Living With ADHD: Elise

Living with ADHD

In the blogging world you hear a lot about influencers. Since I do not consider myself a blogger, I have a whole different group of influencers.  My community.

After nearly 3 years of writing, researching and learning from women with ADHD I felt like it was time to tell some of their stories.

I always knew I wanted to form a community.

What I didn’t realize was that there was so much we could learn from each other.

Working with me should be reassuring, not something that raises your anxiety. So I like to keep a friendly tone and I let them decide what we are talking about.

This is my first real community profile. And Elise was one of my first real one-on-one clients. 😉

Living with ADHD: Elise


Elise opted into working with me explaining that she wanted to talk about her binge eating. After reading my posts about my own struggles with food, she thought I might understand.

Elise is a wife, mother, part-time freelancer, and a friend to many. She had a bubbly personality and I liked her immediately.

It was while talking about her diagnosis of ADHD that we stumbled upon our first touchpoint.

ADHD medications

The conversation went something like this:

Elise: I don’t always take my medication like I am supposed to.

Me:  Why?

Elise: Sometimes I just don’t feel like it. My brain tells me I don’t need it.

Me: So what time do you take it?

Elise: Sometimes I forget until like 10-11 a.m.

As it turned out, Elise would start the day slowly. Sometimes having trouble getting the kids out the door and starting her work.

I suggested, ever so gently, that perhaps she might feel more motivated if she took the medication when she got up.

We spent some time talking about dopamine and how our brain is set up to look for reward. See my article about dopamine here.

Those of us with ADHD almost never feel rewarded. So we seek a hit through food, or caffeine, or sex. Whatever works.

I explained that the great thing about ADHD medications is that the majority of them increase the amount of circulating dopamine in our brain. And these medications have been well studied, so if her psychiatrist had prescribed them why not try?

Together we decided she would start to take the Vyvanse at the same time she brushed her teeth.

Guess what? The next time we spoke she confirmed that talking the medication in the morning helped her to get going and plan her days.

As soon as Elise began taking her medication on a regular schedule, she felt more at ease around food. She wasn’t constantly looking for a fix.

Which led us to our next, and biggest, touchpoint.

Eating and ADHD

I have written quite a bit on this topic. Here is a link. Here is another link.

Elise explained to me that before the Vyvanse she found herself eating impulsively.

She also knew that when she tried to stick to a strict schedule it did not work for her.

That wiley ADHD rebel in her wanted to buck her own system!

Having been diagnosed with insulin resistance, Elise was very aware of her body’s reactions to food. So she knew that too many carbs did not do her body good.

Over the course of 5 sessions we talked about all aspects of eating and ADHD.

Elise began to feel more trusting of her own judgment, and I encouraged her to talk to someone who specializes in binge eating disorder. She also joined a support group and as of our last conversation was feeling great about her progress.

Knowledge is power

Over the course of 5 sessions we spoke a lot about ADHD and how our brains are wired.

I try to give my clients a context for how their brain works. And I also emphasize the need for support through family and organized groups.

Nobody should feel alone, or like they have nobody to talk to.

Talking about the emotional aspects of ADHD is often new for people and it requires attention just as much as the specific behaviors.

Elise and I explored where her head was when she started to overeat, and how she felt after.

We even looked up some of the specific hormones involved with hunger and satiety. (Ghrelin and Leptin in case you were interested.)

Talking about things, and saying it out loud seems to be part of the process, so we did a lot of voicing grievances about how unfair it feels sometimes to add ADHD to an already complicated adult life.

Relationship building

When I asked Elise what she would change about our time together, or how it was beneficial she sent me a bulleted list.

What I liked: 

–Tailored sessions for what I was dealing with.

–Sharing about your own similar struggles

–Suggestions for making things work for me, tweaks I could use

–Positive support with no judgment.

–Reasonable cost.

–Reference to research on ADHD and explanation of terms I didn’t know or just a new perspective on ADHD I might not have thought of before.

There really wasn’t anything I didn’t like!

I also invited Elise to remain in our Coaching Corner group so she could continue to correspond and form relationships with other ADHD women.  (She did.)

This is my first foray into profiles of ADHD women. So I might try a more straight-forward interview format. Or I might do it exactly the same way.

Either way I am delighted to bring to light these brave, smart, and funny stories about Living with ADHD!

Stay tuned!

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