We had a long journey to get to that seat but within a couple of minutes, we were ejected back out into the waiting world outside. We’ve returned several times since to that office to get other diagnoses but each appointment now pales in significance to that first one.
My first time as a parent has been difficult, with no other benchmark to compare you to. I knew you didn’t stay on task with lots of things, flitting from toy to toy and task to task, yet when you were glued to the TV, surely you paid attention to that?
As for food, you ate a balanced diet and didn’t like sweets or squash. I recognised that you were louder too, more exuberant than your peers with a playful sense of humour that sometimes went too far. Your quieter episodes I confused with day-dreaming.
Your physical stamina I assumed would be good for sports though quickly realised you would chase a football for 90 minutes or else just stand and stare into space! Indeed, you’re no David Beckham!
I consulted Dr Google but was appalled with the misinformation, stereotypes and myths that it gave me. Finding concrete answers as to your condition seemed impossible!
The non-existent leaflet the NHS gave me forced me to look to websites that offered ideas and information that were neither based on fact or research. Nowadays I can see how stupid suggestions could lead to lots of families and professionals basing their next steps on fake news. Walnut oil anyone? Apparently, that helps – not!
At our first doctor’s appointment medication was offered which has been the only accessible thing on the NHS – with no leaflets, training or parent support groups!
It wasn’t an easy choice, but I felt that denying you was just making your school life so much harder. Fortunately, you responded well, and without me explaining why, you took the little blue and white pill every day.
You make me so proud that you never question what I am doing or making you do, never arguing with it or demanding to know why.
In time, I eventually found the words I needed to tell you about the condition, and once I had sifted through lots of myths and fake news, I realised there wasn’t much I could tell you regarding how your brain is wired.
I have encouraged you to celebrate the condition that made you more likely to save the world, to find the cure for diseases, or to stand upon the world’s biggest stage, shining like a superstar! What I didn’t want to point out, however, was that statistically, you are more likely to take drugs, end up in prison or suffer from depression more so than your peers.
As you grow older I understand your condition much better – and it makes me love you all the more!
You are adorable, funny and kind. You burst into life and throw yourself into situations without caution. You are the original square peg in a world of round holes!
Lately, other conditions have come to light – such as your Dyspraxia – which impacts you just as much as your ADHD.
In some ways, you’re different to your peers and I worry about your high school years. I know you don’t enjoy school as it is and that you find it really hard work. In addition, you have been bullied and struggle with friendships which makes me want to wrap you in cotton wool so as to protect you.
These days, however, your ADHD is not so much about you being over-active but rather having an inability to pay close attention to things, which in turn, blight your life.
You try so hard to concentrate and yet I regularly witness your mind dipping in and out of focus which makes me realise how much of your school life must be spent staring out of the window. You even tell me your brain hurts sometimes.
I do my best to make things better for you, to give you all the encouragement that I can give.
However, there is a positive side! Watching you endure your difficulties and work through them have greatly inspired me, and so, leaving the walnut oil in the cupboard, I have taken positive steps to help other people understand and cope better with ADHD. In turn, this has added great purpose to my life – and all because of you!
We’d like to thank all the parents who have shared their experiences during ADHD Awareness Month 2017.
If you’re looking for support or more information about ADHD visit the following links:
We’re working to learn more about ADHD, and we’re currently looking for participants. If you or your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, visit our research page to find out how you can help.