For my latest ADHD book review, I read something for the ladies. Um, could Sari Solden be any more relatable? Immediately into Women with Attention Deficit Disorder: Embrace Your Differences and Transform Your Life, I was transfixed!
Part autobiographical, part educational, Sari takes us through the journey of what it’s like to be a grown woman with ADHD. And immediately I was relieved that I wasn’t the only one hurrying home for the weekends so that I could spend my entire weekend organizing my life just to survive.
She doesn’t only get the ADHD part. She gets the woman part. For every man who asks why my podcast and accountability group are for women, I want to point to the chapters that explain how it really is different for women with ADHD. Not just physically (hello, hormones), but in terms of societal norms (hello, domestic life and mommyhood).
There are four sections to this book: Surviving, Hiding, Emerging, and Embracing.
Sari gets into detail of what a woman living with ADHD looks like. In addition, she provides two vignettes of girls living with ADHD and we follow their progress throughout the book.
I most related to the part where Jodi becomes a mother and the reality of her countless duties hit her head-on. In addition to your typical fare of school, holidays, playing social director/chauffeur, etc., Jodi was also dealing with her daughter’s behavioral issues and husband’s disapproval with her disorganization.
Sari explores the collateral damage of surviving with ADHD over the years. This includes workplace woes, shame and guilt, feeling depressed, and the impact on relationships.
In Chapter 6, The Job from Hell, we get a crystallized breakdown of just exactly how women’s lives are impacted differently from men. This includes additional tasks that traditionally fall onto women (especially as mothers) as well as lack of support systems such as secretaries or wives who traditionally run the household. While it can be argued that progress is under way and that men have it hard too, it’s generally accepted as truth that the impact is different. (Notice I didn’t say harder or more important.)
This section paints a picture of what recovery looks like, including Sari’s “MESST” model of treatment (Medication, Education, Strategies, Support, and Therapy).
Ladies, this is your manual on life with ADHD. Enough said.
The final section looks at life once you have completed treatment, including learning how to embrace disorganization, restructuring work/personal life, renegotiating relationships, and redefining your self-image.
This is a critical part of the book. While so much attention in general is paid to the various ADHD interventions out there, self-acceptance and embracing the ADHD a huge part of living with it successfully. For example, there are things I’m never going to be good at. Like remembering things. But why torture myself for this? Why not embrace it instead and find a way to work with it?
For any women who has longed for a road map to living with ADHD, I highly recommend this book.