ADHD, Working Memory, and Feeling Like a “Burden” With Pablo Chavez [Video]

ADHD, Working Memory, and Feeling Like a “Burden” With Pablo Chavez [Video]

By Understood

Pablo Chavez is forgetful and easily distracted, and he has trouble managing emotions. He’s also a playful, fun dad. He has a unique bond with his daughter, who has autism. When Pablo’s wife Britney noticed his trouble with working memory, she encouraged him to get evaluated for ADHD. Pablo reflects on how his ADHD-related challenges can sometimes make him feel like a “burden” at home. But also how his positive attitude brings joy to people around him.

We learned about Pablo’s story because he wrote to us! We love hearing from our listeners. Email us at ADHDAha@understood.org.

To find a transcript for this episode and more resources, visit the episode page at Understood. https://www.understood.org/podcast/ad

Understood is a nonprofit and social impact organization dedicated to shaping a world where the 1 in 5 people who learn and think differently can thrive. Learn more about “ADHD Aha!” and all our podcasts at u.org/podcasts.

Copyright © 2022 Understood for All, Inc. All rights reserved. Understood is not affiliated with any pharmaceutical company.

Transcript provided by YouTube (unedited)

0:00
so my biggest aha moment was my wife
0:03
pushing me to get
0:04
the diagnosis you know after we
0:07
had several years of a big roller
0:09
coaster of really high highs and really
0:12
low lows depression and anxiety from
0:15
dealing with my issues she was like
0:18
no that’s it you know something has to
0:20
change
0:22
[Music]
0:25
from the understood podcast network this
0:27
is adhd aha a podcast where people share
0:30
the moment when it finally clicked that
0:32
they or someone they know has adhd
0:36
my name is laura key i’m the editorial
0:38
director here at understood and as
0:40
someone who’s had my own adhd aha moment
0:43
i’ll be your host
0:44
[Music]
0:49
i’m here today with pablo chavez pablo
0:51
is an electrician husband and a father
0:54
of two who lives in california and pablo
0:57
got in touch with us via email he wrote
0:59
in to us to talk to us about the show
1:01
and share his story and i was so
1:03
compelled that i wanted to invite him on
1:05
so thanks for coming on pablo and thanks
1:07
for emailing us
1:09
of course thank you laura for having me
1:11
and for anyone who is listening is
1:13
interested in sharing their story the
1:15
email address is adhd aha at
1:19
understood.org i read all of the emails
1:21
that come in i don’t always have time to
1:23
respond right away but i’m just so
1:25
thrilled to
1:26
be
1:27
hearing from amazing people like you who
1:30
are listening to the show and want to
1:31
share their own story it’s honestly a
1:33
really great podcast i’ve heard a couple
1:35
stories twice already
1:36
thank you that means a lot to me
1:38
pablo i would love to
1:40
know when did you get diagnosed with
1:42
adhd september october of 2021
1:46
was when i officially got diagnosed what
1:49
led to your seeking out an evaluation
1:51
and getting diagnosed with adhd
1:53
that’s kind of like a two-part series
1:55
because i struggled during
1:58
a change of positions at work having to
2:00
do with a lot more memorization
2:03
computer skills scheduling planning that
2:06
i’m not very uh strong and so my boss
2:09
would often get on to me like how could
2:11
you forget it’s on your schedule it’s on
2:13
your plan
2:15
what do you do again
2:16
i’m a union electrician sub categorized
2:19
as a low voltage electrician
2:23
and we deal with a lot of systems such
2:26
as access control
2:28
data networks cctv fire alarm gas
2:33
systems fiber optics sounding
2:35
communications i’m actually at airbnb
2:38
their headquarters in san francisco ah
2:41
so my company is contracted through
2:43
airbnb to manage their
2:46
access control systems globally so we
2:48
manage 16 sites
2:50
from beijing singapore
2:53
sydney paris dublin
2:56
portland montreal yeah all over the
2:58
place wow so you have a lot of
2:59
responsibility that sounds like a lot to
3:01
me
3:02
yeah it is it is and so we got to a
3:06
yearly review
3:08
and that’s when they told me like
3:10
your performance isn’t
3:12
up to par it’s not doing very well you
3:15
need to step up them telling me that
3:17
pushed me to start seeking help that’s
3:20
when my wife told me so what do you
3:22
think about adhd you know maybe your
3:24
symptoms coincide with what adhd is so
3:27
what was she noticing
3:29
memory was the biggest part to be honest
3:31
just even going to the store she sent me
3:33
for two three things i forget at least
3:35
one
3:36
or i’d have to call her multiple times
3:38
what was it again what was it again one
3:40
thing she she did mention often was that
3:42
usually at parties i would often ditch
3:45
her not purposely right just go oh i’m
3:48
gonna say hi to these guys really quick
3:49
and and then i’d get caught up with them
3:51
and jump to another group and go to
3:53
another group and at the end of the
3:55
night she’d be fairly upset you know you
3:57
barely hung out with me you know and
3:59
that i can understand
4:01
why someone would feel that way why
4:03
people would be like upset after their
4:06
significant other just didn’t hang out
4:07
with them in an uncomfortable setting
4:09
for her because she’s an introvert and
4:11
i’m very much an extrovert so
4:13
it’s just
4:14
me
4:16
not purposefully ignoring her just
4:18
accidentally getting caught up in other
4:20
things give me an example you’re
4:22
bouncing around you’re at a party and
4:24
you’re talking with someone and then
4:25
what happens and you move on to
4:26
something else tell me about that
4:29
yeah i just get my wife likes to call it
4:32
giddy i get really giddy really
4:34
childlike and
4:36
playful energy and i just bounce around
4:39
conversate get excited people seem eager
4:43
to talk to me because i usually seem so
4:44
interested because of that giddiness i
4:46
like to learn i like to hear stories i
4:49
guess i like
4:50
interaction it’s soothing it’s it’s fun
4:53
i imagine that was one of the things
4:54
that really drew her to you that
4:57
giddiness that playfulness yeah that’s
4:59
what she mentions
5:01
and um as soon as i started taking
5:02
medicine she was a little concerned she
5:05
thought i wouldn’t be myself anymore
5:06
just from
5:07
stories she’s heard was that the case
5:09
for you or did you maintain your
5:11
giddiness oh yeah very much
5:14
i’d like to go back to
5:16
that conversation with your wife when
5:19
she first suggested
5:20
could you maybe have adhd
5:22
do you remember what she said to you she
5:24
brought up a lot of symptoms like i
5:26
would have some extreme mood swings i’d
5:30
either be really happy or really
5:33
mad or upset and the way i
5:37
express my anger by shutting down i just
5:40
shut down i just don’t talk
5:42
no eye contact i’m barely even there so
5:46
maybe some trouble managing emotions is
5:48
that accurate
5:49
yes very much so yeah very much so
5:52
that’s really common actually pablo
5:54
people with adhd you know they might
5:55
tend to feel anger and frustration and
5:58
disappointment more intensely than
6:00
others it’s related to
6:02
trouble with executive functioning
6:04
yes oh that was the other one oh
6:07
executive function i would get
6:10
stuck nowhere knowing i had a lot of
6:12
things to do
6:14
but just was not able to start or i’d be
6:17
hyper focused on
6:19
a few things one thing maybe
6:22
just all day complete clearness what you
6:25
were describing to me earlier in the
6:27
conversation it sounded like trouble
6:29
with working memory which is absolutely
6:31
a sign of adhd it’s like the sticky note
6:34
in your brain where you’re storing that
6:36
short-term information exactly i heard a
6:39
perfect analogy of that that helped kind
6:41
of help me explain to my wife and a lot
6:43
of other people about what adhd is so
6:46
imagine having a list of tasks right
6:48
and then their sticky notes or their
6:51
little cards now put them on a desk and
6:54
shuffle them
6:56
that’s my memory wow that’s the order i
6:59
have to go in you know which one i don’t
7:01
remember i have to kind of look through
7:02
sort every time pablo i used to be a
7:05
server at a restaurant
7:07
at a karaoke restaurant of all places i
7:09
remember having to keep track of
7:11
people’s orders like i would furiously
7:14
write them down i was i i have to tell
7:16
everybody i was actually a really great
7:17
server but i was so hyper aware that i
7:20
struggled with working memory that i
7:22
just i never missed a beat right i
7:23
always i wrote everything down to the
7:26
point where i would stay at their table
7:27
a little bit too long but i never forgot
7:29
anything because i wrote it down we’re
7:31
adaptive like that i think that’s kind
7:33
of what drives us a little bit is
7:34
knowing that fault
7:37
and
7:38
i am a perfectionist my wife calls me a
7:40
perfectionist and i am very much so
7:43
i am go big or
7:45
don’t do it
7:46
type of attitude and um
7:48
my giddiness is always go big don’t shy
7:51
away do it
7:53
[Music]
8:01
when we last spoke you mentioned that
8:03
you felt like a burden
8:04
yes
8:05
very much so i think that just has to do
8:08
with the
8:09
rejection
8:13
i believe it’s called i think that
8:14
affects me quite a bit i remember
8:16
growing up
8:17
i
8:19
was afraid of a lot of things a lot of
8:21
things i was an illegal immigrant as a
8:23
child and i think that pushed me back
8:26
further
8:27
and
8:28
it just
8:29
kind of heightened my rejection
8:31
sensitivity
8:32
always felt like a burden i just felt
8:35
very
8:36
quiet like i would rely on people to say
8:39
things for me
8:41
and growing up it was pretty much the
8:43
same except i was a lot more confident
8:46
because i learned to mask a lot of my
8:50
symptoms
8:51
and it would be portrayed as
8:54
quiet and scary
8:57
you felt like people perceived you as
8:59
being quiet and scary
9:00
oh no i know they told me they told me
9:02
they told you
9:03
yeah i was really fit in high school i
9:06
was starting quarterback for the high
9:09
school and uh pitcher and outfielder for
9:12
for baseball and i went all league for
9:14
baseball we didn’t do too good in
9:16
football though
9:17
but i had an up-and-coming quarterback
9:19
right a freshman and he told me that i
9:22
was really scary really scary you know
9:24
quiet scary serious and as soon as we
9:28
started practicing and
9:30
he got to know me he was like dude you
9:33
are so funny you’re hilarious you’re so
9:35
cool i can’t believe i was afraid of you
9:38
that’s a big difference between how you
9:40
described yourself before in terms of
9:42
being giddy and the fun parent so
9:45
you were hiding a lot i was very much
9:48
masking a lot of my my symptoms in high
9:51
school
9:52
so that feeling like a burden pablo did
9:54
that change at all after you got
9:56
diagnosed
9:57
no no i don’t think it’ll ever change
10:00
because i don’t really have control over
10:03
my symptoms i feel like i always have to
10:05
rely on people more than i should
10:09
and it’s just it’s something i don’t
10:11
want to do
10:12
i’m learning to accept it i’m learning
10:15
that you know like my wife wants to help
10:18
me she’s very forgiving she’s
10:20
very
10:21
tender i guess you could call it i’m not
10:23
sure i i’m trying to find the right word
10:25
but i just can’t think of it but she’s
10:27
just she’s just a special person
10:29
you have two children as well right yes
10:31
two children they are
10:33
fun i’m the fun parent unfortunately
10:37
so they they come to me my daughter she
10:39
has autism she’s six years old now she
10:42
likes rough housing quite a bit she
10:44
likes very much sensory play and i’m
10:48
more physical i’m stronger i’m you know
10:50
i’m just
10:51
more hands-on with her
10:53
than my wife would be she likes to do a
10:55
lot more
10:56
crafts and building blocks and toys
11:00
where you kind of have to sit and stay
11:02
and
11:03
being a dad with adhd what does that
11:05
mean to you
11:06
it’s a struggle with my executive
11:08
dysfunction i tend to put their needs
11:11
second often so let’s say like my wife
11:14
steps out for the day she has you know
11:16
has a girl’s day she’s gonna go get her
11:18
toes done with her sisters which was
11:20
actually this last weekend right so my
11:23
day basically consists of
11:26
just kind of keeping them happy just
11:28
whatever they need when they get upset
11:31
or they tell me something
11:32
like they’re hungry and i often forget
11:35
until they tell me like three or four
11:37
times hey dad i’m hungry like you’re
11:40
right you’re hungry it’s three o’clock
11:43
it’s past lunch let’s go get something
11:45
to eat but it takes a couple of times to
11:47
really get me to notice that he’s hungry
11:49
or my daughter’s upset and i just kind
11:52
of brush her off for a second because
11:53
i’m busy cleaning or doing another task
11:56
around the house and until she has a
11:59
large meltdown then i’m like oh crap
12:02
why is she having a meltdown oh that’s
12:04
right she told me a couple times already
12:05
in her own way
12:07
so your daughter she’s five is that
12:09
right she’s just turned six she just
12:10
turned six and she has autism
12:13
do you relate to her
12:15
more now that you have a diagnosis i
12:17
don’t relate to her more i’ve always had
12:20
a special bond with her me and her we
12:22
just
12:23
we click i don’t know what it is we just
12:26
we understand each other and my wife
12:28
gets so jealous about it because
12:31
the way me and her just play she looks
12:34
at me and we just get each other’s
12:37
movements i don’t know what it is it’s
12:38
like synchronized really and even out in
12:42
public everybody looks at us when we’re
12:44
in line because she’s playing with me
12:46
i’m holding her
12:47
and
12:48
i’ve had multiple times people tell me
12:50
you and your daughter are so cute you
12:52
guys have such a cute bond
12:55
that makes a lot of sense to me i mean
12:56
adhd is
12:58
not
12:59
on the autism spectrum but adhd and
13:01
autism can be related in a lot of ways
13:04
they have a lot of overlapping symptoms
13:06
that relatability is that there for you
13:08
the yeah yeah very much so when i’m
13:11
focused and i am paying attention to my
13:13
kids especially to my daughter i can
13:15
kind of see what she wants kind of just
13:17
think
13:18
her thoughts if that makes any sense
13:20
you know like oh no she just wants this
13:22
and as soon as you do that that play
13:25
that activity or or give her that toy
13:28
she’s like oh yeah that’s what i wanted
13:30
does your daughter need a lot of
13:32
structure
13:33
she thrives on structure
13:36
but she is not opposed to change it’s
13:38
kind of like she thrives on
13:41
routine but she’s very adaptive it
13:43
sounds like she adapts to you
13:45
i’m her safe space i’m a safe zone tell
13:47
me more about that yeah when she gets
13:49
uncomfortable she just usually tries to
13:51
gravitate towards me
13:53
to hold her to keep her comfortable safe
13:55
i guess i’m not sure honestly i just
13:57
know she likes to be with me in
13:59
uncomfortable situations i tend to calm
14:02
her down quite a bit i play with her and
14:04
get her mind off of the situation the
14:07
new surroundings noise
14:09
etc i just tend to put her back in a
14:12
little bubble and then slowly
14:14
expand pablo my wish for you is that you
14:17
don’t feel like a burden thank you you
14:19
know yeah i hope it slowly fades because
14:22
i think that’s what i was trying to get
14:23
at when i was younger being an immigrant
14:26
being scared
14:27
and i’m not a citizen yet i’m a resident
14:30
working to get my citizenship but now
14:32
that it’s been probably like six years
14:34
now i see myself
14:36
breaking out of that shell of being
14:38
scared being timid i’m finding my voice
14:41
now you know what i mean
14:43
and i think
14:45
with time i will get out of that feeling
14:48
of being a burden i hope so thank you
14:51
are you happy that you got diagnosed
14:52
with adhd i’m very much happy i felt
14:55
relieved knowing
14:57
that we have a name for this that it’s
14:59
not just
15:00
i’m lazy or
15:02
i don’t care or things like that that
15:05
hurts you know that’s things that really
15:07
really bothers me sometimes still
15:11
and i think it’s just getting past that
15:13
letting people know that it’s not that i
15:15
don’t care i care a lot
15:17
[Music]
15:21
you’ve been listening to adhd aha from
15:23
the understood podcast network you can
15:26
listen and subscribe to adhd aha on
15:28
apple spotify or anywhere you get your
15:30
podcasts and if you like what you heard
15:32
today tell someone about the show we
15:35
rely on listeners like you to reach and
15:37
support more people
15:38
and if you want to share your own aha
15:40
moment email us at
15:42
adhdaha understood.org
15:45
i’d love to hear from you you can go to
15:47
u.org
15:49
adhd aha to find details on each episode
15:52
and related resources that’s the letter
15:55
u as an understood dot o r g
15:59
adhd aha understood as a non-profit and
16:02
social impact organization
16:05
we have no affiliation with
16:06
pharmaceutical companies
16:08
learn more at understood.org
16:11
mission
16:13
adhd aha is produced by jessamine mali
16:15
say hi jessamine hi everyone justin d
16:18
wright created our music seth melnick
16:21
and brianna berry are our production
16:22
directors scott cochier is our creative
16:25
director
16:26
and i’m your host laura key editorial
16:28
director at understood thanks so much
16:31
for listening
16:33
[Music]
16:59
you

 

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***

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