I'm Angry About ADHD's Impact on My Family & That's Okay for Now
No one seems to admit it, but here I am. I'm angry that two out of three people in my family have ADHD. I'm not one of them. I'm still adjusting to the 5-month-old diagnosis of both my husband and daughter, and I know I'll get over this hump. But what are blogs for if not to express the good, bad and ugly, anonymously!
I'm hating it right now. I'm angry. Annoyed. Didn't expect to be so thrown by it. At first, I quickly took the action needed to start helping my daughter's ADHD. I felt fortunate my husband started getting help with medication and a work coach.
Now five months after the diagnosis, here's what I'm realizing:
1) Medication is not a panacea or a quick fix. Meds take the edge off, but don't eliminate the underlying problems.
2) Many things I've been frustrated with about my husband throughout our marriage have ADHD as the root cause. I do feel a greater understanding of his prior disturbing behavior now, but I'm missing the compassion chip. I now depend on him to support our family (since I recently quit my job). I'm feeling selfish for sure, but I don't have time for him to struggle with ADHD. I need him to be as high-achieving as he can be and earn as much as his potential allows. He has TONS of potential, and is really smart, but his ADHD holds him back significantly from making more money. And now I hear his struggles through an ADHD lens, and his struggles are mighty.
So it scares the heck out of me. And I hate that he has to struggle so much to get through his day. Work is hard enough without having ADHD, and it's ten times harder for him. Since he's in his "prime earning years," I don't feel like we have the time for him to muddle through re-learning behaviors for years. And I've learned that with ADHD behavioral change is gradual, so I feel like I'm caught in a bad situation. I had faith in him when we married. Now I've lost some of that faith simply because I know he has a true brain impairment he was born with.
Yes, it stinks even more for him.
Yes, writing this is helping calm me down.
Yes, I'm still angry.
3) Regarding my daughter's ADHD, EVERWHERE you go, I hear that the burden of her success is on her parents. "It's up to the parent to ensure their child gets the proper accommodations at school. It's up to the parent to set up the appropriate behavior modification programs, and to constantly change them. It's up to the parent to teach her to control her impulses, to teach appropriate behavior that comes naturally to other children, it's up to the parent..." and the list goes on and on.
Why is the onus all on the parent? Who else can it be on? Well, the school systems can start addressing it since studies show about 2 kids per elementary school classroom have ADHD. However, we as a society are nowhere near teaching educators enough knowledge about the ADHD condition to start dealing with it at school; there are other higher priorities in the school system. (Although I expect it will happen in the next 20 years).
I feel like it could be a full-time job to ensure she gets every benefit I can help provide her with.
It's also probably part of the reason I quit my job to take a midlife sabbatical.
4) I have to get over being really angry at some point or I won't be able to function as a parent or wife.
Not a pretty picture I just painted of myself, I know. But I think it's okay to express this stuff and not hide the emotions that accompany living with family members with ADHD. It's not fun right now. I know every family goes through problems and has other issues, and others can say this isn't so bad.
Just leave me alone with my bitterness for now. I need to be angry. It's part of the mourning process. Hopefully I'll get to the end of it, which I see as acceptance. And then, the anger should be gone.
I'm not ready to go there yet. I'm being stubborn, feeling sorry for myself, self-centered, and greedy. I'm just wishing for a normal life. I know, there's no such thing.
Photo Credit: contortyourself.
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By Diane Lang