Sarah Collins: Burnout & the pressure to have it all together

Jun 03, 2024


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Episode 187 with Sarah Collins.


“I’ve probably spent more money on therapy than anything else in my life, and yet nobody ever said anything about ADHD or neurodivergence.”


Sarah is an activist and entrepreneur. Having grown up in apartheid South Africa, Sarah has spent much of her life passionate about social justice and improving the welfare of others, especially when it comes to gender equality and environmental sustainability.


In 2008, Sarah founded Wonderbag, a portable, non-electric slow cooker designed to retain heat and continue cooking food after being brought to a boil. It has enormous versatility, especially for communities in crisis where electricity and fuel are either scarce or non-existent. Wonderbag has won dozens of environmental & leadership achievements over the years, and was voted one of the world's Top 50 Genius Companies by Time Magazine in 2018.


Sarah and I talk about the ups and downs of being a neurodivergent entrepreneur, as well as how neurodiversity intersects with innovation and its potential to spark humanitarian change. And we also talk about the very real hidden costs of being an ADHD entrepreneur, like masking, burnout, and the constant pressure to appear as if you have it all together. 


Sarah is also my coaching client, and we talk about the difference coaching has made in her life since her adult diagnosis. If you’re looking to make that step in your own life, make sure to head over to to book a free introductory consult with me to find out if we’re the right fit. 



Instagram: @thewonderbag


Additional links: Exclusive 20% discount for listeners: WOMENADHD20


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Episode edited by E Podcast Productions


Find the transcript of this episode at


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Sarah Collins 0:00
When I started the journey of trying to look for what was wrong with me, I did I went for, you know, brain scans, I went for MRIs. I went for, you know, looking for tumors. But there was nothing there. You know, I think we look in the wrong places.

Katy Weber 0:25
Hello, and welcome to the women and ADHD podcast. I'm your host, Katy Weber. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 45. And it completely turned my world upside down. I've been looking back at so much of my life, school, jobs, my relationships, all of it with this new lens, and it has been nothing short of overwhelming. I quickly discovered I was not the only woman to have this experience. And now I interview other women who liked me discovered in adulthood they have ADHD and are finally feeling like they understand who they are and how to best lean into their strengths, both professionally and personally. Well, hello there and welcome back. I'm so glad you've decided to join me here we are at Episode 187, in which I interview Sarah Collins. Sarah is an activist and entrepreneur having grown up in apartheid South Africa, Sarah has spent much of her life passionate about social justice and improving the welfare of others, especially regarding gender equality and environmental sustainability. In 2008, Sara founded wonderbag, a portable non electric slow cooker designed to retain heat and continue cooking food after being brought to a boil. This product has enormous versatility especially for communities in crisis where electricity and fuel are either scarce or nonexistent. wonderbag has won dozens of environmental and leadership achievements over the years and was voted one of the world's top 50 Genius companies by Time Magazine in 2018. Sara and I talk about the ups and downs of being a neurodivergent entrepreneur, as well as how neurodiversity intersects with innovation and its potential to spark humanitarian change. We also talk about the very real hidden costs of being an ADHD entrepreneur, like masking and burnout and the constant pressure to appear as if you have it all together. I absolutely loved Sara's alternative name for ADHD, and I'm pretty sure you will too. So make sure to stay tuned for that. Also, the wonderbag company is offering an exclusive coupon for listeners of the women and ADHD podcast. If you head to wonderbag you can use the code women ADHD 20 for 20% off your purchase. And of course that link is in the shownotes. Well, Sarah is a coaching client of mine, and we talk about the difference coaching has made in her life since her diagnosis. If you're ready to make that step in your own life, make sure to head over to women and where you can book a free introductory consult with me to find out if my coaching is the right fit for you. Okay, this was a wonderful conversation. I can't wait for you to hear it. So without further ado, here is my interview with Sarah. All right, well, before we begin, Sara, let me just give you a heartfelt thank you for agreeing to be on this podcast. As we were just chatting before I hit record, I can't believe I've convinced you to be on this podcast. And I think you can't believe you've agreed to be audited. But here we go. For whatever reasons that we have been brought into each other's life, I am eternally grateful. So let's get started then, I'd love to hear and have you share what was going on in your life when you first kind of realized that you might have ADHD you might be neurodivergent. Like what are what were some of those things that you first started thinking to yourself? I should look into this? Well,

Sarah Collins 3:57
it's a hard question that even though it maybe shouldn't be but I mean, many, many people say this, but enough for me and from when I was young, everything was off. And I I really struggled to understand things and, and things that people thought was simple or straightforward. I never felt that way. And I also have to caveat that by saying that I was an alcoholic or am an alcoholic. I've been 20 years sober. And I think that there was so much confusion in my life about what was anxiety, what was depression, what was alcoholism, what was bad behavior, what were character defects. You know, what all of these things that kind of I was labeled with or had or felt or whatever, and then you throw sort of all these traumas. nervousness as into it as well. I mean, so I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. And I was just doing so many things and traveling and, but things just weren't gelling, and I was getting confused as to what was going on. And then, in typical fashion, you know, it worked for me to sort of move around from country to country, and to try and find my tribe try and find some set, you know, some way to set up. And then I think, really what hit me was COVID, when there was this massive shift, and everybody started talking about in the shutdowns, I became much busier. And I became, you know, I was sort of sitting on, on Zoom calls all day, and, and my business was very busy. But there was, I was lonely. And I was wondering where my friends are. And I was starting to think about all of these things. And I suppose I'm embarrassed to admit this, but one of the things that has followed me around in my business, and one of the things I suppose, has been one of my biggest shame things, is the turn of staff that I've always had since I started my business. And I started making bad people decisions, because I didn't want to let anyone down. And so I would keep people that I knew weren't wrong, or I would hire people that I knew were wrong. Because I didn't want to admit that I've made the mistake. So the shame started to, to really build up in me. And in I couldn't work out if it was the narrative of my youth where I was been told I was useless. And I was this and I was that. And so I was really trying to figure out because I thought I was a good person. And in that I work in, in sort of the Justice space and the humanitarian space, and I, and I never felt or done anything wrong. I felt like I was a good person. And I cared deeply about people. And yet, constantly, I was upsetting people letting people down. And I really could not figure that out. And, and then I started to wonder if I was going mad, you know, like, if there was a like, maybe I was schizophrenic or something because there was this thing and that thing, and yet, everything I did was with good intentions. And I think one of the pivotal things for me was my nephew, because I could start to see a lot of myself and him. Seven, I started to think well hang on a minute, this isn't that I'm some evil person with this, this sort of double personality and stuff like that, because I started seeing it and other people. And also interestingly for me, in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, I started to hear a lot of people talking about some of the things that I thought were fantastic as character defects. And so there was all these sort of nuggets coming at me. And then I had a particularly bad year in and trying to now work out the years 2021 2022 My business was really getting exploding, but I was having a massive turnover of stuff. And people were really angry with me. And I was getting a lot of criticism and and I thought you know what, I can't carry on like this. And, you know, I started trying to explain myself better but, and I just started to see my behavior, and how when people would come towards me at work. If I wasn't expecting it, I would start to lash out. And it was like, This is not right. And obviously I've had I've had a lot of therapy in my life. In fact, I probably spent more money on therapy than anything else in my life. And nobody had ever said anything about ADHD or neuro divergence. So I went to see somebody who was I read about in the neurodivergent space, which I didn't really understand at that stage. And so when I met them, I said, Well, I think we should do a diagnosis. And of course, I was a blue blooded ADHD neurodivergent data, that data that you know, so that's what brought me to it was was desperation actually,

Katy Weber 9:49
when somebody finally being able to connect those dots for you? Which I feel like like that. You know, I've spoken about that on my podcast too, but wasn't for the fact that my therapist knew enough about ADHD i How much longer would I have gone through my life feeling like you said, like, what is wrong with me? You so perfectly articulated by the way, that feeling where, you know, our actions don't reflect our intentions, right? And so that feeling of like, why is everybody walking around? And eggshells? Why am I having such a difficult time with interpersonal relationships? But also like, I am angry, right? And I am feeling a lot of rage. I think rage is one of those things that a lot of us connect to, right, that feeling of like, why am I going from zero to 100? So quickly? And how are we supposed to know that that has anything to do with ADHD, I mean, when you know, when we're thinking ADHD is just a little boy who can't sit still. And

Sarah Collins 10:45
that's why I have this big issue. And, you know, another thing that was really plaguing me and had been for a long time was how I was able to show up in the world, in sort of turning a switch on and being able to speak on stage to run meetings brilliantly. And when I was on I was on, but then the minute the curtains closed, I would collapse. And I would feel the dread and the Skilton all the stuff I said wrong. And, you know, there was this complete low, which was so weird. So these highs and these really big lows, and, and I really started prop yourself self loathing, you know, and really not understanding it. And I think, you know, you talk about therapists, and I mean, as I say, I probably spent more money than God's got cheap on therapists through my life. And nobody had ever identified this, until I went to a place that had a sign outside said neurodivergent clinic. And by that stage, I was suspecting I was autistic. And but I didn't know what that meant. But I talked about this, I share about this, this feeling of, of behind closed doors, I was just absolutely terrible person, and yet has shown in the world. And I think that's been the greatest greatest joy for me, has been bringing once I was once I obviously was diagnosed and started working with it. And all of that was to bring those two things together. Hmm, yeah.

Katy Weber 12:30
When you say bring those two things together, you mean, just understand that you can be both? Or what do you mean by that?

Sarah Collins 12:39
So I think that with an interest based brain, I now understand this complete switch on where everything else disappears. And when I shine. And I've been able to decipher between that masking, what is masking, and what is just feeling low and feeling tired, and feeling overwhelmed, because as we will know, anybody listening to this podcast has ADHD. And I hate that term, by the way, but who's one who's neurodivergent. And menopausal is how much we do during the day, you know, and that our morning started for 430. And we can almost live a whole like, week, two weeks, month in a day. But if you can't, if you can't sort of break that up, when it all becomes one big mishmash, then it really that's what kept taking me out. And that's what was causing the burnout. And okay, don't get me wrong, I'm going to break it at all, I don't think you'll ever get it wrapped in from my experience. So to answer your question, what is bringing those things together, it's understanding that this, this, this, this, this, this, this, that and understanding the routines and the things you need to put in place in order to nurture all those aspects of it. And none of them are shame based. They're all just you. But that's what I was meaning by by bringing them together. Gotcha.

Katy Weber 14:20
Yeah. I always say don't trust anybody who says that they've mastered their ADHD. But you know, it's funny, because I think a lot of the time I certainly experienced this in the past before I was diagnosed, like I would use those days where I had own rockets firing and plate spinning, and I loved that version of myself. So I would use that version of myself as evidence for why I should always be that version of myself. And so I think it was because, you know, I loved I got off on people saying, how do you do all these things? Right, like it was such a huge part of my identity. And so it was really difficult to say, well, I also am the person who can't get off the couch. You know, who wears the same clothes for three days in a row and doesn't shower like, like all the fact that I was also that person and had so much shame around that I felt like, I didn't want that person to exist. And now I feel like they live in harmony a little bit more. Where I you know, rather than feeling like I always have to be on recognizing that with with one comes the other that they need each other.

Sarah Collins 15:24
Yeah. 100% To you, Katie. And I think that, you know, for me, I always say nobody gets over comfortable. So, so why is anybody gonna change unless it becomes unlivable. And, you know, my highs, which are thrived on the lows, we're getting lower the hazard, we're getting higher, and the two are missing completely. And then there's all these people in between trying to figure out which one you are. And I think you only really seek help or seek clarification, when, when it's too much. Also, one of the things I'm very passionate about is the stigma around it, because I think more people would, would want to understand themselves better if you didn't have to be labeled. So there's a difference between being labeled and stigmatized, if there was better language around understanding the way our brains work, and the difference that how we process things differently. And I think it was that understanding that has also made me feel really passionate about trying to get people to understand that it's the processing of the brain, why should we be judged? And ostracized? You know, and why is there so much shame around it? And for me, that's a big thing. And now, as I got more comfortable, and when I said comfortable, comfortable with who I am, and being able to balance those things more, not being comfortable in the world and getting it all right, that's not what I'm saying at all, because that's never going to happen. It's about, you know, sort of using the challenges and our resilience and everything else. But I think it's also made me realize that, you know, those of us that have got to this point, we have an opportunity to change the narrative and to share our stories. And, you know, one of the things that always happens is that people talk about how fantastic it is, and how great the journey is, and you know, how I became a coach and ADHD or and in business, or you know, a coach of this or that I'm an accident coach a couch. The point being is, is that it's an everyday thing for me. And if anybody thinks there's a silver bullet, or if anybody thinks there's a pill of this, anybody thinks there's the perfect anything, then you must go and really think about the diagnosis again, because there isn't that life is full of challenges. And I think our generation didn't get that memory. Well, I certainly didn't in South Africa, in apartheid, South Africa, where everything was perfect. And we were living in this absolutely horrific injustice regime, which I started to feel as a young girl, that life was not fair. And that life was tough. And, you know, I often think when do we get that before we came out to you know, and but Todd actually would laugh was. And so I think it's that acceptance, that we're not going to feel joy all the time. And we're not going to be that successful person or that time and think about, you know, the person who we've just had away from the world, you know, I have to close my bedroom door when I'm traveling, because I don't want anyone to see what it looks like, you know, and it's that recuperating side of ourselves, but the realness of ourselves that we don't want to share at the people. But actually, that's what we do need to show because that's life. And I think that in the world that we live in today, in such an uncertain world, in such a leaderless world, and in a world devoid of humanity and the humaneness of people, I think showing the truth and the realness rather than the success that is the Google success. Do you know what I'm saying?

Katy Weber 19:42
Absolutely. And I think you know, what goes hand in hand with that is the irony of the stigma against ADHD which is you can't possibly have ADHD because you did well in school or you run businesses or you know, all the reasons why so many of us weren't diagnosed because oftentimes we say, well, you can't possibly have it because of all these wonderful things you've done. Now, I realized that those are most likely those are the people that I immediately think they must have ADHD, right? If you were, if you're an entrepreneur and you run a business, you probably have ADHD. But there there is all of the stuff that comes with it. So yes, all of the substance abuse, all of the stuff that we have so many of us eating disorders, so many of us deal with these things in the shadows, but it's so true, like they, they, it's like they both have to exist. And so you need to look for that and assume that if somebody is running a business, if somebody is phenomenal, if somebody is that person that you think, wow, I don't know how you do all of that in one day, then that person is also probably compensating or deeply struggling or not, I mean, hopefully, ideally, you get to a place of self acceptance and self trust and all of that, I actually want to get back to what you had said about AAA, because you know, substance abuse is something that is, you know, many we talk about a lot on the podcast, many of us have, you know, troubled past whatever you want to call it. But you know, you mentioned that a, that one of the things that you struggled with with AAA is that the this idea that there were character defects that you needed to get over or that you needed to rise above, and that those were things that you sort of looked at in yourself as being great characteristics about yourself? Can you tell me more about that? Yeah.

Sarah Collins 21:29
I mean, I think I must just say that I think he is one of the most extraordinary organizations, if not the most extraordinary organization in the world, because it is one alcoholic talking to another. And as you and I have have learned in our relationship is one ADHD person talking to another, we get each other, you know, we laugh at the same things. And in AAA gives people the space and AAA is responsible for getting more people so but than anything else in the world. And I wouldn't be sitting here today if it wasn't for Alcoholics Anonymous, and and I'm still a member of it, and I still go. And people say, really, after 20 years, do you still crave a drink? And I'm like, No, it's not about that. It's about the, it's about the community. And it's about the rituals, and it's about the routines, and it's about seeing like minded people. But I think over the years, what I've come to be able to understand is what works for me and what doesn't. So a lot of it is talking about character defects. And in a lot of the madness is what makes us who we are, you know, and, and madness, I do that in inverted commas, because I would like to be able to poke now out of air. But of course, I can't remember. So I can't put. But there's a lot of contradictory things. And there's a lot of this sort of this way, but a that is you have to stay in the program to stay sober. And you have to accept this character defect, and you have to do this. And you have to do that. And understand those rituals and routines are absolutely essential to set up a good foundation for sobriety and for mental health going forward. But I wasn't prepared to constantly be a defected character, because I wasn't affected, I was different. And that was unique. And what's the word they now call me with gray hair that you're eccentric, you know, now I can be eccentric, and people stand up on the bus and give me their seat. And it was those very things that made me a success. And what I said to myself, long time ago was I would hire the sober alcoholic any day, or an alcoholic in recovery over somebody else, but didn't understand what I was saying at the time. What I was saying is I would hire a new neurodivergent person because I believe at 99% If not 100% of people in their, on your divergent. That means our alternative brain processing system is works. And that's the world that I think is the future. And the world has been created by predominantly white male neurotypical people. That's what the the framework Shall we put it, you know, the framework of marriage or the framework of society. We'll look at track marriage for six weeks didn't suit me in this panel. things done work for all of us. So the Mavericks You talk about the success. So Steve Jobs, for example, use him, you know, he was a maverick people hated or loved him. He was clearly neurodivergent to the extreme, but he changed the world. And I think those are the people that can and do. But it's not easy. And I can tell you that as a business owner, and, you know, as somebody who is seen as a success, and who has brought something into the world that wasn't there before. And it's been a magical 16 years now, it hasn't been magical. It's been bloody tough and difficult. And only if I was an neurodivergent. What I actually have survived it. And so the Google side of it looks fantastic. But it takes these different ways of thinking. And that I call it magic. I don't know what it is. But there's rapid fire connections and that we risk takers and being totally risk takers, you know, because we don't see the consequences at the time. We may have them later. But that's what it is. Is it easy to live with a person like that? Good heavens.

Katy Weber 26:22
I always say I jump first think later, people will say You're brave. And I'm like, I'm not brave. It's like you said, it never occurred to me to think about whether I should or shouldn't do this until it was too late. And you know, sometimes it goes great. Sometimes it's a flop. It's all of those things.

Sarah Collins 26:42
Interesting. Katie, you said that flop, but I didn't think that I actually think and now that I look back. And actually I mean, I look back and I was cringing at some things this morning, when you when I was thinking about what do I regret and oh, I could die at some of the things I did. But I think that what I've learned on this journey is is that everything is information. If you can take does that sound that somebody you know? If you can take that flop you talk about that pancake flop and and learn from it. And that's what I'm loving is learning from from those drops. And you know, something so funny, but I developed this product called a wonder bag. And in 16 years ago, I had no idea that I was ADHD. All I know that is that my friends used to say to me, how many more inventions do we have to have? How many more earthworm farms do we have to try Tammany more this or how many more that and when I took them the Wonder bag as this will be the last. And my interest based brain kicked into this product. And that only connected last week. That is the biggest hack for cooking for people like us. It's amazing. But I've never connected those dots. So actually, so many of the things that I do, and have been doing for the past years, like knitting for example. I'm an obsessive knitter. Everyone says what do you make? Oh, nothing. But you knitting on Tim, I don't know squares, this that day, somebody you know, I'm gonna make them into a huge blank will probably cover the house one day, but then I've now learned that that actually brings the left and the right brain together and it calms your nervous system down. So it's funny how these things that you didn't know, we're sort of ADHD hacks, we're going to learn a new term for ADHD. And we're going to get that up to the university so we can lose that terminology. But know all these lab hacks and we need to hit that magic of our personality. With that huge downside of the depression, the burnout, the the hatred of yourself, the low self esteem, all of that, and you able to kind of balance it a bit more, then you can start to have fun with it. And that magic had talked about. I love that magic because I love what the universe is gonna bring next. And I think that we were just I was just struggling so much for so long. That that magic never used to appear anymore. And so it's not the limit to live, but it's certainly Yeah, I think the greatest gift I ever did myself was I was to go and ask somebody and have a look at my brain tap. And yeah, it's been amazing. Oh,

Katy Weber 30:07
yeah. Tell me more about that. So you had a sprained scam, no

Sarah Collins 30:12
brain tap, like the functioning of your brain? Oh, okay,

Katy Weber 30:16

Sarah Collins 30:17
I thought I did have a brain scan, I had all of those things, because I thought there was something clinically wrong with me. And, you know, one of the things and this goes back over time, time, so I've filled up many questionnaires in different places. And, and one of the things that they asked us Do you have long term friends, and I went to boarding school and have been very gifted and grateful that I've had life long friends and friends that have been with me for 3035 40 years now longer. And I'm, we're going I'm going away with him or for a week, in two months time. So we all still together as friends. And I was always so proud. I could take that, because I thought that will keep me out of the mental institution, you know, and because that was the main questions was, if you have long term friends, it means you're not a lunatic. Basically, that was the old fashioned language. And, and so and you're not also when I was a teen I was diagnosed, that our GP is depressed, and this and that, and, and he said to my dad, your daughter needs help. And my dad said, absolute rubbish, nothing wrong with her. She drinks too much, nothing wrong with her. And the doctor said to my dad, but if Sarah had cancer, would you help her? And he would. And he could not accept in those days that mental health was was an issue, you know, or no was a real thing. So that made our inner voices constantly suppressing, suppressing, suppressing. So when I started the journey of trying to look for what was wrong with me, I did I went for, you know, brain scans, I went for MRIs. I went for, you know, looking for tumors. There was nothing there. Yeah, I think we've looked in the wrong places.

Katy Weber 32:28
Yeah, it's still It amazes me that having that question for so much of our life and neuro divergence, ADHD just never came up. Like it is tremendous to me how far we have come in such a short time, in terms of having this language that you've talked about, right? Like the that we can say like, oh, like, you know, now I think about all those knitters who all the women who were knitting in the PTA meetings, they all have ADHD, right? Like, you know, all of those ways in which we intuitively developed hacks for our nervous system, and nobody had any clue.

Sarah Collins 33:07
But I do think a huge contributor to it. I think that mental health, ADHD, ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia, all the things that I've thought, you know, and, you know, they've been around forever. But first of all, you know, you stayed in your communities and unit to do you did whatever, and things was so much smaller, but I think that social media, and I'm speaking purely for myself, I'm 54 years old. So I'm old. And I didn't grow up with technology. And for me, I think this is exacerbated, bringing this out so much. So there's two ways to look at it. One is that a lot has happened in a short space of time and around the language and, and making it accessible to more people. However, I also do think that one of our biggest and my biggest challenge and I'm getting much better at it is learning to manage technology around not managing to use it better, but to switch it off.

Katy Weber 34:18
Yeah, I think that you know, just, I see it so much with the younger generation, but sort of between me and my children, I guess it's younger millennials or older Gen Z or Gen Z older Gen Z um, I can't remember now but let you know really, really struggling with social media and mental health. And I think it's going to be the defining part of their generations, much like the dividing part of of Gen X. Generation is kind of bringing mental health to the forefront and looking after re parenting ourselves because our parents their generation was the like, suck it up generation and you know, don't come home and Little streetlights are odd are all the ways in which we were abandoned, you know, emotionally by our parents. And so, yeah, anyway, that's a whole other tangent, I want to I want to actually get back to your childhood a little bit, just the social justice element, because I think that's a big thing with ADHD. And neuro divergence is, is really feeling intense empathy. And you know, you grew up in a very, very difficult time. It's the euphemism of apartheid, South Africa, and you actually ended up going into politics in your 20s. Right? Well,

Sarah Collins 35:39
actually has been my first night in jail when I was 15. You see, and these are all the things we don't know that are part of our grades, different way about our brain functioning is I felt social injustice from the minute I can remember, I just did not understand why black people, and white people were different. I did not understand why boys were more important than girls. I could not fathom this thing out. And what was interesting as the rest of our household, I've got three siblings, they weren't fazed by it, or not, from what I could observe. But I was vehemently like, this has to change. And, yeah, I became political, very young. And I think it was also my parents got divorced when we were young. And, and so as the oldest sister as sort of set up, as opposed to a lot of the responsibilities of, of the female of the husband, then I started taking on the responsibilities of the world, you know, I had to save South Africa from apartheid. And, and so yeah, I started, I went to jail, I started challenging everything from it, you know, the ANC, were banned, the books were banned, I would had the NC books that I've got in London, in our private girls school libraries, no one could find them was nobody thought there would be a mare. Anyway, you know, all of these things. And, and this is defined my life. And, you know, one of the things that my brothers used to always say, to his sensitivity, take everything so personally. And I did, and I do, and I feel things, and I had this deep empathy, particularly around children. And you know, I never wanted another little girl to feel her I did and to be ostracized, and to feel so alienated for whatever reasons. And so still today, I mean, that's what drives me. That's what drives my activism. at this current time in Gaza. It drives my activism as a humanitarian across the world. And it's driven the deep determination to equalize the status quo. And that's why I started the business based on humanitarian principles, because I believe that every woman has the right, to be able to provide food, and for their daughters to go to their children to go to school. And so, as we do we take on the biggest challenges in the world, which 16 years ago, and still is today, is that half of humanity's eat of open fires, and those are people living in rural areas most affected by climate change. And so, you know, my job, and my business has taken me to the forefront of, of conflict zones of all sorts of things. But what I've learned through my ADHD, or alternative brand processing system, is that I manage brilliantly in a crisis. I mean, Katie, what do you how do you manage in a crisis? Yeah,

Katy Weber 39:09
it's I feel like it's when all we're all just absolutely every it's the only time my brain is quiet. Is what you zone in. Right? Yeah.

Sarah Collins 39:17
And isn't it so funny that I've been gifted enough or lucky enough or whatever, to be able to use those skills in my, in my workplace? And so? Yes, I think definitely my childhood defined who I am today. And, you know, that deep sensitivity we have and the feeling of social injustice and inequality and those things that we feel so deeply can also be catalysts for social impact businesses, which I think the next generations are going to be at the forefront of. But then on the other hand, something that I've spoken to you about previously is the rapid fat connections that we make when we connecting and magics happening. And we're kind of figuring out a strategy. It also happens the other way, though. So we feel that intensity of all this negativity. And it just completely can be overwhelming. And there are times when I just, I break, I break because I don't I don't understand how things can be in the world that I do you know what I'm saying? So, a lot of what's happening in the world is an assault to our senses.

Katy Weber 40:52
Yeah, yeah. And I think, you know, it's natural for us to question convention at every turn, right? I think that that's something I've certainly seen over the course of my life, even from when I was a child, always questioning, but why why are we doing why would we? Why would we do this? It makes no sense. Right? And so yeah, so then you would rise up against injustice on anyone. And I've often talked to you, like, I remember talking about the two muchness of the world in terms of how it deeply deeply affects us in terms of our ability to, to process and self care. Like it's, you know, there were times where people would never have any idea what I was talking about with the too much. Oh, right. And, and because one, like you said, because one thing becomes all the things very, very quickly, and I think well

Sarah Collins 41:41
said, yeah.

Katy Weber 41:44
Because you've been so involved in Gaza, and because you have been really standing up and you know, doing such amazing things with wonderbag. And with carbon credits, and all of the things that you've been working on now, since your diagnosis. How do you take care of yourself? How do you regulate in that? Not saying it works every time because nobody's mastered it? But what have you learned to do?

Sarah Collins 42:09
Well, I think, if not, I spent my last feeling like I was being chased by a lion. And having worked and lived in the bush and actually be chased by a lion on horseback. That adrenaline that you get from that being chased is what I've had all the time. So these imaginary voices in my head, or whatever they are, are constantly telling me, I'm not good enough, you haven't done your emails, this has to happen. And that has to happen and this, and then you get in such a spin. And so you are constantly on overdrive, and I was constantly feeling that I just was never on top of thing. My interest was to overfill Well, it was done in heaven in Tregs, everything was lying all over the place. And so I just constantly felt on my back foot all the time. And I think what I've learned is that the world's not going to end evident onto an email today. And strangely enough, as disorganized, and as sort of all over the shows I've come across, I have very, very rigid routines. So I have to give myself time in the morning, where, you know, nobody can disturb me and, and I do my my ritual, you know, have my morning pages or whatever I do. And cold water Swimming has been a huge thing for me. And I actually want to mention this because I've lived in chronic pain my entire life. And that took up I think half of the energy so the land was chasing me on the one side, the pain was biting me from the other side. You don't have much wiggle room for other stuff, you know, so you constantly really and those two things have gone quiet. And that's a open space for me. And, and I really put my pain down to three things. One is sugar. Second is and I do break the sugar and within three days I do know that my pain is so cold water swimming. I haven't. I haven't had a hot shower since 2020. And never ever I will have a warm bath because that's soothing and nurturing for me and I need that. But when I showered and it caught and I'm always looking for cold water to swim in. And the third big thing is finding somebody who is like you like me. So another ADHD A person that I have an hour with every week. And it is absolutely golden. And it's it's sealed in an attack box because I have a safe space that I can go to. And, and share and in I suppose it's the AAA of ADHD if you want to put it that way. So yeah, forgotten the question, of course, but going on and on, people must think we're mad. And you know, also another thing is interrupting. It drives me mad when people interrupt these days because I want to say, Have you had a diagnosis?

Katy Weber 45:47
Well, for me, the most difficult thing is when people asked me like, do you have an episode where you talk about burnout? And I'm like, well, all of them. But like, you know, like, I can never decide what to call these conversations, because we wouldn't jump around so much. And everything is, you know, I feel like we're going with all that wall with all the red string everywhere, right? Like, everything is connected. And so we're jumping around so much that I'm sort of like, I don't know, we probably talked about all the things every episode, so good luck to you. But I did I did want to come back to that, uh, you know, the line that we talked about often, which is what do you when he first came to me, you said, I think I'm approaching burnout. And you've ever said to you, you've gotten

Sarah Collins 46:31
into but but not loved even half and eaten you. But you know, I haven't had burnout like that since

Katy Weber 46:45
it's true. And I think even with the recent chronic pain flare up to about I mean, it had been more than a year of that, right? I mean, of really just understanding how important regulation is in that you know that your life is never not going to be chaotic, but it's how you respond. It's how you treat yourself in those moments, right? And like, I don't have to get back to these people. What's the worst that's gonna happen? Right? What do I Yeah.

Sarah Collins 47:13
And I also think you save a lot of time not being in burnout. Burnout takes a lot of time. Because even today, and I was, had planned my day meticulously for this meeting, and, you know, and, and I had made too, but anyway, it all got messed up with different time zones, I did half my makeup, I went up to meeting and I was with my accountant, and he was talking, I couldn't hear what he was saying, and I could feel my heart pounding. And I could feel I was having an anxiety attack. And if the poor man had to drag me home in the end, but the effort to come down from that panic attack, and the effort it takes to come out of burnout, you know, we saving all that time to put into constructive routine of risk play, knitting, staring out the window, you know, realizing we can't figure it all out now. So we'll wake up tomorrow, you know, I'm like a very relaxed chill person these days sometimes.

Katy Weber 48:31
Well, on that note, I, you gave me a little hint into how you might name rename ADHD. And I think I'd love it. Can you tell me if you could come up with a better name for this superpower

Sarah Collins 48:47
brain processing system?

Speaker 1 48:51
I love I really love that. And I

Sarah Collins 48:54
think I'm gonna sit they say what are you? I mean, what do you have or whatever I'm gonna say, I have an alternative brain processing system. How cool is that? It

Speaker 1 49:05
is it's a really great and there's no stigma attached. I love the fact that it's got a little bit of the like, you know, data from Star Trek. A little bit of that, like, I live among you humans because I often feel that way right? Where I've like, what what do humans what would a human do in this situation?

Katy Weber 49:27
So right it's like we have alternate we have

Sarah Collins 49:30
tentative All right. systems. It was interesting because on Friday, I was at a meeting with people that have been particularly difficult to work with and and I wasn't sure how to deal with the meeting and they were late for the meeting and they were rude to start with and I said, you know, I have to explain something to you. I don't really do rudeness anymore. And also, I don't like the way you speak to me and I don't like the way you turn up 20 minutes late. And I don't think I want to do business with you. So I'm going to give you an offer, maybe we can go on ways. And they looked at me and they said, That's unprofessional assets really unprofessional mean, and I don't understand that word, I only understand truth and honesty. cannot believe how now we're best friends, they want to do another deal with me. And we all going out for lunch next week and everything. And I just took away the bullshit there now. And in a show, I think that's what we have to do is have alternative processing systems, because the processing systems that we are forced into, didn't work for us.

Katy Weber 50:46
Yeah, then somebody needs to question convention, right. It's, what's that famous quote about tradition is the oppressors excuse? I think that that person was definitely neurodivergent. Who said that, to ever be said, not

Sarah Collins 51:02
done. But what one of the things I do know, Katie, is that the neurotypical world is going to have to change because we're out of all around me now. The people making impact the people moving the dowel are not the people that are going to drive this transition. I mean, you call us the gin excepting Agricolas gente, the generation of transition, because, you know, we having to transition across a whole thing and, and set new pathways, neuro pathways for generations to come. And I think that's our responsibility, actually. Oh,

Katy Weber 51:43
my goodness. Well, this has been phenomenal. Sarah, as I do, it would be thank you so much for finally agreeing to sit down.

Sarah Collins 51:55
And I made it, I'm never going to do this. But I'm really excited Paige, because I really am proudly joining the neurodivergent community and I am enjoying speaking about it publicly. I'm enjoying sharing it with partners who just are so horrified. And then suddenly it dawns on them, neither understands and it's just, it's really fun to be able to share that side of it. And, and I think also to be able to forgive ourselves, you know, I think that's a huge part of this of forgiving imperfection. And and, yeah, I'm really excited. I'm excited for this journey I'm on and I know it's only just began 18 months ago, whatever. And yeah, I can't thank you enough, Katie for being so amazing. And bridging so many worlds in and making sense of the non sense.

Katy Weber 52:54
Oh, I like that. Before we go, I want to remember to just go back to wonderbag. Because I know wonderbag Is your your your brainchild you've been it's been 16 years. That's incredible. Where can people are now in North America? Can you purchase wonderbag? So used to be able to you can?

Sarah Collins 53:13
Yeah, you can? Yes. So it's it's basically a portable, slow cooker. So you bring your food to the boil, you put it inside the bag and continues to cook for eight to 12 hours. Now if you me, I bring my rice to the boil and I go downstairs. And then I go for swept. And when I come back, there's a catastrophe in the kitchen or even my boat is now anything I put on the stove, I bring to the boil and I put it in the bag, and I never have to worry about it again. And I've had a hugely dysfunctional relationship with food. And I mean, I'm not trying to paint the business. But I just know that a wonder bag will be an amazing game changer for people who have heard us because then they've heard of us and for anybody really. And you can go onto our website, which is wonderbag world. And then I think kkl have emailed the code to, to offer 20% off to your listeners and their friends. And of course can't remember the code. Woman ADHD 20

Katy Weber 54:33
Right. Yes, I women ADHD 20. I'll put that code in the show notes. Thank you, that's very generous. It's such an incredible invention and service and to be able to see it not only you know, to extend beyond Africa into places like Gaza now and you know, to see that connection of the social justice with invention, I think is just phenomenal and you know, screams ADHD now that you actually know what ADHD is right.

Sarah Collins 55:03
Isn't it funny? And you know, when Time Magazine listed as one of the top 50 Genius companies in the world, and 2018 Everyone was that pure use you? Is it business? You can't finish it. And now it's like that ADHD genius that we're talking about not you're sort of kidding, clink Dolla dolla, which is what everybody thinks success is about. Anyway, this has been amazing. Katie, thank you for the opportunity. And thank you for being my partner on this journey. It's amazing.

Katy Weber 55:40
Well, thank you for your your curiosity and your insight and your vulnerability and I am sharing your realness and all the things and you know, giving a voice and spreading the word and doing all the amazing things you do. So thank you, Sarah. Take care.

There you have it. Thank you for listening. And I really hope you enjoyed this episode of the women and ADHD podcast. If you'd like to find out more about me and my coaching programs, head over to women and If you're a woman who was diagnosed with ADHD and you'd like to apply to be a guest on this podcast, visit women and 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 neurodivergent mind and finally using this gift to her advantage. Take care till then

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