38: Everyone’s Wired Differently

Everyone's Wired Differently | ADHD reWired

An interview with Jennie Friedman, ADHD coach

Growing up having a hard time understanding and communicating with others in her family, psychologist Jennie Friedman now better understands the ADHD, anxiety, depression, and more they were dealing with. Switching careers in the middle of her life, Jennie decided to focus on becoming an ADHD coach in order to help both those dealing with the disorder and those living with them.  She talks with us further about her philosophies of embracing our differences, the story surrounding her decision to change her career, and more.

About Jennie Friedman:

  • Jennie had a degree in psychology and conducts a career in ADHD coaching

  • She is in the process of finishing a book entitled See in ADHD & Get Clear on What’s Going On.

  • Adopted into her family, she grew up amongst very different people. Her father was bipolar had ADHD, and suffered from chronic depression, eventually committing suicide; her mother had rheumatoid arthritis which eventually confined her to her bed; and her sister was diagnosed with ADHD, further suffering from anxiety and panic attacks since childhood.

  • She was unaware of most of these issues while growing up, but looking back on her life she sees the effects they had on her family.

Jennie’s Sister:

  • Jennie and her sister weren’t very close as children.

  • After moving away from home, the two sisters rarely saw each other.

  • When they would eventually meet, her sister would frequently bring up how poorly Jennie had treated her as a child. Despite heartfelt apologies and an apparent resolution to the sisters’ animosity, her sister would continue to revive the issue. Upon Jennie pointing this out, her sister first mentioned that it might be due to her ADHD, a factor Jennie had not known of.

  • With the information that her sister had some form of disorder, and while thinking of her own daughter’s struggles and doctor’s assessments, Jenny realized how everyone is “wired differently” and started on a path to remake her career.

  • Eric: There’s usually less of a filter on personal thoughts when dealing with family members, as opposed to others.

A New Direction:

  • Following a successful career in retail, Jenny returned to school for psychology, interested in the science and interaction behind ADHD coaching.

  • Surprisingly, her sister actually wasn’t very interested in the coaching and science.

  • After learning that ADHD is comprised from many subconscious factors, Jenny went through a period of “mourning” of sorts while she was angry at not knowing about it before. Then, she thought of how rough it must have been for her sister, and how strong she must be in dealing with it. The end result was a reinforced sense of empathy.

Jennie’s Father and Suicide:

  • Looking back, she appreciates her father’s efforts and what he went through even more.

  • Eric: Suicide is one of the most significant symptoms of mental illness and depression. It’s the brain going into a preservation mode where it feels it must conserve so much energy that it must stop functioning. It’s not willful.

  • In talking with friends who attempted suicide but survived, Jenny was told that all they thought of was “how can I make this pain stop”?

  • “The stigma around it is what keeps people feeling shame or from getting help […]. Certainly, not talking doesn’t help.”

Living with Others with ADHD:

  • A lot of emphasis is placed on the person with ADHD and how they can manage it, but there’s little support for those who live day-to-day alongside them.

  • It can be hard to sift through all the information available on ADHD. Some of the content is inaccurate or poor in quality, and even the best information can tend to be very jargon-heavy, making it hard for those not studying the subject to understand.

  • Jennie feels having an ADHD education based around facts is important.

  • Jennie: “When I learned the facts of it and the wiring and […] subconscious processes, how can you think that the person is willfully doing something that you find annoying?”

Jennie’s Parting Message:

“The most important thing I discovered was that you can be from the same parents and the same environment and the same dinner table and you’re having two different realities. Especially if one of them is wired differently than how you’re wired […] – especially if we have someone with ADHD and someone without – the experience, the perceptions, in real-time, are different. So, when you can know that and embrace that, I think a lot of the judgments that you make as someone typical, you let that go.

How can I judge when everything you’re doing, based on your perceptions, is a hundred percent normal? It’s not about you, it’s about how they’re perceiving everything around them subconsciously.”

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