So, have you recovered after my last pro medication post…? I know it was a long one- and bravo to anyone who made it all the way through it! So- onwards and upwards, eh!?
Let’s start today’s lesson with a question, why don’t we.
Why do ADHDer parents* NOT talk about the fact that their child is medicated for AD/HD?
Well, for one thing, public perception is that mentioning your child has AD/HD entitles everyone and their dog (as I mentioned last time) to tell you how you should be treating it and how your child just needs discipline and how your child sounds like every other teenager/ six year old/ ten year old. You can imagine that these people have a field day with me when they learn I’m a single mother to boot; ‘coz then I’m just drugging my son because I can’t cope, don’t you know. And then a lot of them give me the “…when I was his age…” speech too. And you can finish that sentence any way you like, I’ve heard every possible version there is!
Lemme get back on track before this turns into a rant.
I think it’s like with any illness. We don’t really talk about them at all. We’d rather not let anyone else in on the fact that our kidlets are not completely perfect. Illness or a disorder of any kind is not something that gets mentioned in casual conversation, and even when they are spoken about, AD/HD is often “hushed up” for fear of attaching a stigma or a detrimental label to the kids.
If the problem is a visible one- a physical disability of some kind- you get quizzed by perfect strangers as if they have the right to ask you personal questions! It’s quite incredible- and I’ve seen it with my nephew N and his short arms. It’s also a bit like being pregnant where everyone seems to think they may touch your baby-bump and ask you questions like “are you going to breastfeed?” and “when are you due?” And if you’re pushing a pram, it naturally means anyone and everyone may look into the pram and anyone and everyone may touch your baby!
Go on- tell me I’m wrong!
So lemme see if I can explain ADHDer parents thinking like this: “Damien’s doing okay now he’s on meds, so why tell anyone he has a problem!?”
Does that make sense? The problem is that as a result of thinking like this, the good results of AD/HD meds are kept quiet, and all anyone ever hears about is the stuff you read in the YOU Magazine! I repeat: bad news sells.
So, what’s my strategy… first- find a doctor you like and trust and one who can make a difference for all of you. Second- find a support group of some kind, whether it’s virtual or real people doesn’t matter, find someone to talk to who knows you’re not exaggerating what you’re going through. Third- research, research and more research… read everything you can get your hands on! Fourth- talk to your family, friends and the school. Helping an ADHDer through life and through school especially is a team effort and hiding the diagnosis and treatment from everyone makes the child feel even more like an outcast than he already does.
I’ll talk about my experience with the diagnosis process next… brace yourself!
*I include myself here of course…