The #1 ADHD podcast

on iTunes, hosted by

The #1 ADHD podcast on iTunes, hosted by

The Deep End + Shark Fins + ADHD a Deep Dive W/ Free-Diver Suzy Malseed

by Faster Than Normal

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 her own words:  Suzy Malseed is a high-energy Mum of twins, a competitive free-diver, a farmer, a reformed teacher and a neurodiversity advocate. Based in Australia, originally from New Zealand, Suzy maintains a ferocious appetite for adventure and travel, having lived in 6 countries and worked and stayed in many more! We have a few things in common, but can you guess the main similarity? Yep, ADHD! Also parachutes; but you’ve got to subscribe and listen for that story 😉  Enjoy and hey, thanks so much for subscribing to Faster Than Normal!  [you are now safely here ] 

01:00 – Introducing and welcome Suzy Malseed! 

03:50 – Most parents when their kids are diagnosed are like: “Wait- this sounds like me?”

05:09 – Shrek- Ogers are like Onions Ref

06:00 – On processing your ADHD

06:37 – Peter on Free Diving. Ref: Le Grande Blue  Luc Besson. [And If you loved the above ref, (or Philip Glass, or Portugal even), then this assistant editor strongly rec’s The 100 Foot Wave. It appears to also be a podcast now! Not a Luc Besson film however -Ed]

07:50 – On “the silence”……… while free diving and with very little gear 

Ref:  “If I dive to 30 meters, that is four times the pressure that we experience walking on the ground..feels like a giant bear hug, basically”. -Suzy Malseed 

09:24 – On Skydiving and the joy of finding a ‘thing’, if not your perfect hobby!

09:42 – Do you have techniques to get your head right, to get into the zone & ready to dive?

10:52 – On meditation. 

11:00 – How much does your heat rate decease when you put just your HEAD into the water? Ref: The Diving Reflex aka MDR

11:18 – What, what? Why?? Genetics??!

12:05 – On mental and physical adaptation & breaking the surface13:04- Are you good in Emergencies too? Please ell us in the comments!! [remember, we always read these at some point every few weeks]

14:04 – Is dopamine generation = wanderlust or/and wanderlust?  [US parlance + vernacular] 

14:20 – What else do I and we all not know about Free Diving; but should?

16:32 – When your back-up plan is to be prepared and try harder if… there is a next time, 98 feet down.

17:26 – Do you want to see what free diving in an Underwater Cave looks like?! [We have warned you!! [Trusted respect to AL + MCH & Co. btw -Ed ;-]

18:10 – Thank you Suzy Malseed!! 

“I would rather a child start therapy at an early age and learn that they’re brilliant; than spend the next 30 years undoing the belief that they are broken.  -Peter Shankman  June 7, 2023

18:14 –  How do our now Summer-shiney subscribers find out more about you? 

Web:  Will update if avail. Otago Times article from 2018 is here

Socials: @NoAirSuzy on:  INSTA  @SuzyMalseed on: Facebook

18:14 – Hey, you there! Yes YOU! We are thrilled that you are here & listening! 

ADHD and all forms of Neurodiversity are gifts, not curses. And by the way, if you haven’t picked up The Boy with the Faster Brain yet, it is on Amazon and it is a number one bestseller in all categories. Click HERE or via My link tree is here if you’re looking for something specific.

17:24 – 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! 

[ Ed: This is a relatively brand new experiment in editing show notes, transcriptions sort of; so if you notice any important, or significant goofs we’ve missed here or along, please do let us know @FasterNormal  Thanks! -sb] 


1. What is free diving?  Ref: Free Diving Safety 

Answer: Free diving is an activity that involves diving underwater without the aid of scuba diving equipment, but instead, relying on one’s ability to hold their breath and adapt to high pressure underwater.

2. What is the process involved in free diving?

Answer: The process involves a state of deep meditation to connect the mind, body, and breath. It involves getting a feeling in the body to confirm readiness and experiencing a mammalian dive reflex, which results in a 30% drop in heart rate when immersing the face in water.

3. What attracts people to free diving?

Answer: Many free divers are drawn to the sport due to the sensory deprivation it offers. The sport also requires a lot of respect for the body and its ability to adapt to the demands of the sport.

4. What is the connection between ADHD and free diving?

Answer: ADHD is highly represented in free diving. Many free divers with ADHD are drawn to the sport’s calming effect and the sensory deprivation it offers.

5. Can free diving be a solo activity?

Answer: Yes, free diving can be a solo activity, and the responsibility for success or failure rests solely on the diver.

6. What is the movie La Grand Blue about, and why is it significant?

Answer: La Grand Blue is a movie about a free diver who can slow down his heartbeat and go as deep as he wants. It is one of Luke Basal’s best films and launched the career of Eric Sierra and Jean Renault.

7. How does free diving compare to skydiving?

Answer: Both skydiving and free diving require a lot of preparation work before the activity. The speaker puts a lot of effort into checking their gear before skydiving and even dreams about it.

8. What is the connection between risk-taking and neurodiversity?

Answer: The speaker shares a love for risk-taking with their son. They both enjoy taking risks, but they are careful when doing so. This high appetite for risk-taking is much higher than the average person.

9. How was the speaker’s son diagnosed with developmental issues?

Answer: The speaker’s son was diagnosed with developmental issues by a specialist in Singapore who observed his high energy and sensory needs.

10. Why is silence important to the speaker in free diving?

Answer: The speaker experienced silence for the first time in their life when they first went underwater, and they are addicted to the quiet. The feeling of deep pressure on their body when diving is also compared to a welcoming hug.

TRANSCRIPT via and then corrected.. somewhat, (Ooh-ooh! Fourth and likely final trial run is today June 7, 2023. #gen_AI_for_whut??

Peter Shankman [00:00:40]: Ladies and gentlemen, good morning from wherever in the world you happen to be. And welcome to their episode of Faster Than Normal. My name is Peter Shankman. It is 5:30 in the morning when I am recording this, which can only mean one thing. We are talking to someone and interviewing someone on the other side of the world, because otherwise I’d be on my bike right now. I want you guys to meet Suzy Malseed. Suzy is with us today, who is a high energy mom of twins, or Mum, as she puts it, which cold give you some idea of where we’re talking to get this. She’s a competitive free diver. I cannot wait to talk about that! She’s a farmer, a reformed teacher, a neurodiversity advocate. She is based in Australia. Her two kids have ADHD. She’s originally from New Zealand. She believes she has ADHD. She’s a ferocious appetite for adventures and travel, having lived in six countries and worked and stayed in many more. Susie, good evening. Where you are. Good morning from where we are!

Suzy [00:01:26]: Hello, Peter!! How are you?

Peter Shankman [00:01:28]: It is great to have you back on the podcast. Love to talk with this. I found you because I started following you on Instagram because your Instagram is just you free diving, which is just some cool stuff. So I’m a huge fan. So thanks for taking the time today.

Suzy [00:01:42]: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.

Peter Shankman [00:01:44]: So there are a lot of topics here I want to cover. Both your children, ADHD, were they diagnosed? If so, where? If so, how? How old are they? Let’s start the so.

Suzy [00:01:55]: Yeah, my kids are twins and they were diagnosed pretty young, particularly my son. So he was diagnosed first, which is kind of often the case because girls present a little differently. And he was diagnosed pretty early, pretty easily, pretty obvious, if you know what I mean. Right, Add? It wasn’t necessarily something that I sort of went to the doctors and said, look, I think we’ve got some challenges. It was actually more because they were twins and because they were a little bit premy and we were living in Singapore at the time. Oh, wow. Yeah. And so singapore is amazing. It tends to be a little bit more on the clinical side, so they’re very good at tracking and than sort of thing. So they were tracking growth and checking up a lot of things. And it was actually only in quite a routine sort of pediatric appointment when the specialist just saw my son literally bouncing and just said and I just said, oh, no, he’s got high energy. I have too. And they just said, yeah, but there’s energy and then there’s energy. And I just went, oh, okay. Anyway, so we went there with Max pretty quickly, and it helped him a lot, to be honest, because it helped us to understand his sensory needs. That was probably the biggest thing that we had to get our heads around, is his sensory needs. He was very sensitive, so there was a lot of sort of putting his fingers in the ears and high pitched noises. He was very aversive to those sort of things. But he was also a sensory seeker, so he would love contact. He would love heavy contact. And once we understood that, we could do a lot of OT him. And we did a lot of physical work with him. I ran everywhere with him, on him, a scooter and a skateboard in the pool from a very young age, and his body just responded just so well to that heavy work. So I’m very grateful for understanding….

Peter Shankman [00:03:49]: Interesting. You said than you’re undiagnosed, but you probably have it like most parents when their kids are diagnosed. That’s how you figured out. You’re like, Wait, this sounds like me 100%.

Suzy [00:04:01]: I mean, as I was reading reading to learn more, to understand how to advocate for my son, I just sort of went, oh, my God. Well, that’s me. And it was sort of the risk taking type stuff. I’ve never really put it all together, but I’m a very high energy person. I always have been. I’ve always had a ridiculous appetite for risk, but not in a stupid way. So from the outside, it might look like you’re doing crazy stuff, but I’ve actually thought about everything I’ve done before I’ve done it. But my appetite for risk is certainly much higher than the average person. And I saw it with my son as well. He would jump off very high things, but he knows how to land, and that’s the difference, right? Little parachute landing, and he’s just not scared of getting hurt. And I’ve had the same thing. I’m not scared of getting hurt, which is probably quite weird, but when you’ve lived your whole life in the same body, you don’t really realize how strange it is until you sort of put it all together. And it’s like peeling an onion. As you get older, you realize a little bit more every year.

Peter Shankman [00:05:09]: I always think back to that great line in Shrek. Onions are like ogres. Oh, they smell. No, they have layers. But it’s very true. It’s a complicated peel. It’s interesting. And I talk about this all the time, which is great segue into talking about free diving. I never felt any kind of sense of release until I did my first race, until I did my first skydive, until I did all these things that allowed me to get as much dopamine as I ever wanted than I was doing stuff that would get me in trouble in school. And it’d be a nice quick hit, but it’d always come with a punishment. So, yeah, when you find that thing, it changes everything. And I’m sure your kids figured that out.

Suzy [00:05:46]: Oh, absolutely. And for me, when I was at school, I mean, being a female, it’s different again, like, I was the class clown, like you sort of alluded to in your book and stuff as well. It’s very similar. And I never realized that I was doing it. I wouldn’t have said than I was doing it to get a laugh. I was just quite flippant, and my brain just goes so fast. I would think of things very quickly. And it did get me into a fair bit of trouble, of course, but yeah. And you do realize after a while I did figure out that I was chasing adrenaline. I didn’t understand that I was also chasing dopamine. So there’s been a lot more come out since. Every year we learn more. So that’s an interesting bit to put together.

Peter Shankman [00:06:26]: All right, speaking of dopamine, let us talk about free diving. How cool. I’ve never done it, but I actually can’t. Funnily enough, I have something called a peritoneal shunt in my spine. I can’t go below like 20ft or.

Suzy [00:06:40]: I’ll.

Peter Shankman [00:06:42]: But let’s talk about free diving. I first learned about free diving high, as I’m sure you’re familiar with in the movie La Grande Blue. Yes, I saw that movie in college, Add. Holy shit. Did that just captivate the hell out of me. It started my love affair with Jean Renew. If you haven’t seen La Grande Blue, it’s one of Luke Basal’s best films. Luke Basal is the guy who did the original of Fem Nikita. Not that American bullshit, but the original version, the French version. And La Grande blue launched Eric Sierra’s career and launched Jean Renault’s career as well. So I strongly encourage you to check out La Grand Blue. But it is about a free diver and who just has this incredible ability to go as deep as he wants and slow his heartbeat down like something like six beats a minute. The first question I want to ask it must be I’m sure the dope mean hit is amazing, but the silence must be incredible.

Suzy [00:07:39]: Yes. This is the thing. When I first went underwater was the first time in my whole life I’ve ever experienced silence. Like, my whole mind just went quiet. And that is what I’m probably addicted to the most, is just the quiet. I just love it. And then there’s also pressure. So you’re familiar with every 10 meters of depth, there’s an additional atmosphere of pressure on the body right. So when we’re sort of walking around on the ground, we have 1 ATM of pressure on our body. When we go 10 meters below surface, we have two atmospheres of pressure. Every 10 meters past that is an additional. So if I dive to 30 meters, I have four atmospheres of pressure on my body. Four times the pressure that we experience on the walking around on the ground. Now that feels like a giant bear hug, basically. And the really interesting thing is you either like it or you don’t like it, to be honest. And I love that feeling. It’s deep pressure to me. It just feels like a big welcoming hug. And that’s a sensory thing for sure. So I have a few head starts, I think in terms of my natural ability to be able to be very good at the sport, sort of just drew me in from the start because I’ve actually been helping other people along the way. And sometimes when I watch their journey, it seems so foreign to me because it was so different to my journey. So they tell me about how scary it is and they tell me all than and I’m just like I can see that they are scared, so it’s their truth. But I don’t understand it because I’ve never had any fear around free diving. For me, it’s just the most beautiful sport you could ever do.

Peter Shankman [00:09:24]: I think it’s the same for Skydiving when I’m never more free. Because when I jump out of that plane, I only have two options. I’m going to live or I’m going to die. That’s it. Yes.

Suzy [00:09:34]: Quite a cool feeling, right? Peter Shankman [00:09:35]: It is. It’s wonderful. It’s the most free I’ll ever be.

Suzy [00:09:38]: Yeah. 

Peter Shankman [00:09:42]: So one of the things about Skydiving, I’m assuming it’s the same with Freediving, is there is a not of prep work that goes into it. And a lot of for me, it’s checking my gear, it’s making sure that everything’s right. The point where I have dreams about it. And my parents, once when they came to, they weren’t too happy I was doing it. But when they first came to watch me, they told me were shocked at how meticulous I was because I was never that meticulous for anything in my life. And all of a sudden I’m here checking all my gear and I’m doing double check and triple check. So I’m curious, do you have routines before you go? You don’t just jump in the water and dive. So do you have things that you do to sort of get your head right, to get into that zone to get ready to go?

Suzy [00:10:24]: Yeah. The cool thing with free diving is we don’t have a lot of gear. So that’s pretty cool. Compared to scuba diving or technical diving. They have a lot of gear. They have all of that check check stuff. We don’t have that. But obviously we have to go through our own process. The process that I go through is basically I would consider it. I was very deep meditation. So it is my way of connecting in my mind, my body and my breath. I get a feeling in my body and then I know I’m okay, I’m ready. Everything’s like you just quieten down, everything. And then your heart rate flows. It’s called a mammalian dive reflex. So every human gets this. When you hop in the water and immerse your face you’ll get a 30% drop in heart rate. That’s a given, right? Everyone gets that? Yeah. 

Peter Shankman [00:11:11]: Wow. When you’re in the water say it again, say it again.

Suzy [00:11:16]: So when you immerse your face in water you get a 30% drop in heart rate.

Peter Shankman [00:11:22]: That is incredible. Why?!

Suzy [00:11:24]:  It’s genetic. So it goes back to when we were little, whatever you think we were before. A little fishy somewhere along the line. Yes. It’s called the mammalian mammal. Mammalian dive reflex. MDR. Yes, I’ve heard of that.

Peter Shankman [00:11:39]: Okay.

Suzy [00:11:39]: Yeah, no I know!

Peter Shankman [00:11:40]: 30%. That’s amazing.

Suzy [00:11:42]: It’s a big drop and so that’s a real thing. So that sense of comfort and feeling like you’re really supposed to be there comes over you. And then of course I suppose one of the other reasons I just love the sport so much is how much your body adapts is just you have so much respect for your body. So your body can adapt to pressure. Obviously we take one breath at the surface and that breath has got to carry us through all of the equalizations of our masks, our sinuses, our ears all the way down to the bottom and then all the way back. And the more you dive, the more you free dive, the more your body adapts to what you’re asking it to do. And that happens with everything that we do, as you would know with your own body and your training. And free diving is perhaps an extreme example of that because when you take your breath on the surface and you leave, it’s just you and it’s like jumping out of a plane. It’s just you. There’s no one to blame, it’s no one else, it’s just you. And like you said to me, it’s just so freeing. I go very silent and very quiet in that response. And are you good in emergencies and things like that. Like do you have that same sort of response where whenever everyone else panic.

Peter Shankman [00:13:04]: I’m perfect in emergencies I’m terrible at real life. 

Suzy [00:13:07]: Exactly.

Peter Shankman [00:13:08]: But throw an emergency there and I’m the guy you want.

Suzy [00:13:11]: Correct? Yeah. And I’m exactly the same and I figured that out along my life as well. Everyone. And when I was a kid I used to tell myself, I don’t know why, but I live in opposite land and that’s just how I prioritize it on my head. So someone else would go yay, we’re having a massive party. And I would go oh my god.

Peter Shankman [00:13:28]: Exactly. Well you know, you just made me realize something. I think that part of that might be because when you’re in an emergency, you don’t have time for social anxiety. There’s never any small talk in the emergency.

Suzy [00:13:40]: True. Yeah.

Peter Shankman [00:13:42]: I just realized that there’s no small talk in emergency. It’s get shit done now.

Suzy [00:13:46]: Yes. And we can be who we really are, like instead of niceties. And the other one I wanted to touch with you is travel. So I know that you’re a massive traveler and I’m the same and quite extreme stuff as well. Probably when I look back in it, I have an appetite for that. And I think it boils down to the same sort of really ridiculous survival instinct which I quite enjoy, which is basically you’re only going to eat when you figure out how to go get the food that you want to get and how to make yourself understood.

Peter Shankman [00:14:16]: That’s kind of a cool thing very much. I love that. What else? What am I not asking you about? Freediving? I don’t know enough about it to know what to ask you. What am I not asking?

Suzy [00:14:29]: Okay, so I think that ADHD is quite highly represented in free diving, to be honest. When I consider other free divers and I look around I see a lot of people who are like me and I believe that we’re all drawn to the sport for the same reason, which is like a form of sensory deprivation, if you know what I mean. A lot of times we’re actually diving in black water and that freaks some people really out. But we just close our eyes and I suppose how do you do that? Well, you have to find a way to surrender. You have to understand than the more you relax, the better your dive will be, the more tense you are, the worse your dive will be. So you have to switch off and there really is no choice. And if anything happens when you’re under the water like I’ve had a couple of little incidences along the way. I had this time when I was swimming through a wreck and it was a fun dive with some other free divers and as I was going through the wreck and coming up through the wheelhouse, the back of my fin came off and I was sort of like it just came over me. I’m like, oh my God, I’m 30 meters down. I’ve already been here for at least a minute and now I only have one fin. If I panic, I’m toast. And you just go through that process and you’re like, right, I have to cross my legs to make you can picture yourself crossing your legs and than do the dolphin movement to make your one fin work and just get yourself to the surface fast. And you just know that you have no space for panic so you have to stay calm.

Peter Shankman [00:16:10]: I’m panicking listening to that story and I get it. I mean, you’re in a position like same thing with Skydiving. Knock on wood. I haven’t had to use my reserve yet, 500 jumps, but I’m sure at some point I will and I’ll know what to do. But yeah, I mean, I guess it’s that premise of what is your other option? Right? There is no other option.

Suzy [00:16:30]: That’s right. There’s no other option.

Peter Shankman [00:16:32]: Add, it’s interesting because we worry about I’m sitting here, I’m listening to you. I’m like, Jessa, Christ, it’s 98ft underwater, and she loses a fin. And I’m thinking you can’t stop to get it right. You just sort of have to let it go. And so, okay, do what you have to do. Right. And this is what you train for.

Suzy [00:16:50]: That’s right.

Peter Shankman [00:16:51]: And again, there’s no small talk. There’s no, oh, what would you rather do? There’s no oh, honey, I don’t know. What do you want to eat tonight? No, it’s get out. Yeah, right. So you make than work. No, it makes perfect sense. But Jessa, 98ft of door. It’s it’s so funny. The only thing that that really physically scares me to the point where I can’t even watch it is these guys who do sunken wet cave diving where they wear the air and they go into these ridiculously tight. And there’s always a story, like people who have died doing that. I’m watching them skirt through these caves that are like they have half an inch above them. They have to take off the air bottle and put it next. What is wrong with you people? Yeah, I’ll go jump into a perfectly plane because I’m not going to get Stuck through the middle of the earth, Jessa. Peter Shankman [00:17:47]: But, yeah, I get the freedom. I totally get the freedom that you feel it. But again, Steven, free diving is more freedom because you’re not stuck in between the middle of the earth. I don’t know.

Suzy [00:17:56]: That’s right.

Peter Shankman [00:17:57]: Anyway, I want to be respectful of your time. Suzy, this was amazing. What a great story. I really like to have you back, if at all possible. Next time I’m down under, next time in Australia, I’m coming to visit, no question about it. You can take me out of the water.

Peter Shankman [00:18:09]: That would be awesome.

Suzy [00:18:10]: Absolutely. Yeah. We’ve got some nice things.

Peter Shankman [00:18:12]: Thank you so much for taking the time. I really, really appreciate it.

Suzy [00:18:15]: Thank you, Peter. Keep up the good work.

Peter Shankman [00:18:17]: Thank you, guys. As always. Faster Than Normal is intended for you and yours! Shoot me, email. Let me know you want to hear. Peter I’m at Peter Shankman everywhere but Twitter, because Twitter sucks. Now, Add, if you’re on Blue Sky, you can find me there, too. Let us know what you want to hear faster than most for you. We’ll see you guys next week. ADHD is a gift on a curse, and I’d rather here’s my new quote. I would rather a child start therapy at an early age and learn that they’re brilliant than spend the next 30 years undoing the belief that they’re broken. We’ll see you soon, guys. Stay safe. 

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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