Nikita Hudson is an advocate for children and adults with ADHD, as well as a coach to help moms on their journey to self-love. In this interview she shares her own ADHD story, and what inspired her to write a children’s book to builds self-esteem for children dealing with ADHD.
Tell us a little bit about your diagnosis experience. How has your life changed after the diagnosis? Any positives that came from it?
My son was diagnosed with combined type ADHD when he was 3 years old. When he started elementary school he was having such a difficult time that I started doing research and reading books in an effort to just really figure this all out. That was when I really understood the expression, “a light bulb went off in my head.”
In doing the research it seemed like I was reading about my life story. I spoke to my doctor and he said most women don’t find out until after they have a child that is diagnosed. It changed my life. I finally had an answer to “why am I like this?” Why I never seem to be able to get things done. Why I was always feeling like I know what to do but just am not able to do it. Now I could understand why I was always losing things, forgetting things, being late, extremely unorganized, having difficulty with zoning out in school, starting things and not completing them, why time management was nonexistent for me and why I was always avoiding things that seem to be too hard or require too much thinking.
It was a relief. There was so much creativity in the chaos that is my mind and now I have clarity. I can finally unleash it whereas before I had no idea how to.
What’s one thing you like about having ADHD?
Hyperfocus – there’s times when I get this burst of energy and I am on this wave and this mission of completing things and I accomplish so much and come up with so many new ideas. I live for those days when I can look back on a productive day and say “I did that.”
I am a coach, an author, a speaker and a blogger along with being a single mom of two with a full time job. Exploring every avenue keeps me from being bored. Anyone who has ADHD understands how devastating boredom can be.
What do you struggle with?
Paper clutter, feeling overwhelmed when the house is a mess, organizing my thoughts during the day and shutting them off at night.
Do you feel like there are additional challenges that come with ADHD for women of color?
I would say yes because one thing is people of color are looked at as LAZY and that is one word that is associated with people with ADHD which of course is a huge misconception.
People of color do not have a lot of support in the mental health community. Black women are supposed to be strong and able to get through anything and it is just not fair. If we are struggling with something, especially something that is “invisible” like ADHD we look weak.
Tell us how these challenges inspired your work as an author and ADHD advocate
I am the author of I AM A GOOD BOY a children’s book that uses positive affirmations to build self-esteem particularly of children dealing with ADD/ADHD. I wrote the book in dedication to my son when I got tired of the stigma of him being “bad” because of his ADHD. I can see that he really had a strong desire to be “good” and do his best.
I want to help single mothers upgrade their Glow (mindset), goals and their grind and show them how they too can be a self-love mama. A self-love mama is a mom who believes that putting herself first is not selfish, it is necessary. I am a strong believer that kids do not need perfect moms but they really need happy moms. To many times moms are trying to pour from an empty cup, imagine how good and fulfilling life can be when the cup is full.
Success to me is happiness. Being completely content where I am while I am on the journey to where I am going. Not filing my headspace with comparisons or negativity, just pure positive vibes.
What are your go-to strategies, tips or resources for ADHD?
“The Queen of Distraction” by Terry Matlen was a helpful book for me. Finding Kaleidoscope Society was a huge confidence booster and there’s few IG accounts that I really enjoy like @adhdworldwide and @adhd.probz
I use my google calendar a lot, which I love because it automatically syncs to my phone. My handwriting is awful and I don’t remember to look back in planners/agendas. I am always with my phone so it makes more sense for me to keep everything there. I always keep a composition book with me for notes. They are best because of the bigger lines, helps me to write neater so I can understand what I wrote later.
I do not overload my to-do list; there is always a top 3 for the day. What do I need to do today? I break down large tasks into smaller more manageable tasks. I don’t put too much pressure on myself on how long something might take me to complete, as long as the higher priority things are tackled first. In some cases I just bang out the easier things to get them out of the way.
Be kind to yourself. There is no one size fits all solution. Figure out what works for you, create and master your system and watch yourself evolve into the masterpiece you always knew you were.
What is your favorite place to go to feel calm?
When I put my kids to bed I turn off all of the lights and take a hot candlelit shower. It is the best therapy. I feel calm and a lot of ideas come to me at this time. The trick is remembering them after the shower is over ☺
Any ADHD survival tips for domestic tasks such as laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning?
My kids and I have something called “the check.” If I say “floor check” they know to go and make sure things aren’t on the floor that shouldn’t be and put them where they go. “Dishes check” means make sure there aren’t any dishes in rooms other than the kitchen. Etc. We “check” daily so the mess will not pile up on us. We also use the “everything has a home” strategy so we know where things go and where to find them. For example, my car keys have a home in a little basket on the counter. That is where they go, no exceptions, so I always know where they are.
I do a lot of cooking on Sundays (or another day of the week if I don’t get to it Sunday) so that there is enough food for a few days. I am moody so there is just no way I can cook every day and I have accepted that.
We also do “Good-night thank yous.” ADHD-ers need to hear the positives more than the negatives to keep our self-esteem up. So we end the night by saying thank you to each other. For example I will say to my son “Today I want to thank you for cleaning up your toys the first time I asked, you did a great job. Is there anything you want to thank mommy for before bed?” This keeps us all positive and grateful.
One piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Stop doubting yourself. You are not less than, stupid, lazy, under-qualified, or lost. You feel confused with this urge to explore everything, so just do it.
How has ADHD affected your love life or other personal relationships?
It has changed my love life after being diagnosed because I can better understand my own actions and behaviors and can be more upfront and honest about what I need whereas before I didn’t know why I was moody, irritated, bored, distracted etc. now that I know it makes things easier because I can explain it better.
It helps me be more understanding to why people do the things they do or behave the way they behave, especially when dating someone that has ADHD but has never been treated for it, which is common in the black community. They might say something like yeah teachers told my mom that when I was young but you know…which means you know they did nothing about it.
Medication – is this a treatment option you are pursuing?
Currently I am not. I have thought about it a lot. I am not opposed to it and I think that as he gets older we may try it if he is really having trouble with progressing. Right now what I do is I keep a really close relationship with his teachers. He has an IEP teacher which he sees for math, reading, and writing, and then his other teacher for everything else. I discuss everything with them to make sure we are all on the same page and being consistent.
Knowing what you know now about ADHD, if you could magically take it away from your son, would you?
That is a tough question; I do get nervous thinking about how people will treat him as he gets older. He has already experienced “bullying” situations and I notice that he does try to fit in with older kids, so there are the confidence and self-esteem challenges. I don’t ever want him to feel less than, or think being different is a bad thing. But his teachers tell me that he is such a leader, everyone wants to follow him and do what he is doing. He is insecure about a lot of things so he really tries to shine in the areas that he is not. He is also extremely competitive. But these are the things that just make him who he is. Sure things might be easier if I could magically make his ADHD go away but then Jaylen wouldn’t be Jaylen and I think I’d really miss that.
Nikita Hudson is the self-published author of I Am a Good Boy. She is an advocate for children and adult ADD/ADHD, self-love and the support and education of single parents. She was raised in South Florida and comes from a large Jamaican family of 10 siblings. Nikita graduated from Caldwell University with a BA in Communication Arts. She lives in New Jersey with her son Jaylen and her daughter Leilani.