Many people know (or think they know) what ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is all about. I have been dealing with ADHD for 10 years or so. What I have come to realize is like most mental health illnesses, I feel since it is not “seen” by the naked eye, people have a hard time understanding and believing it exist. There also are people who believe it is a “made up diagnosis” for “lazy” “bad” kids. However, I will give my testimony to ANYONE willing to listen, it’s REAL, and it’s HEART BREAKING as a mother, and SOUL CRUSHING for my 15 year old son.
The stress this condition puts on me, as a mother of 4 is so overwhelming, I ONLY work weekends. I do this to keep my sanity. Also, I MUST be available to my son during the school week from sun up to sun down because I’m the only one who can bring him back from his days of darkness.
There are days I am called to school because he’s having a total melt down in class. He will get so fixated on one thing (usually a bad grade), and just go over the deep end. When I get to him, he’s rambling, repeating himself over and over again, crying, rocking back and forth and just falling apart inside.
When I wake up and roam my house, without a doubt I know every room my son has been in. If I want to know if he took his medicine like he should have, I just walk into the kitchen and look for his medicine bottle to be left open on the island with a half drunken glass of something sweet.
If I want to know if he managed his personal hygiene CORRECTLY (he is still a boy), I go in the bathroom and see if the toothpaste and deodorant has the cap on, and if the brush is where it belongs.
At the end of a school day, if I wonder if he actually took his medication or dumped it, I simply ask him if he wants something to eat. WHY, because he never has an appetite if he took his afternoon dose. His other give away, is when he walks up to my car with a million and one things to say; typically on medication he has about 5 words the whole 30 minute ride home.
Once we get home from school, I wait for him to get out the car so I can see what he has left behind in my car that I’m pretty sure he’ll need for homework.
Every night his stepfather or I have to do book bag checks to make sure his work is in their corresponding folders. Otherwise his book bag will be filled with bent, crumbled, folded papers everywhere but in the folders labeled and color coded for each class. We also spend countless hours doing homework that should take only one and a half hours top, because he has difficulty following the directions, or interprets them incorrectly.
Whenever I want to send a child on an errand he is always a last resort because I know he won’t complete the task entirely or correctly.
I’ll ask him to clean the kitchen and remind him to use the laminated step-by-step list of EXACTLY HOW to clean the kitchen. I’ll then remind him 3-4 times to go back and check and make sure he followed EVERY DIRECTION CORRECTLY. And guess what?? The kitchen is never done correctly. He’ll ask me did he follow the directions and I explain to him what steps he miss, and he walks away with defeat.
Some days, I just want to say yes, because “that look” in his eyes tears me up inside. However, I have to be honest with him, because that is what he asks for. I always put a positive spin on it, and assure him he’ll get it next time. Although, that doesn’t change the fact he feels like he is incapable of doing anything right. To try and compensate for this, I try my best to bring out the best in him, to assure him he is great despite his shortcomings. He’s an excellent cook, statistician, mathematician, and memory keeper. On days when I know he’s feeling down, I’ll have him cook dinner, because it always lifts his spirits. Or I’ll give him a list of things I need to remember and take him on errands with me to remind me. When I praise him for such a good meal, or tell him, “I don’t know what I’d do without your memory,” the smile and glimmer of hope in his eye is priceless.
The worst part of ADHD is my son being labeled a “lazy” “average” student, when his IQ is off the charts. I have to fight with teachers, administrators, principals, and even superintendents to get my son the services he needs to be successful in school. The way they treat him does nothing for his self-esteem and makes me have to work ten times as hard to assure him he’s just as smart if not smarter than every student in his class.
While it may seem like I’m complaining, I’m not. I love my son with every breath in my body, and accept him for who he is. I know he will one day learn to compensate for his condition and be a very successful man in society. My only intention is to help others “see” a glimpse of a disability not seen by the naked eye.