Wednesday, March 9, 2011

There Will Be Cursing

No really, if that bothers you you’re gonna want to skip this one.

Because taking your kid to get '”officially” evaluated for ADD feels like shit.

Because telling a virtual stranger bad things about your kid just because his walls are covered with diploma’s FEELS LIKE SHIT.

I don’t even know why I’m writing it here… except that if your kid breaks his leg, you can go on facebook and tell the universe and no one gets uncomfortable or asks you if you’re sure! They just say, “man, that sucks!” And you know what, it’s nice. In the world of modern technology, I think one of the things we seek from our glowing monitors (besides solitaire and instant weather, of course), is little bit of connection. A little bit of acknowledgement. Maybe a little bit of cheerleading for our every days. 

And, holy shit, I am buried and broken under some of the things that have been going on here. And I don’t suffer well. And I don’t even begin to know how to suffer quietly! I don’t want to rant and rave, but I have to write some of this down. I find myself in this one situation a lot right now, where what is going on with Russell keeps coming up in conversation (it’s kind of on my mind), and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to articulate myself. I stumble, trip, and splat! I can’t find the line. How can I talk about what’s going on with him without feeling like I’m bashing the hell out of my shining best friend? Or not explain myself and just look like an idiot who thinks her kid has ADD when he seems fine to you? 

Maybe he doesn’t have ADD, listen, I’m getting him evaluated for a reason, but SOMETHING is wrong.

You guys, something is WRONG. And I made him in my body, and I know what he smells like when he’s not even around, and he loves me in a way that only a five year old boy can love his mom, and I can’t fix this. I can’t FIX THIS!!!!

And you know what makes it so much fucking worse? ME. My damaged brain. Not knowing where my ADD ends and his begins. Not feeling good enough, patient enough, any kind of enough. What if a non ADD mom could raise him better? Lately my fuse is so short and the sponges (my children) suck up every mistake I make and imprint it so they can show it to me later in their own behavior. You know, in case I didn’t already feel acutely aware of what a crappy mom I can be? And I’m so sick of repeating everything, only getting results when I count to three, oh my gosh, I HATE counting. And his relentless, RELENTLESS, mood swings and constant defiance, constant negotiating, his quick and violent rages that melt into a sobbing 5 year old who says his heart is broken and at that moment means it for all he’s worth.

You want to see something awful? Here is an excerpt of an email I just sent to our pediatrician because they can’t fit me in for a month:

“In a nut shell I believe that Russell has ADD, and in fact, he began taking Adderall 3 weeks ago prescribed through the psychiatrist who treats my husband and myself for ADD as well. It has been good and bad. The most noticeable thing is the obvious sense of relief he feels, the ability to focus, get along better with his sister, sit in his chair for lunch and get along better in preschool. The downside is what I can only describe as weepy-ness. He just cries so easily, and in a very intense way, not a tantrum, more like a heartbreaking total despair. It's very disturbing!  I consider myself very proactive and have been twice in the last two weeks to a child psychologist, but he wants to put Russell through a series of tests that are really for older children that are already in school and that I don’t think fit this situation, and honestly, I am just not sure that we mesh well... but my family is in a crisis. Russell has been off medicine for 5 days and yesterday he bit and scratched me after I put him in time out because in a fit of rage he found my purse and tore up all my cash.”

I shouldn’t be posting that on my blog. I shouldn't be talking about this stuff that is Russell’s private business. I don’t want to write those kind of emails. I don’t want to tell those kind of stories. I don’t want this to be happening.

But it is, and I am. Why? Because we are a family having a moment where we are really suffering from ADD. Because I know we aren’t the only ones. Because while I can suffer from this, I am NOT ASHAMED of us. I have a whole post written in my head singing the praises of the goofiest ADD program I’ve ever seen (called “ADD and Loving It?!”), and I can’t tell you what I would be doing with myself right now if it wasn’t for the random chance that I saw the title on PBS and recorded it on my DVR late one night. Case in point? Three quick quotes from the experts:

“The tremendous good news is that if you get the diagnoses, and you get proper treatment, not only can you avoid all the common disasters, you can achieve spectacular success.”

“We no longer believe that ADD is an expression of unresolved conflicts, but a frank expression of some hard wiring differences.”

“Big hearted. Generosity. Charisma. Traits that are so commonly associated with kids or adults with ADD, those are all traits that cannot be bought or taught.”

You guys, it is a goldmine. A GOLDMINE of hope, validation, and current information. It’s one of the reasons I know that we are going to get through this. And this blog helps me so much, but sometimes it hurts me because when I get it all written down, it feels so much more manageable. Like I might actually have a hold of this issue a little bit! Then Russell comes home and I remember I have no control. He is simply the most charming, most exhausting person I have ever met. This is not about willpower or hard work or education. That stuff helps, but mostly, it’s just who he is, and who we are, and after I publish this and walk away from the computer, we are all still going to have ADD.

And right now, that feels like shit.

And, yes, the cursing did make me feel a little better. 


Kateastrophe said...

So let me say a couple of things about growing up with two ADD parents. It's awesome. It's also crappy but the older I get the more I see that growing up with any parents is crappy so I'm going to throw that part out the window. I look at the things you do with your kids and the pure creativity you put into raising them and it makes me SO happy because it reminds me of my own childhood.

So know this. Your kids will mostly remember the super fun amazing things that you did with them and not the mistakes. I know sometimes it seems like that won't be true but I promise it is. If it weren't I would pull my own uterus out of my body and call it all good.

Second, you may not be able to "fix" this but because you NEVER give up on him, Russell will be even more amazing as he grows up than he is now. You will never stop fighting for him in the same way that Sheila never stops fighting for Brandon and his Autism and my friend never stops fighting the cancer that almost killed her baby and my Mom fought the depression demons that haunted my sister. These children are/will be successful, wonderful people because of their parents who never gave up and never stopped fighting whatever demon happens to be part of their child's life. Discussing the difficulties of Russel's behavioral battles is no different than cancer or Autism or a reading disability or a lisp. It's a reality that you praise and fight and wrestle and curse and deal with every SINGLE day.

Third, my family, in all it's ADDness became very close with an AMAZING ADD specialist in Utah named Dr. Goldstein and I think it might be worth the trip to Salt Lake to have Russell meet with him. I can't remember all his accolades but I know that he's, like, the top ADD specialist in the WORLD and he's not a jack ass. Patrick still loves him to this day and talks about how great Dr. Sam was. We learned so much about how Patrick's amazing brain worked and how to harness his If it's something you'd like, I'll call my Mom and get his info and have her call him for you. He apparently doesn't usually take new clients unless Jan calls, so we're going to have Jan call (again, if that's what you'd like).

Please call me if you want to talk or rant and rave or just cry. I'll work on getting info for you on Dr. Goldstein so I have it ready if you want it.

Love you forever and ever.

T + 2 said...

Oh Alissa, I truly do feel your pain. I've had many of these small breakdowns myself. Nothing hurts your heart worse than when you have those moments where you doubt your abilities to parent your own child...I've been there too. Just try to remember that he CHOSE you, he ADORES you, and NOBODY could ever love him better than YOU.
I'm not sure if I ever told you, but we finally got an official diagnosis for my son last year. He has Aspergers Syndrome. While there's really not a whole lot they can do for Aspergers, other than behavioral therapy, I can't even begin to explain to you the change it has made in our lives just having that official diagnosis.
I wish you the very, very, very best of luck in your search for the RIGHT doctor for your amazing little family.

Stefanie said...

It's some kind of unwritten law that cursing can make you feel better at times. I support that :) I'm sorry about the trouble with Dr's and crap. Finding a Dr. that is understanding and knows what he's talking about seems to be difficult. (especially in TX. They keep telling me to have a stiff drink!) Russell is just too smart and excited about life to fit in that little body. But you and Jon understand because you've been there. <3 you.

Erin said...

I've told you this before, but you are one of those women who are up on a pedestal with my mom. The great thing for my mom is that she's finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel that she thought would never end. Colman is living with ADHD and thriving. He's a weirdo with weird friends and weird ideas; but he's also charming and sweet and kind. I think she's the only one who ever really believed it was possible. But I can't count how many tears have been shed because of him. And those are just the ones I know about. But after doctors and medicines and years of just living the best they could, I think she can finally breathe. And she's the only one who could have done that for him--just like you're doing for Russell.

I so wish that that somehow made it easier, but I know it doesn't. It doesn't take away any of the difficulty and heartache. But you are his angel. And if nothing else, I hope you know that from the outside looking in, you are incredible, unstoppable--a superhero of a mother. We are all cheering you on.