285: Laura Key: How Successful Women with ADHD Mask Their Struggles

Navigating anxiety, perfectionism, and imposter syndrome

June 17

Struggling with perfectionism? Feeling like there's always more to achieve? You're not alone!

Join us as Laura Key, host of the ADHD AHA podcast, shares her journey from an anxiety disorder diagnosis to discovering her ADHD. She talks about the moments that led to her diagnosis, including a discovery in her childhood journals. Laura reflects on her sensitive and perfectionist childhood, revealing how she turned struggles with focus and burnout into strengths. This episode highlights the inspiring experiences of women with ADHD and the importance of embracing mental health awareness.

Laura discusses the unique challenges women face with ADHD, from societal expectations to internal battles with self-worth. She shares personal stories and practical advice on embracing ADHD and finding balance in life.

Laura Key is a longtime editor and the host of the "ADHD Aha!" podcast, where she shares interviews about the surprising and emotional ways ADHD symptoms appear. She also leads content strategy at Understood.org, an organization dedicated to supporting people with learning and thinking differences like ADHD and dyslexia. Laura’s mission is to create a supportive community where individuals can share their stories, find resources, and feel less alone in their journey.





"Understanding who I am as a person who can regulate my emotions was a turning point for me."
- Laura Key

"Being diagnosed with ADHD allowed me to finally understand the intertwined nature of my anxiety and focus issues."
- Laura Key

"The emotional regulation challenges are a core part of ADHD, but they also present opportunities for growth and self-discovery."
- Laura Key

"The journey to find the right medication was filled with trial and error, but it was crucial in allowing me to feel like myself again."
- Laura Key

"When I start to get overwhelmed, I write everything down by hand. It helps me organize my thoughts and prioritize my tasks."
- Laura Key

"It's important to ask for help. Managing ADHD successfully often requires support from those around us."
- Laura Key

[0:00 - 14:36] ADHD Diagnosis and Its Impact
  • Laura Key was diagnosed with ADHD at 30, after initially being treated for generalized anxiety disorder at 28.
  • She noticed something was still off after being treated for anxiety, leading her to suspect ADHD might be the culprit.
  • Laura had an aha moment when reviewing old journals, realizing her focus issues were longstanding.

[14:37 - 36:56] Perfectionism, ADHD, and Burnout
  • Laura describes herself as an overachiever, driven to succeed but feeling burned out and stressed.
  • She recounts instances of being pressured by coaches to prioritize sports over academics.
  • Laura discusses her introverted nature, struggles with writing, and success in editing.

[36:57 - 59:59] Managing Mental Health and Perfectionism
  • Laura shares her journey with therapy and medication for ADHD and anxiety, emphasizing the importance of finding the right medication and dosage.
  • Tracy Otsuka and Laura discuss their experiences with ADHD and anxiety medication, and the challenges of finding the right balance.
  • They talk about perfectionism in work and personal life, sharing strategies for managing overwhelming tasks and prioritizing effectively.


Learn more by connecting with Tracy through Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or visit adhdforsmartwomen.com.

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Hi, I'm Tracy

I teach Smart Ass ADHD women how to use their brilliant brains to build the life they want by embracing their too-muchness and focusing on their strengths.