Hello, Brains! A Life Spent Helping Others Understand A.D.H.D.

Jessica McCabe, creator of the YouTube channel “How To ADHD”, is neither a doctor nor a health professional. At 38, she worked in a variety of professions, including comedian, actor and restaurant waitress.

During all these years, she has learned how Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder works since she was diagnosed herself at the age of 12. Explaining this information is something she’s been doing on her YouTube channel since 2016.

“Our brains are a piece of equipment that we work with every day for everything we do, so understanding that is essential,” she said.

She didn’t make the connection between her challenges and her diagnosis, but things changed when she was in her twenties and found herself unable to complete her education.

She started to research ADHD but struggled to organize all the information she learned. So she turned to YouTube, a platform she was already familiar with, to keep the material. “Notebooks, no, I’m losing notebooks,” she said. “Youtube. I will not lose YouTube.”

At first, she found information for her videos on Google searches, but realized that there was a lot of misinformation about ADHD on the internet. “After I released it, I thought, ‘I’m a college dropout. I don’t have a degree in this area. I shouldn’t be educating people, ”she said.

Rachelle LeDuc-Cairns, a registered nurse in Canada, offered to teach her how to analyze research studies for their validity. Then Patrick LaCount, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, began meeting with her weekly to review and discuss the research studies. Today, she enlists experts to help her on every topic, although her videos are not professionally reviewed on a weekly basis.

“She has done a great job in popularizing the scientific findings on ADHD and bringing more attention to the disease, de-stigmatizing it, and even motivating others with the disease and their families to get more information at. this topic, ”said Russell Barkley, clinical professor of psychiatry. at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center.

The average age of its subscribers is between 18 and 24 years; many videos focus on topics relevant to young adults. One of Ms. McCabe’s main intentions is to fight the stigma of taking drugs for this group and giving them to children. “I think there are a lot of moms who are tired of hearing that they are drugging their children and that they are doing something wrong while taking care of their child’s condition,” she says.

In her video What I want to tell my mother, who “drugged” me, Ms. McCabe talks about the prescription of Adderall. (When she started taking medication, her GPA increased by one point.) Medication in children has been controversial – even though “Many drugs used to treat ADHD have a long track record in safety and research has proven their effectiveness ”. said Dr. Damon Korb, behavioral development pediatrician in Los Gatos, Calif., and author of “Raising an Organized Child”.

It is the adults who are often overlooked. According to Ari Tuckman, a psychologist in West Chester, Pa., And author of the book “ADHD After Dark: Better Sex Life,” there are twice as many research studies of ADHD in children as there are ADHD in children. adult on the National Library of Medicine’s website, A Better Relationship. “

“It wasn’t until recently that they started researching ADHD in adults,” Ms. McCabe said. “Before that, it was considered a childhood problem. So who cares how an eight year old might be in a domestic relationship since they’re not there yet.

To that end, in one of her most popular videos, she talks about relationships and how people with ADHD can experience situations like being bored with their partner. “Getting involved with the available human closest to the desired gender because they’re there and you’re bored?” I’m pretty sure that’s how Tinder works. “

Ms. McCabe thinks a lot about communication and word choice. Most of his videos open with the greeting “Hello brains”.

“Mr. Rogers had a whole bible of rules for how he used the language on his show,” she said. “According to my community, one of the most helpful things I did was to give people the language to describe their challenges and strategies. ”

“I had never heard of rejection sensitivity before, but watching the video I instantly knew what it was,” said Kerrie McLoughlin, 50, of Kansas City, Missouri. She was diagnosed with ADHD last year. at recognition in me and started taking notes, ”she said.

“I had spent my life feeling anxious about the smallest things, overthinking the words I spoke and feeling tremendously upset when things weren’t going perfectly,” said Celeste Perez, 33-year-old entrepreneur in Los Angeles, California. 29, Ms Perez used the channel to help explain her “ADHD quirks” to her husband in a way that didn’t involve boring, text-rich study.

Like many creators, Ms. McCabe now uses Patreon, which helps her build up paid subscribers. With nearly 3,000 subscribers, Patreon says his gross income is $ 14,551 per month.

But his first donation came from Scot Melville, an engineer from San Francisco, who gave the highest level of $ 100 a month with a note on how the channel changed his life. “I increased my salary by over $ 100,000 per year over a four-year period,” said Melville, 36. “I attribute a lot of this increase to the skills Jessica has taught me through her videos.

Now, instead of donating money, Mr. Melville is volunteering his time as a technology consultant on Ms. McCabe’s team.

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