Lindsay Guentzel: Positive thinking & learning to accept helpDec 12, 2023
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“I am very outgoing, so people assume I’m an extrovert. But I'm very much an introvert who needs to go back to my little dark hole and recharge.”
Lindsay is a television and radio host, producer, writer and mental health advocate who started a new chapter in life after being diagnosed with ADHD in January 2021. She is also the executive producer and host of Refocused, A Podcast All About ADHD, a project fueled by her passion for fostering connection through storytelling and her never-ending curiosity to learn as much about ADHD as she can.
Lindsay and I discuss how she got into journalism and her love for telling stories. We also talk about the power of positivity and being our own cheer leaders. And we talk about her diagnosis of dermatomyositis, and how she balances work and rest, and how she has learned to ask for (and accept) help from others.
Lindsay Guentzel 0:00
My sister is driving me to chemo a couple weeks back and I'm talking the whole ride down. It's like 7am, about creating our content calendar for 2020. And all the stuff I'm excited about. And she looks over and she's like, I am driving you to chemo and all you can talk about his work. And I'm like, Yeah, cuz I'm excited about it. I am so excited about life. Like, I say this, I'm living my best and my worst life all at the same time.
Katy Weber 0:30
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, before we begin, I would love to share with you this review from a listener named Becca van on the Apple podcast platform in Canada. It's entitled Thank you, I have been meaning to do this for over six months. I'd like to thank you for your amazing podcast. I was diagnosed 10 months ago at the age of 43 with ADHD, bipolar two and borderline personality disorder, and I came across your podcast on Spotify. And it changed my view and understanding of myself and how I view myself in the world in a good way. I was at a very dark part of my journey. Thank you for being a light in the darkness. Gosh, well, thank you, Becca, I really truly appreciate you taking the time to put your thoughts into words. I know how difficult that can be. And I'm so glad these episodes have had such a positive effect on your life Big hugs to you. This past week, I celebrated three years of hosting and producing the women and ADHD podcast. So if you're a listener, and you found these conversations to be helpful, the best gift I could receive is a review. You can either head to Apple podcasts or audible and you can now leave feedback on individual episodes on Spotify. If that feels like a little too much right now. And believe me, I totally get it. You can also just quickly hit those five stars. In fact, so you don't forget, why don't you just pause right now go do it and I promise we will wait for you. Well here we are at episode 167 in which I interview Lindsey Gonzalez Lindsey is a television and radio host a producer, writer and mental health advocate who started a new chapter in life after being diagnosed with ADHD in January of 2021. She's also the executive producer and host of refocussed a podcast all about ADHD, a project fueled by her passion for fostering connection through storytelling and her never ending curiosity to learn as much about ADHD as she can. Clearly we are kindred spirits, Lindsay and I discuss how she got into journalism and her love for telling stories. We also talked about the power of positivity and being our own cheerleaders and Lindsey shares about her diagnosis of dermatomyositis and how she balances work and rest and how she has learned to ask for and accept help from others. Lindsay is an incredibly inspiring woman. And I know you will enjoy this conversation as much as I did. So here is my interview with Lindsay. Hi, Lindsay. Hey, Katie, this has been a long time coming. I'm so thrilled that we could finally make this happen after a couple of rescheduling on both of our parts. I
Lindsay Guentzel 3:48
was gonna say it was definitely both of us playing the game of life was throwing us more than we could handle in very strange ways. But I'm so glad to be here. And I'm really excited. Right.
Katy Weber 4:00
And I feel like as as to ADHD podcast host, I feel like we're living the life, right? We're walking the walk talking the talk. Absolutely.
Lindsay Guentzel 4:09
And it's so nice to be on the opposite end. Like I don't think I've ever signed in to this platform, which is the same platform that I use as a guest I've always signed in as the host. So it's very nice to have to wait to be accepted into like the little green room that they have. Oh,
Katy Weber 4:26
awesome. I know. Right? It is I'm very excited to be able to turn the tables. Okay, so let's get started. I don't want to waste any time. I want to hear about how you were diagnosed. You were 35 How long ago was that? And what was going on in your life that you started to really put two and two together and think I could have this?
Lindsay Guentzel 4:44
Yeah, so I was diagnosed right before my 35th birthday. It was like January February of 2021. And like so many people I had been sort of furloughed during the pandemic. Leading up to the pandemic. I had left a job Radio I've finally said enough is enough, all of the little breadcrumbs that I had been given over the years of will let you host your own show will develop you as a talent, just keep producing, you're such a good producer. And I just I hung on and I hung on. And finally I said enough's enough. And like any good journalist does when they leave a job, I went into marketing and realized very quickly that I did not like it. I love aspects of marketing, but it can't be my whole job 40 hours a week, I was so over my head. And keep in mind, this is all undiagnosed. So I left that and I needed a job. And I had always waited tables or bar tended to pay my way through unpaid internships or low paying journalism, jobs, you know, all of those things that you do to make ends meet so you can pursue your passion. The service industry was really where I found myself, you know, making that money. And I loved it. I thrived. It was just like working in a newsroom. You had tight deadlines, and you've turned things around. So anyway, I got this restaurant job. And I'm not lying. I like wrapped training, the last week of February. And I think I had been on the floor serving by myself for maybe two weeks, like two full schedule weeks, when the pandemic kind of the shutdown happened. And here in Minnesota, that was March 17, at like 5pm. And I had worked like the lunch shift. And like all of these people just started like rushing in. So it was just like, you know, the world shutdown, I didn't have a job I was sitting at home. So fast forward to January, I had worked over the summer when restaurants were allowed to open up. But then we had that surge again, right before Christmas in December of 2020. And everything shut down again. And so there I was in January, sitting at home with nothing to do. And just like, I'll be honest, like starting a new hobby every day, like every day was a new pandemic hobby. And I was so overwhelmed, but also not quite realizing what was happening. And I was just sitting on my couch. And, you know, keep in mind my entire life, I had dealt with anxiety, depression, disordered eating, I started treating some of those things as a young adult. So I was aware of all of the mental health stuff that was kind of coming out during the pandemic. But I was sitting on my couch and I saw this tweet about gifted and talented kids and undiagnosed ADHD. And thank goodness for my impulsivity because I'm not lying. When I say I read the tweet, I picked up my phone I called the doctor's office and, you know, hit whatever number I needed to to get to the scheduler. And when this woman came on the phone, I just said, I'd like to speak to somebody about ADHD. And she goes, All right, how about this afternoon, I was like, great. And I went in that afternoon, I spoke with a nurse practitioner, I did the you know, the the GA D, the GAD and the PHQ nine. And we talked about a bunch of stuff. And she said, I think it would be really beneficial for you to speak to a psychologist. And that took, I think, maybe like two weeks to get in. Now keep in mind, this is like January of 2021. And so like a lot of stuff was still virtual. I kind of feel like I beat out the rush, like the ADHD like all of these people who were like, Oh, my gosh, it took me eight months to get in. And I'm like, I feel kind of bad being like, No, I called and I got my first appointment later that afternoon. And it took maybe like a total of like four to six weeks for everything. And then you know, the diagnosis came back very much combined type ADHD. And it just all made so much sense. You know, I think that's the thing we hear from so many people is like, the second you have that answer, and you start to see where the dots connect and all of that. Of course, of course it was there. And at the same time, of course it wasn't there, you know, right?
Katy Weber 8:48
Yeah. That's so funny. I feel like I was diagnosed around the same time you were a couple months earlier. But it's true. I feel like there's something about the timeline of the pandemic, where there were some of us who got in right before the rush, almost like New York city neighborhoods moved in right before rents went up. And like, I wonder now, if my own doctor would have been different, you know, he would have more reservations about it, because I do think there is this sort of there was sort of a Yeah, sure you have this. And then now there's like almost like a panic that's going through the medical community of like, wait a minute, like, maybe we should slow this down? Or are we over diagnosing or like all of those questions that have since come up? And just the waitlists to which is incredible.
Lindsay Guentzel 9:37
Yeah, no, I kind of totally agree with you. And I think I wonder how much like the Adderall shortage plays into that these headlines, that sort of thing. And I mean, even thinking back to January of 2021, like that, what, what we thought at that moment was like, Oh, my gosh, the internet's been taken over by ADHD and like, who knew? Who knew what it was to come like? It was is just the starting point.
Katy Weber 10:01
Yeah, right. So you said it was a tweet about the gifted student to ADHD pipeline, what were some of the things you remember being really hitting home for you?
Lindsay Guentzel 10:16
It's so hard to look back, because there's a ton of different things that stand out. For me. I was very outgoing. And I think people just think when you are outgoing, that means you're an extrovert. And so an extrovert can't really have anything wrong with them. Which is not the case. I am very much an introvert, unless I'm around people I feel comfortable with. And I'm excited about and then I'm an extrovert. And then I need to like go back to my my little dark hole and recharge. So that was a big one. Being the girl in class that talked a lot that was very good at Tess was very good at projects, but would start something and lose interest in the middle and then have this mad dash at the end to get it done. But of course, it had to be perfect. So I was always moving the finish line for myself, it was never enough. If the teacher told us that we had to do these 10 things to get an A I was going to do those 10 things plus five more I made up by myself because her standards weren't high enough, I was so overwhelmed. And I had my hands and so many little things at a time, I could never commit to something. And I was very emotional. I was very, very much one of those kids that internalized a lot like the example I use. And I this is not meant to be like, oh, woe is me or to anything like that. But it goes to show like what I was willing to carry around by myself. So I grew up in a really small town, we went to the same schools with the same kids from literally like preschool to senior year like you spent all of your time with the exact same 250 Kids, it didn't matter if it was like during school or summer sports or whatever. And in eighth grade, I had a not so great situation unravel with a couple of girls in my grade where they went around one day, and they had the we hate Lindsey against a petition. And they had everyone that could find sign it. And then they met me at my locker after school. And they handed it to me and said, We just want you to know everyone hates you, and walked away. I didn't tell my mother about that until I was like in my late 20s. I went home and I pretended like nothing happened. I didn't tell anyone I didn't talk about it. I was so ashamed. And yet I was so willing to carry that around. And I just I knowing what we know now about all of the comorbidities that come alongside ADHD. And the way they show up for women, it just it all makes total sense. Like, I was very good at masking, knowing what masking is I was, I was I was a plus, you know, I was I would have been on varsity for that for sure. But it just it was all kind of a mess. And then college happened. And like so many women, the transition was unreal for me. I was ill equipped, not even ill equipped, like, literally not prepared at all, like there was never a conversation. Even in high school, like our senior year about the transition, there was no like, you're gonna pick your schedule. And this is what that's going to mean. And you are choosing to go to a school with 50,000 other students like this is what you need to do with your advisor to make sure that you don't fall behind like there was not that conversation happening anywhere. And I went to the University of Minnesota, and I very quickly fell behind because I had no idea how to adult. I had no idea how to put structures in place by myself. And then we go back to how much I was willing to carry around by myself. I'm failing out of school. I'm hiding it from everyone. I'm creating fake transcripts to get my parents off my back. I mean, it was like real serious stuff. And if I shared this with people who knew me at that time, they'd be like, had no idea I had no idea. I was just so good at hiding it all. And it really wasn't until I failed out of college twice. I don't have a degree. But as a young adult, I was nannying for a family and I gone through a bad breakup with my college boyfriend and I was living in his condo at the time. He was not living there. I was living in his condo. And the data nanny for said, go home and pack up your stuff. You're moving in here. We're getting your life on track. And it was really the first time where anyone had stepped in and said like, what's going on here? And that's really hard to say because it paints my parents in a knock right light, but I also feel like it is just so common. I'm not alone in the fact that I was sent off to college without any preparation. And so like I have to be honest about that part of it, but also point out that like, they didn't know what they weren't doing. And I'm just grateful that at that time, Joe and Jill and their Kids stepped in, and I moved in with them. And I lived in their basement and I worked my butt off at internships and got myself out of that hole. Wow,
Katy Weber 15:08
that's incredible story. You know, it's it's funny like, oh, gosh, I have so many thoughts. So the, you know, as a parent, I feel like I struggle with that a lot, which is like how much to intervene with my dog, my teenager who, you know, I remember, like I've said this a lot on the podcast where like, my parents gave me a lot of freedom. And I did not use it. Well, I needed so much structure, I needed people to really keep me accountable and keep tabs on me. And I didn't have that. And I felt like I really really floundered. And so as my daughter's parent, I'm like, I don't want to be like the tiger mom. But at the same time, like, I also know how important it is to have somebody step in and say like, we got to figure this out.
Lindsay Guentzel 15:55
Yeah, when it's a fine balance, I don't think there's a perfect answer. It's obviously it changes per kid. But I completely agree with you like I was given too much freedom. And I didn't use it well, because I didn't know. You know, I think one of the things that's so hard with these later in life ADHD diagnoses is the regret that comes with it. I hold so much sadness about the college experience I didn't get. And I just look back at feeling like it was what I was told I was going to do. You went to a four year school, I went to a liberal arts school. I had no idea what I wanted to study. And then as an adult, you're like, oh, gosh, wouldn't it have been great to actually like, take college for what it was supposed to be, which is like, learning about yourself, you know, I go back, I was with the exact same people for however many years of my life in this tiny town, and college could have been so much more. And so it is hard. A no and and I love that you kind of get to experience it again, in your grad program. You know, I've toyed with the idea of going back for a class people keep being like, you should go back and get your degree. I'm like, Why at this point, like, all of that work? Like I don't think I would even ever be able to pass a math class in a liberal arts format. To save my life like absolutely not.
Katy Weber 17:11
Right. Well, and I think there's so much evidence in terms of being a lifelong learner and not having like if you get to a point where you're able to reframe your interest in soaking in things, right. And that excitability and that lust for knowledge. What does it matter? If you have a degree? Like, it's just like, for me, it was really about that idea of like, oh, okay, so it wasn't until my diagnosis that I was then able to say, like, not doing well in school has is not a reflection of my intellect. It's not a reflection of my worth. It's not a reflection of anything, it just means that that system was a terrible system. But that takes a lot of inner work to get there. Oh,
Lindsay Guentzel 17:51
absolutely. I'm just starting to feel comfortable saying I feel about a college. And I think, working on the podcast and talking with other people and having them be vulnerable with me, as made me feel more open about it. But I also feel the same with you that I think a lot of the stigma that was held towards people who failed in traditional education, the more we're talking about how the world wasn't created for everyone. I think as that slowly is developing, and more and more people are being kind of enlightened to the fact that every single person's brain is different. Whether you're neurodiverse, or neurotypical, wherever you fall, like everyone's brain is actually different. And so to think that we can even ever set up anything that would work for all of us is ridiculous.
Katy Weber 18:34
Yeah, I loved what you said about being a waitress or being a server too, because I feel like that is something I always loved. I loved waitressing and I had very similar experience to am I you know, that question of am I an extrovert? Or am I an introvert, I loved performing, right? And I feel like there is in serving, there's a lot of performative element to it as these very short term relationships that you have with people. And if they're fun, you're fun, like, you kind of build off of each other's energy. And I think it all really does come back to masking like you said, like that idea of how you play these parts in your life, depending on who is on the receiving end. I think many of us share in that experience.
Lindsay Guentzel 19:18
Yeah, I joke that I was born to be an entertainer. I just wasn't given like traditional skills to be an entertainer. Like, I'm an okay singer. I'm an okay dancer. Like I grew up doing community theater. I love being the center of attention. Like it's the joke I make, but like that's what it is. When you're a server and it's you are at the table you have to kind of figure out who you are in their experience. Do they want you super involved? Are you making jokes? Are you really engaged? Are you leaving them alone? And I think like, for us ADHD years, we're really good at gauging that. Like you can walk up to a table and know exactly like how you are going to fit into their experience. But what's so funny is I've never waited a table now put misdiagnosis because I, you know, I was diagnosed and then left that restaurant shortly thereafter and then went back to journalism. But I always think like, what would it be like to wait a table now or work a busy Saturday night dinner rush at one of the places that I worked. Because before my diagnosis, if someone walked in that I knew, like, if I was waiting tables at a section across the room, and a person I knew, like 15 years ago was sitting in a table. Who knows how far away all I would think about was like, them watching me I would feel so vulnerable, I would be so shy and bashful because like, there's someone there that now knows you. And seeing how your life has changed post diagnosis, I always wonder like I was just probably have been a much better server now. Because like, you just don't care. Like a lot of the stuff you used to care about. You just don't care about anymore. Yeah,
Katy Weber 20:53
great point. Okay, so I want to find out, first of all, what drew you to journalism, at what point did you start getting into the world of journalism?
Lindsay Guentzel 21:04
Well, I wanted to be a sideline reporter. Again, going back to the love to be the center of attention. I loved sports, I was really into sports growing up, I loved watching sports. I'm the youngest of four girls. So I was kind of like my dad's token, sports buddy. And, again, having no guidance, not knowing anything, at this point, having failed out of school once I got an internship, thankfully. And that kind of stemmed, because I had taken a job, what would have been my senior year at the University of Minnesota with the Minnesota daily, which was a daily newspaper at the time, we ran five, like five days of the week, Monday through Friday, and then like one weekend edition, and it was incredible. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. And it was super exciting. And I remember like my first week on the job, I did a story about people in Myanmar at the time, there was this government, like lockdown happening on people. And they were using Facebook, and I'll give you mine since 2007. So they're using Facebook to like communicate with the outside world and get information out. And I'd written this article, and it got picked up by the New York Times and my god, the dopamine rush of like getting that call from your Managing Editor being like, June 3 article, and it got picked up by the New York Times. And I, I actually was at the bar at the time was at the bar called the library, which was you know, I spent way too much time at the bar in college. But that's another story. And like, you just get bit, you get bit telling other people's stories. And I think there's something for me, when I hear something that I can hear how it comes out to the audience, I can hear how the audience is going to digest it or see how it plays out. And I Gosh, once I was in and I pursued sports for a while and they say don't meet your heroes, don't work for your favorite sports organizations. And I just kind of burnt out on it. And it was a lot of nights and weekends and other stuff that you know, of course comes up with being a neurodivergent person who doesn't know that they're a neurodivergent person working in a very competitive field. And, you know, I kind of equate what I do with like an actor, like you always feel like you're auditioning for what's next. You never really get to settle into where you are. Because everything you're creating at the moment, you're like, Well, this is gonna get my next gig or how am I going to get my next gig. And so it was that drive of like, what doors opening what dorm I'm hopping into, and I've I've done everything, I've done so many different jobs in journalism. And it always comes down to I think I just love telling other people's stories, and meeting people. You know, like, that's like a really fun part of it, you meet so many cool and interesting people. And working on deadlines is something that I just have really thrived in. So once you know like, oh, gosh, I love the rush of that. It's it's easy to keep coming back to. Yeah,
Katy Weber 23:56
it's funny part of me really misses that version of myself, like you were saying with with being a server like, there were those moments being undiagnosed, where I could get so wrapped up in the all of that rush and all of the craziness. And I think those are usually situations where we tend to thrive, right you see a lot of people with ADHD in nursing and in like high stress situations because we I feel like we really, really thrive in those moments, but then we pay the price of burnout and exhaustion because we go so hard. And part of me kind of misses those days. Because I don't feel like I could allow that to happen to myself like I'm too focused on staying regulated. Now I don't think I could ever allow myself to go into those situations anymore. And there's a part of me that's like, Well, I kind of mourn the loss of that ability to or inability to know what's happening and just go with the flow in such a way you don't I mean, Oh,
Lindsay Guentzel 24:51
totally and I think the one other area with it that has always just been really hard for me to latch on to even now post diagnosis is like When you sign on to be a journalist, and to tell other people's stories, like, you have to keep in mind, you know, when you and I both started in this, like, the internet was a thing, but it wasn't like this stuff was social that it is now in the sense that like, you become a target, like you become this person that people can split their hatred, anger, disgust, opinions, whatever it is at you. And so like, there's this whole other angle to it, where like, you're not just going in and doing your job, now you're managing other people's feelings. And I appreciate and really respect those that can like shut it off, like the people on our side of it, who are on the receiving end, who can be like, I don't let it bother me, I don't look at it. I just, I've never been one of those people. And so it's just kind of you think back to all of the stuff that I used to really let bother me. And like, I worked on a daily radio show like a noon to three, I was the producer, but I was on air a lot and the stuff people would send in about you like the the comments they would make about you. And I could never disconnect myself from it. It's always just been really, really hard. And obviously knowing what I know now. But I think it does hold you back. In a sense, I think the people who have been able to take their careers to that next level, I think a lot of times are ones that can check out when it comes to public opinion.
Katy Weber 26:25
Did you develop any RSD coping skills in the industry that you've kept that you keep with you now?
Lindsay Guentzel 26:33
Not coping skills, but I can I've plenty of stories about RSD in the industry of you know, like RSD, honest to God ruin so many opportunities for me. And you can look back once you once you have explained to you that there was a thing that was so amazing to me is after I was diagnosed, the two that really stood out were RST and rumination and they go hand in hand. And the second I knew what RSD was, I could just see all of these moments in my career where that was exactly what it was. And the other part of it too is I was a female trying to make her way in sports journalism. And I couldn't connect with the women who were supposed to be my mentors. And they didn't know how to connect with me. Because I had this buffer around me, you know, I have this ADHD buffer of like, I don't know how to be friends with you. I don't know how to let you in. I'm intimidated. So I probably came across like snooty and cold. But I never had that mentor. And that was probably a huge part of why I left you know, had I had a mentor who could have talked me away from pushing all of that, that back because of RSD, it maybe would have been different. Yeah,
Katy Weber 27:46
and I think perfectionism plays in there too. Like, it's just like, they're all coiled up together. When you were talking, I was thinking about, like, the fact that if a piece would get published, and there was a typo, God forbid, a typo in the headline. It would basically be like the entire thing was was ruined. And I never knew how to get past that. I never knew how to embrace that. And it was funny because I was actually a copy editor for a few years. And I laugh now at like, what a terrible job for somebody with AD. Because like with copy editing, no matter how many mistakes you catch, there's always going to be something you miss. And then that's all people see. Right? So it was like my entire job is showing up as a failure basically every day like it was really terrible. I my sense of self esteem. But yeah, just thinking about like the RSD involved in like having seeing your work the next day and only seeing the mistakes, and then basically just being like, well, it was there was an appointment setting. You know, there was no point in even publishing, it always really bothered me. Well,
Lindsay Guentzel 28:52
I don't think people understand because you don't work in it in the industry. And we can't like disconnect ourselves from that fact. Most of the time, if you are the writer of the article, you actually don't write the headline. And there would be so many times where the article would come out the next day, and you'd be like, the headline makes absolutely no sense. And then people call it you're like, they're like what this you know, and you're like, I didn't do it, I had nothing to do you know, and the example that I would use so I was an in game arena host for a professional lacrosse team. And if I was doing a live hit during the game, if my mic wasn't on when I was supposed to start talking and I started talking and then the guy would realize like the volume wasn't up so then he would hit it so I'd come in late. I was like, people think I did that. Like people think that I'm the idiot who didn't know how to turn on her microphone. When really like it was somebody else's mistake that now makes me look bad. And so recently my partner had to quit his job to stay home to help me with some work stuff and some life personal stuff. And he got to facilitate his first zoom call the other day and what I loved about it was because he was in the room with me and I wasn't Engaging with these people and he's running the slideshow over here. We got done and he was like, You were great. They were so engaged, like, everything went so well. And that voice that aren't you know that RSD of like, Oh, I'm gonna ruminate on all the things I did wrong never came. And I thought, that's what you just need. We just need the buddy in the room. And that stops it. I honestly, I was just kind of waiting all day, you know, you're like, I'm waiting to start like, what am I going to start going down the rabbit hole of all the things I could have done better. And they never came. And so maybe maybe I've solved that you just need someone you trust in the room with you. Who talks you back from the ledge before you can even get there.
Katy Weber 30:38
My immediate thought was like, well, that we have a new job for your husband. And I was like, That's so typical, right? We're everything. We turn everything into a new side hustle. Oh, yeah. Be like, ooh, new job. Oh, that's really cool. I gotta think about that. Who is my who is my cheerleader? Are those moments or how do we set that up? You know, can we be that for ourselves? Is that even possible? I don't right deep sigh question. So how then, okay, so So walk me through when you got introduced to or how did you start working with ADHD online and the amazing, refocused podcast, which is what two years old? A year
Lindsay Guentzel 31:16
and a half at this point. We we celebrated a year in May of 2023. So that a little over a year and a half.
Katy Weber 31:23
Yeah, really, it feels like so much longer. But yeah, okay, wow, it does feel like
Lindsay Guentzel 31:27
a lot longer. So in a great way, in a great way. So I actually connected with them about a year after my diagnosis. And there was a call online looking for people to share their stories with ADHD and binge eating. And keep in mind, I was a year into my diagnosis, I was digesting everything that I could, I was like, writing about it at home and talking about it on social media and outside of like RSD and rumination, like, discovering the connection with disordered eating was such an eye opener for me. And I was really lucky that once I started to address my ADHD, a lot of the stuff that I was dealing with around food, which was like, it ran the gamut. It was like, I would starve myself, I would overeat, I would try and eat perfect, I would do this diet, I would do that diet, I would lose 20 pounds for spring break, and then come back and gain it all back. And it was so overwhelming. And the second I started addressing the ADHD, I started to see it kind of dwindled down a little bit. So I saw this post looking for people to share their stories. And I answered the questions. And I sent it in. And, you know, the journalist in me was like, well, they never reached back out. So they're not going to use it. Like I figured they would call and do like a formal interview. Well, I was an overshare. And they had everything they needed, because they wrote this article, and then they sent it to me. And it was for ADHD online. And Claudia Gotti, at the time, who was one of the people working in marketing there, read the article, and was like, Who's this Lindsay woman, she looks me up. And she passed along my website to their VP of Marketing, Keith Boswell and was like, let's reach out to her like she's got a really interesting story. She's newly diagnosed, she creates content. Let's have a meeting. And we had a couple of meetings. And we just hit it off right away. You know, there's all of these people on these calls who have ADHD. There's definitely some that don't. But it was just like this really easy fit right from the start. And I think a big part of that was the work that I had been putting in because I showed up as my true self. I showed up on masks. I showed up medicated, but I showed up on masks. And I was very confident myself for like the first time in a very long time. And I remember Keith asking me, What do you want? What do you want to do. And at the time, I was working freelance for Minnesota Public Radio, and had really kind of fallen into love with this audio format, and telling stories through audio. And I remember just very confidently saying I've always wanted a podcast about mental health, I just have never really figured out what that looks like. And I remember like you like the visual, like, there's like six people on the call that everyone's in a different location. And it's like they all kind of like look around at each other. What I find out later is that they had been talking about a podcast like producing a podcast as resources for their patients, but as a free resource for anyone who wants to learn more about ADHD, but kept hitting these roadblocks of like, we don't know what to do, like we don't know how to create a podcast. And then they meet this person who they're interested in and we're hitting it off and out of my mouth comes like, I've always wanted to create a podcast and I remember the call and they were like, put together a budget what does it look like let's do this. And I did it's been the best thing that's ever happened to me honestly, it has introduced me to so many incredible people both within the company that I partner with so ADHD online and then toffee health but then the people I get to interview on the podcast and I'm sure you can relate to this A little bit like every interview I do is just like an opportunity of growth for me where I'm like, oh my god, I hadn't thought of that, like, this is so something I need to add into my routine. And it's just kind of like my own little therapy every week.
Katy Weber 35:13
Right? Oh my goodness. I've often said, I feel like I'm getting my PhD in ADHD. And again, going back to the topic of school, like I'm like, Oh, this is how I am comfortable becoming an expert. It's not sitting in a classroom reading boring textbooks, right? Yeah,
Lindsay Guentzel 35:32
Katy Weber 35:33
Oh, that's amazing. I love that story. That's fantastic. I love the people at ADHD online. It's such great and big fan of your podcast. So I'm, I was going to ask you, what do you love most about the interviews? I feel like you answered it. Was there anything else you would add to that? You know, I
Lindsay Guentzel 35:51
think what's really funny is I still get this like nervous energy before an interview. It's like the 10 minutes leading up to it, where I'm like, I have so many things on my to do list, I'm really overwhelmed. And like, within like the first 30 seconds of like hitting record, the rapport you are able to establish with people who have ADHD, it's just like, Okay, we just made we became immediate best friends, like, where do we want to go with this and like, the vulnerability that people will, will show and I think what's been really great for me is like, one of the things I loved about producing was getting good guests. And so feeling like I'm able to take all of the stuff that I learned from like the traditional newsroom setting and being able to pull out someone's story. It really feels like all of this stuff kind of coming full circle, like, Oh, I loved when I worked on that noon to three show like, I loved the rush of getting a guest of getting like the best guest of like, this one time, we had Major Garrett at this summit during Trump's presidency, and we had like, five minutes with him where we had to throw into commercial break early, I had to pull up tape that had been recorded, put it on, so it's playing over the radio and get my host into the studio to record. And like when the interview comes on later, and you're just like, smooth sailing, it was like, I can't it's like the rush of that. There's there's nothing like it. And so to get to do that everyday here, where I'm like reaching out to people, and they respond and are like, of course, like with you like you were on. You're literally on our wish list. I'm not joking. So when this all started happening, we were like Katy Weber on our wish list. And then, you know, the connections were made. And I was like Katy Weber coming on the podcast. It's amazing. Like, it's just, it's really fun to like, have the ability to like, get to do that on your own.
Katy Weber 37:40
I know, right? Yeah. I love it. I'm always amazed when people say or I'm like, Oh, you've heard of the pike. Okay, that's great. Like, I, I spend a lot of time because I'm so interested in the conversations, I spend a lot, a lot of the other stuff feels like noise. And so I don't think a probably as much as I should about all the stuff out around the podcast that anyone has been listening, which I think is probably the best if I really thought about it. I put my foot in my mouth a lot less. But I want to talk about positive thinking because I feel like you embody positivity in a way. I'm sure you get this a lot. Yeah, I do. You're like waiting for this question. Right? No,
Lindsay Guentzel 38:27
I love it. It's and I'll tell you why. But I'm gonna let you finish. Okay,
Katy Weber 38:30
so I want to talk about positive thinking. Because I think there's several questions in here, I want to also ask you about your sort of health journey recently, and how you've been dealing with that and how you feel like ADHD plays into your health journey. But also as a podcaster. Like, I feel like one of the criticisms I sometimes get at for my episodes is that there's not enough like, quote, unquote, real people that we talk of too much about our successes and not enough about the struggle. And I actually really feel like I go out of my way to talk about both. But I feel like there is a place for positive thinking when it comes to our ADHD journey. And I'm curious how you're able to stay positive and Mote in darker moments. But also, do you have any thoughts on like, how your ADHD has played into that?
Lindsay Guentzel 39:25
Yeah, so I have to start by saying that I am the total cliche of the person who was diagnosed with the incurable rare disease who has now realized that like, oh, yeah, they were right. We only get one life and all of that stuff you carry around that negative energy that annoyance, which was very much me, very much me. All of that stuff like it's not worth it. It is not worth it. At the end of the day, it is not worth it. All of those Lifetime movies, all of those Jodi Picoult books Ducks, whatever you want to use as your example, like, there's a reason they say you only have one life. And so for me, I was diagnosed with a really rare disease in March. And my life was like completely flipped upside down. I know, if I hadn't been diagnosed with ADHD prior to this, like, if I hadn't put in like two solid years of work on myself, I would not be where I am right now I, I guarantee my partner and I would probably be broken up, I probably living at my mom's house, I wouldn't have been able to hold down a job, I would be under the covers with the blanket over my head, because I would be so overwhelmed, because it is overwhelming. But and again, the you can think it's cliche, my ADHD diagnosis was the best thing that ever happened to me. The person I am today is directly connected to that. And I'm so hopeful about the future like with all of the terrible stuff that I have going on, like, I was in the hospital for 18 days in the month of September. And I'm actually in a worse position right now than I was coming out of the hospital. So for the last six weeks, I've been home, like, unable to shower myself, I can't drive a car, I can't get myself dressed, I can't get myself out of bed. Like I mentioned, my partner just quit his job to stay home with me to help me with the podcast, but also to like, take care of me. And like this all happened in the span of like, I was diagnosed in March, we're talking now it's early November. So it's a lot to take on at once. The ADHD side has helped me triage, it's helped me stay focused on a bunch of different things. Like for example, my sister is driving me to chemo a couple of weeks back and I'm talking the whole ride down. It's like 7am, about creating our content calendar for 2020. And all the stuff I'm excited about. And she looks over and she's like, I am driving you to chemo and all you can talk about his work. And I'm like, Yeah, cuz I'm excited about it. I am so excited about life. Like, I say this, I'm living my best and my worst life all at the same time. And the one thing that I've actually been so proud of, and it's the ADHD, but it's what I've been able to work on is like, I used to ruminate all the time, I used to go back to things. I mean, I would carry shame around decades, like there was an incident in first grade with my teacher yelling at me, I think I finally got over it. And maybe around 29, after a lot of therapy, I would hold on to everything. And I would go down these rabbit holes, and I would create these scenarios, and I would get like physically ill from these things that would never happen. But I was thinking they were gonna happen. When you have a disease that is really scary. And all of those things can happen. It would be so easy to sit in that pocket. But because I put in the work like I don't go down those rabbit holes, like I do think about them. Sure. But I'm not wasting energy on them. Because I have figured out how to channel all that energy into what at the end of the day makes me happy. And it's not perfect by any means the imagination, there are times where I'm not kind to my partner, where I don't have patience for him, where I have to say to him, like, I'm yelling at you because I need to yell because life is really hard right now. And it's really scary. But I'm also creating my best work. And I think that goes hand in hand. Like there's a vulnerability that comes out that you have to accept when you have to accept help from people, when your partner has to straighten your hair before a podcast interview, which is really what happened. Bless his heart that 3038 year old man just straightened my hair like and was so he was so nervous about like, not doing it right. But like, you hand that stuff over and you just, I don't even know, like, where I'm really struggling right now is like, I lost a lot of life. Because of my ADHD. I had a lot taken away from me, I lost out on a lot of opportunities. And I think what's kind of driving me forward is like, I'm not letting this take anything away. Like I know what is possible. I know what I want. And like, it's gonna work really hard. It's trying its damnedest right now, but like, No, I'm going to do everything that I can to get back to where I was before that.
Katy Weber 44:22
I think that's really lovely. What I'm hearing is, it sounds like there's a freedom or a lightness to asking for help that I think a lot of us lose sight of when we become perfectionist and sort of driven by that anxiety and that oh my god I have to do well you know all of the ways in which we hold everything in. There is like a wonderful vulnerability when you finally half to like you're forced to ask for help in a way but I think it's also like very one of the things I love about asking for help and and inviting help is how symbiotic because that relationship often is when the person who's helping you, it's like you're allowing that person to help you. And that was a huge reframe for me when it came to ask me for help, especially when it came to my family, which was like, I don't look at it as me being a burden anymore. I look at it as like allowing them to, to do this nice thing for me because they will feel good about that.
Lindsay Guentzel 45:23
That was one of the things people told me to was like, I want to do this for you. I want to help let me do this. And I realized what was kind of holding me back and I had to work through very, very quickly because we needed help right away was that I had put walls up you know, I can go back to like the we hate Linds against competition, like, friendships have always been really hard for me again, I know that's now tied to the ADHD. But so when people would want to show up for me and want to, you know, show that they cared about me, I didn't know how to except that I didn't know how to look at that as genuine. I really kind of always had my guard up, like, okay, but then what are you going to do? Like, you're going to help me but then like, what's going to happen when the ball drops, like, what's the other end of it? And a lot of that was because of toxic friendships. And so just very quickly, like, having to kick that all to the curb and be like, Oh, I am deserving of being cared for and having people take care of me and it's uncomfortable. Like it's really uncomfortable to have to sit with that. But it's important that we sit with that, right. Like, I wouldn't want the people that I care about feeling that way. Why do I allow myself to feel that way?
Katy Weber 46:36
Now, you've been pretty open about it on Instagram. It's dramatic mio situs correct is that I pronounced Yes. Do you mind talking a little bit about like, what was how did you first get diagnosed? What was happening that? What were the first signs of this?
Lindsay Guentzel 46:51
So the first signs we had been in Arizona in January, we went on a hike. I got some cactus spines in the back of my leg. And I went to the emergency room down there and they were like cellulitis, here's some antibiotics go on your way. Get back to Minnesota. And like, every morning I would wake up and my face would be like, swollen. I would describe it as like the mugshot of like, a real housewife who's had too many injections and like had been on like an all night Bender, like it was very, very disturbing. We joked that like every morning was Christmas, except for you just like, didn't know what I was going to look like, like, the photos are wild. And I would go to the doctor and they were like, it's just allergy. Here's some more allergy meds. Here's some more antibiotics. Here's some more prednisone and no one was really like looking at the big part of it. And then the muscle weakness started and I couldn't get out of bed and I couldn't dress myself and I had swelling everywhere. I mean, I couldn't had one pair of pants I could wear that were big enough that I could get my legs in because that's how much water I was carrying around. And that was so that started in mid January. This is like mid February and I'm getting nowhere like my first appointment with a rheumatologist is scheduled for July. And luckily I got in with a gastroenterologist who did some tests on my liver numbers and, you know, behind closed doors had called rheumatology and said you know, she's got high liver numbers, I'm thinking I'm going to run some Skeete CK levels with which is your creatine kinase, which is what my body is secreting right now from my muscles because of this disease. And a normal person's numbers should be like a couple 100 and elite athletes after like a big event will be like maybe 1000 to 3000 like it changes per person. But like those are like the numbers like mine came back at like 14,000. And my peak was like over 21,000. And that was during my hospitalization in September. And those numbers push them to run the antibody, the autoimmune antibody test, and I came back positive of having the anti JL one, which then connects to dramatic myositis, which is under the myositis family. And essentially, I have this antibody in my system that is attacking my muscles, and it's attacking my muscles and they're dying off, which is why I have all this muscle weakness. I have limited mobility, all of those things, because my muscles are literally dying. And so that's the big part of it. It also comes with other things that they don't know why but like interstitial lung disease, so I have clouding on my lungs that we have to pay attention to. You know, it can get to the extreme to the point like there's people in the support groups I belong to who are undergoing lung transplants. And so like everything now is making sure that we never get to that point. I have like weird skin rashes and something called mechanic's hands. It also brought on rheumatoid arthritis because what I'm learning is if you get one autoimmune disease, it's very likely you're gonna get another because it's there. It's just dormant, and then it sees all these other people having fun and it decides that it wants to join the party. The problem is I think there's something else underlying right now and our healthcare system is exhausting. It is not meant for anyone with ADHD, Nora hospitals with another side of it. But the big thing for me is I look at where I was in August, you know, I was diagnosed officially in the first week of March, we were able to get my numbers down to like 1100, which was amazing. And I remember doing burpees, I was doing burpees August 8. So what I'm holding on to I was at the gym doing burpees by choice on August 8, and I actually enjoyed it. And then September 8, I'm in the hospital. So we're trying to figure out what happened in that span to cause that. I say that I'm like, it's the burpees burpees that cause every person was like, it was the burpees. Lindsay Murphy has caused it now. I think there's something underlying that is affecting my immune system, which is why we're at wherever we are right now. And I just every day, I'm making sure I'm making the right appointments, and I'm showing up and advocating for myself, you learn really quickly how to advocate for yourself and go from there.
Katy Weber 50:54
How are you managing rest with ADHD? Are you
Lindsay Guentzel 51:02
with yoga nidra if I'm being brutally honest, yoga, Nidra has saved me physically and mentally over the last few months, especially in the hospital, there would be nights where I'd get good sleep. And then there'll be nights where I'd be awake the entire time and being able to connect in for an hour session on YouTube and just decompress, sometimes fall asleep, reset my mind reset my nervous system, it's been a big part of it. The other part is becoming comfortable asking for help with stuff that exhausts me, like, I'm constantly trying to do things and my boyfriend will be like, I'm staying home. So that you don't have to do that. And it's like, but I can and he's like, yeah, and then you're gonna be tired for the rest of the afternoon. Like, stop unloading the dishwasher before I get up. And I'll be like, but it he's like, You sweat. Like you get physically exhausted unloading the dishwasher. Just let me do it. But it's hard to kind of like turn that off, you know?
Katy Weber 52:05
Oh, well, right. Asking for help before you have exhausted your own resources, I think is a really, really big challenge. Wow, there's a lot there.
Lindsay Guentzel 52:15
Do you just learn every as you go?
Katy Weber 52:17
Do you have advice for a woman who is newly diagnosed who might feel like she's not at a place where she appreciates her ADHD?
Lindsay Guentzel 52:28
Ask the people around you, the people like ask your people to show up for you and to tell you, how they see you and what you mean to them. And I know that sounds ridiculous, but I think we are so hard on ourselves. And it's so difficult for us to see ourselves as we truly are. And when we allow the people in our lives to do that for us, like going back to like having John in the room with me when I did my presentation. Like, he's my best friend. He's my person. He I trust him wholeheartedly. If something had happened, that I needed to think about, he would have told me have those people do that for you. Because we are our own worst enemies when it comes to being kind to ourselves. And sometimes you just got to put in a little bit of that extra work to kind of get past that.
Katy Weber 53:19
Very well said I do. I feel like when I started believing in myself, after my ADHD diagnosis, it was really quick to see who in my life was more comfortable with the other narrative I had in my life. And that kind of like showed up in suddenly in Technicolor for me. And I think it's really important to trust your gut.
Lindsay Guentzel 53:46
Oh, man, yes. When people show you who they are, believe them, but also know that like, you can start saying boundaries at any point in time. Yeah.
Katy Weber 53:57
Well, I through a lot of questions that you that I did not give you the benefit of having ahead of time, so I apologize. Oh gosh, I
Lindsay Guentzel 54:05
love it. If you'd given it to me ahead of time, I would have just over overthought it all so right.
Katy Weber 54:13
But one question I do love to ask everybody is if you could rename ADHD to a different name, do you have anything that you would call it?
Lindsay Guentzel 54:21
I mean, I want to know if i My renaming it from the beginning or is this like I have to get people to actually start calling it something else because I still have a hard time getting people to call it ADHD and interviews I have to like preface this I'm like, when they were diagnosed it was add like I mean, there's there's just there's too much there for me. I need I need a little bit more backstory, but I I do think a rebranding, a good marketing team and a new name would do us all a little well. Yeah,
Katy Weber 54:50
I don't have I can't settle on anything either. Because the other thing is like, I don't know what I would have related to at the time because I started I didn't relate to attention deficit, I certainly didn't relate to hyperactivity and so you know, whatever. It's like executive function or regulation. I'm like, I don't think any of that like for me. All I thought was that I was a huge failure in life. So I'm like, how do we is that what we go up? Do we like, I feel like it's the like, under achievers, yeah, gifted under achiever. That's what I used to, you know, my friends, and I used to call ourselves that. So I'm like that I would have related to a lot more. God,
Lindsay Guentzel 55:27
I love it. And then like, in like a humorous way, not in a serious way, because I very much relate to it.
Katy Weber 55:34
Well, thank you for your vulnerability. Just your positivity is infectious. I really, really appreciate you sharing your story with me today. Thank you.
Lindsay Guentzel 55:45
Thank you so much for having me. It was so nice to be here. I really appreciate it.
Katy Weber 55:54
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