Hope For the Future

Have you ever wanted to repair something but didn't know how? Or knew that it was really out of your control  and as much as you wanted to fix a situation you just couldn't quite put the pieces together to do so? I feel this just about every day in dealing with my ADHD son. I want to figure him out. I want to understand all of his behaviors. I worry. I pray. I wonder. I question. But in the end I can't figure it out.

And then I just have to let go. I continue to pray, especially during the difficult times. It's just part of my faith and when I can truly let go and experience peace. Calling on God to take over, surrendering to the things in this life that are completely out of my control.

I'm reminded often to pray. I don't always do it, but man, when I do, nothing may actually change my circumstances, but it makes them bearable. Not that we don't have our moments. Sometimes those moments drive us to pray without ceasing. And I am convinced that my son's ADHD has a purpose. And one of those purposes it to remind me that I need God to carry me through.

When nothing else makes sense. Nothing is working. When I am doubting, feeling like a failure as a parent, and about to lose my mind I am gently reminded to pray.

And then I reminded. My son is going to be. just. fine.

I don't know what that looks like but I know he's amazing and complex and he's going to be fine. When I feel overwhelmed in today, that's when I have to think about the outcome and how he has so much going for him. We are doing everything possible to give him the best treatment, support and opportunities. Even though a lot of the times I feel like a discipline failure and allow those fears to creep in (what ifs will drive you crazy). I have to TRUST God. I have to TRUST myself and my husband. And I have to TRUST to process.

Each day holds failures and successes as a parent, but I have finally figured out that one, singular day does not decide the fate of my child. It's a compilation of many, many days and years that will develop him into the strong, Christian man of God I KNOW that he will become. And that is what I hold onto when I talk about the "outcome", the future. If I only looked at the day to day, man, some days would just be pretty ugly. And how often do I ignore the good days? Cause I know there are more good days than bad. It's just the bad ones can be so bad that it shadows the good days.

So I try and make a point in recognizing the good. Because that is where I find hope. And it is in those good days that I am reminded that the in the future he's going to be. just. fine.

Prayer. Surrender. Trust. Faith. Hope and whole lot of love. How can that go wrong? His life  may not be the picture that I wanted it to look like but it's not my picture to create. It's my son's picture. And I think he's pretty amazing.

And one day I'm going to look back and see how much the good and the bad shaped him into this incredible man of God who is creative and smart and independent and strong. And, maybe in the back of my mind, I will finally allow myself to consider that, yeah, I had a part in molding him into the man that he is and will become.

Wow. He's going to be just fine.

I Didn't Know It Would Be This Hard.

So, things have been a bit rough around here lately. I really don't know how much to get into letting everyone know our business. Let's just say that we have gotten off to a very rocky 2nd grade start. It looks like more and more our seven year old is having anxiety issues along with his ADHD symptoms. And as much as I love ADHD medications, and the positive difference that it makes in the quality of my child's life...I hate it at the same time. Because it turns my child into a somebody different. All for the sake of helping him pay attention at school.

If you are reading this, please do not send me ideas of how to get my kid off ADHD meds. What works for your kid, natural solutions, ideas or help. I am not asking for help or ideas. Not to be rude, but I just need to vent. And I need to vent with just a listening ear...I don't need words of wisdom. I just need support. We need support.

My love/hate relationship with ADHD medications started last year, well, really in Kindergarten. The meds  worked so well. My baby was a different kid. He was able to pay attention and stay in his seat. I told the teacher we were torn because we could see how differently our child acted because of this wonder drug. She encouraged me to keep him on it because of the positive changes in his school behavior. Not just academic, he was doing fine without meds academically, but self-esteem wise, having his name called out so much, all this negative attention, was not doing him any favors. Now he was blossoming. We were so happy with that. But, who is this kid who just sits there. Is moody? Gets temperamental at the drop of a hat and is now prone to meltdowns? This isn't our kid. Yes, he can pay attention in class and do his class work, but anytime we show up at school or throw off his schedule he shuts down.

The medication doesn't create all the negative behaviors for our boy. They just bring them out. Intensify them. They are there to begin with. The meds just make them worse. This we have learned. We saw them in him before the meds, they just weren't as obvious.

Now, we are in second grade, and because we changed his meds over the summer, more negative behaviors are showing up. HE isn't a behavior problem, no, everyone loves our boy. It's more internal than that. It's like he is his own worst enemy. Keeping all this stuff inside, the meds making it worse and it affecting his school life. So, now we are into multiple doctor appointments a week, parent-teacher conferences, daily emails to and from the guidance counselor. Not exactly what I expected my seven year old to deal with. It makes this mommy heart very sad. The guilt. The worry. The tension. The meltdowns. The comments from others who see my boy and say, "This isn't  like him?? What happened". Makes my heart cringe every. time. I just want him to be him.

But, I'm not just a mom. I am a mental health professional. I have significant experience in dealing with kids with ADHD (God has a sense of humor doesn't he?). I have been on the other side of this thing so often. Holding a parent's hand. Encouraging them to medicate. Saying what is best. I know the stats. I know the benefits and risks of medication. I know that even with the best support, not medicating him can lead to him self-medicating in the future. And by that, I mean ADHD kids are at increased risk of drug and alcohol abuse, or other addictive behaviors if their ADHD is left untreated. I know, personally, because I had ADHD and was undiagnosed until a few years ago and I struggle to this day with food. It is my drug. My self-medicating drug. No, my child will not have to go through what I went through. This I know. This I feel strongly about.

Now, it's us. And I now understand how all those parents felt. I had no idea. I could sympathize, but I really had no freaking idea the pain that is involved or the side effects. The changes. I, like the teachers and school staff, just had the child's best interest at heart, and even though there are side effects the the benefits far out weigh the risks...that's what I would tell them. hmmm. I really had no idea at all. But at the same time, medication alone is not the answer. This I know, also. There has to be a comprehensive plan, and we are doing that for our boy.

So, we are on the search for the "perfect" regimen. Ha. Like there is one. We are looking for the best way to treat this ADHD thing without making my son into a zombie or affecting his social skills, or inhibiting his best academic performance. * sigh*. There was a touch of sarcasm there in case you missed it.

It's been a rough couple of weeks. But today is a new day. A new trial. We are damned if we do, damned if we don't.

That's how I feel about right now. Now to get ready for yet another appointment. Waiting to see what kind of email I get from the Guidance Counselor today.

I'm choosing joy, though, because others go through a lot worse than we do. I know that. I hope my venting has not seemed trivial in light of what you and your family are going through. We all have struggles. We all have a burden to bear. I'm thankful for the education I have. And for the encouraging words of our pediatrician when she said I was the best advocate for my child.

Damn right I am. I just didn't expect it to be this hard.