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Wound Up at the Checkup

Stress levels run high at their yearly checkup, reports this mom of kids with attention deficit. “While I’m saying my son’s behaviors and symptoms have improved, he’s showing the doctor his worst.”

ADHD Doctor scheduled at 2:30 on calendar
ADHD Doctor scheduled at 2:30 on calendar

Yesterday we had our annual ADHD check up and I’m still feeling the effects. This twice-a-year event physically and emotionally drains me. Upon returning home from our visit last night, I just wanted to curl up on the couch and cry myself to sleep.

Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m charged with the task of having all three children dressed (appropriately), out the door, and into an office in a timely manner. Perhaps it’s the 45-minute drive, with three children, in the car, together. But most likely, it’s the fact that my oldest, most ADHD child of the lot hates going to this appointment.

Holden, like his mother, has always had white coat anxiety. Thanks to a traumatic doctor experience in toddlerhood, he’s never been a fan of the medical community. He’s lucky that his good health doesn’t require him to see a doctor more than three times a year, two of which are the dreaded psychiatrist office visits.

Anxiety levels are exceptionally high when we’re at the psychiatrist. Even though we’ve seen this doctor twice a year for six years, Holden still puts on a show, demonstrating some of his worst behaviors in the office. It’s frustrating that when I’m talking about how I feel his behaviors and symptoms have improved, he’s showing the doctor his worst.

Yesterday the doctor asked me how Holden was doing in school. I commented that he has made great strides in math; Holden said, “I’m not doing better in math!” I expressed my concern that he’s not getting as much sleep as he should; he said, “Yes, I am. I sleep fine.” When I pointed out that he’s always nervous and anxious at this appointment, he said, “No, I’m not. I’m fine.” No matter what I said, he disagreed with it.

I guess I’m lucky that we have a great psychiatrist who really gets kids with ADHD. He has tried to get Holden to like him, yesterday resorting to fart jokes. Unfortunately, Holden just can’t get over “fight or flight” mode when we’re in the office. I guess I understand. It’s not like I’m not feeling stressed out in that appointment. Purely by having to be there, I am reminded of the fact that my life as an ADHD mom is a little different than most. It’s hard not to feel as if my parenting is being evaluated just as much as my children’s ADHD.