Deciding crazy 

In a family overrun with mental illness, I find myself questioning my own sanity. On some level I think that my emotions are usually fairly normal, or at least within a normal-ish range. Then that makes me wonder, do crazy people know they are crazy, or is my adamant denial a sign of mental illness that all the mentally ill have?
 {Disclaimer:

I say “crazy” because in my opinion it’s become such a general term. No one in my family has ever been medically diagnosed. In fact, I am fairly confident that very few (if any) have ever sought out medical help, advice, treatment or evaluation for mental health concerns. That just isn’t the way our clan handles things. So please understand, that the word crazy is my word of choice simply because I have few better options of what to call this family epidemic. The word crazy also gives me a bit of comedy relief in what is otherwise a sad and serious affliction}  
I think about my paternal bloodline, which in my case is like liquid crazy pumping through my veins. I’ve always considered myself immune. My confidence, or what used to feel like confidence, comes from the fact that I’m a rare girl, born amidst a long line of men. Maybe this was a theory I created as an insulator; a pretend force-field from the genetic attack that seemed to war with so many of the men in my family. In my usual way, I decide to analyze and investigate myself, my assumptions and my family tree with all its various nuts.

The hierarchy of insanity, as told by me

(To be fair, the pyramid visual is short lived)
 On top of the pyramid sitting side by side, are my two uncles. The first to end his own life was the third born child of my grandparents. Uncle Kriss, was 26 years old when he died, on December 7, 1987. I was 3 years old. I think about him today, and I find myself comparing what I know of him, to my own life. What was I doing at 26 years old? I had been a single mother of 3 for a couple of years by then, somehow managing to hold a steady job, tend to my very young children and overall keep things above water. For a while I had a wonderful relationship, an unwavering determination to succeed and overcome, and something resembling a plan. Then, I had none of that. In some way the bottom fell out, or rather, I knocked it out and jumped down a mental rabbit hole. I started exploring my own wild side for the first time, exercising my right to unchain myself, my morals, and the limits I felt hindered by. First, I demolished my relationship, then I broke rules, and tested the boundaries that had been unbent before that point. I stayed out all hours when my children were gone, drank, smoked, even drove intoxicated a few times. Could that be considered in its own way a state of mental fracture? Maybe. As I sit here today thinking back I have to shake off the disgust I feel, and at least acknowledge that it was certainly risky behavior, but was I crazy? How unusual is it for a young woman to break out of a cage-like marriage and go on what I now consider “an adventure in self-discovery”? It’s probably mundanely common. So, I resolve to let that go. I wasn’t crazy at 26 years old. Stupid, young and impulsive yes, but crazy? No. 

Sitting atop that pyramid next to his baby brother is the first born child of my grandparents. Uncle Keith took his own life on March 11, 2006, at 47 years old. This uncle I knew much better than Uncle Kriss. Uncle Keith was competitive, excitable, generous and loud! Our family is in the tire business. Every male for the past 3 generations has had a role in this business. Some just for summer jobs, others with their own branches. I remember visiting Uncle Keith at one of the tire shops. The men on this side of my family are always filthy, covered in layers of smeared black tire gunk. I remember the smell of rubber, grease, and stale cigarettes as being a staple of my childhood. Uncle Keith would pick me up with huge hands that he’d wiped with an already dirty rag, and sit me on the (also dirty) counter inside the air conditioned shop. He’d pay for a Yoohoo from a vending machine, shake it up and hand it to me to drink. His booming voice overtook his surroundings in any setting, and he had an enormous smile that took over his whole face. He had the rounded head of an autumn pumpkin, and brown hair that I’m pretty sure he brushed often but it still seemed to stick up in a rebellious sort of way. No one could boil crawfish better than he could, of course, that was his own declaration, not actually a proven fact, though you could never have convinced him of that. Several times I remember him folding a One hundred dollar bill and tucking it semi-secretly into my back pocket, before I left the shop. This also happened at Christmas time and for my birthday. Other times he was outright about it and proudly gave me the same bills to give to my brothers as well. Thinking about him now I have to say that it was as if he dressed himself in confidence, added a spritz of arrogance and topped it off with the hat of know-it-all-ness. All this, combined with his big heart and lively personality made him unforgettable, fun and amusing. In his defense, and to the detriment of the rest of us, we all seem to wake up and cloak ourselves in some level of conceit, yes, even the most humble of our clan has a head bigger than most door frames are equipped to handle.  

So, I ask myself; how is it that the uncle I remember slipped into a cocoon of his own mind, imprisoned himself in despair and finally, came to the conclusion that his life was over, at 47? I remember the years before this, and a few things come to mind. At the forefront of my memory are the coins. Coins replaced the hundred dollar bills at Christmas. One Christmas at least, I remember a tiny gold-plated dime that had been shrunken to a ridiculously small size, even for a dime, and put into a small square plastic case. I must have been in my late teens that year and it’s no shock that a shrunken gold dime was a less than exciting gift to receive from the uncle famous for hundred dollar bills. Yes, I realize at this point that I sound like a very stereotypical teenage girl who wanted mall spending cash for Christmas, and you’d likely be right, that’s probably exactly who I was.

 The gift itself was strange but the icing on the shrunken cake was his overzealous explanation of the importance of the coin. It wasn’t unusual for him to be animated, but I think this moment stands out because of the object of his ranting. A coin, just seemed so insignificant. Sure people collect coins, I like to call them hoarders, but for the sake of argument let’s assume these coins, specifically the shrunken gold dime, was potentially worth money one day. I could take it a step farther and assume that a coin like this would be worth an outright fortune one day, maybe then I could relate to his enthusiasm, but that seems a stretch, even for me. The logic that seems clear to me, wasn’t clear to him. To him, this coin was something fantastic worth investing time, money and interest in. I learned years later that he had collected many coins and was equally as enthralled with each one. How can I avoid the word crazy here? Another bit of information I learned following his death, came from his own father, my grandfather. Don (or Popa as I call him) told me that Uncle Keith had developed an obsession with errors in printed works like the newspaper and classified ads. The way I remember it, I got the impression, whether directly spoken or indirectly suggested, that he (Keith) had taken a stand against typos, incorrect information and/or ads he found issue with. He made angry phone calls to complete strangers to chastise them. He rebuked people for information he decided was wrong. Again I ask myself, do I see myself here? I think I’m afraid to dive into myself for the answer. I am a self- proclaimed grammar nazi, but in my defense, strangers have never heard me correcting them, no, I do that loudly in my head. 
I am not yet 47, so I can’t compare the 47 year old Keith, to the 47 year old me, not yet anyway.

So now we’ve reached the part of all this where I tell you why I’m writing about this to begin with. 

Yesterday. (Yesterday was September 28, 2015).

Yesterday I drove into the cemetery where my maternal grandmother is buried. I parked my car a few rows from her grave and began to cry.  

(For the record, she wasn’t crazy, at least not that I’m aware of, but at this point who knows.) 

I cried for many reasons. One of which was pent up emotion I had spent too much time and energy shoving back down each time it attempted to breach the surface. I cried because at 31 years old, with what must look like a picturesque life surrounding me, I felt lost, angry, empty and at the same time full of crazy. I sat there hating the sound of my own sobs, wishing I didn’t have to hear it, meanwhile I couldn’t stop it from getting louder. After a few minutes I got out of my car, walked to her grave and sat on it. I cried more. I talked to her, which I think is a pretty normal thing to do in a cemetery. But even in a moment of apparent normalcy, I felt crazy. I was talking to a slab of stone that represented my grandmother (as if that in itself isn’t purely insane) but I was also talking to my two other grandmothers who were (for lack of a more literal phrase) nowhere near there. I talked in circles for a few minutes almost scolding them for not being here for this part of my life, and I kept cycling back to the same half statement half question; “I think I’m crazy, am I crazy”? I asked a dozen questions, without expecting any answers. Why did I retreat to a field of the dead, to ask myself if I was crazy? At one point I noticed my right foot and sandal were partially covered in little red ants, and as I shook them off I realized that none had bothered to bite me. I had the thought that even the ants that gladly carry garbage, shit and rotten food, didn’t think I was worth the energy. Crazy right? Who scolds ants for NOT biting? Me, the crazy girl sitting on a grave stone, crying about everything and nothing. 

My emotions have gotten more extreme in recent years. Sure I could blame it on any number of things. Justifying is easy when you want clean hands. A new marriage, a new home, exhaustion at times, hell maybe half the time I’m just Hangry (anger caused by hunger) and need to eat. But every time my emotions go off on a spree, I feel out of control. I feel them, I hear them in my voice, I see them in my face and as many times as I’ve tried to find the off switch, there isn’t one. I have the logic to take with me on these destructive benders, but logic falls short as an antidote. There was a time when these fits of rage were short lived, when I could break away from that angry armor and return to a more normal state. I could forgive, at least I think I once could, and move on without carrying behind me the heavy baggage. Now I feel chained to the anger, bound by resentment and buried under an unyielding aggression without a way out. I do eventually come out of these dark moments but they seem to take longer and longer to subside, and I’m certain they arise much more quickly and with increasing force. 

There is something else. 

A skeleton that I keep locked in a small dark room at the back of my mind. I hesitate to unlock that door. I hide the skeleton there, but the skeleton is not of my own creation. If I left it out in the open it would become an obstacle in my daily life. I would trip over it often, it would remain in view nearly at all times and in its intrusive way, it would incite waves of alternating rage and pity. Justification is easy. So I keep the door locked. 

For the sake of being thorough in my analysis, I have to unlock the door. Welcome to daylight Mr. Skeleton, or as I call him, dad. 
My dad is the middle child of my grandparents. The last living son of three. I believe he is 55 years old as I write this. I’ve seen him less than a hand full of times in the past 2 years. Is he crazy? Am I?

Craig, my dad, is an addict. I choose not to use the word “recovered” because factually I have not seen that to be true. Someone recently gave me the expression “dry drunk”, to describe someone who has quit drinking but is not recovered from the addiction. My dad is a dry drunk. On the scale of things alcohol would be at the bottom of the list. This list being the list of all things Craig has used to slowly kill himself. At this point I also choose not to speculate what other drugs belong on that list, simply because I am not a trained toxicologist. 

I think the best way to approach this skeleton topic is actually to talk about myself. 

I have inhaled the aroma of alcohol that seeped from his skin, his breath even his clothes. I have seen the blood shot eyes that resulted from draining a bottle of Skull Vodka by 10 am. I have found and disposed of what appeared to be crack rocks, but that could have been crystal meth, what do I know? I have seen the bulging red lumps of a vein protruding from his arm as he emerged with a “friend” from the tire shop bathroom where we both worked. I have watched as his eyes glossed over, his lids drooped, his speech slurred and his balance faltered. I have watched as he attempted the simple task of walking, as if it was his first time on two legs. I’ve seen his knees buckle as he leaned down to inspect a truck tire, the side of his face slamming against the hood of the truck on his way to the ground. I watched as he picked himself up, spoke in incoherent language and stumbled back into the shop. I faced the denial he relied so heavily on anytime someone accused him of being inebriated. I absorbed and deflected the condescending remarks of a stoned father to his ignorant daughter when money came up missing at closing time. I felt the shame of his behavior when all eyes scanned over to me, no doubt wondering if I was blind to his state of mind. I hid bottles of vodka, flushed pills that I found around the shop. I watched my daughter intentionally avoid him every day when she walked from the school bus into the shop. I tried to drown out his rants when he misplaced telephones, tools and drugs and angrily searched for them, all the while accusing everyone else of hiding them. Sometimes I watched in resigned amusement as he swept the carpet with drunken determination. I tried to talk him down when he insisted on blowing the leaves off the shop’s metal awning with a leaf blower, extension cord, ladder and frustration. Even as customers lined up waiting to be served, he fought an imaginary war with the breeze, the leaves and some unruly acorns. It was me who began to lose patience. It was me who decided that this had to be stopped. It was me who contacted police about a man driving under the influence. Then, I felt the fear of his fury aimed at me, when my actions led to his arrest. And finally, it was me who packed up the lives of my three children and myself and moved, defeated, furious and exhausted, 2 hours away. It was me who left it all behind, threw this skeleton into a small dark closet and locked the door. 

So, now when I think of my emotions, about how they seem to grow, seethe and relinquish all of their own power, is it any wonder why I doubt the existence of my own sanity. Would it be sane of me not to wonder? In all that I have said, is there an answer for me? Maybe not today. Maybe by the time I get my answer it will come from some black and white newspaper ad chronicling my life story like one of those News report specials, but probably not. More likely I will spend the next 30 years of my life closely monitoring my own actions and feelings always checking them against my blood line, in search of the crazy mile markers. I hope that I never find any truly telling signs, that I too am part of the gene pool epidemic, but who knows. Until then, this is me. I think I’m at least a little crazy. And maybe that’s what keeps me sane. 

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The me I hadn’t met 

I have fuzzy memories of a time when I was carefree and confident, before anxiety came and took me under its wing. As an adult all I knew of myself was the fearful woman who couldn’t venture out into the world without a suffocating sense that every eye was on me. I wasn’t afraid of judgment, wasn’t afraid I was being followed, I was just afraid. The idea that someone would look at me became the only reason needed to cause panic in me. 

This was the me I knew. Until 3 months ago. 

I’m tempted to ask for forgiveness for what comes next, but I can’t. I can’t ask forgiveness for my desire to change lives like mine was changed. 

3 months ago I was introduced to a nutrition system. Plant derived vitamins and nutrients, that I decided to try, hoping only for some extra energy in my day to day life. What I got was so far beyond my imagination. 

Anxiety, fear, doubt, the paranoia of eyes following me, went black. Like someone flipped a switch and suddenly I wasn’t aware of the eyes. I had boundless energy sure, and felt physically better than I ever remember feeling, but it was the eyes that made my world open up. 

  Giving my body what it had long been missing, filled in nutritional gaps, closed vitamin deficient crevices and made me whole. A whole I have never experienced before now. I NEED to share this with others like me. Moms who have their minds and hands full every day and barely get through the necessities! The dads who work and tend to families, the grandparents and aunts and uncles and siblings who know SOMETHING is missing, but don’t know what. 

16 bottles of vitamins in my medicine cabinet and I never felt any better. 3 days of Thrive and my body kicked into a gear I didn’t know I had! 

  (31 years old and finally getting in shape)

Please understand that you are designed to live above struggling, above exhaustion and above the financial burdens. You were MADE to thrive. It’s time. 

Please find a way to contact me 

Apriluhoward@gmail.com works 

You can also choose to register for a free account on my site. 

http://apriluhoward.le-vel.com/

Don’t spend another day missing out on the better you! I wish I had met this me years ago! Your family deserves the YOU, that you want to be! 

 
(This was me before. And now I can laugh about it)

Yoga for ADD/ADHD

Reach up high for the warmth of the sun, and pull it down. Put it right into your belly anytime you need it, you are amazing and very smart”.

T hears this first thing in the morning as he follows along with his Yoga Kids DVD.

Yes, my hyper-active, wildly imaginative, creative, talkative, loud and silly child does yoga! I won’t lie to you and say he does it with 100% accuracy and enthusiasm every day, or tell you that I don’t sometimes have to prod him like cattle to get him to even try. What I will tell you, is that it changed things for us!

               I was always a bit turned off by yoga as a concept. Normally, when my mind is made up about something, there is little to no hope of that changing, but luckily for us, yoga was an exception to that rule. It seemed so pretentious to me, with its own clothing style and sweaty, headband wearing, bandwagon followers stretching and contorting themselves into pretzel knots. I’m fairly certain I have wrinkles from the face I made anytime I saw someone who was clearly a “YOGI”. A sneer and an exaggerated eye roll was standard procedure…. And then there was T.

T needed change. T needed hope. Hell, I needed hope!

When a co-worker and nurse suggested Yoga as an ADD/ADHD treatment, I politely scoffed, gave my list of reasons why that would never work for him, and thanked her for her suggestion. Later that week I had a change of heart. I realized I was denying T the opportunity to experiment because of my own illogical, unreasonable dislike of something I, myself, had never tried. I conceded and made a trip to Barnes & Noble where I bought a 2-disc DVD set. YOGA KIDS with Marsha Wenig. I had taken the first leap into the world of YOGA.

If I was going to do this, I was going to go all in! We would do it together.

The first DVD titled ABC’s claimed to be aimed at kids 3-6 years old. Surely it would be a breeze for me. I enlisted the support of my older two children, who agreed to participate in support of their brother. This was turning into a family affair, how wonderful!

5 minutes later there is an 8 year old panting, lying defeated on the mat, a 10 year old with gritted teeth and one leg shaking in the air, a 6 year old with both feet and hands on the mat and bottom in the air, and me. I was near death. I couldn’t breathe, my arms felt 200 lbs each, and my legs just did not bend the way they were supposed to. Ages 3-6.

YOGA No

Thankfully in our bloodline, quitting is not an option. DVD 2 Silly to Calm began. We started by Shaking the sillies out, dancing and pausing to the beat of the music, and “untying the knots” of our joints from head to toe. By the end of this DVD, T was doing something remarkable! As I laid in silence listening to my breathing, watching calm deep breaths rise and fall in my chest I noticed something; silence. How long ago had he left the room? Did I really just do 30 minutes of yoga for babies alone? Was I that easily amused? I looked to my left, where he was supposed to be, and in his place was this calm, almost motionless, silent child who was breathing and watching his chest rise and fall with his breath. My T had gone from silly to calm. I couldn’t believe it.

That was the moment I gave in. Yoga was welcome in our home, in fact if Yoga tried to leave I would have grasped desperately at its pant-leg, planted my heels in the ground and begged it to stay!

I have to admit, I have grown to love and respect this strange, and surprisingly difficult exercise. T still does yoga as often as I can fit it into our routine. Some days he participates better than others, but I’ve come to realize that even partial participation counts.

After 1 week with yoga twice a day T’s behavior in school skyrocketed! He was earning A’s and B’s in conduct and he was proud of himself!

So let them laugh at me. Let them snicker and sneer in my direction when I’m walking out of the sporting goods store with a new Yoga mat, Yoga shorts and a big inflated yellow ball. Let them laugh at me when I fall from my not so graceful warrior pose, or knock the wind out of myself attempting a head-stand that turns into a surprise front flip. Let them laugh at me. Because I’m laughing too! I laugh when I see that amazing boy of mine concentrating on his balance, or his breathing. I laugh when I walk into the room and the peaceful silence washes over me. I laugh when he quotes the DVDs word for word because he’s done them so many times. I laugh because I’m thrilled. T has gained something immeasurable that truly helps him, and I get to feel proud of myself as his mom. That is amazing!

Yoga Silly To calm
T is the North arrow on the compass.

The good in being unprepared

He counts everything. He listens to conversations he shouldn’t hear. He debates most of what is said to him.

T was noticeably different from my other 2 children from the day he was born. I just didn’t know it then. His need for affection was apparent by day 3 of his life. He needed to feel my touch, constantly. He held my hair when skin was not available to him. I was not prepared for him.

unprepared
Say it with me

 

By age 2, he was a storm. He rattled the windows of my life. Ever craving, he grew to aggressive levels of affection. Little arms tried to strangle with every intense hug. Little mouth pressed powerfully against my cheeks. Little legs ran as soon as they could walk and wrapped themselves around mine, as I tried to walk past him. Little Storm T was a whirlwind. A beautiful, happy, loving wind that whipped around my face and danced at my legs day after day. I was not prepared for him.

I was not prepared for the sleepless nights that came with him. The first 9 months of nursing him meant being up every 2-3 hours, without fail. I was not prepared for the day he chose table food over breast milk. I was not prepared for the health issues he would have when he was 4, and his tonsils began to grow and block his airways. I was not prepared to sleep with my hand on his chest, shaking him when his breathing stopped, 10 or more times a night for 2 months. I was not prepared to kiss him goodbye when the doctors said it was time, and they wheeled him away for surgery.

I was not prepared for the ADHD diagnosis in Kindergarten.

I was not prepared for his level of intelligence.

I was not prepared to change everything for him and then change everything again

This is my life with my son T. I am not prepared, and that’s ok. I have never been prepared for this child, and it has taken me 7 years to realize the benefits of not being prepared.

T brought me back to life the day he was born and has kept me alive every day since. T is incredible. He has been the reason behind my doubts, my fears, my triumphs and my feelings of failure for 7 years, 2 months and 20 days. He is no more or less than any other child is to their parents, he is his own kind of perfect.

thCAFY5ZH9

 

 

 

 

Not being prepared for him protected me from being afraid of him. Not being prepared kept me from over analyzing each step on this journey. Not being prepared for him makes life interesting, fast-paced and exciting.

Were you prepared for your children? Did they seem to fit effortlessly into the space you laid out for them? I had this feeling of fitting with my first 2 children. Round hole-round peg. Square hole-square peg. Then came T.

Round hole- unicorn.

Plan B?
Plan R, S, T, U and V sometimes

 

Being a parent is not a job! Parenting cannot be experienced via books or research. It is an ongoing learning lifestyle that needs room to bend, structure itself and re-structure itself. If you find yourself today a manic mom, a doubting dad, or calling yourself a failure, be glad! Your failures are where the learning begins. You are capable, strong and in control. Accept your children for who God created them to be, love them despite all of their needs and lacking and fight for them as a raging army against the destruction of their precious and enormous little hearts! You are not prepared. That’s something to celebrate!

The Moms we are

I am not the typical every day parent. If there is such a thing. I try to listen to mom’s talk about life, kids, husbands, work and chores, but somehow I always end up with my eyes rolled so far back into my skull, I’m afraid I’ll actually see my own brain! I’ve started to categorize parents into groups. I’m not sure how many groups I have developed but I have yet to find one that I fit into perfectly. If you’re like me, you’ll identify with more than one, for any number of reasons. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Enjoy!

The “my house is always spotless” mom. OMG let me start by saying that you are my LEAST favorite mom ever! I’m not entirely convinced that you are human. Your hand sewn apron is worn neatly over your flowered dress complete with matching heels, earrings, neck lace and perfectly pinned up hairdo. While you look the part fair lady, your useless kitchen ensemble  doesn’t do much to help you prepare an edible meal.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           thCAQE1ZL2

Perfect wife
Just as I suspected!
  • Just like the monsters in my closet when I was a kid, you are terrifying and eventually it is clear that you do not exist! Nope, you’re just a figment of every man’s imagination combined with some horror story from the 50’s. Your perfectly manicured nails in convertible red, make you proud but do very little for the starving kids and skinny, shriveling husband who’s too stubborn to admit he needs food more than eye candy. Please stop invading my nightmares with your imaginary perfection!

 

  1. The “as you wish” mom. Wow, just wow. You keep your husband happy with a cold beer in his hand when he gets home, you have dinner thoughtfully planned every night, except of course, for your date night which you have expertly timed to fit into your husband’s busy schedule. You may not have all of the shades dusted daily, but your man is one happy camper sitting there with his feet up, while you keep the house running in tip-top condition. He knows your date night will revolve around conversation about his job, his friends, his wants and plans and his pleasure. Happy, happy, happy.
you wish
Am I right?

 

  • Where do you hide the vodka lady because you’re not fooling anyone! Husbands are great, I have one too, but there is no chance in hell I would be ok day after day with “yes dear”-ing my life away so he can sit and relax. Stop pretending you don’t want to break his jaw every time his dirty work boots leave mud on your recently scrubbed furniture. At some point he goes to sleep happy and you’re left staring at him in the darkness wondering how long it would take to smother him with a pillow! It’s time to say no dear.

thCAYE5SXU

 

  1. The “sorry I didn’t get a chance to clean up” mom. I like you, when you’re honest. You have people living in your house and it is not demolished. Good for you! You did it! You don’t have your sexy outfit on but you figure “hell, no one is here, it’s just us, who cares”? Your husband might like to see you a bit more dolled-up, but he can wait for a date night because let’s face it, he’s not really paying that close attention and make up takes time that you really would rather use to get things done. It’s either this or the mess you say? The mess wins every time. Maybe your kids have left shoes out, dropped book bags in hallways, and forgot to flush the toilet in the guest bathroom, but it’s not the end of the world for you. It all gets done, eventually. Right? You’ll try to wear make up tomorrow.
  • You are right in the middle of the mom spectrum. Not bad at all. So what if you don’t feel pretty? Does pretty really matter anyway? You’re rocking the housekeeping duties like a champ! You should have a trophy for every month you succeed at this level! But let’s face it, you’re letting your looks slide, and he’s noticing.

 

thCAGLB2QN                                                    thCAOVKTPN                                                                                   thCAVNIJ05

 

 

 

 

  1. The “demolition” mom. Something smells amazing coming from your kitchen! Your cooking skills are second to none I bet, and the mess you make getting that delicious meal cooked will be dealt with….eventually…maybe. Your kids have one set of clean clothes left which means laundry day can wait until tomorrow…night. Your mismatched socks and tennis shoes are barely noticeable anyway. That pony tail totally rocks like 90’s pop music and while your house may look like something out of an apocalypse movie, your family is fed to bloating by 6 pm, which makes you a total success. Almost.

 

ew
I think I see your husband under…oh wait no, another cat

thCAJS0ZQN

  • Please teach the rest of us to cook, and while we are learning that- please for the love of all things sanitary go empty the cat litter box! The mixing of aromas is not helping us want to eat at your house! While I applaud your culinary mastery, your husband has been missing under a pile of old newspapers for 2 days now, and no one is brave enough to look for him…. Hmmm.. wait a minute, you may be onto something. (wink) No, we should probably try to find him…. Soon. After we eat.

I have a feeling we all switch between each of these groups from one day to the next. Or maybe it’s just me. Please comment and let me know where you stand, where you fit, and what I should add! We are all amazing & Hilariously flawed.

When your ADHD/ADD child won’t get back “In the box”

Our little T has a grasp on the world we live in, as much as can be expected of a 7-year-old with ADHD. He is still learning all of the social and governmental rules we abide by, but even in his most grounded moments he keeps at least a few toes outside the box playing with the air.

We live in a world of conformists. Afraid to clap when the room is silent, afraid to stand when others are seated. We are hard-wired to conform, we don’t push the limits.

T goes out hunting for the limits, and not only does he push them but he questions them, he analyzes them. He spends most of his mental time living outside the box.

If you’re like most parents, you spend your life leading these tiny, helpless, blank-slate humans into adulthood, believing you are doing your best, and always doing what’s best for them. In our confidence as adults, we make the decision (sometimes without realizing it) that the best thing for our children is to teach them to conform. To live inside the box. Be quiet when others are quiet, speak when you are spoken to, follow directions, walk the line. Because I said so.

Inside the box there are rules, standards, expectations and one set of facts to live by. But what do you do when your child refuses to live within the borders of that box? If you’re like me, you panic. You question your abilities as a parent, you doubt your strengths and magnify your failures. As a parent we become frantic with the thought that our child may be ostracized, cast out, labeled, discarded, or fail. They stumble, they fall, and we carry the weight of it.

We have all come to know that no two people are alike, however, we do expect most people to be similar. Why? Because we are comfortable with what is familiar. Though we may all have differences, we share many similarities that help us live in society together. When someone stands out from the norm, typically they are regarded with at least some hesitation and cautious curiosity.

Many ADD/ADHD kids are outside the box thinkers. Their reasoning, logical, creative and analytical minds stray from conventional thinking almost as soon as they have a thought. I have come to realize that this is an incredible strength for them!

Imagine being in a room with 100 people with like-minded thinking abilities. A problem is presented and despite following the tried and true methods of calculation, no solution can be found. Conformity would have trained us to stop at that point. After the angles we know have been covered, all options have been exhausted. Now, try that with a group of Outside-the-box thinkers, and instead of a room of stumped brains, you’d end up with several creative (though maybe not probable) hypothesis. The worst that can happen at this point is failure, and THAT is where the learning takes place!

We need outside the box thinkers. If you have been lucky enough to be gifted with this kind of amazing minded child take a deep breath! Your child is not flawed, not disabled, and not difficult. Your child is capable of more than you may realize, and you now have the honor of pulling out his/her gifts, abilities, and strengths and learning to work with them!

Be proud of your family, in all of its differences. The difficulty we face as parents of a child with ADD/ADHD are meaningful difficulty! It means something that we are fighting for our children. It means something that we life in a state of trial and error. It means something that we try so hard to make room for them in this crowded world of conformity. It means that no matter the hardship, we do not give up. So be proud of yourself parents! You are amazing!