This post originally appeared on my tinyletter, Where is my Mind?
I officially got my diagnosis yesterday: ADHD. I will probably start medication, but I have to talk it over with my doctor. It was a relief. As I said on Twitter, it’s confirmation for me that there is something wrong with me, but at the same time, there is really *nothing* wrong with *me*.
I told my daughter the news. She broke down crying. The same test I had failed in order to get the ADHD diagnosis, she had passed. She has always been good at taking tests, and despite what I was sure were her best efforts not to, she takes tests with a focus and seriousness that she seldom reserves for anything else.
“Everyone keeps saying there’s nothing wrong with me, that I’m normal! Why don’t I feel that way? What if there is nothing wrong with me? Why do I feel this way all the time then?”
It is much more challenging for girls to get ADHD diagnosis than boys. We’re at the end of our options through our HMO for the moment, and my daughter, my stubborn, headstrong, daughter hates talk therapy because she can’t get the one answer she wants: that she has ADHD and there is a pill that will “fix” her.
“Why does she keep saying what I am feeling is normal?”
Part of it is to reassure her that she is, in the grand scheme of things, fine. So that maybe she’ll listen to the advice being given, because it has helped other kids.
What is normal though? What does or doesn’t it mean to have something “wrong” with you?
She is unique, she is different. She is within the range of normal, common. These are both true. How do I navigate this terrain with her, knowing that she needs extra help in understanding and having more control over her emotions, her reactions? How do I convince her that even without an official diagnosis, there are things we can do with therapy?
Last night I held her in bed, telling her that just being able to talk about it with me was helping, that having my support was helping. That I very viscerally knew how she was feeling, but when I was her age, could never talk about it, no one understood, no one believed me. I believe her, I understand her.
She got her first “low grade” on her report card. It was for starting and completing her work in a timely manner. This, for her, is all the proof she needed that something is very wrong with her. She NEVER gets a low grade. She is starting middle school next year and that particular blemish on her report card is a signal to her that she is doomed to fail at her new school.
“Don’t worry, sweetie. There will be a teacher who hates you enough to fill out the survey so that you can get the diagnosis.” That made her laugh. But she will be ok. She has great friends. She has parents who support her. I will hold her when she feels out of control, and I will let her process when she has to, and I will fight for her, because I don’t want her to be 40 and finally figuring things out.