Saturday, March 3, 2012

70mph on a donut

This will be the first of a few posts that will deal with how ADHD has effected our family and the choices that we have made, and continue to make, as we deal with this diagnosis. Please understand this is incredibly personal and I am being completely honest about every aspect of this ordeal in hopes of helping anyone that is dealing with this struggle.

The other morning as I was driving into work, at a respectable 70 mph, when I noticed the car just to my left, which was also at this cruising speed, had one of those itty, bitty, teensy, weensy donuts on its rear passenger side. Immediately I recognized this could be dangerous not only for that driver but for me as well. "What if that thing pops?" (and I say 'pop' because I have seen balloons with thicker walls) If that joke of a tire pops, by simple proximity, we are both in trouble. I now had a choice, speed up to 20+ mph over the posted speed limit and get past him or slow down and get to a safe distance at a safe speed. I decided to slow down, to the shock of most I am absolutely certain, because two wrongs, or in this case, idiots don't make a right. 
Now to get to this point a couple of things have had to happen. This gentleman has had to have had a tire blow out and after this blow out he decided to roll with the donut rather than replace it with a normal tire. Which is fine, except the sticker on the side of those things EXPLICITLY says, "Do not exceed 45mph and 150 miles." To be fair I have no idea if he was heading to the nearest tire shop (we passed 3) but, he definitely wasn't concerned with the speed.  
After I had slowed down and gotten a safe distance away, I proceeded to watch for the blow out…. Luckily it didn't happen.  Once we were on the interstate I decided to move to the front of the class and stop worrying about his issues AND then he crashed….. No, Not really but I knew that was what you were thinking. =) 
What really happened next was I started thinking about how I do this same thing with my emotions. I have a blow out, something goes horribly wrong or off track and I do what I do best. I fix it to the best of my abilities and proceed on the road of life at my normal cruising speed, which is typically +15 over the posted limit. 

(I feel like I need to step back here and remind you of an important aspect about me that I touched on earlier in name is Emily. I am a controlling person. Not controlling in that I like to manipulate people but controlling in that I do not need any help…with anything. I can handle it if it needs to be handled and I can fix it if it needs fixing. It is a HUGE Pride/Ego issue that I feel that God is working on heavily) 

The key statement here is 'I fix it'. This should probably be I patch it up, I put the spare on and believe the problem is gone. Sometimes this 'fix' actually does solve the problem which is GREAT except the 'fix' for the problem doesn't address the emotional side of the blowout. 
For me, the biggest 'blow out' involves one of my children. 

It started when he was about four. 

WOW! He is a great kid, but….. 
Oh man! He is a super smart kid, BUT…. 
Oh my, he is a wild little boy and l love him to pieces BUT….

There was ALWAYS a but. 

So, We started early defending him against the 'butts' (pun intended). 

We were ALWAYS defending him and along with that we were ALWAYS demanding something from him. IF I am going to defend you, you had better behave in a way that deserves defending. This was a lot of pressure to put on a little guy, but by god we were going to Fix it!! 

Fast forward 2 years, two Hellish years of meeting with preschool teachers, daycare directors and principals and more teachers, we were exhausted. He was exhausted.
We spoke with Doctors about those dreaded acronyms that you hear so much about.  Their answer was more exercise so we dove in full force. 5am at the gym swimming laps, 4:45am running miles; bad day at school….okay lets go run/swim some more. We we were exhausted and he was still getting into trouble. More meetings at school. The cell phone ringing everyday with more news of trouble. punishment. discipline. tears. screams. EXHAUSTION.

We were all exhausted. Shaun and I had to admit we can't fix our little boy and this broke our hearts in an indescribable and excruciating way. 

The spare had blown at 75mph and we felt like we were nothing more than a wreck that people wanted to stare at and discuss. But In the center of this wreck was my little boy, my wonderful, amazing, fearfully made little boy that I could not fix or understand.  My little boy who under the pressure of being good, sitting still, trying to comprehend the mental and physical boundaries that he was crossing was being broken to pieces. Broken by the fact that he couldn't help himself and even though he knew better he couldn't stop. He was never going to get it right on his own. He was being broken daily by the glances and whispers of the adults around him saying that he was not 'right', something is wrong with him, he just isn't trying hard enough.  The fact that I was in that group strips me to the core. I am his mother. I can fix it! We will fight until it is right. Until you are right. YOU ARE NOT AN ABBREVIATION!  You are my child and you can and YOU WILL control yourself, you will do it because I SAY SO….

We got the diagnosis of severe ADHD in October 2011. After months of play therapy and trying to let someone else 'fix it'.
We agreed to try medication after one horrible night when he cried out and said, "I am SO tired of not being good enough and not being able to turn off my mind, I just wish I could go….away…." He was 7.

November 1st was our D-day. This was the first day that he would be on the medication. We told no one. Mainly because we wanted a true picture of how the medication was working and not just an opinion that they we're glad he was on something. Partially because there was a chance that the medication would not work and then, as the doctor put it, 'we had a whole new set of problems that would need to be addressed.' When you and your child are at the end of your rope you don't want to think that your last resort may not work and you definitely don't want to explain to anyone else that it didn't work. 
I picked Luke up at 6pm on November 1st and he said, "Mommy I had a really good day today! My bowels moved A LOT but I had a really good day!" (The bowels moving are a side effect of the medication kind of like coffee in the AM for some adults) But the point was it worked even at 6pm he was articulate and calm. He was himself but with forethought. There was no zombie effect and he had, in the words of his teacher, A really, REALLY good day. Four months later we have found the medication helps him turn down the noise and allows him to focus on the things that need to be controlled. 

The new tire is on and he is on track.

Mama just realized she is still using the donut….

Paula Deen, after years of battling agoraphobia said, 'I finally had to let go, I had to accept my parent's deaths, I had to accept my mortality, and I had to accept the mortality of my children. These are things that I can not control or change and once I placed them in God's hands I was free from the fear that had been controlling my life."

When I heard this the donut blew, again. My heart dropped, my stomach wretched and I started crying. Although Luke is healing, I am still living in fear. I haven't given it to God and I am waiting for the pain and struggle to return. I am in 'control' and I have lost the ability to enjoy so much time with my children. I am constantly waiting for/looking for the next fight. Looking so hard that I believe I sometimes start fights just to get it over with. (Crazy right!?!)
I am slowly realizing this is what happens when I patch it up and move on. I have to learn to deal with the emotional wreck that this or any situation causes on the inside, the deep parts of my mind and soul that can be easily hidden from the world. I DEALT with the wreck that the ADHD caused on the outside, but the inside was/is mine and 'I am fine!' (and we all know know what "fine" means) I don't need you on this one God, I got it! Maybe next time…I am sure something will pop up that I will need your advice on but concerning this wreck, It's all good.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I am learning to let go and try to do things that I remind others to do. The verse that is on the back of my business card is Deuteronomy 31:8.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; 
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
do not be discouraged.
How much clearer can it be? If I am still afraid, then I am still trying to control it and it is not mine to control. As I have mentioned so many times before we have a choice;  A patched up life of fear waiting for the next blow out OR a Life of Complete Peace.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and