Last month my hosting came up for renewal again. I toyed with the idea of taking everything offline but I couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. I’ve put in a lot of work over the years. A lot of time and money. Since renewing that hosting, my fingers have been itching. I’ve spent hours awake at night with ideas running through my head. As always the fear of failure has kept the words in my head and off the screen.
I swear if I read one more meme about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) being a made up condition, I will scream. If I see one more post about kids with ADHD just needing a ‘kick up the arse’, I will explode.
ADHD is not just a child being naughty. It is a documented disability. It is not a new condition. In fact it was first added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1980. At the risk of alarming anyone, that is nearly 40 years ago.
In April last year, Mr 7 was diagnosed with ADHD – Inattentive Type. In his own words, his brain goes too fast to make sense of the things he needs to do. These issues really became apparent when he started year 1 at school. His teacher knew he could do the work, but Mr 7 just wasn’t completing it. He was getting frustrated that he couldn’t do the things that he too knew that he could do.
Mr 7 has had sleep issues since just before he was 2. He wasn’t bad because he couldn’t sleep. Him not sleeping wasn’t because he was being deliberately disruptive. He just couldn’t wind down mentally after his day. While neurotypical kids would be exhausted after a big day of activities, he was wired and unable to calm his thoughts.
When Mr 7 was diagnosed with ADHD, the pediatrician suggested medication to help with his concentration issues. For me it was a no brainer. I knew for myself, how much the right medication can help when you are struggling mentally. I also knew there was a stigma around medicating for ADHD.
Some people have the belief that medicating ADHD is unnecessarily drugging kids with something that is borderline legal narcotics. They believe that ADHD is just a behavourial issue, not a neurological one. They believe the horror stories of kids turned into zombies and refuse to listen to the success stories.
I went into trying medication with an open mind. I knew that there was the possibility that it wouldn’t work for us, that the side effects could outweigh any benefits. I was prepared to take him off them if they were doing him more harm than good. However I would approach any medication in the same way. It wouldn’t matter if it was for a physical illness or a mental one.
ADHD often manifests itself as naughty behaviour in children because they are frustrated. Imagine if you couldn’t pin down any of your thoughts, no matter how hard you tried. Now imagine that this happens all of the time. Imagine that even though you wanted to do well in class, you wanted to listen, you wanted to do the best but those swirling thoughts were all you had.
Now imagine someone told you that a simple white pill could mean that you could take hold of some of those thoughts. Wouldn’t you want to give it a try? Wouldn’t you want to give it a try for your child?
Medication isn’t the only answer for treating ADHD, and it doesn’t work for everyone. However I would hate to think that I had stopped my son from reaching his potential because of the stigma around a white pill. Seeing how proud of himself he is, because he is achieving things he didn’t think he could is worth it. Seeing him being able to learn about the things he wants to, makes it worth it.
Are you slightly freaking out that 1980 is almost 40 years ago?
Do you know someone with ADHD, do they medicate?
One of the lovely side effects of sleep deprivation, some medications and children is that you start to forget things. For me it has gotten progressively worse over the last 2-3 years. I used to pride myself on my awesome memory. Now, I would lose my head if it wasn’t screwed on!
Over the last few years I have started to do different things which help me remember things and not look like a complete air head. Having a child in school, kind of means that I need to remember to do things in a more timely manner. I know that I’m not the only one who struggles with this so I wanted to share my tips with you.
Almost 18 months ago I made the decision to cut back on my drinking. I didn’t want to give up completely, but I did want to cut back. Vodka and I had been best friends forever (BFF) for a long time, but it got to the point where I knew that something had to give. The relationship wasn’t working anymore, it had become toxic.
I haven’t really talked about this decision with too many people. I didn’t want the self enforced guilt of feeling like I was doing the wrong thing when having a drink. I’d been down that road before and it wasn’t a place I wanted to go again.
In the 12 or so months leading up to my decision, my drinking had steadily gotten worse. I went from having a few drinks on a Friday night to polishing off 5-6 drinks every single night, sometimes a lot more. My anxiety had kicked into overdrive, and I thought that I could squash the feelings with vodka.
Like many before me, I told myself that it wasn’t a big deal at the time. I was having fun, kicking arse and getting shit done…sort of. I completely wrote myself off on a regular basis and would spend days recovering. I played with fire and regularly got burnt.
Slowly I began to realise that the anxiety wasn’t going away with the drinking. In fact the more I drank, the longer the anxiety stuck around. I berated myself for days after a binge session for the things that I might have said or done. Even though I was surrounded by friends or family, still I berated myself.
Things changed and I became a snarky, depressed drunk. I wasn’t having fun anymore. I was nasty, blanketing my anxiety underneath anger. The drinking made me want to escape, I just wanted to leave.
The turning point for me, and I’d had opportunities before but none of them had the slap in the face this one did, was when I listened and I just walked away. Paul and Mr 6 were asleep in the house. I’d had a bad day and I wanted to drink on my own. I got two blocks away before I realised the impact of what I was doing and I turned around.
It was the next morning that I decided that enough was enough. I needed to stop using vodka as a crutch when I knew it was making things so much worse. I didn’t completely swear off alcohol, but I knew that I didn’t want to be in that position again. I realised that I was using alcohol to harm myself.
Today, 18 months later I still enjoy the company of vodka but we are no longer best friends. I know the toxic nature that it can create in me so I know that we can longer be more than acquaintances. We still party occasionally, but I can also stop at 1. I won’t let it have that kind of hold over me.
Have you struggled with alcohol dependence?
There are so many times I wish that I could go back and say all of the things that I think about now. It’s the snappy response to an insult. The words that were on the tip of your tongue until the moment passed. The words that you know would hurt eventually, even if they gave you a fleeting moment of triumph.I carry out full conversations in my head. Not in a hearing voices type way, I know the person isn’t really there, but in a way that I feel helps me prepare for a conversation. The trouble with having a two sided conversation in your head, when both sides are you, is that it’s not really a two sided conversation. Assumptions about responses are made and there are times when I find myself pissed off at Paul because of an imaginary argument we had.
My psychologist says that the reason I carry out these conversations is to help quash the anxiety I feel. I tell myself that if I prepare these arguments, and think of everything that can be said, then nothing bad will happen. The world might come crashing down around me.
I also carry out these conversations after I have had the real conversation. I analyse everything that I have said to death. Was there something different I could have said? Did I say something stupid? OMG they are going to think I’m an idiot. Just to be clear, this analysis happens regardless of what the topic was, from the weather to a deep and meaningful.
This is why I find it easier to socialise online. I hide inside my house and comment on status updates, answer messages and send emails. All safe from the never ending dialogue that runs through my head in real life. It’s harder to say something completely stupid when you can read your answer before you send it.
Of course the written word isn’t fool proof. Every one of us brings our own experiences to words, and sometimes a joke hurts. Looking back at the Facebook status’ of years gone by, I cringe. I was so young, so ignorant. At least I have learned different, I have sought out the answers, not always believing the status quo.
I’ve learned that a disagreement doesn’t mean hate, and that it’s possible to disagree with someone and still enjoy their company. Chatting online has allowed me to feel my way through learning that. It has helped me to realise that relationships do have areas of grey, that I don’t have to either love or hate someone.
Would I really go back and say something different if I could? Would it really make a difference? Maybe I could say something better than fuck off to the woman who judged my parenting. Maybe I could shovel those words back into my mouth that were said in the heat of an emotional moment. Maybe, just maybe I could hold my tongue when no words were better than too many.
I regret so many things that I have said when I was emotional. I wish that I could take them all back. I don’t know if it would make a difference though. Maybe where I am now was meant to be. Maybe there is such a thing as fate, and it was inevitable.