In this Episode of Love your Diagnosis, I talk with Geri Henderikse about her diagnosis of ADHD or as it will soon come to be known - Dopamine dysfunction which affects executive decision.
I loved everything about this interview as Geri has researched this condition so much to really understand it now and is excited to find ways to make her life feel more dopamine enhanced even if that means using both eastern and western medicine.
Some of her symptoms before diagnosis were:
Some parting words from Geri at the end are
"Don't be afraid to find a reason for your suffering; Your diagnosis can be the perfect colour of glasses you need and help you see yourself better and be the absolute turning point in your life!"
An episode not to be missed if you are wanting to listen to someone with ADHD that is finding ways to get on top of it all and love her new self.
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You can get my book here which is a raw and honest dialogue of how I went from completely using allopathic medicine to manage a diagnosis of epilepsy, to only using a small amount of medicine and managing the rest with lifestyle choices and other wonderful plant medicines and supplements
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A little side note:
These shows are meant to create food for thought for people going through similar situations. Planting seeds of information about things that perhaps you never knew could and might assist in treating and managing the symptoms associated with your diagnosis.
Alternative treatments are out there to be used, alongside allopathic medicine, or instead of.
That part is completely up to you, but gaining knowledge is the first part in empowering yourself back to health.
I really hope you get some good ol' nuggets of info from these interviews so you can go and start researching yourself and perhaps even start experimenting on the treatment that feels right for you instead of just letting someone else direct your health decisions.
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Well, hello. I'm Lanie also known as electro girl, and I'm an advocate for empowering people to get back in the driver's seat of their diagnosis. See , I was diagnosed with epilepsy 30 years ago, and basically was never satisfied with hearing from a doctor that pharmaceuticals would be the only approach to controlling my seizures. I just, wasn't going to take it out of my way mortal. So I committed many, many years to researching and finding an answer outside of the Western medicine approach to find a more holistic approach in managing and trading my epilepsy and seizures. So love your diagnosis podcast is a show about exactly that each week we will be looking into the life of someone who has been diagnosed with a condition or illness and has succeeded in managing their diagnosis, both in and outside of Western medicine. To start off, we will look at the Western medicine, prognosis and approach to dealing with their diagnosis inside the square. Then we'll dip our toes a little deeper into this story where we talk about other empowering modalities that worked for those people outside of that square, basically what put them back in the driver's seat of their diagnosis. So hang around with me while we explore living in and outside the medical square, when it comes to loving your diagnosis. Okay. Welcome to the love your diagnosis podcast. And today on the podcast we have Geri Hendireske. Did I get that right?Geri:
Almost good enough. Yes. You're lucky to not attempt my first name, cause that's an even more colorful attempt.Lainie:
Where are you in the world Geri?Geri:
Melbourne Australia. I'm originally from Holland. So I've moved here about eight years ago, but now I'm in Melbourne.Lainie:
So we're going to start with basically what you've been diagnosed with how long ago, and just a little bit of a brief description of what you were first initially told about your symptoms.Geri:
Um, the ADHD and of course ADHD has many names ADD um, attention deficit disorder, executive dysfunction disorder, it goes under many puppets and it has, u m, a bucket list of, of symptoms. I didn't find out until my, probably a week before my 36th birthday. And it, u h, i t did a good 180 on how I view myself and my functioning in the world and my place a nd what to do with the future. O kay.Lainie:
Well give us a little indication of what your life was like because 36 years on the planet is quite a long time to get up to mischief and do stuff. Just Set the scene of what was going on in your life. Sort of pre-diagnosis like where y ou're partying. W ere y ou a bookworm? Are you an introvert?Geri:
I always considered myself quite the adventurous extrovert, a very blunt in your face forward, opinionated strong, easily, bored, always out for adventure and action and excitement. And then that slowly turned into a bit of a hot mess in the sense of why isn't my life working. Why do I not seem to be evolving into being a , just a functioning adult in general, I'm seeing all my friends grow up, get their dream jobs, get their dream families and feeling stuck to the point where it became quite hopeless , um , and dark and grim to look at the future and not being able to figure out why you couldn't get it like everybody else.Lainie:
Did you have, an epiphany moment where you decided, you know what, this just is way too much for me to handle and I need to get someone to look at me so I can find out what the fuck is going on. What was your epiphany moment?Geri:
Well? So it was it , the , the silly thing with ADHD is because it is, if it's, if it's not discovered early on, it comes out in a lot of different, tiny little weirdnesses symptoms that you might individually be looking at. And I had done that throughout my life. I've done it for my anxiety. I've done it for depressive episodes and problematic eating. I've done it for a billion, different things that all come together , um, to become an ADHD diagnosis. And I didn't realize it until a friend started talking about it. And I was like, wait, what are they part of it? Is this part of it is that no , you're kidding. That's not all part of it. Um, and then when you start diving deeper and you start collecting the list, it's basically everything you thought was wrong with you, or you couldn't get a handle on. And then when it falls under one big diagnosis, you're like, oh, wait a sec . And that's how that went from me. It was years of having things about my personality and my behavior that were frustrating to sometimes to the, to the degree of wanting to get help for it, but not really getting anywhere with it because it wasn't really the standard issue. You weren't really depressed. You weren't really anxious enough. Your eating was just not problematic enough. And then all of a sudden you get the bigger picture.Lainie:
And so did you approach the doctor? Did somebody take you, or did you just go look, I'm going in and you got diagnosed with ADHDGeri:
When the realization hit, I did a little bit more research before I went to the GP because I wanted to be a little bit more sure. And I knew it was going to involve going through a psychiatrist. So I'd got a referral and I knew that the waiting lists of that time were really long. So I was like, let's just get it started. Let's just get that referral out and get an appointment booked somewhere. And then in the time in between I'll dig deeper and worst case scenario I'll cancel the appointment. And just the closer I got, the more convinced I got. So by the, that I was ready to get my diagnosis. I had practically already filled out and printed out all of the tests that she was going to put me through, which led to within five minutes, she started writing and she said, look, your classic classic case, no doubt about it. I'm really.Lainie:
Really impressed. One of the reasons why I'm doing a podcast like this is the fact that you went and looked into it yourself beforehand. You didn't just sit there and go, oh, I just want someone else to tell me what's wrong with me. You actually actively went and looked at it and look, you know, let's face it. Dr. Google can be your friend and your enemy in a sense, you know, so it's great that you went looking for things that, that really resonated with you. So you could have some, I guess, empowerment when you walked into that office.Geri:
Yeah . Well, I have to say that besides having that mentality, I've had that throughout my life. Like I want answers to the things that I don't understand, but I have to say that I was lucky that it was the beginning of the pandemic and Tik TOK happened and combined with a lot of recent developments and insights around female inattentive, ADHD. There was a boost of women waking up all around my age, all around the same symptoms, all with the same frustrations throughout their lives. And they started popping up on my tick-tock feed while I was bored, scrolling for hours during the pandemic. And that was also a very reflective thing. Cause I don't think I would have necessarily felt so strongly about it. Were it not for other strong women visually around me experiencing and talking about the same thing, it's a whole different game to read a list of symptoms versus just having women that you admire openly speak about it and talk about their experiences and be like, oh, I have the exact same. And I think that was the most helpful.Lainie:
What are some of the symptoms that you're talking about when you say I was having these symptoms? What are some of them that you can share with us?Geri:
Oh, there's so many things , uh , dyslexia that was considered laziness. When I was growing up, I was just too lazy to read properly, which in hindsight, it wasn't dopamine rewarding enough. So I was to impatient, lights all around you being way too sensitive, sensory issues when you're walking and how annoyed you can get about the fact that one shoe is not as tightly fitting as the other one. And just not being able to let it go and projections , uh , sensitivity, dysphoria, not being able to control your emotions when something happens. Um, and being absolutely consumed. If somebody is angry with you and not being able to function, having a distorted relationship with food, for example is a big one that happens with a lot of women around my age. They're all dopamine related issues.Lainie:
What Tests did they, or did they do not need to do tests? Did you just walk into a doctor and go, this is what's happening for me and they didn't even need to run tests or if so, what were the tests that they did to give you this diagnosis?Geri:
Very often, they would like you to talk about your childhood all the way up to your adulthood and they'll have specific pinpoints, u m, how you studied, u h, how you dealt with backlash, what you were like as a child in class, you know, basically about a obedient concentration. U m, they're pretty cliche and there's a test which is about 18 questions that is used by almost all psychiatrists to kind of diagnose you and they w ant t o, they want you to talk about the examples of the 18 questions. And they're all related to what I just said, like concentration and how to deal with things. U m, how you dealt with things, how di stractible y ou were, u m , h ow you've dealt with your emotions, how you've grown with these issues. Yeah. I' ve I reckon that is , that is, that is really all they'll they'll they'll need, they just need some confirmation of the, of the behaviorLainie:
So you walked out of that office, knowing exactly what was ahead of you or did they do that ?Geri:
No, not at all. Not at all. The thing is the diagnosis is only one side after that is when your , when your actual world starts to change. And if you're lucky enough to already investigated prior, then you already kind of know before you get the approval from your psychiatrist. Anyway. So in this case, I already knew I did have a little cry in the car right after when somebody , you know, professional tells you yep , you're right. And your world changes. But afterwards is when the real change happens when you, when you start getting medicated. And when you start talking and , and reflecting back on, on how that has changed you and what a relief that can be,Lainie:
That actually leads me into my next question, because we're going to just explore from now till the end of the podcast, exactly what was told for you to do, and then what you actually did for yourself to , to manage it. So you mentioned medication that was the first point of call. Was it just get on those meds? And yes, and it was dosage experimentation?Geri:
And I'm still in that part because through the pandemic, everything of course gets canceled and delayed. In my case, I feel my psychiatrist immediately got on the phone and got me drugs basically. And I already knew that was very likely to happen, this I got on Vyvanse, which is a relatively new slow release amphetamine, which is often prescribed for ADHD. Um, and it has a lot of other elements too, but yeah, my psychiatrist was, was immediately like, let's start, let's get you on meds. Let's start you on meds. Let's trial them . And after that is done, we'll start talking about the things that you feel need to change. And I have not gotten there with her in the last six months, which was somewhat frustrating. So I did look at counseling on the side and reading books and being proactive about it myself. Um , and even some of the trialling of the meds. Yeah. It takes a lot of proactive searching yourself as well. You absolutely need to be invested and not just take itLainie:
And have, yeah, well, it's, yeah , it's a big, it's a big thing. Cause I know in my own journey too , that , um, you know, had, it was just a bit stunned after the diagnosis and then it was all about medicine. And then it took me a while to realize that I could actually , um, research other ways of doing it and that I didn't, I wasn't comfortable being on all this medication. So that leads me to ask you, have you yet, cause this is all a little bit kind of, new-ish like in the last two years, are we talking?Geri:
Yeah, well the last year actually, it's literally a, about to become the anniversary of a year. Um, and the meds is about six months now. And I, I went through the same thing after a couple of months of being on them because I mean, let's face it. Amphetamines are not an unknown thing for a lot of people, but on the daily, Justin function is a whole different game. And I was, I was just like, you uncomfortable with the idea of possibly just taking this because somebody is telling me, so I definitely had my own experiments of what, what happens if I don't take them? What happens when I do take them ? What happens if I don't take come regularly? And I was very proactive at analyzing the differences and I'm still not convinced that I might be on these meds forever. I know there's a lot of alternatives to this . I've looked at many different alternatives and spoken to different people with the same diagnosis and some counselors about what other alternatives might be, which also helps again in the bigger picture of the ,Lainie:
So can you tell the list of what some of the alternative methods are that you've researched around just taking medicine or instead of medicine?Geri:
Yeah. Well, of course that starts with investigating the right people. Dr . Russell Barkley legend, look them up has a lot of ideas about this.Lainie:
So who's Russell Barkley?Geri:
Dr. Russell Barkley is, is basically the , the boundary pusher of all science and knowledge around ADHD. And I'm a big believer. And I believe he is too, that pretty soon, this, this won't be called ADHD anymore. Cause it has very little to do with hyperactivity or attention and a lot more with dopamine deficiency and which then relates to executive dysfunction and plain old depressive paralysis. Basically.Lainie:
Can I ask you, do you drink alcohol or take recreational drugs? I mean, you don't have to answer that. Do you take , um, substances and how do you find your brain functions during and afterwards?Geri:
I do. So there's two sides to this answer. I think that a lot of people who have ADHD will find some way of coping with it, be it a very often unresponsible use of alcohol or drugs or sex or food. I was lucky enough to not go down the alcohol path or sex side of things. For me, it was food which well , lucky enough, it's still unhealthy. So that means that for me, drugs, recreational drugs can stay that way. I've never had issues necessarily addiction wise related to my ADHD with that. But it does mean that being dopamine deficient, that a hangover can be devastating. It can throw off all you routines and get you in a big loophole of not knowing how to start your day, not being able to get out of bed because your brain will keep just winding through all the options. What is going to be the most dopamine rewarding? Which one are we going to pick? When is it going to be perfect conditions to do it? When are we going to make a decision what's going to be the best and , uh , a drug or alcohol fueled hangover can definitely make that worse and long .Lainie:
And have you looked into dopamine like natural ways of restoring BrainHealth , uh, after those sorts of things or , or taking them before, you know, you're going to have a big night or using that to actually like prepare you your brain and nervous system for this dopamine drop.Geri:
So I know about visit the HCP to TCP , to CB. No, I mentioning them all now , um , elements prior to the pandemic, but this all happened to me during the pandemic. So I have to say being the most locked down city of the world. I have not been able to experiment much with my old party life and this new diagnosis nor mixing my medication with recreational drugs, which I'm now thinking is probably also, I thing to consider,. I bet you have a tip?Lainie:
well, I have to be careful because I can't make claims about anything, but I'll put links in the, in the podcast notes of places to go and maybe check out certain , um, products that , uh , certain companies like happy herb company and super feast that actually help to help the brain processes when the right product or right information is presented to you you'll know intuitively cause you said that'sGeri:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Starting your day off with a good, healthy, chunky cardio exercise is supposedly a great fix for it . People with a dopamine deficiency disorder, which I've been experimenting with as well. I believe fish oil contains particular elements that help the receptors in your brain.Lainie:
Omega 6's, so anything. Really. I think the fish oil industry is a little bit Dodge, but if you're, if you're , you know, personally I supplemented the fish oil whole thing because of the industry and , and the fact that sometimes in my research, I've , I've heard that the oil that's used in the fish oil actually goes rancid. You think you're taking something that's working, but the oil is already gone off before the, before you can get to the good medicine. So I basically replaced it with hemp seeds and I get exactly the same benefit out of hemp seeds that I would have with fish oil. .Geri:
Yeah . Yeah. So you , it sounds like you're already a step ahead of me in that one. And one of the things for me personally as well is the fact that food has been a big element in me trying to cope my entire life with what was going on, which is basically a dopamine deficiency. And now that, that is somewhat leveled out by the medication. I can also approach my food differently again, which also means that I can now start looking into what foods might affect my body in a specific way. Um , whether that'd be, you know, what do carbohydrates really do to me? What would my weight do to this as well? Like what would my weight be of influence to it? So there's, I have a long t rack ahead of figuring out what my way w ill be. Okay.Lainie:
We've got a journal, I'm actually making a journal for this particular thing for exactly this. So , uh , have you actually made your own or are you, are you tracking that on a food journal orGeri:
The problem that I have is consistency and as throughout everything in my life, so I've got probably about 20 empty journals, definitely stacked away somewhere. Cause that's a very ADHD thing to do, but I know myself well enough that keeping consistent track is , is a tough one. Yeah. I still need to find my system in that. Yeah.Lainie:
If it was on an app, would you do it? Cause I'll send you when I make the app , I'll send you the link.Geri:
Oh, definitely. Give it a go. Yeah. Yeah. what's the app? The appLainie:
when I had my journey with epilepsy and , and trying to like work out so I could be on less medicine trying to work out what the triggers were. I did a whole journal food , uh, you know, who I was seeing, you know, what supplements, what medicines, what drugs, what alcohol, like what , what I was eating. Like there was a whole list of things and basically , um, over a couple of months, and basically I started to see patterns, which is really important because it's the patterns that the patterns that your body is responding to that is actually potentially causing you to not be able to manage some of the symptoms. So I guess, you know , my next thing to you is do you eventually want to be medicine free and just managing this, if you can, with lifestyle choices or you quite resigned to the fact that a little bit of medication is actually working for you and you want to do this on a more holistic level.Geri:
It's an interesting one because I definitely come from the backgrounds where I would prefer to be holistic, where I can do this with food and exercise and meditation or whatever, whatever is already in myself and in, in natural reach. But I'm also a big advocate of celebrating science and, you know, giving credits to these, these incredible people that have made it, their life's mission to study this and to understand that sometimes our bodies might not be in the absolute perfect athletes' state and that my functioning might be enhanced with help and I'm not opposed to it. So I will absolutely always be a critical thinker and never just take it. But I'm open to the idea that this is an enhancer of my life. I know that I can survive without it. I've done that for 36 years, but I'm also seeing a really big benefit to taking it right now. And the massive changes that have already happened in how I see myself and how I talk to myself and how I get myself out of bed in the morning are not something I want to diminish because it is, it is huge. It's made such a difference. Yeah, it'll be, it'll be a play around, but I I'm not decided yet.Lainie:
Yeah. That's great. And it's, you know, health, health is a lifetime thing. It's not just something that you look at for a year and go, okay, well, you know, tick done that. Um, because you know, we , we we're changing all the time and that was a really good answer actually, because, you know, holistic, the way I see holistic is if you do need a little bit of pharmaceutical medication, that's absolutely fine. Whatever works for you, but from where . Yeah. From where I come from, outsourcing it completely into medicine is doing yourself a bit less of a favor than actually contributing with healthy choices that will assist you.Geri:
Well, yeah. Well, one of the things that I wanted to add to that is also make sure that you, one of the things that I am a big advocate of is looking at your medical professionals as your team members, your collaborators, they're not doing it by themselves and you're not doing it by yourself. They won't have all the fixes that they might be able to either shine a light on the psyche or give you an enhancement to your natural state. But yeah, it's definitely not up to somebody else fixed and it's absolutely not up to anybody else to manage. So I think, yeah, like you said, youre right, holistic is including them in it. Okay .Lainie:
Would you say Geri that you love your diagnosis ?Geri:
Yeah. Without a doubt about it. What I love about it is that I can now see myself as a one piece that I love. And before I had all these elements about myself that were frustrating because I could not figure out why they were there and how they were different and why they were different than other people. And now I know why, and now I can see myself as a, as one, instead of a person with all these weird things that don't function, they've become me. Now, I'm now able to work with it because I also know where it comes from and where it comes from within me. Not from anybody else, not from trauma, not from what anybody else has done to me or given to me, it's all me, but now I also know how to deal with that part of me. And , and that's the best thing I've ever found.Lainie:
Fantastic. And I think you answered this, but my last question is if there was a tip to someone who was, you know, who's going through what, what you have gone through, what would it be? But I do think you actually answered that unless you've got something else to add.Geri:
Well , um , yeah, again, like give yourself time, because you're going to go through the cliche every step of grief, because you're going to say goodbye to , to that old person that you didn't understand, they didn't get along with. And that's okay. And you're going to change your opinion about the people that have always already been in your life, because you're going to view how they treat you differently. So just give yourself time, allow it to happen, but don't give yourself time on that diagnosis. Make sure you book that ASAP because it takes way too long at the moment, but everything else, give it time, give it time. Don't make conclusions right away. Don't accept that this is how everything's always going to be. Same with your meds. Same with your treatment plan. Everything can always change, but it's good stuff on the other side.Lainie:
Thanks Geri. We'll leave it there, but thank you so much for putting your hand up and wanting to be a part of this and empowering others with your story and giving some little pearls of wisdom about perhaps what people can do if they're in the same situation. SoGeri:
Thank you for having me and good on you for doing this. Thank you. Good . Very it's great. It's great initiative. Yeah.Lainie:
Thanks darling . We'll be in touch. No worries.Geri:
The love your diagnosis podcast is proudly produced by me. Well, I don't know about you, but I learned so much about that. It's so intriguing. Geri just, just love talking to people that are totally onto knowing their stuff, you know, and even though she's new in the game, she was only really diagnosed about a year ago and has been on meds for six months for ADHD. She has a really big insight into what is going on for her. Because once again, it comes back to the fact that if you research yourself, you gain so much knowledge and acceptance. Actually, you don't feel like you're the only one in the world experiencing this. And that's the case with ADHD is that there are so many people living an existence with what Geri calls. So it has very little to do with hyperactivity or attention. And it's more to do with a dopamine dysfunction , which is what Russell Barkley, who is a , you know , a standout person in this field is kind of covering. Some of the symptoms that Geri experienced herself. And she, she also mentioned is quite common for other people is dyslexia, light , sensitivity , sensory issues, and really hard to control her emotions you were in when she fixates on something and she cannot move her brain away from that. So these are all the things that for her part of her ADHD or dopamine related issue. Her final messages also use your health professionals as collaborators in your outcome. Do your research come together with your health professional and find an answer to how to increase dopamine more efficiently for yourself. I'll put in the notes businesses that you might want to look into for brain support, dopamine support, and just some products that might be of benefit to look into a little bit more. I really enjoyed that. I hope you did. And thanks for tuning in, if you would like to be part of this podcast, just message me through the link below. If you enjoy today's show at this stage, all you have to do is listen and tell your friends about it because there could just be a story on here that they've got diagnosed with or that they can relate to where they get to think outside the square. And a few seeds might be planted in their brains about other ways of dealing with it , besides just what the original diagnosis and prognosis is. Thanks for listening. If you want to learn a little bit more about other options for what you can utilize for your wellness journey, click on the link below to the happy herb company. I've got lots of amazing products to assist in getting you started in your wellness journey. Thanks again for listening. I'm Lainie Chait .