For my latest ADHD book review, I read Women With Attention Deficit Disorder by Sari Solden. Um, could be any more relatable?
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).
Related: Best Books for Women With ADHD | Review of Driven to Distraction
There are four sections of Women With Attention Deficit Disorder by Sari Solden: 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.
I have another book review for you guys. The ADHD coaching courses going great. And I’m, I’m reading all kinds of great things that latest is a book Sari Solden, one of the leading experts and women with Adhd in the book is simply named <a href=”https://amzn.to/2Mvx0lo”>Women With Attention Deficit Disorder</a>. Embrace your differences and transform your life. So I got this book on audio, which is how I initially consumed it, but I also bought it on paperback because there are so many gems in this book that I just had to go through it again and I want to have it on hand cause I feel like I’m gonna be referring back to that book a lot. And so a, I’m so very grateful. That was part of my curriculum to read that part, autobiographical and part educational series Texas through her experiences of having ADHD.
And then also she goes, there’s a couple of vignettes of, of girls and we followed them throughout the book. And this book has really all the different pieces is, it’s very much like Dr Hallowell’s driven to distraction and that you’ve got this personal element because this is a very personal thing, but then you have the scientific element and all the different treatments and techniques that have come out that have been proven to help people. So it really is the best of both worlds. It’s a, it’s a textbook, it’s a guidebook, but it’s also your eat it and you really connect on a deep level air. And I really enjoyed it. She gets the ADHD part, she gets the woman part. And for every man who asks why my podcast and my accountability group are for women, I want to point to the chapter. She writes it.
Explain the differences and how it’s different for women. Not Worse for women, not that our struggles are more important because it’s a different thing. So it has to be treated differently. And that runs the gamut of hormones and societal roles in traditional society. Um, things have come a long way. They have a long way to go. But of all the women I know, I would say for the most part, the domestic slash organizational duties do fall heavy on women. And you don’t even have to be a parent or a alive to experience that just traditionally, there’s so many things we take on a lot of times around even conscious of it as a society. So that’s just what a lot of us when we say, you know, it’s, it’s different and we want to, we want to talk about this nuances with other women. So anyway, let’s start into it.
He’s got four sections to this book, surviving, hiding or merging and embracing and the surviving section, she gets into what exactly it looks like to be a woman living with Adhd. And she starts with her own example in her professional life and how she would sing about in the office for the weekend and just go home and just spend her whole weekend getting all her paperwork in order and organizing herself. And it took so much work just for her to stay afloat. And I don’t know about you, but I seriously relate to that. And Jody is one of the vignettes and we get to the part where Jody, we follow her from a girl, we get to the part where she becomes a mother and she talks about the countless duties that hit her as soon as she becomes a mother and all of a sudden she’s managing school events and holidays and shipper brings people around and playing social director, et Cetera.
It’s hard for any mom with Adhd. But then if you have children with anything more than an easy breezy kid, which let’s face it, all kids are difficult, but some are, you know, might have, um, behavioral issues of their own. You have that on top of it. And then you add on top of that and Jodi’s case, her husband was, um, disapproving of her disorganization. That is a lot, a lot to take on for somebody. And it’s no wonder we’re so hard on ourselves. It’s no wonder that it really hurts to receive negative feedback because we can be very insecure if we haven’t dealt with those issues. And so I really liked how she really dug into that because I think that has a lot to do with just our everyday lives and how we navigated. Then second part of her book hiding, she gets into what are the consequences of all this?
What’s the collateral damage? And so over the years you, you’re collecting workplace issues, you’re collecting a shame and guilt and you’re feeling depressed and your, your relationships are being impacted. And then in chapters six, she does an interesting thing and she explores what would a job description for a woman look like? And it’s called chapter six, the job from hell. And we get this breakdown of just all these tasks that we just don’t really think about a society that men traditionally fallen women. And it’s just back to the original point. It’s just interesting how different it is and that that stuff really does matter when it comes to ADHD because you have issues of executive function and organization and focus and women have a lot on their plates that they’re, they need all cylinders running. They need all those things that work. And another interesting thing was, um, yes man have responsibilities.
Yes, men have an important things as well. But I found it interesting that up until in recent history, men typically or the professional, so they would typically be the ones who had secretaries or personal assistance and I’m referring more to older generations but not necessarily because this is still going on, but a lot of men have secretaries or personal assistance that handled their day to day lives. Whereas when and where those people are, those people doing those organizational things in addition to organizing their own lives and then, and the home, you see this a lot where the woman essentially has become the project manager. And so there’s definitely a lot to unpack if you’re a parent, if you’re a mother, you might be familiar with that comic Emma. And there’s a comment about mental labor and um, just the dividing of emotional and mental labor in the household and how there’s just a lot of invisible work the mother does.
And I would argue that’s not limited to mothers. I see women all the time taking on invisible labor. That has nothing to do with parenthood. I see it in the workplace. I’ve seen it. If you’re a member of an organization, of any type, anything that would have a social element to it, usually it’s the woman who are organizing the social stuff like the parties and the potlucks and all that stuff requires executive function. It requires focus, it requires organization. And so if your brain’s not firing as it should, even if it’s not true, you might feel inadequate, you might feel dysfunctional. And if the messages all around you are telling you you’re supposed to be this person who’s running stuff and has it all put together and you’re not feeling that they could cause a lot of very deep seated issues. So, uh, Sarah gets into all of that and more and the third section, emerging theory gets into what to do about these things.
And first of all, she has her own self diagnosis tool, which she will say, and I will say, and anybody would say get professionally diagnosed. Please go see a professional. But she does have a section in her book just for women of questions. You can ask yourself to try to see if you might have this thing, if you’re still in that gray area where you’re not really sure. So not only just shout this self diagnosis till, but she also has a treatment model called messed and e s s t stands for medication education strategies, support in therapy and she goes into each one. This is one of the many reasons I also bought the paper back even though I listened to it on audio book is because I feel like this is gold and I want to have it anytime I need it. And I mean it really is a manual life like, like a hikers guide, you know, you carry around that if you’re ever a girl scout or whatever, you know, oh handbook you carry around this little, it feels like a field guide for women with Adhd.
And so, uh, honestly Dan in the last section is embracing, which is super important. So from my perspective, I was diagnosed, goodness, I want to say three years ago. It feels so much longer than that. But I was diagnosed a few years ago and I’ve come up with strategies and I’m of the opinion that you’re never fixed. You just, you iterate and improve over and over and you just try to be better than before and you have things that get in the way, then you recover and you keep going. Right? But then there’s this piece that I’m only now starting to let happen for myself. And that’s embracing, embracing who you are. So there’s a few reasons for that. First, there’s just a lot of amazing things that people with Adhd can do. Our, our minds work super fast or super bright, super creative. There’s all these, these really great things that they don’t need to be overlooked.
I need to be celebrated. And then the other thing is this acceptance that, okay, so you can’t organize. Are you going to spend the rest of your life beating yourself up because you’re not naturally great at laundry? Or would you rather just come up with a modified way to do laundry that works for you and your your household and move on and just say, fine, I’m not laundry girl, but man, I can write a novel. You know, like, why not just make peace with, hey, I don’t cook and I don’t care. You know, and that’s fine as long as you’re finding another way to get nutritious food and the people’s bodies to how, with how it got there. That’s, that’s how I feel. And so that this section of the book is all about just what happens after diagnosis, what happens after you’ve come up with tools and you’re like, you’re making it right.
What I would say as the work is never done, and like anybody neurotypicals or those with Adhd, anybody is going to have that ongoing task of being okay with who you are, defining who you are, realizing, hey, these aren’t my strengths and I’m okay with that. I really love how she ended up that way because that is one piece that it takes a while to get to that point. When you’re worried about the immediate threats, you’re worried about the immediate threat of making sure you don’t get fire. You’re worried about taking care of your family. You have these very immediate need you’re addressing when you first are dealing with this diagnosis. But once you’ve kind of reached, I want to say quote unquote maintenance mode, but the work never ends. There is a point where you do, when I dig deeper and some people get there quicker than others, and that’s fantastic though.
Just yes, super powers, man. You have these things that are great and you’re, you’re out supposed to be perfect at everything. That’s just whoever told you that is ludicrous. Four to five stars here. I don’t give five stars because nobody’s perfect and I’ve never given five stars anything but for thirst. The highest I’ve ever given a book. And I give this one for blinking, shining stars. I really was a huge fan. And so if you want to continue to hear more episodes, please subscribe to this podcast. If you want to see other episodes and learn more about what I’ve got going on and go to adulting with adhd.com there you’ll find our online accountability group for women, and as always, if you have questions for the podcast, please feel free to email me. firstname.lastname@example.org I’m also on Twitter at Adhd. Adulting. I’m also on Instagram at Adhd. Adulting or are you can find me on Facebook at facebook.com/adulting with ADHD and until next time, happy adulting.