The Parent I Didn’t Ask to Be

I’ve shared my journey with my oldest on here a few times, with occasional updates on her treatment, diagnosis, etc. To some, it may seem trivial that I dwell so much on the fact that she has ADHD, among other challenges. I’ve tried to deal with it all in silence here lately, but that seems to be harder on me than anything else.

Yes, she still struggles with her ADHD. Yes, she still battles depression and anxiety (even at just nine years old). Yes, the harder years are yet to come. We have been through treatment plan after treatment plan with no end in sight.

For those of you that aren’t aware of our journey, here’s a brief overview.

At age three, she lost her biological father in an accident. We managed and battled anger that her little mind had no clue where it was coming from. By age four, she started school. As an educator, I could see the signs that we were headed down the path of impulse and attention deficits. We used homeopathic remedies, strategies to work through things, you name it. The breaking point was when she lost control in the classroom and couldn’t gain it back again.

This led to an early diagnosis of ADHD and our first bout with medication. For about a year or so, we were good. The medication worked, she made great progress, and her educational abilities were able to shine through.

Fast forward to first grade. We were dealt the hand of struggling with friendships and difficulty being the person others wanted to be around. (I know every child is unique. I love this about her and the many children I teach. It doesn’t make the hard times any easier to swallow.) She was thrown into the mix with mean kids, she was the mean kid, and eventually she just isolated herself.

By second grade she was moved to the school that I teach at, as a student in my classroom. This was a blessing and a curse. I was able to step back and let my husband have the parenting role, but I saw her struggles full force in many different settings. By this time, we were on our third treatment plan. New counselors, new medications, new environment. (Also new father figure. I had recently married my current husband.)

We made it through the year with stellar grades and new friends that she would be with for years to come. She had goals set for the summer, we had travel plans, everything was sunshine and rainbows.

Third grade was much like second, only with a few new classmates and changing classes half-way through the day. Her teachers were very aware of her struggles and strengths. They were also made aware of any changes to her treatment plan throughout the year. They are amazing women who just “got” my kid. She didn’t feel isolated or like an outcast. Her depression and anxiety even got to be more manageable.

Now, we have just wrapped up fourth grade. She had the same teachers, a few new classmates, and a much heavier workload (as expected). This year was the kicker. Her emotional struggles took over. Her impulse control disappeared. She even started having extreme anger outbursts at home.

Her anger was geared towards her dad and me. She adores her little sister but can sometimes be sneaky about placing blame for things she did. And now, she has started eating and chewing on things that are in no way shape or form a food product. There’s a whole laundry list of new symptoms and red flags.

Current treatment plan: Back to an old medication that has worked in the past, but her system outgrew at the time. Added a medication to help with her emotional outbursts (anger, anxiety, and depression). She also takes a medication to help her sleep at night because of insomnia. Talk therapy has become the norm for a while now.

The hardest pill for me to swallow as her mom is that we are at the point of having her evaluated to see if the diagnosis she has been given is even the right one. We feel in our hearts that it isn’t but pray that we are wrong. We hope to get all of the answers to help her through this dark path, but also understand that there is no permanent or direct solution to any of this.

I don’t share this to get sympathy or beg for understanding. I share this in hopes that someone reading it will realize that they aren’t alone in their struggles, whether it be with a child or teen, even adult. I share this to ask for prayers of understanding and comfort. I share this because I feel like it’s my only outlet.

I keep telling myself that there is a reason I’m her mother. God chose me to raise her and help her through this. I don’t know how, but I’m doing my best. If you are parenting a child through a difficult season, just remember that there’s a reason you were chosen for that job.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” -Psalms 127:3


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