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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.



De-clutter Your Car in 7 Steps

Posted on April 17, 2016

car cartoon


Spring Spring Spring!

A time to clean out closets, change out clothes, jump into yard work and so much more. Or not.

It can be sooo hard to jump into anything that is related to chores, clutter and organizing. Believe me, I know! But there’s one space in my life that I am practically OCD about keeping tidy and that is my car. I have no idea why, other than perhaps that space is all mine and small enough for me to manage. I keep it up better than any room in my house. Seeing it cluttered for some reason makes me anxious and irritable. Anybody else? Or is this just a “Terry” thing?

I know many of you have a tough time maintaining your cars, so hopefully this article will help you out.

How to De-Clutter Your Car

By Sue Brenner

Are things starting to pile up in your car? Do you have to push piles out of the way when someone hops in your car? Make room for you and your passengers. Use these 7 steps to make your de-cluttering easy and watch your car sparkle.
1. Decide what you want your car to look like.
What do you want the inside of your car to look like? What is the main purpose of the interior of your car? For example, perhaps you want everything that you need to be in arm’s reach. Or, maybe you want the interior of your car to be beautiful. Get a quick picture of what you want to create first.

2. Discover what’s needed.
What things do you need inside of your car? Examples include a First Aid kit, cup holder and insurance card. Make sure the things that you need are in your car. Place them in convenient places so that you can access them quickly when you need them. To help, ask yourself the question, “Where will I find this?”

3. Discover what’s not needed.
You just identified what you need in your car. Now begin to review the piles of things you don’t need in your car. Pamela found that she had four jackets in her car, her kids’ beach toys and used coffee cups. When she got to de-cluttering, she kept one jacket in the car and put the rest away. She discarded the coffee cups. Sand toys? She popped them in the trunk to make more leg room for her passengers.

4. Divide you car into zones.
Let’s say you have a 4-door car. Divide your clutter clearing efforts into 4 zones. These zones include the driver’s area, the passenger’s area, the space behind the driver and the space behind the passenger. Decide which areas are most important and address those first. Your trunk will come later, as usually that area is a job in itself.

5. Conquer each zone.
Begin to rid the clutter from each of the zones you identified in your car. For example, address the passenger’s area first. Then move through each of the other zones. By breaking down the process into mini-sections, it will be much more manageable. Use the following 3-Bag technique to breeze through each zone.

6. Use the 3-Bag Technique.
Grab 3 bags for your car de-cluttering task. The first one is for stuff that doesn’t belong in your car. In this bag, collect the mugs, books, supplies and other things that don’t belong there. The second bag is for things to give away/return. Perhaps you want to give away some of the extra clothes stashed in the back seat. In a regular organizing job, the third bag is for storage items. But for your car, use this bag for trash and recycling.

7. Clear out your trunk.
For some of you, this task may be the most daunting. If you’re driving to the airport, you’ll definitely need to clear out space to get your suitcases in! Set aside an extra 15 minutes to an hour for this task. Use the 3-Bag technique again to clear out your trunk. You may even find some storage items in there, like that computer monitor that has been sitting in its box for 6 months.

Use the above 7 steps to remove clutter from your car quickly and easily. Enjoy the ride with a clutter-free car.

What works for you? Share your ideas/tips in the Comment section, below.
Sue Brenner, Performance Coach and Author, wants you to get the most out of life and work. That’s why she wrote “The Naked Desk: Everything you need to strip away clutter, save time and get things done” – While you’re there, get her free eZine, “Ignite Your Life.”


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Don’t Know Where to Start? Ask Yourself this Magic Question

Posted on April 03, 2016



I finally got to the point of being totally fed up. I could no longer close the drawer in my bathroom- well- 3 drawers- that contains my makeup and family medications. The irony of this is that I rarely wear make up, so why do I have a drawer full of products dating back to the 90s?

The meds drawer was also overflowing with everything from expired cold syrups to ancient Band-Aids.

There’s this misconception (see my longer list in my previous newsletter HERE) that people with ADHD don’t care about the clutter we accrue in our homes, offices and cars. I would venture to say, from the hundreds of emails I get from people all over the world, that nothing could be further from the truth: we care SO much, that we are constantly criticizing and shaming ourselves and searching everywhere for answers to the problem. We cut out magazine articles, read books on organizing, join Facebook groups and more.

We are obsessed with organizing stores. As I walk down the aisles of such stores- the islands of hope- my heart begins to race and my mouth waters- not because of the candy aisle next to check out, but because I’ve found the Holy Grail of Home Organization. I scour the shelves for solutions to all of my clutter problems and start grabbing. More often than not, I lug home bags of Lucite and plastic containers, mesh desk organizers and other things that I just know will cure the part of my ADD brain that causes me to create piles and clutter. {smurk}

Yesterday, I went to Bed Bath and Beyond (for those of you unfamiliar, it’s a home goods store). I have yet to leave that story without dropping at least $50. But this time, I had a very specific mission. Ok, I always have a specific mission, but yesterday, something clicked. Because I was so sick of seeing the over-stuffed drawers in my bathroom, unable to even find Tums if I needed them, I decided enough was enough.

ADD adults often ask me: “How do I get started on a project? I get overwhelmed, anxious, angry and then shut down. I don’t even know how to prioritize.”

I followed my own advice on this home project. Stick with me for a minute and see if this works for you, too.

We have a tendency to look outside of ourselves at our clutter, piles and other things around us- and what we see mimics how our brain functions, which is: here, there and everywhere. Up, down, over, around, and then we shut down.

What I’ve learned is that by going inward, we can find the answer fairly quickly and easily by asking this one simple question:

What is bothering me the most RIGHT NOW? And if I could cross that “thing” off my to-do list, which project would make me feel a whole lot better? In other words, what around you is making you feel sick or angry? What is giving you a migraine? What is causing you to snap at people you love? Unfiled tax returns? A desk loaded up to the sky with paper? Your unbalanced checkbook? A closet full of out of season clothes?

Ask this question yourself now and I promise you, you will know what you need to do to make yourself feel better. And once you do, leave a message in the Comment section below so we can help hold each other accountable.

Now back to the medicine drawer!



10 Big Fat Lies about ADHD

Posted on March 20, 2016



I’ve been around a loooong time in the ADD world and have worked hard to help, support, and educate those with ADD as well as their families, friends, teachers, bosses and more. Yet, the amount of ADD misperception that still lives in this world confounds me. Here are 10 misconceptions that are still alive and (not) well:


10 Big Fat Lies about ADHD

  1. You can’t have ADD! You’re married with kids and have a great job!
  2. You can’t have ADD! You have two college degrees!
  3. You can’t have ADD! You can watch TV/work on the computer (fill in the blanks) for hours and be fully focused!
  4. You can’t have ADD! You’re a great cook!
  5. You can’t have ADD! Your desk/home/office is tidy!
  6. You can’t have ADD! You like to read!
  7. You can’t have ADD! You’re not hyper!
  8. You can’t have ADD! You’re too smart.
  9. You can’t have ADD! You look so…together!
  10. You can’t have ADD! You have lots of friends!

The truth is, you can do all of these things very well, even with ADD. But what the outsider does not see is how HARD we work at the things that come easy and naturally to others.

To do many of the things above, we exert more energy than most because of our distractibility, inattention, impulsivity, fear of boredom and more. It’s exhausting. Then we hit the sack and our bodies- burned out from a day of running uphill- collapse, but our brains continue raging down the railroad track into ever lasting loops of thoughts, worries, ruminations.

What about you? What naïve comments have you heard over the years about your ADD? How do you respond? Share your thoughts in the Comment section below.



Procrastination! Why we do it And 7 Things We Can do about it

Posted on March 06, 2016



I broke a record. Really, I did.

For the first time since returning from traveling, I unpacked my suitcase in a timely fashion. No, not the night I got home, or even the day after. Not even the week after. I unpacked it exactly 12 days after arriving home.

Typically, my suitcase, filled with wrinkled airplane- stinking clothes lies on my bedroom floor for weeks. It’s not that I don’t WANT to unpack it. Or that I’m lazy. It’s that it simply becomes part of my bedroom landscape and I totally forget it’s there. Now, my bedroom isn’t all that large, by any means. And I actually MUST see it every morning and every night, since it sits three feet from my bed. But though I may SEE it, I don’t actually LOOK at it so that it registers a screaming reminder to unpack it.

People with ADHD, though often visual, are also extremely gifted in looking but not seeing. Thus, if a chore is not screaming at us visually, or if there aren’t pending scary consequences for not attacking a task, we simply don’t see or think of what it is that needs to be done.

Many of us have poor visual memories, as well. I, for example, cannot picture in my head the layout of my own house too well. I also cannot read maps or give people directions to my home, mainly because I rely on visual cues that are there at that moment- in this case- when I’m actually driving somewhere. For example, I know there are a church and a drugstore on the corner of a street I typically need to turn on. Or that when the red bus sign comes up, I’ll need to turn soon. Yet, I don’t know the names of those streets, even though I’ve lived in this area for many, many years. Almost never do I remember highway numbers and routes; numbers just don’t help me to navigate where I need to go. Instead, I remember that I need to follow signs with the name of the city on it. Going to Detroit? Follow that arrow! Ann Arbor? Go THAT way! Thank goodness for other visual cues that get me to where I need to go. Thus, driving at night is difficult at best.

Procrastinating creates all kinds of difficulties for me and most others with ADHD. Family members become annoyed at the messes we leave. They seem to see it; but we don’t. Or if we do see it, we find anything else in the world to do rather than take care of it. It’s not that we want to be messy. It’s that we’d rather be doing something else. That, and often times, such basic of chores are actually difficult to execute. Why? Because of the multiple steps involved and the seemingly infinite decisions needed to initiate and finish such tasks.

For example, it’s not simply unpacking a suitcase that causes us to run run run. It’s asking yourself:

  • Does everything need to be washed?
  • Where do I put the out of season clothes (if you’ve traveled to another climate), which leads to another bag of worms: exactly where do I *put* out of season clothes?
  • Do I hang it up, or fold? Where are the hangers?
  • Do I really want to be doing this when I can be watching my favorite TV show, instead?

You’re probably wondering what triggered me to finally unpack that suitcase and why in 12 days VS the typical 30 (or more). The truth is, there were items in there that I needed to retrieve a few times and it dawned on me that by not putting everything away, I was actually creating more work for myself. And isn’t that the case with many if not most of the times we put off doing something? By not paying bills, we end up misplacing them, causing endless hours hunting them down. Then, we’re penalized with hefty fees for not taking care of the problem in the first place.


 7 Tips to Help you Manage your Procrastination


  1. Assess what it is about the chore that is holding you back. Until you know why you are avoiding it, it’s hard to solve the problem. For example, if it’s due to boredom, come up with novel ways to attack the job so that it’s not too painful. If it’s due to lack of room in your house, or financial issues, etc., come up with a plan to deal with the underlying problem.
  1. If there is no major underlying reason, ask yourself: am I happier with the status quo, or will I be happier if the issue is taken care of?
  1. Ask yourself how long it will take to finish the task. Most of the time, it’s something that only takes minutes to do. Yet, we have this “feeling” that it will take much longer. Remind yourself that in 10 minutes (the time it took me to unpack my suitcase, for example), you will feel incredibly good about yourself
  1. Note that you are making a choice: doing it or not doing it. You can choose to procrastinate and have whatever project it is hovering over you. Or…you can choose to jump in and just do it.
  1. Reward yourself. You’ve heard this a lot, but it bears repeating. If you can endure the pain of getting an unpleasant task done, reward yourself once it’s been completed.
  1. Sometimes we procrastinate because we worry that we won’t do a good enough job. Remind yourself that it doesn’t have to be perfect. You’ll feel better getting it done as best you can rather than continuing to let it sit.
  1. Procrastination almost always leads to stress. Ask yourself which is worse: attacking the project, or allowing stress to attack you. It’s your choice.

Members of the Queens of Distraction group list chores they’d like to attack and we share our successes and roadblocks. Want to give it a try here?

Can you choose *one* project you’ve been holding off doing? Share it here, below in the Comment section, and we’ll cheerlead you into getting it started. As for me, I’m going to put that unpacked suitcase back where it belongs!


The Inner World of De-Cluttering

Posted on February 08, 2016

Decluttering women


January was an incredibly busy month for me and I promised myself that as soon as things calmed down, I’d de-clutter my home office and a storage area that I hadn’t laid eyes on in twenty years {shudder}.

That day came and I began to go through boxes. And boxes. And more boxes. I was determined to get rid of as much stuff as possible, longing for that Zen feeling of peacefulness. A clean slate. A lightness.

Tons of cancelled checks were tossed. Old receipts got cleared out. Duplicate photos were thrown away. But then I saw it. The little pink diary I’d gotten when I was 8 years old. I couldn’t help but sit and spend the 10 minutes it took to read through it. Notes about a doll I’d gotten for my birthday, a beloved cousin moving far away, being mad at a brother. And it went downhill from there. I’d kept a diary for over 10 years, though most of the entries were very brief. But very revealing. My throat tightened as I read about refusing to go to school. Feeling sick at school. Begging to come home from school. I had a whopping case of school phobia but had forgotten how much I’d written about the daily agony of having to deal with my fears. My notes during 6th grade showed how I’d lost my popularity in 24 hours after my family moved to a different town.

And then, there it was, October 26: “Daddy died of a heart attack.” Nothing more, nothing less. I was 10 years old.

My zealousness in de-cluttering made a complete U-turn as I re-lived the sadness of my youth. The awkwardness. The fears and anxieties. The not fitting in. The losses- too many in a short period of time.

When I talk about de-cluttering in webinars or in the Queens of Distraction, I think about things. We share an enthusiasm to just roll up our sleeves and get rid of stuff. But I think we need to take into account the emotional upheaval this can bring to our awareness- memories that lay dormant until we pull out the big black Hefty bag. If we throw out all the “stuff”, do we also remove our memories? Does it bring relief? Or does it bring anger and sadness?

I’m still processing this whole thing, amongst bags and boxes waiting to be explored.

What about you? Do you feel great, ditching old stuff from your past? Or do you screech to a halt, wondering who that person was back then? Do you hang on to her? Let her go? Is she ever really gone?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below- I’d love to hear your emotional experiences with de-cluttering.



ADHD Women’s Palooza 24 Hour Sale: Own All 31 Sessions for $97

Posted on January 21, 2016

Palooza sale

You registered for the Palooza but forgot to tune in.

Or you heard a couple of sessions and were intrigued but missed the rest.

Or you meant to buy the Encore package with all 31 replays but the deadline whizzed past.

ADHD strikes again.

And it’s not fair.

But we’re all about fair and equity and ADHD-forgiveness.

So we’re opening up the half-price sale once again. But this time we WILL close the doors Friday at midnight. (January 22). Seriously. ADHD or not. We mean it. Really.

The truth is, when we set the cutoff deadline for our half-price discount on the ADHD Women’s Palooza recordings, we didn’t realize that our email system couldn’t adjust for different time zones. That means some of you had only a scant few hours to buy the Encore package. And that truly isn’t fair.

So today only, you can buy the entire Palooza set of recordings – audio AND video AND bonuses from our esteemed speakers – for just $97.

That, my friend, is a steal.

A bargain.

Click the picture below to buy the Encore package


Remember – this was the Palooza line-up of experts (never-before in one place at one time):

Solden  Quinn  Hinshaw  Barkley  Hallowell  T.E. Brown  Littman  Bertin  Fellman  Dupar  Ramsay  Rostain  Sarkis  Tuckman  Novotni  Dodson  Giwerc  Roggli  Matlen  Copper  Green  Pinsky  Tivers  Luther  Kensington  Taylor-Klaus  Dempster  Walker  Tudisco  Orlov  McGillicuddy  A. Brown

You cannot go wrong with this special deal.

And this time we ARE closing the doors Friday at midnight.

It’s only fair.

Order your set before midnight tomorrow by clicking HERE.




Terry’s Top 10 ADHD New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on December 28, 2015


Happy New Year to all of you! Now, I normally don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, for two reasons:

  1. I never remember what they are.
  2. I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

However…this year I am sharing…


Terry’s Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions


1. I will get to the hairdresser before there are 5” of gray hairs peeking through.

2. I will stop freaking out whenever there’s a change of plans at the Matlen house. Why is transitioning so difficult?

3. Ok, just checked my last from last year and sadly, most are the same, so here they are with one BIG resolution: I will not get angry with myself for not making much progress on last year’s list. ADHD is not something that is easily controlled and I have to walk the talk: I’ll do my best but not judge myself. So here’s the rest of that list:

4.  I will return phone calls within 24 hours, not 24 days.

5. I will spend less time on Facebook, which really is like crack cocaine for those of us with ADD. Wait, first I need to check and make sure I didn’t miss anyone’s birthday. Oh, cute baby! Haa…great puppy video. (yikes)

6.  I will remember to take out the laundry from the washer and put it in the dryer.

7.  I will TRY and remember to take out laundry from the dryer to the laundry baskets.

8.  I will purge my closets of clothes that are more than 10 years old. But what about the 20 year old stuff?

9.  I will file away those two  five + piles of papers I’m staring at right this minute. I am not even going to mention the other 4 piles next to those. That’s for my next year’s  resolution.

10. Thank goodness for resolution lists like this- I just realized I have forms to fill out and send that were due last week month.


How about you? Share your ADD Resolutions below, in the comment section. In the meantime, if you’d like to get a head start working on your list, come join me and other women with ADHD at the Queens of Distraction, where we get out of our chairs and into action. We have fun, too!

Check it out HERE NOW- I’m offering a New Year’s 20% off discount only through January 4, 2016. 



ADD Consults has been nominated in Healthline 2015 Best Blog Contest! Please Vote!

Posted on December 23, 2015

Healthline Best Blog Nominee

ADD Consults has been nominated in Healthline 2015 Best Blog Contest! Please vote for me HERE!