Fun and Easy ADHD Solutions with Diane Délina of Sexuality & ADhD Solutions and Samia Bano
SAMIA: Hello, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Aloha, Sat Sri Akal and Hola!SAMIA: We're back today and I have an amazing guest, my friend, Diane from Sexuality & ADhD Solutions... did I say that right Diane?
SAMIA: Okay, great! Awesome! And actually I'm going to ask you jump right in and tell us something about yourself, and about the work that you do. And I know something very interesting about you -- you used to be a missionary and went from being a missionary to a sex therapist and coach. So maybe you can share something about that journey with us too....
DIANE: All right! Well first you missed one "Bonjour!"SAMIA: Ah, oh good one, bonjour!
DIANE: My first language is French :)
SSAMIA: Ah excellent! I will add that on to all my greetings from now on.
DIANE: Thank you! All right, so thank you so much for having me on the show. I just wanted to say what a pleasure it is to be here and I hope that your viewers get a lot out of this podcast. If they have any questions I'm always open to questions. They can send them even after... I'll be happy to answer them.
DIANE: Okay, so the journey has really been a life journey for me and along the way I did become a missionary. It was in about 1988 that I started studying, maybe even a little before that, 86 maybe. I started studying and went to Alabama to study theology and became a missionary, traveled a lot of the states. And then we were placed in Quebec because Quebec is the more French part of Canada. Ontario has a lot of French, but not solely French like Quebec does. So we were placed there and we established a couple of churches. And I did a lot of translating materials and working with the women and the children. And I loved that work. But at some point you know things changed in our life and my husband decided he didn't want to be into that kind of work anymore. He needed a change and he needed a lot of changes. We ended up the next year splitting up, and eventually divorced. And I had never considered that I would be a divorced woman. So I had to think of what I would do. So I actually had four kids now. And I had to think of what I could do. So I went back to school and became an elementary school teacher. So that was what I actually was doing, and there were a lot of things that I struggled with. And my children struggled a lot in school. And they weren't like just your average struggles. They were things like I really had a hard time with the paperwork. So hard, like organizing how they wanted the paperwork because you're having to do it a specific way for the government... after five or six years, it just became so overwhelming to me that every year I had to go through this. And I would have to take a three-week burnout leave just from doing my paperwork! And in case you don't know, in Ontario we have to make a year plan of how we're going to teach our curriculum throughout the year by the end of September, usually beginning of October.
Then we have to make a monthly plan, and then a weekly plan, and a daily plan. So there's a lot of organization and work that has to be put on paper... And so anyway, long story short, through the years I realized I had ADHD. I was almost 40 then. And my children had ADHD, and two of them also were autistic. But we didn't learn that till they were adults. But it created a lot of different dynamics in our house. And being now that I understood that I had a different brain, ah, now it made sense... like everywhere I went all my life, I always knew I was different. I always knew that I had to be on guard. I had to watch not to talk too much. I had to be careful not to just be spontaneous and have fun, not to laugh at things... it was like things to me that were a lot of fun and light, and I wanted to go, and I had all this energy... I had to always tone it down because people didn't seem to understand me, and it seemed like they couldn't handle all my energy.
DIANE: Or they would love my energy and they would constantly be pulling off me and then I would be drained because I had no boundaries right.
And so you know as a person of faith, for me there is no stronger, better motivation to keep pursuing and doing more of these things that make me feel more happy, more peaceful, more joyful, than knowing that these things are connecting me more and more deeply to God. Because as a person of faith, as a Muslim, for me that is my ultimate goal, that is my ultimate joy. That is my... yeah, that is the whole purpose and point of my being as a Muslim, right.
DIANE: Yeah! I had no clue that at some point you can say no to people and you don't let them too far into your space. And that's a huge thing with ADHD... a lot of times we have no idea of how to put up boundaries or say no. We just want people to like us, we want to make people happy. So a lot of times we get bullied. And then there's the opposite end of ADHD... where because ADHD seems to be a totally different perspective. So you might be all one or all the other. So you'll have the people who feel insecure and they're scared all the time, and they're afraid they won't get liked or stuff, so they bully... so you could have one or the other... And sometimes you could be the bully and other times you'll be the bullied one, that can change.. Getting through this, realizing that we all had ADHD, I thought this is great... Now I know what it's called, I'm gonna find a therapist to help us and we'll be okay, right? It took me 12 years to find help.
SAMIA: Oh my God!
DIANE: But then my kids had grown and they didn't want to hear anything about it. They already had had their struggles and they were doing the best they could. I was beside myself because I thought, "Wow, this has been so hard".
DIANE: You know it's been so hard... so that's how it started you know from being a missionary to having to do something else.
DIANE: And then you know getting into teaching and seeing a lot of the little kids in school had issues similar to me and my kids, so I knew there was something.
SAMIA: So you talked a little bit about how you discovered that you had ADHD and then you did a lot of learning around how to help yourself with that. How does all of that connect to your being a Sexuality Coach?
DIANE: I'm glad you asked. Well... when I learned that there was help out there I thought, well, I'm going to take the course to become an ADHD coach, but I'm going to do it to help me and my kids... At the same time though I was out of work and I was struggling… And I talked to an employment counselor who said, "You have a lot of education, you've been a teacher, you have a lot of experience and you're 50 now", (because I was 50 now). She says, "A lot of places will not hire you, so why don't you start your own business?" And I said to her, "I don't know what I would do for my own business and I have ADHD”... I didn't know if I could run a business because I had read books, but I didn't have any solutions. I didn't know how to change anything or how to put systems in place to manage my life. I was still struggling. So I talked to these people.
She wanted to put me in this business program. So while I got my ADHD certification to be an ADHD coach I took this business course and I decided I would start an ADHD business. Because I thought, "Wow! 12 years to find help, this is ridiculous", you know. If you have heart disease you go to your doctor. He sends you to the Hearts' Association, they will teach you how to eat, what to do to keep your heart healthy and you can have a support group. If you have cancer, they send you to the Cancer Center, you can get support and help... If you have diabetes, same thing. But if you have ADHD, "Oh you have some kind of mental disorder, we don't know much about it, go read some books".
SAMIA: Yeah, that's terrible.
DIANE: Like how crazy is that?!
SAMIA: It's crazy.
DIANE: And you're left by yourself to figure it out. So that's why I decided when I took the course, "Okay I'm gonna start a business in this". And you know the year after I started my business and I had clients right away. I actually thought as an ADhD coach I'm gonna go to the mental health association, I'm gonna go to some addiction centers, I'm gonna go to the jail, because these are where there's a lot of people with ADHD who have been misunderstood and they're stuck in situations that really they could get help and get out of.
DIANE: But nobody wanted to work together. And I tried to explain to them... they were people with ADHD struggling with self-control, they will not be able to follow your program until they learn to control themselves and their ADHD. So if we work together I could come in once a week, and in the morning and in the afternoon I would run a small group of five or six people and we could do this all the time. Well, nobody wanted to work as a team, but everybody wanted to send me clients. So I had to open an office and start seeing people... So I love that, but it really evolved... like it's been almost 10 years now and it's evolved a lot... So when I started I only worked with adults because there were some small things in place for children and I thought people could get help. I wasn't even open for a few months and I had parents calling me and calling me and saying, no, there isn't any help. Because I was living in the North of Ontario and Sudbury then, and they were like, "There's nobody who does what you do, you have to see our kids". Now I have a very soft spot for kids. I have worked with kids all my life. So I was happy to change and work with adults, but eventually some people actually came to my office and said, "Please see my kid", and I started working with kids again. And I realized, no, there's not a lot of help for kids either... the help there is, isn't always good help.
DIANE: Some people claim to work with ADHD but they really don't even know what it is. So it's important to ask whoever you're going to work with, “What do you know about ADHD? Do you know what it is?” And make sure they give you a clear answer that you understand. Because if you don't understand what they're saying, they may not understand either... they're just telling you stuff that they've read.
DIANE: Ask them; what experience do they have with ADHD? Do they know people in their family with ADHD? Do they have ADHD? How did they start working with ADHD? And what's their program like? Because we don't work well in normal programs. My programs are non-conventional.
So anyway, to get back to your question, I really started working with kids and I was still working with adults... I saw a lot of people who struggled in the workplace, and a lot of kids who people thought were lazy, or defiant, or just difficult, or too quiet... They didn't understand it's because their brain is not activated. The ADHD brain has centers that are sleeping and you need to wake them up, that's all you know. So if you don't know how... and I'll tell you, the worst thing for the brain is sugar... all the juices people give their children, it's all sugar! You're killing your kid's brain. If a child has ADHD, no sugars. It should all be vegetables and healthy eating, lots of greens, raw and cooked. Try different recipes with different things. I always say go to the bulk bar and get just a spoonful of different spices and try different things... Sometimes the simplest ways are the best. I just steamed vegetables. I eat them raw, or I steam them. I love them that way. Anyway, that's just a little aside for a tip but, yeah...
So as I started working with the kids I would go into people's homes to assess if their house needed to change systems. You know sometimes the way you organize your house just does not work for an ADHD brain.
SAMIA: Can you give an example of how you could reorganize it?
DIANE: Okay, one place that I went into, this is a simple example, but it happens often. When you came in they did not have the big entrance and they had a system of, you know, all the mitts went over here and all the scarves went over here because we have winter here..and the shoes go there. And if it's raining, there's these umbrellas go here... But it was so small, it was all packed. So what would happen, these three kids would come in and try to put things there. But it would just be shoved in and then things would stay wet. They didn't know how to get them out. So I looked at that and I thought, okay this isn't working.
So they had a bench here with two holes in them. So I thought we could actually add to that and make four holes. And so what they started doing was, we got four baskets. So all of the mitts went in one basket, and all of the scarves in the other basket, and then if they had other things in one basket... but all the wet stuff went in one basket. So mom knew this is wet, she could wash it and stick it in the dryer, or she could hang it... I had her buy these hooks that she could hang on a closet...so she could hang the mitts on there and the scarves. But it was... at least she knew, if it was wet, it was in one basket. So when she got home she could just grab that and throw it in the dryer or hang it up. This way it didn't smell when you came into the entrance, it didn't smell like wet clothes. And also they had to keep it neat. It was easy to throw the mitts in here, or the scarves in there, and if it's wet it goes here right. And so sometimes it's just something like that that makes it very simple.
SAMIA: Yeah... and just to make sure I'm understanding you correctly... if you have ADHD, are you saying one of the things that can be helpful is to have more space organization? So there's separation between where you put different things, and that makes it easier for someone with ADHD to process?
DIANE: Well, I'll tell you what, keeping everything consistent is the best thing. Especially if your kids have ADHD, you need to have it well organized and keep everything always at the same place. If you skip things around or if you don't have it organized, the kids are chaotic in their brain, there's already like a tornado in their brain, and now you're adding chaos. Because it's like they don't know where what is, they don't know where to put it, and they won't remember.
DIANE: The short-term memory doesn't work very well with ADhD. So you're not going to remember where you put things two minutes ago. At school you're not going to remember what the teacher just said unless she puts it on the board and she gives you some kind of a paper or something, you're not going to remember. And you know I hear teachers all the time say, "I already said that, I'm not saying it again, I said it twice...". Okay, but I need you to say it a third time, and it shouldn't be a big deal, the brain is not retaining.
DIANE: And again you can activate the brain so it will retain. But if it's not retaining in the moment, and you don't know how to activate it, you're gonna have to repeat, repeat, repeat… That's why I always say, if you have a kid with ADHD, get a white board. Whatever you want him to do, write it here, and never more than two or three things. I see parents with these long lists of things to do... oh! I can't even do that!
SAMIA: That’s true for almost everyone! Even I can't deal with that.
DIANE: No. And I think instead of the big board ... hang on, I have a... I often say just get these little boards... And you can put one in each room. And in each room you put one or two things you want your child to do, that's it. One thing in each room. Then they know in this room this is what I have to do, in this room this is what I have to do...one, two at the most. Not more than that. Your ADHD child will struggle; he may even have a hard time with one or two. So be patient, compassionate… your child can't do something... "Oh my goodness! It looks like you're having a really hard time getting that done, what could I do to help you?". You don't scream, you don't criticize, you don't blame, you don't accuse, and you definitely never compare! You're gonna kill your child.
DIANE: How do you like it? Do you like it Samia if I start comparing you to other people, or criticizing you, or telling you that you're not doing your podcast right Samia, do it differently...?
DIANE: You might like that...
SAMIA: No! No! It's terrible, terrible... comparison.
DIANE: Yeah, people do this to each other and to their children all the time.
SAMIA: I know.
DIANE: If you have ADHD you're going to take it way worse. You're going to think that you're good for nothing, and you're going to want to die. I can tell you, I talked to a lot of kids. In their brain they're thinking, "I'm worthless!". So stop. I call them the ABC’s. No ABC's -- no ACCUSING, BLAMING, CRITICIZING or COMPARING. Don't do it to yourself. Don't do it to your partner. And don't do it to your children.
DIANE: No ABC's.
SAMIA: I love it.
DIANE: That alone, I'll tell you, that alone will change your life.
SAMIA: Oh yes, absolutely, absolutely! You know I learned from one of my teachers the three C's to always fast from. Meaning don't do the three C's... And our three things were COMPARING, COMPLAINING, and oh my gosh!... I'm forgetting my three C's.
DIANE: Was it CRITICIZING?
SAMIA: Yes, there we go! You got it!
DIANE: I like adding the complaining, yes. And you know if you wanted to, you could add ASSUMING to the A's. A lot of parents assume things about their children -- well, you're like this, you're like that, or you're not doing it because you're this, or you're lazy, or you're not wanting to do it. It's not true! If your child has an ADHD brain they want to do things, but their brain is not awake so they can't do it.
SAMIA: Yes, that's right.
DIANE: A lot of times they're upset at themselves. Don't get more upset at them... teach them to love themselves... even if they can't do it right away... ask... “Well, what would you need right now from me to help you do that?” And help them! Buddy systems work. Help your child. You had this child. Get off your butt and help your child. I see a lot of parents who never want to help their kids. Then you shouldn't have kids... kids need help.
SAMIA: True, true!
DIANE: And now if you're a parent with ADHD, because ADHD can be genetic, there's going to be a whole other dynamic. I know because as the parent with ADHD sometimes I just didn't understand what was going on. But I would ask questions. I didn't want to upset my kids so I'd ask some questions. “I don't understand why you're doing that, could you help me understand?".
DIANE: And don't ask them “why?” Don't say, "Why are you doing that?" Because when people ask you, do you know? You're upset about something. Or you're having a meltdown.
SAMIA: That's right!
DIANE: And people say, "Why are you upset? Why are you doing this?"
DIANE: They don't know! They're just little kids.
SAMIA: Yeah, yeah! And that is language of blame, it really is. It's like when you say, "Why are you doing that?"...behind that “why?” is the assumption that there's something wrong with you and that's why you're doing this. And that's a very, very, not-good idea. You know this is something we talk about in trauma informed care. Like even when we're dealing with survivors of abuse and other trauma... don't ask "Why?" Ask, "What, what happened to you?"..."What's going on?"
DIANE: And, "How can I help you?"
DIANE: What and how are your best ways to start a question. So "What can I help you with?” Or, “what are you thinking right now, what are you feeling?" Really asking... They don't know about their feelings. A lot of people with ADHD, they're all in their head, they don't understand their feelings. So ask them, start to teach them. Go to Google, print out a Feeling Wheel. They're the best tool you can have. They start you with the basic feeling then they explain it more and then even more so you can get to the root of what they're really feeling. Because that's where you're going to understand better.
SAMIA: Yes! Oh, you know what, what we'll do is, we'll put a link to a Feeling Wheel in the notes. Awesome, awesome! We will include that as a resource in the notes for this episode. (Access the Feelings Wheel here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mWYXdm3fJ7yQsGIyZzArFBRKzTyh5Omu/view?usp=sharing)
DIANE: So I'm going to continue now. See, I keep stopping and getting... just the different things, but I... you did ask me to elaborate a little bit.
SAMIA: Yes, and I love it! Thank you :)
DIANE: So, as I was working with kids and getting in the home, I saw parents who were not happy. They were not connected, they were not satisfied with their own life. And they had a hard time dealing with their kids because they were unhappy. So I started working with the parents more. So you'd buy my program and I would have so many sessions with the parents, and then some in the home or some with the kids, right. But the parents are at the core of everything in the home.
DIANE: So if they don't understand, or if they're not happy, it's going to be hard to help that child.
SAMIA: That's right.
DIANE: So I started realizing that I needed to work more with the parents. So I started working more with the parents. And I noticed that a lot of them were not sexually satisfied. And that was a big problem in their marriage or in their relationship... However when we talked about sex, a lot of it came down to bad communication. They never talk about how they like to be touched. "Do you like to be touched softly, do you like to just have somebody hover, or maybe you want to have your energy played with and you don't even want to be touched?... Some people don't get aroused by touch. They get aroused by not being touched, just by someone playing in their energy... Some people like light touch, some people might like to be slapped or pinched or scratched. And these are not things that we need to make people feel ashamed about or feel humiliated. There is only your thoughts, your feelings and your desires. And there is no wrong there. There's just, "How could we figure this out?"...
SAMIA: Yes, yes I agree... just like with ADHD... no complaining, comparing and criticizing.
DIANE: No. And no accusing or blaming.
DIANE: No accusing or blaming. It's talking about my thoughts, my feelings, my desires, and then what are the options. Look at three or four different options. You don't have to always stick with the same thing.
DIANE: If your partner tells you something that they desire... if you say, "That's disgusting, I'm never doing that!" Do you think your partner will ever want to talk to you about private things again? You have to be a real grown-up now. You have to be mature enough to hold a safe space for your partner no matter what they say... you want the truth... well you got to be able to handle the truth...
SAMIA: Very true!
DIANE: After doing this for a few years and taking some workshops I decided to become licensed as an Erotic Blueprint Coach. Because that goes deep, deep. Because a lot of times when I'm talking about the erotic part of people, I realize there's trauma there... So now in the past year I've been doing trauma courses, and I'm doing some trauma work... I do a lot of brain conferences, brain research, brain stuff... I'd like to follow that... They were saying just recently... one of the latest researchers says that every single child has been traumatized at least once in their life.
DIANE: So that means as adults we all have something we have to deal with.
SAMIA: That's right! That's right! And there are so many different kinds of trauma you know. That's a really huge area of education that's lacking. I mean there's mental, emotional abuse, there's spiritual, financial abuse… There are, unfortunately, unlimited ways in which people can hurt each other. And we don't recognize the seriousness of how much that hurts, and how that hurt impacts us and impacts our relationships through the rest of our lives.
SAMIA: Yeah, you know I'm just keeping my eye on the clock Diane. And what I'm thinking is, let's end our conversation for this episode here, and next time let's pick up right here and talk more.
DIANE: I love it!
SAMIA: Yes... next time we’ll talk about recognizing signs and symptoms of abuse and how people can hurt each other, and... like you I also have a real heart for working with kids. I'm actually a survivor of child sexual abuse myself. And so I would love to talk with you about how to recognize signs and symptoms of abuse and trauma, and how we can help people who have experienced abuse or other forms of trauma... For today I will wrap up with my usual greetings. And I this time I start with Bonjour, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Aloha, Sat Sri Akal and Holah!
DIANE: Thank you, bye :)
SAMIA: Bye :)
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