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How Having ADHD Helped Me Get On Stage With Paul McCartney

Posted on August 22, 2016

Terry Paul 1

Ok, so it wasn’t just my ADHD; luck also played a big part of getting invited onstage last week by Paul McCartney at his Grand Rapids, Michigan (phenomenal) concert.

But I think it helped. Why?

People with ADHD tend to think outside the box. I knew that in order to get Paul’s attention (more about WHY later), I had to have a sign that stood out from the rest.

People with ADHD can be comfortable being different. It can take a lot of years to feel comfortable in your ADHD “skin”, but I walk, talk and breathe ADHD, so it didn’t even occur to me that doing this was odd or brave. Being different is what got me on stage.

People with ADHD tend to be creative and have lots of interests. We don’t have much research to prove that, but I see it all the time in my nearly 20 years of working with adults with ADHD. I work with musicians, artists, media types, writers, etc.


Dr. Ned Hallowell says, “Creativity is impulsivity gone right.


Being creative is the norm for me- I write, I play guitar/piano/bass/guitar and sing. I am also an artist. Figuring out how to meet Paul forced me to use my creative juices.

People with ADHD are often risk takers. I’m not hyperactive or overtly impulsive, but…I was willing to let myself be vulnerable and look silly in front of 18,000 people. And thousands more who read the local papers and read my social media posts. As it turned out, I got hundreds of emails and messages from people, congratulating me!

People with ADHD tend to hyper focus on things that interest them. Getting on that stage to meet Paul was my focus and I did everything in my power to make it happen.

And it worked.

Continue reading below the video.

Why, though? Why was this so important to me? People have asked me- why did I go to such extremes to meet a former Beatle?

The world changed for me and millions of others when The Beatles performed live on the Ed Sullivan Show. The timing couldn’t have been better for me. As a child, my young father had unexpectedly and suddenly passed away just four months before I saw the four mop tops perform on TV. President Kennedy- a father figure to me and many others- was assassinated only three weeks after my father died. I lost two grandparents the following year. I was a child numbed by loss and confused about her world

Then The Beatles came and distracted me from my grief and fear. By the age of 12, I was hopelessly in love with Paul McCartney. The “cute Beatle” – the one always laughing, jumping around- the optimist with a playful gleam in his eye- the complete opposite of what I was living- became my salve and salvation. Because of The Beatles, I wanted to learn their songs, and took up a number of instruments to help calm my shattered nerves and help heal my soul.

The Beatles got me through a whole lot of tough early years.

After many attempts at meeting Paul onstage, last week’s efforts taught me some good lessons:

Never lose sight of your dreams. Be ok with being different. Let your creativity go wild. And hyper focus on those 60 seconds of being face to face with your idol.

How about you? Have you had a dream come true? Did your ADHD help make that happen? Please post your experiences in the Comment section below.

PS: Want to see the video of me meeting my idol? Check it out HERE.


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8 Tips for Surviving Your ADHD Summer Vacation

Posted on August 05, 2016

Unhappy Vacation

It may be August, but many families are still planning their summer vacation.If that includes you, read on!

Adults with ADHD have a notoriously difficult time dealing with transitions, even good ones. Going on vacation means switching out of work mode to days of nonstructured, free time. At work, you typically know what’s expected of you, and at home, you and your partner keep the whole family on schedule and manage all the details of daily life. When you’re on vacation, you’re still to trying to “manage”—but without the routine—and the change can be unnerving. What time should you wake up? When do you eat lunch? What do you do with all your free time? Read? Hike? Swim? Your hyperactive brain is searching, but it no longer has a road map to guide you.

Your ADHD brain needs to focus on something. It craves stimulation. If you’re an inattentive type, you may go more inward, but you still need something to focus on outwardly, like writing, painting or some other quiet activity. If it doesn’t find some sort of focus, it can succumb to negative thinking, such as ruminating, worrying, or obsessing. 

Then just as you’ve settled into vacation bliss, it’s time to transition back to work and home, thereby stirring up the anxiety pot again. It seems that you just can’t win. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to help make your transition into summer go more smoothly. 


 8 Tips for Transitioning into Summer Vacation


1. Be sure your vacation matches your temperament. If you are drawn to excitement, go for high-adrenaline activities. If you crave solitude and tranquility, consider peaceful surroundings with quiet activities. Try to balance your active time versus kick-back time. 

2. If possible, plan ahead so that you don’t have a massive heap of work waiting for you when you return to work. This might mean taking on a bit more work before heading off on vacation.

3. Remember that though you’ve left your home and work behind, you’re still traveling with your ADHD brain. You need to take into account that change can be difficult. Few adults with ADHD will admit that taking vacations can sometimes cause more stress than staying at home: There’s the planning, packing, traveling, settling in… all things that may be difficult. There’s the expectation that you are going on vacation to have fun, so when you find yourself struggling to switch out of work mode into vacation mode, don’t beat yourself up. Be patient and give it some time. 

4. Plan ahead. Before heading out to your destination, make a list of things you’d like to do once you arrive. This added structure will prevent you from letting the days fly by without a plan and will help minimize potential anxiety and/or depression. Be sure to include downtime in your schedule! 

5. Acknowledge that it may take you more time than it takes others to transition. Let your body gradually get used to the time and rhythm change.

6. Try to keep certain things consistent, like sleep schedules and mealtimes. These can be your constants to help keep you grounded. 

7. Build in other routines throughout the day, such as a walk after lunch.

8. Coming home is yet another transition, so be easy on yourself. Upon returning home after vacation, ease back into it. Don’t plan any big events or important meetings as soon as you return. Allow yourself to gradually get back into your routine the first few days back home.

Following these tips should ensure an easy transition to and from vacation so that you can enjoy your time off to the fullest.



MORE of My Favorite ADD Picks

Posted on July 30, 2016

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New Top Picks from Terry

Most popular label


#1 on Amazon!
Check it out


Wakey Alarm Clock


Progressively gets louder/light dims automatically- great for deep sleepers
Check it out HERE


Portable Scanner


Digitalize your paper to remove clutter
Check it out HERE

Best Purse Organizer


Organize your purse!
Check it out HERE


The Queen of Distraction- my book


What do you mean, you don’t have my book!?
Order yours




Vibration keeps you on task
Check it out


I Read the News Today, Oh Boy

Posted on July 27, 2016

Beatles for Newsletter


There have been some excellent articles published recently that I’d like to share with you today, plus a surprise or two. Keep reading.  


1. often interviews me for their ADD related pieces. Check out this new article, “Adult ADHD: 5 Tips for Managing Technology So It Doesn’t Manage You”, by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. If you’re looking for apps to help tame your ADHD, you’ll find em’ in this article. Read it HERE.

2. ‘I Thought I Was Stupid’: The Hidden Struggle for Women with ADHD, by Maria Yagoda is extremely interesting. Maria attended Sari Solden’s and Dr. Michelle Frank’s recent ADHD Women’s Fest that was held near Ann Arbor, Michigan. What I like is how vulnerable she allowed herself to be, sharing some very personal feelings she’s had about her own life with ADHD. Read it HERE.  

** For those of you in the Ann Arbor area, Sari and Michelle are offering a 2nd event- a 3 – hour workshop- on August 6. It’sa chance to reconnect, rebuild and reflect on experiences shared by women with ADHD. Renew your commitment to living well and empowered with ADHD in a comfortable, intimate setting. This is a small, intimate event with very limited space, so register today HERE.  


And before I lose your attention- keep your eyes open for a big announcement from me. I’m launching a brand new service….well…actually, I’m re-launching a new and improved program called ADD SOS. Here are some secret tidbits to keep you waiting with baited breath for the details:  

  • They will be impulsive, er…spontaneous one of a kind, one- hour sessions. You’ll not always know when they will pop up (sort of like Pokémon Go). So watch for emails and messages from me (best to like my Facebook page at )
  • They will be fun!
  • You will get things DONE- with ME. (Hint: Sick of your cluttered purse?)
  • Best of all, they will be so affordable, you will laugh in my face.

  (Stay tuned)


To get updates on what is new and exciting at ADDconsults, join my newsletter and receive a free eBook on Tips for Women with ADHD. Sign up HERE



Terry’s Favorite Picks for ADHD

Posted on July 09, 2016



Last week was rough at the Matlen residence. My sweet mother, who turns 89 next month, had emergency surgery. She came through it just fine, thank goodness. But I’m not sure I did. The stress of worrying about her, managing her care in the hospital, keeping her calm, all while making sure her little dog was cared for….and running my own household with a daughter who needs constant supervision…was tough!

So to practice what I preach, I am taking some days off to take care of me. I’m at our little lake house in Canada doing absolutely nothing (well, I’m writing this!), so today’s newsletter is brief (maybe you like it that way!!).

I’ve decided to share some products and services that I think are helpful for women with ADHD. For full disclosure, I do earn a tiny commission via Amazon for things I post here. Enough for a few cups of coffee. And I don’t drink coffee. 

Hope you find these things useful to you.


 Big Skinny Wallet 


I have owned this wallet for at least 5 years and it’s still holding up perfectly. It holds tons of cards, bills, change and still folds flat. I don’t know how, but it does! Choose your color.

Check it out HERE.



Birthday Date Lock



Afraid you’ll forget your combo? Simple! Use your birthday!

Check it out HERE


Smart Shaker Bed Alarm


Can’t wake up in the morning? Place this under your pillow, set your Smart phone and it’ll shake you awake.

Check it out HERE


  Tile: Track your Stuff!



Attach Tile to anything you’re apt to misplace and locate it via your smart phone.

Check it out HERE



Divider Sticky Notes

Divider Sticky Notes

Great for planners, textbooks, summer reading and more.

Check it out HERE



Boogie Board LCD Tablet


Used in the Matlen house for notes and phone messages. When you’re done, just push a button and it erases itself!

Check it out HERE


Desk Organizer



Ready to get your desk in order? This fits the bill!

Check it out HERE



 Ladder of Years, by Anne Tyler


Ever fantasize about running away from it all and starting a new life in a new town? One of my favorites by this author.

Check it out HERE

The Queens of Distraction (online group coaching with me, Terry Matlen)


Terry 3 Queens



 Join me and the other Queens of Distraction online in a private, secret room where we Get Things Done!

Take 10: ADHD and Making Choices

Posted on June 26, 2016


We have a little lake house in Canada where we spend many of our summer weekends. It’s small, quaint and comfortable, with a stellar view of Lake Huron. Over the years, we’ve kayaked, fished, lit fireworks, and have enjoyed many bonfires. Not far is a large national park with gorgeous hiking paths. We look forward to our weekends up here, except for one thing:

We live next door to a hoarder. 

We didn’t know it at the time we purchased our little wooden piece of paradise, because way back then, his front and back yards were fairly tidy. The man who lives there was kept in check because it was his parents’ summer home and he only came up on weekends. But once they passed away- his mother, about 8 years ago- he moved in full time and the property has become a dumping ground of every imaginable portable object. We’ve seen large boat carcasses anchored in his front yard- on land- his own private party boats. 

Discarded truck beds, swing sets (he lives alone), huge tents (empty), stacks of wooden planks, orphaned windows and who knows what….greet us every time we pull up our drive. 

I’m a psychotherapist. I know that this man has a psychiatric illness. 

The current DSM lists hoarding disorder as both a mental disability and a possible symptom for OCD.” (Wikipedia) 

Why am I writing about this? Well, I’m at our lake house right now and this week, the view next door is about the worst we’ve seen in a long time. Yes, we have gently discussed the problem with our neighbor, and he has tried twice in 15 years to remove the eyesore. But within a month or so, it all returns. It’s just different “stuff.”

I have some choices in how to deal with this. I can drive up every weekend and feel the aggravation pumping through my veins. I can focus on the mess next to me instead of the beautiful view in front of me. I can call the city authorities and complain. I can continue to request that my neighbor clear out his yards.

Deep down, I know that none of these will work. So I’m going to do my best to ignore the mess and enjoy Lake Huron and the wide blue sky, instead.

You have choices, too. 

I’m often asked: where do I start with this pile/mess/report/chore, etc? People with ADD often get completely overwhelmed with this and end up shutting down without even starting. Many times I hear women with ADD say there’s so much stuff, that they’d never get it all cleared away.

Like my neighbor the hoarder, we with ADD often feel that no matter how much we try, things will just reappear in days (or hours): paper, bills, toys, laundry. So why even try? Instead, we walk out of the room and take a nap. Or fall into a self-hating mode, which for some can lead into a spiraling depression.

The answer, in part, is to stop looking for perfection. If you expect your house, your desk, your pantry to look like everyone else’s, you’re in for total self-defeat. 

What you want is to just start. Start with filing 10 pieces of paper sitting on your desk. Or make that phone call you’ve been avoiding. Or set up your children’s dental appointments. Just start.

And you just might surprise yourself that once you start; you’ll keep on going until the basket of clean clothes is put away. 

Can you choose one chore you’ve been avoiding – right now- and work on it for 10 minutes? If you’re brave enough, I’d love to see what you’ve chosen to do, by posting it in the Comment section, below.

Remember, you can choose to close the door and pretend it’s not there, or you can jump in, take care of it, and enjoy the beautiful view in front of you. Just like my own view of Lake Huron.


“Me” Time Isn’t Greed Time

Posted on June 12, 2016



I’m writing this while sitting in a hotel in NYC. By the time you read it, however, I should be back home and back to work.

Every year, I try and give myself a solo vacation for a few days where I can get away from it all and immerse myself in activities that I enjoy, leaving my many family and work responsibilities back home.

It’s a time to put myself first, something I don’t often do back home, because:

  1. Moms generally put their child’s needs first
  2. Women are told that our family is our first priority (we hear this message beginning in early childhood)
  3. Marriages mean giving and taking. And giving some more.
  4. I’m the queen of the sandwich generation, caring for a “child” with special needs (she’s now a young adult) as well as an elderly parent.

I crave these few days away where I can stay up as long as I wish and sleep in for as long as I want. There are no dogs jumping on me, waking me up. No slamming of kitchen cabinets. No phone calls. No requests for this or that. No interruptions. It’s like being 6 again and having the playground to myself.

What is my point? 

We all need time away from responsibilities and routines. ADHD is with us 24/7 and it often makes normal daily routines much harder to manage. Our energy is often depleted by the end of the day, though our brains never seem to want to shut down!

It’s summer. If you have kids, you may have your hands full if they don’t have structured activities set up (CAMP!).

A solo vacation may not be in the equation for you, but getting down time is a MUST. I’m asking all of you: what can you do to find a day or two where you can feel freedom, enjoy activities you’ve had to put aside all year and find time just for you?

I often say that doing things we need to do to stay afloat is NOT a luxury. In that vein, what do you NEED to do for yourself and how will you do it?

Please share your thoughts (and hopefully your plans) in the Comment section below.



25 Things That Make Me Crazy

Posted on May 30, 2016



Sometimes I don’t know where my ADD starts and where it ends. I don’t know if my supersonic sensitivities are from ADD, Sensory Processing Disorder or both. Or whether they’re simply personal quirks of mine. But man, there are a lot of things that drive me absolutely crazy! Such as:

1. Songs that have too many repetitive verses, such as the end of Hey Jude, by the Beatles: Na Na Na NANA NA NA……(repeat 100 times). And mind you, I LOVE The Beatles. 

2. People who talk to me from a different room. Sweetheart, if I can’t see your mouth or eyes or both, I cannot connect with you- my brain does an immediate shut down.

3. Touching a doorknob, cabinet pull, fridge door, etc., that is sticky or gooey. I did not handle this well when my children were young. And I still don’t. Thank God for Clorox wipes.

4. Related to #3, stepping on something sticky. As in…spilled juice. Then stepping on all the little juice trails. 

5. Slow drivers, especially when I’m in the passenger seat of one (and you know who you are). I start chewing on my sleeve to try and stay calm.

6. Talking on the phone when the other person is on speakerphone. I cannot understand ¾ of what you are saying. 

7. Talking on the phone (you saw that coming, didn’t you?).

8. The smell of bacon cooking early in the morning. I want to gag. Hey, not everyone loves bacon! Certainly not at 6am.

9. Restaurants that have TVs going plus songs piped in. If I want to watch TV or listen to music, I’ll eat at home or turn the radio on in my car. Massive noise and salads do not mix.

10. Talking politics. Next?

11. What my sink looks like when I come down for breakfast. Honestly? I don’t think any one of you would believe it. Shall I take a photo?

12. The smell of kasha. Check Google if you don’t know what that is. My grandma Sookie, bless her soul, cooked that all the time and sadly, my 2nd strongest memory of her is that odor in her house. The 1st is getting a baby doll from her for my birthday. I can still remember the smell of that rubber. Wow, I really do have olfactory sensitivitie

13. Being interrupted when I’m doing something important, like checking out Facebook Birthday notifications.  

14. Going to formal events: a. I hate getting dressed up. b. I hate wearing makeup. c. I hate small talk. c. I’m uncomfortable in large groups of people when I don’t know 99% of them. 

15. People (again, you know who you are) who turn on the TV in every room- and leave it on after they’ve left. Ok, let me just get it out of my system- I hate TV unless it’s 2am and I’m trying to fall asleep, in which case, I LOVE the Cooking and HGTV channels. 

16. Waiting 8+ months for summer to come, only to be blown out of my skin by the sound of lawnmowers, construction machinery and other outdoor noises when I’m trying to enjoy the few weeks (seemingly) of beautiful weather.

17. Getting caught in the rain. 

18. Not being able to make up my mind. And yes, I know it makes those around me crazy. 

19. Sitting at a table with one leg a tad shorter than the rest. Wobble wobble

20. People who repeat certain words, like……”like”. Ok, I know you can’t help it and I’m sure I have my own verbal habits. But heck, I can’t help it. My ears get stuck on them and my brain locks up.

21. Tick tock clocks. 

22. Socks that are too tight at the top or have a hole in the toe. 

23. Lamps with blue light. I need natural light- please!

24. Dark rooms during the day. Please please keep your drapes open when I come over. 

25. Getting my sleeves wet. I detest the feeling of wet clothes, but that is the worst. 

Ok, I lied. There’s more:

26. Finding dry fruit in my food (especially in my beloved chocolate. Don’t MESS with chocolate! I HATE dry fruit- especially raisins- yick).  

27. People who talk with gum in their mouths.

………and these are just off the top of my head. I think I’ll make a running list of things as they happen for a future newsletter, because there are so many of them. Or maybe I should make a list of things that I love! But would that be as interesting? I dunno…..

What drives you nuts? Please share them in the Comment section below- I would love to hear about your quirky irritations!


The “F” Word and ADD

Posted on May 16, 2016

Terry Better Together SpeechCropped



This past weekend, I was in Manchester, Michigan attending Sari Solden’s Better Together Fest, for women with ADHD (and men who care). It’s hard to describe seeing so many women with ADHD from all over the world come together to talk, laugh and yes, even cry. I also got to meet many new friends, including an entire table of my wonderful Queens of Distraction (that was truly touching), plus re-connecting with old friends- all whom I met from going to ADD conferences around the country over the last 20 years.

My role was to lead a group, do some entertaining with my handy ol’ guitar, give a speech (see photo) and (gasp) perform in the talent show. I will be honest with you- I get terribly anxious when I perform or give a speech, so the weekend, though fun, was also a bit scary. I was full of fear. I realized, though, that many of the women coming were nervous as well- how scary to leave the safety of home and familiar surroundings to come to an event where you might not know a single soul? For some, their diagnosis was still new and fresh, with brains still spinning …what IS this all about? What is WRONG with me?

I talked to women who’d been diagnosed over 20 years ago and women who’d been diagnosed 2 months ago. And you know what? We all share many things in common. 60+ year olds were sitting with 20 year olds. It was magical.

Sari talked about getting out of your comfort zone and congratulated everyone for making it to the event. And that is my theme today. We all have ADD. We all have things that are difficult to do because of it. I sang two songs in front of over 100 people and was terrified. But I did it. Each time I do, it gets a tad easier (I play at the ADDA talent shows- but I do not play anywhere else in public, my anxieties are so profound).

In my last newsletter, I talked about ADHD and facing your fears, but today I’m asking you: what can you do this week that pushes you out of your comfort zone- something you’ve put off but you need to do? Is it talking to a neighbor you’ve been avoiding? Calling up an old friend you’ve lost contact with because you hate talking on the phone? Inviting someone over even though your house might look like it was hurricane-struck?

Share your plan with us in the comment section below. I will be so proud of you if you can muster the courage to do one small scary thing. :)




Posted on May 01, 2016



Last week found me in an MRI tube having a scan of my brain. I’d consulted with a neurologist to get to the bottom of my chronic headaches and the doc wrote a script for this awful test to rule out anything scary. I knew years ago that it would come to this some day, thus my reluctance to make that appointment with the headache specialist. How in the world would I be able to get through an MRI? I’m claustrophobic, have ADHD, and have anxiety attacks. No way.

The doctor handed me the script and I made the call, shaking inside, envisioning myself acting like a total fool, as I’d most certainly need to push the panic button so I could get the heck out of that clanking machine.

The following week came way too fast and there I was: in a metal tube. I’d been told that the open MRI is perfect for the anxious patient because you can see out. What they neglected to tell me is that with a brain MRI, you have to wear a special helmet-like apparatus that makes you look like a cross between Hannibal Lecter and Wayne Gretzky. Which meant I couldn’t turn my head to see out. I felt like a caged tiger. A wise person warned me: close your eyes before they slide you in and do NOT open them until the test is done.

I did just that and for the next 45 minutes was tortured by the banging, clanking non-stop noise of the MRI machine. For someone as sensory-sensitive as me, this was no picnic.

It took every ounce of my creative ADD brain to come up with things to think about that would keep me calm and not reach for that panic button. After 30 minutes, the tech came out of nowhere with a 10 ft. long NEEDLE to insert dye into my veins. Oh my…..nothing in my brain could turn that scary image away.

Another 15 minutes in the tin can and…whew…I was done.

What in the world does this have to do with ADD?

I work with men and women from all over the world who consult with me for their ADD related problems. “I am a loser.” “Who could possible love me?” “I’m going to lose my job.” On and on it goes and my heart breaks a hundred times over when I hear the details of their stories.

But in my heart, I know that as we all face adversities, whether it’s a silly little medical test or the loss of a loved one, we all have an inner strength that gets us through some pretty awful times.

This weekend is Mother’s Day. Can you give yourself the gift of forgiveness for being so hard on yourself all these years? Can you reach into your memory and pull up examples of when your ol’ brave self came to the rescue and got you through a rough spell?

I would love to hear your stories. Please do share them in the comment section below.