Hi there! We are Jessica and Edward, the producing partners of How to ADHD, a YouTube show Jessica created in 2016. We also happen to be married! We focus on using compassion, humor, and evidence-based research to help people understand, work with, and love their ADHD brains. Our channel is http://youtube.com/howtoadhd

Jessica is the creator and host of the channel – she researches, writes, and performs all the episodes. Edward directs, edits, and animates them. That's the official description, anyway, we tend to collaborate on all aspects of the show.

We've created over a hundred How to ADHD videos, we did a TEDx talk in 2017 that's been seen more than ten million times, and in December 2017, we became full-time content creators, thanks to the generous support of our patrons on Patreon. (http://patreon.com/howtoadhd)

Jessica also speaks about ADHD and mental health at events (like VidCon! We'll be there this week!) and on podcasts, and we generally do our best to help everyone understand what ADHD really is, and how to adapt to the challenges and appreciate the strengths of the ADHD brain. We're excited to be here, ask us anything!


**Ok I'll be real, this is my first time doing an AMA and I didn't know how to end it & you all asked such great questions I just kept going :D But we've got to finish the next video & get ready for VidCon now so thank you all so much and I hope to see you in the comments on the channel! (I'll also answer a few more questions here tomorrow if I can.) Hugs, Jessica **

Comments: 2250 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

NickKappy1339 karma

Do you have any advice for dealing with lack of motivation?

jessicafromhowtoadhd2444 karma

(Jessica) That's a complicated one. Part of what is "motivating" to us about doing things is how rewarding it is to our brains, and ADHD brains have a weaker reward system internally (this isn't a character defect, it's related to dopamine levels in the brain). So often, it takes more to get us moving. ADHD brains usually do well in situations that are new, challenging, urgent, or of personal interest because those are more naturally motivating/stimulating to the brain, but when things aren't stimulating enough it's important to find other ways to get that stimulation.

Medication can make an enormous difference there, as well as other things that increase dopamine (like exercise). Gamifying tasks to *make* them new, challenging, urgent or of personal interest can help too. Most importantly, long term benefits don't really motivate ADHD brains, so if you want to reward yourself externally for doing the thing, small, immediate rewards work best :)

(Edward) The hardest part of motivation for me is getting my head around the idea that I have to do it. Usually when I'm not feeling motivated, it's because I really don't want to (either because I'm afraid to start or I don't want to do the thing).

What I've found helps is sitting down – sort of meditation style – and imagining myself starting the task, and going through each step of it. Usually when I hit the part I don't like my brain will kinda dodge away and try to think about something else – so I take a breath and start again from the top, and I keep doing that until I can go from the beginning to the end in my mind several times over without getting distracted.

Once I can do that, actually getting started isn't so hard (I think, for me, it's the mental challenge of transitioning from "not doing" to "doing" that is difficult – thinking it through in advance takes care of that).

But if you try this, remember – like meditation – don't beat yourself up if your brain wanders. That's what brains do. When you notice your thoughts have wandered, just gently bring them back to the task at hand and start again. 📷

tl;dr this is ADHD-related. You need dopamine. :D

justatest90484 karma

Medication can make an enormous difference there, as well as other things that increase dopamine (like exercise). Gamifying tasks to make them new, challenging, urgent or of personal interest can help too. Most importantly, long term benefits don't really motivate ADHD brains, so if you want to reward yourself externally for doing the thing, small, immediate rewards work best :)

I hate to repeat a comment, but you hit the nail on the head for issues I'm dealing with right now. Do you have any advice for an adult suffering with ADHD issues? My parents were religious and of the 'no drugs for behavior' mindset: just stop sinning by not paying attention. I definitely picked up some coping mechanisms, but at this point am continually hitting a wall, and haven't found an MD yet willing to meaningfully engage in an ADHD discussion for adults.

jessicafromhowtoadhd483 karma

(Jessica) Honestly? Keep looking. Adult ADHD is real and very treatable. For many people, medication makes an enormous difference. Psychiatrists who are familiar with ADHD might be your best bet.

GreyFoxMe17 karma

Speaking of meditation, do any of you have any tips for that?

I feel like I want to learn how to meditate, but much like how frustrated I get from my physical body being seemingly incapable of simple Yoga, I get frustrated by my mind's ability to meditate.

And I'm a pretty chill dude even compared to people without ADHD. I can sit and wait for things without having to distract myself unlike what seems like everyone today. :P I don't even have internet on my phone. (Maybe that's for the best)

Honestly, I must admit, my inability to meditate is probably from lack of trying. I've just given up I think.

I try to watch ASMR though, I've found some triggers that are relaxing to me and that does help. But I've noticed that I have a hard time just listening to ASMR. I end up playing a game, or whatever when the whole point was to shut down my brain not activate it further.

I do the same with Netflix sometimes. I watch an episode and I guess because I feel a need to stimulate my brain I start playing some game as well. Eventually I realize I haven't really been following along with the show at all.

Anyways, got any tips for meditation?

jessicafromhowtoadhd59 karma

(Jessica) Yeah, start small. Headspace is a great app that can walk you through it. Meditating isn't actually about clearing your mind (shocking right?!) it's about learning not to chase every thought and let them go. Even 5 minutes can make a big difference. And being comfortable is important -- back supported, head free, sitting in whatever position works for you. I fidget or move around sometimes while I meditate & it still works. It's different from one day to the next, but don't judge whether or not it's working based on how you feel while you're meditating -- see how you feel the rest of the day :)

LadyIstaCordelia451 karma

Do you have recommendations for dealing with transitions between activities? That’s kicking my ADHD butt right now.

unlockdestiny605 karma

as in, "I should really do [x] right now.... continues playing Skyrim for another 7 hours"?

Because that's my life. You just described my life.

jessicafromhowtoadhd618 karma

(Edward) I am terrible at transitions, but I find these help – 1) in advance, pick a time you're going to transition to the next task, and set a timer for that. 2) ALSO set a timer for about 5 mins before that (or 10 mins, or whatever time you find works best). That second timer is the "time to deploy the landing gear" alarm for whatever you're currently doing. To borrow Dr. Hallowell's term: if we have racecar engines for brains, we can't turn on a dime. We need to gradually shift into the turn and then move into the new task.

(Jessica) Transitions are easier for me than for Edward, but there's a trick I use when I notice I'm hyperfocused & REALLY need to be doing something else -- deciding what time I'm going to stop. So like, instead of kicking myself because I should have started 2 hours ago (at which point the guilt/shame can make things even worse), I go "okay! I'm still playing video games. At...2:15 I'm going to stop." Not do the other thing, just stop. Once I unplug my brain from whatever I'm hyperfocused on, it's a lot easier to switch to something else.

shikabind389 karma

What is an effective way of dealing with comorbid anxiety or depression and adhd at the same time?

jessicafromhowtoadhd414 karma

(Jessica) This is actually not uncommon for ADHD brains, comorbid anxiety and/or depression tends to develop quite often. I know sometimes doctors prefer to treat anxiety before addressing the ADHD but it's kind of a case-by-case basis. I've spoken to many ADHD brains who were unsuccessfully treated for depression for years before diagnosed with the underlying ADHD and treatment for the ADHD helped a lot with the depression. Others still need treatment for both. It's such an individual thing. My best advice would be to make sure your doctor is knowledgeable & up on the latest research for all three, & get additional support through therapy if at all possible. There are also things you can do that will benefit all three, like getting enough sleep & exercising.

(Edward) Therapy, and the correct medicines.Signed, Someone dealing with ADHD, depression, and anxiety all at the same time

anamorphose372 karma

Hi guys! I'm a big fan, I was just diagnosed with ADHD-C this past October at the age of 23, so I've been doing my best to learn as much as I can about ADHD and your videos are very informative.

I am a video game developer, and A couple months ago I participated in a game jam (an event where groups are challenged to make a prototype for a game over the course of a single weekend) where I made a VR game intended to inform/educate about what it is like to have ADHD called Just Focus*. It sets the player in a classroom, and the player is told to pay attention in case of a pop quiz. When the player hits start, a video going over some of the facts about ADHD is playing up front. The player can only hear it at full volume if they are looking directly at it for a certain length of time. Meanwhile, the classroom is full of distracting noises - cell phones buzzing, the clock ticking, etc. There is also a chance of "intrusive thoughts" popping up randomly - little black clouds that will steal all your focus/demand your attention by lowering the sound from the video until you "pop" them by throwing a paper airplane.

It is very much a prototype right now - but there is a lot more I want to do with it. I want to stress that it is not meant to help people with ADHD so much as it is meant to help the people who DON'T have it understand what it is like. So, my question for you is, what do you two expect from a game like that? What sort of things could I add to help make it more informative without making it feel more like a lecture than a game?

*If you happen to have access to an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, here's a link to the download page for Just Focus: https://dabinkdesign.itch.io/just-focus

jessicafromhowtoadhd256 karma

Aw that's super cool, we were trying to make something like that for a presentation but didn't have the time. VR is a brilliant platform for that. I would suggest adding a "hyperfocus" mode so people can see the difference & understand why sometimes we can't focus to save our lives while other times we can't pull ourselves away.

dundundundadadadadun217 karma

So I think I have ADHD but I wasn't diagnosed as a child, partly because I'm just old enough that diagnoses weren't super common and partly because I was always "gifted" and was able to coast through most of school so nobody really thought to mention it as a possible issue I guess. It never occurred to me that I might have it until relatively recently when I watched a YouTube video and said "hey, a lot of this stuff sounds like me."

I think I cope pretty well. Like, I have a job and a kid and a house and manage to adult successfully for the most part but I also know I have trouble focusing and sometimes I get sucked into weird things for hours and I fidget constantly, which drives my wife crazy. So, like, I don't know if I have ADHD for sure because watching a YouTube video isn't really a diagnosis and even if I do I don't know if it's worth talking to someone. Would they prescribe me medication? Is it even worth doing? I've managed this far, after all. And even if I do have ADHD I don't know if my doctor would even take me seriously because, yeah, I've made it this far.

I don't really know what my question is. I think I'm mostly just getting some of this off my chest because it's been bugging me. I guess, do you have any advice for me, or for anyone else like me who might read this?

jessicafromhowtoadhd175 karma

(Jessica) You might be what's called "twice exceptional." Gifted, but also with some sort of challenge -- ADHD, dyslexia, etc.

Twice exceptional kids get missed a lot, because their grades are good enough that no one worries about them. And they often "get by." I was one of those kids & I was only diagnosed when things got tough in middle school; and even then, it was because my cousin who was more severe got diagnosed first (then his mom, then me).

Lots of adults are diagnosed & treated as adults -- Edward being one of them. Brett Thornhill is another, and he was actually fairly successful but is in a much better place after learning about his brain and getting treated -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNCDwUv_gkQ -- so much so that now he's an ADHD coach.

Personally, how you choose to treat/not treat the impairments that come along with ADHD, regardless of level of success, I think is an individual decision no one can or should make for you. But I think it's good to understand your brain so I always encourage people to seek a diagnosis and decide from there.

dundundundadadadadun51 karma

Thank you for this. I think part of what I'm looking for here is just a little affirmation. I told my wife that I think I might have ADHD and she was, uh, not supportive. So I've been kind of worried about it and afraid that I do but also kind of afraid that I don't and I'm just not very good at, like, life. I've been going down the YouTube rabbit hole since I put my daughter to bed an hour and a half ago (and only just realized it had been that long when I looked at the clock) and a lot of it is resonating with me. Especially Brett Thornhills interview because the guy he was talking about is basically me in a few years. But there's still this part of me that says no, I'm just latching onto this because it excuses all my shitty inability to ever follow through or do the things I'm supposed to be doing. And another part of me that's like "you just watched ninety minutes of this girl who does have it and takes medication and everything talk about how she still struggles with all of this stuff so getting diagnosed is pointless anyway".

But I've decided I'm going to talk to a therapist and go from there. And I told my wife that and she didn't seem super thrilled but also just kind of said I could do it if I wanted to. So that's something I guess?

Also I realized after my last post that it was in fact your YouTube video that made me start wondering if I have it in the first place. So cheers.

jessicafromhowtoadhd46 karma

Yeah, meds aren't magical, pills don't teach skills. But they do work REALLY well for me, and as for the stuff they don't address, well, I'm finally learning other strategies for those. I wish ONE of my many psychiatrists had asked me how my life was working, not just whether or not my meds were working. I could have used these tools earlier!

But I am in SUCH a better place than I was even a few years ago. So yeah, still struggling sometimes, but knowing how my brain works now -- the shame is gone. The self judgement. I used to have terrible self-esteem and zero self respect, I let people walk all over me. I didn't take my ADHD symptoms seriously because the media makes it out to be a joke & people *still* question its existence.

Now I have so much acceptance and respect for both myself as a person and for the challenges I face. All my relationships are better, most importantly, my relationship with myself & my own brain. IMO there's nothing better than understanding how your brain works & having the tools to help it work at its best.

RelaxImAExpert166 karma

How can I lose weight while suffering with ADHD?

Trying to track calories everyday,....I mean for gods sakes it’s everyday! Staying motivated and dedicated forever seems daunting and impossible. I’ll lose weight but easily gain it back then before I know it that was like a year and a half ago and

Seriously does anyone else with ADHD have this time distortion? Christmas feels like it was maybe 3 weeks ago.

Also. I haven’t taken my meds today. Love you-mean it.

jessicafromhowtoadhd145 karma

(Jessica) Ooo yeah, the impulsivity & emotional dysregulation that come with ADHD can make weight loss incredibly challenging. Edward just did weight watchers which helped him, because you can track points not calories and some stuff is "free" so you don't even have to count it. He's lost like...40 pounds? I used to have trouble with eating too much sugar & actually gave it up so I can keep my eating under control. I went to overeaters anonymous for that, about a decade ago. Medication helps a lot too, I notice when I don't take it I could eat everything in the fridge. Going off my meds was what made me gain too much weight in the first place (30 pounds in 3 months, eek!) I don't go to the meetings anymore but if I have anything sweet now, it's either fruit or something sugarfree.

And yep, "time blindness" is totally an ADHD thing.

unlockdestiny157 karma

Hey, Jessica! I'm very thankful for your channel--because of it I've realized that ADHD has impacted my life more than I originally thought (i.e., I'm not "just a ditz"). My question pertains to persistent motivation. I'm working on my masters thesis, and OMFG I AM SO TIRED OF WORKING ON THE SAME FREAKING PAPER. This is hella important, so how do you suggest I sustain interest in the same thing for.....months and months....? O.o

unlockdestiny118 karma

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION: Any tips for picking up on social cues? I talk too much in social interactions, and by the time I realize what I've done, the other person is getting shifty-eyed looking for a way out. Help!

jessicafromhowtoadhd176 karma

(Jessica) I generally like to work on more than one project at a time, so if I get bored with one I can use that as motivation to work on the other. You can also switch between a "brain-heavy" project -- a paper -- and a mindless project, like I dunno, organizing your cabinets. I never force my writing, my brain doesn't work well when it's *forced* to focus -- instead I do things that will help me "get there." Like, go for a walk and wait til I have a good idea. Or go to yoga so I feel good and my brain is in a good place to work. Then sit down with something enjoyable, tea or a snack or something. I try whenever possible to make working a pleasant experience because it makes it way easier to get my brain to cooperate the next time I need it to if I haven't made it miserable :)

Re: social cues, I talk too much too -- I picked up a cool tip at a conference recently: If someone asks a question, answer the question, add 1-2 details, then ask them a question in return. Hope this helps!

karmasutra197730 karma

I had to write a master's thesis. Put it away, totally away for periods of time. Don't look at it for a few days, get other stuff done. Come back to it when you're in the frame of mind where you're calm and your brain is "on." If you're constantly thinking about it, at least in MHO, you get that thought in your mind where you're like, "it's never gonna end!" And that's the worst headspace. Remember: you only have to do life one day at a time. It'll come together. Trust yourself. It's going to be OK!

jessicafromhowtoadhd16 karma

When your brain is "on" is a fantastic way of putting it :D

MtnrRepub151 karma

Hi Jessica and Edward!! How to ADHD was the first channel I watched after getting diagnosed, so thank you for all that you do, and for doing this AMA :)

I have two questions:

1) What's the hardest part of having a YouTube Channel from an ADHD perspective?

2) How did you manage to memorize your entire speech for your TedX talk??? Blunt memorization is my worst aspect in school and in life, so if you have any tips for that, it would be extremely helpful.

Thank you again for doing this, and give Chloe a belly rub for us! :)

jessicafromhowtoadhd242 karma

1) The years of social rejection & failure that I experienced before starting the channel made it scary to put myself out there, made mean comments especially hard to read, and the biggest thing of all was the voice in the back of my head saying "You can't do this...you'll fail! You're just gonna give up someday, just like you always do."

Thankfully, I decided to put in a strong blacklist of words we don't allow in the comments to prevent hate speech/bullying -- and I decided that applied to me, too. So I happily accept and appreciate constructive criticism, but I don't let people say horrible things to me just because they can. I don't hesitate to delete anything troll-ish.

Getting over the fear of failure took more time, but this video "Am I a Failure?" was a turning point for me:

2) I didn't. Memorizing is terribly difficult for me and we didn't finish writing the talk til the day before I had to give it. I asked Edward to put every single word of that speech in the notes section of the teleprompter and I asked the tech crew to minimize the side of it that showed me which slide came next so I could easily read it if I needed to. Luckily I had enough of it in my head that it wasn't super obvious, but I did miss a section entirely :D Lesson learned? You don't have to be perfect to make a difference.

(Chloe) *squee*

MageJohn22 karma

Ooh, I'd love to know what was in the section you missed. Would you consider posting the notes for that bit?

jessicafromhowtoadhd53 karma

Oh gosh, I don't know if I still have them...it was about ADHD being genetic. You can still see the slide in the talk :D Right between "ADHD isn't caused by bad parenting" and "...it's not" (which was the best I could do when I realized I had missed the part about it being genetic & had no idea what to say!)

HarleyKyn121 karma

To Jess & Edward: What are your preferred fidgets of choice and why?
(I know Jess, you had one a few years ago, I'm wondering if it's still your favorite!)
And of course, Chloe: Does Chloe have a favorite toy too? :)

jessicafromhowtoadhd193 karma

(Jessica) The ultimate fidget bicycle chain thing is still my absolute favorite but I gave mine to Hank Green and keep forgetting to order another one :D I love the Tangle too. The fidget cube can be great when I want variety but usually I prefer simple fidgets. The less distracting for me, the better. Fidget spinners are fun but for me they're too distracting to help me focus. :)

(Edward) When J and I got married, I had both my ring and also some jade beads she'd given me years before. Flipping the beads around my wrist is usually my favorite fidget – it makes a nice quiet whooshy sound kinda like a rain stick –  not too distracting. That, and fervent leg-bouncing.(edited)
(Chloe) Mom's pant legs, Dad's ears.

TrippingOverYou106 karma

I've known I have ADHD for about a year, I suggested my boyfriend get tested and it turns out he has it too.

I'm now in this weird position where I know more about ADHD than he does and I have treatment but he doesn't.

How did you guys deal with getting Edward diagnosed? How did it affect your relationship dynamic? How do the effects of ADHD differ between you?

jessicafromhowtoadhd104 karma

(Jessica) Yeah it's interesting, our ADHD is different & I'm farther along in my treatment journey than he is so it's a lot of patience & reminding myself that I can't magically hand him the answers. I can share what works for me, and he's adopted some of those things, but he's got to do that on his own time and figure out what works for him whether it makes sense to me or not.

I also get frustrated sometimes when his symptoms disrupt my coping mechanisms because I still have a lot of ADHD-related challenges too, I just have a better idea how to manage them, and that can be hard when you're in a relationship with another ADHDer and it's hard to stick to your routines cause theirs keep changing. Ultimately though it's been great because we both understand what it's like to have trouble getting your brain to cooperate, so no matter what the issue is we don't use bad words like "lazy." ;)

(Edward) Jessica and I have a lot of similar ADHD traits but a few fundamental differences: I'm more inattentive, so Jessica tends to jump into things while I usually drag my feet. But we balance each other well: I'm the one thinking through things before we jump, and she's the one reminding me we've thought enough, it's time to jump!

I had a late diagnosis (mid-thirties), so the hardships of it didn't hit all at once – they came to me slowly, drip by drip. Everything will be fine, then I'll suddenly remember some job or some activity I was really passionate about that I dropped abruptly, and I realize, "Oh, it wasn't that I got too busy there – I just couldn't focus on it." There's a good chunk of sadness that comes with it, but I also try to avoid regret. For whatever reason, given my circumstances, it was going to take me this long to figure out I had ADHD. What I "could have done if I'd known" isn't as important to me as "what I do now that I know."

Last thing: if you have knowledge to share with your boyfriend, share it, but remember that everybody has to come to solutions in their own way and their own time.

pleg91031 karma

Why is lazy a bad word?

I was diagnosed with adhd very early on and I’ve been trying to compensate for being considered someone with a poor work effort for my whole life. I’ve been semi-successful at at least keeping up the appearance of discipline in my adult life, but it’s hard and I definitely still think of myself as naturally just “lazy” (I’m 26).

I think it still somewhat affects my self esteem since I know many of my family and friends still think of me that way despite strides of made (that I’m pretty proud of!). Should I not be thinking of myself as a lazy person? Is there a way to reframe this in my mind? I don’t want to make excuses.

jessicafromhowtoadhd83 karma

"Lazy" is kind of a common (and, ironically, lazy) assumption about those with ADHD. It's also one that many of us internalize. Because on the outside, sure, it can totally seem like like we're being lazy. So we accept that "diagnosis." More often than not though, we're actually working *harder* than our peers. This is a fantastic article about it: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/may-i-have-your-attention/201204/are-people-adhd-lazy

mimariposa22 karma

Hope I'm not too late to this! I was very recently diagnosed in my late 20's whereas my boyfriend had been diagnosed and taking meds as a child, but thought he grew out of it as an adult. Surprise! I realized during research into my own ADHD that it didn't magically go away and he definitely still has it.

Do you have any advice for another dual-ADHD couple? Most of the relationship advice in books or online generally assumes that there is one partner with ADHD and it's typically assumed the man has it. How do you tackle chores or other things where no one is especially motivated to get it done? Also, how can we support each other to have the agency to get things done on their own (ahem, the dishes) without having to remind/nag the other?

jessicafromhowtoadhd26 karma

Such a good question! It can be super challenging, but over time Edward and I have noticed we have different weaknesses/strengths & we try to each do what we're good at (or...less bad at) and/or hate less. So Edward can't stand doing laundry but I like it cause I get to watch Netflix while I fold...so I do all the laundry. I hate gross dishes but Edward doesn't mind them so he tackles those. I'm more impulsive than he is so it's easier for me to dash to the next chore, whereas he does best if he doesn't have to switch for awhile. He can sit and work on our finances for hours but that would drive me NUTS. So I walk the dogs :D

Basically, have a meeting where you divvy stuff up (and let's be real, maybe nobody's about to mop the floors so a maid once in awhile might be necessary! I used to pick up extra shifts at work to cover the expense cause it would take me 2-3 days to accomplish what a maid could accomplish in 1)

At the end of the day we accept that this is a challenge for us & sometimes the house is going to go to hell because we're trying to push out a big important video, but we're slowly working on building in routines to help us stay on track. Having a great relationship with your partner (free of "parenting" or "nagging") is in the end more important than most chores. So we negotiate -- ok, maybe he doesn't get to the dishes for a few days. But he knows I hate not having access to the sink, so he keeps half the sink clear for me. That kind of thing :)

The BIGGEST thing I've done wrong in this regard is trying to come up with solutions all by myself & then impose them on Edward. He's so much more invested if I come to him with a problem & then we brainstorm solutions together.
Hope this helps!

willow028158 karma

I'm in love with someone who has severe ADHD. What are some tips to help us deal with it?

jessicafromhowtoadhd105 karma

(Jessica) I made a video about that! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcZuL1jQJuM

Honestly, the most important thing I think is to learn about his ADHD if you haven't already. If you don't know what's going on in his brain (and he might not, either!) it's reeeeally easy to assume he's not doing the thing because he doesn't care when often that couldn't be farther from the truth. We really do have a different operating system.

But also, set boundaries -- our ADHD challenges should never be used as an excuse not to do our part or to treat people badly. I get upset & say a lot of things impulsively during a fight with my husband, but I know not to cross the line into name calling or being mean -- if I do, Edward will call me on it & I'll be like "yeah you're right, I need a break to calm down."

"You get to be upset, but you don't get to be mean" is a fantastic rule we live by.

avalinarose27 karma

I honestly cried while watching your video (in a good way). I’ve been with my now husband for a total of 7 years (6 dating 1 married). He was diagnosed adhd in the past and started taking medication the past 6 months. However I struggled with everything in your video thinking it was just the way he was, that he didn’t care, and that he wasn’t trying. Our biggest argument is chores. Watching your video made me realize I’m not alone and I was able to better understand how his brain works. Honestly, before this thread I didn’t know about your videos and now I can’t wait to show him and watch together. Thank you so much for making these. This truly just changed my life.

jessicafromhowtoadhd11 karma

This makes me so happy and doing this AMA so worth it. Giant hugs to both of you!

jessicafromhowtoadhd57 karma

Thanks so much for hanging out everyone, it's been great chatting with you all and your questions were AMAZING! And I was impressed by your kind & thoughtful answers to each other, too. Love this tribe! Remember -you are not alone <3

lemon228546 karma

Hi Jessica! I was wondering how you actually use/keep getting back to tricks for planning and organizing? I'm great at planning a week menu, household chores, or tasks at work, but once I made a plan (colour coded and everything) I never look at it again. Do you have any tips?

jessicafromhowtoadhd40 karma

(Jessica) Yeah...I have trouble with this too. The problem is trying to change too much at once. I'm trying something different right now, which is changing something *small.* Instead of trying to tackle a weekly menu, for now, we just got a solid grocery list going with stuff on it we can eat without cooking. Or instead of a whole cleaning routine, I'm focusing on a morning routine to get clothes in the wash & dishes out of the dishwasher. It's almost *painful* for me to start slow but I know if I commit to too much at once it'll get overwhelming and get tossed right out the window.

This is a video I made for building routines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJlBq1ldcCc&t=45s

SplattieSuz36 karma

Hey, do you still have your first ever videos posted? I love your channel and as a newer video producer I’d love to see where you started.

jessicafromhowtoadhd46 karma

Yup, here are the first three! (You can roll back into the video history and see the rest)

How to Keep Focused on Your Goals in the New Year!

How to Improve Your Focus by Fidgeting

Are You Impulsive? How Meditation Can Help

Don't mind us, we'll just be over here in the corner... cringing....

MageJohn34 karma

Hello! Thanks for all the work you do in supporting ADHD. I recently got a diagnosis, something I don't think I would have done without you and your channel.

I'm looking at going to university soon, and I'm worried that if I make it, my ADHD will prevent me from doing well. I'm hoping that if I start medication (I'm waiting on an appointment) it will help. My question is this: do you think that, knowing what you know now about ADHD, you could get to and complete uni? I know from your talk you tried before.

I also have a question for Chloe! Do you prefer having your tummy rubbed or your ears scratched?

jessicafromhowtoadhd39 karma

(Jessica) Oh yeah, for sure. I have so many tools now I know I'd be able to finish college (plus my brain is way more developed than it was when I was 18!), and I considered going back. I'd ask for accommodations with zero shame, too. I would love to have a degree, but at this point the work I'm doing on the channel doesn't require one, and going back to school would mean less time to work on the channel. I keep educating myself though, I read and discuss new ADHD research every week & I'm learning more all the time.

(Edward) I got a degree in college (after many years of changing majors). I didn't know I had ADHD at the time, but it did seem like other people had an easier time studying regularly. I was lucky because I have a good visual memory, so I could go through flash cards 5-10 mins before the test and pass just fine - the down side is, it took me a lot longer to learn how to properly put in effort and work hard at something.

I think the answer is in being sensitive to who you are and what your needs are, without judging yourself. If lectures are hard to follow, record them, or ask for accommodations from the school (I know plenty of people who got copies of notes from others). If internalizing a lot of material is hard, try to externalize it: make physical models of molecules, write fan fiction set in the historical period you're studying – anything that makes your brain go, "oooh ok I like this" could be the solution.

(Chloe) Tummy rubz. Edward sings to me when he does dem.
Mah favrit is treetz doe. No...diggin. No...diggin for treetz.

MooJuiceConnoisseur34 karma

I was diagnosed with ADHD-PI just a few weeks ago, and well it blows my mind that life doesn't have to be as hard as it has been.

My question for you is on my daughter she has very obvious ADHD combined but the first peofesst we took her to simple diagnosed her with "behavioral issues" and this is not her in the least. Other than just requesting a second opinion (already in the works) do you have recommendations for getting ahead of this. I can't let my girl suffer like I did for so long?

jessicafromhowtoadhd44 karma

(Jessica) To be honest, I distrust any doctor who diagnoses someone with "behavioral issues." ADHD traits being a behavioral issue is an outdated way of thinking. Understanding has come a long way from then, but many medical professionals haven't kept up. A second opinion is a good idea. In the meantime, a lot of the things that help ADHD help any child, so pursuing non-medication strategies isn't a bad idea. Understood.org is a great resource for this. Dr. Joel T. Nigg also has a fantastic book based on the latest research called "Getting Ahead of ADHD."

(for the record, my pediatrician also told my mom not to worry about us because our grades weren't bad enough to be concerned. Luckily, she knew better, she saw how much we were struggling. We went to a specialist and my brother and I were both diagnosed.)

turf160031 karma

What are some common symptoms that people fail to appropriately attribute to ADD/ADHD?

jessicafromhowtoadhd55 karma

Emotional dysregulation. I didn't even know this was part of my ADHD til I started doing my research:

fuChomsky25 karma

Do you find that inattentive types get labelled as lazy?

jessicafromhowtoadhd20 karma

Yes, and IMHO it's a lazy diagnosis. This kind of sums it up: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/may-i-have-your-attention/201204/are-people-adhd-lazy

Chtorrr24 karma

What are your feelings on pineapple as a pizza topping?

jessicafromhowtoadhd53 karma

(Jessica) Mandatory.

(Edward) HERESY.

(Chloe) I can has pizza?

rowanstrange23 karma

What would be the #1 thing you would recommend adults who have been recently diagnosed to do to feel like they're working WITH their brain, not against it?

jessicafromhowtoadhd27 karma

(Jessica) Learn. Learn, learn, learn. The more you understand how your brain works, the better you'll be able to work with it. And make friends with your brain! Appreciate what it does well, too. Mindfulness helps so much with both of these -- you can start to notice that your attention is being drawn to something...less productive than what you intended...without judging yourself, and be amused at the choices it makes, and stand in wonder when it does something amazing and defies all expectations :)

M25cruiser17 karma

I live in London and saw this psychiatrist for what I thought was depression and anxiety. They diagnosed me with ADHD, which I had never even considered before.

They were convinced though and told me about the various medications/doses available but I just didn't feel prepared for it and don't know what to do. I'm the type of person that doesn't usually even like taking paracetamol.

I feel like I should continue down the path of therapy for depression/anxiety, would you recommend trying that first or would ADHD medication be such a life changer that I shouldn't delay it?

jessicafromhowtoadhd9 karma

I hear some pretty sad stories of people in the UK waiting years for a correct diagnosis, so first of all yay for getting a proper one! @MichelleBeckett on Twitter is working hard to make treatment and support more accessible there.

Depression & anxiety are common co-morbidities with ADHD and can develop because of it. I think it's a question to ask your doctor, as everyone's brain & situation is different, but I can share that I hear from many, many ADHD brains that they were unsuccessfully treated for years for depression then when their ADHD was treated, it helped with the depression too.

ADHD medication can be life changing. But any treatment (or lack of treatment, for that matter) comes with risks so it's important to weigh the benefits & (typically mild) side effects. If you do decide to try it, it might be helpful to know that it's in & out of your system really quickly so if you don't like it, the effects won't last very long.

YourOneTruePleb16 karma

What are some common adhd misconceptions?

jessicafromhowtoadhd46 karma

We did a whole video about that!

10 ADHD Myths That Just Won't DIE!

We also did a response to the "Take Your Pills" documentary on Netflix, which had several misconceptions about ADHD and ADHD meds in it as well. Things like, "ADHD meds are basically meth" (they aren't), "Treating ADHD is basically drugging childhood" (it isn't), etc etc.

You can find that video here:

Why I'm Upset at Netflix's New Documentary "Take Your Pills"

The biggest misconception is that ADHD doesn't exist: that kids are just lazy, or stupid, or not trying hard enough. ADHD does exist, and is one of the most well-researched mental conditions there are.

TotallyADD did a great video about this called "Is ADD all made up?"

KookiesMD15 karma

Yo, I was wondering what your thoughts are on those that have ADHD and smoke weed as a self medication? Do you think that certain properties, like CBD(generally known to have more calming effects, as opposed to THC, the psychoactive property in weed) might be beneficial?

jessicafromhowtoadhd24 karma

(Jessica) Yeah that's an interesting one. I know too many people who smoke weed or use CBD oil & say it helps them to dismiss it entirely, but I think it's a good thing to talk with your doctor about. My understanding is that it can maybe benefit some symptoms? But not enough of them to be a viable alternative to medication. Again though, talk with a doctor, anything you put in your body is outside my field of expertise.

Re: self medicating -- SUPER common. Some types of self medicating are healthier than others. Some people self medicate with exercise, some people self medicate by racing around traffic at 95 mph.

EDIT: A couple of articles discussing it, seems like the benefits may not be worth the drawbacks:https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315187.php


would be an interesting topic for me to research & explore in a video, thanks for bringing it up.

BlazmoIntoWowee14 karma

Which videos would you most recommend to help my ADHD elementary students?

jessicafromhowtoadhd21 karma

Hi BlazmoIntoWowee! (great name :D )

There are a couple things we'd recommend:

The ADHD Fundamentals playlist has a *lot* of good things for new brains:

ADHD Fundamentals

Specifically, I would look at How to (Explain) ADHD, ADHD in Girls: How to Recognize the Symptoms, and Why You Can Focus on Video Games (And How to Hack It).

ADHD and Emotions – from this playlist, check out ADHD and Friendships: How to Play the Social Game, ADHD and Emotional Dysregulation, Help! How to Deal with ADHD Meltdowns, and Anger and ADHD: How to Build Up Your Brakes.

There's also How to Homework: Top 10 Tips for ADHD Success!

After that, it would depend on what you'd like to focus on: we have videos about procrastination (Getting Things Done / Procrastination), setting up routines and habits (Routines & Habits), etc.

gatorgal42214 karma

Hi! How is the cleaning going? Also, at VidCon do you guys get to network with other youtubers at all?

jessicafromhowtoadhd22 karma

(Jessica) It's going slowly, but it's going well. I usually jump into things and put in a ton of effort (yay hyperfocus) but then everything falls apart and within a month it looks like I never did a thing. It's incredibly discouraging. So I'm focused on building systems now -- like, as soon as I enter the kitchen in the morning, I empty the dishwasher. Little habits that will keep it from getting out of control. It's less instantly gratifying, but I have a feeling it'll stick better.

At VidCon, yeah, we will. I'm really excited about some of the YouTubers we're going to be on panels with, and we're going to parties and stuff where we'll meet even more. My favorite though is connecting with our brains and hearts, we had the best time last year at the meetups. Can't wait to do it again. There's nothing like being in a room full of ADHD brains & the hearts who love them.

lemon22856 karma

Hi Jessica and Edward, what do you like best about your adhd brains?

jessicafromhowtoadhd15 karma

(Jessica) My favorite thing about my brain is that it surprises me on a regular basis. I think I know what I'm capable of, then one day it's like "hey let's write a song I have an awesome idea!" And I'm like "wow brain, I never studied how to write music, and I can barely play, you sure you can -- " And my brain's like "HOLD MY BEER"

aaaand here's a song I wrote! :D
Try Different (the Fish Song): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evathYHc1Fg

(Edward) I make art for a living, so the fact that my brain gets bored wayyyy before other peoples' brains means if I make something that'll hold my attention, it'll probably hold other people's attention, too. 📷

airenglandd6 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! What's harder - working with your spouse or working with ADHD?

jessicafromhowtoadhd23 karma

(Jessica) Working with your spouse's ADHD :D

(Edward) I agree. Working with my ADHD is ALSO hard for me.

devilsadvocado1 karma

What would you say to my wife to convince her that ADHD is very real?

She is a French psychiatrist. She's skeptical of ADHD as they rarely diagnose it in France. We just moved to Canada and she couldn't believe the number of patients coming in "wanting" to be diagnosed with it. She was also horrified at how the doctors here prescribe psychostimulants like they're aspirin.

jessicafromhowtoadhd3 karma

We actually hear from a lot of ADHD brains in France who are frustrated by the lack of treatment there. ADHD is a very real condition, and while we make no recommendations about whether or not to take medication (we are not doctors), there is a lot of research that shows ADHD meds are both safe and effective, when taken under a doctor's supervision.

We addressed some of the skepticism around medication in our response to Netflix's 'Take Your Pills' documentary, which you can find here. I'm sure your wife will also want to read the research itself, and there are a number of good resources in the description for that video, including a systematic review of 69 studies related to ADHD treatment: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Diagnosis and Treatment in Children and Adolescents.