Monday, January 31, 2011

Too much ADD to even make a point

I'm looking at a fairly long list of things that have been bumping around in my brain today but can't seem to SETTLE on one and expand on it. LOL I've been completely overwhelmed with life today despite there being relatively little going on in the grand scheme of things.

While I wonder sometimes what God had in mind when He wired my brain this way, I am still in the camp that slowly came to realize that this is often as much of a blessing and a gift as it is a major pain in the butt.

My biggest trigger is sound...especially REPETITIVE sound. And, if you've ever had young children in your house, you can only imagine how crazy and around-the-bend I get by the end of any given day. LOL

I've explained it as ADDers "ear filters" are broken. It feels like I can hear everything exactly the same volume with no way to turn any of it down. Even sitting here typing, I can hear the keys clacking, the Vikings' baby snores, the air filter thing buzzing telling me it's time to wipe down the innards, and some traffic going by at the end of our block. And, somehow, I've gotta pick out what's important and try (and try and try) to stay focused on just that one thing.

And, as stress goes up so do one's ADD symptoms...and our life has been chocked FULL.

In the last year, my ADD has manifest itself in ways it never has before (with still embarrassing results) but I've also found some better ways of coping with it as well.

From an ADD/ADHD management/coaching group: " You wake up feeling like you’re running behind. You go to bed feeling like you didn’t accomplish enough. You’re always stressed out. In general, you feel overwhelmed, unorganized, unproductive, lazy, and guilty."

And, I'd add an over-reaching sense of anxiety about every minute from when one's eyes open until the time one falls into bed exhausted. That anxiety is a tough taskmaster - making one feel like he/she is not matching up and/or keeping up with the world. One feels like he/she is juggling a tall, teetering pile of life just within reach and just about to tip out of control.

I've been med-free since I got pregnant with Flicka in 2003. And, I had every intention of going back on some type of ADD stimulant as soon as I weaned Pojke. However, when we updated on life insurance stuff after his birth, the agent told me that my premiums would be higher than DaHubby's (whose family has a strong history of health issues) simply because my ADD meds were a stroke-risk. And, I figured if anything I was putting in my body made me THAT big of a risk for droppin' dead on the sidewalk at any random time then it was time to start learning some more behavioral stuff for coping with the day-to-day mess that can be my life.

And, all this has been rattling in my brain even more so than usual since Flicka's report came home this quarter. Comments about her messiness, social-ness, and her difficulty focusing during whole class activities have my "momma alarms" going off.

My experience as a kid and then as a teacher has been that (on average - no assumption covers ALL students) male student ADDers are located and diagnosed more quickly because they tend to express their ADD by acting out and disrupting a classroom. However, female student ADDers (again on average) tend to withdraw and the ADD symptoms manifest more with "air head" and organizational problems.

While I don't want to jump the gun, label Flicka early, stuff her full of meds, etc., I also do not want her growing up being considered the "air head" and having self-esteem issues because she sees how much easier some of the organizational and academic stuff comes to her classmates...exactly what it was like for me.

So, for now, I'm focusing on being the adult for Flicka that I wanted someone to be for me when I was feeling lost, clueless, and less than others all those years before I got my diagnosis and my "ah HA moment".

Teaching more metacognition (knowledge about HOW she learns) and how to use her strengths to be successful.

Modeling what I'm doing to keep me organized and on-task sometimes.

Being as patient as possible with the messes and with the continually forgotten and lost objects.

Keeping up with fair and consistent natural consequences (a la Love and Logic)

Like ADD symptoms themselves, no one symptom is a deal-breaker or a sure-fire diagnosis but when SEVERAL come together in a way to affect quality of life, some intervention needs to be undertaken.

Well, my parenting goals taken one by one sound like goals any parent could have but taken together, I may be able to jump into her development early enough that she finds coping mechanisms so natural that any ADD symptoms she MAY one day manifest in a greater way don't disrupt her lie and she can focus on all the blessings they can provide!

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