Asking for what you need without over-explaining.

How do you get people to understand ADHD and how it affects your needs?


I get asked this question a lot. Here’s a few ideas to help you agilize advocating for yourself in a gracious, undemanding, yet confident way.


After being diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 48, I went through a phase of trying to get people to understand what ADHD is and sharing with them how it explained so much of my whole life story. People’s responses ranged from

  • “ADHD isn’t real” to i-am-enough
  • “ADHD is just an excuse – it’s BS.” to 
  • “You don’t have ADHD.  How could you?  You’ve accomplished so much.” to
  •  “I could have told you that. My kid has it and I’ve always figured you might have it.” to 
  • “I have it too! No wonder we always got along so well” 

The reactions were quite mixed. But one thing became clear very quickly.  Continue reading

How to Cultivate the Potential Gifts and Strengths of Emotional Intensity, ADHD, Creative Intensity and other Traits of Neurodiversity

Emotional “intensity” is one of the biological traits that contribute significantly to  inner conflict, stress and misunderstandings in relationships between people with different personality and cognitive processing styles.

Intensity is also a significant predictor that an individual may be especially vulnerable to PSTD, anxiety, depression, addiction, chronic stress, chronic disorganization, chronic illness and feelings of overwhelm. 

In “Intensity of Emotion Tied to Perception and Thinking” by Daniel Goleman, Michigan State University psychologist Robert Emmons explains that

“emotionally intense people seek variety, novelty, complexity. They have more varied goals in life, know more people in more different situations, and because they are doing so many different things, feel more conflict in their lives.”

”These conflicts can be a source of stress for the emotionally intense, and may explain why they report getting more minor illnesses, like colds and flus, than do less emotional people,” said Dr. Emmons.

“The new data are showing that what are considered discrete psychological disorders may, in fact, be simply Continue reading

Dr. Sam Goldstein Video on Diagnosing and Treating ADHD, Autism, Attention Difficulties

I’m so grateful to You Tube for making it possible for us to see this eminent and enlightened neurologist speaking at a Psychotherapy conference in Romania!  And for FREE!  The full lecture is available below.  Watch it while you can.  My experience is that many of the best videos on You Tube get removed after a short time.  

A couple of my favorite quotes:

 “Pills do not substitute for Skills”

In my life and with my clients, ADHD meds make it easier to learn skills and to USE the skills we have learned to develop new habits.

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The Agile Way: What it takes to live a productive life – Your Way – for highly sensitive, creative, gifted, ADHD, or Neurodiverse

This video summarizes the underlying principles of Agile Life Design.  I made it in September 2011 and at that time I was calling it “quantum” productivity.  Quantum principles are still part of the philosophy underlying the principles and strategies in the Agile Life Design Toolkit, but I felt that Agile was more accurately descriptive of the “way” I approach life design.

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The Truth about Chronic Disorganization: What Causes It and How to Heal the Trauma of Lifelong Overwhelm and Frustration

Although I prefer the term “Lifelong Disorganization“, the established industry terms are “chronic disorganization” and “challenging disorganization” this is not intended to imply a medical condition, nor an “incurable” condition.

The intention of the terms are to distinguish an “ongoing pattern of disorganization” from the “short term situational disorganization” and clutter that is the normal result of grief, illness, having children, and other life events, transitions, and changes. That said, it is quite common for what started as “stituational disorganization” to evolve into “chronic” or “challenging disorganization.”

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What is Situationally Disorganized?

When life throws you a curveball, most of us tend to accumulate clutter and become rather disorganized for a while. It’s happens to everyone. We become ill, a family member becomes ill, we are assigned a project at work that requires a lot of travel, or has a ridiculous deadline. Our lives change. We move, get married, have kids, or start a new job. During times of transition, a certain amount of chaos, clutter and disorganization is natural. This is what we call “Situationally Disorganized”: Disorganization that is a normal side effect of a life situation.

What makes “Chronic Disorganization” different?

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Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression, and Other Disorders

Have you had multiple labels given to you by professionals? Do you love someone who has?

One of the well-kept secrets of the mental health community is that more than half and possibly up to 80% or more of the people who receive a diagnosis of ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, PTSD, Depression, or a Learning Disorder are also gifted and multi-talented. Also, if you get any one of these diagnoses you are very like to get multiple diagnoses. They call this co-morbid or co-occuring conditions. They also may call you twice-exceptional.

 By definition, multiple diagnoses is a sign that we don’t really understand the full complexity of the underlying causes of human behavior. Is depression chemical? is it situational? is it reactionary? is it lifestyle? is it culture? is it the individual’s responsibility?

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Who are Agilizers? We are Creatives. Thinkers. Change Agents. Challengers. Outliers. Different. Neurodiverse.

Since discovering my tribe of outliers, agilizers, and creative neurodiverse thinkers, I will never see myself the same way again. I’m more at peace today than I even knew was possible. The power of understanding that you are not defective, and you are not alone – that there is a group of people where everything you think is freaky about yourself is actually NORMAL can’t really be described in words.

We are outliers.  Outliers are people who fall outside the normal ranges of the bell curve. 

We are uncommon. We think differently from the average person. We are neurodiverse – our brains and nervous systems are wired differently from the average or neurotypical brain.

This does not mean we are disordered – it’s more like Continue reading

Designing a Life that Embraces Your Differences

Agile Life Design is about adapting your life as it changes and establishing flexible expectations, goals, and standards for designing environments that support you in fulfilling your needs.  

why-be-normalIt’s about understanding and accepting yourself.  It’s owning your power to negotiate expectations, rules, standards and commitments.  You don’t have to blindly conform to expectations without questioning them.  

You have a right to co-design your life based on understanding yourself, respecting yourself, graciously insisting on respect and consideration from others and offering respect and consideration.  Keeping in mind that respect does not mean “compliance without asking questions or having input into the agreement.”

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