Jessica McCabe is the founder and face of How to ADHD, a popular YouTube series centered on educating and supporting ADHD brains around the world. She was celebrated as one of the bright minds of school as she always excelled in her academics until her fortune declined and she was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in mid-school when being a “smart kid” wasn’t sufficient to get good grades. I didn’t have a lot, any, friends outside of books. I was easily overwhelmed. My mind zoned out in class. I lost things constantly. But I was smart, so nobody was worried.”
In this Ted Talk, she discusses living with ADHD. She reports the learning disorder as having three primary characteristics — inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
Stimulant medication, she explains, helped her cope and focus, till one day, it didn’t. “By 21, I dropped out of college and went back home. Over the next few years, I started and quit, or was fired from, 15 jobs. I ruined my credit. I got married and divorced within a year. At that moment, I was 32, and I had no idea what I was doing with my life.”
She began researching A.D.H.D. but had trouble assembling all the information she learned. This perplexity led her to YouTube, a platform with which she was already familiar, to retain the material. “Notebooks, no, I lose notebooks,” she said. “YouTube. I won’t lose YouTube.”
She started a channel HowtoADHD as an ADHD toolbox—a witty and heartfelt mix of research-based strategies and lessons learned from her own journey into ADHD adulthood.
At first, she gathered information for her videos on Google searches but realized that there was a lot of misinformation about A.D.H.D. on the internet.
Rachelle LeDuc-Cairns, a registered nurse in Canada, offered to guide her on how to analyze research studies for their validity. Then Patrick LaCount, a postdoctoral man at the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, began to meet with her weekly to review and talk about research studies.
Jessica was chosen as a spokesperson for CHADD (Children and Adults with ADD/ADHD), and her work has been admired by ADDitude Magazine, Today.com, Upworthy, and more.
She is not a doctor or medical professional but an actor and a comedian, but her efforts to serve humanity are praiseworthy.