Brittany S Hochstetler: People Pleasing and ADHD

Episode 16

November 15, 2022

This is episode 16. And today I'm talking with Brittany Hochstetler. Brittany is an ADHD Brain Health Coach, cohost of the Brain Health Journey podcast, and a homeschooling mom of three. Today we talk about people pleasing, what it's like raising ADHD kids with more knowledge than our parents had, and a whole lot more.

Show Notes


Brittany S Hochstetler


Links and show notes:


Brittany Hochstetler: My earliest memory of someone telling me, it was a classmate saying like, why do you, why do you apologize so much?

Like, why are you sorry that there's no reason to be sorry for this? And I think I was in, um, second grade. at lunch and I think I dropped something of my own. It was my own food. And I, I dropped it and for some reason I was like, oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. And, this girl like next to me, she's like, why are you sorry?

Like that doesn't, there's nothing to apologize about. You say sorry so much. ​

Jesse J. Anderson: Hey, my name is Jesse J. Anderson, host of the ADHD Nerds podcast. The show where we talk about living with ADHD, and have some fun along the way.

This is episode 16. And today I'm talking with Brittany Hochstetler. Brittany is an ADHD Brain Health Coach, cohost of the Brain Health Journey podcast, and a homeschooling mom of three. Today we talk about people pleasing, what it's like raising ADHD kids with more knowledge than our parents had, and a whole lot more.

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Brittany, thank you so much for being here. It's uh, great to have you here today.

Brittany Hochstetler: Yes. Thank you for having me, Jesse. I appreciate it.

Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah, absolutely. So I love to start the show going into people's ADHD story, sort of your origin story, how you found out that you had ADHD when you were diagnosed, all of that. So yeah, where does your ADHD story begin?

Brittany Hochstetler: Well, it is kind of fuzzy, but I was diagnosed around 11 or 12 years old, and I think it was just some of the common things that a lot of girls go through. Not that girls can't be hyperactive, but for the most part it seems like girls go through the daydreaming and inattention. Maybe having to read the same thing over and over again.

You know, that sort of thing. I was not a hyperactive kid. It's more internalized, but it's not something where I was very disruptive in class or anything like that. And I don't actually remember getting the diagnosis itself, so I can't really go into anything about the assessment or evaluation, but I just know it was around 11 or 12 years old, and I remember.

I don't know what prompted it exactly or even why they bothered doing it. Because I remember my mom telling me, Well, you know, I don't, I don't think we're gonna put you on medication. You know, I think it's okay the way you are sometimes. This is what happens if you're reading something or if you forget something and you know, sometimes you know it happens and it's okay.

And. It's not that she was against western medicine or medication, but I think what it was, I think she was afraid of passing the message on to me that, Hey, there's something wrong and there's something going on, and we need you to be like all the other kids, so you're gonna take this pill so that you can do A, B, C, X, Y, Z.

I think she was trying so hard to make. I guess accept myself while, and I don't know if that makes a lot of sense, but I think she was just afraid of passing on the message that like, Okay, my mom thinks I'm a problem and now I have these things to fix because it's a problem for my family or in the classroom, or something along those lines.

Now I will say that she, she did help me through, The school years, Like if I didn't understand something, I remember. I mean, there would be certain books we would read in class and I just, there was some material I could not understand. I was not processing it. It was difficult. I would read something and I'm just, I wasn't getting it.

And I remember her just, I mean, sitting there and reading with me and reading through it, just trying to help me. And she never made me feel bad. She never, I mean, if I got like a c. Whatever grade on something, she never made me feel bad. She never made me feel like I wasn't enough. So I will say that she, she was amazing in that part of it where she really tried to help me accept myself while also I guess, trying to help me through the school years in general.

Um, I think she did the best with what she knew, if that makes any sense. Um, because, you know, we have a lot more education now. You know, back when we were kids and I, I even think with our parents without the internet, that would've been, that would've been pretty hard. I mean, I can see where she was coming from, I guess is what I'm saying.

So I went years, I guess it was just kind of like in the back of my mind, like, okay, I ha yeah, I have ADHD, but I always just thought of it as well. Sometimes I have a hard time focusing and sometimes I have a hard. Paying attention or I'm forgetful. And that's, that's literally what I thought. And that's about as far as it got.

And I didn't think much of it until maybe my early twenties or mid twenties. And that was when I started to think, gosh, it would be really nice if maybe there was some kind of treatment, because I do feel like it gets in the way and it's so like, it's such a struggle. But I didn't like, I did not, I did not address it with my doctor.

I didn't, I didn't say anything for so long, like I would say something to my husband, but I was afraid that if I said something to my doctor that they would think I was drug seeking. Like, Oh, you're, you just want stimulant medication, You know? What are you doing just now trying to get something? So, I mean, yeah, I went through most of my adult life until last summer where I finally just had enough and I'm like, I'm just gonna talk to my doctor.

Maybe we just need another assessment or evaluation, which I was totally open to doing. Um, and then kind of go from there. So had the assessments and the evaluation done and talked through it with him, and definitely, definitely ADHD. So

Jesse J. Anderson: Was there anything in particular that like. Re sparked that, you know, kind of made you say that, Okay, I should really look into this and reevaluate and kind of look into it. Like what sort of brought that about. I know a lot of people just going through the pandemic, that really changed a lot of people's routines, which caused a lot of things to crop up.

Was that sort of the same for you?

Brittany Hochstetler: You know, that's a really good point about the pandemic, and I didn't really, I didn't take that into consideration. I don't know. I'm sure that had a factor, maybe something that I wasn't thinking about. I think what really did it was just realizing some of my own struggles that I was going through for a long time.

Like especially as a mother with ADHD and just some of the things that would happen that would affect my family and it nothing like severe or too drastic, but you know, it, it's little things like forgetting. Oh my gosh. Like you have basketball practice in 20 minutes and I forgot like we have to, like, we have to get around and go right now.

you know, that kind of stuff. Or forgetting that there was a bill coming up, let's say, and my husband kind of controls all of that, which is fine because it's hard for me to state organized in that way, but it's, I think little things like that added up over time. I just felt bad for certain things affecting other people and it, I mean, affecting myself as well.

It just, I guess it just kind of got to that point where I thought, Gosh, it would be really nice if I knew what to do.

you know, I even questioned, do I even have ADHD? Do I really have it? I don't know. And so it was kind of questioning myself and kind of wanting that confirmation.


Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah, I think, I think a lot of people at ADHD have that when they first are seeking diagnosis or considering it. There's, there's, I think because of our history of hearing, you know, growing up, you're often hearing that things are your own fault, that you just need, you know, you need to reach your potential or you need to.

You know, have more willpower and things like that. We're used to feeling like we're falling short a little bit. And so it almost, I think people sometimes feel like ADHD almost sounds too convenient. Like that I, I don't deserve, uh, to have this diagnosis that explains things cuz it's really just my fault.

But I really am just like, applying those negative labels to ourselves, which makes it, uh, I think difficult for a lot of people to realize that hey, actually you've been struggling with this thing for so long and there's a reason for it and it's not all your fault despite what you know, authority figures in your life, were probably telling you and kind of like what you said with your mom, like my parents kind of did some of that negative stuff when I was growing up, but it's cuz they didn't know any better.

They're, the education just kind of wasn't really there. And like, I think my parents did the best they could and they just didn't know what to do. With, you know, I, we didn't know about ADHD, but they didn't know what to do with me and they didn't know that there was a thing that sort of, uh, described all of this.

So, yeah, so I think that's a pretty common struggle.

Brittany Hochstetler: I think that a lot of us, we feel like we've overcompensated for so long that we don't know any different. We don't know what it's like to not do that. And so maybe we think, well, maybe everybody's like this and maybe this is just the way it is. And I think that's part of where the questioning comes into play for us sometimes.

Jesse J. Anderson: Mm. Mm-hmm.

Brittany Hochstetler: I mean, that's just my thought. I think we're just used to overcompensating so much that we just question ourselves. Like Is everybody, Is everybody else like this too? And yeah, it can be. It can be hard.

Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah, totally. I think, uh, one thing we, you know, before the show, we talked about maybe diving into a little bit about people pleasing, which is really common, kind of in line with that. A lot of people with ADHD really lean into people pleasing. Um, and part of that is with emotional dysregulation.

Like we're, we're afraid of these negative emotions and so we like try to protect ourselves and kind of put up barriers and really, uh, yeah, lean into people pleasing, just to like avoid any sort of scenario where those negative emotions, uh, would come around. Uh, what's your experience been with, uh, people pleasing?

Brittany Hochstetler: So I am definitely one to people please. Like it's very hard for me to say no, even with the smallest things, and it can add up over time. And maybe I'll regret saying yes to some things and it adds up. And then when you feel like the other person. Maybe they're kind of not giving you back that same energy.

Not that I would want them to say yes when they really mean no, but after a while it can kind of make you feel used. And I'm sure you probably have felt used on occasion where you're being asked all these things and then you know, it doesn't happen the other way around. It can be really frustrating. I try to pinpoint where it came from. I don't believe my parents ever made me feel like I had to apologize for everything or that I was a burden in some way. I don't recall anything that they've done or anything that they said that would make me feel that way, but my earliest memory of someone telling me, It was a classmate saying like, why do you, why do you apologize so much?

Like, why are you sorry that there's no reason to be sorry for this? And I think I was in, um, second grade. I was in second grade at lunch and I think I dropped something of my own. It was my own food. And I, I dropped it and for some reason I was like, oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. And, this girl like next to me, she's like, why are you sorry?

Like that doesn't, there's nothing to apologize about. You say sorry so much. And that's honestly my earliest memory of someone like, Hey, what are you doing apologizing all the time when you don't even need to. And I mean, that was in second grade. I was, I was seven.

So I know for some people they feel like with the people pleasing, there was a lot of negative messages from maybe family coming in, you know, they, they feel like a burden or they always felt like they were making mistakes and had to apologize for it. And sometimes these messages can be overwhelming and then you feel like you have to apologize all the time. I don't, I don't feel like that was my case. So it's really hard for me to pinpoint why I've always been that way.

And it's, like I said, it's as far back as I can remember.

So I, I don't know. Our daughter is like that too, and I try to, I'm trying to not do that myself anymore because I don't want that rubbing off onto her. And

I'm trying to explain to her like, there's, you don't need to apologize for this. There, there's no reason to.

It's okay. And I think she realizes that once I tell her, you know, but it's, it's just like a habit. She just does it. Once I say something, she's like, Oh, I know, I know. And she'll kind of realize it, but it's, I don't wanna say it's a terrible habit, but it, it, it can, it can build and be overwhelming over time.

Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah. And it's, it's hard to break that too, cuz you, like you said, like it starts, it often starts so young, it just sort of becomes part of like your default response or your default like mode that you're just used to leaning that way and kind of responding in that certain way. And it's really hard, uh, it's really hard to change those kind of like core tendencies that happen so early, uh, in our lives.

Uh, you mentioned like Trying to, uh, help your daughter with your own tendencies. And I kind of have that too, you know, finding out that I had ADHD just, you know, when I was, uh, I was 36 years old and we currently, we've got three kids and. it's such an interesting, cuz now I have like all this knowledge that my parents didn't have about it. And now I'm like trying to figure out like, how, what can I do different? Like what can I do to best set them up to be able to kind of embrace their brain for what it is and embrace themselves for who they are, and also be able to kind of overcome some of these, uh, tendencies and things like that. Uh, yeah, parenting is hard but I, I'm, I feel extremely blessed that it's like I didn't have this knowledge growing up, so I'm gonna do everything I can to help empower my kids so that they're better informed on how their brain works.

Brittany Hochstetler: Absolutely, and I think that is what is exciting about all the education and information and research coming out now, is that we know so much more about ADHD, and I think that we've only hit the tip of the iceberg. I think there is research studies being published every single day. More and more information coming out and I just, sometimes I think, Wow, what we are doing for our kids, this generation, I don't know, think about like maybe what they are gonna do for the next generation that's coming.

And so think about it and I, it's exciting and I do think things are going to change for the better once we get that education out. And once people understand a little more of what ADHD really is, because there's still this, there's still this stigma behind it. There's a lot of people that still don't even think it's, it's a real thing, which is, which is a shame.

And I suppose that's a whole nother topic, but it, it is really exciting to know like what we are doing for this generat.

Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah, I agree. Like those myths are still out there, but I, I think more and more minds are being kind of, uh, opened to what ADHD really is like every day. I feel like I get comments so often on different posts and stuff that are like, Wait, what? Like, that's what ADHD is. That is not at all. What I thought it was, which is the same experience I had six years ago when I first looked into it.

I was like, I don't have ADHD because I have no problem focusing on things that are interesting to me. Uh, which is hilarious in retrospect because then I learned about hyperfocus and like, Oh yeah, that's, People with ADHD have no problem focusing on things that are interesting to them.

That's like part of, uh, what it is. And I think that's still, that's happening every single day. More and more people kind of having that realization of realizing what ADHD, uh, truly is, which is great. And yeah, I I, it's so hard to not look back once you're diagnosed with ADHD. It's so hard to like not look back and.

If I had the information I have now, like how different my life could have been and things like that. Um, and so yeah, I'm super excited to see what, um, what my kids are able to do with having this information and with knowing like, yeah, there's like a lot of difficulties. You know, we're in a neurotypical world, so there's a lot of difficulty.

Difficulties with having a neuro divergent brain. But there's strengths too if you learn to, uh, you know, lean into them and kind of knowing how to, uh, I dunno, compensate isn't the right word, but, you know, just sort of like knowing where your difficulties lie and working with them and then just leaning into what, uh, makes it great and it's been cool to see.

Like seeing my daughter kind of explain her own ADHD to other people and just be like, ah, she gets it. She gets that her brain isn't broken or bad. It's, it's different. And that has pros and cons with it. And uh, yeah, it's super fulfilling but also terrifying Cause you're like, I hope I'm doing this right.

I mean, all parenting is like that, but I feel like there's like an extra stress, which is like, I hope I'm doing this right. I hope I'm really helping. them to understand what, you know, how their brain works and how they can really, uh, succeed in life. Yeah,

Brittany Hochstetler: Sure. I, I totally empathize with that. I feel like I go through similar things when it comes to raising our children too, and we just so badly. Well, like you said, we look back and we think. What if and maybe could it have been done differently? And we want our kids, we want it to be different for our own children.

And we know some of the risks that are behind ADHD in general. And especially if it's not treated at all, like being a higher risk for just all kinds of things. It's, it's pretty scary. So yeah, I agree with you. It can be that extra, that extra added layer where, you know, parenting is hard in general, but then when you're talking about adding that layer, you just think like, gosh, am I, am I doing this right?

Am I doing it right? Am I, But it sounds like you are, and I think one of the best things we can do is to explain, like you said, I mean like how the neuro divergent, um, ADHD brain works and what is happening with the brain and how it manifests into certain behaviors. What they can do to help themselves in some way, and that they also have their strengths that they can absolutely thrive in.

Because, I mean, I'm sure your kid, they are really, really, really good at like something very specific and they just like blow others like right out of the water. Whether it's like knowing a certain topic or maybe just being really good at a sport that they, they can't stop playing. Like they, they just cannot stop playing.

I, it goes back to the hyper-focusing, which it sounds like a total contradiction with inattention and then hyper-focusing. But I'll tell you what, that hyper-focusing it, it can, it can get in the way for sure, and I'm sure you know that, but it can really, it can really be in your favor too.

Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah, absolutely. Uh, cool. I think that is a, uh, great place to transition to, uh, wrapping up the show with shiny objects and, uh, shiny objects is just a time to where we can kind of share a shiny object that has been interesting to you lately or, uh, grabbed your attention. So maybe it's a show or some music or a hobby, or maybe it's just your new fidget toys.

So what is a, uh, shiny object that, uh, you're enjoying lately?

Brittany Hochstetler: It's been history. It's, and I never thought in a million years that it, I would ever be interested in history. I remember just looking back and thinking, Why do we have to learn this? I don't wanna learn it. I hate it. I, I did not. I did not like it at all. And for the last, I wanna say a couple years, I don't know.

I've been really interested in history and especially World War ii. I don't know what makes that so intriguing. But I feel like I've been listening to YouTube videos and reading and listening to podcasts, and it's really interesting just to kind of look back and kind of apply certain things today in the current world.

So it's, it's, it's been history.

Jesse J. Anderson: That's awesome. I love that. It's, I think it's, it's so telling that I feel like most, if not all, people with ADHD really seem to love learning. But many of us really like struggled in school and so it's kind of like frustrating how there's that weird, strange kind of dynamic there, or almost paradox.

Same with me, like you said, with history specifically. I hated history in school cause it was all about like memorizing what year things happened and stuff like that. And it was never very interesting. But now that I'm older, I, it's like history is so fascinating. There's so many really interesting stories that you can find there and like lessons learned.

Through all the sort of different stuff that happened, um, recently. I, um, I'm actually I'll, I'll go ahead and change my shiny object to, uh, there's a podcast, a Hardcore History, and specifically there's um, there's a series that, uh, they do on World War I, which I'm a huge World War II buff, but the series it did on World War One was really fascinating.

Cause I

Brittany Hochstetler: to learn War I. Sorry to interrupt, but I do need to learn more about War I. I don't know much about it, so I'm gonna have to look into that.

Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah, absolutely. That was the same with me. I think I, my knowledge of World War, like World War II really overshadowed World War I for, uh, in a lot of ways for a good reason. But because of that, like you said, like I really didn't know very much about World War I. Um, and so I really found this podcast, uh, fascinating.

Just finding out kind of all the history and how it was, I mean, it, it's a little kind of disturbing learning some of the stuff that happened. Cause it was like the. Real war where they were like discovering like trench warfare and stuff like that. But it was really interesting watching, uh, hearing all the stories of it unfolding and yeah, there's so many like, fascinating just little micro stories happening throughout the thing.

So yeah, I, I love history too. Um, especially when told well and Hardcore History does, uh, that episode, I'll link that in the show notes, does a really great job with that.

Cool. Well, awesome. Thank you so much for, uh, being here today, Brittany. Uh, where can people go if they wanna follow, uh, some of the stuff that you're doing online?

Brittany Hochstetler: Um, you can find me on Instagram @adhdbrainhealth.

Jesse J. Anderson: Awesome. Cool. I'll put that in the show notes and yeah, So you do that, uh, podcast with Tish, who is a previous guest, and you record that like every week on, I believe every week on uh, Instagram Live, which is really fun how you do a live version of that where people can kind of comment and then you can respond to, uh, people's questions.

So for any of the listeners that are on Instagram, I definitely recommend, uh, checking that out. That's a great kind of fun way to interact, live with, uh, that podcast. Um, and yeah, thanks again for, uh, being here. This is great.

Brittany Hochstetler: Yes, thank you. And that is the Brain Health Journey podcast. I did for, I meant to mention that and I forgot it. So the Brain Health Journey podcast, it's across many platforms.

Jesse J. Anderson: Awesome. Thank you so much.

Brittany Hochstetler: All right. Thank you, Jesse.

Jesse J. Anderson: That's our show, thank you so much for listening. I especially want to thank our VIP patrons, Alex Magaña, Charise Carlson, Dan Ott, Luce Carter, Richard Stephens, and Todd Barnett.

Your support helps make it possible for me to do the work that I do.

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