Parenting is hard as fuck
I’ve been very quiet here for a while now. I don’t know if it’s so much as me being busy, rather, I’m not sure what I should share with the world anymore.
I remember the day Claire got glasses for the very first time. The whole car ride home she kept commenting on the sharpness of the scenery, and how she couldn’t believe that this was really what the world looked like. I was elated that my four year old could finally see clearly; she deserved to see the world as it is.
Why is mental health so much different than figuring out someone needs glasses for poor vision?
I have been dealing with specialist after specialist, doctor after doctor, teacher after teacher, trying to figure out why my son, at six, was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Simply having a diagnosis wasn’t good enough for me. Why would my son, who has a great home life, and everything he could ever want or need, be depressed? We went to vision therapy, occupational therapy, psychotherapy, and they all put bandaids on the problem. Sure, they help the periphery and he can do things better with his hands, and he can talk clearly about his feelings, but give him a timed math test and, as he says, his brain goes crazy; he can’t see straight, can’t breathe right, and the room starts spinning.
Last week, he had, what I hope to be the last, roughest day I’d seen in a long time. And it was in front of his teacher. We were doing his homework outside of the school, waiting for his sister to be done with her flag football game, when he snapped. I can always tell when it’s going to be rough going. It starts with him being very quiet, then panicky, then he starts grabbing at his shirt and hair, and fidgets. Finally, he just can’t anymore, and he freaks out.
I was very thankful his teacher was there, but moreover, I saw the sadness in her eyes when I started to tear up as he repeatedly rammed his head into my chest screaming, “I’M SO STUPID!” while hiding his face. And at that moment, I was more determined than ever to figure out what was going on.
We already knew, we just needed a diagnosis. Luca has inattentive ADHD, for which he needs to be medicated for. No child should ever feel the way I’ve watched my son feel for the past three plus years.
But my biggest frustration was when I was told by, not only teachers, but doctors, that he may just be immature, and to give it a few years.
Now, I don’t know about you, but when you’re sad and it takes up your whole day, isn’t that the worst feeling? Imagine being told to feel that way for YEARS. I’m not OK with that. I’m not OK with that at all.
Getting my kid diagnosed with something is almost like a grieving process, but at some point I had to realize that he’s still the same kid even before the diagnosis. The only difference is, now I know what to do for him.
When we sat down with the psychiatrist, he told me plainly that we did every. single. thing. humanly. possible. Everything. Except for the medication, we did everything you could do for a kid who has ADHD. After the appointment, he signed a script, we talked it over again, he grabbed my hands and as I teared up he said, “You wouldn’t deny him insulin if he was a diabetic, would you?”
I wouldn’t. And I won’t deny him this either. I would do anything for him, and I have done everything for him. But everything wasn’t enough, and now we have the final thing to get his head on straight.
Today he had his regular therapy, and he was on a whole other level. Incredibly chatty, which isn’t like him at all. In the middle of a long winded explanation about something, he stopped mid sentence and said, “Mama! You look so clear and bright sitting there, and everything else around you is blurry. It’s weird.” His therapist looked at him and said, “Buddy, that’s what being able to focus looks like.”
It simultaneously broke my heart and made me feel so happy for him.
Parenting is hard as fuck.