ADHD & Anxiety is what you have, not what defines you; To my child, Love, Mom

It was evident from very early on, that you were extremely intelligent. All of the milestones I was following in the “What to Expect” books, you achieved well ahead of the “norm”. Walking by 10 months old and talking in full sentences by 16 months. Once you started to speak, you never stopped. “precocious” was a word often used by others to describe you, but to me, you were just my precious baby who was adored and so loved.

By the age of 4, you were extremely intuitive, your creativity, imagination and ability to communicate with a high level of articulation, often made me do a double take – surprised that this mind was in such a tiny body. “Old Soul”, “highly sensitive” and a very “deep thinker” were characteristics that were always apparent. You loved preschool, dance, socializing and playdates were requested often. What was also becoming noticeable, was that you were easily excitable, chatted constantly, if you were focussed on a favourite tv show, you were in a trance like state, it became a bit of a challenge to calm you down if you became frustrated or upset but it was just you being you and were honestly the light of my life, I was truly blessed to be your Mom (still am).

By grade 6, a student who always excelled, suddenly grades all together began to plummet. You loved your teacher, being at school and the friendships made. You never got into trouble, the teachers all adored you and commented often on how empathic & nurturing you were with “special needs” children, you were never disruptive – the grades concerned everyone, further testing showed an enriched mind, so a learning “disability” wasn’t in question. It was suggested we see our family Dr and be referred to a Psychologist. This is when it was diagnosed, you had ADHD & Anxiety.

You’re grown now, but I really need you to know; you deserved so much better, so much more than what I provided you. The truth is, I failed you on many levels as your Mom, I wish I had handled things so much differently – I need you to know it was never your fault or anything you did wrong.

I wish I had taken the time to research every single aspect within the scope of ADHD. I didn’t, I continued to raise you as I always had, with love – but not making adjustments necessary not just to effectively communicate with you, but to understand things from your perspective. That was so unfair to you.

I wish the times you “spiralled”, I hadn’t lost my patience so easily, that I didn’t raise my voice to stop or to be quiet and calm down. Instead, I should have held you in my arms and allowed you the time you needed to calm your mind and decompress. I should have sat with you until you were settled, instead of walking out of the room to calm myself down. That must have hurt you so much and made you feel alone.

I wish I had taken more time to just “be” with you, not just at bath and bedtime, but during so many of the times I became frustrated with you, asking you to stop talking, to calm down, to pay attention etc. The truth is, losing my patience with you – frustrated you more, it must have made you feel “bad” or “wrong”, also must have made you feel misunderstood, simply for being you. This was my fault, never yours.

I wish so many times, I had remembered the age you were, as on so many levels, you were “wise beyond your years” and forgot this far too often.

As you grew into a teen, now old enough to be medicated to aid in your mental health, the nights your mind wasn’t able to be shut off and you watched the sun come up, I wish I had been so much more understanding, instead of so easily dismissing it, in a rush, getting angry to hurry and get ready for school. I wish I hadn’t been selfish with my own time at night, to make the time to lay with you until you were able to rest by focussing on something other than the tornado of lights, sounds, colours, conversations and ideas – that were in high definition during these moments. I wish I took the time to listen, all the times you were in full out “chat” mode, instead of dismissing you or being “too busy”. I wish I was so much more understanding of how much of a struggle school was for you, not appreciating that the classes you excelled in, were ones that you had interest in, high grades were effortless, I wish I recognized that it was the other courses that when you managed to simply pass, needed the most praise & celebration.

What I wish the most, is that I was more supportive, understanding during the times you struggled, recognizing that it was that much more difficult for you, that I spent more time validating your efforts, instead of criticizing as when looking back, you were doing your very best. I wish I never made you feel that you had a problem that needed to be fixed – you didn’t sweetheart, you were being you – and thats all you need to ever be.

What I need you to know, from the bottom of my heart, is that it was my job (and privilege) as your Mom, to be there for you, to support you, to empower, guide and encourage you – all you ever had to be, was you. The times I lost my patience, temper and showed frustration – these are times I failed you. It was never for one single second, you failing me. The only responsibility you ever had, was to be you – for the times I must have made you feel like that wasn’t enough, it was MORE than enough, I love you and I’m so sorry. The truth is, you never needed to do “better”, I needed to do more.

You’ve grown now, into the incredibly special, intelligent, independent, beautiful person both inside and out, that was always without question, the result of your hard work and efforts. I’m so proud of you and who you’ve become, who you’ve always been. I never want you for a single moment, ever to doubt or question how loved you are, how magical your mind is and mostly, that you do and always have, made me so incredibly proud. This world is so much brighter, all because of you.

love, mom xoxo

Ask The Girl In Line…

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I asked a couple of girlfriends to ask their circle for honest question’s that are felt to be shameful, taboo and or embarrassing,,,.  once collected from all, the results I felt many may be surprised by.

What truly resonated with me, is that once facades are removed, when we are freed from the worries of being judged or criticized by others, we when have a forum to speak openly and honest, express our true feelings, share internal struggles or ask the questions that we feel we could never ask, is that we all have asked ourselves the same questions at some point.   We are ALL human, have self doubt and spend so much time and wasted energy comparing ourselves to others, fearing we may appear “damaged or broken”.  Guess what.. the taboo questions I collected – almost all were the same.  Of these women, many had commented “please don’t judge me”, “I have nobody I can trust with this”, “am I weird”?  How sad is the reality that we fear being real?  Why do we struggle alone?  Counselling / Therapy is to have someone sit and listen, in many cases we answer our own questions to “why”, we just need someone to listen to how we feel.  We don’t need to be “fixed”, we just want to let some of the pressure we harvest inside  – out.  Here are the top 5 questions  – collected from over 100 anonymous women ages 30-60.  Those that feel “alone” and or “broken”… I hope you take comfort in learning these 5 questions each were asked by at least 20% of the women who participated.  We aren’t alone, we are the majority…. so, if we had the chance to “ask the girl in line”, a stranger, who you could vent to and then walk away without worry of judgement never mind public shaming on some of the social media groups, seems like we’d all ask the same questions, because we are all women, we are REAL.

  1. SEX – I have no interest in sex anymore, its like I’ve developed an aversion to it. Why?
  2. Motherhood – Do you ever regret having kids?  Not that you don’t love your children but feel like you’ve lost your identity somewhere along the way?  I feel so guilty feeling this way.  There’s nobody who I could tell this to, nobody who would understand.  Is this normal?  Am I a horrible person?
  3. Mental Health – I have taken Anti-Anxiety/Depression prescription meds for years now.  I haven’t shared this with many if anyone at all as fear judgement.  I was diagnosed, prescribed the meds but now what?  I feel like nobody would understand the thoughts in my head – feel like I’m going crazy sometimes or completely falling apart.  Why aren’t there coping strategies given along with prescriptions to assist me?  I’m on meds so why do I still struggle sometimes?
  4. Body Image – I feel like once I turned 40, my body changed dramatically.  I feel tired all the time, I feel “fat”, I used to feel confident because of my physical appearance, now I don’t know who I am.  I hate going out and make excuses not to, because I don’t feel good in anything I wear.  I feel like I woke up one morning and my youth was gone.  When did my reflection change to a middle aged woman – I hate it.
  5. Relationships – Why do I always tend to attract the same type of partner?  Why do I stay in a relationship knowing its unhealthy for me?  I look at my partner now and can honestly say that I don’t even like them anymore, when did we become strangers?

 

SO, there you have it… honest questions coming from a variety of women.  Offensive, shocking, TABOO questions – nope, the majority.  SO please, the next time we feel the need to judge others so quickly, remember we are all human beings, navigating through our lives, learning as we go,  we each – have a story others know nothing about.

#bekind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Anxiety, wanna play

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Hi, I’m anxiety…  The unwelcome guest that shows up at the door and doesn’t leave.

I’m extreme by nature.  I’m the one who passively aggressively plants seeds of doubt, allows worry, I’m not your friend, I’m the narcissist in your mind that plays wth you like a cat toys with a helpless mouse until it finally submits out of pure exhaustion.  You can pretend I’m not there… but I’m always in the background waiting to pounce.  I can take a single glance, a text, and decide the tone for you.  You don’t have to bring logic and reason in, try if you must, I’ll shred it.

Out of nowhere, and usually for the no reason at all, I decide just as I feel you might be struggling (or not), its time to play.  I tamper with your heart.  I can change the beat, cause it to race… not just beat faster… beat suddenly to the point of pain, your ribs begin to hurt to the point you swear you might hear them crack.  I ignite worry, and cause you to question the past present and future.  I paint the pictures in your mind of all the possible outcomes.  the should’a, would’a, could haves.  “hmmm, maybe they don’t like you”, “what did you do to upset them”, “you should just stay home where it’s cozy and not chance feeling uncomfortable, I’m here for you, lets stay in”…..

Make your plans, you adore your family, friends and being social… but…. I can assure you, as soon as commitment is made and you begin to look forward to the “date”… I’ll be there, whether or a month, a week or a day, trying to convince you that you shouldn’t go go.  I smirk in pride because I KNOW you’ll submit.  I create the lies, the excuses, and its empowering for me because you believe them.  “I’m not feeling well”, “plans came up”, “I can’t make it”.. oh there are endless excuses I’ve helped you come up with.  The few times you pushed past me and went regardless after fighting every single feeling to cancel, I knew you had a fabulous time.  I heard you ask yourself why you don’t go out more often, its always nice to get out and see the people or do the things that seem so “normal”… I may have lost this fight.. but I’ll be there next time, and I’ll attempt to win the battle.

I am anxiety.

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Explaining (my) ADHD, the pocket edition

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Its the extreme aspect of all, both high and low.  Its both vivid colour and black and white.  Its words and sounds and ideas and reflections, its past present and future conversations.  Its energizing and exhausting, beautiful and hideous.  Its empowering and crippling.  Its a gift and a curse, deafening noise and silence together at once, heightened sensitivity and numbness.  It’s wanting to go everywhere, see everyone, do everything and at the exact same time, stay in bed and never leave.  Its everything and nothing, and all that resides between.  It can’t be calmed down, there is no “off” switch, it just “is”, its always there.

“daydreamer”   –  focussing is truly difficult, unless it interests me and then – KAPOW… It becomes my mission, a powerful driving force.  It drowns out the chaos because the focus locks onto interest points.  That, is when I shine.  Following passion and what ignites my soul – then magic happens, this is when I thrive and feel truly alive, this is when work feels effortless and the potential is limitless.  Forcing this mind into something its not – is like fitting a square peg into a round hole, it won’t ever fit, it may conform, but it won’t ever be all it has the potential to become.  Let it be authentic.. we aren’t meant to be the dark night sky, we’re the firework display.