Mike Fedel - a short introduction

Let me briefly introduce myself. My name is Mike Fedel and I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I was born in Detroit in 1956 and have lived in Southeast Michigan for most of my life.

Like many of our ADHD friends, I have led a very eclectic life: I am a musician, writer, poet, artist, improviser, performer, and peer-group facilitator. I have Master Degrees in Theology (with an undergraduate major in Philosophy) and Interpretation and Performance Studies. I've taught for U.C. Berkeley and our local community college, but made my living for 40 years as a software developer.

I've been married to the same woman for 35+ years, and have 2 daughters (Amy and Lisa). Both girls were born in Oakland, CA where we lived for 15 years. We moved back home so the kids could grow up around their extended family.

I was diagnosed with ADHD back in 2012 or so, around age 55. I was excited and read everything I could about it. It explained so many of the things that had been going on with me!

Like many of us, I read Ned Hallowell's "Driven to Distraction" first, then moved on to everything else I could find. That included books on ADHD, on mental health in general, and some of the debates going on in that field. I went back and re-read some philosophical texts about how we construct reality and especially cultures define what is "normal."

I also started thinking a lot about how ADHD has affected my relationship with my wife and kids. Decades of unpredictable behavior from me - from simple things like missing appointments to random explosions of anger - had left their scars on both of us. We were trapped in that familiar ADHD-couples model: Me: "she's a control freak", Her: "He's completely unreliable."

Along the way, I started getting involved with peer-support in the ADHD community. I am a big believer in the peer-support model: sharing our stories, swapping hints and tips, and even just having a safe place to VENT! I've often found that, once you get the anger out of the way, once it becomes visible, you can start taking to each other and finding solutions. So, I started hosting "coffee chats" on Saturday mornings once a month. They've been running over 3 years now and continue going strong.

I enjoy getting folks together to share our collected wisdom, to learn from each other, and that keeps me motivated to host these peer groups when I can.