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ADHD as a Superpower with Stacy Ramsey

May 22, 202429 min read

“There was a real reason for what was going on in my life, and also, there was a solution. I didn't have to give up. I could become more productive if I owned it as part of my story and said well because of this I need to be intentional to do this. And I knew I could be successful, and that felt really good.” - Stacy Ramsey

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ADHD as a Superpower with Stacy Ramsey

Welcome to Imperfection in Progress, a podcast for ambitious women who are people-pleasers, perfectionists, or procrastinators. Want to feel less stress and more joy in your life? Then this is for you. I’m your host Dawn Calvinisti.

It is such a joy to have Stacy Ramsey on the podcast. As a Licensed Psychotherapist and Inner Transformation Life Coach, Stacey Ramsey helps women in midlife to build a strong and nurturing relationship with themselves, unlocking improved mood, self-esteem, overall health, and decision-making capabilities, while fostering a sense of belonging and reducing emotional isolation and loneliness during life’s transitions.

Stacy’s greatest joy is cultivating anticipation in transition, to foster growth and find or renew individual values systems. In every season of life there lies the opportunity to learn and adapt as new insight into ‘self’ emerges. She looks forward to walking with each client to define their personal identity, empower them to build a greater understanding of who they are and craft with intention, exactly who they wish to become.

You can learn more about Stacy by visiting her website www.stacyannecoaching.com

We discuss Stacy’s journey being diagnosed as an adult with ADHD and how she has learned to accept it and work with it. She calls it her superpower and she shares ways that it has helped her throughout her life.

We also spend some time discussing ADHD in midlife women and I know you will come away from this feeling inspired whether you deal with ADHD or not.

Here’s our conversation.

Adult ADHD

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Dawn Calvinisti: Welcome once again to Imperfection in Progress podcast. I am so glad that you are here to hang out with us this month. This month is Mental Health Awareness Month and I think it's a really awesome thing that we get to talk about ADHD in women rather than kids because we often don't get to hear about ADHD in adulthood.

So thank you And today I have Stacey Ramsey joining me, somebody who has been in this process, who has been diagnosed as an adult, and I love that you're willing to share and bring some light to people on this. Stacey, thanks for coming.

[00:00:35] Stacy Ramsey: Thank you for having me.

[00:00:37] Dawn Calvinisti: So I'd love if you give us a little bit of an idea of When did you start to recognize that this might be something in your life and what led you to finding out that you have ADHD?

[00:00:50] Stacy Ramsey: I think as my kids got closer to school age, I had an undergrad in education as a teacher. So I was aware of ADHD, although it was very, very new. It wasn't in the DSM to be diagnosed until I want to say 1995, which is like, so we were right on the cusp of really identifying it in a clinical way.

Okay. But there were, I'm that Gen X where, so it's kind of like, we just roll with it, whatever it was, whether we were scatterbrained, a little flighty, a little flaky, whatever it was. But it really became evident when I had school age children, because all of a sudden I was needing to get someone on first, someone on third, someone, various different things.

I had three kiddos in four years. So, there was a tight knit as far as trying to navigate all of their school activities, after school activities, where I needed to be in life, and all of a sudden, I just started to kind of unravel, and by the time, I want to say my son, who's now 30, is was in first grade or so at the time, and he was struggling with some stuff, and we were seeing a a doctor, How They looked at me and said, are you ready to come in as an adult and be evaluated?

So that's kind of how that started to, that ball started rolling for me to get a little bit more clarity for myself.

[00:02:09] Dawn Calvinisti: So did you find, like, at that point when, when they said, like, do you want to come in, were you already aware, like, yeah, this is probably my issue, or were you just, like, there's a lot of things that I'm not, dealing with the best. What, what was it?

[00:02:23] Stacy Ramsey: I think I was so young and so afraid that somebody was going to find out. I didn't know what in the world I was doing as a mom. That's kind of what it felt like. I wanted to try and overcompensate. So much to be this good mom who had a plan, and remembered this, and had her ducks in a row, thought ahead, anticipated the needs, and in some levels, I could do that.

I was great at the in teaching and thinking creatively and doing all of those things. But I would get so excited about that, my husband at the time I was married would show up home and I'd go, Oh, you're home early. He'd be like, no, it's 630. Oh, you're going to want dinner. I guess I should go figure that out now.

Right? So there were lots of things like that, that would show up in my life and I would have a lot of anxiety as well, because I would be so afraid of what am I going to forget to do? Is somebody going to figure out? I forgot to do so. A lot of shame started to build. Because I wasn't quite meeting that mark and I knew it and I tried to overcome them.

[00:03:29] Dawn Calvinisti: I can imagine. I mean, even as a mom anyway, without any of this, there's a lot coming at you and there's a lot to deal with. And if you have more than one child, it's a big learning curve and trying to keep your day straight, running on not a lot of sleep, like all of that. Is hard enough for a mom that's not dealing with ADHD or anything else.

So when it came to the time where you're like, okay, yeah, I'm ready to take a look at this. Did it come as like, oh, good. We're going to look at this. Was it? Oh, I don't know how I feel about looking at this. Was it a relief? Like, what did it feel like?

[00:04:06] Stacy Ramsey: It was a relief. It was a relief because I came from a family where you don't make excuses, you just do better. So, I didn't want something to be an excuse and I was not accustomed to having an excuse that wouldn't be validating. And even if this was the issue, find a solution. So, I came from a very productive, family unit to where that's fine, but the goal still needs to be accomplished.

So, regardless. So, being able to unravel some of that confusion for myself, understand that it was a medical diagnosis, what I do love, like about it is that I, I worked with a doctor, obviously, that did PEDs as well. So, I was able to not only find ways to manage. My young children's schedule, but also create those spaces for myself to be organized.

How to simplify things, how to diminish time in making decisions, because I only give myself two to three options, not 20 options. And While, for some, 20 options is great, it specifically meets their needs, in fact, I'm, I'm going to have paralysis. I'm never going to be able to get started. So, it, it gave me tools to, yes, there was a reason, I wasn't just a bad mom, I wasn't irresponsible, I wasn't, you fill in the blank with the negative that I would be so consumed with trying to hide, but there was a real reason of what was going on in my life, and also, there was a solution.

I didn't have to give up. I could become more productive if I owned it as part of my story and said well because of this I need to be intentional to do this. And I knew I could be successful, and that felt really good.

[00:05:56] Dawn Calvinisti: I really love hearing this part of your story because I think in my community. Many of the women are super high achievers, very motivated, very driven very creative. And I think for a lot of people, when they think of somebody with ADHD, and maybe it's because we tend to think of kids more than adults, but we often think they're scattered, they don't get anything done, they're not able to focus everything seems like chaos.

But the reality is the women that I'm meeting are women who are highly driven and capable of focusing on something and getting it done and getting it done really well and have incredible creative abilities in figuring out ways to make it, even better and, and more exciting and more fun. And I don't know.

I just, I love the energy that seems to be behind it.

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[00:06:49] Stacy Ramsey: What was fun for me is I did have a lot of opportunity when my children were young, and I was married, and I, I, at that season of my life, I did have a privilege, and it very much is a privilege, to be a stay at home mom. So even at one point, I homeschooled my children. And that allowed me a lot of freedom, when you talk about, how do I pick Places that I can be successful.

We did a garden. At the time, my husband he was in stone. My ex husband, he was in stone. And so we traveled. So, when he had to go to the Jamestown area, up in Virginia. We were studying Colonial America, took all three of my kids, we hit the battlefields, we did so many things that added to their education, and then at some point or another we had a garden in our backyard.

This was my back out, that was always exciting, but, nonetheless it was an experience that we had and all three of my kids of the various ages were able to participate. So it allowed me to integrate a lot of things and simplify my life. We did math by baking. I will say I probably gained 20 pounds throughout that, time frame that we did a lot of that.

However, I have two amazing young women that are now almost 30, and they're amazing cooks and they're amazing bakers, so I must have done something right. But we learned through math. It was very applicable. for them. My son likes to create. He can build things. He can do all kinds of things in construction.

He works alongside his father now. But again, we found creative ways because of my ADHD. I wasn't very, when I was diagnosed, I wanted to throw away all of what I, the box I had to fit into that made me feel inadequate. So I did things that allowed me to feel proficient and enjoy and I did that a lot around my kiddos as they were growing up, we had dogs, one of my children had a horse, so we were very involved in that.

So that allowed for a lot of education, it allowed me to be successful, I didn't try to do something that I wasn't.

[00:08:54] Dawn Calvinisti: I love this. I think that's the thing when we are dealing with something that it's, it's a part of us, like, it's not going to disappear. The idea of learning how to absorb it, and work with it in a way that best works for us and for those around us, and for our lifestyle and all of that. I love that you integrated that I love that you Became aware of, okay, this is what works best for me.

And, if I need to, to make decisions, I don't want 500 options. I, I do need to simplify. These are the areas that I'm better at. I know when you and I were talking off the air, you told me, like, you feel like it's kind of your superpower. And I'd love for you to talk a little bit about that because I can see this.

[00:09:38] Stacy Ramsey: I've grown into it being my superpower. When I had to go to work, when I became licensed and started my practice, there were definitely new battles for me because I was entering a pre existing. I'm going back into the you show up here. Paperwork has to be done. HIPAA, laws, all of this kind of thing.

Now I'm restrained, right? I can't just do my flighty, flaky stuff that I've made successful when I was working with my kids. What I was able to do was At first, I promised you I wanted to dress the part, wear the hair, have the notepad, do all that. I was so distracted. I could not fully attend to my clients and patients as I needed to.

I also worked at one point in the early part of my career when I was having to really figure out how this was going to look for me in a rehab facility. Where that people were coming in and doing withdrawal, we did PHP, we did an IOP, which is outpatient, as well as I did private practice on the side as well.

So, I've got a lot of different things to make sure I am following laws, making sure I'm following protocols. What I was able to do is, into trying to create an identity. And part of that came from working with my patients there. When they became sober, they didn't know who they were. And I started to see some of the parallels in my own life.

At that time, I was actually going through my divorce. So between my ADHD, going through a huge life transition, dealing with going back into the workforce, having to comply to all these different things, I realized I don't know who I am anymore because my world, my kids had grown up. I was, In just a big transition, so I had to redefine who I was, and that became the journey, the journey that allowed me to create who I needed to be.

And it needed to be different from this perfect persona that I thought a therapist was to be. I had a number of exceptional colleagues that I worked with those years. I've been very blessed and fortunate to be in a very loving, nurturing environment of other therapists. And they've allowed me to express myself in a way that I feel comfortable.

And they encouraged it. So As I pressed into the years of experience, what was really, really reassuring to me is I had a couple of clients that would say to me, Why is it I've seen three or four therapists in my lifetime and nobody has presented this thing for me to consider? I can tell you we're trained in the same way.

There's different kinds of therapy, obviously, but I see it as my superpower and so if we press into it instead of fighting it, I've even gotten into a routine now that I don't readily take my medication now that I'm in my fifties, my hormones have changed and all of this so I can better manage myself.

There are times my oldest daughter, we spend quite a bit of time together and go, Oh my gosh, mom, please, what is happening? Focus, on my off time. So there are times I have to do better, but in my, my work, I organize myself for the most success,

[00:12:56] Dawn Calvinisti: So can we talk a little bit about the fact, because many of the women listening are in perimenopause or heading into menopause and when it comes to that time of life, because hormones are fluctuating, because things are changing so much, did you find differences in the way ADHD presented itself to you or the way that you had to management, manage it?

Was it different?

[00:13:19] Stacy Ramsey: I think that what we know because of piggyback into my, my side coaching LLC that I have for midlife women in the research that I've done, which is an interesting is women tend to have higher levels of anxiety because of the shift in our hormone change, we become less resilient to typical triggers in our environment.

We don't sleep as well and it is because I think of the shift of estrogen depletes our tolerance level also Depletes and so that leaves us at higher levels of anxiety when you do a deeper dive into ADHD Well, we're really looking at an inability to cope in the stressor that we find ourselves in simple enough But the attention thing is not that I can't focus on one given thing, it is that I am focusing on everything.

I hear the white noise for HIPAA in my office. I can hear the neighbors next door to me. I can hear something clicking on the floor. If, if it's been dropped, I hear it all. What I have to do is focus. And keep that attention. So, anxiety tends to be the thing that I notice the most about myself, and what diminishes my anxiety levels.

But I've even taken it a step further, I'm getting digestion work right here in the middle of my chest and I can switch up what I eat, what I don't eat and all of that. And I realized my body tells me different things in different ways that I never either paid attention to before or not. So, I know I have higher anxiety.

I have a hard time focusing on one thing. I'll have indigestion. There'll be other things. I don't sleep as well. So, I do think it is a it's a factor. I think that asking ourselves, what do we need to take care of those individual symptoms is key. Am I walking? Am I getting enough water? Am I paying attention to what I eat?

Am I eating enough? That's been the other thing I struggle with, with ADHD. If I work through whatever, I'm really excited about it. I'll go, okay, that's taking too much time to eat. I've got to, I've got to do this. And I don't get back to it. So, it's really a tapestry of a number of different things that are all woven together.

As we look at ADHD, as we look at anxiety, as we look at hormone levels and aging. It's just one of those other things that if we don't try to isolate it, I think it's easier to build a bigger picture. Does that make sense? It

[00:15:55] Dawn Calvinisti: Yeah, yeah, it does. I think for a lot of women if they are in those years, the thing that, that often comes up is, is the increase in anxiety. And the fact that, often we get so many mixed messages of how we should be taking care of ourselves, that we need to eat this. We don't need to eat that.

We should be doing this. We shouldn't be doing that. And it can be really overwhelming. And I think just the fact that you said, like, You're paying attention to your body and you're noticing things that maybe you weren't paying attention to before. I think that's such a key factor of getting to know yourself at whatever stage you're in, but really starting to read the messages that your body's sending you.

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[00:16:34] Stacy Ramsey: means you have to slow down, which, with ADHD, we don't always like to do. We like to go, go, go, go, go, but then when we hit a wall, we don't stop. I'll tell you one of the things I struggle with the most as a professional, aging with ADHD. I get really excited and passionate about something, and I am 100 percent in.

And I will burn myself out. I'll run, run, run, run, run. And it is frustrating because I know I do it and I guard against it and my daughter tells me all the time, are we going to do this again, mom? This is what happens when she's got her social work degree. So I was like, yes, we might be doing this again.

Sorry. So I haven't quite figured out the balance because I do get really excited. Especially when I work on programs or I'm working with certain clients, when I want to do more research, when I'm learning more about myself in midlife, midlife. For women is really a passion of mine because there's not a lot of research.

It's blooming right now. You'll see a lot of stuff on Instagram. Some of it is valid. Some of it is just other people's experiences and I think it's all good. But I think we're also going to get back to identity and who we are and how we validate ourselves. I think that plays into how we see the world when we have ADHD or high anxiety or even depression.

for your time. So it's about transitions, which is one of the things as a therapist, I specialize in transitions. One season of life to the next. Doesn't mean if you're going to junior high to high school, high school to college nest bulging to empty nest, never had children and you've reached the top of the corporate ladder.

Now, what do I do? What am I going to do with the rest of my life? Those tend to be the most pressing questions.

[00:18:22] Dawn Calvinisti: Yeah, and I, I think it's interesting in this time and day and age that we are now more aware, I think, than ever that there are a lot of options open to us at this time and stage in life, whereas even as, as little as 20 years ago, it was like we were winding down retiring and life was kind of ending.

And now, like, we're still doing great and looking for what's next and I've got a lot of life in me. And so. For sure, I can see that, this area of transition and again, like you said, it can be in so many different ways that we transition is definitely an area that we have to know who we are.

[00:19:00] Stacy Ramsey: You made me think of something when you when you said there's so many things we can do and that's key. But the other thing that I find that also comes up, we are that sandwich generation. And I think when you have ADHD, I think we have women who weren't never, were never diagnosed with ADHD. Maybe they don't have ADHD.

They are going to struggle much in the same way because we're trying to navigate, how do I? Take care of my aging parents. What are their needs? What can I manage and do I have my own career that I have to manage? Have my children launched? Some people had children later in life, so maybe they haven't quite launched in their fifties.

Maybe they're approaching that. And then we even now have, where we've got several generations that are living together because the economy is so challenging. We've got kids living with parents, with grandchildren, and we're all navigating that and seeing what's needs done. So these. You may not have ADHD, but a person could definitely understand what it feels like when you have so many things coming at you at once, and you have to come up with a solution, but realize the solution is only in that moment. dealing with aging parents, it's kind of like dealing with those newborns and toddlers. The only thing you can count on is change. Once you feel like you've got it in the box, something shifts, something new presents itself. And we have to adapt to that. And that is where I think when we have lower levels of estrogen and higher levels of anxiety naturally.

If you never learned resilience at a young age in life to sit in the discomfort to tell yourself, this just, but I'll get through on the other side. And the next time I have this opportunity, maybe I'll try a new way, or, this is just a hard place to be. But I have to balance my life.

Where are those reinforcers of positive? Where are my girlfriends? Where are those outlets that I enjoy? Whether it's crafts, creativities, athletics, going on walks, going on hikes, nature, fix yourself a cup of tea, go and get, your favorite coffee. How do we incorporate time for that? That becomes the balancing.

Because we don't always have control of what the different aspects that we're having to navigate in our life.

[00:21:18] Dawn Calvinisti: Yeah, absolutely. I, I love this whole conversation. I think we could do a whole other episode on just this transition time and what we're, we're focusing on. So, I know that's something that's needed too. One thing I ask every single person that comes on the podcast is, of the three P's, which are people pleasing, procrastination, and perfectionism, which one do you tend to go to?

[00:21:42] Stacy Ramsey: In this season of my life, I would say it's perfection. I struggle to get started because I have this vision of what something needs to be, an end product, how I, and I struggle to watch it evolve. Because I don't want to let someone down, but it's not the people pleasing things, like I just have this vision and I get so passionate about it.

So I'm learning and this is where new resilience for me right now, especially with my coaching taking off, trying to take off. Sitting and doing things not well. Not well at all and being okay with the growth. One of the things when I do my social media for the women's coaching for midlife, that's totally just focused on that.

So I have a little bit more latitude in how I approach that is the imperfection. I've done some reels where I just got out of exercising and zero makeup on my hair's going this way, it's half up and half down, which is exactly what I want to present. And then I look at it and then I look at some of the other coaches and they are So beautiful and pristine and organized and everything is just like they probably have a whole editing team and everything is so cohesive and I have to say, you have a full private practice.

This is a passion you have on the side that you do because you love and you enjoy. You're trying to break that mold of perfection anyway. But I feel it. I feel it. And I have to sit in this resilience of going, you're doing exactly what you want to do. Don't hear those voices that it should be better.

[00:23:20] Dawn Calvinisti: Oh, I love that you said this. I love that you said this. I am sure listeners totally resonate with that and just understand you just have to put it out there and sit with it. Like it's okay. It's okay. I love this. Stacey, if people want to get ahold of you, what's the best place to find you?

[00:23:39] Stacy Ramsey: Well, depending on what you're looking for. If you are looking for a licensed professional therapist, I am at Building Harmony Counseling in Frisco, Texas. So, I can only talk to people that are in Texas. I do take interns, however, so that's buildingharmonycounseling. com. If you are doing something that you just want some reminders, Good content.

I'm on Instagram. I'm Staceyann Coaching and it's a lot of midlife, midlife women. I give a lot of great content, just reminders. I do crazy reels. Not actually too crazy, but for me they are because I look at the perfection part, but just re establishing in midlife. Who do you want to be? Identity. I'm also starting to promote a program on midlife identity called Pivot.

So that's a great way to get a hold of me. And I also have a Stacyanncoaching. com, a website that will be a download for that course.

[00:24:35] Dawn Calvinisti: That's fantastic. Thank you. I will put all of that in the show notes. If you would like to talk to Stacey, hear some more from her, get to know her, be in her community, then go to either of those websites and, or into Instagram. I love that we get an opportunity to talk about these things especially the ADHD package, which again, I want to remind everyone that's listening Stacey is fully, highly functional, very busy, running businesses, capable, right?

So if you have received a diagnosis, this doesn't mean you aren't still capable and able to do all those things, right Stacey?

[00:25:12] Stacy Ramsey: Absolutely. Make it your super power.

[00:25:15] Dawn Calvinisti: Yeah, I love that. Thank you again so much for sharing with us your journey and for just being so open and vulnerable. I really appreciate it.

[00:25:23] Stacy Ramsey: Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure.

[DAWN CALVINISTI]

Thanks for listening to today's show. If you found value in what you heard, please share it with a friend and rate and review us on whatever platform you listen on. It really helps get us out to other women who could benefit from listening. 

Check out our show notes for details from the show and to connect with me or our guests. Want to continue the conversation? My website is www.pursueprogress.com or DM me @pursueprogresswithdawn on Instagram. 

Until next week, pursue progress no matter how imperfectly.


Links from this episode:

CONNECT WITH DAWN:

Private Podcast Deep Dive on ADHD: https://www.pursueprogress.com/deepdive

Website: https://pursueprogress.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pursueprogresswithdawn

Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/pursueprogresswithdawn

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/imperfectioninprogress

Imperfection in Progress Podcast: https://pursueprogress.com/podcast

Grab your 200 Affirmations for the 3 P’s here: https://www.pursueprogress.com/affirmationspodcast

CONNECT WITH STACY:

Website: https://www.stacyannecoaching.com

Website: https://www.buildingharmonycounseling.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stacyannecoaching/

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/stacyannecoaching

OTHER RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS PODCAST:

Umbrella Virtual Solutions: https://www.umbrellavs.com

Book Your Free 30 Minute Strategy Call with the host, Dawn Calvinisti: https://link.theviphub.ca/widget/bookings/dawncalvinisti/strategy

Private Podcast Deep Dive on ADHD: https://www.pursueprogress.com/deepdive

Accountability Partners: https://www.focusme.com

adult adhdadhd in womenadhdmanaging adhd
Coming from a background of natural health Dawn has owned multiple businesses as a doula, a childbirth educator, a homeopath and eventually an essential oil based network marketing business.

Dawn spent 7 years building this business to multiple six-figures and reached the top 3% of leaders in just under 3 years.

As a recovering people-pleaser, perfectionist and procrastinator herself, Dawn created online  summits for women who want to move away from these 3 P’s and find more joy and less stress in life.

She has spoken internationally on multiple podcasts and online summits to inspire women to put themselves on their to-do list without apology. To bring her message to even more women, she launched her podcast “Imperfection in Progress” in January 2023 with a membership site to create community and provide accountability.

Dawn Calvinisti

Coming from a background of natural health Dawn has owned multiple businesses as a doula, a childbirth educator, a homeopath and eventually an essential oil based network marketing business. Dawn spent 7 years building this business to multiple six-figures and reached the top 3% of leaders in just under 3 years. As a recovering people-pleaser, perfectionist and procrastinator herself, Dawn created online summits for women who want to move away from these 3 P’s and find more joy and less stress in life. She has spoken internationally on multiple podcasts and online summits to inspire women to put themselves on their to-do list without apology. To bring her message to even more women, she launched her podcast “Imperfection in Progress” in January 2023 with a membership site to create community and provide accountability.

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ADHD as a Superpower with Stacy Ramsey

May 22, 202429 min read

“There was a real reason for what was going on in my life, and also, there was a solution. I didn't have to give up. I could become more productive if I owned it as part of my story and said well because of this I need to be intentional to do this. And I knew I could be successful, and that felt really good.” - Stacy Ramsey

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ADHD as a Superpower with Stacy Ramsey

Welcome to Imperfection in Progress, a podcast for ambitious women who are people-pleasers, perfectionists, or procrastinators. Want to feel less stress and more joy in your life? Then this is for you. I’m your host Dawn Calvinisti.

It is such a joy to have Stacy Ramsey on the podcast. As a Licensed Psychotherapist and Inner Transformation Life Coach, Stacey Ramsey helps women in midlife to build a strong and nurturing relationship with themselves, unlocking improved mood, self-esteem, overall health, and decision-making capabilities, while fostering a sense of belonging and reducing emotional isolation and loneliness during life’s transitions.

Stacy’s greatest joy is cultivating anticipation in transition, to foster growth and find or renew individual values systems. In every season of life there lies the opportunity to learn and adapt as new insight into ‘self’ emerges. She looks forward to walking with each client to define their personal identity, empower them to build a greater understanding of who they are and craft with intention, exactly who they wish to become.

You can learn more about Stacy by visiting her website www.stacyannecoaching.com

We discuss Stacy’s journey being diagnosed as an adult with ADHD and how she has learned to accept it and work with it. She calls it her superpower and she shares ways that it has helped her throughout her life.

We also spend some time discussing ADHD in midlife women and I know you will come away from this feeling inspired whether you deal with ADHD or not.

Here’s our conversation.

Adult ADHD

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Dawn Calvinisti: Welcome once again to Imperfection in Progress podcast. I am so glad that you are here to hang out with us this month. This month is Mental Health Awareness Month and I think it's a really awesome thing that we get to talk about ADHD in women rather than kids because we often don't get to hear about ADHD in adulthood.

So thank you And today I have Stacey Ramsey joining me, somebody who has been in this process, who has been diagnosed as an adult, and I love that you're willing to share and bring some light to people on this. Stacey, thanks for coming.

[00:00:35] Stacy Ramsey: Thank you for having me.

[00:00:37] Dawn Calvinisti: So I'd love if you give us a little bit of an idea of When did you start to recognize that this might be something in your life and what led you to finding out that you have ADHD?

[00:00:50] Stacy Ramsey: I think as my kids got closer to school age, I had an undergrad in education as a teacher. So I was aware of ADHD, although it was very, very new. It wasn't in the DSM to be diagnosed until I want to say 1995, which is like, so we were right on the cusp of really identifying it in a clinical way.

Okay. But there were, I'm that Gen X where, so it's kind of like, we just roll with it, whatever it was, whether we were scatterbrained, a little flighty, a little flaky, whatever it was. But it really became evident when I had school age children, because all of a sudden I was needing to get someone on first, someone on third, someone, various different things.

I had three kiddos in four years. So, there was a tight knit as far as trying to navigate all of their school activities, after school activities, where I needed to be in life, and all of a sudden, I just started to kind of unravel, and by the time, I want to say my son, who's now 30, is was in first grade or so at the time, and he was struggling with some stuff, and we were seeing a a doctor, How They looked at me and said, are you ready to come in as an adult and be evaluated?

So that's kind of how that started to, that ball started rolling for me to get a little bit more clarity for myself.

[00:02:09] Dawn Calvinisti: So did you find, like, at that point when, when they said, like, do you want to come in, were you already aware, like, yeah, this is probably my issue, or were you just, like, there's a lot of things that I'm not, dealing with the best. What, what was it?

[00:02:23] Stacy Ramsey: I think I was so young and so afraid that somebody was going to find out. I didn't know what in the world I was doing as a mom. That's kind of what it felt like. I wanted to try and overcompensate. So much to be this good mom who had a plan, and remembered this, and had her ducks in a row, thought ahead, anticipated the needs, and in some levels, I could do that.

I was great at the in teaching and thinking creatively and doing all of those things. But I would get so excited about that, my husband at the time I was married would show up home and I'd go, Oh, you're home early. He'd be like, no, it's 630. Oh, you're going to want dinner. I guess I should go figure that out now.

Right? So there were lots of things like that, that would show up in my life and I would have a lot of anxiety as well, because I would be so afraid of what am I going to forget to do? Is somebody going to figure out? I forgot to do so. A lot of shame started to build. Because I wasn't quite meeting that mark and I knew it and I tried to overcome them.

[00:03:29] Dawn Calvinisti: I can imagine. I mean, even as a mom anyway, without any of this, there's a lot coming at you and there's a lot to deal with. And if you have more than one child, it's a big learning curve and trying to keep your day straight, running on not a lot of sleep, like all of that. Is hard enough for a mom that's not dealing with ADHD or anything else.

So when it came to the time where you're like, okay, yeah, I'm ready to take a look at this. Did it come as like, oh, good. We're going to look at this. Was it? Oh, I don't know how I feel about looking at this. Was it a relief? Like, what did it feel like?

[00:04:06] Stacy Ramsey: It was a relief. It was a relief because I came from a family where you don't make excuses, you just do better. So, I didn't want something to be an excuse and I was not accustomed to having an excuse that wouldn't be validating. And even if this was the issue, find a solution. So, I came from a very productive, family unit to where that's fine, but the goal still needs to be accomplished.

So, regardless. So, being able to unravel some of that confusion for myself, understand that it was a medical diagnosis, what I do love, like about it is that I, I worked with a doctor, obviously, that did PEDs as well. So, I was able to not only find ways to manage. My young children's schedule, but also create those spaces for myself to be organized.

How to simplify things, how to diminish time in making decisions, because I only give myself two to three options, not 20 options. And While, for some, 20 options is great, it specifically meets their needs, in fact, I'm, I'm going to have paralysis. I'm never going to be able to get started. So, it, it gave me tools to, yes, there was a reason, I wasn't just a bad mom, I wasn't irresponsible, I wasn't, you fill in the blank with the negative that I would be so consumed with trying to hide, but there was a real reason of what was going on in my life, and also, there was a solution.

I didn't have to give up. I could become more productive if I owned it as part of my story and said well because of this I need to be intentional to do this. And I knew I could be successful, and that felt really good.

[00:05:56] Dawn Calvinisti: I really love hearing this part of your story because I think in my community. Many of the women are super high achievers, very motivated, very driven very creative. And I think for a lot of people, when they think of somebody with ADHD, and maybe it's because we tend to think of kids more than adults, but we often think they're scattered, they don't get anything done, they're not able to focus everything seems like chaos.

But the reality is the women that I'm meeting are women who are highly driven and capable of focusing on something and getting it done and getting it done really well and have incredible creative abilities in figuring out ways to make it, even better and, and more exciting and more fun. And I don't know.

I just, I love the energy that seems to be behind it.

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[00:06:49] Stacy Ramsey: What was fun for me is I did have a lot of opportunity when my children were young, and I was married, and I, I, at that season of my life, I did have a privilege, and it very much is a privilege, to be a stay at home mom. So even at one point, I homeschooled my children. And that allowed me a lot of freedom, when you talk about, how do I pick Places that I can be successful.

We did a garden. At the time, my husband he was in stone. My ex husband, he was in stone. And so we traveled. So, when he had to go to the Jamestown area, up in Virginia. We were studying Colonial America, took all three of my kids, we hit the battlefields, we did so many things that added to their education, and then at some point or another we had a garden in our backyard.

This was my back out, that was always exciting, but, nonetheless it was an experience that we had and all three of my kids of the various ages were able to participate. So it allowed me to integrate a lot of things and simplify my life. We did math by baking. I will say I probably gained 20 pounds throughout that, time frame that we did a lot of that.

However, I have two amazing young women that are now almost 30, and they're amazing cooks and they're amazing bakers, so I must have done something right. But we learned through math. It was very applicable. for them. My son likes to create. He can build things. He can do all kinds of things in construction.

He works alongside his father now. But again, we found creative ways because of my ADHD. I wasn't very, when I was diagnosed, I wanted to throw away all of what I, the box I had to fit into that made me feel inadequate. So I did things that allowed me to feel proficient and enjoy and I did that a lot around my kiddos as they were growing up, we had dogs, one of my children had a horse, so we were very involved in that.

So that allowed for a lot of education, it allowed me to be successful, I didn't try to do something that I wasn't.

[00:08:54] Dawn Calvinisti: I love this. I think that's the thing when we are dealing with something that it's, it's a part of us, like, it's not going to disappear. The idea of learning how to absorb it, and work with it in a way that best works for us and for those around us, and for our lifestyle and all of that. I love that you integrated that I love that you Became aware of, okay, this is what works best for me.

And, if I need to, to make decisions, I don't want 500 options. I, I do need to simplify. These are the areas that I'm better at. I know when you and I were talking off the air, you told me, like, you feel like it's kind of your superpower. And I'd love for you to talk a little bit about that because I can see this.

[00:09:38] Stacy Ramsey: I've grown into it being my superpower. When I had to go to work, when I became licensed and started my practice, there were definitely new battles for me because I was entering a pre existing. I'm going back into the you show up here. Paperwork has to be done. HIPAA, laws, all of this kind of thing.

Now I'm restrained, right? I can't just do my flighty, flaky stuff that I've made successful when I was working with my kids. What I was able to do was At first, I promised you I wanted to dress the part, wear the hair, have the notepad, do all that. I was so distracted. I could not fully attend to my clients and patients as I needed to.

I also worked at one point in the early part of my career when I was having to really figure out how this was going to look for me in a rehab facility. Where that people were coming in and doing withdrawal, we did PHP, we did an IOP, which is outpatient, as well as I did private practice on the side as well.

So, I've got a lot of different things to make sure I am following laws, making sure I'm following protocols. What I was able to do is, into trying to create an identity. And part of that came from working with my patients there. When they became sober, they didn't know who they were. And I started to see some of the parallels in my own life.

At that time, I was actually going through my divorce. So between my ADHD, going through a huge life transition, dealing with going back into the workforce, having to comply to all these different things, I realized I don't know who I am anymore because my world, my kids had grown up. I was, In just a big transition, so I had to redefine who I was, and that became the journey, the journey that allowed me to create who I needed to be.

And it needed to be different from this perfect persona that I thought a therapist was to be. I had a number of exceptional colleagues that I worked with those years. I've been very blessed and fortunate to be in a very loving, nurturing environment of other therapists. And they've allowed me to express myself in a way that I feel comfortable.

And they encouraged it. So As I pressed into the years of experience, what was really, really reassuring to me is I had a couple of clients that would say to me, Why is it I've seen three or four therapists in my lifetime and nobody has presented this thing for me to consider? I can tell you we're trained in the same way.

There's different kinds of therapy, obviously, but I see it as my superpower and so if we press into it instead of fighting it, I've even gotten into a routine now that I don't readily take my medication now that I'm in my fifties, my hormones have changed and all of this so I can better manage myself.

There are times my oldest daughter, we spend quite a bit of time together and go, Oh my gosh, mom, please, what is happening? Focus, on my off time. So there are times I have to do better, but in my, my work, I organize myself for the most success,

[00:12:56] Dawn Calvinisti: So can we talk a little bit about the fact, because many of the women listening are in perimenopause or heading into menopause and when it comes to that time of life, because hormones are fluctuating, because things are changing so much, did you find differences in the way ADHD presented itself to you or the way that you had to management, manage it?

Was it different?

[00:13:19] Stacy Ramsey: I think that what we know because of piggyback into my, my side coaching LLC that I have for midlife women in the research that I've done, which is an interesting is women tend to have higher levels of anxiety because of the shift in our hormone change, we become less resilient to typical triggers in our environment.

We don't sleep as well and it is because I think of the shift of estrogen depletes our tolerance level also Depletes and so that leaves us at higher levels of anxiety when you do a deeper dive into ADHD Well, we're really looking at an inability to cope in the stressor that we find ourselves in simple enough But the attention thing is not that I can't focus on one given thing, it is that I am focusing on everything.

I hear the white noise for HIPAA in my office. I can hear the neighbors next door to me. I can hear something clicking on the floor. If, if it's been dropped, I hear it all. What I have to do is focus. And keep that attention. So, anxiety tends to be the thing that I notice the most about myself, and what diminishes my anxiety levels.

But I've even taken it a step further, I'm getting digestion work right here in the middle of my chest and I can switch up what I eat, what I don't eat and all of that. And I realized my body tells me different things in different ways that I never either paid attention to before or not. So, I know I have higher anxiety.

I have a hard time focusing on one thing. I'll have indigestion. There'll be other things. I don't sleep as well. So, I do think it is a it's a factor. I think that asking ourselves, what do we need to take care of those individual symptoms is key. Am I walking? Am I getting enough water? Am I paying attention to what I eat?

Am I eating enough? That's been the other thing I struggle with, with ADHD. If I work through whatever, I'm really excited about it. I'll go, okay, that's taking too much time to eat. I've got to, I've got to do this. And I don't get back to it. So, it's really a tapestry of a number of different things that are all woven together.

As we look at ADHD, as we look at anxiety, as we look at hormone levels and aging. It's just one of those other things that if we don't try to isolate it, I think it's easier to build a bigger picture. Does that make sense? It

[00:15:55] Dawn Calvinisti: Yeah, yeah, it does. I think for a lot of women if they are in those years, the thing that, that often comes up is, is the increase in anxiety. And the fact that, often we get so many mixed messages of how we should be taking care of ourselves, that we need to eat this. We don't need to eat that.

We should be doing this. We shouldn't be doing that. And it can be really overwhelming. And I think just the fact that you said, like, You're paying attention to your body and you're noticing things that maybe you weren't paying attention to before. I think that's such a key factor of getting to know yourself at whatever stage you're in, but really starting to read the messages that your body's sending you.

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[00:16:34] Stacy Ramsey: means you have to slow down, which, with ADHD, we don't always like to do. We like to go, go, go, go, go, but then when we hit a wall, we don't stop. I'll tell you one of the things I struggle with the most as a professional, aging with ADHD. I get really excited and passionate about something, and I am 100 percent in.

And I will burn myself out. I'll run, run, run, run, run. And it is frustrating because I know I do it and I guard against it and my daughter tells me all the time, are we going to do this again, mom? This is what happens when she's got her social work degree. So I was like, yes, we might be doing this again.

Sorry. So I haven't quite figured out the balance because I do get really excited. Especially when I work on programs or I'm working with certain clients, when I want to do more research, when I'm learning more about myself in midlife, midlife. For women is really a passion of mine because there's not a lot of research.

It's blooming right now. You'll see a lot of stuff on Instagram. Some of it is valid. Some of it is just other people's experiences and I think it's all good. But I think we're also going to get back to identity and who we are and how we validate ourselves. I think that plays into how we see the world when we have ADHD or high anxiety or even depression.

for your time. So it's about transitions, which is one of the things as a therapist, I specialize in transitions. One season of life to the next. Doesn't mean if you're going to junior high to high school, high school to college nest bulging to empty nest, never had children and you've reached the top of the corporate ladder.

Now, what do I do? What am I going to do with the rest of my life? Those tend to be the most pressing questions.

[00:18:22] Dawn Calvinisti: Yeah, and I, I think it's interesting in this time and day and age that we are now more aware, I think, than ever that there are a lot of options open to us at this time and stage in life, whereas even as, as little as 20 years ago, it was like we were winding down retiring and life was kind of ending.

And now, like, we're still doing great and looking for what's next and I've got a lot of life in me. And so. For sure, I can see that, this area of transition and again, like you said, it can be in so many different ways that we transition is definitely an area that we have to know who we are.

[00:19:00] Stacy Ramsey: You made me think of something when you when you said there's so many things we can do and that's key. But the other thing that I find that also comes up, we are that sandwich generation. And I think when you have ADHD, I think we have women who weren't never, were never diagnosed with ADHD. Maybe they don't have ADHD.

They are going to struggle much in the same way because we're trying to navigate, how do I? Take care of my aging parents. What are their needs? What can I manage and do I have my own career that I have to manage? Have my children launched? Some people had children later in life, so maybe they haven't quite launched in their fifties.

Maybe they're approaching that. And then we even now have, where we've got several generations that are living together because the economy is so challenging. We've got kids living with parents, with grandchildren, and we're all navigating that and seeing what's needs done. So these. You may not have ADHD, but a person could definitely understand what it feels like when you have so many things coming at you at once, and you have to come up with a solution, but realize the solution is only in that moment. dealing with aging parents, it's kind of like dealing with those newborns and toddlers. The only thing you can count on is change. Once you feel like you've got it in the box, something shifts, something new presents itself. And we have to adapt to that. And that is where I think when we have lower levels of estrogen and higher levels of anxiety naturally.

If you never learned resilience at a young age in life to sit in the discomfort to tell yourself, this just, but I'll get through on the other side. And the next time I have this opportunity, maybe I'll try a new way, or, this is just a hard place to be. But I have to balance my life.

Where are those reinforcers of positive? Where are my girlfriends? Where are those outlets that I enjoy? Whether it's crafts, creativities, athletics, going on walks, going on hikes, nature, fix yourself a cup of tea, go and get, your favorite coffee. How do we incorporate time for that? That becomes the balancing.

Because we don't always have control of what the different aspects that we're having to navigate in our life.

[00:21:18] Dawn Calvinisti: Yeah, absolutely. I, I love this whole conversation. I think we could do a whole other episode on just this transition time and what we're, we're focusing on. So, I know that's something that's needed too. One thing I ask every single person that comes on the podcast is, of the three P's, which are people pleasing, procrastination, and perfectionism, which one do you tend to go to?

[00:21:42] Stacy Ramsey: In this season of my life, I would say it's perfection. I struggle to get started because I have this vision of what something needs to be, an end product, how I, and I struggle to watch it evolve. Because I don't want to let someone down, but it's not the people pleasing things, like I just have this vision and I get so passionate about it.

So I'm learning and this is where new resilience for me right now, especially with my coaching taking off, trying to take off. Sitting and doing things not well. Not well at all and being okay with the growth. One of the things when I do my social media for the women's coaching for midlife, that's totally just focused on that.

So I have a little bit more latitude in how I approach that is the imperfection. I've done some reels where I just got out of exercising and zero makeup on my hair's going this way, it's half up and half down, which is exactly what I want to present. And then I look at it and then I look at some of the other coaches and they are So beautiful and pristine and organized and everything is just like they probably have a whole editing team and everything is so cohesive and I have to say, you have a full private practice.

This is a passion you have on the side that you do because you love and you enjoy. You're trying to break that mold of perfection anyway. But I feel it. I feel it. And I have to sit in this resilience of going, you're doing exactly what you want to do. Don't hear those voices that it should be better.

[00:23:20] Dawn Calvinisti: Oh, I love that you said this. I love that you said this. I am sure listeners totally resonate with that and just understand you just have to put it out there and sit with it. Like it's okay. It's okay. I love this. Stacey, if people want to get ahold of you, what's the best place to find you?

[00:23:39] Stacy Ramsey: Well, depending on what you're looking for. If you are looking for a licensed professional therapist, I am at Building Harmony Counseling in Frisco, Texas. So, I can only talk to people that are in Texas. I do take interns, however, so that's buildingharmonycounseling. com. If you are doing something that you just want some reminders, Good content.

I'm on Instagram. I'm Staceyann Coaching and it's a lot of midlife, midlife women. I give a lot of great content, just reminders. I do crazy reels. Not actually too crazy, but for me they are because I look at the perfection part, but just re establishing in midlife. Who do you want to be? Identity. I'm also starting to promote a program on midlife identity called Pivot.

So that's a great way to get a hold of me. And I also have a Stacyanncoaching. com, a website that will be a download for that course.

[00:24:35] Dawn Calvinisti: That's fantastic. Thank you. I will put all of that in the show notes. If you would like to talk to Stacey, hear some more from her, get to know her, be in her community, then go to either of those websites and, or into Instagram. I love that we get an opportunity to talk about these things especially the ADHD package, which again, I want to remind everyone that's listening Stacey is fully, highly functional, very busy, running businesses, capable, right?

So if you have received a diagnosis, this doesn't mean you aren't still capable and able to do all those things, right Stacey?

[00:25:12] Stacy Ramsey: Absolutely. Make it your super power.

[00:25:15] Dawn Calvinisti: Yeah, I love that. Thank you again so much for sharing with us your journey and for just being so open and vulnerable. I really appreciate it.

[00:25:23] Stacy Ramsey: Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure.

[DAWN CALVINISTI]

Thanks for listening to today's show. If you found value in what you heard, please share it with a friend and rate and review us on whatever platform you listen on. It really helps get us out to other women who could benefit from listening. 

Check out our show notes for details from the show and to connect with me or our guests. Want to continue the conversation? My website is www.pursueprogress.com or DM me @pursueprogresswithdawn on Instagram. 

Until next week, pursue progress no matter how imperfectly.


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Website: https://www.stacyannecoaching.com

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Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/stacyannecoaching

OTHER RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS PODCAST:

Umbrella Virtual Solutions: https://www.umbrellavs.com

Book Your Free 30 Minute Strategy Call with the host, Dawn Calvinisti: https://link.theviphub.ca/widget/bookings/dawncalvinisti/strategy

Private Podcast Deep Dive on ADHD: https://www.pursueprogress.com/deepdive

Accountability Partners: https://www.focusme.com

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Coming from a background of natural health Dawn has owned multiple businesses as a doula, a childbirth educator, a homeopath and eventually an essential oil based network marketing business.

Dawn spent 7 years building this business to multiple six-figures and reached the top 3% of leaders in just under 3 years.

As a recovering people-pleaser, perfectionist and procrastinator herself, Dawn created online  summits for women who want to move away from these 3 P’s and find more joy and less stress in life.

She has spoken internationally on multiple podcasts and online summits to inspire women to put themselves on their to-do list without apology. To bring her message to even more women, she launched her podcast “Imperfection in Progress” in January 2023 with a membership site to create community and provide accountability.

Dawn Calvinisti

Coming from a background of natural health Dawn has owned multiple businesses as a doula, a childbirth educator, a homeopath and eventually an essential oil based network marketing business. Dawn spent 7 years building this business to multiple six-figures and reached the top 3% of leaders in just under 3 years. As a recovering people-pleaser, perfectionist and procrastinator herself, Dawn created online summits for women who want to move away from these 3 P’s and find more joy and less stress in life. She has spoken internationally on multiple podcasts and online summits to inspire women to put themselves on their to-do list without apology. To bring her message to even more women, she launched her podcast “Imperfection in Progress” in January 2023 with a membership site to create community and provide accountability.

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