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!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Frolicking: The Return of the Boot

When I heard the cries of anguish from the front yard I have to admit I thought she was being over dramatic.

Rachel has always been  know as the highest ranking drama llama in our house.  As a young child we called her Sarah Heartburn.  She was always nigh unto death with some ailment or another.  Ironically, she's the healthiest kid of the bunch.  Rachel was ever trying to be the sickest and never getting ill.

When she was little all her younger siblings got the Chicken Pox.  All but the baby at the time had the vaccine.   All but Rachel got them.  She wanted them so badly she wore her sisters' germ ridden clothes, jumped in their old oatmeal baths, and rolled in their blankets.  She marked the calendar with the date that she would come down with them; then changed the date, changed it again, and again.  She even prayed for them.

Rachel's still waiting for those Chicken Pox.  I keep telling her that if she didn't get them then, it's just not happening.  She's still adamant they will come, though now she's sure they will arrive when she's nominated for a Grammy or on her wedding day.

Injuries are a totally different story.  She dipped heavily from the klutz gene side of the pool.  That would be my side.  ADD/ADHD is not the only genetic disorder floating around our gene pool.  There is also a benign form of Ehlors Danlos, which causes very loose ligaments.  Because of it, our kids joints pop in and out all the time.

Five of the six kids have ADHD and five of the six kids have Ehlers Danlos.  The odds of that happening in one family are very low.   Good thing we don't gamble. 

Start Ehlers Danlos, add a Klutz gene, plus a serious case of ADD/ADHD, and you have a recipe for disaster.  Those who have been following the blog for sometime will remember Rachel ruptured the ligaments in her right foot last April at her prom  (see posts:  All Roads Lead to the ER -- Even the Road to Prom and Black Boot and Bucket Lists).  She was in a walking boot for six months.  To her credit, Rachel worked tirelessly to strengthen her ankle after she was out of the boot despite her continued pain.

Now it's Spring, the grass is tall and green, the wild flowers are blooming, and apparently she felt the urge to "frolic."  Frolicking, by the way, was her own description of what she was doing.  She frolicked for a few steps into the tall grass in our front yard.  Then reality grabbed her by the ankle and down she fell.  See frolicking a field where the dogs lots dig holes; where the grass is beautiful and tall, is not a good idea.   

Impulsiveness won again.  She is back in the boot.  Now she looks back and realizes that if she had thought about her choice in frolicking locations she might not be hobbling around in that big old boot less than a year from the last time she injured it.

Isn't that just how it works with impulsiveness and ADD/ADHD.

Action, then thought, then regret.

From the outside, the consequences seem mostly physical.  It is, however, not lost on the mom in me that she adds this experience to a pile of other impulsive acts and regrets.  They add up and certainly can take a toll on self esteem.

Keeping their self esteem intact and helping them to feel empowered is one of the constant battles I fight with my children and for my children.  More than the average, these kids, our kids, stock pile mistakes and feelings of inadequacy.  If we don't take an active role in helping them learn to process these feelings they start to feel like they are broken.  That it is not just a ligament, that they are intrinsically broken.

Life can not be successfully navigated if you feel broken.

There is something about the way the ADD/ADHD brain functions that takes that stockpile of mistakes and regrets and magnifies them.  Then, at the least opportune moment, throws them all right back into the forefront of the mind.  Making it impossible to see anything but the inadequacy.

I never want my children to see themselves as incapable.  I do not want them to have an inflated sense of justification or unreasonable sense of perfection either.  Neither is a good place to be.  Both are easy to fall into, much like a hole covered by beautiful, tall grass. 

So, I apologized to her for thinking she was being over dramatic when it first happened.  For sending the message to hop on back up to the house.  For grumbling as I dug the crutches out of the hall closet.  I call off the sharks, who look a lot like her siblings, when they can't let her frolicking go with out teasing her about the results.  I remind them and her that we all make mistakes.

I make a point of taking time to let her talk about her feelings.  We try and teach her to recognize what is really going on and to talk herself off the ledge.  When it seems that the past regrets are starting to fall in on her we stop and make sure that she is on top of the pile not underneath it.  No more deep holes.

** I was a little late getting this up...we went to the doctor, got x-rays, wore the boot, went back to the doctor -- no more boot!  Not nearly as injured as last year, thank goodness! 

No comments: