AuDHD & Me: Growing Up Distracted” by Laura Adams Promotes ADHD Awareness Support in Ireland
We are thrilled to be joined again by the makers of Skylight Calendar! Enjoy this podcast knowing that we used it to get this one to you on time! 🙂 You can order yours by going to www.skylightcal.com and using the discount code PETER for 10% off of this 15” device up to $30.
Having ADD or ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Hear from people all around the globe, from every walk of life, in every profession, from Rock Stars to CEOs, from Teachers to Politicians, who have learned how to unlock the gifts of their ADD and ADHD diagnosis, and use it to their personal and professional advantage, to build businesses, become millionaires, or simply better their lives. Our Guest today in their own wordsI’m a neurodiverse author, researcher, and advocate. For much of my life, I felt
different from my peers, as if I was behind a glass wall, unable to connect with them.
I had my way of thinking and doing things, which often made me feel isolated and
unworthy, resulting in the need to prove myself by taking on too many challenges at
once, such as working full-time (Animal welfare officer in preclinical research) and
doing a full-time PhD (in the behavioral response of crustaceans to anthropogenic
noise), Planning a wedding and organizing a mortgage while discussing house plans with an architect (Not counting everyday chores and exercising). I did slow down when I got pregnant by moving to a part-time position. Eventually, after too many meltdowns and close to burnout, I decided to step back from my PhD and job to find answers. In March this year, at the age of 33, after living with a brain that found it impossible to concentrate, with constant migraines, anxiety and fatigue. I received a Formal ADHD diagnosis and informal Autism. It was like a light bulb turned on in my head, and I felt a new sense of acceptance and empowerment. I started to embrace my neurodiversity and celebrate my strengths and talents. I’ve been on a creative spree. I’ve written and published two children’s books on Amazon, and I’ve also written a book that you could call part memoir, part encyclopedia and part research on ADHD and Autism. It’s called “AuDHD and Me:
Growing Up Distracted”. In it, I share my experiences and the stories of other
neurodiverse individuals who have overcome challenges and achieved amazing
things. My goal is to raise awareness and understanding of neurodiversity, especially in
Ireland, where I live. I want to help others in a similar situation or who wish to learn
more about their unique brains. Enjoy!
[You are now safely here]
00:04 – Skylight calendar a practical, joyful organizational tool for families.
Use the code “PETER” for a nice discount!
00:40 – Thank you again so much for listening and for subscribing!!
02:01 – Introducing and Welcome Author Laura Adams! She loves Skylight Calendar as well.
03:08 – On the increase in ADHD diagnoses in Ireland & the lack of government support/funding for neurodiverse individuals, particularly in education.
04:17 – Tell us about your life before & after your ADHD diagnosis and how it shifted your perspective!
05:00 – Laura’s book AuDHD can be found here! [See below for Non-US links**]
06:00 – On understanding ADHD and how it applied to her own experiences.
06:57 – Peter Shankman highlights the common misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding ADHD and the relief that comes with getting a diagnosis.
07:30 – Laura Adams discusses the transformative effect of receiving a diagnosis and how it has empowered her to step out of her comfort zone and share her experiences.
10:07 – On becoming a Marine Biologist & researching stress & audio in crustaceans.
13:31 – On how improving focus via medication may enhance thesis writing
16:05 – How can people find you Laura?
Web: Laura’s book AuDHD can be found here!
Socials: LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/laura-adams-297716b6
16:29 – On the struggle to overcome Imposter Syndrome
17:00 – Thanks so much for joining ”Faster Than Normal” just about every week!! We appreciate you and your words and work so much! Onwards! Please join us again very soon!
OH! And… If you haven’t picked up The Boy with the Faster Brain yet, it is on Amazon and it is a number #1 One bestseller in all categories. Click HERE or via https://amzn.to/3FcAKkI My link tree is here if you’re looking for something specific. https://linktr.ee/petershankman
You may find Laura’s new book anywhere, or specifically, here!
Germany: https://buff.ly/44msxnw ( best option to order with shipment to Ireland)
UK: https://buff.ly/3YG9ovN (due to Amazon settings, some may not be able to order from the UK site – Laura has explored many options to have this issue resolved, however sometimes you can’t jump over the fence with the technology)
TRANSCRIPT via Castmagic.io and then corrected.. pretty-much.
You’re listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast, where we know that having ADD or ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Each week we interview people from all around the globe, from every walk of life in every profession. From rock stars to CEOs, from teachers to politicians who have learned how to unlock the gifts of their add and ADHD diagnosis and used it to their personal and professional advance edge to build businesses, to become millionaires, or to simply better their lives. And now, here’s the host of the Faster Than Normal podcast
If you haven’t picked up The Boy with the Faster Brain yet, it is on Amazon and it is a number #1 One bestseller in all categories. Click HERE or via https://amzn.to/3FcAKkI My link tree is here if you’re looking for something specific. https://linktr.ee/petershankman
Laura Adams, a neurodiverse author, researcher, and advocate, shares her experience of receiving a formal ADHD diagnosis at the age of 33. She discusses the growing awareness and diagnosis of ADHD in Ireland, particularly among women. Laura talks about how her diagnosis brought a sense of acceptance and empowerment, and how it prompted her to embrace her neurodiversity. She explains how her symptoms were often misunderstood or dismissed, and how discovering the different presentation of ADHD in women opened her eyes to her own experiences. Getting diagnosed was a life-changing moment for Laura, giving her the confidence to speak out, write a book, and share her story.
Hey, everyone. Peter Shankman, and welcome to another episode of Faster than Normal. I want to give a shout out over the past several weeks, as I’ve been doing to a wonderful, wonderful Advertiser Skylight Calendar. I know I talk about them every week, but obviously what I’m saying is resonating because they’re telling me that people are purchasing through Faster Than Normal, which I think is awesome. Skylight calendar is a little little thing that hangs on my wall in my kitchen. And every morning before breakfast, my daughter and I look at the calendar and we see what chores she has. She sees what meetings I have. We see who’s picking her up from school. We see if she has anything after school. Every time she completes a chore, she clicks on a little dot on the screen and it disappears. And it makes her really happy and it makes me really happy. And today, being her first day of school, we are back to using it every single day. And she absolutely loves it. She gets to put her homework in it. We get to upload photos to it. It is just a phenomenal device. Skylight Calendar. Use the code Peter at Skylight Calendar. Skylightcal.com. Use the code Peter and you’ll get a really nice discount. It has saved us. We don’t argue anymore about who has to do what, and that is pretty awesome. So I am very grateful to Skylight Calendar. They also make an awesome frame as well for just pictures. nCheck that out too.
Welcome to Faster than Normal. We’ve been off for a couple of weeks, so it is awesome to be back. I want to introduce Laura Adams. We’re going all the way to Ireland today, and that’s about the extent of my Irish accent, but we’re going to Ireland. We’re talking to Laura Adams, who is a neurodiverse, author, researcher, and advocate. She got diagnosed at the age of 33 after, mind you, she managed to work full time, do a full time PhD, plan a wedding, organize a mortgage, not counting everyday tours and exercising. Oh, and she also got pregnant. But in March of this year, at the age of 33, living with a brain that found it impossible to concentrate with constant migraines, anxiety, and fatigue, she received a formal ADHD diagnosis and informal autism. So we’re starting to see a connection there as well. Light bulb turned on in her head. She felt a new sense of acceptance and empowerment. And she’s starting to embrace her neurodiversity. She read fast, add normal. She has listened to the podcast and she’s like, I got to be on. She’s published two children’s books on Amazon, which is better than I’ve done. I’ve only published one. She’s written a book you call part memoir, part encyclopedia, and part research called AuDHD and Me: Growing Up Distracted. So let us talk to Laura. Welcome to Faster than Normal.
Laura [00:03:08]: Hi. Hello. So cool! Going to go full nerd now.
Peter Shankman [00:03:14]: It’s great to have you here. I love that you’re on the podcast. I love that you listen to the podcast. So Ireland has Ireland not embraced or is not talking about ADHD or neurodiversity? Is it not a big thing there yet? What’s the story?
Laura [00:03:28]: Well, the last few years, probably just last two years in particular, it’s shot up. Like, there’s actually so many diagnosis coming in to Ireland, mostly from women, and I didn’t have no idea of this until I got diagnosed myself, but there’s so many women getting diagnosed in Ireland now. But we’re kind of in the government will put legislations out and they’re like, good job. We put legislation out, patting the back. And then they don’t enforce it because there’s no funding or there’s not enough training. And it’s just great. We did something and then nothing’s done about it. So I’m kind of wanting to drive home, especially in education, it’s like, kids do need help and if you’re just kind of going, we did a great job, and then they’re just leaving it, nothing’s going to go well. Nothing’s going of course, that’s where I’m at.
Peter Shankman [00:04:17]: So when you got diagnosed, talk for a second about what that was like. Talk for a second about how you felt before what happened when you got diagnosed and how you felt immediately after.
Laura [00:04:33]: I think this dream was gone a year, really, before I just was sitting down doing my PhD thesis and I just couldn’t read. It was like all the I was agreed in a sentence, but I just couldn’t connect the sentence together. I felt like I was just scrolling. Everything was a blur and I just couldn’t concentrate on all I thought, that’s it, I can’t live like this anymore. It’s been going on for too long. So I just went, right, I need answers. So I started with autism diagnosis because all my life had been told I was a little bit autistic. So I was like, OK, I’ll start there. That’s a good place. I contacted adult autism Ireland. The website and the sent me a whole load of questionnaires and there’s so much of it. But one of the in particular was called the as or S, I think five ADHD characteristics. They know themselves that autism and ADHD kind of go a lot of the time, hand in hand. Like there are a lot more people who have ADHD with autism, with ADHD, or vice versa. I can’t remember the actual statistics, but I scored incredibly high, like, way high than I would have thought on ADHD characteristics, especially in a sensory type. And I went down this rabbit hole of Ted Talks, and mostly women, and they used for so long. I’ve looked up some of the symptoms I had, and I couldn’t find anything. But these women were saying exactly it had the words for it.
Peter Shankman [00:06:00]: Yeah, because for the first time in your life, for the first time in your life, you were looking at ADHD from a different perspective. The concept of ADHD in boys and in men presents entirely differently than ADHD in girls and in women.
Laura [00:06:11]: Yeah, because I’ve heard about it twice. Maybe in my life, ADHD would be mentioned twice. And usually people are going, oh, it’s not real. And I kind of going, of course. I went okay. I don’t know. I have to look into something before I make a judgment. But it went right over my head. I was like, oh, another thing I won’t be interested in. So I didn’t even think about it until it actually was right in my face. But it’s funny how that is the mindset of so many people, they’re just not paying attention, or they’re not trying hard enough, or they’re just daydreamers. You’ve probably heard them, all the excuses people tend to make for people who are like, we are trying really hard. Thank you very much. There’s a reason why I have this migraine bu that’s the mindset that it was kind of what I was told about ADHD was brought up.
Peter Shankman [00:06:57]: Getting diagnosed and getting a name towards what you’ve been feeling is an amazing it’s an amazing relief. And it’s funny because and I think you tell me your feelings on this. You break your leg, right? You see a bone sticking out of the middle of your leg. You’re like, well, shit, I broke my leg. You don’t need to get diagnosed when you see a bone sticking out of the middle of your leg, right? But you have these internal problems. It’s the premise of, oh, you don’t look sick. Nothing must be wrong with you, right? And when you finally are able to put those two and two together, it’s life changing, actually.
Laura [00:07:30]: Complete. And I say the switch was almost because I’m very low confidence. This would be something I’d never do. Talking to someone on a podcast, it’s just an impossibility. I thought, no way I’d write a book. No way I’d put up an Instagram page. No way I’d do any of that. And then as soon as I got the diagnosis, these little gears were starting to turn my head, and I was like, removing what I thought I could do to, oh, I can do this. This is very possible. And next thing, I’m just I wrote a book in a few months is the editing that was the longest. And I had, like, greeted children’s books and I was in contact with people and I was like, what is this? Is a completely different person. I thought I never was, but it’s just the fact I took away the oh, I must clearly be stupid or I must clearly be incapable of doing this because I was told I was incapable or if I can’t do this, I’m being told I just have to work harder. Clearly something I’m not just not able to do it. That’s the kind of labels I created for myself. This label of ADHD is so much better than this label of you’re stupid, you’re slow. You have so much potential if you just worked harder.
Peter Shankman [00:08:44]: No, it’s true. It’s definitely a wake up call. A lot of people listening as well as myself grew up with the you just need to apply yourself. And looking back on it, we were trained to not I never talked back to my teachers. I always, yes, ma’am, no, ma’am, and not I look back to bitch. I was applying myself. That’s the problem. It’s this sort of massive wake up call than if I could go back and tell my 6th grade teacher, mr. Hecker, hey, dude. I was applying my ass off and it wasn’t sinking in. And that was the most I think it’s one thing when you fail or when you don’t do well and you know it’s because you weren’t trying. It’s another thing when you try your butt off and it still doesn’t click. Go ahead.
Laura [00:09:26]: Because I would do really well in certain subjects. Like I had have a publication with pain in crustaceans, but then I was like, I can’t do this. Other things like, how did I manage that? Bu can’t manage this. So clearly I’m just lucky or I fooled people. And that’s the thing. You just can’t go, maybe I lied to them and that’s how or maybe it was luck.
Peter Shankman [00:09:48]: And then you just comes from you don’t believe anything you’ve done. Everything you’ve done is luck. Everything I’ve done is luck. And you’re sure you wake up every day with the fear that stays the day. You’re going to get found out.
Laura [00:09:57]: Yeah, that’s exactly it. Really fast.
Peter Shankman [00:10:00]: I was going to ask this. What the hell is the behavioral response of crustaceans to anthropologenic noise? Which was who does a PhD in that? What is that?!
Laura [00:10:07]: When I was younger, like three or four, I wanted to be a marine biologist. And I was like I couldn’t spell the word, but I knew I wanted to be it. And I was like, I want to play. Like, I want to work with dolphins and seals. But when I went into my Masters, I like, OOH, crustaceans and crabs are interesting. I never would have thought of that in my life. It was like, there’s something they’re so they don’t have any facial expressions. You have no idea what these things are thinking or can they think? Or are they actually do anything other than move side to side and eat stuff? So noticing that changes in their behaviors or their physiology is actually their signs of stress. So my initial publication was looking at the pain response. Is it just the fact that they’re moving around more when you electrocute them? It’s like the electrical electric shock or is it the stress? And my research shows that there is definitely more of a stress response in their I was looking at hemolyphistic their blood, so I was looking at lactate level in their blood. And it was much higher in individuals who are shocked than individuals who are not shocked, even if they were both moving around. So I was like, oh, there’s something going on there. But I don’t like shocking animals. Like, I felt guilty every single time I did it. And I turned to alcohol nearly every experimental days. I went, I can’t do this, that’s not healthy. So I turned to noise stress instead. And I just looked at how anthropogenic noise with human boat noise really is irritating or can cause an anxiety like response to in these shore crabs, which you see around the beaches everywhere and how they respond to it. I just wanted to see how long term noise affects their anxiety like response or their aggression levels. And if it is, aggression in crabs is incredibly important. I was like, oh, I feel like they stop me at any time. I’ll keep going. It’ll be like a firearm not.
Peter Shankman [00:12:03]: I loved it. That makes a lot of sense, though, because I know there were studies in the US. About how military boats affect was like
Laura [00:12:14]: That was a big especially sonar causing a lot of strandings. I would like to make sure that I actually remember the easiest words like strandings and I can remember anthropogenic. How can I forget the easiest words sometimes? But it’s amazing how these especially in shy and rare whales would you like to be somewhere? I think there’s only like 50 something left of these whales in New Zealand. And if they’re scared by noise, they’ll move away from the area they’re safe and right into the path of predators. And there’s like there’s only 50 something of these whales left and it could be eaten because I guess ship scared them. And it’s just like a lot of this is but then we never think about the shorecrafts as well. Who pretty much are the food for everything else, or the paws, not even irrigation. Cold be the word. They kind of churn pretty much the soil and provide food for a not of other food items for animals. So I was like, I like to look at the base not just like whales, but not so much anymore messes.
Peter Shankman [00:13:16]: With the entire ecosystem. No, I get that.
Laura [00:13:18]: Yeah. Like a wonderful thing.
Peter Shankman [00:13:21]: So what is the biggest difference now that you’ve been diagnosed. And now that you’re working under the auspices of what I have as a gift as opposed to what you have.
Laura [00:13:31]: My thesis writing is so much easier than I was before. And also I’m less hard on myself. And these are just I have these little tweaks. Not really tweaks, but I’ll go to the gym more. I did take the lowest dose of medication you can get kind of just to turn me into concentration mode every now and again. Because with it, it’s just a little bit better than coffee. But I don’t use it that much. I use it when I’m working, but not as much. But without knowing this, I would literally type out a sentence, get distracted, talk about a completely different topic entirely in my thesis, without putting any full stop or finishing the sentence before I’d have information that should be at the end of the thesis, at the beginning of the thesis. And everything would be all over the place, but nothing will be in a linear story. Everything would just be all over the place and that would be like, I can’t believe the difference. I can actually notice these things now. I go, oh, that’s not supposed to be there. I’m going to move that. This actually reads like a proper story. The characters are actually there. There’s some type of linear storytelling going on rather than whatever I did before. Bu. It’s just confusing for everyone.
Peter Shankman [00:14:52]: Last question only because we’re running short of time and I want to have you back. Yes, of course. What would you tell someone who was in your place five years ago?
Laura [00:15:01]: It’s really don’t be so hard on yourself. I think that is actually the thing than was crippling me because even the smallest thing that I did wrong, I would beat myself up for years. I would say I was the worst person in the world. I’d have to work harder to try to prove it when really what I was doing was perfectly fine. It’s just I can’t get over how hard on yourself that you can be. Even my doctor started crying was pretty much interior saying, you’re being so hard on yourself, that would be the biggest thing because if I didn’t have that, the weight off your shoulders is incomparable. I’m like, I’m not as tired of myself. I’m actually stepping away when I need to rather than pushing forward when it’s impossible. And the migraines have reduced. I used to have them every single week and they’d last for three days weekly. So that is the biggest change. I probably had, like one little mild headache today because I was nervous about talking to people like I was on this, but then I was like, that disappeared very fast. I was probably more excited than but it’s amazing, that difference.
Peter Shankman [00:16:06]: I love that.
Laura [00:16:06]: And the meltdowns. Very cool.
Peter Shankman [00:16:12]: Laura, thank you so much for taking the time all the way from Ireland to talk to us today on Fast Than Normal. Love to have you back. Love the work you’re doing out there to make a difference. We’ll definitely bring you back on. Thank you so much.
Laura [00:16:23]: Thank you so much. I’ll be probably the only episode I won’t listen to because of my voice, but other than than sounds great.
Peter Shankman [00:16:29]: Get the imposter syndrome out of your head listening to Faster Than Normal. We love having you. Let us know who you want to hear on the podcast. We will get them on. Thank you so much for listening. We will see you next week. Again, thanks to Skylight Calendar for sponsoring and we’ll talk to you guys soon. Be well.
Credits: You’ve been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We’re available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I’m your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at shankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. All now on https://www.threads.net/@petershankman 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!