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Episode 50: Decoding Trauma & ADHD with Tanisha Shedden

Updated: 2 days ago

Tanisha smiling while walking up stairs in an empty eatery
Tanisha Shedden


Welcome to the "Wellness in Every Season" podcast, where we embark on a transformative journey towards achieving total wellness, even in the midst of overwhelming moments. I'm your host, Autumn Carter, and I'm thrilled to have you here.

This podcast is a sanctuary for all mothers out there, and we extend a warm invitation to anyone seeking guidance and inspiration. We believe in fostering an inclusive community where we learn and grow together, supporting each other during life's challenging transitions.

Join us as we step out of survival mode and discover the path to thriving, embracing wellness in every season of motherhood. From sleepless nights to new beginnings, we'll explore practical strategies, share heartfelt stories, and uncover the transformative power of self-care and self-love.

Together, we'll unlock the wisdom, strength, and resilience within ourselves, reminding one another that we're never alone on this beautiful, yet demanding, journey. It's time to prioritize your well-being and reclaim your joy, one season at a time.

Autumn Carter: Welcome to wellness in every season today I have Tanisha Shedden from found life podcast, and she was with us before. And she was my mentor, my internship, and she is an amazing person. And I'm going to let her introduce herself again for those who don't know her yet.

Because you should. And then let her tell us what is new in her professional life, because she has some exciting things that have happened, including a special talk in a certain place that has happened.

 Yes. Oh my gosh, thank you so much. Yeah, it's always been great working with you, Autumn. Seriously, one of the best interns.

Tanisha Shedden: I am a counselor and a coach and a speaker. And most recently I spoke for TEDx Salt Lake City and I talked about burnout in the field.

 Also I'm getting ready to have another course come out for boundaries and then the trauma course is coming out again for the beginning of the year. That's, really what's been going on in my life, and I'm excited to help people and keep doing the work.

Autumn Carter: Thank you. It's been amazing watching you in this journey, and I'm so excited for you. Can you tell us about the trauma program that you're going to be doing because I think it will tie in with what we're going to be talking about.

Tanisha Shedden: It's the Trauma Healing Roadmap, previously. I might rename it, haven't decided yet. It's basically all the steps that you need to go through when you start a healing journey. Maybe you're already on one, but you need something to help you when you're not in therapy. It's all about learning the skills that you can use to manage the experience of having trauma.

And then it also includes simple things that can help you with your nervous system, information that you might not know about trauma, and what's normal as a person who has trauma, what to expect and so much more. It's all about how you can take power of your healing journey and you can go through these practices.

We do it together and you get to reflect on things. You get to process and you get to learn new skills and really have a good tool belt for being in a healing process and knowing what resources you have available. It's a resource for people who need help with healing trauma, but maybe don't know where to start.

And giving you all the options of, okay these are things that can help me and you having the opportunity to see what really works for you. So I'm excited about it.

Autumn Carter: That is amazing, because when you were on last time, you talked about trauma and how there aren't very many therapists who are trauma certified, and there needs to be more, and I know from talking to somebody recently, she was saying that She is going to reduce the times that she goes to see her therapist because she can't afford it.

And I love that you are offering options for people who can't afford insurance or can't afford therapy because of insurance reasons. Or want to further their journey because maybe their therapist is not trauma certified. Or because they just want to catapult themselves further so they can use you along with it.

 I love that you have options that work for all different people in different settings in their life.

Tanisha Shedden: Yeah it's it's a interesting thing. You're going to pay basically the cost of one session and you're going to get more out of it than just a one time visit. It's going to take you the time. You're going to get a little more out of it than you would in just one session. It's not a replacement for therapy, but definitely amazing. Especially if you're insurance copays or you're paying out of pocket and it's hard to see your therapist, this is something you can pay at one time and the investment lasts and you can use it in tandem or refer back to it.

I'm excited to provide that for people because there's not enough of us certified in trauma. I feel like every single one of us should be. But it's just not and you have to go through your clinical hours and get more experience and training before you can be trauma trained.

So that is something that is so valuable for a therapist to have. And yeah, I totally empathize with anyone out there looking for a therapist. Because it's hard to find one that is, prepared to take you on if you have trauma. Then when you do find them, sometimes there's a waitlist or sometimes it's expensive.

Autumn Carter: Yeah, my last therapist, I felt like she could not help me dig deep like I wanted to finally get rid of my night terrors from trauma. My current therapist, there's a waitlist, but I was lucky it was short. And it took a while for us to get the momentum and figure things out, but now it's been amazing and realizing how many people don't realize that there is a way out of it and that there's a better life on the other side.

I'm not even on the other side and it's already a better life.

Today we are talking about ADHD and how it can look similar to people who have trauma in their past. I know when I was a child I was diagnosed with ADHD, and there's no way that I have it. I don't show the symptoms now that I am healing from my trauma.

 That is where this whole idea came from, was when I was researching ADHD and how it manifests differently in women, you came to mind. And it helps since I don't have to do all the research because you've already done a lot of it and because of your background and your life story and everything.

So I would love for you to talk about trauma a little bit, explain what that is again for people who have not listened to our previous episode and then speak on. ADHD and how it can manifest and just take it away , because I only know from life experience.

Tanisha Shedden: Absolutely, a lot of people think that trauma is the experience itself, but trauma is the impact. You might have an experience happen and trauma is the result of the experience. It used to be interpreted as PTSD solely, but now we understand trauma a lot more and understand that trauma has many ways of presenting itself and trauma is just residual effect of an experience that can include feeling like long term anxiety.

It can include panic. It can include , having memories come up, all sorts of things. Trauma is really like this long term stress response to an experience. And that's the easiest way to explain it. Many people sometimes people question themselves and they're like is that trauma?

 The important thing to remember is that your experience, it doesn't matter how quote unquote big or small you feel that your experience was like.

 Whether or not you have trauma is whether or not you are affected negatively, long term and have long term stress reaction to the experience it could be as simple as a one time situation where you were bullied and it could be as magnificent as a horrible natural disaster or an assault, a war, anything like that. But trauma has a spectrum of how it can affect people, so a lot of people don't understand that trauma is not just the event, it's the after and the outfall of the event. And then I think where people often get confused like where Autumn was saying is we know from research that ADHD and trauma look very similar in the brain.

 It's interesting because you can have ADHD from two reasons. One reason is genetics. You can have ADHD from genetics. And ADHD really is just your brain waves travel faster, your brain's access to dopamine might be different and a few other things. And so genetics will influence that.

And then the second way you could have it is If you've been through trauma causes changes in the brain and those changes of the brain turn into ADHD and because they're so identical. If you have symptoms of ADHD, that's the diagnosis you're going to get, and then if it disappears after you work through trauma, great, if it doesn't, great.

 It's interesting because for me, I do have ADHD and I also have trauma but even after a lot of trauma work and a lot of it I feel has been resolved, I still have ADHD. And I can see some genetic things, I'm like, maybe I have it, maybe I don't. I was adopted, so I don't have a lot of information.

 But that's what we know from the research. Because of what trauma can do to your brain, the stress response can cause all sorts of changes in your brain. There's things that go on, like the influx of cortisol, the influx of adrenaline. That long term is dangerous for your brain.

 It causes your hippocampus to shrink and your amygdala to grow, which means it affects your memory. It changes your ability to remember things. So your memory might be a little spotty more than it used to be.

And then also with your hippocampus, it changes your emotionality as well. You might have a different window of tolerance. Maybe you had a large window of tolerance, very patient you had the ability to ride the wave through things before you had trauma and then after you had trauma, you have a short fuse you crack quickly, things are frustrating to you.

Hard to remember things, hard to focus you get overwhelmed quickly, there's panic attacks involved, all sorts of things, all of those things are from changes in the brain, and will manifest in the brain.

 When you're irritable and tired and you have long term stress from years of your trauma, or however long you've had your trauma that long term stress is going to when we look at how ADHD is usually diagnosed, it's diagnosed in terms of what it looks like in context of like work or school or your daily life. And if you're having all of that going on, Then it's going to be hard for you to sit in the classroom and focus to keep track of things like car keys or your phone. You're going to lose things. It's going to be hard for you to stay organized.

Getting out of bed is going to be hard for you because dopamine doesn't hit your brain first thing in the morning. Most people, Dopamine hits their brain first thing in the morning, they have access to dopamine, but if you have trauma and or ADHD, your brain's access to dopamine is different, so it might look different for each person, but really, that can make waking up in the morning really difficult and going to bed at night really difficult because That is what kind of gets your brain going, makes it feel awake.

So there's just so many things that can happen neurologically. When you experience trauma, it's hard right now for us scientifically to understand oh, this is ADHD from trauma, and this is ADHD from genetics, unless we have clear genetic evidence or clear trauma evidence, but even then, sometimes for people, it could be sixes, right?

 Some people could have trauma and genetic disposition and have ADHD. When someone has trauma, regardless, they're probably going to have some of these symptoms, either short term of a long or long term of ADHD. They're going to feel disoriented or scattered. And it's interesting for adults that have trauma because especially if your trauma was like teenage or adult onset, because there might be a clear before time when you're like, I wasn't like this.

I don't remember being like this as a child. I never struggled with these things before. And that's a clear kind of sign that you might have ADHD from trauma, but if you don't remember before and you're like, I've always been like this I don't know when it started. That's when we were like maybe it's more genetic But then if your trauma started early if you have, early developmental trauma That's a whole nother thing because we won't know a before or an after it's all mixed together in the stages of development.

There's a lot of information you can get about this, and it can be confusing, but at the end of the day the way that you work through experiencing ADHD is the same. The only difference with the trauma piece is that you're going to treat the trauma, and hopefully after time goes by, your brain will start to heal and level out. I really think it truly depends on how long you've been experiencing your trauma symptoms or trauma in general, because if maybe your whole childhood was great there wasn't really much trauma and then you had a single event, and then after a year or so, addressed it, feel better, and your body's out of that fight or flight for a long time again, you might feel normal quickly.

But if you're someone who's been through developmental trauma and maybe your traumas start at age three, two or three like mine did. Then continuous trauma and stress, your brain is just going to go back to normal or quote unquote normal easily. It's very interesting and it's very complicated and there's certain things we don't have enough science to understand yet and I wish we did. Because it would be helpful to, to really be able to pin down how can we treat this? How can we help people have, I think the biggest thing is that access to dopamine and the steady ability to focus on things.

 I think a lot of people who experience ADHD, there's positives and negatives because there's windows of time where sometimes you can hyper focus on something for a long time because your brain releases that dopamine. All of a sudden in like a window of time, you can focus on things and then it goes away. , it's just different for everybody is what I would say about it. That's a long explanation, but that's really what it looks like if you categorize the differences between trauma and ADHD and understanding how they might appear in the same context.

Autumn Carter: There are times where I am, triggered or I'm afraid that I'm going to be triggered, so all of a sudden I have all this energy come, like ADHD type energy. And I just need to release it somehow because I feel like something is going to trigger me or I have been triggered.

 Can you talk about that a little bit? Like how that part can look like ADHD and the differences?

Tanisha Shedden: I could see that a sudden influx of restless energy. I think if you don't recognize it, you're not able to recognize it as Oh, I'm I know a triggers coming, then it does feel like ADHD.

But that right there is your sign that you're like, Oh, I am feeling like this energy come because your body is responding to your thoughts, right? Your thought is this is gonna be scary. You're preparing yourself for a dangerous experience. So your body's in fight or flight. And so that energy is your stress response turning on.

And so that can look like hyperactivity that can feel like hyperactivity, and so it's all about being able to recognize where it comes from, because it seems like you're aware you're like, oh I, you have an idea , oh this is reminding me of a situation. I am, clearly triggered.

 That's where you can engage in skills that help you either calm down or help you move through that energy because when your fight or flight turns on, it's important for your body to express it and be able to do something. So when people feel that way, you can run, you can punch a pillow, you can sit with it, you can try to help your mind walk back and go, oh, actually I'm not in danger.

That's where grounding skills are very helpful. And then they're like, Oh, okay I'm not in danger, everything's okay. I can calm down and you just have to move the energy out and that's an important thing. I think when it comes to ADHD hyperactivity, like when you're feeling that restlessness stimulation is what you want to do.

So if you're not having a trigger stimulation is the thing you want to do. So you just want to use the energy. It's very like black and white, it seems but yeah, you just want to use the energy. And it's the same thing when your fight or flight is triggered. You're just like, oh, I need to use this energy. I need to remind myself and my body that I actually I'm safe and in this moment, this is not a repeating cycle.

Autumn Carter: Thank you. It's actually something that I recognized several months ago, and it was after the fact. I'm like, Oh, this hasn't happened for a while. That was totally like ADHD but I don't have it in any other aspect of my life that I'm like, Oh, hold on. I need to dig in and figure out the why. Then once I got the why ,sit down and talk to my husband about it, because I was going into a situation with him where I thought I was going to be triggered because I was conditioned from my childhood to this is what's going to happen because of this.

And he's absolutely not. And just simply having that conversation with somebody who I'm now safe with, it's Oh yeah. Okay. I see where I'm going and working my way through that. I think there's so much power knowing who your safe people are, and First of all, feeling safe within yourself, that's where grounding comes in and I needed to do that first and then going and talking to my safe people and being like, okay, I understood what happened and just allowing it to be a self growth moment.

And it made me realize when I talked to you last time, wow, I have so much more healing to do from trauma and I'm never going to be fully healed. Thanks a lot for telling me that. But also realizing, oh, I've grown and I've healed more than I realized because I don't have those ADHD symptoms except when I feel like I'm about to be triggered or I have been triggered. And that doesn't happen very often anymore. So yay, healing.

Is there anything else that you want to talk on in regards to ADHD and trauma or we can move it a different way.

Tanisha Shedden: I think the last thing I would say with understanding trauma and ADHD is if you have one or the other or both, if you're able to recognize what's happening and tracking when you have a harder time, that's super helpful.

For anybody that has long term continuous trauma, like for me there's a lot and it started early continued through early childhood, teenage years. Then college, just more events that resulted in a trauma response for me over the years, lots of different little things stacked all together.

So that means something different for my brain than it does for someone that maybe has had isolated incidents. Being aware of that and being okay with that is so important. Just being okay with my brain is a little different, like neurodivergent. It doesn't matter if you're born that way, if you became that way, neurodivergent and it's fine.

 That just means that you function a little bit differently and you have different tools that you use I know that I always have to have a key finder. I know that I always have to have my phone hooked up to location so that I can find it. I know that I always have to use a day planner and just work through those things.

 I know that when I get more stressed out, I'll need to do those things more. As I work through some things, they don't necessarily have the big major trauma symptoms anymore. I don't have panic attacks anymore. Like you said every day. I don't have any of those big things, but I do still have the little things where I'm like, I'll forget things when I'm stressed out or I'll have spurts of energy and start like pacing when I'm stressed out.

Little things that are different. I'll have to use skills to manage them. But I think people can feel a lot of shame about experiencing life differently. But once you get you're safe people, a solid team, on your side that understand your experience, it's fine.

And it's okay. You know what I mean? We have so many things to heal from and healing from the thought that we are different doesn't need to be another thing. It doesn't need to be. Sometimes it just is, but it doesn't.

Autumn Carter: I have a child who is neurodivergent and we're still going through and we need to figure out what they are so we can figure out how to help him better. And it's making me really reflect on. How many people aren't neurodivergent? What does that mean anymore? I'm like, do quote unquote normal people not feel this way, or not do this?

But anymore, neurodivergent is the majority.

Tanisha Shedden: The gap is closing a little bit. They're finding more. It's 30 percent of people are neurodivergent or something like that, like 30 to 40. And the people who , maybe don't meet that stipulation or whatever you want to call it. Yeah, their experiences are different. They can focus and have routine and and that's something that seems alien to people who are like, What do you mean? You don't do this? And I think it's interesting.

And it is one of those things where you're like I know a lot of people who behave the same way as I do so I think that is interesting. It's like the gap between what's normal and what's considered neurodivergent is not the same as it used to be. It used to seem like only 1 percent of people would have ADHD or something else.


Autumn Carter: And it makes me think about just really being in tune with yourself . Taking the time to really understand yourself, understand the things that are going to trigger you, because we all have triggers in life. And if you don't know what they are, talk to your children.

They know what they are. Or talk to your spouse or somebody who's really close to you. They know what your triggers are. And Knowing the places where you need to heal, because we all have those areas, we don't go throughout this life without. picking up things that hurt us without pain of some kind. Taking the time to really get to know ourselves, really get to know our needs and the things that light us up and the things that protect us.

Deplete our energy . And I think that goes with when you know your needs what will best help you get through whatever task you want to do or whatever your goals and purpose are. When you know all of these things, your map lights up the way. And when you have blocks in front of you, like trauma, that's when you need to reach out for other people.

When you have blocks that are in between you and your relationship or wherever, that's when you should reach out to a professional. And there are so many people around you that are willing to help if you take the time to reflect on what help you actually need. So thank you for this conversation.

Is there anything else that you want to share with us to close out and then remind us again, how we can follow you.

Tanisha Shedden: You can find my podcast and listen to more. I do similar interviews. I interview people with stories of hope and healing. So basically anyone who's a trauma survivor who has felt that they've overcome it.

And a lot of the time it's people who are fellow therapists or coaches or just regular people who have overcome a lot and are doing well now. And they give advice and tips and insight into how that went for them and what their experience was like and what helped them. And I like that approach because I think as a therapist, it's so much better to hear from people who are not speaking from an expert point of view of what helped them.

 My podcast is called the found life podcast. You can follow me on Instagram at found by Tanisha, also the same. On TikTok and Facebook. Go ahead, find me. It's just Found by Tanisha. And we'll have a grand old time.

Autumn Carter: Remind me why you chose the name Found. Because I think that'll help it stick in everybody's mind.

Tanisha Shedden: Yeah, it's actually funny. Found is, it's just one of my favorite songs from the musical Dear Evan Hansen. Dear Evan Hansen is about a boy who who attempted suicide and it's his story, like this musical is a story about how he grapples with that and overcomes that.

 Dear Evan Hansen, they made a movie, Ben Platt's great the headline song is You Will Be Found, and the lyrics from that song really inspired me. Some of the lyrics are like, even when the darkness even when the dark comes streaming in, the light comes out, I can't remember but you will be found.

 There's going to be hope someone's going to help you even when you feel alone, essentially. I totally butchered those lyrics, but it's a beautiful song. And that's really what inspired me to start doing mental health education.

The found project is the official name of my business. And it started as just a suicidal project while I was in undergrad and I continued it in grad school. And what we did early in those days was scan codes and hospitals to where they could get a therapy directory after they were discharged from the inpatient unit. And so I have a U. S. mental health directory where you can find different providers for different services. Still on my site, even though it's it's ages old and now I do something completely different from suicide awareness and prevention, but it's still like the heart of the business and so that's how that came to be.

 So Found by Tanisha is what I go by on social media and yeah, it's the name that I chose.

Autumn Carter: Thank you. I think that will help give personality to your website and to what you do and also help it stick in their minds like this is why it's called this because I think if you know the why it resonates better.

Tanisha Shedden: Thank you.

As we bring today's episode to a close, I want to give you a sneak peek into next week's special discussion that promises to be both enlightening and rejuvenating. Our next episode is dedicated to exploring 'The Power of Rest: How to Be Instead of Being a Doer, and the Why and How of Taking a Day Off.' This topic is particularly close to my heart, and I believe it will resonate deeply with each of you.

In our lives, where constant motion and achievement are often the benchmarks of success, we tend to overlook the profound, transformative power of rest. Next week, we'll journey together into the heart of stillness, uncovering how stepping back and embracing rest can lead to greater creativity, mental clarity, and emotional well-being. We'll talk about the art of 'being' – appreciating the present moment, finding joy in simplicity, and understanding that sometimes, doing less can actually mean living more.

As a life coach for moms, I know all too well the challenges and guilt that come with trying to find time for rest in a busy schedule. But it's crucial, and next week, we'll explore practical strategies for integrating meaningful rest into your life, and how to overcome the mental barriers that often accompany taking a day off.

So, as we wrap up today, I urge you to subscribe to our podcast if you haven't already. You won't want to miss this transformative episode that could be the first step toward a more balanced and fulfilling life. Remember, it's not just a conversation; it's an invitation to change how you view and experience your day-to-day life. Join us next week for this enlightening episode. Until then, take care and embrace the moments of rest in your life.



Thank you for joining us on this week's refreshing wellness discussion. I'm Autumn Carter, your guide through the seasons of motherhood, and I hope you found inspiration and valuable insights during our time together.

If you resonate with the topics we explored today and want to continue your wellness journey, I invite you to follow me on Instagram at Moms Wellness in Every Season. There, you'll discover a wealth of ongoing wellness tips specifically curated for moms like you.

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If you have a specific topic you'd like us to cover in more detail or if you're interested in a free coaching consultation, don't hesitate to reach out. You can send me a direct message on Instagram or visit my website,, to send an email. I'm here to support you on your wellness journey.

Thank you again for being a part of our vibrant community. I'm genuinely excited to connect with you, hear your stories, and continue this important discussion in the weeks to come.

Until next time, remember to prioritize your well-being, embrace every season with grace, and always strive for wellness in every aspect of your motherhood journey. Take care, and I can't wait to catch up with you soon.



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