How I learned to Love Myself
I totally get your pain.
I was diagnosed around age 5 with ADHD in 1985. At the time, very little was known about the disorder and to me it was only the reason I couldn’t pay attention - nothing else. In spite of my diagnosis, I achieved academic success. I have a double BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Political Science & Communications and International Security Studies & Rhetoric. Before discovering coaching, I built a substantial career in the digital marketing field. To the outside world I looked successful. In truth, I was constantly struggled to keep up and appear "normal".
In my 20’s I was plagued by mysterious medical symptoms that confounded doctors. After seeking answers for over 10 years I was at my wit’s end and wanted to give up on western medicine. In my 30's I found a functional medicine doctor who actually partnered with me on my health. This approach empowered me to take control of my own health. I also started to see a psychiatrist who specialized in ADHD.
Together all of these experiences led me to understand just how much I’d accomplished despite the limitations ADHD had put on me. They also helped me to see the damage I was doing to my body by not paying attention nor respecting the differences inherent to an ADHD brain and body. By constantly masking my ADHD symptoms to fit into the world around me without showing my differences I was putting my body under constant stress. These additional health issues were the physical manifestation of inflammation from years of trauma/anxiety (the effect of the sympathetic nervous system being constantly activated on the body) I forced myself to endure.
My journey over the last 30 years has given me such a wealth of information in health, neurology, and ADHD that I knew I couldn’t go back to the Digital Marketing world after my 2020 Covid layoff.
Additionally I lost my older brother to addiction in 2019. He and I were both diagnosed with ADHD at the same time yet had vastly different experiences in life.
I let these things be my springboard into the world of ADHD coaching, consulting, advocacy and education work. In the Fall of 2020 I founded the website FlexYourADHD.com with a mission to empower and educate our online community. Since then the community has grown significantly and I’ve been on a few podcasts to promote it. I’d like for this community project, FlexYourADHD, to become a non-profit or a b-corp led by a volunteer board of directors that would help direct the future of the community.
In the Spring of 2021 I began my journey to certification for ADHD coaching with the ADD Coaches Academy or ADDCA. Now I want to help others understand their unique brains and embrace their differences to lead happier lives. I’ll continue on my educational journey and advocate for all people with ADHD.
Here’s a lovely little ADHD fact that’s not secret but sure feels like it: most adults with ADHD have formed some type of ptsd around defining life moments. A special group of us will unintentionally frequently replay these negative memories - ruminating on them. That’s where I was, pre therapy and self work. I was also acting out the part of Dorsey. Or what I saw others thought I should be. Why? It was easier than dealing with all the conflicting emotions, incoming sensations, and external stimuli my ADHD brain had no way of stopping.
All because of the way our brains are wired.
I have ADHD and there is nothing wrong with me. Now my mission is to help others see what ADHD truly is, a difference of biology. Something that doesn’t have to hold you back. That doesn’t predetermine where you’ll end up in life. With the right knowledge and support you can take control of your future.
Additionally I’m speaking out because I want to help erase the stigma associated with mental health. Specifically around the self care required to live a happy and fulfilling life with ADHD.
As a society we need to get rid of the “keep your skeletons in a closet” attitude. I want to help educate people about ADHD and all the different ways this neurodevelopmental disorder manifests. Society knows so little about it and when you do hear it discussed it's usually in reference to a squirrel. ADHD does not affect intelligence though it does mean you have a different type of brain. A brain that works differently, that learns differently.
I'm also a self taught artist. You can see my work at DorseyMakes.com!