About Patience

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.

Insensitive Things That People Say When You Have an Invisible Condition.

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 🙂

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6 thoughts on “About Patience

  1. Look at you blogging twice in one month! I’m so proud 🙂 Ha ha… you know I’m teasing you.

    This is a very candid look into your life, thank you for allowing us to share in that with you. I do understand some of what you are going through. My son has been called ADD for years by all his teachers and school counselor. I come from the same kinds of generation as you… when I was growing up, they didn’t have a name for it, they just called the kids problem child or hyper active and the way they dealt with them was punishment and blaming sugary foods or treats. I’ve even had family members look at me with disapproving sneers telling me I just need to whoop his ass.

    I share the same worry as you about his extreme sensitivity. He gets his feelings hurt so easily I wonder how he will cope with the big ugly world when he gets a little older and the kids get meaner as you know they will. (He’s in 2nd grade currently). To top it off, he’s a Pieces… my sweet little fish always swimming against the current.

    As for the Adult ADHD I can understand that as well. My mother was Bi-polar with ADHD and a hoader. We never knew what the matter with her was until the early 2000’s I’d say. She was a classic case and now I watch these shows that deal with hoarding and I can see with so many of them signs that she had and they are just not able to get help. I think back to when my dad and I didn’t know or was able to understand why she acted like she did. People thought she was rude being late or being absent minded when that was the farthest from the truth. Although I didn’t understand and sadly, I was that person mad at her and not understanding why she couldn’t find her keys or get somewhere without being an hour late or why she bought 6 of each thing. She would have full blown panic attacks trying to get somewhere and holding down a job was impossible. Sometimes I fear I am destined to have the same outcome and it is frightening.

    Now, I understand. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time with her after her getting diagnosed, treated and her getting on meds which helped her tremendously btw. I sadly lost my mother/best friend 4 years ago. I miss her excruciatingly every day, every hour, every minute. I think often to myself that I would take back those frustrating days in a heartbeat if it meant having her with me again.

    So you are not alone my friend. Just think of all the people out there including yourself that have these illnesses… there are the people like me that love them. And love you and your son. We are doing our best to be understanding and are at fault everyday with not being perfect either. We all need to be more patient for sure.

    This was a lovely post Tina, I’m so glad you had the courage to write it and share your experiences.

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    • Thanks Jaime. I know, I’m on a roll… but I’ll be absent for a few days as my husband will be home for three days so I probably won’t go near a computer. Gotta soak up every minute I can with him. He’s on a rough rotation right now – 10/4, which really only equals three days home once you take all the travel into account. It’s a full day flying to get to Alberta from here. I hope his next contract is a little more balanced!

      I’m so glad to hear you and your Mom had a close relationship before she passed. It sounds like you all had some pretty big challenges as you were growing up. We really know nothing about others private lives unless they reveal them. It’s so easy to assume other people have had an easier time of things or that they are a certain way or their home lives are picture perfect when often the truth is vastly different. I often wonder what it is that compels us to form these often incorrect images of the other people we meet in our lives. And we are all guilty of it, myself included I’m sure : ) I can recall an acquaintance a few years ago explaining about Ramadan and Lent and she made the remark that Ramadan was a truly difficult sacrifice unlike Lent where my mother probably gave up her weekly spa day and thought she was roughing it. I didn’t say anything but I remember thinking “hmmh, interesting that she would think that is what my family would be…I wonder what she thinks of me…” The reality being that my mother has certainly never had a spa day in her entire life, we never had money for those kinds of frivolous things and my Mom would have found a “spa day” far too self indulgent for her rather ascetic personality. But somehow, spending two years of school in the same classroom had given this lady an image of my family being much more… I don’t know…spoiled? Indulgent?Rich? Sophisticated? Swank?…..Which makes me giggle as I sit here typing with a stinky, sick chicken in a rubber maid tub beside me and a spider in a huge dusty web in the window in front of me that I just don’t have the heart to evict in the middle of winter. Yes, 🙂 my family is definitely the “spa days” type :p I wonder what way off kilter judgments I have made about people…

      Mental health issues are so interesting to me at this age and stage. I feel like I’m surfacing after years of swimming in murky water and I’m finally able to see myself and those around me with some clarity. And it feels so good to be able to see stuff, examine it, work on understanding it and accepting it without feeling consumed by it all. I often felt like I was in the middle of a firestorm, chaos and feeling overwhelmed prevented me from really seeing anything. Somehow* I’ve gotten some distance and I’m able to disengage from elements of the firestorm and I’m able to remain calm. And that is such a huge change for me. I don’t have to react to everything, I can choose to remain disengaged. I can take my time and let things unfold… and I guess that’s patience again.

      *welbutrin – vitamin supplement for my brain!

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  2. Beautifully honest post. I’ve tried a few things, but yoga and meditation have made the biggest difference in increasing focus. That, and lots of “to do” lists. 🙂

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    • Thanks. I do find yoga beneficial. I’ve never gotten the hang of meditation although I’ve tried and will try again I’m sure. I find mindfullness helps. Trying to be really present and to draw inwards seems to calm the chaos. I am still loving your blog by the way. Your poetry is amazing. I look forward to reading more.

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  3. As a school teacher of many years, my heart went out to you and your son. Back in the day in my classroom, before ADHD was diagnosed, what my principal called “rowdy youngsters,” usually boys, were put into my room because I liked them. I called them “lively” youngsters, loved them even on their most uneasy days, and tried to form alliances with their parent so we could figure out together the best ways to help them. We had varying degree of success, but I always preserved their dignity, even when I had to correct them. I’m glad your son has you and the understanding and honest revealed in this post.

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    • Thank you, Aunt Beulah, for your kindness towards the “lively boys and for your kind words. I fit the typical adhd girl profile, I was a daydreamer that never had a clue what was happening. EVen now I have a very rich inner life. In my mind I am full of witty comebacks, I’ve designed and created houses, crafts, paintings, repaired and destroyed relationships, relived conversations and said what I should have said in the first place… all without moving a muscle. I didn’t even know why my head was always off imagining things while I wasn’t really accomplishing anything in “real” life. Now I understand and am doing much, much better.

      My son is very lucky to go to a wonderful school that has a very caring and understanding principal. The teachers and support staff that he interacts with are, for the most part, full of compassion.
      It’s so interesting to hear your take on ADHD. I often hear people wondering why there is so much of it now. I’ve always suspected it has always been around. They were just the kids who dropped out of school early or worse, were beaten or abandoned by frustrated adults who didn’t understand.

      I am so thankful that it seems more people are coming around to your way of thinking. It *is* a real thing, not necessarily something “wrong” so much as something different. And while my son may find school challenging with all it’s rules, restrictions and need for containment and conformity, I know out in the real world his passion and enthusiasm will serve him well if he finds a cause to channel all that energy into. I think my job as a Mom is to help him find his calling.

      Thanks for stopping by, I’m so glad to have met you through your blog. 🙂

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