So, yeah. Nolan was diagnosed yesterday with ADHD. Am I surprised? No. Am I relieved? No. Am I Sad? Kind of. I am also worried, afraid and exhausted. This lovable, smart, curious and busy boy has always been intense. He's always been feast or famine... and when I say feast or famine I mean HOLY SHIT THAT'S A TON OF FOOD LET'S EAT TILL OUR GUTS POP feast and OHMYGODIMGONNADIEIMSOHUNGRYWHYDOYOUHATEMEJUSTFEEDMEONEMORSELJUSTONEMORSEL famine. He's never been a middle of the road kind of kid.
He's also always been demanding, stubborn, willful and insistent. In good and not so good ways. But in the last year, and actually, in the last month, I have kind of woken up out of the fog I was in, and realized that there is indeed a problem. What may or may not have been obvious to everyone else, was not so obvious to me. Some of the things I'd always chalked up to personality traits, may in fact, not be personality traits.
Our home is like a warzone sometimes. A lot of the time actually. A lot of yelling, fighting, frustration, punishments... and it's usually between Nolan and I or Nolan and Aaron. Not that Seth doesn't get his fair share in, or that he isn't all too happy to participate when Nolan's decided that life is boring and he needs to run around the condo throwing things, shrieking 'nnneeeeeeeehhhhhaaaaawwwwww!!!!!!' and generally causing total chaos. But more often than not, It's Nolan vs. the household.
When he was younger, I didn't really think his behavior was all that out of the ordinary. Maybe it wasn't... I'm not sure. Like I said, he's always been intense. But when my parents came and stayed the weekend with us in the beginning of October, it was one of the first real wake up calls I've had. I mean the suspicions were there for a loooong time under the surface. I'd even spoken to my mom and sister and friends about some of the issues Aaron and I were dealing with when it came to Mr. Nolan. But having my mom and dad here for 3 days, bearing witness to what we deal with day in and day out... I realized how embarassing it was to have a child who didn't listen to us AT ALL. Who ran around like a wild banshee doing whatever he pleased, who attacked his brother any time he felt wronged...Normally it's mostly frustrating, but with witnesses it's down right embarassing. I also realized how damn exhausted we are all the time from being in fight mode 24/7.
So I did some googling and some reading... my suspicion being that he had ADHD. And when I read the symptoms of the Hyperactive Type and Impulsive Type it was like a description of Nolan. I read the symptoms in the DSM-IV and sure enough. He also has some signs of Oppositional Defiance Disorder, but the main concern at this point is the ADHD.
Anyhoo, I contacted the doctor's office, they gave us some forms to fill out, and to have his teachers fill out. We returned them and they got us in the next week. (Yesterday)... and awesomely enough, he chose that hour to be the craziest he's ever been. Turning the lights on and off while we were speaking to the doctor, throwing things in the office, turning the faucet on at the handwashing station and flinging water at his brother, running in circles, opening and slamming the door, screaming, etc etc etc. It was so fucking stressful, I can't even begin to put into words how I felt when we left.
Ultimately, it was a good thing that he put himself on display like that, the doctor saw exactly what we deal with day in and day out, though admittedly, he was operating on a level we had previously only glimpsed. The doc said basically after reading the questionnaires and observing him, it was pretty much a slam dunk. He said he understood it felt like we were in crisis mode, but that there was hope and there was stuff we could do.
I told him the stuff I've tried already... enrolling him in soccer, positive reinforcement, constant redirecting/encouragement, taking him off dairy products, removing food coloring and preservatives from his diet... bladdy bladdy bladdy. He suggested medication, and though it scares the living shit out of me to put him on medication for this, I agreed to try. I am at my wits end, and I am tired of yelling, tired of screaming, tired of spanking, tired of taking toys away... I'm tired of him saying "I was bad mom?" when he has to go to bed early. I always tell him "no, you weren't bad, you just need to make better choices."
Anyway. We are focusing on the ADHD portion of his behavior right now, with the hope that the Oppositional stuff will kind of fade a bit. The doctor says that many times, you get in such a battle of wills, and the child is so tired of being in trouble or being redirected, they become completely defiant as a coping mechanism. His hope is that if we can get Nolan chilled out a little bit, some of that defiance will start to crumble and our parenting will be all the more effective. I really fucking hope so.
I love this boy so much it hurts. I want him to do well, I KNOW he can do well, he is so bright and has so much to offer. I just want to make it easier for him to find his way.