An ADHD Expert's Biggest Storm
So as a clinician treating ADHD since 1989 and having the diagnosis myself, I have seen and experienced my fair share of ADHD storms. I was not prepared though for the storm that came out of nowhere at 10:04 pm Friday August 30th. As I was checking the royalties page of my book Focused Forward and I just happened to see the button to go to Audible where my audio book was being sold. As I clicked the button a funny feeling came over me as a thought came to mind that I could not remember ever going to the Audible site since the book had been published well over 3 years ago. My next thought was the denial of this thought that went something like this, "oh that is silly, I surely must have looked at this site since the book was published."
Yet as the site came up in front of me, it did not look familiar to me and then my eyes drifted to the 164 comments about my book and my eyes got wide, my mouth dropped open and the familiar swirl of a storm began to vibrate throughout my entire body. Dizziness came over me as I gripped the cool granite bar where I was standing to stay steady. I could not believe that I had never seen any of these comments about my book! So I took a deep breath and looked at the ratings along with the comments and saw I had a 4.7 out of 5 stars and felt proud and relieved. As I continued to look at the ratings, though, I saw the narration rating was a very poor 2 out of 5 stars and my heart sunk. I had done the narration of the book and immediately wanted to run for the hills and leave the world behind.
As I summoned the courage to read a few of the comments about narration I read how annoying the book was to listen to because me, the reader, was also reading some of the punctuation of the book, such as when parenthesis started and ended or saying bullet point each time they came up in the book. Some comments indicated the listeners could not even listen to the entire book because of this issue. As I stared at the comments for who knows how long on this late Friday night, I wondered about just how I came to make the decision to read out some of the punctuation. I had never professionally read an audio book and my mind just swirled back to the bits of memory I had of the time when my book was being published and the crazy number of details I was managing then. I wanted to blame someone else yet I knew I was the person most responsible for the issue. I could not believe that I had created more storms for those diagnosed with ADHD while they were attempting to find help.
I found the courage to tell my wife, Edie, the next day after a mostly sleepless night, and was met with great compassion from her since she could see how hard this was for me. As I used many of my own re-centering tools for the next 24-48 hours, the EDS storm quieted to a low roar. I decided that contacting the audio engineer to consider re-editing the book was my best course of action. I discovered that although it was going to cost me more than a few hours of his time he thought he could edit out my reading of the punctuation. I knew I was in a major storm because I did not want to tell others for days and felt the swirl of embarrassment and edges of shame coming and going. As I sat with the issues, I realized that despite my best strategies and efforts, here I sat in front of what felt like the biggest mistake I had made in my 30 years of helping those with ADHD.
The reality slowly sunk in, my own ADHD, despite the knowing everything there is to know about ADHD, did not prevent this from happening. I had missed the evaluation of asking others how to read audiobooks or even listening to the audiobooks my engineer had sent me to listen to before recording. And even though my engineer thought reading the punctuation was odd, he accepted I was the expert and should know what I was doing. The fact I had not checked the Audible website for over 3 years still stuns me as there are wonderful comments about my book alongside the ones where listeners were rightly annoyed by how I read it.
As I continued to wonder just how I came to this decision to read the grammar parts of the book, I was lamenting about the issue to my oldest son Gabe and how could I have made this ignorant of a decision about such an important project. Gabe listened and then said simply, "I know exactly what happened dad, you have recorded clinical reports in your practice for years where you are required to read the punctuation for the person typing the report to get it accurate." Suddenly the insight of how I made the decision came to light, I had used the only reference point I had experience with which was to read the grammar just as I had done with clinical reports. I felt relieved to a great degree yet still felt a great weight hanging around me.
But, to be an authentic leader as a professional with ADHD I would have to tell others on my own podcast about how I handled one of the greatest EDS storms of my entire professional career. I am living with the issue and moving on from the storm as I increase the strategies I use daily to calm myself. I continue to learn how to navigate my own storms of ADHD and will continue to powerfully help others diagnosed with ADHD do the same. The new audiobook will be uploaded next week and the updated version for it will automatically be uploaded to all who purchased it.