I’ve really wrestled about how personal to get in my blog. I’ve always been quite open and it has certainly bit me in the butt at times. I’ve been pretty hurt by nasty comments on the internet before. It’s the reason I haven’t been on face book for years. Ultimately, I’ve decided to share, for now. I recall how confusing it was when I first started thinking about ADHD and how much I wished I could find another parent to ask questions of. And I can always delete the post if it’s drawing negativity into my life….
I just read this post over at http://theycallmemummy.com/ and I thought she did an exceptional job of explaining what adult ADHD feels like. ….I realized I have ADHD after my sweet, sensitive, misunderstood son was diagnosed with it. As I read book after book on the subject I started seeing myself. And it was shocking and incredibly validating. It didn’t change anything but my perspective and my understanding of him and myself. For me, it gave a new perspective to a lifetime of screwing up, not fitting in, being misunderstood, feeling like an outsider, never belonging. Feeling raw, ragged and constantly frantic as you try, and fail, to keep everything under control…to get everything right…just this once. Always feeling like a lie about to be discovered. A pervasive and constant inkling that you are a failure. A lifetime of being “overly sensitive” because you’re already raw from constantly discovering you’ve made another mistake and you’ve spent years berating yourself or internalizing others frustration with you. All the teachers who write you off because you just can’t pull it together. The teachers who write in your report card ” if she would just apply some effort…” The grade two teacher who got angry with you when she wrongly assumed you broke the complicated game she had made when really you were trying to help the kid who broke it put it back together. That kid walked away. You took the rap because you were “that” kid. The disorganized one, the one who never was prepared for class, never remembered homework, never knew what was going on or what was coming next. And you certainly wouldn’t speak up to defend yourself. You become afraid to make a mistake. So you don’t even try anything anymore. It’s too risky. You play it safe and try to disappear. You withdraw into yourself. And eventually after enough years you feel invisible. You might not be in shit but you also aren’t included anymore. You’re on the outside. And that’s a lonely place to be.
I’m trying hard to figure out how to help my son have an easier time with school and peers. It’s not easy. He’s prone to frustration, angry outbursts, getting over the top silly, over-reacting and having an overly developed sense of outrage over injustices. On the plus side, he’s sensitive, empathetic, sees the under dog and becomes outraged over injustice and the unfairness of life. He won’t be a bully. He wants people to like him, he wants to make people laugh. He prays and worries about everyone at bedtime, he asks god to make sure “everyone is happy and has a good day tomorrow”. I love that he is sensitive but I know it leaves him open to so much hurt.
For me I have to say things got worse before they got better. Maybe it would have been different if I had known there was a reason why I struggled with things that most people didn’t even think about. But I never knew anything about ADHD. I did put on the “bitch pants” (love that term)… Because you get angry after always being a failure, always being on the outside, and realizing no one gets you, no one understands how ragged you feel and that they don’t really care either. You get angry. Angry at yourself for always screwing up, angry at the world for being so harsh, angry at everyone for not understanding how hard you are trying, and angry about having your feelings stomped on by insensitive people. But mostly just angry at yourself. It puts you in a pretty rigid, bad mood. Mine lasted years. But the good news is just a little kindness and understanding can turn things around. If you’re lucky you find a few kindred spirits and figure out what’s going on. You learn to be gentle with yourself. If you’re really lucky you marry someone who loves you in spite of your failings and can see the good in you. I’m that lucky. I’ve got a great husband who I know truly values me and sees me. And I’m working on valuing myself. And I’m trying hard to make sure my son knows his value.
So check out this link if you ever wondered about adults with ADHD…And try to be sensitive towards people who are dealing with things that you have no first hand *personal* knowledge of, you might think you know all about a condition, but until you have personal experience you really shouldn’t offer opinions or judgements.
And about patience? For me it’s been the big answer. For everything. The world really would be a better place if we could all just slow down and be more patient with each other. With our spouses, children, bosses and employees. Practicing patience makes it easier to be kind. They go hand in hand. So I would add one thing to Ian MacLaren’s famous quote; Be patient and kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
PS—-If you have questions about ADHD in kids or adults, feel free to ask, just don’t judge. It’s a tough road because people who don’t have personal experience with the condition have such strong opinions about it… I’m embarrassed to admit, I was one of those people…(“No such thing as ADHD, when I was a kid, we just called them brats, nothing a good ass whoopin won’t fix!” That’s one of my favourites… I feel sorry for any child with “differences” who finds themselves in that adults care.)
I’ve tried it all, alternative treatments, more discipline, less discipline, medications, behaviour modification, special diets, supplements, waldorf school, public school, craniosacral, osteopathy, weights, wiggle seats, more rules, less rules…for both myself and my son. I can’t tell you what’s right for you or your family but I can tell you about our experience. I know when I first found out about my son having it, I was desperate for another parent to tell me what they experienced, so I’m open to sharing with anyone who has questions 🙂