97: Women and ADHD, with Terry Matlen and Linda Roggli

Women and ADHD, with Terry Matlen and Linda Roggli | ADHD reWired

97: Women and ADHD, with Terry Matlen and Linda Roggli

Hosting the upcoming ADHD Women’s Palooza in early January, 2016, Terry Matlen and Linda Roggli both return to the show to discuss their upcoming event filled with ADHD experts, and some topics core to women in the world of ADHD. In addition to the palooza, the two discuss their collaborative efforts, vulnerability and clients, shame, and some issues at hand for women with ADHD.

About Terry Matlen:

About Linda Roggli:

ADHD Women’s Palooza:

  • For years, Terry has wanted some form of live event for women with ADHD wherein they would be able to better connect with each other.

  • With the logistics of cost and location being prohibitive, Terry decided an online event might make more sense.

  • In talking in passing with Linda, Terry found they had virtually the same idea and so decided to collaborate to make it happen.

  • In inviting speakers to present at the event, they all reacted enthusiastically. Linda expects them to provide “an encyclopedia of ADHD women’s information.”

  • Terry highlights Sari Solden as a guest, as Sari wrote a “groundbreaking book on women with attention deficit disorder.”

  • Among the presenters will be numerous experts across the ADHD field, including Alan Brown, Roberto Olivardia, Melissa Orlov, Stephanie Sarkis, Patricia Quinn, Russell Barkley, Ned Hallowell, Thomas Brown, Eric Tivers (from this show!), and many more.

  • The main event will take place from January 11–16 and be completely free.

  • Visit the ADHD Women’s Palooza website to sign up.

  • Eric notes how, despite a number of set-backs and delays in the process of planning this event, it still ended up happening. If Terry and Linda had strived for absolute perfection, it may not have happened at all.

  • A 32 different topics will be covered – they all overlap and intersect but are nonetheless distinct.

  • Topic include : hormone issues, mid-life issues, eating disorders (as discussed by Roberto Olivardia), sleep, un-optimized potential, and many more.

  • Due to the large numbers of attendees signed up thus far, Terry and Linda are asking for people to submit questions they would like answered by the guest experts.

  •  Mid-day on Saturday, January 16, Terry, Linda, and a number of guest speakers will host a two-hour-long woman-only live broadcast event             focused on connection. During the live streaming event, attendees can call in to talk directly with the hosts. Called a “pink ticket event,” attendees will pay for access to the broadcast and will be able to watch re-plays of the event.

  • Linda: It’s so important to be able to look into someone’s eyes, connect with them, hear from them. More importantly, it’s important for them to feel at home.


  • With Terry and Linda working together, playing off of each other’s strengths and energy, they were able to pull off the large task of making the Palooza a reality.

  • While Terry tends to “be a worrier” who will develop ideas but then over-think them to the point of stress, Linda’s energy and endurance has helped to counteract that and allow them to push through.

  • On the other hand, Linda would often devise good ideas but have trouble following through with scheduling and prioritization. With Terry there to both aid with the work and hold her accountable, Linda is able to accomplish goals and see ideas through.

  • Comfort is an important factor: Linda had previously shied away from working with others out of a fear of disappointing them, but with Terry she feels “allowed to stumble and fall,” knowing that Terry will both understand and be there to help.


  • Eric spoke with an attendee of the 2015 CHADD conference who said that while there was a lot of excellent information all-round, the experts who they felt helped them the most were the ones with ADHD themselves and to whom they could relate.

  • Seeing experts be okay with themselves and willing to show their vulnerabilities can help others to do the same and feel more comfortable.

  • Terry also notes how willingness to show vulnerability can be an asset both when working with others and in coaching patients. She maintains a blog, newsletter, and social media contact with her clients.

  • Eric remembers having a “vulnerability hangover” after sharing vulnerably on his podcast for the first time, but after later seeing how much it helps people, he became less apprehensive.

  • Linda remembers visiting a psychiatrist back when she had just begun coaching, telling them that she had hugged one of her clients. The psychiatrist flipped out and told Linda it was unprofessional. Linda struggled with that idea; she eventually just stopped mentioning it to her psychiatrist.

  • Openness and vulnerability with clients can sometime work depending on the practice; there’s enough of a difference between coaching and therapy that sharing intimate personal details in the latter might not always be appropriate.

Women and ADHD:

  • The main difference between men and women, whether they have ADHD or not, is the presence of estrogen.

  • From the time of puberty and into perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause, women become worse in their ADHD symptoms.

  • A majority of women also tend to have a tremendous amount of responsibilities that are particularly challenging to those with ADHD: taking care of their household, raising children, planning holiday events, buying gifts, managing family social responsibilities, etc.

  • Many of the speakers taking part in the ADHD Women’s Palooza will be discussing strategies and methods to better manage such a large workload, emotional overwhelm, and hypersensitivity.

  • Women with ADHD tend to deal with life on an emotionally deep level, which can lead to a greater chance of hypersensitivity and low self-esteem. Learning how to ask for help is often difficult.

  • Eric: “Asking for help takes incredible courage and courage is a sign of strength.”

  • Linda mentions the label of “rejection sensitive dysphoria” that Dr. William Dodson will be speaking about at the Palooza. He wrote a short article on it in the magazine ADDitude. It essentially describes an intense feeling of inadequacy and being crushed under the weight of criticism or the potential for criticism.


  • For women with ADHD, there’s a particularly large potential for feelings of shame.

  • “There’s something wrong with me – why can’t I even get dinner together? Why can’t I pack a lunch for my kid? Why can’t I get to work on time?”

  • Almost 100% of the women Terry works with describe stories related to shame.

  • It’s important to continue addressing and searching for solutions to questions of what can be done about shame. “It doesn’t have to take us down to our knees. It doesn’t have to take over our self esteem.”

  • Eric highlights the idea from Brené Brown that the two most powerful words for someone in the midst of struggle are “me too.”

  • Linda: Isolation is shame’s best friend. As long as we believe that we cannot show our flaws to someone, then we’re still trying to pretend to be normal. No one is normal. Trying to be normal requires an enormous amount of energy. I need to be thinking about what is worthwhile.

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