Episode #057 From Confusion To Clarity – Amy's Personal Story of Living with ADHD (Part 2 of 3)

Managing adult ADHD to get life on track!

Have you experienced an invisible struggle? Something which impacted your everyday living which was difficult for others to see or understand? Have you ever had an eye opening experience which changed your life forever?

Join Amy as she shares her personal struggle with a life long neurological condition, which affects her ability to ‘focus', create routines and ‘get organised'. And how, as a result of her struggle, she has been able to create a life that works. She now uses her bad experience to help and encourage others.

Key takeaway: “Be encouraged. If Amy Hooke can find ways to ‘get organised' then ANYONE can”

Podcast Info

Episode: #057

Series: General

Host: Amy Hooke

Guest speaker: None

Topic: Confusion to Clarity – Getting organised with ADHD

Useful links

Priorities Masterclass – Sign up to secure your spot

4 Weeks to An Organized Life With ADHD by Jeffrey Freed

Related Episodes:

Episode #053 Is It Time To Quit? 6 Things To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up

Episode #054 Raise Your Professional Success By Understanding Your Personality Type

Episode #055 Create Space In Your Busy Week By Aligning Your Priorities With Your Purpose (Part 1 of 3)

Episode #058 Create Space In Your Busy Week By Aligning Your Priorities With Your Purpose (Part 1 of 3)

Read transcript

Good morning, Happy Friday. Thank you for joining me again today. Today I have something very special for you. It's a double whammy, that's right. Today, I actually have two episodes for you and I'll totally understand if you can't listen to both of them. But I promised last week that actually it was two weeks ago now that I would talk to you about how to create space in your busy week. And what happened was when I started that episode, I realised how deep this topic is, so I covered the seven fundamental truths about time management and busyness. And by the time I'd done that, I'd already gone 30 or 40 minutes and I want to keep my episodes shorter and more on point. So I said to you I will do it next week.

Now, interestingly enough I had a recording scheduled in with Tim Hartman, who I then recorded an episode with and although I was going to record two episodes in a row, I decided that Tim's episode seemed to fit so perfectly in the flow of what we were doing. I put his episode in next. So then I said, “Okay guys, like I promise next week I'll do creating space in your busy week.” And to give you the hell I sort of went through and talked about some of the beliefs that we have about time management and busyness to help you lay that foundation. But then I said, the next part is that I'm going to actually teach you how to create space in your busy week.

Now, I want to keep my word to you but I also feel that I have a bit of a backstory coming on. So I know some of you just like to get the meat and the bones of it. So I'm going to just say to you right now that if you don't want to listen to my story, so I'm going to share a very personal story in this episode. And I'm going to share with you some struggles that I've had personally and the reason I'm going to do that is to paint a picture for you of the type of person that I am when it comes to organising myself and to creating that space in my week. And the reason that I want to do that is it's really just one of those if I can do this, absolutely anybody can do this. Because I want you to know that I am not an organised person by nature. And so you might see me because I know a lot of people think that I'm like, hyper organised and I am actually not, it's almost the complete opposite.

So what I'm going to do in this episode is I'm going to share my story. And it's a long story. It's a detailed story and you know me when I tell my stories, I can tend to go off on different tangents and things like that. So if you want to listen to me tell my story then keep listening to this episode. But if you just want the content, if you're just here to get the tips on how to actually create space in your worksheet, thinking about spreadsheets, create space in your busy week all you need to do is just click Skip, and I'll go through five different areas that you need to work on.

So jump to that right now, if you want to listen to it. Whereas if you want to hear me tell my story, then just stay on the line because I am going to take you on a little adventure through a journey of struggle that I've been through. And I'm going to talk to you about the human behind the savvy bookkeeper, and some of the difficulties that I've gone through, and the things that have come from that which I now give to you guys to help you in your business.

So here we go. That will give you a little bit of a context so that you'll know when I organise myself or when I need to get organised, you'll have a bit of an idea of where I'm coming from, because you may struggle with some similar things to me, or you might find that you don't relate to my story at all and my way of thinking. So obviously then you can adapt what I've shared with you. I'm sure, either way it will be helpful, but I think it's important for you to really know, and for those of you who want to skip forward, just to know that I'm not a very organised person, despite what you may think. I am actually quite different in the way that I think about organisation and how I actually organise myself.

So the reason that I'm able to share this with you now is because I have had to put so much hard work into getting myself organised and getting myself in a good place that I've actually had to … it hasn't been something that's come natural to me. So, some of the people I know who are very organised, it comes so naturally to them that when you ask them how to do it, they say, I don't know that's just what I do. So I just want you to know that I am not that person. And so if you've looked at me like oh, you know, like, because people do say to me, “Oh, well, you're so organised.” And I often get comments and compliments about my processes. When I onboard my clients, my clients give me this fantastic feedback.

But I think that the reason that my processes and my checklists and all these different things are so good is because of what I've had to go through. And because of like how I am personally, I've had to go down and go through and break things into these very detailed steps because of the fact that I am actually not an organised structured person. And so if you want to skip back a couple of episodes, and I'll share the link in the comments.

That I did an episode where I talked about the personality types, Episode 54, that's the one that was, so you can jump back to Episode 54 which I called, Raise Your Professional Success by Understanding Your Bookkeeper; Myers Briggs Personality Type. And so that was actually following on from a previous episode. So the one before that, I talked about how to know when it's really time to quit. So I highly recommend that you listen to that first and because these episodes are foundational too and they kind of flow in order, all the way from Episode 53 through to today's episode, which is number 57. So all the way from 53 through to 57, you've got this real theme coming through and there's a few different things in there.

But we started off talking about when is the best time to quit. When do you know when you really need to quit versus feeling like you need to, and I talked about how you can make the transition from being an amateur to a pro and how that requires to build your character something that I've had to go through this journey myself. And then from there I actually had some listeners asking me about this concept of building and growing our character. So I thought a great foundation for that would be to understand our personality types. Because despite what people might think bookkeepers are not all the same, we're not all these introverted, cardigan wearers no offence to cardigan wearers. I'm wearing a cardigan right now, I must admit and our office is on Cardigan Street, which is even funnier.

And so then obviously, if you want to move from being an amateur to a pro, you need to get organised and you need to be like really organised, and I've done a survey of bookkeepers and bookkeepers were telling me that they had problems with time management. And I started to recognise through reading their survey comments that time management is not actually a problem, it's a symptom. And the symptom is of a lack of prioritisation, something that I've also struggled with myself. And also, I'll be honest continue to have to manage but thankfully, because of my personality type, which you'll learn a little bit about in the other episode that I just referred to you.

Because of my personality type it does not come naturally to me to be organised and to have schedules and checklists and things like that. It's not my natural way. And so I've had to do that as a result and I'm sure that you can relate to the different personality types that I share. So I contrast the ENFP to the ISTJ. So I do the polar opposite comparisons of what would be considered the typical bookkeeper which is the ISTJ. And you'll have to listen to the episode so that you know what those letters mean. And then the complete opposite to a typical stereotype bookkeeper or accountant, which is me. And you guys know my husband, William. So William is an ISTJ, and we're complete opposite personalities.

And so obviously being married to someone who has an opposite personality to me is well, it actually had me have to learn a completely different communication style and way of thinking about things. And so I kind of have just moulded this all together into a couple of episodes. And then obviously, last week, if you listened in to Episode 56, we had Tim Hartman to come along and talk about mental health in the workplace, which I felt was also really relevant because he talks about building resilience and I feel that that goes so in line with building our characters, but also looking out for ourselves and to see where things are. You got a little bit skew-whiff when needing some help in being able to get a hold of our time and to reduce our stress levels and to not feel completely overwhelmed.

Now, I can tell you that I am somebody who has felt a lot of overwhelm in my own life, in my own journey. And so I'll just tell you a little bit of a story about me. I have mentioned it before in a couple of podcast episodes but I learned something new about myself in 2018. Late 2018, I was at the library with my son and I wandered off and started looking for business books while my son was looking at the kids books, as he do. And so I went off, I was looking for a very specific book and as I went past the shelf, I spotted this job title, this spine of a book and I thought, “Oh, wow.” Like, it just jumped out at me, it said how to get organised in six weeks or something like that. And I was like, “Oh, that's so cool.” Oh, there you go, there's my memory I actually looked it up. It's actually called 4 Weeks To An Organised Life.

And I was like, wow, I really need that. So I grabbed this book off the shelf and went to put it in my bag. And then I thought, “Oh, hang on a second.” I read the subtitle and underneath in little writing, it said, ” With AD/HD.” And I was like, “Oh, okay.” So I went to put it back and then I thought, well, actually I do need to get organised and it will probably help me you know, I do mentoring and stuff like that. So maybe it will be good for me to learn how other people who aren't like me think and I thought, “Oh, well, it can't really hurt. And it's probably some good organisation tips in there. I mean, if people with AD/HD can get organised then anybody can.”

And so I put the book in my library bag. And after I finished reading the books with my son, we checked out and I went home. And I sat down on the couch that afternoon, and I started to read this book. And I can tell you right now, I don't think I even made it past the end of the first page. And suddenly my entire life made sense. I thought, “Oh, my gosh, I have AD/HD.” And so I continued to read the book. And as I went through, I was having memories of my childhood, so I got expelled from school in year 10. And I was extremely disruptive in class but I was also highly intelligent. So it was a class where it's very quick, my mind has always been very, very fast. Like, people will say that I'm like 100 miles ahead of everybody else. And I've received feedback from employers and different people that I've worked with over the years.

But at school, when I was very good at a subject, I would get my work done super quick, like way quicker than the rest of the class. And then I spend the rest of the class annoying everybody else. And so these things back then didn't make sense. I just thought, I'm just a very intelligent person. And so obviously, I get bored, because it's not stimulating enough. And then as I started to think through this process, I realised, oh, my goodness, this explains so much. And so when I was thinking about working with employers, I remember like one of my bosses said to me, he said and a few people had said something similar. It was like, “There's no kind of middle gear with you. It's either 100 miles an hour or completely stopped.” And I was like, “Yes. This is oh my god. Wow.” It was a huge, huge eye opener for me.

Because as I read the book I thought, I'd always thought that AD/HD was for kids. And I'd also had this association like I thought AD/HD, which stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I thought that AD/HD meant there's a deficit of attention, as in the kids want attention, and that's why they're so naughty. And so there was I think it was two kids at my school who were diagnosed with AD/HD. And they were just naughty kids, but they were kind of like … I grew up in Frankston. I went to high school in Frankston. So you can probably imagine what Frankston was like in the '90s. These were naughty kids, but they were also from difficult backgrounds, and the homes that they came from were quite disrupted and not that mine wasn't but ours was disrupted in a kind of a little a bit different way.

So I thought when I was growing up that AD/HD kids were kids that want attention, and they're naughty because they want attention. That's what I thought AD/HD was. And as I started to read this book, I realised that AD/HD isn't anything to do with being naughty at all. In fact, there's ADD, so Attention Deficit Disorder, which was what it was called back then. And then Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. So not all people with AD/HD are hyperactive. So that was a really big eye opener for me.

So they'll be children with AD/HD, or even adults obviously, who they might seem a bit spaced out, or they might seem distant or like they're not paying attention. And then I was like, oh my gosh, that's what it is. The attention bit is about being able to pay attention. It's about being able to sustain that attention for a long time in order to complete things. I started to think of a comment that my dad said to me, “You never finish anything, you don't complete your projects and things like that.” And I just thought it was because I like studying things. And I started to realise that the reason I don't finish things is because I get bored. And the reason that I get bored is because of how my brain works. And the reason that my brain works a certain way is that I am lacking a brain chemical or a hormone called dopamine.

And so what happens in people that have AD/HD, one of the things is that they're low on dopamine. And so they do things to try and generate dopamine. So what do you do to generate dopamine? Well, you take a lot of risks, and you do things that give you that dopamine boost. So you're always having to create drama, or you've got to continually create excitement in order for things to keep going. And the thing is, in reality, excitement only lasts for a particular time. And then when the dopamine runs out, you got to start a new thing.

And so for me, starting new projects, was how I got my dopamine, which enabled me to get other things done in my life. So that's one thing. The second thing about AD/HD is how the person's executive functioning works. And I love this because executive functioning it makes me think of business or makes me think of companies and it's kind of got that real like work relation to it. The executive function is basically the part of the brain that organises itself. And so when somebody has AD/HD their brain doesn't organise themselves in the same way that someone without AD/HD organises itself. And so that started to make sense to me that my brain does not naturally organise itself. And so this is the reason that I had so much trouble and obviously, you might listen to this and think I'm making an excuse, but this was why I had trouble keeping my room clean. And this was a real pain point in my life.

I started to realise and the thing that ended up leading me to getting help for having AD/HD and to actually receive a professional diagnosis eventually, is that I could see when it was just me, it didn't matter if I was just thrilled, faking all the time to get my dopamine hits. And it didn't matter if my house was messy and all this stuff, but once you get married and you have kids and you run a business, it starts to really impact your life to a degree where you just not really functioning or not functioning in the areas that you need to. Because the flip side of AD/HD isn't just … someone with AD/HD finds it hard to stay focused when they start something but the flip side is that when they interested in something, they become hyper-focused and they can't stop focusing on it. Like they become obsessed with it and they will actually ignore three meals like three meals will go past and they will not have eaten. And they will have powered through this kind of like project that they're working on.

So for me, the projects that I've started, that I've been able to finish are the ones that have been really of interest to me that I'm able to stick to it. The flip side or the downside of that is that people see you, and when I say you, I mean if you have AD/HD people will see you as someone who only makes an effort when it's something for themself, but when other people need something that just kind of disappear. And so that is something that I could completely relate to as well. So I learned all these different things about how my brain worked and I learned how that was affecting me and those around me and I realised this is something that I need to understand more.

And the other thing I learned from it is that people with AD/HD think in pictures, they think visually. So it doesn't mean I don't think in words like I do still think in words, but they kind of have this I don't know, like the best way for me to explain it is that my brain is like a kaleidoscope. And I can see like many possibilities all at the same time and sometimes it's extremely overwhelming like to the point where, depending on the environment that I'm in, I can actually completely shut down. And that's why my bosses would have noticed that I'm either 100% 100 miles an hour or not moving at all, because people with brains like me experienced burnout.

Now, you might be listening to all of this and thinking, oh, gosh, Amy, this sounds very much like me, I struggle with these things. So does that mean that I have AD/HD? And my answer would be, it depends. You know, my favourite answer. It does depend and so I'm not here diagnosing anyone. I'm definitely not a psychologist. I'm just sharing from my own experience. But the things that people with AD/HD struggle with, they are things that regular people struggle with, people with without AD/HD or I'll refer to you guys as neurotypical people. So you have a typical structure in your neurology and in your executive functioning.

So people who have that neurotypical brain, rather than what we call a neurodiverse brain, which is what I have. You also find neurodiverse brains in people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, which now incorporates what we used to know as Asperger's. So people with neurotypical brains, they will actually experience some of the things that I'm talking about. Okay, so you could very well be a neurotypical person or an anti as the neurodiverse community refers to you guys, surprised?

Neurotypical people experienced the same things that people with AD/HD experience sometimes. So you might be listening to me thinking, “Oh but this happens to me, do I have AD/HD?” Or you might be listening to me and go, “That happens to me. So, Amy you don't have AD/HD.” Either way, it doesn't really matter but the point that I'm making is that you don't have to freak out if you're relating to me that you might actually have a neurological condition like I do. And also if you're kind of sceptical about whether it's correct, or maybe you've heard that adults can't have AD/HD, it's not true. So what happens with AD/HD is as people get older often people who have AD/HD often they've been treated very poorly. They've been excluded. They've had trouble maintaining relationships. If they haven't had a supportive family, they've really kind of struggled. They've really been through the wringer and so what happens is children who have had AD/HD, their symptoms tend to go underground.

So I believe that's what happened to me, although they didn't go as underground as I thought they did, but in some aspects they did. Or as adults were able to find ways to cope and to compensate, but it doesn't mean that the brain is not structured in that way. And so AD/HD is something that a person is born with, and it cannot be cured but it can be managed. And so the reason that I'm sharing this with you is because I want you to know about my neuro diverse brain, so that you can see how my brain can help you. Whether or not you actually have this condition or not, and it's probably fairly unlikely because it's not a large percentage of the population that have it.

But regardless, because I've had to delve so deeply into figuring out how to make my life work I've been able to go through and learn these things as an adult. So the things that I learned in between podcast episodes are things that you probably learned when you were a child. And so I've had to go through the process as an adult, to parent myself or re-parent myself and to take myself through the process of learning all of these different things like how to organise myself and how to make sure that things get done on time and how to have as little impact as possible on the people around me who I care about.

And so if you relate to some of the symptoms or some of the things that I express, it could be good for you to ask yourself, does this issue that Amy has that I'm relating to, does it have a serious impact on my life? Has it had an impact on my life for a long period of time? That's how obviously if you think you AD/HD you can go see a psychiatrist and get a diagnosis. But the question to ask yourself is has this been going on? Can I see a pattern of these throughout my whole life? And does the degree to which it disrupts my life, is it debilitating? Is it disabling? Is it interfering with my life so much that it damages my relationships or my ability to work? So that's how you would know the difference, so even though what I explained might sound similar in some ways, it's very much to the extreme end of the scale.

So, that's what happened to me. I read this book and I learned something very interesting about my brain, which was that I suspected that I had AD/HD. And I read this book and I'll be honest, I only got through the first lesson of the first week, the first lesson the first day of the first week. Because true as someone with AD/HD, well, I also started reading about 10 other books at the same time and I never actually finished the book. So I kind of felt like at the start of the book because they went very deep into explaining all about AD/HD and it was so interesting and so useful and so insightful that I really do just get engrossed in it and I read it. But then when it got to the bit about the lessons, I was like, “Ah, I've had enough.” I was already well and truly reading something else but I have re-downloaded it on my Kindle because one day I plan to read that book that changed my life.

So anyway, at this point I'll be honest with you, I became after that two weeks of reading it, because when I first read it, I was so relieved and I was so happy and I was like, “Oh wow. My life finally makes sense. And I can see why things have been the way they were.” And I was like massively relieved and just like even joyful and I didn't tell anyone about it yet. I didn't tell William for a little while. After about two weeks, the kind of honeymoon period of being excited about having AD/HD wore off, or potentially having it because I didn't have a diagnosis at that point. And I started to feel like extremely angry and just to give you a little bit of a timeline, this was all happening for me.

Yeah, I guess it was at … I didn't even remember but it was like this may be the start of 2019. I didn't get into start receiving a professional diagnosis I think I started seeing a psychiatrist around March 2019. So it was almost a year ago and I was on a big waiting list, I think from October 2008, up until I got into this long waiting list to see this doctor. So it must have been around October, November 2018. I started to deal with these serious feelings of anger and frustration, I was angry that I wasn't diagnosed earlier, I was angry that nobody kind of like thought, “Hey, there's something not right with Amy. Maybe we should get her some help.” Or maybe they did I can't remember.

And so, I became very resentful and angry and I felt like it wasn't fair that I had missed out on so much. And I was thinking what would my life be like, if I had have known this so much earlier? Would I have been treated differently? Would I have suffered less abuse? Would I have not underperformed in my jobs? Would I've not let so many people down? All these things went through my head for a little while. And I guess it was another couple of weeks that those feelings were really high near the surface. And I felt very sensitive and just completely overwhelmed, to be honest, like I was no longer happy about this idea.

But I was booked in to see a professional and I was really clear that I wanted to explore this, as well as whatever else the psychologists thought might have been the potential cause of my symptoms. I can tell you, we spent about 10 months exploring different alternatives for what could be my diagnosis. And also during this process, I was coming to terms with the fact that if I did have AD/HD, then I would likely have to consider taking medication. And I wasn't sure if I wanted to do that. So in the interim my psychiatrist agreed that he did think that AD/HD was definitely a possibility. And I thought, well to be honest, I knew from the first page of reading that book without a doubt, but I guess the only doubt that did creep in was that I thought, is this psychiatrist going to believe me? Or are they going to understand or does this person even know anything about AD/HD or whatever.

So, I knew, I just knew hands down and so I thought to myself, well, I want to try some alternative therapies and try some natural approaches. And so I tried a lot of things during that 10 month period until I actually allowed or requested for my psychiatrists to confirm a diagnosis either way. And so, yeah, I think the thing that helps the most you'd be so surprised about this is caffeine tablets. You would be so surprised to think someone with AD/HD needs to take caffeine but it actually has a calming effect. So stimulants have a calming effect on someone with AD/HD. Whereas someone who doesn't have AD/HD, they're going to take the stimulant it's going to hype them up or give them energy. And so in the meantime, I also started taking an antidepressant, which it was a special type of antidepressant that also works on dopamine as well as, serotonin.

Now, I've been misdiagnosed with anxiety and depression throughout my whole life, like ever since I was a teenager was when I first received the diagnosis. And I was wondering why the treatments for depression and anxiety never helped. And that's because I'm not depressed and I'm not anxious. Yes, I feel depressed and anxious sometimes or I have constant actually chronically throughout my life, but it's because I have AD/HD. It's because the wiring in my brain doesn't connect to the things that it needs to connect to. And so I'd almost feel like this heaviness or this dullness when I thought to myself I would say a task that needed to be done. I think I need to do that task, but my brain wouldn't connect to my body to trigger me to actually start to take action and I thought I was just lazy. I had all sorts of labels on myself and then to discover that it wasn't.

The other thing I'd been diagnosed with was Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I will be truthful with you I am still exploring that diagnosis because once I started the medication for AD/HD, most of the symptoms that I would have attributed to depression, anxiety and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I would be fairly confident to say that a lot of them disappeared not completely, so that's why I'm still exploring a diagnosis. There's still things that I struggle with but on the whole it's changed my whole life. It's been like when I didn't realise that I had astigmatism which means like basically rugby shaped eyeballs, rather than regular round soccer ball shaped eyeballs. So it causes your vision to be it's not blurred like someone who's short sighted, but it's almost like a double vision it's hard to explain, but if you have it you'll know.

And as soon as I put glasses on, I remember that I saw these things I could never see before. And the first thing I noticed when I walked out of the shop with my new glasses on after I'd been diagnosed was I noticed how shiny people's eyeballs are. And I thought, oh my gosh, I've never noticed that people's eyes are really shiny, but I was walking through the shopping centre and all I could see was these sparkly eyes everywhere was so unusual. And then I was looking at my children's faces and I was really funny I was taking my glasses on and then off and on and off and I was like clear face, fuzzy face, clear face, fuzzy face and taking my glasses on and off. And looking at my children I was like, “Oh my gosh, you guys is so cute.” Like I didn't realise how bad my eyesight was until I my eyesight wasn't bad anymore.

And it's been the same with AD/HD. So to be able to have this clarity like this is how I would explain the change in my life since I started to take AD/HD medication in around October last year. So October 2019 was when I finally decided to start October or November. And what I felt like was before I used to try and create routines, but I could never stick to them or I couldn't remember where I put them or I'd have all these like brilliant checklist and I had a spreadsheet for everything like everything in my life had to go in this one spreadsheet otherwise I'm completely lose track of it. And so my friends, like actually thought I was quite weird. And I just thought it was because I was a bookkeeper. And maybe you have a spreadsheet that coordinates every aspect of your life I couldn't live without this spreadsheet. And I started to realise that that's because my executive functioning system is not inside my brain, it's in a spreadsheet.

And so what would happen is I would create these fabulous processes and systems and then I couldn't apply any of them for more than like, five minutes. And one of the things that I learned is that because of the wiring of my brain because of the lack of dopamine and like because of the actual symptoms of the inattention and hyperactivity and the distractibility and the compulsiveness like all of these things that all kind of added up together in one big mess, is that even though I create or design these wonderful processes, I couldn't implement them. And the reason I couldn't implement them is because my brain didn't have the pathways and didn't have the ability to create the pathways to actually set those routines. So most people say, “If you just do something for 21 days, then it will become a habit.” The only problem is if you have AD/HD, you can't do anything for 21 days, you'd be lucky if you can do something for 21 hours or even 21 minutes.

So for me, my psychiatrist gave me hope in that he said, “If you start on this medication, the medication will allow that connection to happen, the receptors in the brain will be able to connect with each other and you'll start to actually be able to create these routines but not only create them, you'll be able to repeat them until the pathways get created in your brain.” And I'm like right and so because they would also meet the needs for the dopamine that my brain is craving that everyone else's brain generates naturally. So, for example if you're a neurotypical person, and I thought something will pop into your head you go, “Oh, I should clean.” Or you might walk in the kitchen and see the dishes are not done. So your brain would go, “I should do the dishes.” And then you just go do it, the dopamine kicks in and goes, “Cool. Let's go do the dishes.”

Whereas in my brain, my brain will go, “Oh, I really don't like the way those dishes are looking.” And my brain doesn't find the dopamine and then I feel this dark, heavy fog go over me and I'm like, “Oh, I'm tired. All right, I'm just going to go sit on the couch for a few minutes and then when I feel awake again, I'll go back and do the dishes.” And then I forget to go back because the next thing I'm like on YouTube watching videos or playing on Facebook or whatever. So the psychiatrist gave me hope in that if you take this medication the dopamine will be there, you'll be able to repeat these tasks and you'll be able to create these pathways in your brain.

And so I was like, “Oh my gosh, this sounds amazing.” But I didn't want to get my hopes up but I can just say that it's exceeded my expectations. Because I have been able to, in just such a short amount of time, like it's only four months or something, and I've been able to create all these routines. And I've been able to see clearly everything that's kind of going on. And I've been able to stay focused on the boring things, the stuff that people with AD/HD struggle because they don't have dopamine. Like the boring tasks are like it's more difficult than for an average person who doesn't like to do mundane tasks. And then to add to that I'm an ENFP personality type, which just kind of compounds it but you can listen to the other episode about that to learn more about that personality type.

And so as I started to create these routines in my life, and they started to actually stick, I was like, “Wow, do you know what I feel like?” Not just with the glasses analogy, but another really good analogy is like, imagine you were trying to do a puzzle and put that puzzle together, but you didn't have the cover, you didn't have the box. So you've got all these pieces scattered all over the ground, and you're trying to pick those little pieces out and you're trying to figure out how they get joined together. Well, this is the life of someone with AD/HD, they're trying to put that puzzle together and it's near impossible to finish a puzzle if you don't know what the picture is supposed to look like. And so once I started on the medication, it's like someone gave me the box.

Someone's like, “Hey, you know, that puzzle that you've been trying to put together for the last, you know, 38 years of your life? Well, here's the box. Why don't you just you know, if you use this box, you'll be able to match the pieces together.” And so even though the puzzle pieces are not all together now I have the box and I know where all the bits go. I've just got to go through the process now of putting them all into their place. So that's what it's like.

And so that's, that's my story. There's a couple of reasons for me sharing this. And one is to give you the background for all these other teachings that I'm doing. And to give you a sense of like, if someone like me, someone whose brain executive function is like a kaleidoscope. And I have an interest-based executive functioning system that doesn't … I have a brain that literally doesn't want to do anything that it doesn't find fun or exciting or interesting, which is like pretty much like 95% of life. And I want you to know that if someone like me can get organised and figure out a way to prioritise and to create space in their busy week, and to actually be able to get back a sense of control. Like if I can do that, then absolutely anybody can do it. Even the most disorganised person on the face of the earth can do it. And so that's why I wanted to share my story today to give you hope.

And then the other reason I wanted to share my story today is just so you can know me better. Like who is this lady who gets on a podcast and waffles on and goes on tangents and tells all these stories and takes a really long time to make her point sometimes and all this sort of stuff. Well, I want you to know, that the person who does all that is like somebody who has suffered for a very long time. So when I was a child, and a teenager, I used to think that I had a disability. Like I knew from a very young age that I had a disability. Now AD/HD is not recognised by the Australian government as a disability and that's sort of not what I'm saying. But I knew, I felt that I was disabled in some way, but that my disability was invisible, and I felt like nobody else could see it.

And I felt that I lived in a world that had such high expectations of me. Add to that the fact that I am intelligent and I am very quick, I learn things very quickly. I really hardly need anything explained to me like, let me just tell you right now, you'll hate me for this. When I went to uni, I'm one of those people that like doesn't go to any classes at all, doesn't study at all just does the absolute bare minimum. So I do the projects that I'm interested in or the ones that I'll fail if I don't do them. And then apart from that, when it's time for exams like basically about three nights before the exam, I'll make some flashcards. And then I'll just like take like photographic memories of all the answers. Like my brain just remembers these things, I'll just look at a past exam paper from last year and I'll just turn up ace the exam.

And so you might be thinking, Amy, I hate you. It's like, yeah, you might feel jealous about the fact that you had to study to earn your qualifications and I just seem to breeze through. But the reality is for me to be able to hold down a job or a relationship or to be able to create meaningful friendships, that it's come at the cost of that. So I guess I want you to know like, this is me, Amy. Amy Hooke, the savvy bookkeeper, not your typical bookkeeper, not your typical brain. And I'm somebody who has I've really had to try I'm not saying I've had a harder life than other people. Although I think I have if you ever hear my full story one day, I think you'll be completely and absolutely shocked at some of the things that I've gone through in my life and some of the things that I've overcome. I'm not saying I'm like the most hard done by and I don't say that I've gone through the most painful experiences.

But once you hear the full story, which I can't share today, you would just be like, “Oh my gosh, I didn't realise how hard you've had to work to get here to where you are now.” So I want you to know that I feel that it's important if you're going to binge listen to my episodes, which people do by the way, like quite a lot of people tell me that or if you're going to listen to me every time you go to the gym, or if you're going to listen to me in the background while you're working or when you're driving your kids to school. Like if you're going to tune into the podcast every week I think it's really important that you know the human behind the savvy bookkeeper. I was about to say the savvy mastermind. I want you to know the mastermind behind the savvy bookkeeper. And that is me like I'm a borderline genius who has an incredibly, extraordinarily traumatic life and has struggled with an invisible disability that I had no name for, until just a few months ago.

And so for those of you who have been on this journey with me, some of you and I will I feel that once I've shared this story, now that you know the story I'll be here for you with this valuable content, and these great takeaways that you can implement in your business. Because somehow I feel that by holding back sharing my real story with you that you can't really fully get to know me and I know that there are people like in my community even people that I care about a lot, who kind of want me to get to the point and stay on track and things like that. But I guess I want you to know, this is me and I want you to also know that and not to make excuses for it. I definitely when I heard that some of my audience they want me to get to the point quicker, they want me to make shorter episodes they want content. I thought well, okay, that's good for them. If they just want content and takeaways there's heaps of other places to go for that.

But at the same time on the flip side of that, I totally agree that the bookkeepers voice podcast should not be all about me. And so I thought today is going to be a really good time for me or good opportunity for me to actually share my personal story with you so that there is an episode that has that in there. And then that way I can go, “All right, you guys know my story. You know where I've come from. You know why I go on tangents or find it hard to pay attention sometimes and things like that. Like you know the reasons why but not to make an excuse but so that you can know where I've come from and so that you can connect with me on that level. Like you can connect with Amy Hooke, the human who now not only has gone through such a difficult time and had to try like 100 times harder than the average brain to make life happen properly.

But not only knowing that just so to feel sorry for me, but to know that that is the person who dedicates their way working hours, to finding ways for you to improve your business or for you to get more organised or for you to have a checklist that's going to help you to be able to manage things. I want you to know that someone who despite the fact that I've struggled so much, and despite the fact that the last couple of years have been like very challenging that I have still been able to come here and consistently create podcast episodes. Something that is actually I think it's a complete miracle. Like for me to turn up every single week, completely dedicated to others to be able to come on here and to consistently record an episode every single week.

Like the day I started I didn't think that I had it in me to continue for a year, but here we go, like this is Episode 57. This is a miracle, with a little bit of help from psychiatry and medication, a little bit of help from my friends, a little bit of help from external sources, but still also a miracle. Like it just doesn't happen. People like me live their whole life and they go to their grave never knowing what was wrong with them. Never being able to figure out how to get their life together. And if I can give myself credit for anything, it's to show up and to keep showing up, albeit very imperfectly, and to keep showing up. And to do my best for others, and to be able to try and help as much as I can despite my shortcomings.

I still refer to it honestly, like now that I know what it is people go around saying, “Oh, you know, AD/HD is a gift.” No, it is not a gift. Like, yes there's things about my brain that allow me to do brilliant things, but I don't think that's because of my AD/HD. I think that's because I'm smart. But I have severe limitations that have affected my whole life. And so here I am. And I've shared my entire backstory on how I can get organised, even though my brain is completely wired for disorganisation. And now I am going to get right into the content, which is, hey, we made it there, part three. Priorities, how to create space in your busy week. So let's go. Let's do this. Skip across to the next episode. And let's do it. Thank you so much for listening.