ADHD and the Job Hunt (or, why I am not a liability)

ADHD and the Job Hunt (or, why I am not a liability)

I talk a lot about my upcoming programs, but what I've never mentioned is that I'm also looking for a  job for stable income. I only apply to roles that appear to be a cultural fit with pay that matches my experience and cost of living. I want a position that's engaging with the right amount of challenge, where I'll be able to get feedback but also have autonomy. I like working with teams and collaborating, but also being able to do my part on my own. I want to be a rock star. I want to shine. I want to help. I recently posted this to LinkedIn:

I want a space where I either have cubicle walls OR a space I can go when I need to work alone if I'm in an open-concept office. A window seat for natural light would be nice, but not necessary. I need these things because I'm easily distracted, and I experience sensory issues. I need a physical barrier between myself and co-workers. I like to put calendars and other visual aids up on walls. It helps my productivity. I'm capable of hot-desking if my laptop is lightweight.

Something like this looks nice but can cause me anxiety:

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

One of the reasons for this post is that I've directed potential employers to this site as a writing example. It could be a risky move. I don't want potential employers – or clients – to worry that I'm a liability. ADHD isn't a red flag. It has benefits!

Here are some of the benefits of ADHD


One common characteristic of people with ADD/ADHD is the ability to hyperfocus. Many scientists, artists, writers and entrepreneurs have been very successful because of their ability to focus for hours. See examples below.

Bright and creative with different perspective

We tend to be intelligent and creative. We look at things differently than others do. We spend a lot of time in our heads. We're persistent. I think entrepreneurship appeals to people with ADD/ADHD because we're full of ideas and prefer to create our ideal work environment without burdening employers. I suspect that writing is often a career choice because of our creativity. We spend a lot of time in our heads. We create stories. We work out problems.

Albert Einstein is said to have had ADD, although this label that didn't exist during his lifetime.

Compassion and empathy

We tend to be compassionate and empathetic. These are useful when collaborating with co-workers or stakeholders and when communicating with clients. I'm certainly empathetic.


Hard work to maximize potential

We work hard to compensate for our “weaknesses,” and we've found ways to do so. For example, while “attention to detail” is one such weakness, people whom I've worked with and for have observed that I have an eagle eye for editing. I notice when the font face is inconsistent and when there's an extra space. As long as I take my editing work to a quiet place with no distraction, I edit well. To me, editing is like a fun puzzle. Find all of the errors! I'm extremely organized because I need to be. Everything gets written down. If it's not on my calendar, it doesn't exist. I have friends with ADD who share this experience.


We're self-aware. We're aware that we're different than others. Some of us understand that we're neurodiverse, even if we don't know that word (I only recently learned it).

In the last year, I stopped fearing being a burden. I've taken it upon myself to help fight the stigma. Creating awareness is why I changed the mission of this website. When my previous full-time job made my ADHD flare up after it had laid dormant for months, I discussed it with my manager. It was the first time I had ever raised the issue with a manager. In the past, I chose to “suck it up.” My manager was sympathetic and unsuccessfully advocated for me. Because I was under contract with an agency, the system wasn't on my side. I accepted the job offer because I was qualified and needed income, but I quickly discovered that it was a poor fit.

Lessons learned while working for that company is helping me in my current job search. I have a better understanding of my own needs, which allows me to maximize my productivity and value. I'm an asset because I know what works for me and what doesn't. Being honest about it benefits my (future) employer and me.

I also picked up some new experience and skills. For example, I learned how to plan and host a Twitter chat.

Famous people with ADD or ADHD

In addition to Albert Einstein, famous, successful people with ADHD include:
Richard Branson, journalist Lisa Ling, winning athletes Michael Phelps and Terry Bradshaw, several musicians and politicians, plus more entrepreneurs.

It seems that people choose careers for reasons related to ADD (or, their careers choose them).

On side-gigs, side-hustles and the like

I am fully confident that I can support a small (4-6) roster of 1:1 clients and/or a couple of client groups while managing a 40-hour/week job. SO many people have side hustles these days, and if anyone can do it, it's someone with Attention Deficit Disorder. I have systems in place. I have multiple calendars. I can prioritize. For years I freelanced as a social media specialist while I had a full-time job. I collaborated with one or two clients at a time. I always preferred to keep my client roster small so that I could devote more attention to each. I think that that's beneficial for relationship management, ADD or not.

side hustle

Photo credit: “InvestmentZen” on Flickr.

So, if you're here because I've applied for a job at your company, let's chat! I determined that you and I were a good fit based on what I knew about the role and the company. I'm a good judge of such things. If you're here without me having applied to your company, let me know if you've got anything. I'm looking for either a transit-friendly job in Toronto or remote work.

Featured image on homepage by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

The Reset Diet

The Reset Diet

This post is a continuation of the previous post, which I felt was getting too long.

Reset Diet

Finally, the reset diet…

I recently posted this to Instagram:

At last, the series of posts that I tried to post previously: 📷📷📷 Sunday's poached eggs on kale with grain-free almond bread. I didn't set out to make a dish for Instagram, but it was beautiful. 🍳🍳🍳🍳 I seasoned the kale with garlic, turmeric, salt and pepper. I use a lot turmeric in winter. ❄❄❄❄ I've been choosing what I eat by intuition recently. I'm currently eating for body reset (some would call it a detox), so I've been eating lots of vegetables, light protein, anti-inflammatory spices and minimal allergens. I've eliminated all nightshades except for a small bit of black pepper. I've removed grains and legumes. 🍴🍴🍴🍴🍴 It's not forever, but when my reactions to certain foods become uncomfortable, I listen to my body and let it rest and heal. Otherwise, I mostly eat what I want, first asking myself if it's worth the potential consequences. I don't mind a bit of gas or a bit of itching. . . . . #instalove #glutenfree #yeastfree #instayum #healthyeating #wheatfree #poachedeggs #instalove #healthyliving #nutritious #foodporn #whatsforlunch #certifiednutritionist #instagood #candidadiet #tastytuesday

A post shared by Andrea Toole, CTNC (@findinghealthwellness) on

“I've been choosing what I eat by intuition recently. I'm currently eating for body reset (some would call it a detox), so I've been eating lots of vegetables, light protein, anti-inflammatory spices and minimal allergens. I've eliminated all nightshades except for a small bit of black pepper. I've removed grains and legumes.

It's not forever, but when my reactions to certain foods become uncomfortable, I listen to my body and let it rest and heal. Otherwise, I mostly eat what I want, first asking myself if it's worth the potential consequences. I don't mind a bit of gas or a bit of itching.”

I was having candida issues and while I've done full on multi-week candida cleanses in the past, I decided to do something different this time. For the first two days I consumed nothing but smoothies and vegetable broth, followed by a couple of days of nothing but liquids and vegetables with a few herbs. I cut out coffee. During this time I noticed an improvement in cognitive function and decision making, and I wasn't hungry at all.

Check out this broth in the making, which I cooked and strained:

vegetable brothAnd the next batch…

vegetable broth closeup

Details on Instagram

I've continued to eat in the way I laid out above. Intuitively. Lots of vegetables, light protein including a lot of eggs, anti-inflammatory spices and minimal allergens. Minimal nightshades. I've removed grains and legumes. I'm back on coffee, dairy-free. I've been consuming a lot of coconut milk and made cashew milk yesterday. I've read about the 80/20 rule of dieting, which is where you eat healthy (or on diet) 80% of the time. I seem to be doing a 90/10 or a 95/5. The bigger number is when I eat at home. When I'm out I still adhere to some guidelines and strive to avoid what my immune system would perceive as the worst invaders.

The two times I've had tomato, I've reacted to it, so it's out. I haven't touched beer in a few weeks.

I've been getting meal ideas from The 21 Day Sugar Detox, the 21 Day Sugar Detox cookbook and Practical Paleo, all books by Dianne Sanfilippo.

I've been eating a lot of greens and eggs, like this:

poached eggs with kale

The grain-free almond bread kicks-ass. There's a photo series on Instagram.

Eating intuitively is really good for health. I know what’s “good” for me and what’s “bad.” I pick my poison, so to speak. I ask myself if it’s worth it. As I said in my last post, I ate a couple of slices of birthday cake in the middle of this. I didn’t get sick. I didn’t die. The sugar bomb did not upset me emotionally or physically. I did notice a slight immune effect.

And that cold that I discussed two posts ago? It did get worse after I stayed up late for two consecutive nights, one of which was spent working on that blog post, and ate one more piece of cake. I had ONE day on which I was blowing my nose a lot. One day of chest congestion. Then it was gone.

Questions? Comments? I might have one more blog post in me on the topic.

Brain Food

Brain Food

In my last post, I discussed the neurotransmitters in your gut, making the connection between what you eat and your brain health. I addressed the gut's role in the immune system and allergic reactions in the brain. I shared that I've been on what I call a “reset diet.” I want to expand on all this, mostly from the perspective of the food we eat. I ended up with a post that was almost 2,300 words, so I moved the final part to a new post. Still, this is a long one because there are a lot of related concepts.

“Let food be thy medicine.”

Food can help us, or food can harm us. No two people are affected the same way. We have different food sensitivities and allergies. Some we're born with, some develop later in life.

What is an allergy?

Simply put, an allergy is a damaging immune response by the body to a substance.

According to The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, “An allergy is a chronic condition involving an abnormal reaction to an ordinarily harmless substance called an allergen.”

If you have an allergy, your immune system views the allergen as an invader, and a chain reaction initiates. White blood cells of the immune system produce IgE antibodies. These antibodies attach themselves to a specific kind of cell, causing a release of potent chemicals such as histamine.

Although allergies can develop at any age, the risk of developing allergies is genetic.

Understanding the immune system

The immune system is a host defense system. It’s made up of a complex network of cells, tissues, organs, and the substances they make that helps the body fight infections and other diseases. The immune system includes white blood cells and organs and tissues of the lymph system, such as the thymus, spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes, lymph vessels, and bone marrow.

To function correctly, the immune system must detect a wide variety of microorganisms called pathogens that can cause disease and distinguish them from healthy tissue.

Immune system disorders can result in autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. Immunodeficiency occurs when the immune system is less active than normal, resulting in recurring and life-threatening infections.

As indicated above, the immune system is involved in allergy responses.

There are two system analogies that I tend to use:

  1. The immune system is like a computer firewall, keeping viruses out.
  2. The immune system can be seen as an army with a limited number of soldiers and ammunition.

I think that the immune system can only focus its energy on so many things at a time so if there’s a cold or flu going around and you're not taking care of your immune system, there’s a higher likelihood that it will slip in. Everyone has different conditions under which they tend to get sick. For some, it's stress. For others, childhood trauma could keep their immune system chronically weak. For me, sleep is critical. I know that if everyone around me is sick, I need to get enough sleep to keep my defenses up. Some people seem to get sick every time there's “something going around.”

It's not just about getting sick, or allergies. Every time we bang our knee or stub our toe, our immune system goes to work. We bruise, we swell. When we get food poisoning, we vomit and/or have diarrhea. Our body reacts to keep foreign invaders out.

Skin reactions such as cold sores, pustules, and acne are all immune related. Acne has many causes – most notably hormonal – but the immune system also plays a part.

Studies have found a correlation between the bacteria Propionibacterium, acne and the immune system. (Source: Gabby Bernstein's interview with dermatologist Bobby Buka, MD.) Propionibacterium lives in and around the sweat glands, sebaceous glands, and other areas of the skin. One study found that Propionibacterium was the most prevalent human skin-associated genus of microorganisms.

The immune system and what we eat

In addition to allergies, there are other reasons foods might not be suitable for us and yet tolerated by others. Sometimes foods will always harm us, sometimes it's only at certain times.

We all have different needs to thrive. Some people thrive eating high-fat diets (everyone needs fat, but some need more than others). Some do well on a high carb diet. Some stay healthy eating vegan, some can’t eat vegan at all. Some people can’t eat raw vegetables without digestive distress. Some people get kidney stones if they eat too many vegetables. The list of examples goes on.

The point: There is no one-size-fits-all eating lifestyle. However, there are foods that in general, we should all eat more of, and some we should eat less of.

The Candida Connection

You might have a yeast overgrowth and not know it because you don’t know the symptoms or what it looks like, or you hear “yeast infection,” and your only association is TV commercials for vaginal yeast infection treatments.

Candida Albicans is the most common type of yeast infection found in the mouth, intestinal tract and vagina, and it may affect the skin and other mucous membranes. If the immune system is functioning optimally (your soldiers are fully armed), this type of yeast infection is rarely serious. It's usually harmless. However, if the immune system is not functioning correctly, the candida infection can migrate to other areas of the body, including the blood and membranes around the heart or brain. (Source: WebMD)

Candida is a fungus. At proper levels in the body it helps with nutrient absorption and digestion. When there's too much of it, symptoms may appear. That’s when you get Candida Overgrowth Syndrome, a chronic condition that flares up in connection with food sensitivities and a disruption in the gut and skin microbiomes.

Candida can grow out of control when your body's natural pH balance is disturbed.


Your Body Has Two Brains

Your Body Has Two Brains

Your body has two brains

Yep. I just said that. Did you know that the gut is often referred to as the “second brain”?

Not specifically the gut, though you’ll hear it called that, the enteric nervous system (ENS). The “gut” is generally the “gastrointestinal tract.” The enteric nervous system is embedded in the lining of the gastrointestinal system, beginning in the esophagus and extending down to the anus.

The ENS consists of sheaths of neurons embedded in the walls of the long tube of our gut.

Simply put: Neurons line the gut. The gut contains neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters affect our brain health. Balancing neurotransmitters is a brain and body job.

Quick fact:

 The second brain contains some 500 million neurons, one two-hundredth of the number of neurons in the brain and 5x as many as the one hundred million neurons in the human spinal cord. 

Emotions and the gut

About 90 percent of the fibers in the primary visceral nerve, the vagus nerve, carry information from the gut to the brain. This has huge implications.

For one thing, people tend to associate neurotransmitters with the brain. When people talk about mental health issues such as depression, they often speak of neurotransmitters. For example, we talk about selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI medication) such as Paxil, Lexapro, Prozac, and Zoloft to treat depression.

But read this:

 95% of the body's serotonin is produced by the gut nerve cells, and every class of neurotransmitters found in the brain is also found in the gut. 

It’s a complex relationship.

Given the physical connection between the gut and the brain, it might not surprise you that our emotions are influenced by the nerves in our gut. Think “butterflies in your stomach” or that kind of anxiety, fear, or excitement (bad or good) that makes you want to vomit even if you might not be nauseated. Panic attacks. Stress diarrhea. The feeling you get when you first fall in love or when you have a crush. Antiici…..pation.

When we’re thinking about depression and other mental wellness issues, we need to look at what I call our Intake.

Food and mood

Our gut plays a prominent role. That means digestion plays a prominent role. That means that what we eat, how we eat, the combinations of foods, and eating what is right for us, affect our mental health.

Hippocrates, often referred to as “The Father of Medicine” and the author of the Hippocratic Oath that all medical practitioners take is famous for saying “All disease starts in the gut.” He also said, “Let food be thy medicine.”

Those two Hippocrates quotations alone are very telling. Disease starts in the gut, and food as medicine. What we put in our mouths can help us or harm us.

Some researchers say that up to 90 percent of all diseases can be traced in some way back to the gut and health of the microbiome (others say closer to 80%).

An aside: Bill and Ted might have invited Hippocrates back to their classroom if their project was in health class! They'd have called him “Hippo-crates,” like “So-crates” below:

(RIP, George Carlin.)

Little proteins and mood

There are two types of peptides (little proteins), specifically opioid peptides, that affect the morphine or opium receptors in the brain: Casomorphins, from the digestion of milk protein casein, and gluteomorphins derived from gliadin, one of the primary proteins found in gluten grains.

These peptides are absorbed from the gut and find their way to the brain, causing mood and behavioral problems. Gluteomorphins could also lead to the malabsorption of vitamins and minerals.

There are two ways that peptides cause problems in the brain:

  1. They look foreign, so the immune system reacts. This leads to overall inflammation which can show up as autoimmunity, autism, ADHD, depression or psychosis. The brain gets inflamed as an immune response, just as when you bump another body part, it swells.
  2. Peptides leak into the body and brain and mess up brain function like heroin or a psychedelic drug would.

Source: Mark Hyman, MD, The Ultramind Solution.

(After I learned that, I wanted to have my peptide levels tested. It’s a urine test.)

The microbiome

The microbiome is a complex internal ecosystem of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi and other) located within our bodies. In adults, microorganisms make up about 1 to 3 percent of the body's mass. That's 1.5-4.5 pounds of bacteria in a 150-pound adult or 2-6 pounds in a 200-pound adult. (Source: National Institute of Health)

The vast majority of the bacterial species that make up our microbiome live in our digestive system/gut/ENS. Adults have over 100 TRILLION microorganisms living in their gut.


A loss of microbial diversity is called “dysbiosis” – which translates to “life in distress.” As it’s understood, dysbiosis is the loss of beneficial microbes and pathogenic (bad) ones encroach. Of course, we want more good bugs than bad. When bacteria are out of balance, so are we.

It’s a global health crisis.

In The Ultramind Solution, Dr. Mark Hyman wrote that when antibiotics are used to treat harmful bacteria, depression often lifts.

Dysbiosis is related to the food we eat – not just junk food vs. health food, but quality. It’s related to the water we drink. The air we breathe. Soil contamination. Pesticides. Pollution. Chemicals. Viruses, which lead to antibiotics, which lead to superbugs and so forth.

The gut microbiome and the immune system

Most of the immune system resides in your gut. The gut microbiome and the immune system influence each other and rely on each other.

I’m often telling my partner to lay off the jujubes because they (the sugar) suppress the immune system. You know what? He’s getting over a cold that made him feel dreadful. One day he suspected that he had the flu. Another day he proclaimed pneumonia. He subsequently had a temperature of 101°F. After about 4 days of uncomfortable sickness, he was on the mend. He gave me that cold and it barely registers. Sure, I've had a couple of excruciating headaches, including one that woke me up in the middle of the night with its stabbing, searing pain, and I’m coughing up a bit of mucus, but it’s nothing compared to his experience.

Until 2 days ago I’d gone without sugar, yeast or grains for a couple of weeks. I gave up beer and ate light proteins (more on that to follow in another post). I’ve been calling it my reset diet. Then there was birthday cake. My birthday cake. I chose to allow myself a slice or two of birthday cake.

I've also been taking Vitamin D, cod liver oil and probiotics regularly.

Microbiome, microbial diversity, and allergies

Some allergic reactions happen in the brain. It’s like a runny nose but in the brain. Therefore, food allergies can cause mental symptoms, such as brain fog, anxiety or depression.

Microbial diversity in poop samples in babies can indicate allergies later on.


I've tried to keep this concise and straightforward with little jargon. I have some related posts planned that might add more relatable context to it. This piece of writing and those related ones that haven't been written yet have been rolling around in my head for almost two weeks. When I started to draft this one a few days ago, I had too many ideas to untangle. It wasn't until I started typing this one that I got into the flow and it practically wrote itself. A lesson here: Sometimes procrastination is useful.

Stay tuned.

…but I’m Neurodivergent

…but I’m Neurodivergent

This post about neurodiversity, neurodivergent, and other related terms is sort of an addendum to the post I wrote called “I am not neurotypical“, in which I explained why I don't like the terms neurotypical and atypical. The idea for that post first came to me at least five months ago, after I watched the show Atypical. I wrote the post in my head and then forgot about it until I sat down to write the piece that I intended to publish this week. That one will be up next.

My usual approach to blogging is to write to educate. This mission has been my approach for well over a decade, through every blog. Even if I'm ranting, I want you to get something out of it that's not just about me.

I didn't do any research for my Neurotypical post at all, I just let my fingers type, so forgive me if you read it and thought I was talking about of my ass. Often, I research the heck out of my posts.

After I'd finished that post, and while I was in the process of grabbing images for it, I came across two other terms, closely related to one another:


According to Autistic author Nick Walker, who knows way more about the terminology than I do, Neurodiversity is the diversity of human brains and minds. He called neurodiversity a biological fact. People are neurologically diverse.

I like this. It doesn't imply normal/abnormal, right or wrong; it says that we're all different, and we are. I know I said in my previous post that I don't like to classify people in ways that marginalize them, but this at least makes sense to me.


I like this one less.

Walker says,
Neurodivergent means having a brain that functions in ways that diverge significantly from the dominant societal standards of “normal.”

Yes, some brains do.

After some examples he says,
neurodivergence is not intrinsically positive or negative, desirable or undesirable – it all depends on what sort of neurodivergence one is talking about.

I think my issue is with the word “normal”, like “typical”.

Note, I do not disagree with Walker, at all. I'm expressing how I feel about the words. Words don't just have meaning; we have emotional connections to the words themselves. We also have reactions to the way words sound out loud. (You know what I'm talking about.)

Maybe it's my baggage from being bullied as a child or not feeling normal as a kid with undiagnosed ADD/ADHD (I got the diagnosis when I was in my 20s). Maybe it's that feeling of being marginalized that has stayed with me. We interpret the world and situations based on our experiences so far and so it makes sense that my experience up until now affects my current perception of words and concepts. I have experienced the world for 42 years as of next week.

Also, see this post from Un-boxed Brain. I found this one first, and it took me to Walker.

“I am not neurotypical”

“I am not neurotypical”

“I am not neurotypical.”

If my memory is correct, I first heard the term “neurotypical” while watching the TV show Atypical*, about a family with a teenage some who has Asperger's. Although I understood what the word meant, I looked up the definition for the sake of this post.

Google said, “not displaying or characterized by autistic or other neurologically atypical patterns of thought or behavior.”

Urban Dictionary told me that it's a word “used to describe a person who has a typical brain. This not only includes non-autistic people, but also people without mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities or any other neurological illness or disorder such as epilepsy or brain tumours.”

Between first being exposed to the term “neurotypical” and googling it, I saw it used in older articles about ADD and ADHD and other brain health conditions.


I quickly decided that I don't like the word. To me, classifying people as “neurotypical” or “atypical” indicates individuals either have a “normal” (neurotypical) brain or an abnormal one. While there is such a thing as a “healthy brain” and brain health is one of my primary areas of focus these days, I've always been bothered by classifying people in ways that marginalize them. We are all different, yes, and I believe in embracing those differences, but “neurotypical” and “atypical” make me uncomfortable.

However, humans see the world through words and classification, and I understand that it's easier to make sense of the world that way.

If a healthy brain is neurotypical and AD(H)D, depression, Alzheimer's, dementia, anxiety are all brain health issues, then people with those conditions are atypical.

Mental health=brain health

Mental health and brain health are not the same, but they are interconnected, and people often miss the “brain health” part of the picture.

I created this image in May 2017:

Labels and self-identifying

Perception is interesting. I was contacted, twice, by someone who noted that I write about disabilities. My reaction was to recoil and think, “Has this person read my website? I don't write about disabilities.” It's possible that she didn't read my website (as a longtime blogger I can tell you that it's common to receive offers from people who haven't). However, it's also possible that some people could perceive it that way.

It's not how I define myself. I don't consider myself disabled because I have ADHD. I have a different brain. That said, if I had a brain scan that was compared to the scans of others, my brain activity would differ. Of this, I have no doubt.

I was born this way, and symptoms may have been intensified by activities such as antibiotic use when I was a child (though antibiotics were probably necessary, we didn't know about probiotics), eating foods that aren't good for my gut, and other factors. The mind and body are one, which I'll discuss in my next post.

I have what I call ADD “flare-ups” when the symptoms are predominantly active, and then there are times when the symptoms are dormant. I created my PRIMED system of AD(H)D management based on what makes mine flare up and what keeps it dormant.

My different brain also contributes to anxiety and depression as well as candida flare-ups, which are common in people with AD(H)D. Fungal infections and yeast overgrowth affect the brain. Clearing that stuff up can go a long way to reduce or eliminate symptoms of ADD, depression, anxiety and other brain/mental health issues. Again, brain-body connection.

When I use the phrase “brain health” I'm talking about the physical brain. It's neurological. It involves neurotransmitters. When I talk about “mental health” it's less tangible. It's more the affect of stress, which can be environmental, social or physical.

A healthy brain relies on the right nutrition, feeding it what it needs both in the form of whole foods and supplements, and water. It relies on physical exercise. A healthy mind is aided by thoughts, brain exercises, meditation, routines and the right environment. Both a healthy brain and a healthy mind rely on downtime and rest.

You'll learn more about this from me over time. Without intending to, I've just described my PRIMED system for bringing your life into balance so that you can achieve harmony.

There's more to come.

Taking it back to the term “neurotypical”

As I was finishing this post I came across a term that I do like. I will save that for another day.

*Find it. Watch it. I don't know how realistic it portrays Asperger's because I don't have experience with it, but by the end, I saw it as a show about a family. Asperger's was secondary.

Tapping World Summit 2018

Tapping World Summit 2018

Tapping World Summit 2018

As you know if you've spent more than 5 minutes online looking for information to change your life, there is a lot of “stuff” out there.

Much of it is theoretical, processes and ideas that sound good, but at the end of the day, they don't produce RESULTS for you.

EFT, aka Tapping, does.

“EFT” stands for “Emotional Freedom Technique”. Tapping is a scientifically proven technique that works to rewire the brain by sending calming signals to the amygdala, the stress center of the brain, allowing both the body and brain to release limitations from negative experiences, emotions, thoughts and much more that hold us back from creating the life we want.

It is mind-blowing in its effectiveness for creating change. I've known about it for nearly 20 years, before “all” the health coaches did (thanks, mom!). Awareness has grown exponentially, partly because of the Tapping World Summit.

In this event, you'll get online access to 25 free, 100% content, presentations on a variety of topics (listed on the page below) from some of the world's leading experts that show YOU how to use this technique to rewire your brain and improve your life.

I highly recommend checking out this page to learn all about it, so that you can get free access to the 25 audio presentations.

This isn't just an informational event, it's an experience.

Attendees don't just leave with ideas or theories on how to make their life better, they leave actually feeling better.

  • They leave with less stress, anxiety, overwhelm, anger, sadness, and other negative emotions.
  • They leave having cleared limiting beliefs around money, health, relationships and more.
  • They leave having cleared childhood traumas.
  • They leave the event better than when they went in.
  • And you, yes YOU… will leave this event better than when you enter it.

It has been going on for 10 years, with over 2 million people having attended previous events.  It has a reputation for getting results for attendees, year after year after year.  🙂

Whether you want to deal with emotional blocks, anxiety, anger, past traumas or phobias, or you want to release physical pain or lose those extra inches, this technique is a gateway to making that happen for you.

And my personal favorite: it can help you, in a big way, attract what you want into your life by clearing out the negative and limiting beliefs you may be holding.

It's been responsible for helping me get out of my own way.

And, when you sign up to get free access to the event you actually get two really cool audios to listen to right away, so that you can learn the basics of Tapping and see the results for yourself… immediately.

Find out more about the Tapping World Summit.

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Reading on the cheap

Reading on the cheap

I have a lot of books. A lot. I don't read them all, but I have them. When I was growing up in the olden days before Internet and streaming service for TV/movies I read nearly every night – after watching primetime TV, having a snack and crawling into bed. I carried books everywhere. I still like to read, though I don't devote as much time to it.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Books can be expensive, and they're not a financial priority for me. If they were, my shelves would be even more overflowing.

I felt motivated today to share how I acquire/read books on the cheap:

1. The library

Toronto Public Library card

I have a library card. I use it. I'm currently reading The UltraMind Solution (2009) by Mark Hyman, a pioneer of functional medicine*. When I own books, I bookmark pages with interesting information. Sometimes I highlight. With library books I take notes. It makes the book longer to read.

The UltraMind Solution is due back today and I still have 100 pages left. I couldn't renew it because someone else has it on hold. I had mixed feelings when I discovered this: 1. YAY, people use the library! 2. YAY! People want to learn about fixing the brain by fixing the body! 2. Boo! I really do have a hard deadline for return.

Sometimes I keep books late without renewing them. Truth be told, library fines are the opposite of a deterrent for me. 35 cents per day? I'm happy to pay that to help out the library. I should probably make a donation instead, but this way I get to keep the book a little longer. In today's case, I will try to finish the book though because I don't want to be a selfish asshole by keeping the book from the next person. 🙂

Another cool thing about the library: Digital downloads. And speaking of e-books…

2. Kindle sales alerts

Kindle logo

I tend to buy books for my Kindle/Kindle app when they're cheap. The app alerts me to today's deals. Some great books I've bought on sale just in the last six months include Year of Yes by Shonda Rhines, You are a Badass by Jen Sincero, Wild by Cheryl Strayed (loved the book, keep forgetting to finish the movie), and Anna Kendrick's autobiography Scrappy Little Nobody.

If you have the Kindle app on your phone, allow it to alert you of sales. You'll know that alert notifications are on when you go into your settings and check “Push Notifications sent to this device”.

3. Sales

Hay House Life Purpose Catalog Sale

Watch for sales from favourite online and offline retailers. Currently, and for the entire month of February, Hay House is having their “Finding Your Life Purpose & Advancing Your Career Book sale” with 50% off books. Some books like I've read and loved are there including The Universe Has Your Back (print version) by Gabrielle Bernstein (while not part of this sale, the supplemental card deck is 10% off) and the audio version of her book Miracles Now.

I've read, listened to and watched a bunch of stuff by the late Dr. Wayne Dyer but not Find Your Life Purpose, 2-hour audio download so I might check that out, and I'm considering buying The Oracle of E (A 52-Card Deck and Guidebook) by Pam Grout, Colette Baron-Reid. I've read some of their books. A book called F**k It – Do What You Love sounds compelling, doesn't it?

If you want to get more done, lead others better, develop a skill faster, or dramatically increase your sense of joy and confidence, check out Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits audiobook. If you're gearing up for the Tapping World Summit, start with Nick Ortner's The Tapping Solution paperback (currently $8.50) and/or Tapping Into Ultimate Success by Jack Canfield & Pamela Bruner ($8.48)

4. Other methods

There's also secondhand stores, thrift shops (Goodwill etc.), garage sales in the spring, book exchanges, library sales and more, but I have a library a few minutes away from me, and ordering books online is easy.

Tell me about how you like to acquire books.

P.S. Check out this interview about three things that are critical for healing that Dr. Hyman gave for this year's Tapping World Summit.

Getting PRIMED

Getting PRIMED

I have a date written down on a piece of paper slipped into my journal:

August 28: Deadline to start coaching and become a teacher.

It's something that came through in a therapy/coaching/healing session on January 28. My cards were read, guides were spoken to intuition was listened to, encouragement was given.

…If this is too “woo woo” for you, indulge me for a moment. My coach's methods are both rooted in the spiritual and in common psychotherapy practices. (She's taken me through exercises that a therapist who was very process-oriented and scientific took me through.)

The message: “You're so close to easy”. She sees me potentially, eventually, being a full time healer/coach. She envisioned me becoming a teacher in the next six months.

So, on a slip of paper I wrote the date that it would be in 6 months.

I then removed the banner “Forge Your Own Path” from my home page. It's still relevant but lacks clarity. Originally, it was “Forge your own path” to wellness, because there's no one-sized-fits-all approach to wellness. However, there are some common principles.

I've had so many false starts in the last 9 months but I can and will do this. Those ideas in my head and on paper have become progress. I've had images in my head for years, like pieces of a puzzle. They started forming more clearly last May.


This website has become, and will be, very much brain health/mental health focused (with other topics that I'm passionate about, such as cannabis for wellness, sprinkled in). My 6-pillar system, which I called “PRIMED” is designed to relieve ADHD symptoms and also works to relieve depression (your mileage may vary) and overall mental wellness. It's also not an exhaustive approach, and there are way more facets that I need to shoehorn in.

Another recent source of renewed inspiration:

My grandmother died nearly two weeks ago. She would have turned 99 in April. She was my last remaining grandparent. Her and my grandfather, who died 22 years earlier – within a week – were pillars of the community. They were philanthropic. They helped build communities through donations. My grandmother volunteered while raising four daughters. He was a doctor in the Canadian army during WWII.

That's inspiration to give back. To be someone. It's time to shit or get off the pot.

For now, I alone am doing the website and graphics, so it might not be the prettiest. I'm a WordPress pro, a copywriter and an SEO expert, but I'm not a designer. I have a voice. I have an angle. I have a desire to heal the world.

I hate saying “I'll do x and y” and not do them so I won't make more proclamations, I'll just do it.

I'm priming myself to teach people to Get PRIMED.

I'm healing others and myself.

I'm contributing to the world.


Let’s Talk about Bell Let’s Talk Day

Let’s Talk about Bell Let’s Talk Day

Bell Let's Talk

Let's Talk: What is Bell Let's Talk?

Bell Let's Talk Day is an awareness and fundraising day. This year it is today, January 31.

How Bell Let's Talk Day works

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell donates money towards mental health initiatives in Canada by contributing 5¢ for every applicable text (sent by Bell customers), call (also sent by Bell customers), tweet, social media video view and use of their Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. Every interaction counts, so you can combine these methods – or send several texts if you're a Bell customer – and each will be worth 5¢.

And it gets people talking about mental health – and Bell.

From the Bell Let's Talk website:

In September 2010, Bell Let’s Talk began a new conversation about Canada’s mental health. At that time, most people were not talking about mental illness. But the numbers spoke volumes about the urgent need for action. Millions of Canadians, including leading personalities, engaged in an open discussion about mental illness, offering new ideas and hope for those who struggle, with numbers growing every year.

As a result, institutions and organizations large and small in every region received new funding for access, care and research from Bell Let’s Talk and from governments and corporations that have joined the cause. Bell's total donation to mental health programs now stands at $86,504,429.05, and we are well on our way to donating at least $100 million through 2020.

Belll Let's Talk banner

Let's Talk: The Good

$86,504,429.05 is a lot of money. As a concept for social media awareness, it's FANTASTIC. People are talking about mental health. Any time people share their own stories, others realize that they're not alone. Every time we raise awareness we have the opportunity to reduce the stigma. I myself discuss my mental health issues in part because I want others to know that they're not alone and to see that if others are talking about it, they can too.

And, people are talking about Bell. I'm an analytics nerd and so that part of me marvels at the media impressions and social media impressions.
(I want to see their social listening report to compare positive, neutral and negative sentiments.)

Let's Talk: The Bad and the Ugly

Every year on Bell Let's Talk Day I read stories on Facebook and news sites about Bell and its subsidiaries disregarding employees' mental health. Employees and former employees come forward with their experiences. I read about how their jobs negatively affect their mental health and send them on stress leave. I read stories such as this one, in which a former Business News Network discusses the mistreatment of contract workers (more on this below) and this one, about a radio host who alleges that she was fired because of her mental health issues. This article in the CBC, Bell's ‘Let's Talk' campaign rings hollow for employees suffering panic attacks, vomiting, and anxiety, describes toxic environments. Even if it's not common, no one should have these experiences.

This morning when I handed my partner his coffee and told him that I was going to go finish a blog post I started last night about Bell Let's Talk Day his response was, “You mean about how they're an evil company who use this day to assuage their guilt?” (Okay, “assuage” was my word, but in the 10 minutes that have passed I've forgotten his exact words.) The fact that we share these views is why we're friends and partners (we were friends before we partnered). He reminded me that he was a contractor for Bell for a decade and knows things, and he spoke of Bell preying on elderly customers (one of his relatives) to sell them services they don't need in order to meet quotas.

Let's Talk about what I think

We need to talk about mental health year-round. This isn't a one-day “holiday”, especially to those dealing with mental and brain health issues. Reducing it to a one day “hashtag holiday” puts it in association with “National Taco Day”. January 31 is also “National Hot Chocolate Day”. It's not completely comparable, but the comparison is one day, hashtag.

Hashtag activism (aka “slacktivism”) is not enough! I often wonder if companies who tweet about issues for awareness (mental health and others) on one day of the year address it year-round. How do they treat their employees? What programs do they have in place? You already know that Bell has problems in this area. They're not the only big corporation. I wrote about this in October in a post about World Mental Health Awareness Day in which I discussed my experience at my day job that day.

At the time, I was a contractor for a big financial services company through a staffing agency. The job quickly took a toll on my mental health.

I had mornings when I sobbed while walking my dog, telling myself that I really didn't want to go to work. The environment was wrong for me. My ADHD and sensory issues were exacerbating my stress and depression. I finally told my boss about it because it was affecting my work performance and because of how unwell I felt. The red zone of my suicide spectrum (I just came up with that phrase now) isn't attempted suicide, it's me reminding myself, like a mantra that I repeat, “Suicide is not an option” and I remind myself why. That's the point I was at.

I had never told a manager about my issues before but I had to admit that I needed help and I wanted to give a reason why I wasn't doing my best work nor acting like someone with the decades of experience that I have. My boss was sympathetic and tried to advocate for me – for which I'm extremely grateful – but the administrator told him that they couldn't accommodate my health issues because I wasn't one of their employees, I was a staffing agency employee and I had to go through the agency if I wanted accommodation such as a quiet space.

Reading the account of the former Business News Network (link above) rang familiar with me:

My contract did not grant me access to Bell Media’s Employee Assistance Plan, meaning I had no access to mental health care through Bell.

He gave other examples of Bell contract workers being unable to access the Employee Assistance Plan because they weren’t permanent staff.

The company I worked for has two levels of staffing agencies – the one that I associated with, and a second one that they associated with. The two agencies worked together. My job was stressful enough and I had little energy to take it to my agency to go through the process. Thinking about it was disheartening. When I did talk to my recruiter, her advice to me was “think positively” (she said that) and “suck it up” (that one I'm paraphrasing). These are not things that should be said to someone who's depressed. Conversations with this recruiter were the inspiration for this blog post, Never Say This to a Person With ADD. (She also said #4 on that list, “You'd hate working here…”)

Often times, being contract staff feels like being a second-class citizen. Need to take a sick day? A doctor's appointment, a religious holiday that's not a statutory holiday/day off? No pay. That's the sytem. Being encouraged to stay home when I'm sick is great, but it's a day of pay lost. Being told “If you stay late to get your work done, we can't pay you overtime, and so you're saying late voluntarily” when the environment isn't conducive to productivity feels shitty, but that's a systemic issue. What, was I supposed to leave tasks unfinished or done poorly? Sometimes I've been happy to stay late. Other times, unhappy.

Corporate advocacy and interest

Corporate advocacy for mental health is only valuable if each and every employee is treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve.

There's also the fact that it's a publicity campaign for Bell with good ROI. They get to tap into existing customers and existing advertising deals. They are a media company after all. Altruistic? Not so much. They get both paid and free advertising. Lots of user-generated content (a marketing technique known as “UGC”).

Another thing to consider, from this article called All the #BellLetsTalk messages on social media don’t actually make much of a financial difference (from 2015): “According to the numbers released by Bell, only three per cent of the cash haul was the result of social media activity, despite more than 3 million tweets and 300,000 Facebook shares.”

Corporate interest and profit is always top of mind.

Will I support Bell Let's Talk Day?

Sure. When I'm done this post I'll tweet it out with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk. I'll also retweet other tweets, positive and neutral. The more the hashtag appears, the more people are reminded of mental health – at least for today. The more we share our stories, the more we feel heard, less alone, less stigmatized, more hopeful.

We need to keep the conversation going today, and always. We need to support ourselves and our loved ones. If you are a  team manager, be aware of your team members' needs. If you are an employee, speak up if you need to. Don't be afraid of your mental health issues. Don't be afraid that they exist, don't be afraid if you need help, don't be afraid to seek the treatment that works for you.

Take care of yourselves and know that you are not alone.