The Couple’s Guide to Thriving with ADHD: A Conversation with Melissa Orlov

By Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

Melissa OrlovLast Monday I had the pleasure of speaking with author Melissa Orlov about her latest book, The Couple’s Guide to Thriving with ADHD, co-authored with Nancie Kohlenberger. If you missed the webinar, here’s a truncated version of our conversation. To hear our conversation in its entirety, check out Psych Central’s Youtube Channel.

Zoë: You talk a lot in your book about changing yourself rather than your partner. Do you find that partners without ADHD think that it’s all the ADHD… Do you get that push back or grief from non-ADHD partners?

Melissa: I do. And it’s funny, you know, when people go in for therapy inevitably they go in and say, “Please fix my partner.” [she laughs] I mean, everybody does it.

The downside is when you have the label of ADHD the non-ADHD partners sometimes – often – feel quite justified when they say, “Hey, please fix my partner” because they sort of feel that’s what needs to happen. And what they don’t realize is that it’s really always both partners. …And when they start to work in tandem they really start to make progress. It’s wonderful.

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7 Dirty Little ADHD Secrets – Part II

By Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

The Secret Cedward Brice via Compfight

Yesterday we covered the first three of seven dirty little ADHD secrets.

Draw near. Shhhhh… remember, I’m not supposed to be sharing these.

Let’s keep this between you and me, ok?

Dirty Little ADHD Secrets #4 – 7

4 ) We’re smarter than you

Don’t worry, we don’t believe it either. Until we’re diagnosed, that is. You might be astonished to learn how many clinicians see ADHD teens or young adults in their office lamenting how dumb they are. Yet when an IQ test is administered they test, for example, in the 92nd percentile or higher (that is, they outperform 92% of the population).

Even if confronted with evidence of higher-than-average smarts, it’s unlikely we’ll lord it over you; we’ve had decades to feel inadequate, and no level of IQ will save us from feeling like a dufus at a party. Intelligence comes in many forms, and especially if we’re late-diagnosed, we’ll have a long way to go before we catch up on emotional, social, or many other kinds of intelligences.

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7 Dirty Little ADHD Secrets

By Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

'why yes I love him, but keep it secret!' Gisela Giardino via Compfight

I’ve read a lot of books written about ADHD by people who don’t have ADHD. Like other groups, it’s amazing what we talk about when it’s just us.

Some might see me as a traitor, giving away these dirty little secrets, but somebody’s got to do it. Besides, so far they’re just my hypotheses. I’d love to see some research to back up my observations.

The one thing that’s not a secret is that the more we understand ADHD, the better we’ll be able to help ourselves and help and support others.

See if any of these strike a chord for you.

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10 Questions That Will Transform Your Life with ADHD

By Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

fairness sticks: tongue depressors as math engagement toolwoodleywonderworks via Compfight

When I was little, asking questions often got me into trouble. I had questions about everything. Apparently this was annoying to teachers, parents, and random strangers. I still want to know everything about everything, but I’m learning to make that work for me in a practical sense.

Ironically, asking questions has also become an integral part of my ADHD treatment. Here are 10 key questions that, if you get into the habit of asking them at the right time, might just transform your life with ADHD.

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My First ADHD Coaching Experience!

By Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.
ADHD Whiteboard To Do List

ADHD Whiteboard To Do List

Coaching is said to be one of the most beneficial non-pharmaceutical approaches to treating ADHD. While I know of countless ADHD coaches, I can’t think of one person I know who has one.

I am therefore offering myself up as a guinea pig.


I’m not quite sure what I expect from coaching (which, when I think about it, is probably an indication that I need one). I’m thinking it will be something along the lines of paying someone to nag me, not unlike when my mom used to yell at me to “pick up my room,” but without the yelling.

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An Off-ADHD-Meds Update

By Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

Piedras de primavera, spring stones.Vicente Villamón via Compfight

I’ve been off ADHD stimulant medication since about March 17. I must have the luck ‘o the Irish because (with the notable exception of the owl incident) I think things are going pretty well.

Some of you have expressed an interest in my progress (or lack thereof) and I’ve promised updates. Here’s the latest.


I’ve noticed a few physical changes, especially  in sleep and energy levels.

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Things You Know and Might Not Know About ADHD

By Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

sensitive noise / obvious 2 Milos Milosevic via Compfight

Sure, you’ve been reading ADHD blogs, and you’ve got your subscription to ADDitude Magazine. You’re a webinar junkie and you’ve been using ADD Crusher’s instructional videos to crush your ADHD. You’ve read the ADHD classics and all the latest, including ADHD According to Zoë – The Real Deal on Relationships, Finding Your Focus & Finding Your Keys.

But do you really know as much as you think you do about ADHD?

Let’s find out.

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Defining Success When You Have ADHD

By Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.
Zoë summits the mountain with ADHD! ( Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada)

Zoë summits the mountain with ADHD! ( Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada)

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

- Maya Angelou

Before I knew about ADHD, I often felt like a failure. Instead of summiting the mountain, I was more likely to fly into it (flying without an air traffic controller will do that to you).

After my diagnosis, I understood that I was working with a different brain and a highly sensitive nervous system. I also realized that the popularized notions of success were set by the dominant culture, in other words, by non-ADHD brains.

I needed to find my own definition of success and ways to achieve it; otherwise, I’d be doomed to perpetually slam into mountains.

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ADHD and Procrastiphobia

By Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

A Brand New Day Thomas Hawk via Compfight

Recently, I discovered that I’ve developed Procrastiphobia, a neurotic fear of procrastination. (Don’t look up Procrastiphobia; I made it up. Sometimes I have to do that to fully capture the ADHD experience. I know you get it, just like you got Form-O-Phobia, blurtacious, and NSL.)

But back to the dilemma at hand: fear of procrastination.

Given the fact that procrastination was the nemesis that led to my ADHD diagnosis, it’s not unreasonable that I would fear its destructive power.

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Three Strikes, You’re Out

By Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

ADHD medication experiment

I thought it was time for an update about my experiment with going off ADHD medication. Yesterday, I confessed about caving in to the temptation to touch a dead screech owl’s beak and talons to see what they felt like (smooth and bone-like, if you’re wondering).

As far as I was concerned, the Screech Owl Incident was one strike against my non-medicated ADHD status.

This afternoon, I received a second strike. That’s when I came up with the “Three Strikes, You’re Out” rule for my ADHD medication experiment.

Continue reading… »

ADHD According to Zoe
ADHD According to Zoe
Check out Zoë Kesslers's brand new book,
ADHD According to Zoë, as well as her previous bestseller, Adoption Reunions.

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