126: Emotional Distress Syndrome with James Ochoa

Emotional Distress Syndrome with James Ochoa | ADHD reWired

126: Emotional Distress Syndrome with James Ochoa

Emotional Distress Syndrome, discovered and coined my James Ochoa himself. James had training working with people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In time he saw similarities in some of his clients and the people with PTSD with one exception. For some, it wasn’t going away. Some of his clients, were not getting better in the way people with PSTD generally did.

These clients of his suffered from the exact same thing:

  • Chronic breakdowns

  • Lack of self-worth

  • They felt bullied

  • They were all misunderstood

He determined that for these people he would have to rebuild their internal sense of self.

EDS is manageable and treatable thanks to the work James is doing.

Coaching Session

James has difficulty being consistent with singular systems. He tries many things such as post-it notes, phone apps, etc. He prefers to write things down. Currently has four systems and he is not able to follow through with any of them. He finds himself not having enough time. Eric has James scrounge up a pen and paper to write the following:

  • A Accountability: 

    • Who are you accountable to?

  • T Timers:

    • Timing tasks makes you more accountable and keep you focused

    • Make predictions as to how long a task will take

  • R Reminders

    • Include the why with the what

  • I Inputs

    • To do lists, calendar, email, voice mail, pile#1 Pile#2….

  • P Planning/Process/Processes

    • Streamline and improve. Evaluate what works and what does not work

James was excited and eager to begin using this system when he left the show.

About James Ochoa

James Ochoa is on a mission. In a way he always has been. He was born the seventh of eight children in Houston, Texas and almost immediately began to feel the faint hum that all ADHD sufferers feel. It would be safe to say that his journey to find answers for his issues began as early as is humanly possible.

Then, at the age of four, he had a traumatic accident that would alter his life forever. While playing on his parent’s car, he fell, hitting his head on the concrete. After the doctors examined him they were not hopeful, and everyone prepared for the worst. While in the hospital, James had what he describes as his first spiritual experience, one that he can still recall with great clarity and emotion. His father had been in Vietnam working a construction job, and he took a leave from his contract to come visit James in the pediatric ward of their local hospital. As his father walked toward him, James remembers seeing a blue orb-like structure above his bed. In his mind, this was a sign and he knew it immediately. His father didn’t see the blue orb, of course, but James remembers that he was stunned to hear James announce, “Dad, I’m not gonna die. I’m here for a reason.” As it turned out, many decades would pass before James truly understood what that moment and that proclamation meant.

In fact, it mostly eluded him until the summer of 1989 when he was working at an ADHD summer program for kids. “It was total chaos,” he says. “But the lights and intrigue that these kids came to the table with was like…Oh my God, they’re brilliant and we’re not seeing it.” He immediately recognized his calling and resolved to spend his life trying to find answers for himself and others. For almost two decades, now, he has done just that.

His work with patients and extensive personal study of the neuroscience of ADHD has allowed him to find answers that work. His new book Focused Forward: Navigating the Storms of Adult ADHD is just the latest mile on a many-long miles journey he is on. His discoveries and success in his own life and with his patients have made him a much in demand speaker these days.

James lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Edie. They have two sons, Gabe, 25, and Jules, 20.

How to Reach James

Audio books mentioned in the show.

  • The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle by Steven Pressfield
  • Focused Forward, by James Ochoa

 Get these titles through my affiliate link:

Use my affiliate link for your favorite titles:

ADHD reWired Coaching and Accountability Groups (ArC)

New Sessions Start 4 times per year. Registration is by invitation only. Please visit to learn more.  Click the button at to get added to the invite list.  

Adult Study Hall (ASH) Membership Community

Join ADHD reWired’s virtual co-working community. ASH 24/7 is always open. We have a variety of faciliated sessions for extra structure in your work. Learn more at

Support the Podcast on Patreon

Patreon allows listeners like you to support content creators like me. Want ad-free episodes? It’s only $5 per month. Want to join a monthly coaching call? It’s only $25 per month.  Learn more at

ADHD reWired Facebook Group:

If you would like to apply to join the ADHD reWired Secret Facebook group, go to and fill out the application.

Live Q  & A

Get your ADHD questions answered live! These Q&A sessions take place on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 12:30 PM CT. Go to

Want to be a guest?

Hey! What about you? Do you have a story? Are you a coach? Are you an ADHD Clinician? If you answered yes to any of these questions and you’d like to be a guest, schedule a pre-interview call here.

Leave a Comment

Subscribe for Email Updates

I’ve got some great tools and strategies I’d love to share with you. I’ll also share with you new podcast episodes with a summary of the episode.