Georgia Yexley: Professional disclosure & work/life balanceMay 16, 2023
Powered by RedCircle
Episode 136 with Georgia Yexley.
“After my diagnosis, I was flooded with memories. There was all this footage that I was scrolling through and analyzing with a new lens.”
Georgia is an inclusive sustainable mobility expert and advocate based in London. Having worked with hundreds of cities across the globe on achieving their sustainable transport aims, she now advises the public, private, and third sector on achieving inclusive sustainable mobility, through her business, Loud Mobility.
Following the sudden loss of a loved one, Georgia went on a journey of self-discovery that led to her ADHD diagnosis. She wrote an open letter to her industry peers opening up about her experiences and diagnosis, and has begun the process of integrating this new awareness into her work.
We talk all about the outcomes of her self-disclosure, her road to establishing professional boundaries and how she manages work/life balance with her new business.
Georgia shares how the best thing she gained from her diagnosis was a capacity for self-compassion she never realized was dearly lacking, and a greater awareness of how important it is to live in alignment with her values.
Georgia Yexley 0:00
I want to go forward with people in my life, who have genuine relationships with me, who I have real conversations with real connections with. And if this is a way that I'm going to be able to like, draw that line in the sand and anyone who doesn't want to come over this crazy journey with me, then that's fine. I will see you later.
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. Okay, here we are at Episode 136, in which I interviewed Giorgio Yaxley. Giorgio is an inclusive, sustainable mobility expert and advocate based in London. Following the sudden loss of a loved one, Giorgio went on a journey of self discovery that led to her ADHD diagnosis. She wrote an open letter to her industry peers opening up about her experiences and her diagnosis, and has since begun the process of integrating this new awareness into her business loud mobility. Having worked with hundreds of cities across the globe on achieving their sustainable transport aims. Georgia now advises the public, private and third sector on achieving inclusive sustainable mobility. We talk all about the outcome of her public self disclosure, her road to establishing professional boundaries, and how she manages work life balance with her new business, Giorgio shares how the best thing she gained from her diagnosis was a capacity for self compassion she never realized was dearly lacking, and a greater awareness of how important it is to live in alignment with her values. Okay, here's my interview with Georgia. Well, Giorgio, thank you so much for reaching out to me, I was really excited when I, you know, did a little bit of background digging on you and what's been going on with you for the last few months or years. So yeah, I'm really excited to hear your story. Thank you so much for being here.
Georgia Yexley 2:27
Thank you for having me. I've just loved your podcast, it's been such a godsend, and listening to all the other women's stories has been amazing, and so relatable. So, yeah, thank you for having me on. Ah,
Katy Weber 2:42
okay, well, my first question is really what led to the ADHD diagnosis. So what was going on in your life? How long ago were you diagnosed? And, you know, what were some of the moments that you thought maybe this is ADHD, I should look into this?
Georgia Yexley 2:58
Well, the diagnosis is incredibly recent. So I was only diagnosed a few months ago, actually, at the beginning of this year. So very fresh. And but it's not, the time when I was diagnosed was not the first time that I had thought this might be ADHD. Actually, the first time that I did raise it with a psychiatrist, actually, and I was seeing at the time, I had been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, and a period of depression at that time. It was a really stressful time in my life with my family, there was loads of stuff going on. This was in 2017. And at that time, I was living in Beijing and China, which I'm sure we're going to talk about other points during this. But I didn't really sit right. I thought that yes, yes, there's there's definitely some anxiety going on. I've definitely been, you know, ups and downs, but I just don't feel that it's quite capturing the situation and, and what I feel is going on with me, and I went and did my own research, as I think most people who come to this diagnosis do quite a bit of, and I went to the psychologist and I said, you know, I've been really thinking, this is ADHD, I'm like, reading all this stuff. And I relate to so much of it. And unfortunately, at that time, the psychiatrist kind of just laughed it off and was like, No, it's not ADHD, stimulus, anxiety disorder, you're just being anxious. Again, here's a, you know, an example of your anxiety playing out. I thought, Okay, well, must be that. And I kind of just put it aside, I still thought it I still thought it and then actually over the last couple of years, again, it was kind of coming back up for me. And it's just been through this real kind of constant changing and mood constant needs to be doing stuff constant restlessness, just going through job after job burn. After about an hour and thinking, God, this is I was, this is ADHD. I'm certain this is ADHD at this point. So about, well, it must have been last year, I did finally get around to reaching out to my GP and went through a kind of initial assessment process. I should say that I'm in the UK as well. So I just probably clear from my accent, but I'm now in London in the UK. So I'm dealing with the NHS services at this point, and I go to my GP, they did the initial assessment, and we're like, oh, yeah, you need to get an assessment done. Unfortunately, in the UK, getting an assessment can take at least two years, if not more for a lot of people. And so I kind of just thought, Okay, well, I'll find out in two years time, unfortunately, it came around a lot sooner. I say, unfortunately, because the reason that I ended up getting my diagnosis is that I went through a really difficult time, I lost my best friend, very traumatically unexpectedly, it was really difficult I was dealing with it just immense grief, definitely now have accepted the anxiety and depression that has come with 31 years of undiagnosed ADHD. So that was playing a part, as was the trauma. And I just went into overblown overdrive, doing doing doing, not connecting with my feelings at all, and eventually had a complete meltdown. And at that point, so out help, ended up seeing a psychiatrist who, by pure chance, and in some ways luck, ended up being adult ADHD specialist. So when I was seeing him, I mentioned Oh, you know, I'm on the waitlist to get an assessment. I didn't know at that time that he was a specialist. I said, I'm on the wait list to get an assessment. And oh, well. Funny, you should say that. This is my specialism and you know, when you're bettering yourself, we can do an assessment for you. For such a long story, it's kind of, you know, bizarre, so please do jump in because I can talk for England, honestly. So we did the assessment. I'm sure a lot of people listening to this kind of know how that goes very kind of long interview process. And he kind of said to me, there's a few things that I'm looking out for in the inattentive, a few things that I'm looking out for, in the hyperactive, said, You know, you could say there's kind of nine boxes in each that I'm looking to tick. And if you take, you know, five out of those, we will be looking at maybe giving you a diagnosis. So you took seven and both. So for sure. This is what's going on with you. And I don't know, I think I've hear heard on here and speaking with other friends that have shared their diagnosis since even though I had fought it for years, and I was so convinced myself that that was what was going on actually hearing it and being given that diagnosis was just huge. It was immense. And I'm still going through the process of processing, and all the analysis that comes all the reflecting on all the footage of your life that suddenly is available to you. And it's just been an incredible journey since then. But I would say that diagnosis, it was a relief. It was validated. It was a lot of amazing things. But it was also so overwhelming in a way that I didn't even expect or couldn't, couldn't really expect before it happens. So yeah, only a few months in, but it's a pretty long winded story to answer just your first question.
Katy Weber 8:53
It's fascinating because it really is a like you said, it sort of hits you in these waves, right of realization, especially just going over the whole course of your life as an undiagnosed human, and how that affected you and what your relationships were like, and all of these seemingly random things that that all seem to suddenly come together and connect in this very, very convenient way. And so on the one hand, it's really really overwhelming to look back through this life, you know, and it through this new lens it feels so profound, but at the same time you're met with all of these present day questions about you know, oh, everybody thinks they have ADHD nowadays so maybe it's something else maybe Am I miss reading this am I making excuses what is and isn't ADHD right? So I think there's like all of those questions that are also hitting us at the same time as we're getting this diagnosis and feeling like suddenly everything makes sense, right? Like it just feels like it fits in a way that nothing else does. But then at the same time, I think so many of us deal with that. That for feeling of like, well, could this be something else? And that's why I think like you said, like the hearing it and the validation from a professional is so important. Like I think, you know, we often talk on this podcast like is a professional diagnosis important? There's such a long waitlist, there's so many barriers to it, do we really, really need it? And I think one of the biggest valid, you know, one of the one of the biggest reasons for getting it is that validation?
Georgia Yexley 10:25
Absolutely. I think it's really right to have that discussion about is that what's needed to, you know, start figuring out what you need, how you need things to be to be supported, and to be able to kind of accept that, you know, what, I know myself better than anyone else? And, actually, yeah, if in 2017, I had thought, you know, what, I know this has ADHD, I don't need validation of this psychiatrist that I'm seeing maybe, you know, maybe that would have been a few more years with a little bit more support in place. But there is this debate going on. It's kind of annoying to even call it a debate in the media in the UK, globally, I guess, about ADHD, people self diagnosing on social media, I've definitely realized that, you know, when I'm, I've been really open and sharing my diagnosis, because for me, it's been like, oh, I can explain everything like this is, yes, this is me. Right? I'm, that's fine. I'm happy for other people to know, because I feel like it helps me to navigate this process that I'm going through of trying to unmask because a lot of what I've realized is that I was really good at masking for the last day, one years, and that's really actually problematic. And it can cause a lot of other issues. But anyway, off topic. So in the UK, there's this debate going on. And so people were would ask me, when I would kind of share to get a lot of people kind of coming back and asking me. So how did you get your diagnosis? And did you see your psychiatrist and all that stuff? And at the beginning, I was very, like, I would kind of say, Yes, actually, what I told you, you know, I saw a psychiatrist, he's actually a specialist. And, you know, this is the details and like, really sharing my business. And honestly, now I'm kind of, you know, I'm feel much more in the camp of, it's part of me, you know, I tell people regularly, when I feel like it's necessary to the situation, I have ADHD, sorry, if I interrupt whatever it is, but I don't really care if you believe it, or get it. Or if you just want to say, I don't believe in like medicine and science, that's fine. That's the problem. That's, that's completely a new problem. That's, you know, so I do less kind of explaining. Now, when I say, I've got ADHD, and the question comes, how did you know? Because I have it.
Katy Weber 13:02
Yeah, right. And I think that's something too I hear that often from women who are diagnosed, and then the, you know, they're like, how do I explain to my partner, how do I explain to my family what I'm going through, and nobody believes that this is ADHD? And, you know, people are really feeling very dubious, and they don't think that this is it, how do I explain to them and my, I've always, like you don't like that's like you said, that's, that's that problem, you're not going to explain this, this is really an explanation for yourself, when it comes to who you are, and how you operate in this world. And, you know, it's a lot of answers for why you may be worried the way you are. And it's an opportunity to reframe a lot of that stuff. But like, yeah, in terms of, in terms of acceptance, or explanation, that's, that's feels like, you'd be Sisyphus to really try to try to try to tackle that.
Georgia Yexley 13:52
Right. And you know, who the people are in your life that when they ask questions, they're really looking to discuss the information with you versus challenge. Is this for real? You know, I have had family members and friends that ask questions around. Oh, but you know, you were quite good in school. So how does that work out? And they're not challenging the diagnosis. They're just trying to understand, like, what does that mean? Does that mean there's something different about your ADHD? And I'm like, but actually, a lot of people, you know, and I have, I've been doing that research. And I'm like, actually, I read this here. And you know, a lot of people have that experience. And then all of a sudden, they meet a moment where it starts getting really difficult in different areas. And then I explained my own experience. And what I found is that a lot of those experiences when I explain them, friends, family members, people that are close to me, I'm like, Oh, my wow, like, I didn't know that was going on with you. I didn't know like, you just stopped being able to do math in GCSE. Yeah. They just didn't know because I was so good at masking. And I was, you know, spent all this years of time trying really hard and things I was really struggling with not understanding why and just working 10 times as hard. And you know, everyone's saying to me, oh, you know, so you're so relaxed, you're so strong willed and independent and all the things I'm getting praised for masking. So then I'm just doing more masking. So it's a lot of work to undo that stuff now.
Katy Weber 15:19
Yeah, right. That's so beautifully said, right. And just in terms of how valid you know how much social validation we get from showing up as this like, competent altogether person, and then, you know, having this, like, I've talked about this before on the podcast, this like duality of of our experience in terms of who we are to everybody else, versus who we feel like we are behind the scenes, and how that really is such a process of unpacking all of that and being like, what would it look like for me to just show up as my authentic self in these moments? Now, you had you did a really very public unmasking, so to speak on LinkedIn in January, right. So walk me through what happened, you you were leaving your role in your company? And this was you just wanted to kind of talk about the diagnosis or what was happening with that, with your the article you posted?
Georgia Yexley 16:14
Yeah, I mean, it was, it took me a little bit of time to kind of come to the decision that that's the way I wanted to go about things. And, you know, I mentioned that, you know, I was going through this very difficult period, dealing with loss, and trauma, and all of these different things. And I was prior to that, my role was very public, I was a very vocal post person. And often spokesperson for my company, I was writing a lot, I'm doing a lot of events, podcasts as well, in my in my place of my space of works, I work in sustainable transport. And I've done that in a number of companies a number of roles for the last six years, and I've really, it's an area of work. Well, actually, my my work is where I've landed now is one of those things where I feel like you know what, Pat, myself on the back, I actually really did do something positively there because I followed my passions, and I followed my skills into something that I genuinely love to do. So I was this very kind of visible person in my industry. And so me going just completely silent at the end of last year, and not saying anything for about three, four months, didn't fly under the radar, I had a very full inbox, loads of messages on LinkedIn, all this worse off. And my my company at the time was so helpful. So I understand they're really supportive, as I was going through the process of kind of the self work that I needed to do at that time, and just the support and peace that I needed. And it was a very, I was in a fairly senior role. I was general manager for the UK and Ireland for the largest micro mobility operator. So it was very kind of high pressure job, which I was not able to do at that time. So I stepped back, and they were very supportive. But as I started kind of coming back to myself, and getting the support I needed, I had had the diagnosis, I was doing a lot of kind of self work and really thinking about how am I going to go forward now. And I knew that I wanted to continue going forward in this industry, in this world of sustainable transport, I knew that I still felt that I had something to give and something positive to add. And so then I was thinking about, okay, how do I, how do I step back in, in a way that is genuine that is authentic, that isn't just brushing this all under the carpet, and I feel like nothing happened. And, you know, having to just keep masking all of this stuff. That's where I started kind of writing things down. And at the beginning, when I started writing, I didn't have any intention of sharing it publicly. It was just like, writing down for what's happened. What do I want to change? What do I want to do? How am I going to go about it? And as I started writing it down, it felt like Okay, actually, maybe this is the way that I can just move forward. I can put this out there. And that's almost like a line in the sand of this is who I am. This is what's happened. Here's how I'm gonna go forward. And it also was an opportunity for me to put in a boundary, which was quite quite a new thing that I was learning how to do. And say, I'm not going to be working even though i i ended up working but I said I'm not going to be working. For the next three months. I'm going to be exploring this area of the industry that I love. I'm going to be He's speaking to friends and colleagues about, you know how I might continue to go forward. But for the next kind of said, when I put this article out, I'm going to have this time in the next three months. So I'm not going to be as responsive and wanted to give myself some more space and not having that anxiety of just the inbox, it's getting further and the messages keep coming. So yeah, I put out this article that explained all of this. And somewhat kind of jokingly called that mask off, which was quite fun. And I shared it with my partner and my mom and my sister, friends as well, before I actually my former boss, and before I put it public and just got feedback from people like, is this oversharing? Is this too much? Is this okay? What do you think? What, what are your opinions on this, and nobody gave me any edits, it was unedited. It's all my words, or my my thoughts. And I just put it out there. And the response has been incredible. And I'm so glad that I did it. Because it does feel like I can now step in to conversations with people who maybe saw me in a really different light before that, and say, This is what I need. Actually, by the way, I'm really sorry, I'm gonna make notes the whole time. Because I need to do that to feel like I'm catching things, or whatever it is, I feel confident, being able to ask for what I need. And the response I had was unreal. I mean, so many people came back to me, like, I've been thinking, I might have ADHD, I do have ADHD, my kids have ADHD, you know, just I've dealt, I recognize those patterns. And this is a really hard industry to work in sometimes. And just this real openness and huge amount of support from my network, that also again, was really validating of I have done some things well, despite not knowing this diagnosis, I have navigated a place of work and made real connections with people on this chat interesting people see, they do see this kind of authentic me, even if there's little bits that I'm asking here. And there, they do see the genuine passion that I have for this, this space. And so that was really wonderful. I only have one, I did have one annoying response, I have to say, it was so annoying. It was from I hope he's not listening to this because he knows who he is. But it was from this guy. He has ADHD. This gentleman. He works in the cycling industries, and there's myself. And we've crossed paths before. It's all been very cordial and fine. And he kind of he just did this thing of like, projecting his anxieties onto me. And he said, What he said was, he said, oh, you should be aware that oversharing is actually a symptom of ADHD. And you might want to reflect on whether it was a good idea for you to share your diagnosis in a professional setting, because who do you think companies will want to hire? Giorgio? Oh, in fact, he said, Who do you think companies will want to give that 20,000 pound budget to? Is it going to be Georgia? Or is it going to be Georgia with ADHD? Like my first reaction was just rage, obviously. So I was like, Don't tell me what to do first of all, but I you know, I thought, okay, reflect on it, don't respond immediately. Think about, like, why that's come back. This is his own anxieties. I really spent a bit of time before I replied. And I just said, like, you know, I actually do have quite a bit of experience of what it is to be in an underrepresented group, or demographic in this industry. I'm a black woman. I've been working in this space for a long time. I'm usually one of one. So I have some experience being other I'm pretty fine with it. And to be honest, if that's the decision making that a company is taking that rather than my experience with budgets 10 times the size of that then I don't want that job. So thank you for your advice, but also no thank you and never speak to me again please. That's like the only one it was so annoying that it has to come from someone else they didn't see but it was just like you know, you don't know my experience. I don't know your experience. Thank you for your opinion back keep it for yourself.
Katy Weber 24:49
You know really does speak to that fear and like you said that anxiety about how it is, you know needing to show up as somebody Who is flawless? Right? And you know, that's what we're talking about with masking, which is like, how do we how do we accept in ourselves that we can be vulnerable, we can struggle, we can struggle with mental health, we can struggle with burnout, we can struggle with boundaries. These are things that many of us struggle with. And it doesn't make us any less competent, and extraordinary at what we do. Right? And how can we be both of these things simultaneously, as opposed to feeling like we are somehow you know, that vulnerability is somehow a fault in industries. And so, you know, and I think it's a conversation we have a lot on this podcast about like ADHD, and being a superpower. And that positive, you know, the toxic positivity about refusing to acknowledge that ADHD comes with a lot of very nuanced traits. And I don't even want to just keep saying struggles, because I think a lot of it is really just, it's, it's part of who we are, it's part of that fabric. And I can see why somebody would have somebody with ADHD would fear that like pulling back that curtain is somehow going to, you know, is somehow going to reflect on, you know, how we're accepted in society, right, sort of same with parents who are afraid to diagnose their kids, because they're worried that they're going to be treated differently. And all of that, yeah.
Georgia Yexley 26:23
And I, you know, I had that fear. Like, let's be real, I wasn't just fearless post the poster thing, and everything's gonna be fine. And nobody's gonna make any judgments about I accepted it. I thought, Okay, I am afraid, people, for sure. The people that are judging this and thinking, I don't really believe or whatever it is, whatever they're thinking negative things, or they're thinking, or not the people that are sending me messages, so I don't need to like to deal with those people. And I kind of thought that through and thought, How do I want to go forward was I want to go forward with people in my life, who have genuine relationships with me, who I have real conversations with real connections with. And if this is a way that I'm going to be able to, like, draw that line in the sand, and anyone who doesn't want to come over this crazy journey with me, then that's fine. I will see you later. And it was there was fear there. But I Yeah, there was an acceptance that I have faith that it will be better for me to just push through that fear. I think I actually wrote that in the article, in the end saying like, this is scary. But I'm pushing myself through the fear of this, because I need to do this. And that's, that's really how I felt about it at the time. And now.
Katy Weber 27:43
So in true ADHD fashion, you decided to take some time off and accidentally founded a new business.
Georgia Yexley 27:51
So it sounds like a joke. But that's literally what happened. Like, oh, no, accidentally start a whole business like, Yeah, that's really what happened. It's, it's pretty bizarre.
Katy Weber 28:06
So tell me a little bit more about loud mobility? And what is this the organization? And also, how would you feel like you're kind of going at things differently now, having founded this with this new lens about yourself? Yeah,
Georgia Yexley 28:21
I mean, it's been an incredible process. Yeah, I mean, where to start? I saw I said, I was gonna take this three months, career break, I called it, I said, I'm just gonna, you know, chat with friends and colleagues, and you know, people in my network about what I might do next. And I've said, this thing of, I might not be as responsive, you know, but if you fancy a cuppa and a walk or bike ride, whatever, like, let me know. So quite a lot of people did let me know, which was great. And I ended up just having a few months of just really amazing conversations with really interesting people. And I thought, Oh, God, how do I make this a job? Because I was like, I'm just loving this, like, I'm talking about stuff that I really care about. I'm connecting with people that share the desire to do something in this area. That's it. And I was starting to see that I was able to have these conversations with people because of that vulnerability that I had shown because of that honesty. And I was having discussions with really senior people in transport, in the cycling space, in the third sector, the private sector, the public sector, every walk of life, and a lot of those conversations would end up steering around and Enix steering towards even this kind of missing piece that was there in the micro mobility, sustainable transport place, space even. So, what it was and throughout my career So, I've been very vocal about the industry leading to do better about inclusion, accessibility, equity. That's been an area that I've spoken about a lot, I have no credentials in the eye other than my lived experience, and often being the only person in the room speaking to these things. But I do have an incredible network of really, incredibly experienced people, researchers, policymakers, all sorts that really do have incredibly rich experience. But the missing piece that that often is, is for those big missions and the things that you really need a huge amount of support, and really kind of high level strategy to achieve the big mission stuff like how do you make the transport sector more sustainable, more inclusive, it's not in the private sector alone, it's not in the public sector alone, not in that sector alone. And if they're all doing different things, it's happening way slower than it needs to what you need is all sectors working collaboratively towards these bigger picture missions or shared value creators. And like pushing these bigger picture things forward. And in my career, in the last six years, all of the roles that I've been in have required a lot of collaboration across all of those sectors, working with local governments, national governments, the Department for Transport, internationally, I've been doing this as well, because for a lot of my career, I wasn't just really focused on the UK and Ireland. But more recently, I've been very focused on the UK and Ireland. So really growing that localized knowledge. And so I thought, Okay, well, I can do that. I can be a translator and help for those cross sector projects, where there's loads of stakeholders involved, and it's really complicated. But success for the project is one of these bigger picture missions of how do we get more people cycling? How do we get more demographics of people cycling and active, and, you know, accessing green spaces and these bigger picture things. So there are a lot of projects like it sounds made up, but there's so much work in that space, that just needs people who are really energetic and really, really passionate about seeing that end result come about. And so, as I started kind of getting into more of those conversations with people, these projects, and, you know, real work started to materialize that fit into those categories. So currently, my main projects that I'm working on, so I'm working with a charity, incredible charity for awhile, Bicycle Relief, and they provide bikes to people in rural communities across largely the African continent, and Latin America, also largely to women, girls, and it's usually for access to education, access to health care to community, they also train mechanics, to, you know, really, actually establish that ecosystem at a local level and not have that kind of Savior ism that happens and some charities that are working in those continents. And they're really doing some incredible work. And they have secured an official partnership with one of the largest cycling events internationally, that's happening this year. The UCI cycling world championships, which also is happening in Scotland, and the Scottish Government are investing 40 million into this. It's a huge tourism aspect. It's happening in cities all over Scotland. So it's exactly the type of project there's a huge number of stakeholders, it's public, private, and third sector. And the whole mission that we're working towards and delivering this project is putting out this message and awareness of the power of the bike. And saying, like, all of you all have this huge amount of people that follow cycling sport, and believe in the power of the bike and recognize how impactful it can be. Also, look at how impactful it can be in access to education and transport and health care in really changing the world in so many ways. And tap into that market as well to like really see the bigger picture of the power of the bike and get involved in that bigger picture of moving society moving that cultural social shift towards a little bit more positivity about cyclists, which I think we could definitely use it the UK in most places. So yeah, it's that that type of work. That's one of the bigger projects that I'm doing at the moment but I have ambitions for where I'd like to take loud mobility in the next few years at the moment, it's a one woman show, but it won't stay that way for long. And a lot of really cool partnerships and collaborations that I'm kind of working on behind the scenes with friends as well. So it's, it's been incredible. But I'm also I'm saying this and like, it sounds like, oh, my gosh, crazy amounts of work. But actually, I've really taken a very conscious step to balance my work. And that work life balance, I was never very good at that. And I'm really working on getting that better, as well. So actually working on more of a freelance project basis at the moment, and being able to work on my own timescale. And when my brains which is like I can work, and that's fine. And when it's not, I can sit and have a cup of tea in the garden, and that's fine. It's that in itself has been a game changer. I'm just so much happier as a person. Because I don't have to sit nine to five in a location, which normally I'm just going to be hyper focus for that entire time. And I haven't eaten and I haven't gone to the bathroom, and I end the day just like, empty. I've brought a lot more balance into my life. And the one thing that I'm promising myself I won't give up is that I no longer work on Mondays. And I, if I never work on a Monday again, I will be a happy person.
Katy Weber 36:28
Right? That was so fascinating to I really, I mean, it's just such an interesting world. And I think it's such important work too. And I think it's really interesting to think about, like advocacy, and, you know, following something that we're really, really passionate about, but like what are the boundaries that we can keep in place so that we don't end up in a in a place of burnout. And I was so you know, like you said, like, feeling like you're empty at the end of the day. And, and I found too, like I hit burnout, with with my own career, just being so excited about wanting to say yes to everything. And it was a real interesting and eye opening experience for me when I did kind of have a moment of where I had like a health crisis as a result of the burnout. And I had to stop everything. And like I've been practicing saying no to so many more things. And feeling like by saying no to things, I'm actually being like much more productive. Like I feel like I'm actually experiencing and accomplishing so much more, the more I say no to other things that I'm like, it's so addictive. It's really addictive. Yeah, it feels really good. It feels good.
Georgia Yexley 37:37
It genuinely feels good. And it's like, oh my gosh, why haven't I been doing this? One. And I will say like freelancing and working on a project in that's all running your own business, it is a little bit of like danger zone, you can really easily just get completely. That's all you do the whole time. But I do think it also gives you maybe a little bit of that capacity to say no, because I've had, you know, this is a common experience for women of color in any industry that I like, there's a lot of people nodding their heads before I'm even saying what I'm about to say, but a lot of people will approach me with, can you work on X, Y, and Zed? And I say, Sure, here are my rates. And they're like, oh, no, before, you know, the blah, blah, blah, whatever, right? Basically, they don't want to pay me. And when you realize when you're running your own business, and you are freelancing, you have that connection between your time that you give away for free as time that you're not getting paid for. And so when I was in a job full time, I'm getting paid that to work somewhere, week after week. And I say yes, to do something for free, like write an article or go to an event or speak on a panel, that's fine, because someone is paying for that time, my company are paying for that time, and I'm doing something valuable for the company, so it's fine. But when I'm working for myself, and somebody asked me to do something for free, that's time that I can get paid for doing something else. So you actually get this a little bit more connection between how much you're saying yes to things, that you're not necessarily actually getting value back into your business or into yourself. And it gives you just another layer of analysis like actually, I really do have value for my time. Here's what it is, it's written very clearly, it's the same for everyone. And you know, if that's not within reach for you, then that's fine. You know, maybe we won't work together on this one thing. And of course, there's flexibility because when there are, you know, things that you want to put your heart and soul into because you really do care about them. That might be lower on the scale of you know, I want to be able to like Take up a paid project instead of this because you believe in what you're doing. But, you know, most of the time when people approached you to do something for free, it doesn't necessarily fall into that bucket anyway. This stuff I want to do for free, I do myself, I choose to do that stuff anyway.
Katy Weber 40:20
Right, exactly. Now, I want to backtrack a little bit and ask you about, you know, looking back over the course of your life, as we often do, were there some things from your either from your childhood or maybe, you know, ending up in Beijing, or some of those things where you're sort of like, oh, the signs were so clearly there all along?
Georgia Yexley 40:43
Yeah, I'm trying, I'm trying to laugh because it's like, my whole life. Honestly, it's, it's just insane. And that was the overwhelm that we were talking about, because I had that moment of like, relief and validation. And then it was almost like, the next couple of days after getting the diagnosis, I was flooded with memories, all these thoughts of all of these different situations that I was like, Oh, my gosh, oh, my god, what is so clearly eight, like, What the hell, it was just this constant thing. And that almost felt like as well, that it it kind of unlocked a part of my brain that, I don't know, if I buried stuff in there. Or if I just wasn't understanding it, therefore, I didn't like re approach it or what the situation was, but even like, memories that I probably didn't remember before suddenly started resurfacing. So it's almost like all of this footage that I was having to scroll through and go through and kind of analyze again, and it really has been everything. I mean, I'm still going through that process now of sifting through, you know, my experiences and where it has affected me in the past. And this is both positive and negative as well. Like, I should say that, I think there's I mentioned, you know, I have been able to look back on my career and be like, you know, what, you, you made some good choices, you chose to leave things at the right time you chose to follow interest. And that's put you into a place of, you know, really being happy in your career, and feeling supported and confident about starting your own business in this direction. So that's a great thing. And I can reflect on some of the ways that ADHD has played a very big role in me moving in that direction. But then also, yeah, there's stuff that's just like, Whoa, that was a meltdown. Like, I can now I can now accept and take responsibility for that, instead of just not understanding it and being like, Oh, just forget about it, just pretend it never happened, you know? So there's a lot of that that you're going through. And I, you, I look back on my childhood. And in fact, even when I did the assessment, one of the questions was about, you know, your chart, you talk a lot about your childhood, so I don't really remember that much. And apparently, a lot of people say this, they're like, oh, yeah, I just like, don't really, like I think I remember being like, A, or something like, I don't really know, I just, I'm not sure what's really a memory or just what I've been told, like, my memory of my child is very poor. But stuff has been coming back. And it's stuff like, oh, I don't know if you had this. But when you're in primary school, and elementary, you have these like trays where you put your work, and it has your name on. And everybody has their tray. And everybody else's tray was always just nice and neat and tidy. And mine was just overflowing all the time. I was just stuffed, like, balling out of my tray. And it was the thing that, you know, the teacher told her like, why just tidy the train. And I was just thinking, like, oh, but I've just done I've done loads of work. So it's fine. It's great. Like, I feel good about my child, I don't understand why it's a problem that My train is overflowing. But then, you know, over time it the more somebody's like, can you tie to your train, and then you take on shame for it. Where before I was like, proud of this full tray. And you know, all this work I've produced without having to be asked for it. So yeah, I mean, that stuff that's coming up, there was a period in my life, I must have been about 10 or 11 years old. And I've told people about this before, and now I'm even laughing like, How can I not? How could I have gone under the radar, where I just had this overwhelming urge to cartwheel all the time. And I remembered like doing trying to do a cartwheel, like in the middle of a zebra crossing when walking home and people around me just being like, what is this child doing? And the worst part is like I didn't even know how to do a cartwheel. So it wasn't a good one. It was just like, all over the place. And so that stuff is coming back. And that for me is a little bit of a double edged sword because they're kind of funny memories. But then people say that a lot of girls and women fly under the radar because they tend to be inattentive. Unlike I was so hyperactive, if I was a boy, for sure, I would have had a diagnosis like for sure there's no way and I'm so confident in that. And so it does then bring up all of that. You know what ifs, could things have been different bah, bah, blah, blah, blah, all of that stuff that you still, you know, you have to work through. Yeah, even other stuff like that hyperactive where I would be in school. And at the end of the day, I'll be walking home with friends. And because I've been masking and repressing and trying not to fidget all day, I would like run up the hill, this huge hill on the way home, run up to the top, just to like, get this burst of energy out, and then wait for them. And then it's just so weird. Like, why do you always do that? I don't know. I just like, just think that it's run. And then I run, you know, it's just little things like that, that are just dead giveaways. So that's been really funny. And then even just every stage of my life, I'm like, Well, this there's big giveaways, you know, through university, I studied the subject that I really enjoyed. Studied, philosophy wasn't my best subjects. But it was the most interesting which, again, great choice, pat yourself on the back, because you did enjoy your degree because you pick something that you cared about. And that was interesting. But I hated seminars. And I didn't know why they gave me crazy anxiety. To the point that years after university, I was having nightmares about seminars and missing seminars or being in seminars, because I wouldn't go and then I would feel bad about not going, because I didn't know why I wasn't going to you know, it's just stuff like that. It's everywhere. It's everything. It's all my experiences, it's showed up in some way. And so when you're going through all these years of footage, it's like, even where there's those good bits, and you can say, you made a great choice, and it worked out for you in this way. There's still probably something there as well, when you're struggling, and you didn't know why and trying to navigate the world through completely the wrong lens. And that was the big thing that I think I said to friends and family after getting the diagnosis, they were like, No, how's it felt, and it's like, it's felt like I've been walking through life up until this point, we've just completely the wrong lens, and looking at myself through what I think other people see and think of me, because I haven't been able to understand how to understand myself. But then getting the diagnosis was like all of a sudden being given the right lens. And it's not only like going forward with the right lens, and being able to understand yourself how you're moving forward in life, but it's also looking back and being like, I actually see now, what was going on. And with that, that gave me a capacity for self compassion that I didn't even realize I didn't have until I suddenly had this ability to be like, You know what, that was hard for you. Like, that was really tough. That was like, really difficult. And, you know, you survived and you did your best and just that level of self compassion that I've never experienced, that has been amazing to be able to, you know, now have that in my life. And I think, you know, that's something that's so big for a lot of people getting their diagnosis that it allows you to accept, and it allows you to have that compassion
Katy Weber 48:35
off beautifully said, I think, you know, it feels like so often we're just treading water madly. And so we don't have, we don't have the opportunity to evaluate those and have and stop and ask ourselves those questions of am I struggling? How much am I struggling? And it is? Yeah, you know, when like you said, when we do get that diagnosis, it's really this opportunity to say, Oh, I'm seeing this through this different lens. And yeah, like, Wow, you really did work hard. Like I remember I've shared the story on the podcast before. But when I was getting my diagnosis, I was talking to my doctor about all of the elaborate systems that I had in place so that I wasn't late, and so that I didn't lose things and like all of these stereotypes about ADHD that I was like, No, that is not a problem for me, because I do all of these things, to avoid it. And she was like, You work really, really hard to just show up. And I was moved to get I wanted to cry in that moment, because I hadn't really thought about how hard I had been working in all of these ways, right? And it's because we're just treading water so much. And I think what is so frustrating because so many of us are diagnosed with depression and or anxiety before ADHD. What is so frustrating about those diagnoses is, you know, the experience that you had with the psychiatrists which is like no, no, no, it's just anxiety and there's no like, well, where's it coming from? What is causing it right? Like, it's not like we just caught anxiety like you can Just the flu. But it's presented to us in this like explanation of just being like, No, you just have anxiety. And then it's so aggressively unhelpful that like, we end up even more upset and frustrated and anxious about like, Okay, well now what do I do? And so it really is so much of that like working backwards and unpacking all of this and really the grief of of saying like, wow, like acknowledging how hard we were working, and then being able to say, Okay, now what we, you know, how do I help myself now? How do I acknowledge that? And how do I have that grace moving forward? And then that's, you know, and I think like, we were saying, like, that's when you're able to really kind of start leaning into some really powerful things about having an ADHD brain and going after and accidentally starting new businesses and all the like crazy, awesome parts about it. But being able to do it with with a sense of balance and awareness so that we're not constantly in this cycle of burnout.
Georgia Yexley 51:01
Right. And I think it's so true what you said about kind of the repercussions of having the other diagnoses without the ADHD context, and how much more they can kind of compound the other diagnoses. Because I think what I've reflected on in that is, I've always felt like, I can't, I couldn't really accept those diagnosis before, because I felt like it wasn't quite right. And I'm like, There's something else wrong with me. And I don't know, I can't accept it fully. Therefore, you can't really work on recovery fully either. And with the wrong lens, as well, on top of that, when you are going through things like therapy, I did CBT therapy, I did all kinds of different stuff, I was trying different things. But it never felt like it really just never really hit because I wasn't doing it through the right lens, it was almost like I was going through the motions of what I thought the therapy should be for someone with a non ADHD brain who has anxiety and depression. So I was kind of just like going through the motions, but it just never really hit. It didn't actually touch the sides because it missed this entire context of the ADHD. And then now when I've been doing therapy, all different kinds, one on one group, I did all these different things. When I hear something that I'm like, actually, for me, distraction isn't a great technique. And I can kind of self advocate and be like, I don't know, if distraction is for me. And you know, you know what, you're right. Like, this is probably not the best one for you. But actually, here's a different coping skill that you can use, you know, there's, it's a completely different approach. When you have the right context, you can, you know, except also these press such, I think you've said this as well before, just like horrible word comorbidities, or whatever, you can accept them in a different way, when you understand how they're connected with the ADHD,
Katy Weber 53:00
well, and you're also empowered when when you realize that you are not the problem, that it's the approach or the system or something is not working for you, but you are not fundamentally the problem, then you can say that, you know, this actually doesn't work for me, as opposed to like, oh, I have to work harder, I have to try harder. What's wrong with me that this isn't working, you can just immediately be like, Nope, that's not going to work. Try that. Let's try something else.
Georgia Yexley 53:23
And then keep internalizing that I'm broken. Something's wrong with me, instead of being able to have the language and context to advocate for yourself. Yeah, totally.
Katy Weber 53:33
I know, I used to I mean, one of the things that drove me crazy about by having depression, anxiety and depression diagnosis for so many years was feeling like, what's wrong with me that I insist on constantly being depressed when I'm like, I have a good life. You know, I've got great kids that have great marriage, and like, why am I so depressed all the time? And I used to feel like, like, that was one more thing I had failed. It was was like, you know that. So? Yeah, it's so important to have that that like ADHD, knowledge of the ADHD affirming approaches to how we even deal with therapy, right? Yeah. My goodness. So while this has been amazing, thank you so much. And now I'm, I always like to ask if you could rename ADHD to something else would you call it? Do you have something else you would call it?
Georgia Yexley 54:26
Okay, so I knew you're gonna ask me this. And I honestly have been like, I can't stop thinking about like, come up with so many things. It's ridiculous. But I just first of all, try not to make like a really dark joke about it or like, I think my family like a general my sister in particular and I we tend to our approach to acceptance of periods of poor mental health is just like humor, and just really laughing about the craziest stuff. So yeah, I'm trying to be thoughtful. unreflective. So I would probably get rid of all the pathologizing just generally just be like, it doesn't really need to have a name. Because we live in a society where people have different brains, there is not a reality of a normal brain that we're somehow missing the mark on, like, people have different hair, people have different skin colors. And also people have different brains Surprise, surprise, you know, like, it's like, does it need to be that crazy, we just, I would probably just change this like a lot easier, just change society, instead of the name of ADHD. That was like my first thought. But I to be fair, it is connected with some of the the space that I work in, because I've learned a lot about the social model of disability. And I would encourage everyone with neurodiversity is various disabilities. My ADHD is my disability. I'd said to a friend before I posted that article, actually, that was exciting. I'm so excited. I'm announcing my disability tomorrow. And she told me that was the most ADHD thing I'd ever said. But no, the social model is that we're disabled by this the society around us not providing a space where we can be able, as able as anybody else. So it's the societal aspect. So that's kind of my head goes that way, immediately. But yeah, I mean, like, and then I just would go back to Hema of like, I don't know, like, crisis disorder, or creativity disorder, or like, Sorry, I'm late syndrome or something. Sorry, I forgot syndrome. I don't know. You know, like, I just been cracking up about those ones for like, the last however many weeks of just stuff that will pop into my head, like, that's hilarious. So I've like got a whole list of those in my phone. So I'll send those to you later. But yeah, I just think yeah, change society. Don't change ADHD. It's actually great.
Katy Weber 57:12
perfectly set, right. I don't know I kind of I wanted to come up with a post of like, all of the weird phrases that we've Googled before getting an ADHD diagnosis, like, you know, of like, Why do I forget things all the time? Or?
Georgia Yexley 57:26
Like, nobody needs to see that? Like, that is the lock and key. Nobody's ever seen that from? Like, if somebody was to see my Google search history, that would be incredibly distressing. Honestly, it's not for public consumption.
Katy Weber 57:44
Maybe we should just call it like, multiple calendars and platters syndrome or something. But yeah.
Georgia Yexley 57:51
Oh, yeah. Yeah. Paper everywhere. Disease. I'm saying this was like paper all over my floor right now. But yeah, I there's, there's loads of funny ones. And I feel like that's cool. Just like, what's the point? Why does it need a name?
Katy Weber 58:12
Yeah, right. Someday, maybe someday.
Georgia Yexley 58:16
Although I would, the only thing that actually, I've got joking about it. But I would say, I think it was really helpful for me getting that diagnosis, because the diagnosis allowed me to access the care support structure, also medication that I needed. And I think when you need something more to be able to manage life in a way that works for you, then a diagnosis can be helpful. If you don't need a diagnosis, you don't have to get one. That's totally fine. You can just if you feel like you've got the right coping mechanisms in place, you've got the right support in place, medication is not for everyone. Then, like, Do you need a diagnosis? Like? Probably not. So that's what I would say about like, having a name for me, giving it a name has helped. ADHD comes with all kinds of assumptions and whatever. I don't really care. The main thing that stumped me getting that name of ADHD is unlocking the right support. And so I'm happy to I've got ADHD, I'm disabled, still the same person?
Katy Weber 59:29
Right. Yeah. Well, and that's why I love to ask the question, because I've like, I don't have an answer. But I've always you know, I'm fascinated by that discussion of like, it is in many ways, calling it a disability is important, but at the same time, is it also pathologizing? And, you know, there's so many questions around that it just, you know, attention deficit is such a terrible name, but what would be a better name that many of us would have related to?
Georgia Yexley 59:53
Like, it's just like, attention regulation would be more accurate, right? Because not like when Seeing attention. It's just like difficulty regulating it. I don't know. It's not even quite it.
Katy Weber 1:00:07
But that's not what led me to the diagnosis. Right. Like, I wasn't like I have an attention issue. I mean, I think it was more of a focus issue than anything else. But like, you know, I'm always trying to think about, like, what would be, what are some of the ways in which we really have that like, oh, okay, this all makes sense moment.
Georgia Yexley 1:00:25
I mean, I definitely saw the we can see, when you're suddenly thinking about something else in your head and not part of the conversation anymore in many 360 reviews in former companies. I was like, Oh my gosh, they can see. So Well, thank
Katy Weber 1:00:45
you so much. Georgia has been wonderful hearing your story and and this kind of Phoenix rebirth, I think with with loud mobility, it often feels like that, for me, I think, with this diagnosis, and this experience is that I you know, I sometimes joke, or I'm like, we never come to these diagnosis, because we're like, everything in our life is going great. I want a name for this wonderful superpower. Usually, we have the something a real really serious, difficult catalyst that brings us to this point of self discovery. So yeah, I feel so excited to follow loud mobility and some of the amazing work that you're doing. And so the website is loud mobility.co.uk. Is there anything else anywhere else that people can find you on Instagram?
Georgia Yexley 1:01:33
Yes, you can find me on Instagram, you can find me on LinkedIn. I mean, like, I love talking to people, I'm all about people. So that's great. And I'm certainly incorporating my ADHD just need to do a million different things. At the same time, I've just like this headband has actually loud mobility. It says my, my motto, which is never sit still, which is very accurate. Like, it's like, I'm embrace I'm embracing, you know, I'm embracing this constant motion that has been in my life. And it's very relevant for mobility for the mobility industry. So yeah, I've got my merch coming on there. And he stuffs to drop soon, of course. But it's only like, I just like, you know, just do whatever you feel like doing. And it's been really nice to be exploring that. So yeah, loud mobility. You can find me all over. But also Georgie, actually, you can find me as just me as well.
Katy Weber 1:02:29
Well, I'll have links to all of that. Now. I sort of feel like baby loud mobility is a good candidate for what to call ADHD.
Georgia Yexley 1:02:36
Love that. Yeah.
Katy Weber 1:02:38
Right. We'll have to think of some ways to fill in loud as an acronym, but I think it's, it's I think it sums up the situation pretty well.
Georgia Yexley 1:02:50
Well, yeah. And I mean, I use loud mobility because it was also reclaiming this kind of label that was attached to me, forever, you know, being loud and talkative. And so yeah, I am loud. That's what I'm here for.
Katy Weber 1:03:06
Right? Well, I feel that way about the term oversharing. So for whoever that was on on LinkedIn, who called it oversharing. I'm like, There's no such thing as oversharing.
Georgia Yexley 1:03:16
I was like, don't read it, then. Like, why did you read it? You don't have to read it. But still.
Katy Weber 1:03:28
Well, thanks again. It's been really, it's been really lovely. Getting to chat with you and hearing your story.
Georgia Yexley 1:03:34
Yeah, really appreciate it. It's so nice talking with you. And thank you so much for your podcast and all of the other women that have shared their stories. I mean, it really has been a really important part of this recovery and processing, understanding journey. For me, it's been really wonderful to listen to everyone else. So huge thanks to everybody that came before this.
Katy Weber 1:03:56
Oh, thank you.
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 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 Cray See 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