ADHD: Do You Have It?
Do you have ADHD?
Are you sure?
I knew from the time my son was a toddler that he had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It took several more years and a teacher’s concern before I got him tested. (I was waiting for someone “official” to tell me; I didn’t trust my own instincts. Isn’t that a shame?)
Anyway, as I said, I had known since he was little that my son had ADHD, and I also knew that it was hereditary. I had been studying ADHD for some time, and I saw the classic signs in my husband, so I assumed that our son had inherited it from his father.
A couple of months after our son was diagnosed, the school asked me to have our oldest daughter tested for learning disabilities. I was very surprised, but went ahead and made the appointment.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, the psychologist I took her to was an expert on Attention Deficit Disorder. He spent several hours with her (and me), and when we left, we had some new information to digest: she had a math disability as well as ADHD, and I had ADHD, too!
I can’t tell you how shocked I was initially, because I never saw myself in the ADHD profile. (That’s because I was the stereotypical quiet, good little girl.)
Once I started thinking about it, though, things started to make sense.
Although I had always done well in school, I could remember “spacing out” a lot of the time. My social skills weren’t the best, either. I missed parts of conversations, butted in when I should have waited, and missed social cues that others took for granted.
As an adult, I struggled for a long time with simple things like maintaining a household, paying the bills, and getting everyone where they need to be. I am humbled by women who can do it all, and hold down a job, too. I’ve learned to manage my life, along with my ADHD symptoms, and most days, I do pretty well.
So why am I telling you this? Maybe because in reading details of my life, you will see some of your own. If you have a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, one of the first things you need to do is to figure out which parent is the ADHD parent.
If, as a mom, you are that ADHD parent, then one of the absolute best things you can do for your child and your family is to get treatment for yourself, even before your child, if necessary.
That may sound selfish, but it’s kind of like those oxygen masks on the plane. You know how the flight attendant tells you to put yours on first so you will be conscious and able to help your child?
If you are a mom with Attention Deficit Disorder, the best gift that you can give your ADHD child (your whole family, really), is to get help and treatment for your ADHD first. Here are some basics to start with.
In a Perfect World
Imagine a household without drama.
People are prepared and on time.
The house is clean, and no one ever has to search for clean socks. Lunches are made, permission slips are turned in on time, and life flows smoothly.
OK, so maybe that view is a little bit over the top, but imagine how you could help your child with his or her ADHD if you took control of yours first.
All in the Family
When I realized that I had ADHD, I wondered which of my parents I had gotten it from, because neither seemed to have it. Then I had a talk with my mom, who was concerned with the number of doctor visits we seemed to be making.
I explained my ADD like this: I’m making spaghetti for dinner, and it’s time for the noodles. I go into the pantry, which is located in the laundry room, and when I get there, I notice that the dryer is done.
So, I take the clothes out, fold them, and take them upstairs to put them away.
While I’m up there, I might straighten up one of the kid’s rooms, or gather another load of laundry. At some point, I will arrive back at the stove, minus the noodles, and then the whole cycle starts again.
My mom had a good laugh at this: “But, that’s what I do all the time!” Mystery solved.
If You Need Anything
As this site grows, I hope to add more information to it, especially concerning women and ADD.
In the meantime, if you see yourself in this narrative, and you have questions, let me know. I am always willing to help.