Queen of the Distracted

Imagine life in a house with 6 kids - now imagine if 5 of those kids and their father have ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) - that is our house! Welcome to an inside view of my life and our home dominated by ADHD... THERE IS NEVER A DULL MOMENT!

Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls!

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls!"

Those were our oldest daughter Rachel's first words, from the time she was a toddler she would belt them out proudly standing on the arm of the couch. At the time we had no idea what ADHD was or that it would play such a central roll in our lives.

Since then we have learned a lot, not the least of which is how many individuals and families suffer in silence. We have experienced first hand how misunderstood and misrepresented a disorder can be.

As a family we decided to take action - to risk embarrassment and labeling to get this important message out to the world. Come join our family, share in our lives, and see ADD/ADHD as we see it...
A gift with a heavy price tag.

WELCOME to life in the ADD/ADHD House!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Snowball Effect

I was listening to one of my kids tied in knots with anxiety the other night.  He had hit maximum overload and was starting to unravel.

The list was long and came out at an amazing pace.  It reminded me of those old TV commercials with the speed talkers.

"I can't stay still, even when I sleep, I can't stop moving. There are no games I can play on the internet because of our internet limits. I can only take so many showers. I can't fall asleep. My medicine always stops working, what if it stops working?"

Typed words can never do the intensity and pace justice, though I know that some of you know exactly what I am talking about. 

"I can't can draw a transformer in the middle of transforming. Whenever I make structures with blocks and army men I can never save them.  I want everybody home.  I don't want to move EVER. I just want to move and get it over with.  I can't make the world editor work. 

I am trying to calm him down.  Just interjecting is like trying to jump on a fast moving train.

"I just want to pause life take a rest and come back to it later!"  Oh, me too honey, me too!

When I finally get my word in edgewise I am trying to explain that what he's experiencing by comparing it to a snowball heading down a mountain.  It's picking up speed and getting larger and larger.  We have to figure out ways to stop that momentum.  Coping mechanisms are a common topic in our house.  We believe in and use medication - but as we tell our kids - medication will only take you so far and you have to be prepared to function with or without it.

All of the coping mechanisms are failing so I  call in the big guns, Daddy. He understands and can communicate in a way I just am not always as good at.  As he says so often - he speaks the native language of ADHD.  Our son starts over from the beginning, with one exception. "Mama says that its like a snowball but I think its like a snowball with jet packs on!"  Then he added, "and I'm worried about finding a job."

He isn't even old enough for a work permit much less a job.  As bad as the economy is he has plenty of time for it to turn around before he needs a job.  Isn't that the way with anxiety though - everything gets twisted and out of proportion making it overwhelming.  Pretty soon you feel like you've been rolled over, crushed, and dragged along for the ride.

In addition to working with a doctor to find the right medication and taking it consistently; there are things we try and teach our children so they can manage their unique and wonderful brains. Talking about their feeling, finding positive ways to release the pressure, adjusting those methods as they change and grow,  and not letting things get to the point of snowballs with jet packs, all become parts of managing.

On this night, for this child, talking was enough. Talking and the promise of a pocket sized graph paper notebook to draw his transformers schematics in made the world at least manageable - melted the snowball...for tonight.

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