Meet Renee Crook: Providing expert ADHD help from someone who’s been there
Renee Crook is an ADHD coach, consultant, and speaker. She's motivated to help others after her own personal experiences from being diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood.
Today, Dwellingright founder, Miriam Rapaport-Hindin, sat down with ADHD coach Renee Crook to chat about her journey of being diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood and why she's so motivated to help others through their odysseys.
Getting a formal diagnosis can help you release a lot of shame about the way you're feeling and give a name to what you're experiencing.
The journey to understanding yourself if you have ADHD doesn't have to be long and painful, you can reach out to resources around you to help you understand your experiences and make meaning of it all.
If you're feeling lazy, stupid or crazy, read the book, ‘You mean I'm not lazy, stupid or crazy’ by Kate Kelly.
Interested in reading more? Let's get into the interview below 👏🏽
Miriam: Thanks so much for taking time to speak with us today. The first question I have for you is, what do you do?
Renee: I’m an ADHD coach for adults with ADHD. I do consulting work, public speaking and training around ADHD. I’m also on the board of directors for the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) and co-facilitator for their ADHD support groups. So those are my three big main hats.
Miriam: Can you tell us about when you were first diagnosed and how you felt? How did that lead you to doing what you do today?
Renee: In my previous life, I was an elementary school educator, so I've worked with children for 13 years as a teacher in primary school and did a lot of support with students in that community. In that process I ended up actually getting diagnosed with ADHD myself.
After that, I decided to leave the education field and seek other things that were a better fit for me. I wanted something that would also allow for a healthier life balance.
At the time, there was an unhealthy balance in my life - I was working and working and working.
In that process I also did a lot of struggling on my own and it took many, many years of trial and error with different specialists, different treatment plans, different resources - human and other people resources as well - to help me figure out how to make life easier.
It was really hard and took a lot longer than I felt it should have and needed to be. It was a lot more painful than it needed to be.
There were a lot of people out there who were saying they understood ADHD, who really shouldn't have been helping people with ADHD because they really didn't understand it.
I ended up deciding I wanted to help kids and students with ADHD and was ready to go back to working with children.
When I was doing some professional education and training, I discovered coaching, and, more specifically, ADHD coaching. I realized that this was something I had been searching for a really long time.
Now, I'm an ADHD coach and I help other people make the journey less painful and shorter, by providing the right help, with kindness and compassion, and a lot of empathy and sharing of personal experience, as well as my successes along the way. So, it's been quite the meandering journey, but that's how I ended up here as an ADHD coach.
Miriam: How did it change your life to be diagnosed with ADHD? What changes did you make in your life?
Renee: Well, that's a really big question. It changed everything in so many ways because first I finally realized that I wasn’t crazy. That it wasn't just me. My therapist handed me a book titled, ‘I'm not lazy, stupid or crazy’ by Kate Kelly and Peggy Reymundo, and that's exactly how I felt.
These were all words that had been used about me and/or I used about myself. I really felt like I was always under performing and not meeting people's expectations of what I should have been. They would always say, ‘You're just so smart. You should be able to do it, you know, why are you having so much trouble with this?’
There was just always this mismatch between what I thought I should be able to do and what other people thought I should be able to do, and what I was actually able and capable of doing.
I was successful. I mean, I had had the same career for 13 years and was around 11 years into it at the point when I was first diagnosed. I stayed in teaching 2 years longer after I was diagnosed.
There's a lot more to that story, but really, the main thing that it did for me was to first put a name to something that I didn't know was a 'thing' I was dealing with. Having a name helped me release a lot of shame - that I thought it was just me, that I was a screw up. I'd done all these things and made all these mistakes, and I was underperforming and disappointing everybody in my life. At the end of the day, it was really just due to undiagnosed and untreated ADHD.
First of all, it gave me peace. It gave me huge relief. Even though I still grieved the diagnosis and grieved the process and all the lost time of not knowing why everything was so hard and all the energy and all the fallout from not having been diagnosed.
Then I connected to ADHD resources in the community. That actually is probably part of why I ended up here, because I was doing all this research and figuring out all these places that were reputable and who was trustworthy in the ADHD community to do training with.
I was engaging in them as a teacher before I was engaging with them individually for my own needs. I went to conferences for teachers to learn about ADHD. I went to all these different things professionally, but it was really different when I started to engage in this for myself, for example, when I attended an in-person support group for myself.
That was the other reason I ended up in the facilitation of support groups. One of these support groups was lifesaving for me in the beginning of my journey.
In that journey, it was really important to know that I could help people if I learned more about what I was experiencing.
Also, the other part of that question that I'll answer is that it really helped me seek out the right resources and the right help. I had a lot of emotional healing to do after this diagnosis. So that's a great benefit to getting treatment, getting support, starting medications, taking medication ongoingly and trials.
All these kinds of things helped me understand myself better and I met a lot of other amazing people along the way.
Miriam: Wow, Renee, that’s such an enlightening story. I’m sure this will be really helpful for many other people who are in the same place that you were years ago. Thanks so much for your time and sharing your journey with us!
If you're interested in finding out more about Renee's work, you can find her here.
Renee Crook is Founder and Principal of ADDed Perspective Coaching. She's an ADHD Coach, Consultant, Speaker, Support Group Facilitator, Co-Chair for ADDA’s Virtual Peer Support & Workgroups Committee and Board Member of ADDA.
Renee is currently based in Washington, USA, but supports adults with ADHD all over the world through the wonders of modern technology.
This interview was brought to you by Dwellingright, the app that helps you stay one step ahead in life. Download Dwellingright on iOS and Android today.