Just like any other mom, on an ordinary day, Khristine GalvezReyes would start her morning in hyper mode, working out and sending her four kids to school. When the afternoon comes, she would be on auto-pilot because she's already drained, and it's not just exhaustion.
The 39-year-old mom usually plans her day so that she can get things done, but she gets easily distracted. A simple request from her child, like "Mommy, I want to show you something," would throw her off track. She often forgets what she was doing and only remembers it after an hour or two, and no, it's not just her mom brain.
Deadlines are particularly difficult for her to achieve. She gets easily overwhelmed in crowds, which prevents her from talking to her kids' teachers or interacting with other moms because she sometimes experiences panic attacks.
Adult ADHD: What is it
"Sinasabi nila, those are normal symptoms. Like, everyone feels that from time to time," Khristine toldSmart Parenting, "Pero hindi nila nafifeel yung para kang walking stick. That's the general feeling that I have. Like, I'm always stiff because I need to control, like, my fidgeting."
Last year, Khristine had herself checked and was diagnosed with adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). "I'm always mistaken as a kid. I think it's because malikot ako. Adults don't fidget that much. They can sit still. Medyo mahirap siya for me."
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She opened up that she was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) when she was in college. She had been feeling the , but she would shrug them off. It turns out her OCD was just one of the symptoms of ADHD.
"One day, my 21-year-old son asked me, "Why is it that when you do something, it has to be extreme?" --Khristine Galvez
According to Healthline, when ADHD is left untreated, it can interfere with many aspects of a person's life, including their relationships. In the United States, ADHD affects almost 3 percent of adults, and many remain undiagnosed because some adults do not realize they have the disorder.
A psychiatrist once described having adult ADHD as like, "having 30 webpages open in your head."
Khristine shared the first time she realized she might have it. "My speculation started when I had my yoga teacher training. So may mga classmates ako dun na may adult ADHD. Tapos I noticed na parang, wait lang, parang ganun din ako. Syempre nung una, in denial pa ako, but eventually, I faced it." When she started taking ADHD medication, her symptoms disappeared.
Adult ADHD symptoms may include impulsiveness, disorganization and problems prioritizing, poor time management skills, problems focusing on a task or multitasking, excessive activity or restlessness, and more, according to Mayo Clinic.
She said she has been undergoing therapy for a long time and has noticed that big, sudden transitions in her life trigger what she calls a "dread feeling." She clarifies that it's not depression but rather a feeling of emptiness even when her plate is full.
When it comes to taking care of her mental health, Khristine admits that she neglected it while taking care of her kids and family. Khristine has four children aged 21, 13, 10, and 7. One day, her eldest child asked her a question that prompted her to have herself checked. "He asked me, "Why is it that when you do something, it has to be extreme?"
Then it dawned on her, "For 15 years, six times na kami lumipat ng bahay. Nag-revisit ako ng mga old journals ko, talagang I always give 100%, Like, if I can't do it 100%, I won't do it at all. I saw the patterns."
"I hope more people will be willing to speak out about their struggles. We keep on dismissing it because, you know, we are moms." --Khristine Galvez
"Tapos, naalala ko, "Oo nga, nung bata ako, madali akong ma-bore, kaya ako palipat-lipat ng hobbies. Nung bata ako, and until now, nung adult ako, ganon pa rin ako. Parang di ba sabi nga may term na hobby hoarder?That's me."
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When they moved to their new place in Batangas, she said, "May mga boxes ako na halaman, box ako for candle making, may box ako for soap making, may box ako for crafts, for sewing.
So, sabi ko, no, I need to have this checked kasi, ano e, natatakot din kasi ko na mapasa ko siya unconsciously sa kids."
A no-menu cafe
To cope with her hyperactivity, Khristine started a small business venture called Ukiyo-e, a pop-up cafe that has no menu. The concept of the no-menu cafe allows her to change anything on the menu based on her sudden fixations, which works perfectly for her.
"This cafe represents me as a person— unpredictable, ever-changing, playful, all heart, and most importantly, safe— just like the extension of our home." --Khristine Galvez
"To put it simply, Ukiyo-e is my brain on a hypomania. Having the liberty in all the creative aspects of the cafe, from the look of it, the decision to keep it small, to food menu, to taking photos, keeps me inspired to work."
She mentioned that adults with ADHD constantly seek dopamine, a hormone responsible for feelings of pleasure, and having a cafe where she is not bound by rules makes her happy.
Starting this business didn't cost her much because she made use of materials she already had at home. "I only had to buy the beans technically hahaha. But being realistic, you can put up a pop-up with P20k!!"
They have set up in various locations in Pangasinan, Batangas, and even in Baler, where they sell plant-based food and locally sourced coffee. "This cafe represents me as a person— unpredictable, ever-changing, playful, all heart, and most importantly, safe— just like the extension of our home."
How to start a pop-up cafe
Know your market, this is so important and your key to lasting business success.
Be studious about your craft. Never stop learning just because you’ve mastered a skill. Be open to try new skills!
Keep it minimal.
Don’t rush the process, and work with what you have. You’ll realize that you don’t need that much to operate a pop-up cafe!
Be intentional about what you do, so you are always inspired to create
Khristine recently received her Person with Disability card and has been vocal on social media about her mental health condition. Her goal is to raise awareness about ADHD and encourage those who experience symptoms to seek professional help and treatment to start their healing process.
"Going to therapy is also self-care. It heals you, so you don’t inflict wounds and traumas on people you love." --Khristine Galvez
Coincidentally, her husband, Pao, is a psychologist and a special education (SPED) teacher. "Actually, he saw signs. Pero it's hard to read pala pag mahal mo. Because those symptoms that, you know, he saw, he finds it most endearing about me. Pero ang saya na that you have a husband who understands."
Khristine emphasized the importance of having a support system. "Because if you don't have a supportive system, hindi siya magiging okay for you. So you'll just dismiss it," she maintained.
When asked how she would feel if her kids wanted to get themselves checked, she said she would happily oblige.
"Di ko siya sabihin sa kanila na, "It's just in your head." Sa atin magsistart yan eh, yung pagtanggal ng ganung story. I hope more people will be willing to speak out about their struggles. Especially moms, kasi it's really us who gets these kinds of diagnosis ba or illnesses. It's really us eh, yung naa-apektuhan. But we keep on dismissing it because, you know, we are moms."
"I want to let them know that I did this for them. Because I got my diagnosis and I went to therapy because of my kids." --Khristine Galvez
She tells moms, "You can’t pour from an empty cup. Going to therapy is also self-care. It heals you, so you don’t inflict wounds and traumas on people you love. This is the best thing that I did for myself, my kids, and my relationships. If you have access to therapy, do it."
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As for her kids, she is not ashamed to tell them about her condition. "When they're a lot older, I want them to read this. I want to let them know that I did this for them. Because I got my diagnosis and I went to therapy because of my kids. It's really for them. That's my greatest motivation talaga. I want them to grow up happy."