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Faster Than Normal - The ADHD Podcast

Having ADD or ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Hear from people all around the globe, from every walk of life, in every profession, from Rock Stars to CEOs, from Teachers to Politicians, who have learned how to unlock the gifts of their ADD and ADHD diagnosis, and use it to their personal and professional advantage, to build businesses, become millionaires, or simply better their lives.
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Now displaying: Page 1
Sep 29, 2021

I want to thank you for listening and for subscribing to Faster Than Normal! I also want to tell you that if you’re listening to this one, you probably listened to other episodes as well. Because of you all, we are the number one ADHD podcast on the internet!! And if you like us, you can sponsor an episode! Head over to https://rally.io/creator/SHANK/ It is a lot cheaper than you think. You'll reach... about 25k to 30,000 people in an episode and get your name out there, get your brand out there, your company out there, or just say thanks for all the interviews! We’ve brought you over 230 interviews of CEOs, celebrities, musicians, all kinds of rock stars all around the world from Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, Keith Krach from DocuSign, Danny Meyer, we've had Rachel Cotton, we've had  the band Shinedown, right? Tons and tons of interviews, and we keep bringing in new ones every week so head over to https://rally.io/creator/SHANK/ make it yours, we'd love to have you, thanks so much for listening!  Now to this week's episode, we hope you enjoy it!

——

Cynthia Hammer was born in raised in Leominster, Massachusetts, about an hour west of Boston. Graduated college with her Master’s Degree in Social Work and has been married for 52 years, and has three wonderful sons. About a year after her middle son was diagnosed with ADD, the same pediatrician diagnosed Cynthia with ADD.  It was 1992 and she was 49 years old. After connecting with a few organizations, she founded the non-profit organization, ADD Resources, with a mission to help other adults with ADD learn about the condition and get diagnosed.  The organization sponsored yearly conferences with the most well-known ADHD clinicians as presenters—including Drs. Hallowell, Ratey, Dodson, and Amen along with Thomas Phelan and Thomas Brown, PhDs as well as sponsoring workshops for teachers and a special weekend for women with Sari Solden.  She left the organization in 2010 and trained to be an ADHD coach, but never got beyond offering her services pro bono. After some time away and inspired by the isolation imposed by Covid, she wrote a memoir about her life with ADD—“The Circular Staircase, Living with ADD.”  In getting reacquainted with ADHD research and literature for her memoir she learned that those with Inattentive ADHD continue to be significantly less-often diagnosed than those with Hyperactivity.  Wanting to change that she started a new non-profit in March, 2021 with a mission that children with Inattentive ADHD get diagnosed by age 8 and adults with Inattentive ADHD are readily and correctly diagnosed when they seek help. The new website is www.iadhd.org.  She is creating a social media presence, blogging, appearing on podcasts, and submitting articles for ADDitude magazine, spreading the message that Inattentive ADHD exists—it is different from ADHD with hyperactivity, and it is harmful to individuals when it goes undiagnosed. For ADHD Awareness month, which is October, people who share her commitment to spread awareness about Inattentive ADHD can download letters from her website to mail to school principals and physicians in their community.  They can find the letters by clicking on Spread Awareness. https://www.iadhd.org/adhd-awareness-month Today we learn more about how Cynthia continues to break social stereotypes and get folks the help they need -enjoy!

In this episode Peter and Cynthia Hammer discuss:  

1:55 - Intro and welcome Cynthia! 

2:57 - You got diagnosed at age 49. After you got diagnosed how did things go?

4:22 - On not believing she would have a ‘whole new life’, even though her doctor said she would.

5:04 - On her first ADHD “group meet”

6:53 - On how she started her first non-profit for ADHD  Ref: The Adult ADD Reader  Dr. Hallowell  

9:15 - Ref:  Driven To Distraction by Dr. Hallowell 

10:50 - Let’s talk about your recent memoir! “The Circular Staircase” (not yet published)  Ref: Reedsy website

14:30 - Ref Additude mag

15:29 - How can people find you? Her non-profit is at www.iADHD.org  and @iadhd.org on Facebook and you can find @CynthiaHammer9 on Twitter 

15:40 - Thank you Cynthia Hammer!  Guys, as always, we are here for you and we love what the responses and the notes that we get from you. So please continue to do that, tell us who you want to hear on the podcast, anything at all, we’d love to know.  Leave us a review on any of the places you get your podcasts, and if you can ever, if you ever need our help, I'm www.petershankman.com and you can reach out anytime via peter@shankman.com or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterNormal on all of the socials. It really helps when you drop us a review on iTunes and of course, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already! As you know, the more reviews we get, the more people we can reach. Help us to show the world that ADHD is a gift, not a curse! 

15:55 - Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits

 

TRANSCRIPT: 

I want to thank you for listening and for subscribing to Faster Than Normal! I also want to tell you that if you’re listening to this one, you probably listened to other episodes as well. Because of you all, we are the number one ADHD podcast on the internet!! And if you like us, you can sponsor an episode! Head over to https://rally.io/creator/SHANK/ It is a lot cheaper than you think. You'll reach... about 25k to 30,000 people in an episode and get your name out there, get your brand out there, your company out there, or just say thanks for all the interviews! We’ve brought you over 230 interviews of CEOs, celebrities, musicians, all kinds of rock stars all around the world from Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, Keith Krach from DocuSign, Danny Meyer, we've had Rachel Cotton, we've had  the band Shinedown, right? Tons and tons of interviews, and we keep bringing in new ones every week so head over to https://rally.io/creator/SHANK/ make it yours, we'd love to have you, thanks so much for listening!  Now to this week's episode, we hope you enjoy it!

My name is Peter Shankman. It is great to have you. It is a Tuesday here in New York and beautiful day, little warm, little hot, little Indian summer going on. It is very. I want to introduce our guest today I think you will enjoy; got someone who's born and raised in Leominster, Massachusetts, about an hour west of Boston. And after her middle son, she has three sons. After a middle son was diagnosed with ADD, the same pediatrician, diagnosed her with ADHD, whether they, it was 1982 and she was 49 years old. So. What do you do when you're ADHD and diagnosed at 49 years old, you start a non-profit. She created ADD Rescources https://www.iadhd.org It's a mission to help other adults with ADHD, learn about the condition and get diagnosed. They sponsor yearly conferences, including Dr. Hallowell, Randy Dodson, along with Thomas Brown, all the good ones, all the ones you read about in the books, all the ones whose books you've read. She left the organization in 2010. But then when COVID hit, she wrote a memoir there, a lot of stuff to cover here today. Welcome Cynthia Hammer, Cynthia. It is great to have you on the podcast. 

Thank you. 

So you got diagnosed at 49; prior to that what'd you think was going on? 

I really didn't take anything was going on.

Okay. So you just sort of lived your life and you're like, Hey, whatever, you know, this is, this is what it is. So after you got diagnosed did stuff started making a little more sense to you? 

Well, I can't say that because I was very, very sad to get diagnosed. And when I was diagnosed, actually it was after I got, um, evaluated where I worked. And my supervisor had a grandson with ADD. So she was the first one to suggest that to me. And because of my son had inattentive ADD, occasionally I said to myself, I do that. I do that, but I never took it seriously. But when she told me, she thought I had ADD, um, at the next appointment with the pediatrician, cause I'd go with my son; I said to Dr. Klonsky. I said, do you think I have ADD? And he said, you do. So then he took me on, I was his first adult patient and I started to take Ritalin. It made a big difference. And what he said to me was- I envy you, you're going to have a whole new life. And I didn't believe him because I was just so sad about having it. Um, but I say with time it was a whole new life. 

Tell me about it, why was it a new life? 

Well, I went to the first ADD conference for adults. It was held in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And I'm sorry, probably it was about 1992. And when I came home, I decided to start a support group for adults with ADHD. So I went around and got, um, a hospital to give us a room and I got, um, flyers I put out in psychiatrist's office. And then when the group met, it didn't work out too well, because there was such a range. There always is a range of people with ADD and some of them were on dis um, Medicaid, or they weren't working and others were entrepreneurs and being very successful. So we'd have about 10 people at a meeting and then at the next meeting it would be different people. And so we never got to establish trust with each other and everyone was coming to tell their story from scratch. So then I decided, well, this isn't working and we switched and got a large auditorium, not, not large, but enough to hold like a hundred people. And I started, um, to have the meetings with a  professional in some area of ADD where people would want to learn more and we would, we're easily able to get people, psychiatrists and counselors, people in areas that impacted people with ADD to come and present. So that worked out much better. Although we still had problems of people in the audience wanting to interrupt the presenter to ask questions, and we took care of that. And then we'd have people in the audience that when it was question and answer, they would monologue a long time before they would ask the question. So it's still. It still took, um, some structure, but in that process of setting up the monthly meetings, I found other people with add that were functioning well enough to be helpers.  I guess at some point in there, I just decided to start a nonprofit and I can't remember why. But my mother had sent me $2,000. She never, ever done that before, and I just decided, and she lives in Massachusetts and I'm living in Washington state and I decided to use that money to start the nonprofit. So besides learning on my own, how to create the nonprofit, I found a book in the library that helped me to do that. Then. The other thought I had was to create a booklet called the adult ADD reader because instead of, I didn't the only book at the time that was out there was by Lynne Weiss. She was a PhD and her book was adults with ADHD. That was the first I'd heard of it. So we put it together, this adult ADD reader and I got approval. I don't know where I was getting the articles from, but I wrote to all the people like Dr. Hallowell, Dr. Ratey, got their permission to use their article in the adult reader. So it was like, A hundred page booklet with lots of articles it by all these professionals. And so then we started having a membership and with the membership, you could get the adult ADD reader and we created a lending library with, um, videos and books and back then it was audio tapes. And people, no matter where they lived, we would mail them materials and then they would mail them back. And at every meeting that we had, every month in person, people that were members, we had a Cardex and if they were members, they could borrow things from the lending library at the monthly meeting. And then from that, I don't think that cost much money, but we were going to move forward and have conferences. And the first one we had to come to speak was Dr. Hallowell. And he came to speak both at the auditorium where we had our monthly meetings and also at an auditorium in, uh, the junior college in our town. And it was so coincidental because that was the same week that, um, Dr. Hallowell was on the cover of time magazine. I think he had come out with, uh, Driven to Distraction. So that was kind of fun. And, and when Dr. Hal arrived, he said, uh, how much are you? How much are you charging? How much are you paying me? When I told him, he said, you should have asked for more. Oh, he should have asked for more. That's what I mean. Um, so I stayed in the position of the Director, I guess, for 15 years. And. Only for the last three years was I paid a salary because before that we weren't, we were making enough money to rent a room. I mean, yeah, an expanse, so we had two rooms for the office and I hired a secretary. And then in Washington state, they have a program where you can hire students that are on scholarship or students that are on financial assistance. And if you're a nonprofit, you can hire them and the state will pay 30, 70% of their salary. So we got, we got some, uh, and that's still available now. So we got a really good, um, student to come and help us in the office. And I think that there's always a good thing is to have that mix of the ADD people with some neuro-typical people. 

Let's talk for a second. Let's talk for a second about the memoir about, uh, ADD to circular staircase.

Well, I wrote it during COVID shut down and I know I never would have gotten it written if it hadn't been for the shutdown, but I just made a commitment to myself. I'd worked on it every day, which I did. And I, I have never written anything before. I mean, I wrote articles for the newsletter we had was add resources, but it was kind of, it was like, you know, new learning. It was really fun in a way to have all this new learning. And I found this website called Reedsy where you could, um, what to upload your, whatever you wrote. And there are all these parameters where it would improve your writing. It would show you where you use the same word too often, or show you, um, if you put in a, ‘so’, or ‘really’, or a very telling you that the new way of writing, you know, put those superlatives in there. It does, it really enhance things and changing from passive voice to active voice. Um, a lot of things like that. And so I kept thinking I was improving it. I was improving it and it ended up being about 60,000 words long. And I thought it was pretty good, but I thought I need someone who, um, is in this field. And I was reading online about this kind of editor and that kind of editor. It just sounded so confusing, but there was one website that recommended this other guy is a developmental editor. And so I hired him. And he read the manuscript and know the things like what, all the adventures that we had were like TV moves. So it's down the manuscript and 40,000 words. And he said it was, he was changing it so it was a story about my, my ADD. So the things that he didn't think were related to that were there, and I finished, we finished the manuscript in March and then. I sent it out to like 75 agents and publishers and no one responded except this one company that I'm still waiting to hear the associate decide by the end of September [2021]  And. Yeah, I, so I guess my new learning after this will be how to promote a self-published book. If they don't, they don't decide to publish it and if they do it's, um, It wouldn't come out for a year, you know? So I I'm, I'm just learning a lot about how this world works and attending sessions to learn about how to, how to proceed. That's. So in the meantime, 'cause I got back into learning about, ADD because of the writing, the memoir and just reading stuff to make sure my, what I was saying related to ADD was very true. I read an article, a blog, post, in Additude.mag by a girl who was 21. And she said that she's been told to just move on, after she got her diagnosis, but she said, I can't, I am just so angry. She was angry that even though people saw that she was struggling and she even, I guess, asked someone if she had ADD and they said, no, you you're too smart to have ADD; and so that just, just motivated me, I guess, to start a nonprofit with the focus on inattentive ADD. And so that's where I am today.

Awesome. How can people find more about you? Do you have a website or are you a lot on social media somewhere? [15:29 - How can people find you? Her non-profit is at www.iADHD.org  and @iadhd.org on Facebook and you can find @CynthiaHammer9 on Twitter ]

Awesome. Well, we will definitely post that in the show notes. Cynthia, I really appreciate you taking the time to be on the podcast. All right guys, we're listening to fast, the normal as always. We love that you're here. Stay in touch and reach out @petershankman or @FasterNormal. And we will see you next week.

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 composed and produced by Steven Byrom who also produces this podcast, and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you next week. 

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