'Revolution' Host Ty Pennington Talks Lifelong Battle With ADHD

'Revolution' Host Ty Pennington Talks Lifelong Battle With ADHD

On ABC's new daytime show, "The Revolution," five lifestyle experts provide tips to help improve women's lives. There's a physical trainer (Harley Pasternak), a doctor (Jennifer Ashton), a therapist (Tiffanie Davis Henry) and a clothing consultant (Tim Gunn). The last slot -- a lifestyle guru -- is filled by Ty Pennington, the boisterous host of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

Pennington is more than just a pretty face who's handy with a hammer -- he has his own furniture, home decor and linen lines as well. The 47-year-old spoke to The Huffington Post about his new show and was refreshingly honest about his lifelong battle with ADHD.

"The Revolution" sounds a little like "Queer Eye" for women.
(Laughs) That's interesting. What I think is kind of neat about "Revolution" is that it's sort of helping people in so many different categories of their life. It's not just about health and fitness. You've got a therapist who deals with things in your past and how that can affect your life and your family and work. We deal with a woman's environment, which is my specialty, and how it can affect your mood every single day. We've never really had a show during daytime that not only shows one woman's journey over five months, but you do really get a panel of people from different aspects of your life that can really enrich it.

What are your tips for changing your environment?
Add something fresh. You can get into a rut and you can add something fresh, like a new color or something as simple as a throw pillow. I think a lot of us get used to neutral and that's what our life becomes. You can blow up a photo of a place you've been that puts you in a better mood. Those types of things in your environment put you in a better mood and change the way you feel about yourself.

Do you have a megaphone on the show?
(Laughs) No, I don't scream at people through a megaphone to make sure they live a healthier life. But I like that thought!

You have ADHD. What were you like as a kid?
My mom was studying to be a child psychologist and she went to my elementary school to test the worst kid they had. They were like, "Mrs. Pennington, you really don't want to know who that is." They let her observe me through a window and within 20 minutes I stripped naked, wore my desk around and swung on the blinds. I was just a complete distraction to all the other students.

Back then, they didn't even know what to call it. They put me on antihistamines to try and make me drowsy. They tried everything. It certainly affected my confidence and my belief in myself. When everyone's afraid you're going to hurt yourself from just mowing the lawn, you start to believe them. Once I figured out I was pretty decent at art and people were interested in hiring me, I realized I had a skill besides injuring myself.

What's kind of funny is that I ended up working with power tools to pay my way through art school and still have all my digits.

You still seem pretty hyper.
Hyperactivity is just one aspect of ADHD. There's distractibility and there's impulsivity. I was the type of kid who would jump off a building -- not only would I get a rush from it, people might laugh and think it was cool. I'm that kid and you don't really grow out of it.

Are you on medication now?
Sure, I see a psychiatrist ... Medication has helped. It's something that's worked for me for several years in small doses.

I can't imagine you on soda.
That's the other thing: Even if you're on medication, you still have to treat your body properly and take care of yourself. The idea that it goes away or you grow out of it isn't true.

You've never been married. Do you think having ADHD has affected your relationships?
Well, I would imagine, yeah! I think, absolutely, it affects so much. It affects the way you communicate. Not only that, but if you can't pay attention to someone who's trying to tell you something and then you forget that they even said it, they think that you may not even care. Imagine what that's like with not only your relationships at home, but at work.

It sounds as if you're lucky you have a talent and a cute face; otherwise, you could be sleeping in a cardboard box.
(Laughs) Let's just say I have lived in a cardboard box and I certainly appreciate the things I have.

"The Revolution" airs weekdays at 2 p.m. on ABC.

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