You can find a link to the full transcript for this episode HERE.
It’s such an honor to welcome Kelly Redmon Loo on the latest episode of this podcast to talk to us about self-care as an autistic entrepreneur and how cope with autistic burnout. Kelly is an entrepreneur and therapist, and a pioneer in the field of autism in women+. In addition to this she comes at this topic not only with professional experience, but lived experience as well as she is autistic herself and also has ADHD.
Kelly is the founder and owner of Seven Seas Counseling, an innovative online therapy practice where she focuses on providing support to autistic adults, individuals dealing with chronic pain, and those facing various illnesses.
Her expertise extends to assessments and late diagnoses of autism, where she assists clients in navigating the complexities of a late diagnosis and collaborates with them to create personalized lives that cater to their unique needs. Kelly is dedicated to helping individuals unmask, discover their authentic paths, and fulfill their potential.
In addition to her clinical work, Kelly plays a vital role in the professional development of therapists. She offers training and clinical supervision to those eager to expand their knowledge in working with autistic adults, contributing to the growth of the therapeutic community.
She also runs an online autistic women’s+ support group and is in the process of developing a group curriculum centered around autistic burnout.
Currently residing in Arlington, Va, Kelly enjoys a fulfilling personal life in the company of her husband, Siberian cat- Iquitos, and four rescue guinea pigs. She is an active member and advocate of online chronic illness/pain communities and raises awareness of several rare chronic conditions that often overlap with autism. Her interests beyond her work include traveling, being near the ocean whenever she can, and fostering animals. She is Audhd herself (autism + ADHD) and her current special interests include sewing, memoir writing, and going new places with her husband and their cat.
I was very interested in how autism was presenting in a very different way than I was trained, very different from what the neuropsychologist had said, they don’t feel emotions the way that we do, they don’t feel empathy. It’s the complete opposite. Autistic individuals feel so much emotion, so much empathy, but the communication is different.
It really is such an honor to have Kelly on the show today. This is a bit of a longer episode, but it is packed full of great information. We dive into how Kelly developed her passion for working with autistic clients. We’ll talk about masking and unmasking, how autism, particularly in women, often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to its unique manifestations.
Kelly also shares insights on why neurodivergent individuals may feel ‘unemployable’, how entrepreneurship can be a liberating path for many and how she overcomes some of the challenges that come with being a neurodivergent entrepreneur.
We’ll also explore the nuances of occupational versus autistic burnout, and how you can take care of yourself if you’re experiencing autistic burnout.
And if you’re wondering if you might be on the spectrum, Kelly offers practical advice on next steps, including seeking a formal diagnosis or finding peace in self-diagnosis
So, whether you’re neurodivergent, wondering if you’re neurodivergent, know someone who is, or are simply here to learn, this episode is packed with eye-opening perspectives and valuable takeaways.
Also be sure to scroll down for the value packed list of resources that Kelly and I have compiled for you on this topic.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- How Kelly developed her passion for working with autistic clients and how she discovered that autism is nothing like what she learned about in grad school
- Why she says “if you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person”
- Kelly’s experience of discovering she was neurodivergent in grad school when she received an ADHD diagnosis
- The concept of masking and what’s helped Kelly on her own journey of unmasking and discovering she’s autistic
- How alcohol consumption can serve to mask autism
- How autism manifests differently in women leading to missed/late diagnosis
- Why neurodivergent people sometimes feel “unemployable” and why entrepreneurship can be such a great fit
- The challenges you may face when you’re neurodivergent and an entrepreneur, and what’s helped Kelly to deal with these challenges
- The difference between occupational burnout and autistic burnout, and how you can care for yourself and recover if you’re experiencing autistic burnout
- Kelly’s tips on what to do next if you suspect you might be on the autism spectrum, including how to find a professional if you’d like to pursue formal diagnosis, and why self-diagnosis may be enough
Find Kelly Online:
- Website: https://www.sevenseascounseling.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/seven_seas_counseling/
Resources & Inspiration from the Show
- Autistic Burnout:
- New York Times Article on Autistic Burnout
- First Research on Autistic Burnout:
- One of the studies Kelly references when she mentions that the stress of burnout can overwhelm cognitive function and the neuro-endocrine system, leading to physical changes in the anatomy and functioning of the brain.
- “Having All of Your Internal Resources Exhausted Beyond Measure and Being Left with No Clean-Up Crew”: Defining Autistic Burnout
- Assessment and Professional Support:
- Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity by Devon Price
- Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World that Wasn’t Designed for You by Jenara Nerenberg
- Is This Autism? A Guide for Clinicians and Everyone Else by Donna Henderson, Sarah Wayland, and Jamell White
- Excellent podcast episode with the authors on recognizing less obvious autism
- Women and Girls on the Autism Spectrum: Understanding Life Experiences from Early Childhood to Old Age by Sarah Hendrickx and Jess Hendrickx
- The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang (fiction)
- Twice Exceptional (2e):
- Raising Twice-Exceptional Children: A Handbook for Parents of Neurodivergent Gifted Kids by Emily Kircher Morris (book)
- Are You a Twice Exceptional Adult? Dr. Melanie Hayes Talks About Living Your Best Life (podcast episode)
- The Neurodiversity Podcast
- Discovering you’re 2e (gifted + autistic) as an adult (podcast episode)
- Sign up for Melissa’s mailing list to learn more about her memoir that she mentioned in the episode
List of resources to help you find a coach, therapist, or peer support If you’d like additional support for your mental and emotional well-being as a founder
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About Founders’ Fears & Failures and your host, Dr. Melissa Parks
Melissa is an entrepreneur, former therapist (PhD in Clinical & Health Psychology), and an executive coach for entrepreneurs with a special focus on startup founders. Her passion for supporting startup founders in particular began after witnessing firsthand the emotional rollercoaster her husband experienced as a startup co-founder.
She started the Founders’ Fears & Failures podcast with the mission of shining a light on the mental and emotional challenges that come with life as a startup founder. Having lived abroad for 10 years herself she realizes how much we can learn from hearing stories from around the globe which is why the show doesn’t focus on a country-specific startup ecosystem.
Melissa is also the co-founder of the Location Independent Therapist Community, and a mom to a toddler who keeps her on her toes, and fuels her passion for helping to make the world a better place.
If you are interested in coming on the show, please get in touch. We would love to hear your story.
Want to connect further? Get in touch with Melissa on social media:
Want to work with Melissa?
Melissa is a former therapist who provides executive coaching for entrepreneurs around the globe. Schedule your free discovery call HERE.
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Disclaimer: The Founders’ Fears & Failures is for educational, informational, and entertainment purposes only. It is not meant to be used for personal health advice and should not be construed to constitute personal or professional consultation or guidance, or to replace medical or mental health treatment. The opinions expressed by this podcast, including the podcast guests, are not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of a medical or mental health provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your medical and/or mental health needs. If you are in crisis, please visit this website to find a list of suicide hotlines around the globe.