As we go through this transition period of putting you on medication for your ADHD, I find myself wanting to explain things to you that you may not even be equipped to hear, or at least care about at your tender age of 11. I want to document those thoughts now so that one day, when you are ready, you can read what I am thinking and feeling and understand how we got to where we are (wherever that may be).
You are a remarkable young man. You are bright, inquisitive, sensitive, empathetic, and sweet beyond belief. You are all of those things, especially when your ADHD is under control. When it is not under control you are argumentative, negative, oppositional, sad, angry, frustrating and sometimes irritating. This negative side of you is not really you. It is the ADHD. This is why we have decided that medication is necessary. This thing called ADHD sometimes changes you into someone that we know you don’t want to be. Not that you having ADHD is all bad. There are some wonderful parts of it too. Parts that I hope you don’t loose all together with the medication. You are energetic, curious, and excitable, which in many situations makes you a crap load of fun to be with. It is being able to tell when it is OK to be those things and when it isn’t that we hope will become easier for you on the medication.
You amaze us everyday with your observations and your long-term memory. You know what song was playing the last time we drove through a particular city. You know if it was raining the last time we went to a particular restaurant. Yet, somehow, you can’t remember from one minute to the next where you put your shoes, or set down your pencil. That is ADHD.
My stomach hurts when I think of how hard it must be to be Darren inside of that head of yours. All of the thoughts going through your brilliant mind at any given moment must be frustrating. My heart actually hurts when I think of how frustrated you must get when everyone is yelling at you all day long, or at least nagging at you about the same things all of the time. “Darren, sit still. Darren, pay attention. Darren, stop making that noise. Darren, I asked you to sit down, why aren’t you doing it? Darren, can you please be quiet just for just one minute?” I’m about to cry just writing this. If I could buy just one day for you to not have to deal with that, I’d pay every cent I have. I am hoping that the medication at least makes it a little better for you.
You have had a hard time keeping good friends. I know in my heart it isn’t because you aren’t a good friend and fun to be with. It is just that kids your age, by and large, don’t have the capacity to understand why you are the way you are, and to see beyond the “difficult” Darren. I hope, with all of my heart, that between the medication and your continued maturity, that this changes. You have so much to offer to a friend. That will come with time.
Sometimes I just get so angry with the world for not understanding you. Don’t they see how awesome you are? How your smile lights up a room? How you see things so differently that just hanging out with you can be such a huge learning experience in perception? There are so many times when I have just wanted to whisk you away and take you to a place where you didn’t have to deal with people who don’t understand you. Where you could just be yourself without of those ridiculous rules and restrictions on your life. How you would shine!
Your Dad and I get so focused on the day to day worries of helping you finish your homework and learning what you are supposed to learn that we often forget about using your insatiable inquisitiveness to teach you other things. We will try to be better at that. You deserve it. And what a special treat for us to have a kid that challenges us so much and makes us push our limits of knowledge, and reasoning and (big sigh)…patience!
You love John Lennon, and he wrote a song that makes me think of you every time I hear it...you know it...I sing it to you sometimes when you are trying to fall asleep..."Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy..." Tonight when I put you to bed you were all smiles and full of hope. That's my Darren!