Awakening Goddess: Empowering the Goddess Within

As above, so below, as within, so without - every thing that we desire, and every thing that we fear, exists within us. This blog explores nourishing our dreams, committing to our highest values, and healing ourselves from the inside out: awakening and empowering the Goddess within our bodies, hearts, and lives.

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Who is the Goddess of ADHD? Goddess of Neurodivergence?

“I don’t believe you have ADHD,” the nurse practitioner said at our first meeting, looking at her computer and not at me. “You scored moderate for depression and anxiety.  There are overlapping symptoms between those and ADHD, so we’ll treat them and you’ll see I’m right.” 

My two-year-old happily threw all the pillows from the sofa onto the floor, and then tried to pull the blinds down from the window as I attempted to corral him without setting off a crying fit.  I scooped him up and plopped on the sofa, relieved to nurse him for a moment, before he went after the blinds again.  What did she mean, she didn’t believe my diagnosis?  And why did she keep going on and on about how dangerous schedule 2 drugs are and how she wouldn’t just throw them at a problem? 

“My psychiatrist diagnosed me 6 months ago,” I said, bewildered.   

“The one from the app?” she asked, smirking. 

DoctorsOnDemand, yes,” I said.  “My insurance recommended I use it.” 

“Like I said, there are a lot of overlapping symptoms, it’s easy to misdiagnose,” she said.  “And anyway, Welbutrin helps with ADHD as well as depression, so we’ll start you off there.” 

I left her office in a daze, my emotions swirling too quickly to identify. 

I had been studying ADHD, and especially ADHD in girls and women, pretty much all day every day since my diagnosis six months prior. My life made a lot more sense with the ADHD diagnosis. I made a lot more sense to my husband of 3 years/best friend of nearly 20 years with the ADHD diagnosis, the man who knows me better than anyone alive...or dead, even. And it seemed to me that the depression and anxiety symptoms that increased since I had Dylan, my toddler, had worsened because I had untreated ADHD and a toddler, who couldn’t help but be a constant drain on my trying-to-pay-attention/resisting-impulsiveness/energy-to-accomplish-tasks "spoons."  

Dylan, did not want to get back in the car.  His fussing and my coaxing skills distracted me from my feelings, until I had us both buckled in and started typing up my experience into a Facebook post – my go-to way of processing when I can’t talk to a friend in real life. 

I summarized the visit, and ended with: “I just wish, for once, I could feel "heard" by a medical professional I'm paying to treat me, you know? Like my knowledge of my own life and symptoms was an important piece in her assessment of my treatment, rather than dismissed because I expressed moderate depressive and anxious symptoms -- and of course I had to list all my life traumas for her during the assessment, and every time that list comes out all at once I can see a shift in the listener's face, like I must be too damaged to be a reliable informant. 

It's frustrating to be seen as damaged and weak and unreliable instead of ‘badass survivor warrior goddess.’" 


Moments after receiving my ADHD diagnosis in 2019, I went on my library app and borrowed all the books on ADHD and Women, memoirs by women with ADHD, organizing for people with ADHD, and ADHD treatments.  I devoured those over the next few days, then got paper copies of similar books, devoured those, devoured medical journal articles online and blog posts, reddit threads, joined Facebook groups, watched videos on youtube...all day, every day, for six months.  This is month seven. (Or month eight - time blindness is a common issue with ADHD brains.) Now I watch or read them once a week, or when the mood strikes.  This is called hyperfocus, or hyperfixation, and it is an ADHD superpower/curse, depending on how you look at it. 

Before my diagnosis I thought ADHD was overdiagnosed because kids aren’t built to sit still and be quiet and do things they don’t really want to do for 8 hours a day, 180 days a year, for 12 or more years...especially now with kids being pushed to read as toddlers and preschoolers, and standardized tests, and active shooter drills...hello Generation PTSD... 

But I digress...something people like me do often, because our minds are going way faster than our lips of fingertips ever could and it’s so easy to go off on a tangent and then another in a long winding never ending run on sentence – my first drafts have page long paragraphs made up of two or three sentences that run on so long you can’t read them out loud without taking at least two breaths in the middle. 

ADHD is a stupid name for it, really.  Attention Deficit – no.  We don’t have a deficit of attention.  We have lots of attention.  We notice things others don’t.  We see patterns others miss.  We see details within details.  What we consistent control over where we put our attention.  And this isn’t caused by video games or YouTube or sugar or food dye or permissive parenting.  It’s caused by slight differences in the structures of our brains that make the estimated 5-10% of the human population with these genes produce less of some key neurotransmitters, especially dopamine and norepinephrine, and also effect how we process these neurotransmitters. 

ADHD brains are constantly seeking stimulation that will cause our bodies to produce more dopamine and norepinephrine.  Trying to pay attention to something we’re not interested in, without other sources of these neurotransmitters (like medication,) is impossible for some of us, difficult for others, and torturous for some too.  For example, I was always an A student, but I hated Statistics because it was painfully boring.  Like, literally painful – my stomach twisted in knots, my heart pounded, I felt nauseated and, of all things, angry – every time I tried attending class. Even though it was easy material, I failed it twice - the only class I ever failed in my life.  I only passed it the third time because I would have lost my degree if I hadn’t - stress and urgency raise lots of dopamine. 

I was an A student in high school, college, and grad school, but I always did my work at the last possible second.  I was the queen of procrastination – but I wasn’t choosing to put the work off. I would sit down to work and be unable to focus on it if I had days or even weeks to get it done.  Then the night before it was due, I’d be up all night and somehow do a great job and earn my A. Now I finally understand that it was the stress hormones and dopamine surging during the crisis of “OMG-out-of-time" that allowed me to transition from wanting to do the thing to actually doing the thing. 

Neurodivergent brains like mine have to increase our norepinephrine in order to do things that come so easily to neurotypical people.  Like clean, or organize...or start, or work on, or finish something.  Before my diagnosis, I never understood why my inner voice could scream incessantly for long times at my fingers to put the phone or the book down or close the browser window and go pee or wash clothes or make food or some other vital thing but my fingers wouldn’t listen.  My dad always told me I was lazy, and part of me believed him.  Most of me was like, “BUT I WORK SO HARD AT LITERALLY EVERYTHING!”  How could I work so hard and be so exhausted all the time and have so little to show for it? 

And that brings me to the Hyperactivity Disorder half of the ADHD misnomer.  Hyperactivity can look like being unable to sit still or stay in one place, and that was so not me.  I have a hyperactive mind.  I have an inner narrator typing up words for me to read in my third eye as well as speaking the words describing my every thought, action, and observations, all the time.  It never shuts up.  There are songs playing constantly in the background of my mind, and I often loudly burst into song when I’m somewhere I feel safe to be myself.  There are several trains of thought my conscious mind is aware of, and sometimes one will get super interesting and suck me in.  I have to be super careful about that on long drives. 

My brain is exhausting. 

My hyperactive imagination doesn’t let me watch horror or gore or read or even overhear gory violent horrifying things. I have a visceral reaction, like it’s happening to me. I feel an echo of what it might feel like in my body, and a powerful emotional response. 

And I actually don’t sit still. I am constantly stretching neck and shoulders, popping my fingers or ankles or toes, shifting position in my chair, and if I feel anxious, jiggling one or both legs. 

And Disorder is a matter of opinion.  Neurodivergent people are not broken – we're different.  Yes, some things that come easy to neurotypical people can be a struggle for us, but there’s lots of stuff we can do that are hard for neurotypical people.  One of the most interesting videos I watched recently was a Ted talk by a guy studying human consciousness, and he theorized that ADHD brains evolved to help our people survive and thrive in the ancient world.  We’d be the ones to notice the animal at the back of the herd slip over the horizon and send off the hunters.  We’d be the ones to spot the predators hiding in the foliage before they got too close.  You can see his talk here, if you’re interested. 

I think the most important thing I learned about myself was that I actually am very impulsive.  I never believed it about myself before the diagnosis, but when I read that first memoir by a woman with ADHD diagnosed late in life, even later than me – she was 54, I was 38 – I realized that all the moments, the many many moments throughout my life when I was sick, or having a bad day/week/month/year/decade, and thought of something tempting that I knew I shouldn’t have or do, and said, “Screw it,” and had or did it anyway...that is the very definition of impulsiveness.  Now, when I feel that urge to say “screw it,” I talk to my husband, who is not ADHD, and this has been very good for our bank account. 

Oh, and another side of impulsiveness – blurts.  My fraternity nickname was Queen TMI.  This might also be a hyperactive mind issue – Until my mid-30s, my mouth had no filter.  I had a hard time keeping secrets unless the person specifically told me not to tell anyone.  I don’t know how many friend’s pregnancies I accidentally announced...or how many potential friends I lost by speaking about inappropriate things.  I can think of at least one job interview I bombed by being too honest. 

I feel like in the months following my diagnosis I’ve been wrapped up in a cocoon, my entire life dissolving into a puddle of goo, being rearranged, reordered, revised, and now, three short months from my 39th birthday, I finally understand myself.  I finally understand my brain, how it works, how to help it work with me and for me.  I’m reformulating, preparing to emerge, the most me I’ve ever been. 

And that brings me to my spirituality.  My understanding of myself has changed, and so have the lenses through which I’ve seen and interpreted my worlds. 

Who is the goddess of ADHD?  Who is the goddess of Neurodivergence?  Which goddess or goddesses call me now? 

Goddesses of Creativity, of Flow.  Goddesses of Strength.  Goddesses of Wisdom, of Divination, of Poetry.  Goddesses of Arts, of Music.  Goddesses like Brighid of the Irish, and Saraswati of the Hindu – two Who have always called to me, and that realization fills me with the warm fuzzies all over.

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Ashley Rae published her first book, a memoir, in 2012, and has been a professional psychic, healer, and teacher since 2003. Ashley's goal in life is to help you empower the divine spark within yourself so that you can love yourself freely, make your life awesome, and make this world a more beautiful, compassionate place. Visit her website to check out her other blog, find out her schedule, book an appointment and register for her classes.


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