Alex Hey (pronounced "high") was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 20. This diagnosis explained two decades of underachievement and feeling misunderstood. In the wake of his diagnosis, he began a casual study of ADHD which, over the years, turned into a passion for learning about ADHD and finding all strategies that might help work with his brain, not against it. From July of 2017 until May of 2018, Alex dove into heavy research and writing which resulted in Catholicism and ADHD: Finding Holiness Despite Distractions (available on Amazon). While working on this book, he had the opportunity to support one of his friends who was being tested for ADHD. Writing the book and supporting his friend helped him discover a passion for helping those with ADHD. This led him to pursue a career as an ADHD coach. Alex was trained by the ADD Coaching Academy, and in 2019, received his PCAC (or Professional Certified ADHD Coach) credential from the Professional Association for ADHD Coaches (PAAC).
Today we’re talking about how he found his path and is now helping others, enjoy!
***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***
In this episode Peter & Alexander Hey discuss:
1:03- Intro and welcome Alex!
1:53- So two decades of underachievement and feeling misunderstood, so school must have sucked?
2:14- When you got diagnosed and on meds what happened? Do you take them daily?
2:34- So why did you get so involved with your research?
3:05- How do you keep balance in your life, in your weekly schedule?
3:58- What happens when you plan for everything, but then you can’t plan for everything; especially now during COVID?
4:58- Alex’s sleep formula
5:53- Do you find that exercise helps you; what’s your strategy?
7:06- Have you read anything in your research about ADHD and Sleep Apnea?
7:48- You became a certified ADHD coach. What are your clients asking for more nowadays?
8:25- How have the things been since COVID hit?
9:04- What advice would you give those who are dealing with home schooling?
9:30- What do you make of the premise that quarantine may continue for many months yet?
10:30- Tell us about your book!
11:00- Talk to us a little about your creative process in writing the book.
18:38- Thank you Alexander Hey! And thank YOU for subscribing, reviewing and listening. Your reviews are working! Even if you’ve reviewed us before, would you please write even a short one for this episode? Each review that you post helps to ensure that word will continue to spread, and that we will all be able to reach & help more people! You can always reach me via firstname.lastname@example.org or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials.
STAY HEALTHY - STAY SAFE - PLEASE WEAR YOUR MASK.. until next time!
19:40- Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits
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Hey guys, Peter Shankman, welcome to another episode of Faster Than Normal. Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of faster than normal. Good to have you hope you're surviving. Hope you're staying safe. Hope you're wearing a mask. We are joined today by Alex. Hi, I'll tell you his story in a second. It is a lot of fun to be back. Uh, we took a week off. It's been a crazy few weeks, especially here in New York city, but I think everywhere around the world and it's just gonna be a crazier, so buckle up. Keep that seatbelt on. Anyway, Alex was diagnosed ADHD at the age of 20. And that explained to him immediately two decades of underachievement. Yeah. Feeling underachievement in feeling misunderstood in the wake of his diagnosis, because he just started looking at ADHD. And over the years that turned into a pattern like things with the ADHD; usually we either love it or we never we never talk about it. Are we looking at it with everything we have? So from July 17th to may of 18 and Alex the heavy research, which resulted in a book called Catholicism and ADHD. Finding holiness, despite distractions. And I want to talk to you about that beause I was definitely the Jewish kid in temple who was always, uh, screwing around and, and, and causing trouble. So you are an ADHD coach. You would train with the ATD coaching Academy and in 2009 received a professional certificate, uh, for the professional association for ADHD coaches. Welcome aboard Alex. Good to have ya.
Good to be here.
So 20 years of two decades of underachievement and feeling misunderstood, so school must have sucked.
Yeah. I was always told that I should be getting straight A's, but I w I felt like I was. Happy getting bees. And so I never really expected much out of myself. Um, until I got diagnosed with ADHD and realized, Oh shoot, I'm actually kind of smart.
Okay. That makes sense. And then, so when you got diagnosed, what was the outcome? Do you get on meds or what happened? Yeah, I started on Adderall, but now I'm on Conserta. Okay. Yeah. Another, another concern fan over here. Do you take it daily? Yep. Okay. Yeah. I, I find that, um, I don't need it all the time if I can get other ways to get my dope mean, but it is, it is a wonder drug.
There's no question about it. So what made you decide to pursue this? Were you just so fascinated by him? Yeah, I think, you know, just dealing with ADHD yourself and like trying to figure out what, um, What all is going on with your brain, it's just takes over your life and you don't think about much else.
I think that one of the interesting things is that, you know, in the life that we lead, though, you have to think about much else, right? You don't have a choice to adjust to sit and listen to one thing or focus on one thing. I mean, you can make a career out of it, but you know, you still have a life. You still have a family, still have obligations, right?
So what do you do to find that balance?
Yeah. Uh, I try and plan out my week every Monday and just say, okay, here's what I'm going to do on each of these days. Here's where I need to, you know, decide what I'm going to talk to this person and see this person, um, you know what, I'm going to do my work when I'm going to take my breaks, you know what? I'm going to get my lunch in when I'm going to, you know, take time in the evening to relax. And so it's just a matter of planning. And I think that's kind of, one of my strengths is planning. Like my favorite thing to do in college was to plan out my schedule when I'm going to take all my classes. And I actually got done with college a whole year earlier because I could plan it out and see, okay, if I take this here, here, here, and then I can get done in three years. You know? So scheduling is massively important. Yes.
And do you find that if on the occasions that you don't schedule, you just see things go downhill?
Yeah. If I don't have, have anything planned, I'm sitting around wondering, okay, what do I do now? Um, And then you can't plan for everything all the time though. How do you deal with, um, let's talk about how do you deal with unexpected downtime? Because for instance, you know, during, during COVID that we're currently dealing with, you know, I used to travel a quarter million miles a year, and so a 45 minute speech would take three days, right to get there, to speak and get it back. Now it takes 45 minutes. I have a lot of extra downtime. How are you handling that?
I'm uh, trying to find it ways to staying at active. Um, I actually dove into a bunch of research on ADHD and sleep. Uh, Kind of during this whole situation. And what have you learned?
I've learned quite a bit. Um, it's harder to fall asleep at night. We're more tired during the day. It's hard to get out of bed. Um, and so kind of what I did is I came up with like a sleep formula to help you fall asleep at night. Yeah. So the sleep formula is in bed plus, uh, a tired feeling tired. Plus a calm mind equals sleep, so you actually actually physically get into bed. And when you have ADHD, you're not always so good at that. You're running around doing X, Y, or Z, and it's hard to stop and say, okay, now I need to get into bed.
Um, so, so do you start, do you set yourself up earlier for that like sort of a wind down period?
Yeah, I do. So I got, my watch goes off at nine. O'clock telling me okay. Time to start winding down and that way I'm in bed by 10, 10, 15. What time are you up? Uh, six 45. Okay. And talk about exercise, anything in there? Yeah. That's how you get your body to feel tired. Um, so exercise during the day is going to help you feel tired at night. It's also going to help you wake up in the day. So I usually exercise in the afternoons. After work. Um, if I could get myself out of bed earlier, I'd do it in the morning, but I, why do you think you can? I don't know. I think it's something a lot of us with ADHD struggle with getting out of bed in the morning, um, but I think it's because I stay up so I don't stay up too late, stay up, you know, a relatively good time, but just getting up the bed in the morning is a little hard for me. So that sleep inertia really gets to me. I find that, that the earlier you go to bed, the easier it is to get up.
I mean, I'm up at 3:45 every morning for exercise and things of the sort, because I know it makes me a better person and it makes me, you know, use my ADHD better. So I think that, and I'm not saying everyone needs to do that; I think there are some night people, some night owls that are ADHD and some morning people, and I think we find that balance find out where you are. I think that helps a lot. You know, I think that that I've seen people who, Oh, I wish I could get, I wish I could wake up as early as you do. I'm like, well, you, you go to sleep at 1:00 AM, so you probably can’t, right? It's basic physiology physiology. But if you go to sleep earlier, you know, you'd be amazed at what happens, something consider.
Have you, have you read any studies in your, in your study on sleeping or anything about ADHD and, um, C-PAP or abs ADHD and sleep apnea?
Yes. I'm quite common for those of us with ADHD. In fact, I haven't myself and, and I sleep with the C-PAP machine every night.
I don't think you're alone in that I've seen a tremendous number of people who have found their ADHD actually improve, and they've been able to use it more. It was a benefit once they realize that they're waking up 70, 80, 90 times an hour.
Oh yeah. I'm the exact same way. Yeah. I've found that since my diagnosis of sleep apnea, my focus has been better and I'm just more alert during the day. And it helps me out a whole lot. Yeah.
What about, um, so talk about your counseling. And so you, you became a, a, a certified coach. What are you, what are you doing? What are you working on? What do you see in your clients most needing things like?
So a lot of what they're looking for is just to get organized and get going through the day. A lot of my clients are like teens and college students, and they struggle, you know, in school and getting organized and getting figure adulting, essentially. So a lot of my work has been helping them figure out how they work best. I like to say I help people work with their brain, not against them.
Yup. That makes sense. And do you, have you found anything, uh, any, anything related to COVID? Have you seen more or less, um, have you seen more people coming to you? Have you seen, I mean, I'm noticing that that a lot of people that my podcast listens have gone up, you know, my, my, my, my, my listeners have increased, but I think a lot of those also, cause a lot of people have time to kill.
Yeah, I think one of the struggles is, you know, online classes. I think that's one of the big things where people are looking for help with that. Cause they're not used to being at home when they're trying to learn and get their work done. Right. So I think, I think that's been a particular challenge with COVID.
What kind of advice would you give people who all of a sudden now have, you know, they're not in front of a teacher, they're doing this at home and they have to deal with that whole nightmare?
Uh, really have a plan. Um, so plan out, you know, when you're going to do your classes and try to keep routines as similar as to when you're in school, as you can. Um, so routine is going to be huge. Yeah. Yeah, definitely.
What do you think about, um, the premise that this might continue for the next six to eight months? You know, what, what kind of changes do you think we're gonna see coming out after we eventually get back to life? As we used to know it, if, if that ever happens.
Yeah. I don't know. It's going to be interesting to see, you know, um, it's so common to shake someone's hand when you meet them. Are you going to do that again?
Do you think that, that, uh, you know, for ADHD, a lot of times we do better on our own when we're focused and we do have that plan, but you know, so now you're looking at, what's going to be upwards of a year of people working on their own. If people wind up being asked to go back, I think there's gonna be a bit of a backlash against that.
Yeah. I think transitions are, we're going to be a real pain in the butt. Transitions are always tough for people. Um, you know, with ADHD anyway, we that we don't, we're not too fond of change, but we know the change has to occur. Yeah, so it's going to be, it'll be hard. And I think, you know, that's where you need to reach out and get the support you need so that you can succeed and thrive.
Tell us for a minute or two about the book.
Yeah. So, uh, it's kind of what inspired me to become an ADHD coach was writing about ADHD. So it’s, my faith is important to me and it's actually kind of how I decided to get tested for ADHD. I was trying to pray one day and just couldn't because I couldn't focus and I thought, gosh, what is wrong with me? And, you know, I found out that I just have a different brain wiring.
Yep. So you, so tell what did you learn? Talk about writing and talking about what you learned from the book.
I learned a lot. Cause you know, before I started writing it, it was just sort of a side hobby to look at ADHD, but then it really became my focus. So, um, A lot of, a lot of structure and, you know, getting well, I find one of the best ways to focus in prayer, really in anything else is to get all of your senses involved. So like, what sort of lighting can you have? What sort of sounds can you have while you're trying to focus? What sort of, um, you know, sometimes tastes you can get involved, you can get smells involved to help you focus. So I think that was one of the biggest takeaways is just getting as many different things involved as possible and that'll help draw you into what you're trying to focus on.
Definitely. How can people find out more? Where can they find you online?
Uh, my website is www.resetadhd.com and then I'm at @resetADHD and all the social media.
Yes. Awesome. Yeah, I follow you, totally worth it. So give the guy, give Alex, give Alex a follow!
Alex, thank you for taking the time today. I appreciate it. Looking forward to having you back at some point and, you know, stay in touch, let us know, uh, let us know when you learn some new stuff and we'll have you back on the share.
Yeah, thanks for having me!
Guys as always, you're listening to Faster Than Normal where our interviews are 15 to 20 minutes, well, you know, because ADHD, but we appreciate you being here. If you like what you’ve heard leave us a review, drop us a note. We're always looking for new guests. If you have anyone who might want to be on the show, or it might be beneficial to be on the show, shoot me a note: email@example.com or on @petershankman on any of the socials and we will see you guys next week. Thank you so much for listening. We'll talk to you soon.
Credits: You've been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We're available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I'm your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you've heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were performed by Steven Byrom and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you next week.