My two grown sons are starting to poke fun at me for going back to grab and post my really oooold pictures. It’s all good: laughter is good medicine! This is a rare and important one, though–showing the results of the generous and compassionate risk my father took, trumping my mom’s veto and letting me have a horse. (He even supported me when I wanted to let my dear friend, Fancy, have her own baby!) This was the breakthrough period of my teens–braces and all–that provided my first touchstone: the magical essence of what science now calls attachment.
My mom was-as some people tried to couch for my sake-something else. She was anxiety piled atop anxiety, and I was buried under that heap of muck. (For non-horse people–you muck-out horse stalls every morning and then give them a fresh supply of bedding straw.) To this day, the smell of horse **** is like perfume to me. Weird, eh?
My point here, is that if ADHD/ADD is a factor in your life or the lives of anyone around you, I think my discoveries could be helpful for you. I have been on a journey to get to the bottom of this “condition” for most of my life. I know how ADHD/ADD feels from a teacher’s perspective, a parent’s perspective, a child’s perspective, and especially–from my personal perspective. I have read unceasingly, taken classes, been to workshops too numerous to count, scoured the Internet, and have experienced parent/teacher conferences from all sides of the desk. What I have learned and believe seems to be holding water. I keep checking for leaks! 😉
ADHD/ADD has correlations (think co-relations!) with:
- OCD and bipolar
- Complex PTSD
- and the list goes on…
My good news: It is real. It is not your fault. It can work to your advantage. It is treatable. You can find happiness. You can find love. When you understand YOU and IT, you will be in a position to reach out to and work more effectively with a broader-range of humanity than the average person. You can minimize the potential of passing it on to your children.
The reality: It is a physical, chemical truth. It won’t go away. You need extra love. You need extra support.
- Evolutionary processes alter our genetic expressions. If your ancestors had fears, you have a predisposition to those same fears. Your little egg and sperm cells from which you grew had already learned to be wary, anxious, and afraid of things you might encounter once you entered this world.
- If you were born as a wary infant and your mother was stressed, too–soothing was tough to come by. Everything in your new world became a threat. You were probably punished for your strong, emotional reactions. There is little wonder that the cluster of symptoms you had/have could be easily grouped and named. We call it ADHD. You couldn’t focus, but at least you sometimes got what you wanted and needed if you acted out enough. And the world still seems scary.
- If you were born as a wary infant and your mother was stressed (this is a different situation from the ADHD cycle)-but did nothing to protect and soothe you (confined to a playpen, ignored, belittled, left alone)–you just simply gave up. Your little “on” button rusted over and locked into the “off” position. That cluster of symptoms includes inattention, lack of motivation, cynicism, and depression. This is usually identified as ADD (attention deficit disorder without hyperactivity). After all, what is the point? You could work, yell, cry, do everything absolutely perfectly, and you still would not get what you wanted or needed. Your reward system of oxytocin receptors couldn’t recognize love or happiness if you looked it in the eye. And you still wonder, “What’s the point?”
- Yes, stimulant medication does work. It does calm the anxiety and does allow you to focus despite the ADHD. It does activate the “on” button for ADD. Yet, there is the troublesome hyper-focus element. Once “on”, it is still tough to be flexible and interactive with the environment around you. Tasks may get done, but the social interactions may still not quite be up to par, and multi-tasking or watching the clock may be difficult–at best. Additionally, without the self-propagating rewards of social interactions, you still don’t quite have a self-sustaining life. You probably find yourself needing to put forth a greater-than-the-average-person kind of effort to prime your pump. You need a social-support system that understands, cares, encourages, challenges, and reminds you, “Wow. You had a lot of crap. And you overcame! How did you ever do that?” (Guess what? By the time people recognize your victories, you will have found ways improve your life as well as the potential to improve the lives of others.)
What I am offering here on findingbreathless is understanding, friendship, and resources for community and living. Mostly, I want to offer you HOPE.
I am not a licensed therapist and will never claim to be such. I am just a new retiree from the world of education, with the benefit of a lifetime of experience and a spaghetti-brain full of interconnected information (and a laptop!). Most importantly, I care.