Thursday, April 16, 2015

I Get It

The other night I was sifting through the garbage at almost midnight.

I looked everywhere and I couldn't find it.  I emptied cabinets and drawers, went through pockets and my purse, but couldn't find it. I couldn't find JT's ADHD medication, his very expensive and incredibly hard to get medication. That's why I was sifting through garbage, gagging from the smells and grossness of our trash. I was like Steve Martin in the movie Parenthood going through the garbage to find his kid's retainer mixed with a little Shirley MacLain in Terms of Endearment I'll do anything for my kid kind of intensity.  

JT needed his meds and I was going to find them dammit!  

After a while, Tim peeked his head out the door near the garage and said, "Stop looking honey, I found it."

Turns out, the pill bottle was in the cabinet where I keep some art supplies which is right next to the cabinet with all the medicines.  

"I think it's kind of ironic that our child's ADHD medicine was misplaced by his mother who is a little ADHD-y and we found it in her art supplies," Tim said smiling.

It is ironic.  

Since JT was diagnosed with ADHD, I have become so much more self aware about my own ADHD-y-ness. I haven't been diagnosed by a professional yet. I called a doctor and left a message, but never called back because duh, I got distracted. The fact that I might have some sort of ADHD isn't a surprise to me. I've read articles, taken online tests and just sort of had a gut feeling for forever.  BUT talking with my child's doctor and watching my child be tested and analyzed and finally diagnosed has really opened my eyes to some of my own patterns.

The more I learn, the more I feel like I deserve some sort of award for not being a drug addict.  Seriously, my genetic map leads straight to a land of unbalance and self-medication if untreated or undiagnosed. I've watched other members of my family struggle with addiction. I get it. Actually statistics state that 15 percent of adults with ADHD are addicts of drugs or alcohol, that's triple the rate of people without ADHD.

But I do indeed self-medicate my ADHD-y-ness. I run. Running is my drug, it saves me. I started running to try to lose baby weight after JT was born. Now I run to keep my brain balanced and to feel calmer.  I can tell if I haven't run for a few days--I feel more anxious and I lose stuff (like JT's medicine) and I'm even more sensitive and emotional than normal.

This whole my kid has ADHD and I think I do too moment has made me a more compassionate person. I accept and understand myself more which makes me feel the same way about JT. I get it when he feels overwhelmed or distracted or when he needs to just get his energy out and calm his brain down.  I get it.

I get it and I tell him that I do. 

ADHD for us isn't a horrible thing. I refuse to let it be the road map to addiction for him or me. Instead we will find ways to manage it through medication or running or both.  We will talk about it.  We will bitch about it.  We will read about it.  We will accept it. We will embrace the good parts of it like being risk takers and riding the good side of impulsivity and sensitivity   We will run and jump rope and be active.  We will not be ashamed. 

I will fight for my kid to feel normal and healthy. I will give him medicine if that is what works for him. I will go on runs with him or go to his classroom in the middle of the day and make him jump rope. I will meet with his teachers and take him to the doctor.  I will try to get organized and manage my own ADHD-y-ness so that I won't mess up or lose shit. But if I do, I will search for it anywhere and everywhere, even if that means sifting through the garbage at midnight.

THE scene from Parenthood:

(Click here to watch the clip.)

THE Shirley MacLaine scene from Terms of Endearment:

(Click here to watch the clip.)


  1. You're one of the most compassionate people I know, and your support of your kids is something I admire so much. I don't doubt you'd go through the garbage every night if you had to (but I hope you don't. Of course.)

  2. I'm worried about one of my kids who has my emotional makeup and seems ripe for future depression/anxiety. Trying not to panic about it. I think you are pretty darn incredible, I must say.

  3. All of your children are so lucky to have you as a mom.