Let me ask you a question. If you found out that your child had Diabetes, would you deny him Insulin? If he was short-sighted, would you deny him glasses and tell him to just sit nearer the front of the classroom?
Well, then why – if your child was diagnosed with ADHD, would you decide to withhold medication?
Since I wrote about my own ADHD diagnosis, I have been overwhelmed with private messages from distraught parents whose children have been diagnosed with ADHD. Their distress is exactly the same – they are afraid to medicate and are certainly not going to share the diagnosis with anyone, for fear of the negative stigma. Their relief upon reading my post was almost palpable – for most, it was the first time someone had spoken about medicating ADHD in a positive light.
This really made me sad. Incredibly sad. All I could think was “Those poor kids.”
Before you judge me as a drug-peddler, let me begin by saying that I absolutely understand the fear of the scary monster ADHD drugs that are out there.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been administratively challenged/off with the fairies/ditzy. I’ve had a diary in my bag, on my phone, on my fridge. I’ve had post-it notes flapping off door frames, my computer screen, my forehead. I’ve set reminders and alarms. And I have consistently forgotten my best friend’s birthday, lunch dates, my own head. Most of the people in my life love me regardless (or I’d have no people to speak of!) and the rest decided long ago that my forgetfulness translated into lack of care. To those patient, kind and forgiving ones, I am grateful beyond words. To the others – I don’t blame you. I’d have ditched me too.
This little personality quirk (isn’t that a lovely phrase?) of mine has caused me endless stress and heartache too. I have spent what adds up to my entire adult life feeling terrified that I am about to let someone I love down and equally depressed about the fact that I just did it again. The “I can’t believe I am so stupid and unable to remember the most basic things” burden gets heavy, I tell ya.
A few months ago, I started to get really anxious because people would talk to me about conversations we’d had and I had no recollection at all. None. Darren would recount an entire dialogue and I’d look at him blankly. I cringe at the thought of just how uninterested in what he had to say I must have seemed. I decided that this was beyond normal forgetfulness. This no longer fit in the “quirky” category. I made an appointment to see a shrink.
I sat in the waiting room of the psychiatrist, and tapped my feet. I read a few sentences of a magazine. I poured a cup of water. I checked my messages. I tried to not think about the horrendous thing that must be wrong with my brain.