216: PTSD and ADHD with Marcelle Clowes

This Week’s Episode:

Marcelle Clowes has always lived with ADHD and Complex-PTSD.  However, she wasn’t diagnosed until her early-30’s. Since then, she has experienced, treatment, healing, acceptance, setbacks, and self-awareness.  Marcelle has attended college many times, held many jobs, and has lived in more cities than she can count.  Her story illuminates the parallels between PTSD and ADHD, what it’s like living with both conditions and how the disorders can contribute to the cycle of family violence.  Marcelle dreams of a career as a freelance writer and a visual artist.  She works with a coalition for anti-violence and has done work around the death penalty.

In this conversation, you will hear Marcelle share her personal experiences with ADHD and PTSD.  She shares details about her childhood, and she explains that she was the only adult in her house from the day she was born.  Marcelle also talks about raising her own children, and she claims that one of her biggest accomplishments is helping them navigate life.

In the second half of the episode, we talk about trigger warnings.  Marcelle shares how these impact her, and what traditional and social media can do to better prepare people for these triggers.  She also talks about the difference between a trigger warning and being uncomfortable.

You’ll Learn:

  • [06:26] – Marcelle tells her ADHD background story.  She explains how the work program at her school helped her graduate and keep her life on track.
  • [11:42] – Marcelle states that she manages crisis well, and her ADHD helps her in that area of life.
  • [13:22] – Marcelle shares her what her home-life was like, growing up.  She says that she was the only adult in the house the day she was born.  We talk about “emotional incest,” which is when a parent uses a child to meet their emotional needs.
  • [16:50] – Marcelle’s mother routinely told her she was the least likely of all of her friends to end up in therapy.  She believed she had “broken the cycle,” and this serves to show the dysfunction in the house.
  • [19:44] – Marcelle talks about her life in her 20’s.  She was diagnosed with ADHD in the early 2000’s after her children were born.  PTSD was mentioned at that time, but she was not ready to acknowledge this.
  • [23:50] – Marcelle talks about having twins, and being excited about having children.  She claims that one of her biggest accomplishments is helping them navigate life.  She talks about her and her children’s relationships with the father.
  • [28:42] – After working with the survivors of violent crimes, Marcelle learned to embrace the terms “survivor” and “victim.”
  • [29:47] – While doing trauma work for herself, she learned to identify and implement strategies.
  • [34:05] – Marcelle explains the difference between self-care and numbing.
  • [38:58] – Marcelle and I discuss trigger warners.  She shares some of her personal triggers and explains how trigger warnings are not always given the space to remove themselves from the situation or avoid them.
  • [45:50] – Marcelle talks about the difference between being triggered and being uncomfortable.
  • [47:22] – I share an experience where I used an expression with a friend on the podcast, and a listener brought it to my attention that I used some words I shouldn’t have.
  • [1:00:24] – Marcelle says that humor is a big part of dealing with trauma.
  • [1:07:14] – Marcelle shares a message for anyone who wonders if they have PTSD, or knows they do but haven’t done the work with it.

Your Resources:

Out of the Fog


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