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Busy Philipps On ADHD Diagnosis, Being Labelled 'Ditzy': 'I'm Actually Not At All'

By Emily Richardson | Celebrity | May 2, 2024 |

By Emily Richardson | Celebrity | May 2, 2024 |


Busy Philipps is out there plugging her new late-night talk show, Busy This Week, which premieres next Friday on… QVC+? Huh. Okey dokey! The 44-year-old has also been talking about her late-in-life ADHD diagnosis. On yesterday’s TODAY with Hoda & Jenna, Busy explained that she only figured she had the disorder when her daughter, Birdie, was diagnosed:

“I took my daughter [to the doctor] because she was having issues in school. This was several years ago…

As the doctor was going through all the symptoms with Birdie, Marc [her now ex-husband] was looking at me, I was looking at him. And we were like… that’s me. Every single thing is me. So I went to my own doctor and got my own diagnosis.”

Busy said the diagnosis “really shifted” her brain:

“There were all of these things that I thought, like… ugh, I can’t follow through. Ugh, I’m so disorganized and lazy. Ugh, if only I could get it together. And then all of a sudden, this doctor was like, ‘Your brain just works differently. There’s medication, there’s non-stimulant medication even, now, there are all kinds of tricks you can learn.’

And I just have to say, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the last six years of my career, seven years of my career, have been the most fruitful.”

Busy added that, before the diagnosis, she “felt terrible” about herself “all the time”: “I just thought, I can’t do this. I’m not good at life. I can’t handle it all.”

In an interview with USA Today, Busy explained that she’d always been labelled as “ditzy”:

“I allowed that, especially in my teen years, to be a word that was used to describe me,” she says, “I’m actually not at all ditzy, I’m super focused, and I’m really highly productive and I have great ideas. I just had a struggle my whole life with follow-through with making sure I could prioritize them.”

Busy was jealous of people who were productive and could keep dates and times straight. In her 20s and 30s, she would show up 40 minutes early and hang out in her car, just to make sure she wasn’t late: “I could not figure out how to be on time, because I would get distracted.” After her diagnosis, Busy got on meds, became diligent about writing important info down in her notebook, and began entering important dates and times in a big calendar.

USA Today (where I get all my important medical info) writes that ADHD shows up differently for females than it does for males. Hyperactivity and impulsive symptoms are more common in boys. Trouble focusing, organizational issues, and maintaining interest are more common in girls.

While I’m sure there are other elements of medical misogyny at play, it does make sense that hyperactive boys attract more attention than unfocused girls. Cody, the kid in sixth grade who “impulsively” threw our classroom iguana out the window (he wanted to free her), clearly had ADHD. He was diagnosed soon after, and spent the rest of the year bragging that he was “on drugs.” Don’t worry, Liz the iguana was fine; it was a first-floor window, she landed in the soft garden below, and she patiently waited for us to bring her back to her tank.

Here’s Busy on TODAY: