“Dear Doctors: I Need You Tell Me There Is No Magic Cure”
“My mother told me I needed to create more structure. My aunt told me I needed to be present. Others told me that I had it all figured out. When I tried to make changes, the very people offering advice then quickly undermined me. All of that lead me to your office — at last.”
To my son’s doctors:
Before I even thought about you, I watched my son struggle to find the shoes sitting right in front of him. I wondered why he gave me a blank stare when I told him to do this and then that. I spent hours trying to get him to complete his homework — and years feeling annoyed at the fight because the work usually took just 5 minutes to complete. I watched him at the playground, playing all alone. Then received the harsh stares and words of parent who heard profanities come out of his mouth. I watched the simplest tasks become the biggest fights. And listened as my son told me “It’s just too hard — everything is impossible.” I wondered what was wrong with him.
Before I met you, I wracked my brain thinking of ways to help him. I also answered untold calls from the school. While trying to layer in good things about my son, they always ended up emphasizing the many things he did wrong — despite their efforts. And I worried — a lot.
Before we met, my mother told me I needed to create more structure. My aunt told me I needed to be present. Others told me that I had it all figured out. When I tried to make changes, the very people offering advice then quickly undermined me.
I cried. I checked out. I yelled. I screamed. I hit. I blamed others. I questioned myself. I resented my son.
Then, at some point, summoned the strength to dig deep. I made a plan. And it led me to you.
When we met, I listened intently, desperate for an answer. I wanted nothing less than magic. I wanted you to take away my worries, my guilt, and my anger.
But there is no magic. There is no clinical tool or medication that can take away the storm and chaos of ADHD and its associated behaviors.
And I need you to tell me that. Again and again.
I also need you to tell me that you’re in this storm with me. And that, ultimately, I will become the leader in the chaos, the expert in my child and what he needs. That I will become his fiercest advocate when times are tough.
Most importantly, I need you to remind me that my son is not defined by his chaotic way of thinking and his impulsive behaviors. Remind me of the things that he can do instead of what he can’t.
His gifts are sometimes overshadowed by the delivery or the emotion behind them. My son is smart. He is creative. He can dance. He can draw. He will make you laugh when you need it most. He can nurture his younger brother, delight his elderly great-grandparents, and demonstrate genuine concern for society as a whole. He can spin information and place words in context in ways you never considered. Most importantly, he protects me. And I will spend my days ensuring that I do my best to protect and fight for him — always.
Please remind me of this.
Parent of a son with ADHD