Support & Stories

In Their Words: Denise Quesnel

Denise Quesnel, film editor, filmmaker, and entrepreneur, sounds off on family, work, and life with adult ADHD.

Denise Quesnel, a female photographer with ADHD, on being her own boss
Denise Quesnel, a female photographer with ADHD, on being her own boss

I was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at age eight, but I couldn’t take ADHD medications because I have hypothyroidism. Instead, I used exercise and stress reduction to help me manage ADHD symptoms. When I got frustrated with something, my mom said, “Run around the block or take a hot, relaxing shower.”

I was a good student, but I was better at running track. It was there that I gained confidence to become a high achiever in life. I fell into my career as a film editor. I didn’t know if I could remember all the technical details of the job, but I thrived because there were few interruptions and a lot of independence.

It is important for women with ADHD to trust their decisions, make solid, achievable goals, and dwell on their successes. Before taking on a big job, I sometimes tell myself repeatedly that I can do it before I believe it.

My ability to hyperfocus amazes clients. I can finish an eight-hour project in two. It’s an asset that I wouldn’t trade for anything. My ADHD symptoms made me feel inferior, stupid, and self-conscious as a kid, but they have helped me succeed as an adult.

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