#24 Calming the Tornado of ADHD

From time to time, I get requests through LinkedIn from people I don’t know to go for coffee.  I often decline but sometimes my curiosity kicks in and I say “Yes”. When I got Jim’s message, something piqued my interest, and I said Yes.  We arranged to meet at Miro Tea in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. On the day of our meeting, I’d been in a depression for several days and was feeling pretty miserable.  I bought a pot of green tea with two cups and waited for Jim to arrive. Eventually he walked in and looked around, trying to find the stranger he’d never met. I remember he was wearing a knit cap.

Listen To Episode 24

Show Notes

Blind business meetings are a tricky business.  Will you have anything to talk about? Fortunately it was Jim who started asking the questions.  His questions were insightful and more powerful than I’d expected from a typical “business get to know you meeting”.  After a while, Jim started to share his own story including his experience with the tornado of ADHD and his time spent in a Buddhist monastery studying under well-known Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.  Suddenly I understood why he was asking such good questions. I understood why he was so patient and curious.

By the time our hour was over, I could feel my depression lifting.  There was something about Jim, his authenticity, his presence and his calm that helped ground me and brought me back into the real world.  I mailed him later and asked him to share his story on the show.

In this episode, Jim shares his personal journey, from leaving Vietnam on a military plane to the USA to leaving the University of Washington and moving to Hawaii to escape anxiety and depression.  Finally, ending up living for a year in a Buddhist monastery.

On the way, Jim shares why he played truant for 45 days and what happened when he was caught. He reflects on a series of geographic and work changes that fed the tornado of ADHD and how that made his Anxiety and Depression worse.  He explains how a near death experience led him to pursue peace at a monastery. Finally, after calming the tornado of ADHD, Jim shares why he left the monastery and what career he discovered that could use what he had learned.


  • Peace Is Every Step – Thich Nhat Hanh (book)
  • Being Peace – Thich Nhat Hanh (book)
  • When Things Fall Apart – Pema Chodron (book)
  • The Wisdom Of No Escape – Pema Chodron (book)

About ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often continues into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.

Children with ADHD may also struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. Symptoms sometimes lessen with age. However, some people never completely outgrow their symptoms and experience ADHD at work. But they can learn strategies to be successful.

While treatment won’t cure ADHD, it can help a great deal with symptoms. Treatment typically involves medications and behavioral interventions. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in outcome.

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *