Rediscovering My Daughter

Kimberly Majerowicz nearly lost her daughter to drinking and suicide. Then the troubled teen and her mom both were diagnosed with ADD, and they began reclaiming their relationship.

Personal Journey, Part 2

Danielle: My mom was on my case all the time about my grades and my room. I didn't like that everything was my fault. I started smoking pot or drinking after school and on weekends.

Kimberly: Danielle's stepfather stayed in the background. He didn't understand why she couldn't clean up her room or get good grades. To him, she was just lazy. But I was desperate for insight into Danielle's behavior. One day I looked through her room, and that's when I discovered the empty vodka bottle and her journal. When I read the entries, saying how she hated me and hated her life, I decided we needed to see a family therapist.

Danielle dreaded going to our session each week. I can't blame her. We were in family counseling together for six months, and we didn't get anywhere. Finally, during one session, I blurted out, "Could my daughter have ADD?" I don't know what made me say this, except that I remembered reading an article about ADD. The therapist said that ADD wasn't her specialty, but she gave me some information about it.That night, I went on the Internet and found an ADD checklist. As soon as I started to read it, I began to cry. All I could think was, "Oh, my gosh, this is Danielle. And this is exactly how I felt at her age - and how I still feel."

Danielle: When my mother told me she thought I had ADD, I got angry. I did not want to deal with another doctor. But I finally agreed to give it a try.

Kimberly: When Danielle got tested, I was given a checklist to fill out for myself, as well. Within the same week, we were both diagnosed by the same child psychologist. After receiving our diagnoses, Danielle began seeing Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D., a psychologist who specializes in ADD.

In the beginning, we'd take the hour-and-a-half drive to see Dr. Nadeau twice a week. It was a huge time commitment. But when you're scared of losing your child emotionally or from suicide, you do whatever you have to. The message was basically, "No more excuses." Either we could blame each other, or we could decide we wanted to change. Within two weeks, we made more progress than we had in six months of family counseling.

Danielle: Dr. Nadeau was different from the family therapist. She really held me accountable for my actions by sticking to one subject during each session. With the family therapist, we kept moving from one topic to another, which meant we didn't get anywhere with any of them.

Dr. Nadeau seemed to understand what I was going through. When I said that I didn't raise my hand in class because I was afraid I'd sound dumb, for example, she didn't try to analyze me. Instead, she said that was very common in girls who have ADD. It was a huge relief to know that I wasn't the only one who felt that way.

I saw Dr. Nadeau for almost a year. Little by little, I began to see improvements. Knowing that there wasn't something wrong with me also helped me stop using drugs and alcohol.

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