Diana Costea: Authenticity, acceptance & the road less traveled

May 03, 2023


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Episode 135 with Diana Costea.

“Society wants us to focus on one thing and do it well, but that will never be me.”

Diana is a 22-year-old from Romania. She has a degree in psychology and is currently volunteering in Turkey as a youth worker and English teacher with the European Solidarity Corps Program.

Diana discovered her ADHD a little over a year ago, and since then, she feels she finally has the courage to allow herself to be different and instead of minimizing or masking it, to befriend her neurodivergence and help others see the world through different angles.

Diana has also started a career as a personal development coach, where she supports and guides young or aspiring entrepreneurs in their career journeys.

We talk about authenticity & radical acceptance, learning how to ask for help, and finding and developing our own paths, despite what others might expect from us.

Website: https://costeadiana482.wixsite.com/pscyhandstories 

Instagram: @psychandstories_diana


Diana Costea 0:00
I learned this metaphor it has really helped me like the seasons of my life. And sometimes it's winter. Sometimes it's spring, sometimes it's autumn, and I learned, okay, now it's winter, slow down a little bit, you might feel bad, you might feel dizzy, you might feel like you want to stay inside and cannot work so much. And then I send some message to me, I cannot say no. And really gives us these like, oh, I have the right to say I cannot. And I'm still a good person. I'm still hard working. I'm still having my way of discipline. But today, I cannot. It's just today just this season, and it's gonna come spring and I'm going to be energetic and I'm gonna want to work and I'm gonna reach out to you trust me.

Katy Weber 0:45
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 like 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. Okay, here we are at Episode 135, in which I interviewed Diana Coscia. Diana is a 22 year old from Romania. She has a degree in psychology and is currently volunteering with the European solidarity Corps program. As a youth worker and English teacher in Turkey. Diana discovered her ADHD a little over a year ago. And since then, she feels she finally has the courage to allow herself to be different. And instead of minimizing or masking it to befriend her divergence and help others see the world through different angles. Diana has also started a career as a personal development coach, where she supports and guides young or aspiring entrepreneurs in their career journeys. We talk about authenticity and radical acceptance, learning how to ask for help, and finding and developing our own paths despite what others might expect from us. I gotta say I was blown away by Diana's wisdom at such a young age, she is a real gift with words. So you may want to pause this episode and grab a pen and notepad before we get started. Enjoy. Hi, Diana. Welcome.

Diana Costea 2:32
Hi. Hi, Katie. Thank you so much for having me.

Katy Weber 2:35
So yeah, let's just jump right in and get started. I'm curious about your ADHD diagnosis. How long ago were you diagnosed? I know, it wasn't that long ago. But you know, what was kind of happening in your life that led you to start to connect the dots and think this could be ADHD?

Diana Costea 2:54
Yes, it's interesting that I think your book was the first time when actually I started that they did seriously. But I when I was thinking, because this is a question that you always ask your, your woman, your guests. And I started to think when actually it was the first time when I started to think and that when I heard about ADHD, and actually it was in kindergarten. And it's interesting that I heard about this notion, ADHD, and I asked my mother was this. And she said, No, it's just children are agitated. And I said, I dictated and she said, No, but it's not you. So you're just not it's kind of this kind of thing. Like other kids might be like, ADHD, but you if you're agitated like this, because this is how you are, it's not a problem. It's just how you are a bit like, naughty, you need to control yourself kind of your girl you should be otherwise. So that was the first time when I heard about ADHD. And after I kind of forgot, but if I think back always, I kind of had these problems of finding difficult to control myself or to be like other girls. But when I started to think about diagnosis, and was actually my last year of university, when I was having University a job, I was starting to learn a little bit to start my online business. So so many things are going on in my life. And I was so close to burnout. And just one day listening to your podcast, I think I forgot I think the name of your guests and I feel so sorry about that. But she said something like ADHD is something that you didn't know you have. And once you know that you have it, everything starts to make sense. And I remember I remember you talking about how you went back in your journals and you realize so many things about yourself and that it was a very emotional thing for you. And I remember I was doing groceries and podcasts because I cannot do anything without my headphones. Right? I, so I was walking on the street and I hear this. And I was, oh my God, that's my life. And I got very emotional on the street. And then I started to listen more and more and more. And it was really like, Ah, okay, now okay, now I understand. But actually one more important thing. In my last year of university, I worked as a shadow teacher, which means that I go to school with a little girl that has autism. So I'm curious about your perspective here. But I in her behavior, I started to find myself so much. For example, Her sensitivity for tinnitus. And she was doing this little thing, taking my hands and putting on her ears like this, like, it was too much for her. And I was going to have like, Oh, my God, I want to do this. So like, and sometimes, like really, like, so much nice. She wanted like to just cry and or scream, and I was, I feel you're like, really? I didn't judge one second, because I said, Okay, that's what I want to do as well. So so many things started to connect and about diagnosis. I remember I asked her therapist, do you know anyone who can diagnose ADHD? I said, why? And I said, I think I might have it. And she said, Are you sure? Are you Oh, people are active. And I don't know what I think I haven't even if I don't feel that can keep her active, whatever that means. But yes, this kind of was my bad till the moment when I realized, okay, I have it. Officially, I never been diagnosed. But for sure I'm 100% Is there like all I do all I think, Oh, how my life is arrived, and how my life guy is there and like, I can feel it. And since I know, as soon as I acknowledge my life, my life is better.

Katy Weber 6:47
Yeah, I mean, self diagnosis, I think is 100% valid, and also really, when our life starts to change, right, like all the things you were talking about, when you start to look over the course of your whole life and think, Oh, my goodness, I had no idea that all of these seemingly random struggles that I encountered all come back to ADHD. And you're like, yes, it all makes sense. Now. I think that's where the journey begins long before any medical professional gives you the thumbs up. We already know, by the time we, you know, I think many of us when we get a professional diagnosis, it's like, how do I convince this provider to see what I see? Right? And as opposed to, you know, that I feel like that's the majority of the experience. So So was this in Romania, the teacher that you were talking to?

Diana Costea 7:33
Yes, this happened in Romania. And I was surprised that also this is happening in the US because Romania being more like a smaller country where the mental health awareness is just starting just in the last, let's say, like, three, four years, it started to develop, I was surprised that you also highlight this problem in the US. And to be honest, I was ready to be denied. I was ready to be denied in where all the places where I'm gonna go. And if I mentioned ADHD, ADHD condition, I would think I'm sure and I'm already okay, you can you can deny it, because it's not obvious. It's something invisible. So

Katy Weber 8:14
I think that's what's so fascinating is how different so many of our experiences have been? Do it all depends on how much independent research a medical provider has done. It's not formal, it's not, it's not built into their training. And if it is, it's built into like, I think child psychiatrist, have formal training in ADHD, but as ADHD and children. So it's really like, you have no idea if the person you're seeing has any idea of has any background in ADHD or if they read the, you know, the two page chapter in Psych 101, on ADHD, which is, you know, terribly misleading, but I was, I'm just curious, like, what even do you think the diagnosis would even entail in Romania? Do you think that there's Do you know, anybody who has successfully been diagnosed? Or is it just something that's like, only with children at this point?

Diana Costea 9:08
I think currently, I don't want to give misinformation but I think currently it's more aware of for the children, it's like a child this is I think, this is how it's been seen. And after you're growing up, is that like, I think it's more of just for children, for adults, not so much. And I think, especially for women, I think we're learn to hide it so much, then no one can even like it very difficult to be diagnosed or to be like recognized. And also because discipline is so important. And do you say, Okay, this isn't something I need to learn. Again, you have to keep it inside. And yes, I don't think that awareness for ADHD is too high or ammonia right now. I think again, it's something for children as Adult is not there.

Katy Weber 10:03
Right? I think it's this idea that it's a self control issue, right? So if you are still struggling in adulthood, then you just obviously have no self control. And so that's on you. That's, that's something you have to like suffer in silence with. And I think, you know, some of one of the themes we explore so much in this podcast is like, why so many of us end up with diagnoses of depression and anxiety is because of that, that connection between feeling like what's wrong with me that I am not that I don't have that self control that I was supposed, you know, like, children can get away with it? Although, you know, I'm curious, like, have you had conversations with your mom as, as an adult now, sort of? What are her thoughts about some of the issues that you struggle with now even in adulthood? Does she still feel like it's you it's just your personality?

Diana Costea 10:53
I think it's kind of different generation and for them growing up during communism, again, in a different context completely. So it's a kind of luxury to be able to say about myself, Yes, I have ADHD. And this might be a reason why I find it so difficult to do all the things that makes me messy and nasty and disorganized. And not like other people, and including this moldy interiors that I had always I want to do this and this and this. And after, I was telling you about whether it's here for university where I hit that bottom line where I was just I cannot anymore, I cannot like everyone anymore. Because I'm not and I don't know if me recognizing, okay, I have ADHD, and I have a need for multiple interests. This is a need for me, I need to do more things. And I think, to have this ability and focusing on one thing and doing it well. It's so appreciated in our society is so me being I cannot do this one thing because I'm bored. It's just, you're not fine. You're not okay. And always I was but this What about this and this business? And after I said, Okay, I cannot anymore. I just, I cannot do my search right now. Because normally the fact is the university then you do your master degree. And after, you'll see what you gotta do for me. I said, No, master. Now, I want to go as a volunteer in Turkey like, Yay, completely different thing. And I remember everyone, we're just Irish. Sure, like, okay, and first time like those only two months, and everyone was just like, Okay, tomorrow, and after she's gonna come back and she's gonna go to university, and she's gonna be normal, like all the other tools like children. I said, I cannot still I cannot I there. And I'm sorry, I forgot what was the question?

Katy Weber 12:46
I think I was asking you about whether or not your mom has come around to the idea that this is ADHD as opposed to just you know, like, she when you were a kid, she was like, that was just you, you were naughty. If she sees some of the more like nuanced side of ADHD now.

Diana Costea 13:03
I think I had first made to be fine with this, that it's possible, her and my family never to understand. This is one thing that I had to embrace. It's possible never, ever need to understand. And it's possible from people in my life, never to understand and still think about me that maybe you're like this, you're like that. But the more I understand, the more most important thing gets me like, do I embrace myself fully? Like I understand do I embrace myself that my room can be a mess from time to time, and I am filled with first stuff. And I can be interested in so many other things. And one day, I can connect them together and do something. Yes. Again, like the idea that I might not have or obtain ever an approval for from some people. I think it's something that really gives me strength to keep on going like, I need to give myself approval and permission to do different things in my life.

Katy Weber 14:01
That is so beautifully said and I'm so envious, that that is a realization you've come to in your early 20s. When you're 22 still are

Diana Costea 14:09
yes, yes, sometimes you do you.

Katy Weber 14:12
I mean, I'm envious, because I feel like I it took me until my mid 40s with that diagnosis to have that revelation right to realize that I can be chaotic and do you know, do all of these things and still be an incredible person who gets things done. And to really lean into that. Like, I think that's so wonderful and encouraging to hear that you're able to have that attitude at such a young age. So how did you end up in Turkey? So walk me through that because I think that's fascinating. Yes, I

Diana Costea 14:47
really wants to mention this and I want to talk about this in a way that because you mentioned the fact that in your early 20s You couldn't understand or you couldn't really just acknowledge But I think also because there were so many options that there now there's internet and you can see different options that you can do. So for now, for a young young person that graduated high school or graduate university, there are so many other options to reach or to develop yourself and to grow without necessarily leaving, or going on the same path as everyone is going. But people don't know. And sometimes I feel like we're even afraid to look on what other options are there. Because there's one notion of success still, even though they can be so many others that that leads to success. One thing I'm trying to do, and also with my social media is to promote this is how I live my life. Just this, I don't say you have to do it like this. But I say, you know, I'm doing this. It's a bit unusual. I know, sometimes it's very difficult. Yes. But it is different. And it brings skill development and growth. And even though I'm not doing in the formal way, and I have this, I love this notion of educated differently. And I had a serious stuff live on my Instagram account. And now I'm thinking I'm thinking, just thinking and putting in the freezer, kind of the freezer of ideas. Like I'm thinking maybe about caste one day educated differently, where I can talk about different ways of getting educated without going to university and there. I don't say it's a bad way. I think it's beautiful. And I encourage for my education, I think without formal education. I couldn't be here because for my vacation gave me so many years. But there are so many other ways to do it. And yes, how did I reach into him? First, I was thinking, while I was again, in my last mouth, kind of I was working for my license paper for my license diploma, and thinking, What can I do next? What can I do next. And I remember I heard the story. I will say the story. And then I'll say how I Rican turkey. Because of a small booklet of therapeutic stories. I forgot daughter. But I was shortlisted. Because I don't remember 100% how it goes, it was a story about this girl that wanted to go from New York to Los Angeles, let's say I forgot the destinations. But let's just say this. And she said, Okay, I can take, I can take a taxi, I can go to the airport, I can take the plane and reach here. And I'll be there in I don't know, maybe one hour, maybe a few hours anyway, it's a short time, it will be a bit more expensive. But I'll reach fast hours fast out to the city, blah, blah, blah. The other option, maybe I can take the bat, and it's gonna take maybe more hours more time more days is gonna be a bit cheaper, but I'm gonna see different cities, I'm gonna explore it, there'll be they'll have time to think maybe I'll get tired. But I will see different places and it will be more economical. Another option, maybe I can take a few months off, and I can take a bath, or just the car and the car and go to different places. And I can see some metro parks or I can see some other to dues, I can go to different places, and so on. And I had no idea was that there's not only one way and perfect way you can do it in so many other ways. Yes, you can think that will be some advantage and disadvantages. But you can do it. And you can choose your own way. And you can still read the destination. And it really made me think like I stay with this story in my mind for so long. And I said which option do I want to take now. And I remember telling the story to my therapist, and she said, sometimes you can take the bike. And sometimes you can walk sometimes you can take the boat, and sometimes you can change the transportation you don't have if you take the bike now doesn't mean that in a certain moment in your life, you cannot take the car. And after he continued with the bus and after he continued with a vote. It's kind of this mix of multi realities in the same time and choices that you can make. How do they reach and third team? Well, in Europe, there's this project called European solidarity Corps. And unfortunately, it's not so famous as you can because you can choose your project there are different projects, their education, environment, animals, different topics. You are not paid but they are giving you a home. They are giving you pocket money and food money. And most of the time you can choose your country and just go like this. And then of course reimbursement for transportation. And I was in a place in my life a little bit last little bit confused. And I find this project in a region from Berkeley called malattie. I never heard about it I don't know what is it but it affected me because if you knew it, South Turkey never heard about it. I will never go I just like to travel and I went and I discovered like it's interesting because it gives me it gives me a bit of comfort. Who think about my life? Because at this point, I'm still thinking what I want to do what masters do, I want to choose what career I want to choice to choose, and it gives me comfort, it gives me a home, it gives me something to do, because we're teaching English, we we connect with community, we connect with ourselves, but we still have free time to the sport or to connect with other people from the city to make friends to sniff the work to think so it gives you this space of safety, but not always yourself. But basically to find yourself.

Katy Weber 20:33
That's an incredible. It's yeah, I mean, I think I think that European solidarity corps have amazing program. Yeah, and I had never heard of it. I looked it up after I found out that you were in it. And it was, was that it was such an incredible program. And it reminded me of how many friends of mine when we were graduating university who went on to teach English in Russia or Japan or you know, would go on and do these like one year stints and then they would end up staying there. And I was like, that's such that has ADHD written all over it, right? But like the Wanderlust, and not only the wonderlust of just like picking up and moving to a different country, but also teaching, right, I think teaching is so many neurodivergent end up in a role where they're teaching. And so the fact that there's the the teaching element, but also the social justice elements, it just feels like it's very ADHD friendly, in terms of how you know, just the excitement and the change.

Diana Costea 21:25
It actually is. And this is my third project where I'm now actually after I went to another one, and this is the third one where MTN Turkey, I wanted to stay in Turkey because so different than other countries that I visit. One thing I wanted to mention, always for me, it was so tiring these social rules that you have on the table to sit like this, and the plate has to be like this. And you have to eat in a certain way. And I wasn't at a point in my life where I had the chance maybe to be in a high society group of people. And I remember this person telling me like, be careful before you go to a dinner if you're invited you have to eat from before. So you're not to harm you when you reach to this dinner. And I was like, and they said yes, because it's not polite to eat so much when you're invited. And I was like, why would anyone invited to dinner? If you cannot eat? Like, for me, it just doesn't make sense. And I remember them. They were like, they didn't say anything. I was just, it's nothing wrong with me. Like, I don't understand. I don't get it. And the routine for this country where they say they mention companies, they're hungry when you come and they want you to eat. And it's kind of obvious, like I love of yours. Except I love obvious experiences. Like you say this to me, I know that you meant that thing. I cannot live a life where we're polite. I cannot I cannot like this because I don't understand. I don't understand and people don't get it. I really don't understand it. And after or even just shame and guilt. Girls, and I just cannot do it anymore. You just enough enough time of my life. I grew up with shame and guilt. Now I just I want to be simple and obvious. And what I say something to manage when someone says something to me, I know that they mean it. And like this, I can live but not otherwise. Yes, I wanted to stay more in Turkey because it was interesting for me that everything's so clear, and a little bit of chaos. Everything is so diverse in a region of Turkey something it's in a way and then you go in another place and the way they talk the way they walk the way they move. Everything's so different and diverse. And I say okay, I want to stay here for a while because this is so much stimulus. Is it correct? Like there's so much novelty? Yes. And at the same time I have the safety. Yes. So it gives me what I need. And in project where I am now is still ADHD friendly, because the I'm working in a youth center and Sports Center. So we have so much sports activities, and also youth activities. And we also work with children and also work with adults and also work with youngsters and also do some sports and also like everything is so when I first saw the schedule, I said, this is perfect. Not one single day is the same.

Katy Weber 24:22
Right? Yeah, that's so beautiful. And I think you know, going back to what you said about going to somebody's house that was such a perfect allegory for how authenticity is so important to so many of us and having I see that so much and not only in my own life but in a lot of the women I interviewed just this desire to cut through the crap and be authentic and be true and be real and how that affects and how oftentimes that can lead to why so many of us have difficulty with relationships and friendships especially with other women. Because there is this like unspoken code, sometimes in relationships among women. That It's we don't know, like, you know where you're sort of like either we don't understand what's going on, or we just feel like it's ridiculous. And we don't want to play by those rules because we want to play by like something that feels more authentic. I saw Tiktok video recently where somebody was talking about a neurotypical asking you if you are hungry? And if you're not hungry in that moment, you neurodivergent would be like, No, I'm not hungry, but not realize that if somebody was asking you, are you hungry, what they're actually saying is, I'm hungry? Do you want to go eat with me? And, and then the neurodivergent person didn't pick up on that. And so then they look like a jerk? Because they're like, No, I'm not how great. But it was just a reminder, it reminded me of how so many of our communication difficulties do lie around this idea of authenticity and kind of what how we interpret situations and and when there's something where there's like, some weird social rule or something that makes no sense. You're just like, why would I do that? That makes no sense. I feel like we're very, like logically driven in that way. And I also going back to what you were talking about, with the story of taking the bus or the bike, or the walk to really reminded me of that idea of like, the life is about the journey, not necessarily the destination. And I think that describes so many of us, right, in terms of all the things we want to do, and all the different like, I often will look back and think about all the different random certifications I got, and, and all of these things that at the time felt like they were leading to nowhere. And so I looked at them as though I was a failure, because I was like, Oh, I did this thing for a year, but I couldn't keep up with it. And then I did this other thing for a year, and I couldn't keep up with it. And now I'm like, Oh, I'm so grateful that I did all of these different things that have made me who I am today. I just thought you did a better job of sort of describing it. But I think that that's many of our experiences, a lot of us have that experience of just being like, what's most most interesting right now, as opposed to thinking about where this is gonna get me and what the destination is. And I'm like, is there really, I don't feel like one is better than the other. I think they're just different. And they're both beautiful in their own way.

Diana Costea 27:15
And I find that that's a gift because we're used to trying and because we're used to trying and Okay, sometimes I'm a little bit like, I'm so excited about this, but I know I might, it might be just like a little bit because after it might get very bad. And all the other things I'm looking back. But now Now, I think it's an ADHD thing. Maybe I should pay attention. Is it something that they cannot do it like, I cannot drag and drop me or I can just put a little bit a little bit push. But it's kind of again, I think a matter of exercise. And I love this. I had this teacher in university, and he was introduction and therapy psychotherapy teacher. And he mentioned the beautiful three questions that he says, okay, when you have a patient or client in your ad that you're working with, sometimes you need to ask yourself this question like that this person doesn't know how to do it. Or maybe he cannot do it. Or maybe he doesn't want to do it. And is different because sometimes we need to ask ourselves, I don't want to do it. I cannot do it. Or I don't know how. And it's special because the answer leads to different solutions. If I cannot, it means okay, I need to rest Why cannot different questions that I need to ask myself? If I don't know how, okay, maybe I need to learn something. Maybe I need to develop some other skills. And if I don't want to okay, then just don't do it. Like, you don't have to do it if you don't want to.

Katy Weber 28:55
I know right? I feel like that's one of the questions I asked myself all the time now that I'd never did before my diagnosis, which was okay, if I'm struggling with this, who can I get to do this for me? Which I'd never had that I never used to do that I if I was struggling with something I would have to I would like double down and be like, I got to figure this out what's wrong with me that I can't do this. And now I'm like, I feel like I'm much it's much quicker for me to just be like, Yeah, this is not gonna happen. So I'm gonna not force it and I'm gonna see if there's somebody else who could do this for me.

Diana Costea 29:24
Yes, and also this idea of asking for help is so new. Because I don't know when again, or I grew up in like individual, Indian individualist culture, where helping is not that common. And after I grew up after I, my country after I left my country I started started to interact with people from other countries. I somehow still chose people that a bit individual centered, my career, my job, my whatever. And now I'm here in Turkey where it's so common to help each other And you said that you mentioned the relationship part. And I find it interesting that no love bonding is a notion that is circulating now. And here in Turkey, some actions that are normal for them in our country or another culture can be considered 100% love bombing. And at the beginning, I was told like, is that love bombing? Because this person has the hospital with me because I'm sick, like, but we just met. So what should I do? How should I say this, or this person come to me and bring me stupid My home is love bombing, because I didn't ask for it. And it's interesting how relationship plays such an important role in our life and the way we see. And depending on the culture, also, the cultural role plays such an important role. And I see it's such a gift to be able to be in a culture where helping is just normal, because I made it, but I had no idea I needed to now and now I see how my life gets better and karma because I can say yes, you can help me this time. It's beautiful. That is really beautiful.

Katy Weber 31:07
And I think it also comes back to the idea of authenticity, too, right? Which is like, feeling very uncomfortable for when somebody is being so helpful and going out of their way immediately. Yeah, when you do come from an individualist society immediately, you're like, What are you? What do you get from this? What do you want from me? Right? It feels transactional in some way. As opposed to being in a culture where you're just like, No, this is what we do we help each other. And that's, that's the authenticity part to just like, of course, why wouldn't we? I know, I find that so interesting. And I think it's something that we talk about a lot on this show, you know, I'm so I feel so privileged with this podcast to be able to interview women from from so many different backgrounds, and so many different countries and cultures. And I remember, you know, I interviewed a guest who was talking about how, like, Somalia is very ADHD friendly, because it's such a laid back country and you show up when you show up and there's not a you know, a lot of rules about when things start or when things finish and, and there's like a siesta in the middle of the day. And so it was like, all of these ways in which different social norms and social rules are really like ADHD friendly or not. And then you think about like capitalism and an individualist societies are terrible for ADHD. Because like you said, like, we're taught from birth, that like we need to be do one thing and do it well. And like, be in our spot and contribute to society. And that suffering is, is morally righteous, right. And all of these things that are part of our society where you're like, No wonder I'm so miserable. So I think that we should have a list of like the top 10 countries that you should move to if you have ADHD.

Diana Costea 32:48
I would put archaeon dismissed to be honest.

Katy Weber 32:51
Right? Well, and then I wonder, like, does ADHD even exist in certain countries, because I feel like a lot of the time, if you're in an environment that is very friendly to your brain, you're not going to have this the struggles that many of us associate with ADHD. And so while you still have your neurodivergent brain, you're not at a deficit, it doesn't feel like a disorder. And so did you even still have ADHD? Right? So I that's why I think it's interesting that there's certain cultures where ADHD is hugely diagnosed and hugely pathologized. And then there's other cultures where it almost doesn't exist. And I think is that because, you know, they reject the concept of it? Or does it not exist? Because the people who have ADHD brains just aren't struggling? They're fine, like they have their place in society. And it's not an issue. I think that's so interesting to think about, as we kind of work through like, What even is ADHD? Is it a set of behaviors in relationship to unfriendly environments like school? Or workplaces? Or is it really? Is it just our beautiful, chaotic brains? Wherever we are? Or? Yeah, I think it's a little bit of both.

Diana Costea 34:04
Yes. And it's interesting now thinking like, maybe the environment can be friendly in some cultures, but I'm sure. Or actually, I'm not sure. I'm thinking how is the careers part like when I have to choose my career or when I have to go to university or school and the cat because of the internet now. There's a tendency to compare with other people is still there. And I don't know actually, especially like, I'm interested in the career path because I'm always saying this idea that you don't have to change your interests. You have to discover your interest and then to choose a career that match your interests and your lifestyle and your dream lifestyle. And it's gonna work it but it's so scary because it's gonna be a phase in your life when it's not gonna work and you're gonna be messy. But I think this is why we are young so we can mess up like we're so way like, I don't know, maybe me but I feel this in my generation were so afraid to make mistakes. And so focus on perfection, everyone wants to be millionaire, and everyone wants to have great careers, whatever that means. And just, this is always Park in your library can be messy, like always thinking like you can mess up really can mess up because we either have anything to lose. If I mess up now, it's very good. Because really, I don't have any money to lose, I don't have any, I don't have a home to lose, I don't have a family to lose, I don't have anything. So I go ahead, I risk it all because I don't have so much. So it's really beautiful. It's really, really beautiful.

Katy Weber 35:39
You're making me miss the the transient nature of my 20s because that was one of the things I always loved was the freedom of just like not having a lot of things always moving, always moving around, like never sort of putting down roots until I think really children change that. Children make it a lot harder to move around. But yeah, that's so well said. And I think also, I think your generation is at such an interesting, pivotal time with social media too, because like you said, like so many young people are making a lot of money with social media. And University is not necessarily like, especially in the US university is putting people into a lifetime of crippling debt. And it's not guaranteeing a job, it's not guaranteeing a career, it doesn't do any of that anymore. It's just putting people into incredible amounts of debt. So like my teenager, I'm like, I don't know if if I would really pressure her to go to university at this point. Because especially if she's just going to go to university for like liberal arts or something that I did, like I did, you know, philosophy and political science, and I just went to university to like, grow up. But it was a lot less expensive when I went and so I'm not, I mean, I feel like it's a really different time now in terms of education. And, you know, it's not just obvious that you would go to school immediately. So there's, it's, it feels like there's so many other different options in terms of like, where do you you know, and like you said, there are so many outliers who are just like making millions of dollars by being influencers, and it's, it's really, this the carrot that's dangling right in front of every 20 A lot of 20 year olds, which is like, How can I also be that person? I don't know what I'm saying. I'm just rambling at this point. I think it's just very, very different from what I was in my 20s.

Diana Costea 37:36
I think it makes sense. And in the same time, it leads to this question like, What do you really want, like, what do you want. And it's interesting, when I ask now, I'm having a very interesting, I think I'm the happiest career wise, I ever be until now. Because I'm working online. I'm in Turkey, but I'm working online from Romania. So I'm working with a, so I graduated from University of psychology, but I'm working with a real estate company from Romania. On the social media part, I'm doing social media for them, and personal development with the employees. So it's interesting because it's different, like completely two different position in the same place. And also here, my English teacher, like, it's like this my life and also youth worker, because sometimes I do some personal development classes with you from here. So it's so diverse and dynamic and interesting, sometimes overwhelming. But I learned this metaphor, it has really helped me like the seasons of my life. And sometimes it's winter, sometimes it's spring, sometimes it's autumn, and I learned, okay, now it's winter, slow down a little bit, you might feel bad, you might feel dizzy, you might feel like you want to stay inside and cannot work so much. And then I send some message to me, I cannot say no. And really gives me a face like, oh, I have the right to say I cannot and I'm still a good person, I'm still hard working, I'm still having my way of discipline. But today, I cannot it just today just this season, and it's gonna come spring and I'm going to be allergic and I'm going to want to work and I'm going to reach out to you trust me. But it's a matter of patience, I think paying attention. But when you pay attention always on what others are doing and comparing yourself why this person can and I cannot. He cannot fit this in on your own season because you're paying attention on other people's seasons. But you don't know maybe they're living in a country where they have only two seasons. And maybe you have four or maybe you have a combination of four seasons and it's important to discover your own. I see this way

Katy Weber 39:46
that is so fascinating to have and I couldn't agree more. I mean I think that's been a big change for me since my diagnosis is and I you know I talked about this on the podcast, too. We call them like bio rhythms are really kind of having the face If that if I'm tired, if today is not that day that that day will come right and being able to really lean into like, Okay, this is a day where I can't get off the couch. And I'm fine with that, because that does not define who I am, even though it feels like it in the moment. And realizing that like, yes, energy is cyclical productivity is cyclical all of that. And but it's so fascinating to think about how even that changes depending on where we are in the world in terms of like, what are the cycles in, you know, our area of the world? What are the what are the seasons? Right? How are we biologically affected even by where on the on the earth we are located? I think that's really interesting.

Diana Costea 40:39
Yes, and again, about what you said, I'm thinking it's our responsibility for me, and for my youngster, and my generations and generations that are about to come, I think it's our responsibility to choose where we want to live. Because really, we have this opportunity. Like, if you want to live anywhere on the planet, you can just say that we can do it like first come the word, as the Bible says, And then really, you can do it. We live in this time. And I think it's a responsibility that we have not only for ourselves, but our generic past generation, that's probably my parents, no matter how much they wanted to do what I'm doing now, they cannot, and they really disagree with what I'm doing, because they don't understand is different. And it sounds like a bit of failure, like what are you doing, you're tracking University, and actually do them. But it sounds like this, because normally taskmaster, and now what your volunteer, you're not being paid. So you don't have a job, you're not taking University, it's kind of this gray part of life that I love. But it's so like this, whether you're doing or still doing this. And it's beautiful, because because I had this safety that I offered myself, I found it my responsibility to offer the safety for myself. And even if, for example, my parents even if they say no, I can do in their eyes that if I were you, I will do the same. And I know for sure they will do the same. Because really different opportunities, and they say I'm sorry, I know you say no. But in your heart, I know it's a yes. And they also do it for you, not only for myself.

Katy Weber 42:19
I love that that's beautiful. I know I think about all the times I've made my mom cry. When I first I didn't go to university when all my friends went to university and my mom cried. And then I finally did go to university. But I dropped out of university and my mom cried. And like all of these like moments where I didn't take the path. Most, you know, the well worn chosen path. And my parents were terrified. And they cried because like, oh, what does this mean? And it all works out the end. That's what I was, hopefully. And that's that reminds me I wanted to ask you, you know, you had said when you wrote reached out to me that you had listened to the Emily Weinberg episode where we were talking about, like, what it's like to not, you know, all of my guests, there's always the sense that everybody's figured it out, right, that we're like, Oh, we got our ADHD diagnosis. And now everything is wonderful. And like, I'm always trying to really establish that that's not true. Like, we're all, we're all a hot mess still. But there is there are some incredible moments after an ADHD diagnosis, it really is a really incredible opportunity to reframe a lot of our how we look at life and, and even just when you reached out to me, you were like, after my ADHD diagnosis, my journey, it was like, I just felt like life got more beautiful, but also, you're still struggling, right? And we're still sort of getting through it. And we still have ADHD at the end of the day. So I'm curious. My question, I guess is, what would you say to somebody who feels like they're still nothing but struggle.

Diana Costea 43:52
I think I'll go back to the season metaphor, because this works so well, for me to have an image with what I'm feeling right now. And what helps me this season that fit because when I'm in the winter, it's so dark, that I cannot see any light. And it's really dark. And I don't remember it's winter. Like when I'm in the winter, I cannot know I'm in the winter because maybe I'm inside of my home and the worm in my homies worm. But the outside is dark and cold and I cannot do anything but I might not know. And sometimes it's just to know that everything is temporary for me health like joy, temporary sadness is temporary. And it's just a sense of I don't have to control like sometimes it's just this and people don't see me but it's just this kind of physical movement like it is what it is.

Katy Weber 44:51
Yeah, I always liked the word surrender in that moment.

Diana Costea 44:55
It kind of I remember I had this after I graduated university I was still in kind of this what I have to do I have to do, I have to control everything has to be controlled. And I remember I had I had this problem, I cannot swim. And I cannot swim. Because always my body is so clean and so tense. And when you swim, you have to a bit free yourself up. And I remember we were in the sea with I was in another project. And we were in, in, in the sea with some friends and one of our mentors from that project. And I said, I cannot swim. Because Because and he said, You're so tan, Dianna, like really? And he said, like, Look, I'm just smelting because I let go. And at the beginning, I was like, like, if I let go, then what are you going by here, it's in my nose. And I'm gonna really like all these kinds of fashion. And I remember the last day of the project cast, and I had to go back to my real life. And I was in the water alone this time. And I just said, I'm so scared that I cannot feel fear anymore. I have so much pain that I cannot feel pain anymore. And I voted. And it was an emotional moment for me because it's so small, but first time I could smell it because I let go. And sometimes I'm going back mentally in that place where it just floated. And maybe I could have, I could go down, maybe I can do on the surface. But if I go down, I learned something. And I can always raise myself up, like I can stand on my leg or my feet. If I go with something

Katy Weber 46:40
that's so beautiful. Okay, you have such a gift of metaphor. I feel like there's been so many beautiful images that you're right, I feel, I feel like those some of those images, some of those stories and allegories are so helpful for us when it comes to like something to hold on to something to anchor us in terms of like reframing and and changing some of our ideas. That can be so powerful. So I really liked that one. And I talked about that too, sometimes with like, there's moments where we are madly paddling upstream and treading water and desperately trying to stay afloat. And then the answer is just to let go. And like let the current take you along and and once the the moment you start like trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. Like as soon as soon as you stop trying to force something and just relax and let go. That's when that's when it starts to fall into place.

Diana Costea 47:37
Yeah, and it's such a gift, I think, because for so long, I was thinking this sensitivity will lead me nowhere I have to become stronger. I have to be resilience. And I think now I did the gift because exactly the sensitivity made me to be so connected with what's going on around me and so fast, I feel something is off, I need to stop this person. Not good for me. I admit, though, a bit of distance. This was this choice. I do. Definitely write. And because I use so much I feel I feel I feel I can actually be connected with how I feel. And I think even people that maybe they don't have this, I don't know how to call it gift off near neurodivergent seats. They need to connect with this kind of I feel right now. And I find that as a gift, especially now that I'm working on this coaching vibe. Like I'm saying, I think bringing some metaphors help and also helped me like to be so little judgmental in my real life because I'm such a mess. I don't know what the person can do to make me be judgmental because then I really look at my life and just really what you do is perfect. Trust me, you're perfect. It's like this.

Katy Weber 48:57
That's beautifully said. Now if you could I live I love to ask if you could read name ADHD to something else would you call it something else?

Diana Costea 49:08
Maybe I don't know. I would call it I think I swear to God, I'm not the bad person because I love that one. I find it so difficult sometimes. And I just I don't know how much time we have. But I remember first time I listened and I heard about narcissism from Dr. Romani. And she highlights so many traits that narcissist people have that also I have like, and then just a bit like because also I forget to say sometimes I don't, I cannot listen why the other person says to me, I forget about people. And there are some very common trait and I was thinking how interesting is that? But maybe this I hope maybe you'll have another conversation with a person that is better prepared than me to talk about this. Because I find it thrilling interesting dynamic and there is about not race, but the dynamic between a person with ADHD with a person with narcissistic personality trait, because both of them can have some similar traits. And over there this anxiety trait that the person with ADHD can, can have. And also the love bombing that can be even more attractive for an ADHD person than for, let's say, a normal person. Because we're still Wow, so many Whoa, yay. And then it comes to the other five when it goes to be down. And it's so interesting, I find it and I'm writing a book. Now, I don't know, maybe I'll finish in five years because I started because it's interesting for me. And I imagined this relationship between a person with ADHD and the person with narcissism. And I kind of went back to my journals, because I wanted to see a little bit how my mind is going on. So I can highlight the Seco parte are of this person in a more accurate way. So I'm going in this direction, but about your question. Yes, I would, I would rename it. As I said, I am not a bad person. Really. I'm not like, really I forget, I'm sorry. And I sorry, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. This is something I say all the time. Because really, I feel that

Katy Weber 51:21
my intentions are pure. Maybe that's what we should call it. But you know, it's funny that you say that about the narcissist too, right? Because I think that is such a good point. There are some overlaps. But I think it's a lot of it comes down to intention, right. And I think that like for the most part, many of us are very curious. We're puzzle solvers. And there's nothing more confounding, there's nothing more puzzling than me. And so we do spend a lot of time trying to figure ourselves out, and we do we are the most important person in our life. And so there are times where we do sometimes relationally make mistakes with other people where, you know, going back to some of those, like social cues that can be really difficult for us, or where we feel like, you know, we didn't do something that was expected of us, and therefore we've messed up and all of that, but I think the biggest difference for me, at least between somebody who is neurodivergent, and narcissism is the questioning of Am I a narcissist? Like I don't think narcissists are capable of questioning. Because there's that idea of like, there's not the desire to be better, which is comes from the neurodivergent like curiosity, right? Like, who Who am I in this world? Who am I affecting what is my relationship with people? All of those questions that are sort of self centered, in a way are not something a narcissist questions, right? a narcissist is the center of the universe, they're there, they would they don't apologize, right. For me, at least that's what I've come up with. Because I definitely what I was reading a book on narcissism, there were very many parts where I was like, oh, no, I really relate to this. But I'm like, but I'm also like, I don't feel like narcissists spend a lot of time reading books about narcissism and whether they are or aren't narcissists. So that's what I've told myself at least, like I said, I'm not a professional psychologist, so I don't know. But that's my theory, at least.

Diana Costea 53:21
Yes, yes. Dr. RAMANI said the same thing that there is no people that are 100 100% Perfect are always think about the other. Sometimes we have some moments when we are a bit more self centered. But the difference is exactly this one that we question, Did I do something wrong? Or but again, being living in this society that we're so denied and pushed down? It's not right, what you feel you're you're wrong? It kind of we have to this confusion, like, Oh, am I feeling and also this, growing up with this? I feel this and everyone says, No, you're actually this. It leads to so many other disorders, like I don't know, I don't know. And I remember you had a guest talking about eating disorder and ADHD or other things that are so connected with you being denied all of your life. So then, maybe I think there are two points that I can see either you deny yourself always don't know what you feel either you start to self diagnose yourself all the time. Always. I think it's a problem with me, something hurt me because I don't see that there's a problem with the way I think life in general, a lot of small problems or small things, I start to identify them. Something hurts me my body, maybe I'm sick, I'm gonna die. Something small, I don't know doesn't work in my life. It's so bad. And because it's kind of compensate. I cannot see that I see the whole life differently. And there's something different with my brain and my mind. So Oh, other things that go to be different. I started to see them as extreme. I don't know if it makes sense.

Katy Weber 54:58
No, absolutely. I think that It's interesting because I think it falls under the same category of control. And that's a theme that I think that we talk about a lot too, which is like when we feel so out of control when we feel so different when we feel like our natural way of being is wrong. And we're told those messages throughout our life and we internalize that many of us are looking for ways in which we can control our environment and feel a little more in control. And so you think about like, what falls under that, that umbrella of control. So like eating is one body dysmorphia is another one. But also like, people pleasing and perfectionism and hypochondria, right? It's another one where it's sort of like, this is something little, but I need to understand it, and I need to, I need to feel like I'm in control, I need to be in charge. And so all of these are really, their trauma responses, right? Like, these are all forms of hyper vigilance, which is like I need to be I need to figure this out. And I need to fix this. That's all hyper vigilance, which is like the number one trauma response. And so like, it's fascinating to me that these all kind of have our have a relationship to this idea of like, you know, I have to get some control over my environment and who I am and the people around me because I feel so chaotic all the time. So I find that all super fascinating. And so let's the hypochondria I hadn't really thought about but I think it absolutely falls under that same, that same family of of hyper vigilance, right? It's like, Oh, my God, like I have a headache do Am I having an aneurysm? Like, those immediate ways in which we go from zero to 100? I think it is really, like, I have to understand everything.

Diana Costea 56:42
Yes. And also I'm thinking about, again, my childhood, how sometimes I say I have I had a girl have this and always were you're right, didn't have anything, it's fine. And even more, it amplifies, it amplifies. Because I think you must know it. And then what maybe I'm wrong. It's just like, like it is and about the controlling and being pushed down all the time are being pushed up all the time by society and people and friends and family. And that creates them battler said this idea of comfort zone that she supports, actually, because in our society now is just, you can't you have to give up your comfort zone, you have always to reach for more. And she says actually compromise only three good because when you're comfortable, you can grow. And they I've seen this in myself, like the more I understand myself, and I understand what conflict means for me, the more I can grow. And she made the difference between complacency and comfort. And I found it so useful to have these different terms for the something that I fell for so long as Oh, yes, I need comfort. And of course, I don't like complacency because I have this huge interest and energy for life. And I wanted to try this and this and this and this, but I need to be comfortable when I'm doing so yes, there are some things I can control, like some people that I have around me or how I spend my free time. And there are some other things they cannot control. And then I put my headphones on, I just go ahead with music when for example, when I'm on the street and so many so many, nice so many so much. So much things that I can focus on. So in this moment, I cannot control but then I wish for my comfort. And I decided that I choose my career path right now. This is my definition of comfort, having more careers in the same career because I cannot be just one thing. And always also learn to use the word onboard like to embrace it. Because, again, all my life being poor board is such a bad trade. I don't know why, like you cannot get bored, you have to pay more attention, you have to do more, I have to push more. And giving myself permission. Now as an adult like to say I'm bored. I cannot do this because I'm bored. And I can do it tomorrow. Again, I can do a one hour today and one hour tomorrow. And that's fine. It's really beautiful to be able to accept the way you feel and also give yourself validation.

Katy Weber 59:09
Yeah, language is so important. I love the difference between comfort and complacency. I think it's really important to where like your comfort zone is wherever you feel best in the moment. And maybe that would be today. It's chaotic, doing a million things at once. And that's your comfort zone and tomorrow it's going to be staying in bed all day. Like you said it. I think it's the place to grow. It's a good point. Well, thank you so much. This has been absolutely lovely and I really appreciated you reaching out to me and sharing your perspective and I got a cache I feel like there's been so many nuggets of wisdom I'm gonna have to warn people to have a note paper and a pen for this episode. This has been so lovely. Thank you so much. I know you're on Instagram as second stories. Where can people reach you? Where can people find you online?

Diana Costea 1:00:00
Yes. So on Instagram, I think is the main page where I, I am active because it gives me the possibility to do different format of posts, I can do videos, I can do text, I can do video with text, I can do so many other different things. So that's why I love social media so much, because it gives you the possibility to be so creative and not do just one thing. So I honestly agree. I'm on site, his stories, Diana, and I'm working a little bit on my website, but my main activity is on Instagram. Yes.

Katy Weber 1:00:30
Awesome. Okay, well, I'll have a link to that in the show notes. But thank you, Diana. It's just absolutely been lovely speaking with you today and really appreciate your perspective. I'm still just in awe of your wisdom at 22. So I can't imagine what the world holds for you. So thank you so much for sharing your share your story today.

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 adhd.com 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 adhd.com/podcast guest 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