We are a normal family. We love, we fight, we get on each others nerves, but for the most part we get along well. We go to school, we go to work, we stay up late and get up early. We laugh at each others jokes and cry at each others pain. We are a solid unit of love, far from perfect, but perfect enough. UNTIL ADHD rears its ugly head.
Most days, we hardly notice its presence. My son is a friend to all, brilliant when it comes to technology, and loves to make people laugh. Sadly, ADHD follows my son around like a shadow. Silent and inconspicuous, yet occasional showing itself in an obsessive behavior or elevated emotions. Its controlled with medication and allows him to live a normal life, MOST days. A bad day, someone saying the wrong thing, or him not getting his own way can awaken the shadow like a storm cloud. The thunder rings out in anger and hurtful words. Lighting flashes in inappropriate and harmful behaviors. The worst is the flood of rain that falls from his eyes with the frustration of not knowing how to handle such emotions.
He has two younger siblings that observe this behavior. They have seen it so many times that they are becoming numb to it. One child mimics his older brothers ADHD tantrums with hope to get the same attention. The younger child is at a loss. Both want to help, want to heal, but they are just children themselves. They don’t understand why a simple argument has gone too far or why their brother is saying the things he is saying. They wait out the storm and provide love and affection when its over.
I’m terrified. Why is he like this? Did I parent wrong? Did I pass down some bad genes? What scares me even more is I see my younger self in his eyes. I am trying to be the parent. Teach him right from wrong and how to deal with the feelings, but my inner voice screams you’ve been there too. I want to hold him, comfort him and tell him it will be alright, but how when I can’t figure out how to deal with my own emotions. I let the storm ride itself out. I talk to him and comfort him. I work with him on strategies I’ve read on the internet or been advised by the doctor. I try to stay strong and be a rock for him, but its terrifying.
The moment passes, we have long compassionate talks and thank God that the storm is over. We look forward with love and affect and return to our silly fights, sibling rivalry and family fun. Until the next time.