Author Archives: Peggy Barber

My Wizard World

I’ll never forget the day I met with a psychiatrist and got my ADHD diagnosis.

I’d been reading books about ADHD and was quite sure this was what had caused me so much difficulty in life. As the doctor went over my intake info he saw that my father had once owned a Dairy Queen. He immediately started talking about how much he loved cherry Mr. Mistys. He went on for a couple of minutes about them and I realized that he also must have ADHD. After finding out that, yes indeed I had ADHD at 49, all I could think was, why did no one know this about me? All these years of suffering! How different my life would have been if I had known! Grief and anger are common reactions to diagnosis.

I got home and lay on my bed, my head swirling with the truth. Then it struck me that I felt like Harry Potter when Hagrid comes to him and tells him he’s a wizard. Harry now had an explanation for the confusing things that had happened in the past. I’m a wizard, I thought! I’d had to try to conform to a muggle world that often made no sense to me. I knew I looked at things differently and had my own way of doing things. How do I now adapt to the muggle parts of life? I wondered.When can I use my wizard powers?

After I started school at ADD Coach Academy I knew I found my calling as an ADHD coach. I was learning about my own brain and how to help other wizards understand theirs. It amazes me to think that if I had never left my small hometown of Page, AZ, I would never have known about any of this! I can’t imagine my life without the joy of working with and enjoying other people with ADHD. When we’re together our brains light up in the most magical way possible. When I ask clients if they are familiar with Harry Potter and they say yes, they immediately connect to my story. The wizard world analogy clicks with them and helps them understand why some people don’t get ADHD. As wizards we spend a lot of time trying to explain our world to our muggle loved ones.

Coaching can help you understand your own brain and share what works for you with others. You can be successful doing things your own way whenever possible. You’re not broken! You just have a unique brain wiring. You’re a wizard!

Optimists and Irony

I was asked to speak at a local Optimists meeting a few weeks ago. My last workshop was held after their meeting and when the president saw my topic she was very interested. The Optimists raise money to help kids. They sponsor oratorical contests, etc. They want to help kids succeed. Their coffee mugs read “Optimists: bringing out the best in kids.” Good for them!

I was delighted to speak, since I could talk about ADHD all day long. I love the topic and love my work as an ADHD Coach. I had the president poll the members before my presentation to find out what specific questions they had and what they wanted to know. I knew I had about 20 minutes and wanted to make the best use of my time. The questions were good ones:

Are there signs or symptoms of ADHD?

Please give us a broad overview of what it is that you do.

Discuss medication vs. alternative therapies

Why are boys more likely to be diagnosed than girls?

The talk went very well. The members were engaged and their comments were great. Many of them had family members with ADHD.   As I got to the 9 dimensions of ADHD a couple of people forgot one of the 10 promises of “The Optimists creed:”

“To  give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have  no time to criticize others…”

As I talked about time insensitivity one man started a rant about how when he worked for a certain corporation they were tired of people being late for meetings and so they fired anyone who came late. When someone questioned him about firing an employee he said, ”If you don’t fire him, I’ll fire you!”

Yikes!! No one said a word so I went on with my talk. I explained that as a coach I am not for or against medication (my husband and I both take meds). That is a personal decision. One woman piped up and said that kids didn’t need medication, their parents did! Again no one said anything and I went on.

Those moments remind me why I do what I do. There is so much ignorance out there when it comes to ADHD. I knew nothing I said would change those two peoples’ minds but I got so much good feedback from the rest of the members afterward. The president actually gave me half an hour as she could she how much everyone was enjoying the topic. It really was a great experience overall.

Lesson for all of us: “Don’t let crabby people get you down. You’re good enough, you’re smart enough and doggone it, people like you!

Fear of Falling

After a couple of days believing I had sprained my foot and not being able to put weight on it, I went to urgent care. I have a foot fracture and I left on crutches. I’ll be on them for 4-6 weeks. I’ve never been on crutches before and it is one of the hardest things I’ve had to endure. I have to think about everything I do. I have stairs, so I crawl or scoot up and down, dragging whatever needs to go up or down with me, including my crutches. I feel the most freedom downstairs because in the “It’s not too weird if it works” category, I use an office chair on wheels to get around on all the tile. I can kneel on the chair to get things in the cupboards and wash dishes, etc.

A few days of self-pity on the couch cured me of wanting to be taken care of. I value what I can do on my own. I do get tired in the afternoon so I put my foot up and take a nap. I’m determined to take good care of myself.

My podiatrist told me I have a “Jones Fracture,” the most well-known fracture that does not heal without surgery. I saw him on Monday and when he asked me what day I was injured (Wednesday) he was very surprised. He showed me the x-rays he had taken and they showed calcium growths over the injured area. He explained that it looked to be about 3 weeks’ worth of healing that had gone on! I believe in God, and Bill and I had prayed for quick healing. I will go back to the doctor in less than 2 weeks to see how my foot is doing. I have a splint with ace bandages around it . I have to keep from putting weight on it. I have a fear that it will happen accidentally and that I’ll have to have surgery and add more weeks of crutches. All I can do is have faith that everything will work out no matter what.

When I leave the house I have to use my crutches everywhere. Fortunately, it was my left foot that was injured so I can drive. I still have a fear of falling. I feel so vulnerable being on crutches out in the world. Going up curbs is the worst. I always pause. What if I biff it and do a face plant? But even worse, what if I put weight on my injured foot?

We all live with fear. We have no control over most things. Why do we think we do? I have been amazed at all the people who suddenly appear to open a door for me and ask if I need help. I have learned to say yes, thank you!

Instead of thinking, ”Why me?” when things happen, we need to think, “What now?” and use all our resources to get through. There are a lot of experienced people out there waiting to help. You know this. You’ve been that person for someone else. Now it’s your turn!

It’s Not Too Weird If It Works! – April 3rd, 2014

I am home recuperating from an injured foot. The embarrassing cause of my injury? I fell off my sandal. Fortunately my foot is not swollen. A pain pill helped me sleep last night and I was truly blessed to sleep all night without having to go to the bathroom. I didn’t want to wake up my husband with any thumping. You see, I am using my clothes hamper as a walker.  I can hop on one foot while pushing it forward. I discovered it when I needed to stand to brush my teeth.  It stood next to me all night in case I needed it during the night. It is my friend today as well. I did have to scoot downstairs on my backside to get breakfast. My trusty friend was dragged beside me.  Before I came back upstairs I put my laptop and purse inside so I could work in my office. (Of course it had towels in it which made it easier for me to take my stuff out!)

I’m good at sharing one of my favorite lines with my clients, ”It’s not too weird if it works!”  Those of us with ADHD are very creative at thinking of different ways to do things. Sometimes we’re afraid someone else will think it’s weird or make fun of us. The truth is that we get ideas for a reason. Unless it’s a hazard, consider giving it a try.  I’ve seen my clients create success in many areas by making it work their way.

I first realized this truth when my son’s neighbor had a new truck and put a rubber owl on it when he was home to keep the birds from pooping on it. I laughed the first time I saw it and then thought, “Well, its not too weird if it works!”  Give it a try and let me know what’s working for you.

Continuing Grief – March 18th, 2014

I don’t watch the news on TV but I read it on my phone. I was surprised at how sad I was after reading about the suicide of someone I had never heard of, a fashion designer named L’Wren Scott.  I first opened the link because of her unusual name. I didn’t know that she was Mick Jagger’s girlfriend. That information had no meaning. She was 49!  She had success as a designer and many famous clients. She also had a lot of debt. One can only imagine what thoughts caused her to see killing herself as the only way out.  I’m crying as I write this. How many times have I wished I could just “be done.”  I believe in God. I know my family waits for me on the other side. But sometimes everything hurts so much!

I have a picture of my parents on my desk. They are both gone and I miss them very much. I lost my husband, best friend and love of my life 5 years ago to a brain tumor, an irony considering how incredibly intelligent Willy was. I hurt because no matter how much success I have as an ADHD coach people will never know him.  They’ll never know that my strength continued after his death because of our strength together before.  I know I will never stop missing him.

Being well known doesn’t keep you from feeling incredible pain or causing pain for others when you die too young, no matter how it happens.