couldn’t tell people about. Um, and I think, like as I got older, you know, people always say to me, well, everyone’s a little ADD everyone’s a little ADHD , and I’m like, well, hmm, hmm. . Um, I think like when you’re, you know, doing, you’re getting up in first grade and spinning circles around your desk while everyone’s sitting and writing, I think like there’s a difference. You know, there’s the, there’s dozing off and then there’s like, actually there’s not being able to function in a classroom at seven years old. 

[00:04:09] Peter: Yep. So what was, is that, was that some of the symptoms you were just a little, little hyper, a little. 

[00:04:14] Evie: I was hyper, I was crazy. I was, time and place did not occur to me. I kind of marched to the beat of my own drum. 

[00:04:23] Peter: Okay. That’s funny. It’s exactly what my mother used to tell me all the time. did it. Uh, did it get you in trouble at all? . 

[00:04:29] Evie: Oh, all the time. I was in the principal’s office, like I’d say until high school, almost every day of, of middle school, at least. I think like in lower school, they were more lenient on me. Yeah. But I was in the, yeah, I was in the principals a lot. 

[00:04:43] Peter: So you were diagnosed in first grade, but were you put on meds? What happened?

[00:04:47] Evie: I was put on meds in third grade actually. Um, and I stayed on the same meds almost every day until my junior year of high school. Okay. 

[00:04:57] Peter: And were they, do you, did you feel like they were, did you feel like, did you feel like they were working?

[00:05:01] Evie: Oh, they were totally working, but they dulled my sparkle. Yeah. So I decided it was, it was time to let it go. 

[00:05:11] Peter: I understand that. And so, so when you say dulled your sparkle, why .Did it make you, obviously it made you more focused, but it, did it take away that ooph or did it take away that creativity?

[00:05:20] Evie: It took, it took away the oomph. It took away a lot of, it just kind of suppressed everything. It’s almost as if, the way I describe it to people, like it’s if you turn the saturation down, I’m like the way you, the way you see everything. 

[00:05:32] Peter: So you decided to get off of it in seventh grade. 

[00:05:35] Evie: Um, in junior year of high school I started oh, junior 

[00:05:37] Peter: high school. Okay. Okay. But you said you were in the principal’s office a lot in high school? No, in middle school. In middle s. Okay. I’m confused. So you were on the meds and still gonna the principal’s office. Oh yes. Interesting. Okay. And what were, what were your charges? What were you, what were you usually busted for?

[00:05:53] Evie: Um, making an inappropriate song in the middle of class. , um, texting, um, chatting with a friend over here, not being able to control what came outta my mouth, things like that. Examples like, 

[00:06:09] Peter: All right, so obviously there are a ton of people listening right now who hear themselves in your story, , I mean, including me. Um, so what did you do, right? It’s obviously you can’t live the rest of your life just talking at a turn. I mean, maybe you can. So what happened?

[00:06:26] Evie: I think it actually wasn’t necessarily anything that changed in me, but something that changed in the people around me in that I think they realized I was a well-intentioned kid. Smart. I had a good head on my shoulders and I meant, I meant well. Um, I was loving and deep down I was really respectful. I just didn’t always show respect and often displayed disrespect. But, um, it had nothing to do with how I felt about my teachers or my peers and more to do with something that I was struggling with internally.

[00:07:00] Peter: Interesting. So, am I getting sort of the feeling that you just, for lack of a better word, just decided I’m gonna live my life. 

[00:07:09] Evie: Yeah, I did. I think like, I mean, I’m still at the point where I’m, you know, deciding, okay, I don’t have to change this. I don’t have to be self-conscious about this anymore. People around me are gonna have to learn to accept this, and I don’t have to be the one that stops kicking the desk or stops, you know, biting my fingernails or dozing off or seeming like I’m not paying attention when someone’s speaking because if they know me well enough, they’ll know that I am. . And I think like I’m, I think I’m still getting to that point in many ways and I’ll see other ways in which that manifests itself over time. But I think I have like chucked a lot of it in the efit bucket like I think that, um, there were many things, especially the way it manifests itself in the classroom, that I just said to myself, okay, so this might be something that I have to explain to teachers, not change, 

[00:07:54] Peter: Is there anything that you think may have to change? I mean, I, I am all in the category of, hey, here’s who I am, deal with it. But I also know that there are times, right. Especially in my quote unquote adult life, um, where I have to, okay, you’re, you’re going to listen to this visiting professor. You probably shouldn’t make a joke in the middle class, or things like that. Mm-hmm. . So are there any points that you’ve seen that yet?

[00:08:17] Evie: Yes. So I think now that I’m kind of in a more of a college setting, um, I find that, and even in high school, I find that when it, when it gets hard and I feel impulses coming on, or it’s hard for me to sit still in class, I just, I just leave and come back. Okay. Or I’ll do, I’ll do something else. I can’t be sitting still with thoughts and impulses and wanting to speak, and I’ll either be doodling or tapping my foot or bit like, uh, or, or I’ll just leave the room. 

[00:08:49] Peter: Interesting. Interesting. So you are, you’ve basically accepted what you have. You don’t take meds for it and you’re sort of pulling a a, a Greatest Showman. This is me. 

[00:09:02] Evie: Yes. This is me. . 

[00:09:04] Peter: Awesome. Okay. What did your, um, parents, uh, how were they when you first got diagnosed? What was their, what was their, uh, reaction?

[00:09:13] Evie: They, well, I, they took it very seriously, which is I think why I thought it was such a huge deal. They were like, you have ADHD , we’re gonna take you to a therapist, get you meds. And I was like, oh shit. I’m like, dying of something as hard . I was, I was really, I was really scared. Um, but my parents took it very seriously. I, lucky enough, I have a mom who works in the world of learning disabilities um, and she very much like got me the help I needed academically early on. You know, taught me that it’s a, it’s a gift, not a curse. And, um, even though I felt for a lot of my childhood, like it was, and I think I, I had parents who always reminded me that I’m gonna realize one day that my, I actually really do love the way my brain works. 

[00:09:59] Peter: Awesome. I love that. So what would you tell a kid who’s, uh, seven years old getting diagnosed? 

[00:10:05] Evie: That their brain is beautiful. Mm-hmm. .And it might take time to realize. And other people are gonna see it first. And other people are gonna tell you it’s not there, but you’ll see it over time. 

[00:10:17] Peter: Very, very cool. Very, very cool. Tell us how people can find you. Are you on any of the socials? 

[00:10:23] Evie: I am, I’m on social media. I am on Instagram and Snapchat. I don’t really have any other, 

[00:10:30] Peter: what’s your username on Instagram? I. 

Evie Kirshner, the letters E & V K I R S H N E R. 

Okay. Very cool. Well, okay. Thank you so much for taking the time. I appreciate it. 

[00:10:42] Evie: Thank you.

I’m gonna have you back, I’m gonna have you back next year and see how, uh, Emory’s treating you. I have a lot of friends who went there.

Oh, really? Okay. Well that’d be awesome. I’m looking forward to it.

[00:10:50] Peter: Very cool. Guys, you’ve been listening to Peter Shankman and this is, that was Evie Kirshner talking about Faster Than Normal and talking about how she grew up A D H D and when she finally decided to say screw it, and live her life and sounds to me like she’s doing just fine. We’ll be back next week with another episode. As always, wanna hear what you think, you can leave us, review anywhere, you can tell us what’s going on. Wanna thank Steven Byrom, who’s our editor, who constantly shakes his head when in the middle of an episode I go, oh, by the way, Steven, do this. So we love you, Steven, [Your Producer/editor loves you too, is proud of the work this podcast is doing and hopes that these transcripts are helpful!] and uh, we will see you guys next week with another episode of Faster Than Normal, and hopefully by then I’ll have some info on when the book will be out. So stay tuned. Thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you soon. 

Credits: You’ve been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We’re available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at I’m your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you’ve heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were composed and produced by Steven Byrom who also produces this podcast, and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll see you next week! 


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