Oct. 17, 2022

Adult ADHD with Dr. Kathy Zhang


We have followed Dr. Luiyi Kathy Zhang on Instagram for quite some time. Her podcast, The Purpose Filter, is one that we try to listen to when life does not get in the way. Her podcast covers health, relationships, mindset, and the meaning of happiness. As a life coach, she teaches her clients how to apply the lessons of dying before it is too late so that they can create a life they genuinely love. Dr. Zhang is a hospice and palliative care physician. She has a front-row seat to the end of life and all of the regrets that come with it.

Earlier this month, a specific post on Instagram caught our attention. She was recently diagnosed with ADHD as a woman in her 30s. She made it through Med School and Residency without knowing this about herself. Something that we could relate to as well.

In this episode of The Honestly Unfiltered Podcast, Ellie and Jeni talk with Dr. Kathy Zhang about adults being diagnosed with ADHD.

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Dr. Kathy Zhang -

Website: http://purposefilter.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/purposefilter/

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Transcript
[Music] I'm Jeni Thomas and I'm her friend
Ellie David we decided to create a podcast that embodies what you would talk about with your closest friends so
sit back and relax and put your headphones in because you're listening to the honestly unfiltered podcast
hello and welcome to another episode of the honestly unfiltered podcast
today Ellie and I have with us Dr Louis Kathy Zhang I followed her on Instagram for quite
some time her podcast the purpose filter is one that I try to listen to when life doesn't get in the way
her podcast covers Health relationships mindset and the meaning of happiness
as a life coach she teaches her clients how to apply the lessons of dying before it's too late so that they can create a
life that they genuinely love Dr Zhang is a hospice and palliative care physician so she has a front row seat to
the end of life and all the regrets that come with it earlier this month a specific post on her Instagram feed
caught my attention she was recently diagnosed with ADHD as a woman in her
30s she made it through med school and residency without knowing this about herself something I can relate to as
well well not the med school part but as a result I reached out to her
she mentions in her Instagram post that she must schedule work study blocks and
put her car keys in a specific spot or they'll end up in the fridge I can't tell you how often my son who
also has ADHD and I have had to turn our house upside down searching for his wallet or how often my husband goes to
my son's High School to put his work bag in his car because he forgot to grab it on his way out the door little things
like this and more have made me my son and even Dr Zhang feel like something is
wrong with us when there is nothing wrong with us our brains are just wired differently and it's not all bad with
these little idiosyncrasies comes greatness empathy creativity and the ability to think outside the box just to
name a few we hope that you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoy creating it for you how was your
day I bet the weather is beautiful up there right now um yeah it's really nice I love fall in
New York um or at least I just I love fall I do too that's where I'm from
originally oh yeah yeah that's awesome where are you from
actually right outside of New York City uh Hackensack New Jersey
oh yeah of course yeah I love it I'm from Virginia so we also have epic Falls
and I miss it yeah I miss it that's I mean I'm not a huge fan of Florida in
general even though I've been here for a very long time but that's when I get really homesick is
the fall yeah I know and you guys just had hurricane Ian right I was um
your your episode and how are you guys doing afterwards um you know I got hit harder in
Northport than Jenny did up here but they you know they still had to ride it
out it was we my husband grew up in Florida um for his entire life and of course he
you know didn't take it as seriously because they just don't but he was petrified
so that was it was the worst this part of Florida has ever seen
yeah that's what I heard but we're all listen we're all okay you know that's all that matters we we got through it
good I'm so glad to hear that yeah why don't you give us a like a brief
background about what you do on I know that you're a palliative care doctor and
I know that you are also a life coach and that you teach people how to live
their lives before they'd be before the end of it mm-hmm yeah
um yeah I do all of those things and basically it came from all my experiences caring for patients
and I realized that you know they've taught me so much and I just wanted to
be able to share that with people to kind of filter out the noise of the everyday and to be able to focus on
what's important and so that's what I help people do in my coaching practice specifically
females children of immigrants you know professionals to really kind of break
old patterns of self-sacrifice and you know not having
healthy boundaries and to really kind of step into their most confident empowered
self I think that's so great I am a CNA I was
a CNA for a few years and then stayed home for many years raising my family and then I've been back at it close to
five years now and I love the work but part of the most gratifying aspect of it is end of life
care for me and for the patient and for the families it's just a really beautiful thing to be a part of and when
I say that to people they're a little confused you know you hear that about birth a lot but not about death
so I was super intrigued by what you do but also how you have taken it to this
level with trying to help people that are alive live their best life
yeah and you're totally right people are like what do you mean you love this work isn't it so depressing and I was like I
mean it it can be uh and at the same time you it's it's how you think about
it that's how you you know phrase it in your mind and so being able to bring
that to people Upstream 20 30 40 years so that they don't have to wait until they're sick or dying or someone that
they love is sick or dying or has passed to be able to be like oh my
it's important this is what I want to do and being able to live their lives in accordance
I know you see it a lot with people where I have with that are diagnosed
with cancer and they say well if I get better I'm going to do this this and
this and I would do this differently and luckily many times they do but then sadly a lot of times they don't get the
second chance to live life to the fullest oh yeah yeah precisely what brought us
here in our conversation you were recently diagnosed with ADHD correct
correct there's just about three weeks ago wow how did that come about
it was so funny um I had a um someone I was working with
she had helped me kind of with website design and kind of building out my brand and so we started following each other
on social media and she shared a post I think it was something about either having a lot of tabs open on our website
browser or something like that yeah and uh and I replied I was like oh my God this is so me and then she went do you
have ADHD and I was like huh what no of course not I would have known right and
then so she sent me a just a post I forget which account it was but it was
like you know um rarely known signs of ADHD or something like that and then I I swiped
through I was like oh my God holy crap like I have all of these and so I started that was like I would say maybe
about maybe six eight months ago maybe even close to a year actually and so I
was like oh and so I let it kind of marinate and marinate and then I finally decided I was like you know what maybe I
should actually get diagnosed I um I looked at the diagnostic criteria
because you know they teach us that in school um and I was like I fit all of these so I'm 99 sure that I have it and I've
always had it because um I think for the diagnosis to you have to like have these symptoms in childhood
earlier than age 12 or something like that and uh so I was like but I probably shouldn't diagnose myself with it I've
probably asked someone so they diagnosed me and it just I made like so much sense
um and I know is it Jenny that also got diagnosed yeah Jenny yeah
I um mine came in a roundabout way my son has ADHD he's as I said he's 18 now
but he was diagnosed in second grade and it was a very severe very typical very
he couldn't sit still and we went through many years of therapy and
medications on and off and finally in the last couple of years he decided he
didn't want to take medicine so I never I never forced it on him but actually you know this past week he asked me can
you take me back to the doctor I think I want to try it again so we I did take him back and he started
taking five ants again because he didn't really give the vyvansea a shot Adderall
made him very angry and not happy Concerta made him a zombie viviance when
he was on it he said he didn't notice a difference but they also he was also
always on a minimum dose and I said you have to give it a chance but I'm not
going to force it on you I I want you to do what makes you comfortable so he said they wanted to try it and he
told me he's been on it about five days now that he feels calmer inside so and
he feels a little bit more focused so that made me happy and but I always wondered well where did he get this ADHD
from it's not from me not from my side of the family not from my husband and
as you know I've always known that I'm distracted I am I I've seen the quote
about the computer browsers having a million open that is me I can start doing one project
I can start editing a podcast at noon but realistically I'm gonna get sidetracked a million times a day and it
will be nine o'clock at night before I actually edit that podcast and
I have been seeing a weight loss specialist doctor for a little over a
year and a half and we had
um I was taking a weight loss medicine and we had a conversation one day and
and the practitioners is excellent she has diagnosed so many little things and
with me and pays attention she's like the one practitioner that listens to everything because I have an autoimmune
disease disorder also I have lupus and we had a I said to her
well you know I can almost relate to someone an alcoholic
with food because I'm the type of person that if someone came in with a pizza or
a bag of McDonald's I wouldn't eat it but it would sit there and sit there and sit there and but when they left if they
left it behind then I would eat it and she said do you eat in secret all the
time and I said well not all the time but then it did hit me that many friends have said
well I never see you eat so why why do you why don't you lose weight well I
don't eat enough because there's this guilt around eating because I've always been on a diet so she so I'm going to
send you something and she had me sent she had me take a quiz and she said you
have a borderline binge eating disorder which obviously I hesitate to say that and I've talked about it on the podcast
because people when they say binge eating disorders they think of gorging and purging and stuffing themselves and
I don't do that but I don't eat around people because there was the shame of you know eating when I was a kid because
I was overweight and on top of that I have ADHD
because that all tied it all ties in so she prescribed Vyvanse for me and I was
shocked at how focused I could be ever and people in my life notice it because about two hours after I take it the
emails start going out about the podcast and the ideas and these and that and work and everything else so yeah phone
starts blowing up and I'm like
whoa but it's been life-changing for me because when I was
like for instance I I just started a new corporate job and
in the past and basically it's a company that's rebuilding after covet and that
and it's since it's in an entertainment business they all of their staff was pretty much laid off during covet
because there wasn't any business and it was basically they handed me a
laptop and said here figure it out and prior to this
being on medication I remember if I had to start something like that I would be so overwhelmed with where to start
because of the ADHD I would put it off and put it off and put it off and then be frazzled but I noticed now being on
Vyvanse I can completely focus on the task and or put things in order and I'm
not jumping around [Music] yeah I that's so funny how you say that it's
just like recognizing that we have the diagnosis is just like it kind of opens everything up in a sense you kind of
just realize like oh this is just how my brain works um and you know I had posted a video
like right after I got the diagnosis I just started thinking about and I've
been trying to kind of record more moments um in the present in time when
it's actually happening to me I started doing that during covid and my therapist was like you know feel your emotions and
that sort of thing um and so I started thinking I was like oh my God I made it through med school
yeah I made it through all of this not knowing and just thinking that something
was wrong with me and now it's like oh okay well this is how my brain works I
have time blindness so I need to find systems and ways to cope that maybe
people who are more neurotypical and that sort of thing don't have to rely upon as much and so
um yeah it was just my psychiatrist was like well you could take medication um You probably have a mild case I was
like yeah it's mild now because I'm I've done all these things to try and mitigate it I was like as a cat as a kid
I lost everything all the time you know super distracted
um my son's that way yeah all the time yeah you bring up you both really so for
myself I joke and say I have 80d at work because at home being home for so many
years is a stay-at-home mom um I didn't notice it until I went back to work
and then I realized the kind of jobs that I've kind of always had had to be really fast paced
like I can't sit at a desk I can't you know I can't it's it it just doesn't work for me so I mean I I guess and I
always say that people I feel like we're all on the Spectrum it's just where do
you land on the Spectrum it's kind of my feeling about it but my husband my God
and and as he gets older we're really having real conversations about okay
it's time like we really need to figure out you know what is going on here I had him
take a quiz one day for autism like I you know because of just the social
aspects of some of his behavior he's the most wonderful kind funny man but he
will say things that I'm like uh read the room sir like
and he just you know but there's lots of it and I see it affect him I see the
stress you know you say the open tabs I had never heard that every time I grab his cell phone I am blown away by all
the open tabs and the text messages that he doesn't clear out and I'm like what are you doing this is hundreds of things
and he's like leave me alone that's how I like it I'm like this is psychotic so
but I I immediately when I heard that I'm like poor guy like but you know he
talks about his struggle in school as a child and he's a very very intelligent
me and he he doesn't feel that way but he builds computers for a hobby I mean
this is a Smart Band and I keep telling him I've told him for years I'm like hon
if you you know and back then it was not as you know talked about or you know diagnosed
but I know for a fact had he been diagnosed at a young age it would have changed his life
tremendously but it definitely is something that as he gets older I think it's actually getting a little worse you
know maybe if we we're able to get the diagnosis like you were saying I think it would open him up
to knowing okay it's actually something that I can't I had no control over but
now I can start to understand how my mind works Yeah a hundred percent and I think one
of the reasons why I wanted it to wanted to know um and again my psychiatrist like you
could take meds I was like um you know I'll think about it I'm still only three weeks into my diagnosis
and um but I it's like I always thought as a kid or as a younger person that it
was just um a deficiency like there was something wrong with you if you had add or ADHD
and now realizing that okay no there's actually like neurochemical foundations
to this right like you're low in dopamine and all this stuff and then realizing like okay that's just how it
works and that it also provides like a lot of great superpowers for us like
I've always been a very outside the box thinker um it's always very easy for me to come
up with ideas and people would be like how'd you come up with that I was like what do you mean you don't see it no
I've been doing this for you know a decade I've never I was like okay well you know
um happy to help and so realizing that there are superpowers too that's you
Jenny right Jenny is the same way we go to Jenny for everything and she always
comes up with the I mean and every time she'll say like an aha thing and I'm like how did God how did you think of
that it's so perfect but I would have never thought of it that is you and my husband also thank you
it is a superpower and I think the more that it gets talked about like here and
you know um in in social media and blogs Etc I've been reading reading a lot of
um attitude additude you know it's kind of um a Blog for ADHD and that sort of
thing but the more that we talk about it the less it becomes a stigma and I think
for some people they think like oh if you say that you have it um it's kind of like a crutch right like
oh you know I I have ADD so it's an excuse for me to not whatever be productive or to procrastinate or
whatever and the way that I see it it's like no it's not a crutch it's just that being aware of how this affects me and
being able to be like okay I can do things to mitigate that whether it's medication whether it's setting up
systems and that sort of thing so the more that we talk about it I think the better for everyone involved 100 oh yeah
I mean the stigma from when we were children um
I don't know how old you are but Jenny and I at least but um you know I remember that greatly my
young sister so I'm the oldest of three girls my youngest sister who is now let
me think I'm okay so she's 36 I believe she was diagnosed at a very young age
and that we tried my my mom did have her on medication for just a minute but not
long um and what they did back then in school and she was in elementary school so I
wouldn't say she was like fourth or fifth grade when the the diagnosis was made and she was put into a special
class and the classroom that she was in were with
um you know kids that had severe um mental
um you know issues of every kind I mean that you could imagine from severe
autism um I'm like having a brain fart right now but you know what I mean learning
disabilities severe but they were Beyond even learning disabilities these were kids that were severely handicapped and
you know they were all just lumped together you know and she was not severely handicapped and unfortunately a
lot of the teachers that were teaching these classes were very unequipped very
uneducated they were a teacher that maybe went to school to teach you know elementary school children but did not
specialize in disabilities and were thrown into these classrooms and unfortunately for her the teacher that
she encountered at that time was abusive as well I mean it changed the traject
trajectory of her life with education for for the rest of
her life and it really I think it really you know she's someone that suffers with um you know addiction issues and other
mental health issues and I really believe that it it kind of started there
um you know so yeah I just think that it's so important that the stigma is
being lifted so that we can just continue it and it's of course it's greatly improved now but there's still
room for improvement yeah exactly and you know you were saying Ellie about your husband how he's
so intelligent and the more that I read about it's like people who are very very intelligent who have ADHD they kind of
get by because um people don't recognize that that's what they have they are able to kind of
compensate in ways or they learn very quickly that like this works and that doesn't work and especially in women
like I I know so many women who are now in their 30s 40s 50s who are like oh I
just got diagnosed and it just totally blew open their mind where they're like oh my God this is how I've
been my entire life and you know like you said with um like uh with your niece right my sister
my sister your sister I'm sorry that's okay you know ADHD is definitely related
to having higher incidences of addiction too just because of again how our brain
works and you know I wish that she hadn't had that experience but you're totally right it's just you know the
more that we talk about it the more that we know about it the more that research is being done about it absolutely with my son I wanted to we we
always did therapy along with his medication when he was young because my
my whole worry was okay they're gonna stick you on medication because it was
so severe that he was a distraction in class and not in a rambunctious way just
he would not focus he didn't his mind was always going I but you have to have
the tools to be able to live your life go to school go to
college and be a success and not have the crutch of medication because at some
point I feel like medication stops working when your body gets used to a
certain dosage they can only go so high they can only switch you so many times you have to have those those foundations
to get you through life and he even I want to say it's probably
been two three years since he's been on any kind of medication and he's he told
me well my fear is that because he sees so many kids his age abuse Adderall and
ADHD medicine he's like I don't want to be on medic I don't want to be on drugs I don't want to be on addicted to
something and I said well I explained the differences and what he he would take and how I said those
people are taking that medication to speed up to go fast stay awake for days your body
it's different for you it's it like for him he can drink a Monster energy and it calms him down because his brain is
wired differently and I don't know if you're the same way but he is the
classic absent-minded Professor I can send him to the in the Next Room for a hanger he comes back with a pen he's
completely disorganized he is he's at parent-teacher conferences since middle
school and I just had one the teacher said he's a great kid I love him he's so funny he's the best but if I could just
get him to hand in an assignment and I said yeah they're in his bag we've been
dealing with this since sixth grade he does all of the work and then he forgets to hand it in and forgets where he puts
it and at the end of the quarter he's handing in all these assignments but he's you know he's also extremely
intelligent with the things he's interested in he's like a walking movie encyclopedia and music encyclopedia and
he's a talented musician it's just you know I think it he has his
focus and and I explained to him I said look this is not this medicine that you're taking is not
going to help you it's not going to help you enjoy science or enjoy math or enjoy something make
you want to read it's it's going to help you focus on it but you're still gonna
like the things love the things you want to love and you're still going to be bored with the things you're bored with
well and it's important too I think that you can point out to him that what leads
to a lot of addiction with people is these diagnosis these you know
especially mental illness going undiagnosed um or a disability going undiagnosed and
because of the symptoms of that and people start to medicate they start to
use drugs and alcohol because they feel so out of control that that's because
that's I believe what happened with my sister um to a big degree is there other
factors of course but because you don't have the coping skills whatsoever then everything everything
that Norm you know we all go through things in life that are traumatic that are you know stressful but certain
people depending on what the diagnosis is are even more traumatized even more you
know it's even more stressful you know so yeah it definitely leads to that I think yeah
yeah and it's you know you're talking about your son Jenny it's just
I think a lot of people think that if I just have this then my life will be
better you know if I just have the medication or if I just you know get that thing whether it's you know
material possessions or any of that stuff it's just we think that there's a cure-all for some things and uh again
it's really about our perception of what's Happening like the stories that
we tell ourselves about our current situations the challenges that we go through and I see this a lot with my
patients and you know my clients too it's really about the emotional awareness the kind of mental health that
we really focus on to be like okay what's the story that I'm telling myself
about this even though it could be one thing or another and that's how you know
we relate and perceive the world as a result of that yeah absolutely
it's the always I feel like we're working towards the next goal goal the
next car the next house the next vacation the next big ticket item
yeah definitely not putting enough stock and it's it's quantity over quality most
of the time and we're all guilty of it I mean it's not like you know I'm saying I'm not
um but I will say that I have you know I have to remind my husband who is not so good at that
you know all the time and I think that's part of it too it's like he you know can lose sight of what's
important very easily and get overwhelmed with you know what all the stuff that he's interested in and that
is important to him you know and lose sight of the blessings and the you know to have gratitude and be be in the
moment that is a big one we anyone can struggle with that absolutely but I
think if you have this diagnosis this disability it is a million times harder
I think for for I know for him at least to be in the moment well you have the
why if you have the diagnosis you have the like you said there's nothing wrong
with me it's I'm wired differently mm-hmm and yeah that was the biggest
thing to and that's why I started just getting very emotional because my entire life I thought that there was something
wrong with me and then I found out again very recently that I'm also a highly sensitive person like as a kid I cried
all the time all the time I grew up in a yeah right and I grew up um my parents
were Chinese immigrants and they like what did they know about ADHD or a highly sensitive personality traits my
dad was always just like why are you such a wuss you know um my dad's a wonderful wonderful person
don't get me wrong it's a generation yeah I can hear that yeah totally yeah
and so it's just like why do you cry at everything and I was just like this is just you know anger sadness happiness
like I would cry and I I still do that but not to the same extent
um but it was very much like oh my God here we go again and so I grew up for 30
some odd years being like oh okay well I'm just like a sensitive wuss I guess not realizing that you know being highly
sensitive and attuned to other people's emotions is precisely what helps me be a
hospice and palliative care physician right like I can pick up things that patients or families are saying and not
saying verbal non-verbal communication and be like let's let's dig in and explore that a little bit and they're
like how did you know and I was like it's just how I am I guess I love that
you just made that connection too totally we're very empathic people and that's what I hear when I hear High
highly sensitive I I was always the same way and I do believe that empaths choose
lines of work career paths like those like being a CNA I mean I you know
yes I totally get that I mean I just can feel things and and I'm in tune with
things and you know it was always weaponized against me when I was younger that was used as an insult you're being
sensitive when in actuality nine times out of ten no you're being a jerk and I
have every right to feel the way that I feel like you know but it was definitely a negative and I have you beat I was
raised by a Navy SEAL [Laughter]
oh my God no but I can only imagine you know bless his heart at an older age now and he's been retired for a long time he
retired as a Senior Chief but he has a lot of anxiety issues we were just talking about this and how there's a lot
of people that are the opposite of empathic and highly sensitive that unless it's happened to them it doesn't
exist and my poor father now is having issues I think I think he has undiagnosed PTSD
as well but um you know he gets it now you know and it's it's like well Dad I'm you know I'm
42 years old I'm glad you you can finally have a little compassion for me but I'm sorry thanks for figuring this
out now you know sorry sorry you have to deal with it now
but it's kind of kind of nice I I you know also I
go ahead I was gonna say I I think this the you know I I my grandparents who
pretty much raised me were Italian and they were Second Generation and you know their parents were immigrants and it was
the same way it was buck up stop being sensitive and you don't talk about it you don't talk about your feelings you
don't talk about I remember when my son was diagnosed and he also had sensory
processing when he was young and my mom said to me because it was you know inherited well you're not going to
tell anybody right you're not going to tell anybody what do you mean he's yeah well you don't want to tell
anybody about that and that's why if it can help people and I can learn things why wouldn't I tell anybody it's not
anything bad he's he's getting therapy and he's gonna be okay yeah
yeah exactly and you know you're saying about your dad um Ellie like just literally two days
ago um I I saw my dad and he was just kind
of like propped up on the side of the couch and he's like I don't have an appetite I was like what happened and he
was kind of feeling some um you know depressive symptoms even though it only been a couple days you
know I couldn't really call it that but he had just been consuming so much negativity in terms of like the war in
Ukraine and you know the threat of nuclear bombings and what's going on with covid and you know all the stuff
and he just didn't recognize that that's what was happening because and that was
what was causing him to have these psychosomatic symptoms he's like I I don't have an appetite I'm forcing
myself to eat and all this stuff and he's like this is not me you know he's
like I'm 70 and this is the first time my entire life that I've had to deal with this I was like yeah Dad these
emotions these things are real and again in their older feelings
exactly um and now in his older age he's like oh okay I get it I get it you know so I was
like Dad you gotta you know even though it hurts and you don't want to like walk exercise just get up and move and that
for me even with um the ADHD I've noticed that like the more that I exercise especially in the morning and
I'm not a morning person at all I'm a total Night Owl but I'm learning and using science tricks to be like oh this
actually helps me Focus this actually helps me calm down and so even though I hate waking up in the morning to go for
a run I'm not a runner I'm always like if if I'm running it's because someone's chasing me
that is my favorite I have a sticker that our other best friend that we talk
about a lot Maria bought for my car that said 0.0 I don't run
all of that stuff yeah exactly but I realized that the pain of not doing it
is worse than the pain of getting up and doing it and so it kind of all comes
full circle so as a doctor I would love to pick your brain for a second about your thoughts
on food now our very good friend Maria
um who also well she wouldn't claim that She's suffering from lupus but let's just say autoimmune illness and she's
she's had some severe symptoms over the years one of the worst was um her hives she would get horrible
hives and I I mean like you know looking like Quasimodo like someone just beat
her up I mean it was it's horrific anyway that's just one of them but she's really gone down this really awesome
path with food and trying to heal her body with what she's consuming you know
in a supplements and things as well she she's read a lot um of things and
follows some of the practices of the medical medium I don't know if you're familiar but I would love to know what
your thoughts are as far as you know we're learning more and more all the time what food does like let's say for
inflammation you know these certain foods that you consume that can just amplify that's
something I always am thinking about because of I also have well I have fibromyalgia I'm convinced I do have
some kind of autoimmune happening um but you know it's been hard to get
diagnosed so what are your thoughts as far as something like ADHD
with food in related to food yeah I mean so I will put a caveat that
you know like this I'm not a um I'm just speaking from anecdotal experience uh
and like you know my research and that sort of thing isn't in food or
inflammation but I do have kind of an immune mediated condition um in addition to ADHD and I've noticed
that for myself and what you said about your friends so true like I always thought I could eat dairy I
thought you know that's not an issue and I remember I just feel so down
um just mood wise and I always had a lot of acne when I would be on it and then
I've developed a soy intolerance which as an Asian is really upsetting yeah
um I love tofu and I love soy milk but you know it just doesn't do my body any good and I've also realized that like
there are so there's so much research into like pro-inflammatory foods with
really related to certain immune conditions like there are people who've done elimination diets with immune
conditions and their symptoms drastically improve and everyone is different right some people have major
allergies to Foods or different compounds and then some have minor ones and we don't even realize that it's
affecting us because we're just like oh I I should eat you know I should have dairy or I should have gluten or I
should have all these things and so I'm learning more and more about that too with respect to ADHD like I started
taking a magnesium supplement not for ADHD but um because I was having a lot of migraines probably earlier this year
I was having a lot of vestibular migraines and I went to see a neurologist because I would just stand
there and I would just feel like really light-headed and go on for like two
weeks at a time of just like would just stand and just be like what is going on like it wasn't vertigo it wasn't like
the room was spinning I just felt so tired um and he even did an MRI he's like just
to make sure that there's nothing else and uh he prescribed me magnesium supplements and it went away and so even
for me I was like wow this is evidence-based you know he was like these are he sent me all the research
papers because he's like I know you're a physician I know you want to see the data and all that stuff so he said sent me all of that and my I haven't had
migraines since then vestibular migraines yeah and so there's a lot of
research that is going into like omega-3 fatty acids for ADHD
um I was just listening to the huberman Lab podcast I don't know if you're
familiar with him he's a his name is Andrew huberman he's a professor of neurobiology and Ophthalmology at
Stanford and he talks a lot about the brain neuroplasticity all this stuff and he has
um he published an episode about ADHD and he's like I realize the irony of
this because I published a two hour and 15 minute episode on ADHD and I was like
yeah I was like uh yeah I get it it's not a I had to consume it in like chunks
over four days but he really goes into like the neurobiology of what is
actually happening in the brain of people with ADHD he talks the medications he talks about the
supplements that are science-based and research driven and so that's been given a huge help for
me myself I'm like okay well maybe I can find ways to incorporate more Omega-3s
in my diet and or find supplements um so yeah there's a ton out there for
people especially related to food and supplements and disease I have to check that out it sounds really intriguing
yeah and there are Maria has given me a list of my son's always been a very
picky eater because of texture and things like that and and now
that he's getting older he's overcoming a lot of it but she had given me a list of fruits and vegetables and things that
he should be eating to help his brain think and process and
work the way it's supposed to also yeah I just thought she might get a kick out
of a doctor actually backing up some of her her little witchy ways no no
seriously though she I'm so proud of her I mean I she's doing what I'm not brave
enough to do she was very sick at one point yeah yes and she keeps telling me that she's like when you get sick enough
you will get sick of it and you'll you'll come but you know and and she's
right you know it's like obviously I haven't hit my bottom yet but um so but
um she's done incredible work to really she has reversed things that were just
it's on it's unbelievable so you know and I do try to practice some of it I'm just not going full force you know yet
but um it's interesting just to get you know your perspective it's a process
um you know my my husband just read this book called The Mind gut connection and it's on my shelf I'm going to read it
soon but there's so much out there about like the gut microbiome and just
absolutely you know the the connection there um he was even telling me how there was one thing where
um depending on whether a birth was vaginal versus cesarean there's a
difference in I think he said the incidence of autism because as you go
through the birth canal you um you know get exposed to the mother's own microbiome in the vaginal Canal uh and
so I was like okay so it sounds like if we were to ever have a kid and I have a cesarean I just need to like you know
find a way to make that happen like afterwards let's extract and just like
smother your face and there's gonna be something no that's not recommended I'm just I'm
purely making a joke well you know and I'm glad you mentioned
that I think that's one Maria's read too and I haven't read yet but I want to but you know my oldest daughter who just
recently had a baby sit six months ago so my grandma and I'm so happy um
she has suffered with depression and anxiety off and on her entire life and of course you know having a baby and
stuff you know whatever but she eats like a dumpster fire because she unlike
me has always been tall thin blonde gorgeous never really thought much about it and you know I keep pushing that with
her I'm like listen you are feeding this thing that's happening to you you
know it's it's affecting your gut health is poor so and not that I'm like you
know fantastic but I do notice it and I keep telling her and the days that
she'll actually eat decent she feels better you know and it's it's
just it's incredible what the connections are that they're they're making with that yeah and I think a lot
of us don't even realize how poorly we feel until we feel good
yeah yeah yeah thousand percent oh my gosh when I have a good day and I've I've gotten
some exercise in and you know I've eaten I've made good choices and I'm feeling
pretty good and I'm like dang those bad days are really bad yeah I noticed that
if I'm eating very healthy for a long stretch and then I have something bad
it's and 20 minutes later your body feels a certain way it's like oh yeah that's why I don't eat that anymore it's
really you know all those lmsg and all all sorts of chemicals that are in processed
foods now yeah and it's all these fundamental things where it's like we've been talking about this for years like
okay drink enough water and get enough sleep I just came across a statistic I was like um you know how in daylight
savings in the spring where you spring forward and you lose an hour apparently
there's like a 24 higher rate of heart attacks and traffic
incidents the next day when we lose an hour of sleep and versus the same
reduction in heart attacks and cardiovascular events in the fall when we gain an hour of sleep
right and that's just an hour and so now I'm like okay well I'm Really Gonna focus on my sleep and I've noticed that
again with my focus with ADHD if I get enough sleep I am just I can focus I can
do things whereas if I don't even if it's an hour which doesn't seem like a lot I always thought I'm like oh I can
live on six hours it's not a big deal I like I can definitely tell that I'm I'm
different I'm not as sharp I'm not as focused and my brain just goes Haywire I'll be working on something I'm like oh
you know what I should take ballroom dancing lessons and I'm like this is is nothing to do with my podcast right now
like it was literally having me squirrel squirrel that's our favorite thing we'll go down
the rabbit hole and it's like squirrel wait let's get back which literally happened to me this morning and you know I was texting you guys yesterday and I
was like if I don't send this message I'm gonna forget and I'm gonna Panic tomorrow so it's no pressure I just you
know this is how my brain works now mm-hmm me too me too it's um
if I'm not in bed by 10 11 o'clock forget it I I catch a second wind I can be up till 2 A.M and then the next day
I'm a Zombie I notice if I am rigid about my sleep hygiene and I go
to bed make myself go to bed and not pick up my phone once I get there because if I pick up my phone once I get
there it's another two hours down a rabbit hole a million browsers open that are saved three tomorrow and it's just
it's exactly the same it's amazing the patterns that we have that are so similar yeah totally and there's so many
of us out there we just don't even realize it honestly after listening to everything I
think I need to take the quiz wherever the quiz is just in case I'll find it for you relating to a little more than
that not for my child my childhood though like you know I can't I don't I'm
thinking back you know I'm not I did have OCD and I was diagnosed with OCD
and they were classic OCD behaviors and I still have them um but yeah I don't really relate as a
but as an adult there's things that I'm like hmm I know we only have a few minutes and you have to go Kathy but
real quick I want to ask you do you my son I notice with him a very strong OCD
things that he has to he works on breaking do you not have that as well um I
you know I have like little Tendencies here and there but I wouldn't classify myself as having those
um overarching like it's a compulsion right when you look at the actual criteria for OCD it's not just like I
like having things a certain way it's like it has to be otherwise you know um
there's consequences and you just feel something and so I personally don't have that I have little things that I like
here and there um and then Ellie I wanted to say that in the human Lab podcast he was also
talking about this really interesting thing where now um there's a lot there's probably some
talk too where the increase in smartphone usage distractions and all
this stuff over the last you know 10 12 years when smartphones first came about may or may not be leading to things like
adult onset ADHD and so that's something I'm like oh okay it makes sense crap that that makes a lot of sense um I
don't know a ton about it but he mentioned that I was like oh wow that is that doesn't make a lot of sense why
people feel more and more that like oh this is me
yeah totally do it you've convinced me
well I know you have to go it's 12 28 and but I'm going to add an intro and
exit and all that later on but thank you so much for coming on and talking to us come back anytime we are going to put
all of your information in the show notes her podcast is the purpose filter and
you can find her on Instagram at purposefilter yeah and just again thank you so much it was a pleasure having you
on absolutely so great speaking with you both and yeah let's do this again and let's keep talking like yeah for sure
definitely we just need to talk more about mental health I think um Monday was World mental health day and stuff
like that and I know that's super important to both of you and your podcast so thank you so much for having
me such a blast thank you thank you for being here bye
Luyi Kathy ZhangProfile Photo

Luyi Kathy Zhang

Hospice & palliative care physician/podcaster/coach

Dr. Luyi Kathy Zhang is a hospice and palliative medicine physician, author, speaker and transformational life coach. She also hosts The Purpose Filter podcast, the show that helps living people apply dying lessons before it’s too late. Her mission is to bring the clarity, purpose and meaning that comes with confronting one’s mortality to those fortunate enough not to—because everyone deserves to live the life they want with the time they have left. Dr. Zhang’s coaching and podcast are a mix of inspirational wisdom and practical, action-based tips to empower you to take up space as your most authentic self and live an extraordinary life on your terms.