Ugh. Not again. The phone call I hear every week. Sometimes several times a week. It’s been 3 weeks of unreturned emails, missed phone calls, no reply texts, until I could finally connect with her. She had been living the ADD\ADHD life of despair, frustration, hope and love. Read her story and see where you relate it. There were days when her phone notification would go off and her heart twanged, she was thinking, “oh god please don’t be the school again.”
The memories of a happier time flickered through her mind with pictures of a precocious little child whose energy and curiosity was always pushing the boundaries, while the creative side was just shrugged off as overly imaginative. There were days when everything was positively exciting, but often, those days had turned into distant stories replaced with ‘what happened this time?’.
The pediatrician suggested starting a low dose of one of several different ADHD meds. She honestly didn’t want to put her precious one on medication, but she was so frustrated and don’t know what else to do. She couldn’t remember if it was because her neighbor suggested it, or the school nurse brought up the topic, or possibly the dozens of moms social media groups that have so many supportive women; they thought it was best too.
Things were fine in kindergarten and ‘sort of okay’ in 1st grade. In second grade, there was a switch in teachers, to one who wasn’t so understanding. During one specific parent teacher conference, all she heard about was, “he just needs to behave better, stop fidgeting so much, less talking for sure, turn in the homework, stop chasing other kids during recess, less backtalk and blurting out in class”. She had noticed that the other kids had begun singling him out, for being different.
She kept mentioning to me how she’s seen the promise shine through when he is interested in something and produces amazing work. His teachers remark, “when he does his work on something he’s interested in, it’s very well done” or “his intelligence is way above average, he’s just not performing to his potential”. She had a busy life as a parent, she loves her child, but there are so many other important things going on in your life as well.
So, she talked with her pediatrician again and try a different medication. Searching for new answers she tried different therapists, even a different school, and a different activity or sport. She began realizing is that it’s not the outside things that mattered so much, but what’s inside her child. The pages of tests that the therapists did on him begin to stack up with no real answers, except that he’s very intelligent, curious, creative, and full of energy.
As middle school begins, she watched as her young ball of energy hit puberty and began to rapidly become someone very different, day by day. The family embarked on another trip to a different pediatrician for teenagers to try a different medication. Her worst fears were realized as she recognized that her child is identifying that he can’t be normal without his pill. Searching for creative or active outlets, he tried to get involved with music and sports.
At his events, it was noticeable that he’s either 100% engage or blasé about the competition. He got completely elated when he wins, but downright ornery when they lose, blaming it on someone else or the team but never himself. This mirrors the behavior in the home when he doesn’t get his way or the schedule is changed abruptly. His emotions are constantly in flux, but the psychologist insists, “he isn’t bipolar, or autistic, maybe it’s a spectrum disorder or a deviant disorder.” The family was walking on eggshells around the house because they weren’t sure what was going to set him off, and caused so much stress in their home; to the point of straining her marriage.
High school was a roller coaster of close calls, rebellious behavior, and the rare occasion of enjoyable times when things seem to be going great; followed by a house of cards coming crashing down.
As a parent, she was juggling feelings of failure, disappointment, and unconditional love. These emotions combined to make her wonder where did it all go wrong? What mistakes did she make as a parent? She was asking yourself, what did she do wrong? Was it something she did?
Every single parent I’ve communicated with can relate to some part of this woman’s phone call. It might as well have been your own call with me. Each time I hang up the phone I feel the pain they’re going there, because I’ve been there too. This is also my mother’s own story. My passion for helping people with ADHD is unmatched.
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