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“I Finally Make Sense to Myself”

Kelly Dooley, a fashion designer and founder of BodyRock Sport, reflects on how getting an ADHD diagnosis at age 32 helped her finally get insight into her own brain — and start harnessing her talents for success.

Portrait of Kelly Dooley, founder of BodyRock Sport
Kelly Dooley, founder of BodyRock Sport

I always thought that there was something wrong with me. I’d be sitting next to my boyfriend as he watched TV, and he’d get frustrated because I couldn’t focus on the show he was watching. I just couldn’t do it. At one point, I wondered if I was crazy.

When I was diagnosed with severe attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) at age 32, I said, “Oh, my gosh, I finally make sense to myself.” I didn’t feel so bad anymore, because I realized my lack of focus wasn’t my fault. My heart felt lighter.

The idea for my company, BodyRock Sport, came when I was training for a marathon, and I was looking for a sports bra with a pocket. It didn’t exist. I thought, “I need to create a line of sports bras for women like me.”

[Self-Test: ADHD Symptoms in Women and Girls]

My ADHD has been a huge asset. When you’re running a company, there are always going to be problems, and you have to barrel through them. My mantra is, “Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.” With ADHD, I am able to do that.

I have an Adderall prescription, but I don’t take it. I stay on a low-glycemic diet, which makes a big difference. I also do a lot of high-intensity interval training, which creates more activity in the frontal cortex, where I need it. I take L-tyrosine, 5-HTP, and magnesium. All of these things help.

Women with ADHD are passionate and creative, and we think in a different way. I’m hyper all the time. I’ve failed many times in my life, but I always figure out why. I don’t believe in failure. You don’t fail unless you quit.

2 Comments & Reviews

  1. My diagnosis came when I was 35 (a few years ago). I had always joked about being ADD because I didn’t really think that was a thing I could have. Once I was diagnosed, everything I had been going through all started to make sense. Since I was diagnosed, I’ve been able to work on my focus and have made an incredible amount of progress on my own business ideas. ADHD is a great asset, but you have to know how to make it work for you. Great article! Thanks!

  2. Thank you for your article. I am always looking for positives about myself. It’s very difficult sometimes. I was diagnosed as a child but never treated properly. I’m 48 now and had an adult diagnosis a few years ago. Medication has been helpful but as an adult you can’t just take pills. I have learned many coping skills and tools to help. As you know, ADHD effects our emotional responses and how we react. That has been a hard one for me. These articles and this website has been a very positive thing in my life. I was diagnosed with Lupus erythematosus last year and have been pretty sick. I had to have my right leg amputated as well. It’s been one of the most trying times in my life. I almost gave up at one point. But I also believe because of my struggles and triumphant’s with ADHD,I was able to cope with all of the tragedy in a different way. It has made me a much stronger woman who refuses to give up. It’s women like you who remind me of that. Thankyou

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