Anette Jacobsen: Assessments, stigma & workplace accessibility

Mar 11, 2024


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“A lot of women don’t pass the autism tests the first time because the questions are designed with young boys in mind. ‘Do you collect trains, planes, or information about birds?’ No, I don't. But right now my special interest is autism and ADHD, and you should see how many Trello boards I have.”

Anette lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. Anette never suspected she had ADHD until she lost her flexible job as the administrative manager of the largest language school for adult immigrants in Denmark due to extenuating circumstances. She went from having her own office to having to work in open-plan offices, and she found that she really struggled with focusing. After reading an article about ADHD, she started to connect the dots in her own life and was officially diagnosed at age 51.

Anette is currently looking for the right career path for her, and we discuss some of the challenges she has faced while trying to advocate for herself both in the workplace and during the interview process. 

Anette is also one of my former group coaching clients, so we catch up on how she’s been doing. We also talk about the chronic self-doubt that comes along with ADHD, especially after a lifetime spent undiagnosed, and how important it is for us to feel trusted and accepted, especially in the workplace. And we talk about some of the difficulties she encountered when seeking an autism diagnosis, as well as the drawbacks of autism assessments for adult women.

Links & Resources:


  2. Episode 170 with Lotta Borg Skoglund

  3. It's Not a Bloody Trend: Understanding Life as an ADHD Adult by Kat Brown

  4. Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity by Devon Price

  5. How to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis




Anette Jacobsen 0:00
That's something I've always noticed that I have this kind of weird thing where I have to sneak up on myself. And maybe it's because I'm also demand avoidance. If I'm, I'm too obvious about what I want me to do, then I won't do it. Or I'll really drag my feet

Katy Weber 0:25
Hello, and welcome to the women and ADHD podcast. I'm your host, Katy Weber. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 45. And it completely turned my world upside down. I've been looking back at so much of my life, school, jobs, my relationships, all of it with this new lens, and it has been nothing short of overwhelming. I quickly discovered I was not the only woman to have this experience. And now I interview other women who liked me discovered in adulthood they have ADHD and are finally feeling like they understand who they are and how to best lean into their strengths, both professionally and personally. Well, hello, there. Here we are at episode 178. Can you believe it? In which I interview a net Jacobson? If you happen to listen to my interview with lota Borg Skoglund, which was episode 170, you may remember me talking about my former client and now friend, Annette, who not only introduced me to Lotus work, but has introduced me to so many amazing books about ADHD and other resources. Well, this is the famous a net today. And if you haven't listened to Lotus interview, make sure to go back and check it out. Because it is so good. I mean, I know that they're all good. And I say that all the time. But you know, really seriously, if you haven't heard it, go check it out. Again, that's episode 170. But first, Annette lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, she never suspected that she had ADHD until she lost her flexible job as an Administrative Manager at the largest language school for adult immigrants in Denmark due to external circumstances. Suddenly, she went from having her own office to having to work in open plan offices. And she found that she really struggled with focus. After randomly reading a newspaper article about ADHD, she started to connect the dots in her own life. And she was recently officially diagnosed at the age of 51. And that, and I chat about her journey to an ADHD diagnosis. And we talked about some of the difficulties she has encountered seeking an autism diagnosis. And we share our opinions on some of the drawbacks of the autism assessments, especially for adult women. And that is currently looking for the right career for her brain. And we discuss some of the challenges she has faced while trying to advocate for herself in the workplace. And during the interview process. We also talk about the chronic self doubt that comes along with ADHD, especially after a lifetime spent undiagnosed. And how important it is for us to feel trusted and accepted, especially in the workplace. And that is also a former group coaching client of mine. So we catch up on how she's been doing since she enrolled, which is a perfect segue for me to remind you that there are still some spots in my next round of small group coaching coming up in April, if you're interested, I'd love to have you join us. You can find out more at women and coaching and that link is in the show notes. But first, here is my interview with Annette. Hi, Matt.

Anette Jacobsen 3:34
Hi, Katie.

Katy Weber 3:34
Well, thank you for joining me today. I'm really I feel like this has been a long time coming. And I'm just so excited that you agreed to be on the podcast. So thank you.

Anette Jacobsen 3:45
Thank you. Thank you for having me. Yeah. So okay, well, let's,

Katy Weber 3:48
let's get started. I want to hear all about what was the first lightbulb moment for you when it came to ADHD. You were reading a newspaper article, correct?

Anette Jacobsen 3:57
Yep, that is right. In November of 2022. Yeah, I had no idea that ADHD had anything to do with me. And I was just sitting on a hillside in Berlin, looking at the city. And then I was scrolling a Danish newspaper, and there was this list of behaviors. And I was like, Look, that is me. That is me. And I screen, shot it and send it to my sister. And I wrote something like, oh, this sure sounds a lot like me. But no, I don't have ADHD and you wrote me back. No, no, I don't think you have ADHD either. And then I kind of forgot all about it. Or it was kind of marinating in the back of my head. And three weeks later, I listened to a podcast about work life. I did not go looking for a podcast about ADHD. I I just randomly listened to a podcast about work life because I had some struggles with my work life. And then I listened to this podcast. And there's this sports journalist, a 40 year old woman who had just gotten diagnosed, and she talked about her work life. And it was my work life, the way she described it, she had just crashed sooner and gotten to the realization because she had kids. So she was only 40. And I was 51. When I got the suspicion, do

Katy Weber 5:30
you remember what it was in the newspaper article and the little like, breakout box? Do you remember what really struck you?

Anette Jacobsen 5:39
Yeah, it was the whole thing about the hyper focus that I didn't know what that was that. And the thing about doing things in the last minute. I mean, if if I had known what ADHD was, then in adults, I in adult women, I would have realized this way, way sooner, because it's not like I have this normal kind of ADHD. It's it's pretty standard. Really? Yeah.

Katy Weber 6:12
Well, I that I also think so much of it feels like, Well, isn't that everybody's experience, right? Like, that's, that's what I kind of thought about. Even when I was doing the ADHD self test, the one specifically for women like it was just those crazy moments of like, wait a minute, this is not everybody's experience. Like it was just that moment of just like, oh, well, this is not, quote unquote, normal. Okay, good to know.

Anette Jacobsen 6:41
I had that experience. Yesterday, I went out for coffee with a friend and I showed her an autism screening test. And she was just like, there's nothing wrong with you if you do this. And I was like, No, there's nothing wrong with you, but you might have autism. So I sent her home with two links. And now I'm afraid to write to her and ask her how did it go with your autism test?

Katy Weber 7:09
I know, right. I remember one of my best friends from university writing me after I had started the podcast and was very open about ADHD. And he wrote me and he was like, he's one of two friends that I've kept in touch with over 25 years. So in my mind, of course, he has ADHD. And he's wonderful and funny and spontaneous and does all these things. So when he said, Do you think I have ADHD? I was like, Uh, yeah, it's obvious. But then there was this pause, like, oh, what does he think? I mean, what I say it's, I'm so worried I offended him. But thankfully, I didn't. So okay, so let's go back to your conversation with your sister, who is older, younger than you? I don't remember. She's younger. Yeah, she's younger. Okay. And and when you started exploring this, what what were the conversations like? What did she was she on board? And does it all kind of make sense in terms of your family life?

Anette Jacobsen 8:05
I mean, I haven't I haven't told my parents because I don't know. They wouldn't understand. And I don't know what they would do with it. And yeah, and then they have enough on their plate. I'm thinking so no, I haven't told them. My sister got on board pretty fast, because then she had burned out really bad. a while before I sat there on the hill in Berlin. She burned out somehow and suffered really badly from dizziness, dizzy spells, she couldn't get up. Yeah. And she had been, there's this place in Denmark called the stress doctor. They offer private counseling for people who have burned out. And the psychologist from their place. He had pointed my sister in the direction of an autism diagnosis. And I think my ADHD, suspicion had kind of primed her for the fact that there might be something there. It was, I think it was within two months that I started suspecting that I had ADHD and then her psychologist tells her that, oh, you might want to look in that direction. And she, I mean, you know, about the waitlists everywhere. So she's, she's just started being assessed for autism or for both for autism. I mean, I don't I don't think she has ADHD. We could but I mean, who knows? Because she could be really atypical. But it but all the things that rang bells with me, she doesn't have those things. She's better at that picking up the vacuum cleaner and all the things that At make my case of ADHD so typical,

Katy Weber 10:03
Huh, interesting. Okay, so now, when you were sitting on this hill in Berlin, you had had you already left your job at this point?

Anette Jacobsen 10:12
No, no, I was, I have had two jobs. In the past year, I had a job that I had for two years. And that was the one I had while I was sitting on that hill in Berlin. And then I found another job because I wasn't super happy. And the one I had because of the, I couldn't get the accommodations that I needed. And the one that I have for two years. So about a year ago, I stopped working with them. And then I had found a new job where they had promised me I had really been open, I hadn't said, I thought I had ADHD, because I didn't have a diagnosis yet. So So that felt kind of weird saying that, but I laid all the cards on the table, and I told them, I don't do open plan offices. And I need this and that, and I want to be able to work from other countries. I need an enormous amount of flexibility. And they just said, Oh, but you can get that here with us. And then I started with them. And it turned out that they had kind of oversold it. And that was really how I met you. Because we talked about it at that point. And I was like, but but I thought I thought I told them and I really doubted myself. I was like, didn't I listen when they said that, but they said that? And then you really confirm for me that it's totally normal if you have ADHD to really doubt yourself, because you're so used to you do miss things. You do miss all kinds of things. And, and I was just afraid that it was somehow me who had misheard, but it wasn't. And then I tried, I was only with that company for two and a half months. And during that period of time, I think they thought I was a real pain in the two cars. Because I kept having talks with my boss about I mean, I called him in for a meeting. And then I told him, this is not what it was supposed to be like. And he was he was really sweet. And he was super enthusiastic. And, and they had a great product. And he kept saying, Oh, well you have to you just do you need to be patient. And then I gave him a deadline and nothing happened and and then I just quit. Because in that the job I had before I had had that the feeling that I was overexerting myself, because of the lack of accommodations. I mean, I spent so much energy on figuring out where can I sit? Where can I find a quiet spot? And sometimes I just had to sit in that office where I really I could not think so I was like, Okay, I came from that I had been there for two years, I had hoped that when they saw how cool I was, and how good I was, I was at my job, they would accommodate me. And they didn't. And then when I moved somewhere else, because I thought I could get what I needed. And it turned out I couldn't then I was just like, I quit. And then I have worked since and now I'm getting ready to start working again. Oh, really?

Katy Weber 13:33
Okay. I didn't know that. So that everything you just said about accommodations, I think is so relatable, but also very nerve divergent in the way that we think we will somehow get rewarded with accommodations. If we push ourselves really hard and show how good we are from the get go. As opposed to thinking of them in terms of like, this is what I need in order to be at my best. Like we still feel like it's a me problem. Not have them.

Anette Jacobsen 14:02
Have them problem. I tried at that job. I tried from the job interview. I told them what I needed. And they said no, you have to sit in that open plan office. Yeah. And then I agreed to try because I thought I can convince them. But the problem was that my boss, she wanted to accommodate me, but the people above her, they wouldn't let her and she could do some of it. But if they found out you would be in trouble. And I wouldn't. I mean, I wouldn't put him in that position. And I've thought that in the past that you could then you work really hard, and then you get what you need. Yeah.

Katy Weber 14:42
Well, I feel like I've worked with a lot of clients who feel like they're getting away with something when they ask for accommodations and that it's going to show that they are somehow lazy and that they're going to be looked poorly on and I don't think that comes out of nowhere. I think it's true, but it's just so messed up when You think about the reason why we ask for accommodations is so we can concentrate and do our best and work hard and be a good worker. And yet, so often it's interpreted as, oh, you're you want special treatment, because you're lazy. And we don't want, you know, outliers who aren't going to push themselves into the grave. Yeah, like, anti capitalism soapbox at the end there. But

Anette Jacobsen 15:24
yeah, and that was the motivation of the bosses above my boss, they preferred to have people sitting from nine to five in that open space office, because then they could see if they were working. And the ridiculous thing was that what I was doing was mostly stuff I was, I was doing it on my own. So why did I have to be there at nine with everybody else? Yeah, no,

Katy Weber 15:49
I know, I feel like it's the same thing with working remotely. There's some companies that embrace it and really rode the wave and are doing really well as a result. And then companies that are just like, No, we need to keep track of you. We you need to, we need to see where your mouse is going at all times. And it's just such an awful way to treat employees. But here we are.

Anette Jacobsen 16:11
I remember when COVID first started, of course, we had to work from home. And then my boss back then she, she made a meeting at nine in the morning. And then she also made a meeting around lunchtime ish some days because she wanted to make sure that we weren't not working. isn't nice to be trusted.

Katy Weber 16:38
I'm curious why you would say you made it to 51. Without really anybody catching it, including yourself, what are some of the things you look back on where you think the signs were there all along? But they were just weren't ever caught? Oh, yes.

Anette Jacobsen 16:56
Of course, it was there all along. I think it was because I made some non conformance choices, because it just somehow intuitively knew. Or maybe I was just lucky, I don't know. But I chose not to have kids. And I've never had a live in partner. I just somehow knew that, that I couldn't do that. And I didn't really get how other people could do that. I just couldn't stand having people around me all the time. I mean, I really need my space. So I made those choices. And that's probably one explanation. And then another explanation is that during school, I mean, I could have a pretty flexible life. And then for the first many years of my career, I had really flexible jobs. And I remember sometimes, you know, sometimes over the years, you're like, Okay, I'm not super happy. And then I looked for other jobs. But I could just see that I couldn't find anything as flexible what I had. And that I realized now, I didn't really appreciate it enough when I had it. But I realized now that even though we had our differences, I had a boss for 12 years who let me do whatever I wanted, because he knew that I would just, it would end up okay. And that meant so much for me, because I'm not very good at being told what to do. And he would sometimes tell me to do something. And then I wouldn't do it. And then I would do something else instead. And then he had forgotten about the thing he asked me about. So I just did something else. And it was great. And then we were all happy. Yeah. Well,

Katy Weber 18:44
you know, it's funny because you bring up this theme of trust, right. And I think that most of the time with with ADHD, we'll find a job that we really, really like, but what the end what ends up being the part that makes us quit and rage, or at least me is managers, right? We have issue with managers not trusting us, micromanaging all of this stuff that can be really, really difficult. And it's so it's like, you're you had this position where you had somebody who trusted you, but you also had the autonomy that is so necessary to do what we want. And I think those are some things like when people are looking for jobs, who are neurodivergent, those are really important checkboxes to have, which is like, do I how much autonomy do I have and how much decision making and I think why so many of us ended up just going into business for ourselves out of lack of options. But the trust issue, which I think is really interesting, because it's like, one of the things I think we struggle with is trusting ourselves in a lot of decisions that we make, right? Like self trust has been driven out of us from a very young age. So it's interesting to think about, like how important being trusted is for us and just in terms of the way we do things and the way we're the way we think and the way we go after and you know sometimes I'm gonna be doing things 11 at night and sometimes are going to be doing it and three in the morning. Like being able to just kind of do your own thing is so important. And I think, you know, so difficult to really find that perfect combination. Yeah,

Anette Jacobsen 20:13
it's the classic, you didn't know what you had until you didn't have any more. AR Hmm. Because I had, I had two different jobs from I finished university and an between finishing university. And 2018, where I lost my flexible job. I had two different jobs. And when I lost the first one, I remember thinking, I'm not going to find something like this again. But then I found it. And therefore I think that's why I haven't gone off and done something on my own. Because once I thought I'm not going to find anything like this again. And then I did. So I've been like, Oh, I just need to find the right place. But now I'm not so sure. Now I'm I cannot keep on doing what I have been doing. So I'm trying to come up with something else.

Katy Weber 21:12
Can you talk about the job that you have coming up right now? Oh,

Anette Jacobsen 21:15
I don't have a job coming up. I'm just No, no. Oh, yeah.

Katy Weber 21:19
That's how I heard that. I heard that as you had a job. Okay, sorry. No,

Anette Jacobsen 21:24
I'm just thinking about getting into gear again. I came out with ADHD on LinkedIn last week. And that was a big thing. And it's been well, well received. But I also started my post by saying that if you believe that ADHD is a bloody trend, then I have this book you need to read and it's called, it's not a bloody trend. And there is a book. So people have been they've been really nice. And I yeah, I do have kind of a job interview. But I don't think it's for a full time job next week. But it's just approaching getting a job again.

Katy Weber 22:10
I want to talk about the advocacy piece too. But would you or is there advice that you would give to somebody in your position haven't gone what you've gone through over the last two years in terms of job search as as a neuro divergent thinker.

Anette Jacobsen 22:26
I have kind of had the problem that I kind of got nauseated when I looked at the the list of openings, job openings. But now I'm beginning to think that if I promised myself not to get myself into a situation where I say, Oh, I'm going to try sitting in that open plan office, because I'm not going to try that. I'm just not going to do that. So what I've been doing, and I mean, it hasn't, I can't say that it has worked. I have made an email where i i asked all my questions about how the offices and the work hours. And I sent that and ask the hiring people at at all the job openings that I see that could be interesting, but so far. I mean, it's kind of like if I were in a wheelchair, and I wrote and said, Do you have an elevator? And so far, they have all come back and said, No, we don't have an elevator. But you're welcome to apply for the job. Yeah, and they don't, they all have open plan offices. And I talked to this, there was this super nice woman who called me back. Because most of them I've gotten in writing because I I want documentation. But she called me back and we had a really nice talk. And she talked about this this job. And it sounded like a really cool job. And I would have been great for it. But they had they were 200 people in an open plan office, and they were kind of working in teams. And then I asked Do you have is it possible to go to a room if you need to focus? And yeah, kind of, but not very much. And then I asked back to her. I asked her if she doesn't have people complaining if aren't people complaining about this? And then she was very honest. And she said, Oh, yes, they are all the time she will ask them to do something. And then they'll say no, but I can't do that because I don't have enough focus time to do this. And then she even admitted that even though she herself was an extrovert. She was some very often totally overstimulated when she went home and and I was like, Okay, thank you. I don't need to hear anymore. I think she liked me. But she was also like now now you should take care of yourself and not do it.

Katy Weber 24:59
Interesting But I mean, it sounds like how do we get past this? I think advocacy, I guess, is the real way to make change in this. But it's just seems like there's just that, that shoulder sharpening of like, well, this is just the way things are sorry. Move along. And you know, who was the first person who put their foot down and said, No, you need accessibility in the workplace. You know, reminds me of when I came back to work after my first child. I mean, not only was I in the US, so it was only three months. And I was lucky to get three months off for my first baby. But then I was told that if I wanted to pump well, and it was out newspaper office, it was open, you know, open cubicle or, you know, desks in the whole newsroom floor. So I was told if I wanted to pump at work, I had to ask the editor in chief to vacate his office anytime I wanted to pump in private, because there was no pumping room at the time. And I'm just at the time, I hate it. I was so I didn't know what to do. I was sort of like, oh, okay, I didn't know what my options were. And I was like, that's terrible. So I guess I won't pump. It's so difficult as individuals to stand up for ourselves in those really, really important ways. So I'm really glad that you've turned to some some advocacy in LinkedIn, you so you outed yourself. You posted a couple articles. You said the response has been generally positive.

Anette Jacobsen 26:26
Yeah, yeah. And there are people who are writing to me privately and saying, Thank you, thank you. Thank you for doing this. I mean, it's so far, it's been good. I haven't regretted doing it. But I don't know. I mean, the way people react to it, when there are so many people who thank you for being brave, or courageous, when then there's still a lot of stigma, if it's so brave. And the friend I went out with last night, when I told her about it, she misheard me, and then she says, Oh, no, I wouldn't do that. And I say, but I already did.

Katy Weber 27:14
I know, right? I've had that so tilted me so many times over the years, like, Oh, you're so brave for admitting that thing you admitted in public in a very vulnerable way, which I used to always think was embarrassing, you know, because I was always like, is that brave? Or are you just telling me I'm stupid for doing that? Because it feels like there's not much of a difference, right? But then, and I used to think it was this terrible part of my personality that I couldn't keep my mouth shut. And I was always stepping first and thinking later. And you know, I think that is very much part of ADHD that impulsively like, oh, yeah, I'm just gonna shout this from the rooftops. Now, I kind of feel grateful for the fact that that sort of vulnerability, well, it can feel really embarrassing, or it can, like you said, it's very stigmatizing. There's a lot of ways in which we can get ostracized from certain spaces. As a result. I think, like, I have to believe that in the long run, it's helping more people than it is hurting ourselves. I don't know. That's what I tell myself.

Anette Jacobsen 28:19
I gave it careful thought I would say and I it was so hard to press post on that post. But I had a friend and my sister read through them. And I was like, Do you think everyone will hate me if I post these? And they said, No. And they said, Oh, it's, it's great. And just go ahead and post it and then you can delay your posting on LinkedIn. So I put the clock on eight o'clock in the morning, and and then I slipped through, and it was posted the first one, I like that. Yeah, cuz I was like, I can't do it. I'm not gonna press that button and then sit obsessively. And then fortunately, I had a, I had other things to do that day. So I didn't look at it until in the evening, and I have gotten a lot of great responses. And it's the one I posted Friday, it's it's still alive, which is something awesome.

Katy Weber 29:16
I will make sure to put links to them in the show notes, if you don't mind. So what is the diagnosis process like in Denmark, because I know you you did the ADHD process, which wasn't quick, but then you also had a not as positive psychologists evaluation for autism. So what were those two processes like?

Anette Jacobsen 29:38
It is it is with the same psychiatrist, both of them Oh, okay. It's simultaneous. You have to get a referral from from your own doctor. And that that was already that was a problem because she she didn't want to refer me, but I managed to persuade her to But she didn't really believe that it was

Katy Weber 30:02
true. Did she say why?

Anette Jacobsen 30:04
And no, not really? I don't know. No, you never. I didn't get any explanation why she was I could just she was really reluctant to do it. And then she, I think she needed to go to lunch. And then eventually she was like, Okay, here it is. Yeah. And then after that, I changed my doctor. And then I had that was, I think that was last year in February. And so I could get a time, an appointment with a psychiatrist in September of 24. But luckily, I heard about a new psychiatrist who had just opened up, and you could get an appointment much faster with her. So otherwise, I would still be waiting. And you are kind of in a limbo, because I, I wanted to know for sure. And I also wanted to start on the medication. You go to the psychiatrist, and you have three times 30 minutes to do both autism and ADHD. And the one I'm the first one and the last one, I had to show up, because she had to look at me and see how I present it. And on the first one, I think, I think it was my foot that that kept going up and down. That was probably how she diagnosed me with ADHD. Because when I left after the first appointment, she was like, Okay, I have a strong suspicion that you do have ADHD, you never stop tapping your foot during these 30 minutes. And then she sends me home with a, an autism screening. And I filled that in. And the next time I came, she gave me another one. And I didn't know why she gave me another one. And then at the end of the three consultations, 30 minutes each. She said, Okay, you definitely have ADHD. And then she says, but I'm not going to diagnose you with autism today. And I thought, because I was totally confused, you know, how you process a bit? Sometimes you just process slowly, and I was like, but um, I was so sure that I have autism as well. Yeah. And but she said, I cannot diagnose you even though on those two screenings you did, you scored higher than most of the people I do diagnosed with autism. But when I look at you, you you iContact is good. And you're too funny. And that is what she said. And I, I think it's I just wish See, she had said that the guidelines were that that if I didn't present as an artistic, then she couldn't diagnose me at the same time as ADHD watch. What I then found out that it meant was, I have to start on the ADHD medication. And once I'm well medicated, I can be re evaluated for autism because as I then have, I have found out that often the autism will get stronger or it will present stronger. But it's kind of funny because I have this feeling. It doesn't matter what happens inside of my head. She looks at me and she's like, Oh, you don't look autistic. And for those of us who have read Devin Price's book, unmasking autism, we know that there's no such thing as looking autistic. And she also said she also said that women who are above 50 And who are gifted are really good. maskers Ah, okay, so maybe it doesn't matter what how I look like on the outside. And, and there are funny Autistics out there. Chris Rock Fern, Brady, Hannah Gatsby. The list goes I know,

Katy Weber 34:21
right? I'm convinced that every stand up comedian is neurodivergent. Just by its very nature, but that's another podcast. It's so confusing. And obviously, if you listen to my podcast, you know that it's I'm endlessly talking about, you know, what is the difference? And where does one start? And where does one end? And is ADHD, just a gateway diagnosis and all of that. But I also have not been, you know, and it was the same thing when I read Devin Price's book, which was like not a lot of people spend this much time wondering if they're autistic or not a lot of not Autistics, but this much time wondering, and I'm like, Alright, fine, I get I get it. But like, I still don't think I will ever seek a formal diagnosis for autism, maybe I will at some point, but I just feel like the frustration, the confusion, the lack of education, all of it would just be so frustrating and crushing. And I don't know how I would feel if I was denied. I don't know if I would feel how I would feel if I was confirmed, like, all of it is so frustrating and confusing, which then at the, you know, ergo, I must have it if I'm thinking these, like, you know, I just go round and round and round. As much as I know you do, too, because we've had many conversations about this. What is it about you and your way of thinking, you know, that really you feel you relate to? If you were to describe like, Why do you think you're autistic to somebody? What would you say?

Anette Jacobsen 35:56
Hmm, I mean, for one thing, the screenings tip me off, when I found out about how much I scored. And I've, of course, taken a lot of them on my own. Also, I have a long list and I score, I score way up in all of them. One thing is, I'm super structured. And I don't think a lot of ADHD years who don't have autism, I cannot really, it doesn't really match up because everyone else I talked to who are only ADHD errs, they're not as structured. And I cannot abide by mess. I mean, I can, I can abide by dust bunnies. I don't care about the dust bunnies, but messes. I don't I just all my things have been trained to stand up straight. And it I lived in a dorm when I was young when I was studying. And there were some of the people I shared a kitchen with. They had this joke that they would go into my room, and they would make all my books kind of stink crooked on the shelves, because they knew it would upset me. And also, I feel like it's my responsibility now to figure out because I tried saying to the psychiatrist, I think I'm artistic autistic, because this, that and the other. And then she says, Oh, yes, but there's a huge overlap. So now I have to figure out what is one thing, what is the other thing? And where's the overlap? And instead, I would really love to just have someone asked me the right questions. And I passed the screening test, so to speak. I passed it I did really well. And I've heard you say the same about your ADHD test. I passed it. Because I know a lot of women who actually turn out to be autistic. They don't pass the test the first time because the questions are designed with young boys in minds. Do you collect trains and planes or information about birds? No, I don't. But I collect right now my special interest is autism and ADHD. And you should see the Trello boards I have with snippets of information about autism and ADHD. Before that I was into paleo low carb until suddenly I wasn't because I was done. I had I knew it all and then it wasn't fun anymore. So I have special interests that are really intense. And I think I cling on to them. I'm not the same hobby. However, as I have heard other ADHD is talk about being they get started on a new hobby and then when they have Okay, I have done that. Okay, I did do that. But I only did it once. with acrylics, paints. I bought the whole thing and then I was like, Nah, not good at this thing.

Katy Weber 39:18
I've definitely done that with hobbies where I've got really into it, I bought all the things I needed in order to become the best at it ever and then immediately lose interest but one of the things that I totally related to what you were just talking about, like the side quests that we do where it's like I need you know, if I discover a new author that I love, I have to drop everything and listen to every book they've ever read loot Google all every article they've like, I need to know their entire Wikipedia history. Like I get very like obsessive about having entire catalogs and not just kind of being like Oh, that was a good book. Like I have to like really I become like a super fan of somebody Is your whole body of work in a way that you're right. It is very much like collecting cars or trains or you know, the ways in which it would manifest as a child.

Anette Jacobsen 40:08
Do you think I have listened to all your podcasts? Do you think that? Yes, I have. Yes. Yeah, I

Katy Weber 40:19
did the same thing with ADHD and I'm still kind of in that hyper focus phase. It just morphs from one crazy question into another but it's still endlessly fascinating to me, because I think there's more questions than there are answers, which is just such a fascinating puzzle. Okay, so I want to talk about group coaching a little bit because, you know, so first of all, I will probably say this in the introduction but uh, you know, a net for those of you who are listening who and that loves to send me book recommendations. I've had so many great book recommendations speaking of, and also recommended Lotus book. And I got I we talked about that on the episode with low Tuborg Skoglund. So this is the and that for everybody who has also been following along, I guess. But I met a net from a we had a strategy session first, but then you had been in my one of my more recent group coaching cohorts. So can you talk about that experience a little bit in terms of just anybody who might be on the fence with group coaching in general. But I think you know, like you were just saying that you and Paige were still in touch. So I mean, obviously, the peer support and the friendship element is a huge part of it, too. So what were your expectations going in?

Anette Jacobsen 41:39
I just went in because I had listened to the podcast, and I felt I had gotten so much out of listening to a podcast that I was like, whatever that lady is selling. I'm buying. I got a bridge for you. Yes, yes. And an Eiffel Tower? Maybe? Yeah. And I remember on the day when the email dropped, because I had bought some other things from you. Yeah, I bought the strategy says, and but when the email dropped about, that you were opening up for a new group coaching, I was like, Yes, I signed up, and I did it within seven minutes. And I totally expected that one hour later, you would send out an email saying sorry, although they're all gone now. And I don't think that was what happened. But I just felt I needed to do this, to kind of, I mean, I have learned so much from listening to the podcast. And I could just somehow feel that that we were kind of communicating, we were on the same wavelength. And then you get the community with the other co cheese or whatever they're called. And that has meant a lot. And we were six people in my group and three of us are still meeting every Wednesday in a Facebook group called Wednesdays without Katie. And we meet every Wednesday and one of one of the other women from my group, we prepped a bit before this podcast, she helped me with, you know, lights and stuff. It was great in those groups to meet other women and hear about their challenges. And we were just even though we were from three different countries and two continents, we were just so similar. And to have to find that out. And we we can be honest with each other and admit to all the embarrassing things that you're trying to hide from other people. Yeah,

Katy Weber 43:46
it is still amazing to me. And one of my favorite things, being able to bring groups of neurodivergent women together because I just feel like, like you said, it's so it's really hard to describe how comforting it is to be around each other and to sort of have this shorthand in in the way that we communicate. But also, I think, in the way that we see ourselves in the world, it's very complicated, because I think we can, you know, I talk a lot on the podcast about the negativity bias that we tend to have about ourselves that we see other women and we're like, they're so amazing, they're so together, and I'm such a hot mess. And we only see the things about ourselves that suck. But I think in some ways, like we do understand that we are really smart and bright and we have very, very high expectations of ourselves. But we are also really really hard on ourselves and have a lot of shame and a lot of internalized stigma and like a lot of those things that we're hiding from people and I feel like there's just a way that we can be all of that and just like let it all hang out with with other people that is so healing in a way that yeah, adds, really, how do you put that in a paragraph when you're trying to sell a group? let it all hang out, like,

Anette Jacobsen 45:08
come and let it all hang out. And that was really what we did. Of course, it's online and being able to get so close to total strangers from other countries so fast. I would say if anyone out there is on the fence, just do it. All

Katy Weber 45:29
right, well, you heard it from a net. So are there any friends in real life because I remember you were talking about one of the things you love doing now is walking and talking with friends, that's kind of the part of your ADHD treatment plan was to do a lot of walking, which is wonderful that you're able to do that. In Denmark, it's not so easy. And in bumfuck, nowhere us but But you, you know, have a lot of conversations and you have been doing, do you notice that like, every person you've ever liked in your life probably also has a PhD?

Anette Jacobsen 46:08
Yeah. And I wrote that I wrote that in the I wrote something about that in my, in the coming out post on LinkedIn. I wrote that if we were having a conversation, and then I asked you, don't you think you have ADHD? Then then you should know it means I like you. The people I have been closest to? I can see that all the all the way. I mean, back, the four people have been closest to either they have a diagnosis now, all the kids have, or they're considering getting one? And also how are you supposed to notice that you are not normal? When everyone you're close to? They are the same as you are? I didn't know. And again, you haven't you haven't tried being inside other people's minds, and you haven't tried, maybe feeling the calm that they sometimes feel I've heard, but definitely that I'm I'm drawn to other neurodivergent. And I feel safe around them. But I have decided, just like I have decided not to ask women if they are pregnant. I don't ask about this. I mean, if people asked me what I think I will tell them, but I don't say it, I don't come out and ask,

Katy Weber 47:36
Oh my god. So I feel like also being in the mental health program. Right now in school, the vast majority of the fellow students in my classes are undiagnosed neuro divergence, not surprising. I mean, it feels like the kind of field that would attract a lot of neuro divergent thinkers. And I'm always just sitting there big like, like, like, never know, I'm open about myself and my job and my diagnosis. But I've always like you're on your own path, you're on your own journey right now. Feel free to feel free to check out my website.

Speaker 1 48:12
It's a bit like I see that people will see ADHD is all over.

Katy Weber 48:18
Yeah, I feel like there's way more than 10% of the population, which is again, like I'm so fascinated to see what the climate or landscape is going to look like over the next 10 years. There's so many books out nowadays, and so many incredible, like really intelligent clinicians like lota, who are on the forefront, changing the way people are thinking about neuro divergence. So yeah, I feel like we've got a front row seat, which is exciting. So do you think you'll go back to the psychiatrists or what's what's next for you in terms of the autism diagnosis? Oh, I also wanted to ask about medication to sorry, but I just don't forget about that. But yeah, what's going on with the psychiatrists?

Anette Jacobsen 49:01
I am going back in March, but that's only for 15 minutes to talk about medication because I've been trying methylphenidate since last week. But I'm on a quite low dose, I can feel something, some nice quiet in my head that I've only ever felt, I think twice in my life. And that was in moments of big crisis. That, for example, ones might that might my dorm caught on fire. And someone came in we were having a party and someone came up. There's a fire on on your floor and I just remember tone vision. And it was totally quiet in my head, everything, all the 100 different thoughts. They were quiet and the only thought was, I need to go up. They're stupid, but I wanted to go up there and there was a firefighter who stopped Have me. Yeah. And I get that feeling. I get that funny feeling that it's so quiet. But it's doing nothing for my executive functions. And I don't know if it'll be better because I am going to up the dose twice before I met the max. It's not doing anything for my executive functions. And there was something else I thought about. Yeah, it's, it's doing nothing for my focus, really. But there is there are fewer thoughts. Uh,

Katy Weber 50:33
yeah, I remember I feel like on Vyvanse to like, I can definitely get stuff done and become like very single minded and single tasking. It's just not always the single task I want to do. Like, I can't, I wish I could figure out how to harness that hyperfocus a little better. Because sometimes I'm like, Yes, I'm gonna study for hours. And I'm gonna write that paper. And it's great. And then other times, I'm like, No, I completely avoided that. But I read 300 pages of a random book. And you're like, Oh, all right. I'll take it. That's

Anette Jacobsen 51:09
what I did. When I was at the University back in the stone age's. I would when I had to study for an exam, I would read so many crime novels, and then would when there was almost not enough time left, then I would do some something and then it would always turn out well, anyway. So right, yeah,

Katy Weber 51:30
I know, I'm still I've actually kind of embrace that part of me for this second go round at Academia, where I'm like, You know what it's going to, it'll kick in when it kicks in. And I'm not going to feel bad about it, because it always does. So, fingers crossed. But anyway, oh, I still wanted to ask you if you had a name for ADHD, or if would you call it something else?

Anette Jacobsen 51:51
I don't really have a good one. No, I mean, you

Katy Weber 51:57
said you liked Attention. Attention, right? You felt like it should be in there.

Anette Jacobsen 52:01
I like attention, because there is something with attention. It's true. It's just not, as so many people have said on this podcast, is not that we have too little. It's not a deficit, we have too much and we cannot control it. So I'm thinking along the lines of maybe the D, the first D A attention D disturbance, maybe. And then you had a guest on not so long ago who said the age could be hyper arousal. I like that. If we want to keep the abbreviation. But then I don't know about the last D maybe it could just be disturbance again.

Katy Weber 52:43
Redundant redundancy.

Anette Jacobsen 52:45
Yeah. Maybe attention hyper arousal disturbance, and then it would be ah, D. But if you want to keep the abbreviation that kind of limits the options.

Katy Weber 53:00
I now I feel like it's important to keep it just because that's what you're Googling, right. And I feel like all the people who came up with clever names like attitude magazine, and then it was changed ADHD. And they were kind of like, Oh, crap. So as somebody who named their podcast incredibly straightforward and nothing cutesy because I'm, you know, because of SEO, I feel like we should keep ADHD. Yeah, I love hyper arousal. I definitely relate to that I often think was the renaming it though. I'm like, What would have really? What would have made me think I had it? Because I'm just like, I don't think I would have thought about attention. I don't think I thought of any of that. It was really like the one. The first thing I remember really cluing in for me, was something it was a question, really, at the end of the day, it was about masking, which was the question in this area sold and tests about like, do you hate when people call you unexpectedly or show up at your house unexpectedly? And I was like, Oh, my God, I hate that. And I was like, wait a bit, what does that have to do with ADHD? And then I had to really start looking more into it. But like, those sorts of weird quirks, so I'm still sort of feel like there's nothing in the name that really would have tipped me off at an earlier age. Other than just like, everything on too much everything all at once.

Anette Jacobsen 54:21
Yeah, cuz I think what I noticed, most was that thing about feeling that I couldn't make myself do things. I want to decide when I do things, but I don't decide I can get up and think today at 10 I'm gonna be at the zoo because they had a baby elephant yesterday, and a baby and I wasn't there at 10 I was there at 230 Because then I got sucked in by LinkedIn. That's something I've always noticed that I have this kind of weird thing where I have to sneak up on myself. And maybe it's because I'm also demand avoidance. If I'm, I'm too obvious about what I want me to do, then I won't do it. Or I'll really drag my feet.

Katy Weber 55:13
Oh my god, right. I had somebody comment on the Connie two episode where we talk about PDA and kind of that overlap between PDA and an RSD. And somebody in the Instagram commented, like, I can't decide sometimes if I'm not doing something because of executive dysfunction, or if I'm not doing it because of PDA. And I just was like, Oh, my God, girl, say like, it was just so it totally was like, There's something in that right about that. Like, God, I'm my own worst enemy. Maybe that's what I should maybe that's what we should call it.

Anette Jacobsen 55:47
Yeah, and, um, Gretchen Rubin. She has the fourth tendency framework, and I think all the rebels have ADHD. And the motto of the rebel tendency is, you can't make me and can I?

Katy Weber 56:02
Yeah, I'd be there. Can I Right? Yeah. I feel like somebody in the past has called the call that rebel braid syndrome or something? I don't know. Yeah.

Anette Jacobsen 56:12
It's funny how we're in her in Gretchen Reubens framework. The rebel doesn't need accountability. But that works for us in it does. Sometimes it does not always. But sometimes it does. Well, I

Katy Weber 56:28
think it goes back to that situation of like, are you in a safe place where you feel like people trust you to get the job done, right. And so with with procrastination, and some of the stuff that we've talked about, it's like, well, I trust myself now to get the job done. And so I'm not going to be so hard on myself, because I'm going to do it the way I do it. And there's no way I shouldn't be doing it anymore. I'm just going to trust myself that I will get it done. And I do because it's like, now I'm my own best cheerleader. And so I think trust comes into it a lot. You

Anette Jacobsen 57:00
do it in a different way than a neurotypical would do it. But you get it done. And why isn't that good enough? It should be?

Katy Weber 57:08
Yeah. Here here. Well, thank you. I'm glad I'm so glad I could convince you to sit down with me and and share your story. And I'm so grateful for our our friendship and all of the recommendations. And yeah, it's just been lovely.

Anette Jacobsen 57:25
Yeah, I'll keep them coming. And I'm just gonna interrupt you here, because that's what ADHD are. And then I'm just gonna say that that I have for people who have taught me almost everything I know about my neuro divergence, and that is you and Devin price, Casey Davis and lauterbach's Skoglund. And it's just you and your podcast. It has just meant so much for my process. And I can't thank you enough for that. And what I got from your podcast, was instead of lists endless lists of symptoms, I have gotten the lived experiences of other women. Yeah, so I recommend it to everyone. I have recommended your podcast to three people just today.

Katy Weber 58:18
Thank you. Awesome. Well, thank you. Your check is in the mail. No, I'm kidding. Well, I just absolutely adore you. And I really appreciate that. And I'm honored to be in such esteemed company as the other wonderful people who I will link to me, you guys can go down your own obsessive cataloging rabbit hole until they do it. But thank you, Annette, it's been a real pleasure. Thank you. Okay.

There you have it. Thank you for listening. And I really hope you enjoyed this episode of the women and ADHD podcast. If you'd like to find out more about me and my coaching programs, head over to women and If you're a woman who was diagnosed with ADHD and you'd like to apply to be a guest on this podcast, visit women and guests, and you can find that link in the episode show notes. Also, you know, we ADHD ears crave feedback. And I would really appreciate hearing from you the listener, please take a moment to leave me a review on Apple podcasts or audible. And if that feels like too much, and I totally get it. Please just take a few seconds right now to give me a five star rating. Or share this episode on your own social media to help reach more women who maybe have yet to discover and lean into this gift of nerd of urgency. And they may be struggling and they don't even know why. I'll see you next week when I interview another amazing woman who discovered she's not lazy or crazy or broken. But she has ADHD and she's now on the path to understanding her neuro divergent mind and finally using this gift to her advantage. Take care till then