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Old 09-29-08, 12:26 PM
Dizfriz Dizfriz is offline
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Dealing with grief and ADHD

Grieving because your child has been diagnosed as ADHD

When they find out their child has a disability such as ADHD, most parents will go through a period of grieving. It is normal and expected. Often, however, they will not know it for what it is. Here, knowledge of the process helps.

Why do your grieve? You grieve because your child is different from other children. Your "perfect child" is not perfect any more. It is a terrible loss. I have been through it and it is real. You not only grieve for the child but also yourself. You had envisioned a wonderful life raising this perfect child, especially if it is your first. Now it is not to be and, in a way, is the loss of a dream.

Let us first start with explaining the Stages of Grief. It is important to understand these as part of a necessary process. Understanding helps shorten the grieving but you have to go through it so you can proceed to healing and helping.

Understand that people do not always go through the stages in the same order and often will go through more than one simultaneously. Some will skip a stage. Each of us have our own way of grieving but in form or another, these stages are pretty much universal.

5 Stages of Grief*

First is Denial and Isolation. "No, this can't be true, my child cannot be ADHD!" How many parents do not want and cannot handle what is happening to them and their child? Often this is accompanied by the search for the "magic bullet". "I don't want to give my child drugs! What miracle vitamin, book, or treatment will "cure" my child and make it all go away?**

Second is anger. "Why is this happening to me and my child?". It is not fair! Other people's children do not have this, why mine?"

Third is Bargaining-this happens sometimes but not all. "If my child can be normal then I will..."

Next is Depression. The situation is overwhelming and you don't know what to do. You try to figure out what you did to cause your child to be this way. You feel it is somehow your fault and you experience a terrible guilt. You want to cry for your loss and often do....a lot. While this stage is truly miserable, it must be gone through before healing can begin. Do not fight it, go with and through it so you can better help your child.

Finally there is Acceptance. There is where you begin to heal and can focus on the needs of your child. You have accepted the disability for what it is and now begin to hunt for better ways of helping your child cope. You realize it is real, it is not going away, and must be dealt with. Your child needs you and you must be as centered as possible so you can help your child become what they can be even with the disability.

Be warned that you will get reoccurrences of grieving at times and this is also normal. Something will trigger it and you have to spend a short time going though the process again. This is very real.

What you do not want to do is to be hung up on a stage and not be able to leave it. Growth stops. You may have seen someone, after a great loss, get stuck in anger or depression and waste years or even the rest of their lives there. Your child needs you and you cannot afford to expend a lot of yourself on this. You do need to spend some necessary time here and occasionally revisit. For your child, you need recognize it for what it is and move on to healing.

A version of a metaphor I picked up Russell Barkley:

You get on a plane to go to San Francisco. Going to San Francisco has been your dream. When you get off you discover you are in San Antonio. It is not what you expected but it is where you are. While I like San Antonio, it is not San Francisco..no way.

You had your heart set on San Francisco. Now you can fuss, gripe and mourn over not being in San Francisco or you can begin to accept being in San Antonio. It is really a pretty nice town and there is a lot to see and do there. What you thought you were going to get was California and cable cars, what you got was Texas and the Alamo. How you deal with this is your choice to make.

Take care and keep on plugging. These kids are worth it.
This is to help. Use what you will and let the rest go.
Dizfriz

The statements of feelings are general ones that are common to many people. Each person's feelings and thoughts are unique to themselves. Take my examples as just that-examples.

*Stages of Grief from the work of Kubler-Ross

**Not to be confused with looking at other methods of treatment as a way of helping. In denial, the parent feels that if the child can be "fixed" then all this will go away and the child will then be normal.
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Old 08-08-09, 06:50 AM
taylorb taylorb is offline
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Re: Dealing with grief and ADHD

Really this helps me so much. I am feeling this way right now this is why I signed up for this forum. Reading this makes me realize there are more people like me and my son. Problem is I dont really know any of them. I wish there was a place we could go and be accepted. Well again thanks and I am glad to be here.
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Old 08-08-09, 07:17 AM
Dizfriz Dizfriz is offline
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Re: Dealing with grief and ADHD

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Originally Posted by taylorb View Post
Really this helps me so much. I am feeling this way right now this is why I signed up for this forum. Reading this makes me realize there are more people like me and my son. Problem is I dont really know any of them. I wish there was a place we could go and be accepted. Well again thanks and I am glad to be here.
I am glad it was helpful. That was its purpose.

I think you will find a lot kindred souls here. Dealing with a disability such as ADHD can result in feelings of being very alone and isolated. To help with this is the purpose for the forum.

Just read if you wish or join in. Either way the people of the forum are here for you.

Dizfriz
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Old 04-21-10, 12:10 PM
tessmesser tessmesser is offline
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Re: Dealing with grief and ADHD

I feel that most of us with children with ADHD spend a great deal of time in the denial stage and then in the bargaining stage. We want ADHD to be a diet problem, a teacher problem, a friend problem, an environmental problem. This is of course complicated by the fact that all those things can play some role in ADHD but it is generally a supportive role.

We then bargain in all sorts of ways. We become the best parents, role models and citizens that we can be in the hopes that this will somehow change the course of this disease.

Acceptance is a God sent when it comes but you are so right. The path there is slow and step dependent. We must all deal with each of Kubler-Ross's grief stages before we can arrive at at place where we can begin to hellp our children.

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Old 05-12-10, 08:57 AM
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Re: Dealing with grief and ADHD

I am quite aware that attention difficulties are just the tip of the iceberg. ADHD children can’t filter out distractions, finish tasks on-time, use their memory optimally, etc. A pill doesn’t teach these skills.

This becoming an issue these days and it is becoming hard for parents and children to deal with it as children have no idea what to do and how to deal with it. we need to educate them tell them what they are dealing with and i found comic books which are explaining obesity in an interesting manner.

Last edited by Lady Lark; 05-12-10 at 11:53 AM.. Reason: removed weblink
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Old 12-12-10, 06:00 AM
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Re: Dealing with grief and ADHD

I have thought for years that something was wrong with my child (now 7) ADHD has been mentioned before and i told people dont be silly, recently i went from maybe he has got ADHD to yes he has to have ADHD, so when he was diagnosed with ADHD very recently it supprised my husband and i that my first thought was "i dont believe it, he has not got ADHD" and it took quite some time to come to terms with the diagnosis convinced that the DR had made a mistake. Nopw i do accept it and i am open and willing help my son in any way we can.
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Old 11-29-11, 08:15 PM
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Re: Dealing with grief and ADHD

I signed up for the same reason. I don't know where to turn and I don't want to tell friends and family that my son has ADHD. I don't want him to be treated any differently. Especially at school, which is why I haven't told his teacher. I am having guilt because if she knows will she be more understanding and helpful? Will she keep this confidential? I would hate for other children to find out and make him an outcast bc I know kids can be so cruel.
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Old 04-19-12, 07:54 AM
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Re: Dealing with grief and ADHD

This post is amazing.
It makes me feel so much better to know I'm not the parent who struggled with this grief.
I cannot seem to pick a stage and stick to it, I am bouncing through them all.
Mostly though I am angry because darn it, I can't help.
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Old 07-07-12, 07:47 AM
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Re: Dealing with grief and ADHD

hi everyone i am new here just read the post and i know i am going through this right now.

my GP a wast of time went to hime for help now i have the child proction serivce up my back trying to get help for my son who is 8 years old. i dont know what else i can do for my 8year old.

please i am new here dont know where else to go?

thank zain
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Old 07-08-12, 12:39 PM
Dizfriz Dizfriz is offline
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Re: Dealing with grief and ADHD

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Originally Posted by zainuk View Post
hi everyone i am new here just read the post and i know i am going through this right now.

my GP a wast of time went to hime for help now i have the child proction serivce up my back trying to get help for my son who is 8 years old. i dont know what else i can do for my 8year old.

please i am new here dont know where else to go?

thank zain
This forum is a good place to go for help and understanding. Many here have been through this and are more than willing to give emotional support.

Perhaps the best thing you can do is to learn as much as you can about ADHD.

You can find a number of essays here I wrote to help parents understand the disorder. Also there are web sites listed that have very good videos that may help you. It is a lot I know but it is to help you be an advocate for your child. You can find it here: http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60130




Take care and keep on being involved in the forum, it has helped many.

Dizfriz
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Old 10-03-12, 09:36 AM
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Re: Dealing with grief and ADHD

Like the other people posting, my 7 yr old son was just diagnosed with ADHD combined types. I have always known he had something like this, but just having that feeling of knowing something is different versus getting the diagnosis has just struck me in a way I can't describe. I am happy that he can get the help he needs and we are starting therapy and seeing his pediatrician to see about medicines so that is positive. I hope he can enjoy school after that and his self-esteem from not performing like this classmates will improve. But I have all these other feelings and I am also afraid to tell others about it because of the stigma attached with ADHD. I have told his 1st grade teacher about the diagnosis only because with in the first week of school she emailed me asking me how can I get him to pay attention. She is a wonderful teacher and has been working with him very well when I told her what is going on. Thank you for all the posting and this forum.
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Old 01-07-13, 04:01 PM
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Re: Dealing with grief and ADHD

I feel like I am not equipped to deal with this crushing depression.

My younger daughter is so sweet, kind, helpful and beautiful and she is just not cut out for traditional school at all. She's only in 1st grade, so I feel like I have another 12 years or so to see and hear about the ways that she is so different from other kids.

Now my older daughter is having serious trouble in 3 rd grade ( I know that is a bit of an oxymoron, I mean it IS only 3rd grade for crying out loud), and I thought we would have it easy with her. She's so smart and personable. Adults usually love her because she is so precocious and generally reasonable.

It really isn't helping that I keep hearing from relatives how much grades matter and how if she doesn't do well even in 3rd grade that all these doors will close to her, but don't put her on medicine no matter what you do.

Sigh. Wish I could just get past the depression stage. So sick of feling pulled in a million directions with people saying "this is life or death" and it is all up to you to fix. If only you were more organized the kid wouldn't have this problem.

GAH. It hurts so much.
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Old 01-07-13, 05:01 PM
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Re: Dealing with grief and ADHD

Quote:
Originally Posted by manismom View Post
I feel like I am not equipped to deal with this crushing depression.

My younger daughter is so sweet, kind, helpful and beautiful and she is just not cut out for traditional school at all. She's only in 1st grade, so I feel like I have another 12 years or so to see and hear about the ways that she is so different from other kids.

Quote:
Now my older daughter is having serious trouble in 3 rd grade ( I know that is a bit of an oxymoron, I mean it IS only 3rd grade for crying out loud), and I thought we would have it easy with her. She's so smart and personable. Adults usually love her because she is so precocious and generally reasonable.
Third grade is where school get serious in that the kids are into subjects and it gets much tougher. The first two grades are more aligned with giving the child the tools for the third grade, how to read, get along, follow rules and so on. (not all schools follow this but most do). The third grade is where ADHD can really start to come out. Kids with milder symptoms can survive the first two grades but run into trouble in the third. It is fairly common and is nothing to be surprised about.

Quote:
It really isn't helping that I keep hearing from relatives how much grades matter and how if she doesn't do well even in 3rd grade that all these doors will close to her, but don't put her on medicine no matter what you do.
First, being ADHD is not the end of the world. Not doing well in school can have a greater impact especially of the child's view of herself.

Sometimes is it useful to consider that the consequences of not treating ADHD can be far worse than the consequences of the medications.

Quote:
Sigh. Wish I could just get past the depression stage. So sick of feling pulled in a million directions with people saying "this is life or death" and it is all up to you to fix. If only you were more organized the kid wouldn't have this problem.
ADHD is not life or death. It is important but kids can survive a lot with the proper support and help.

Something else to keep in mind, we cannot "fix" either the kids or the problem. ADHD is primarily a neurobiological issue and will be with the kid in some degree for the rest of her life if she is truly ADHD. I guess the most important thing to keep in mind that ADHD is one of the more treatable disorders. It can be helped on an ongoing basis and the kids can have a very successful life and still be ADHD. My adult ADHD son is a very good example of this. While his mother was ADHD she was a very mother to him and he has done well in his life as a result.

In the finial analysis it is the parents decision how to help their child not friends, neighbors, relatives or busybodies. It is yours.

Quote:
GAH. It hurts so much.
It can but there is hope. Again, this is treatable disorder.

Dizfriz
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Old 01-10-13, 07:41 PM
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Re: Dealing with grief and ADHD

DizFriz- thanks for your support. It means a lot.

I survived for 39 years without even knowing I had ADHD, so I know it isn't life or death. I know it is treatable, too. Just knowing what was going on helped me. Medicine has helped quite a bit, too.

I think the issues I'm struggling with are 1) I tend to get "stuck" in depression. Seeing someone about it, this time, though. So dont worry! And 2) OTHER PEOPLE'S EXPECTATIONS For my children.

My own hopes and dreams for my kids come into play also, but I've always tried to support them in being the best whatever they are without pushing them to be a certain way or heaping a bunch of "shoulds and shouldas" on them. If that makes sense. My job as their mom is to HELP them figure out what they are good at, not DECIDE what they are good at and tell them to do it.

Right now I feel like I am fighting an uphill battle with my husband just to get my older daughter assessed. Along with the barrage of guilt and shame that many Moms feel when their kids struggle. Is it something I did? Is it something I didn't do? Should I have worked harder on breast feeding? How did I not know I was pregnant for 2 whole months? That's the kind of stuff the critic in my head says. Logically, I know I was undiagnosed and unmedicated at the time and doing my level best, but that critic can be awfully loud sometimes.

I did finally realize that I didn't actually need his permission or even his blessing to have her assessed. I made the appointment yesterday and told him about it. He, in a nicer way, said something to the effect of "sounds like you are telling, not asking" and I let him know that he was correct. Considering the things that our marriage has thus far survived, it's not like he is going to divorce me over this or something. It was really kind of freeing to have that realization.

He is legitimately concerned about the consequences of an ADHD diagnosis and the state of our health insurance. As it is, we have 3 of 4 people in our family diagnosed with one or more chronic health conditions. In our current insurance situation, we pay a $5k deductible before our insurance picks up the tab for ANYTHING. After that, they pay 80%. As it is, our business pays for our insurance premiums, but if we suddenly had to pay the premiums out of pocket, it would cost around $25,000 a year. Last year, we met our deductible 6 months into our policy. To put that in perspective, we paid at least $30,000 in medical expenses and our family income is around $50,000.

I was without health insurance when I got pregnant with our 2nd child because no insurance company would carry me.

After growing up with a couple of mentally ill parents and 39 years of undiagnosed ADHD, I learned how to please people. It's hard to unlearn that all of a sudden.
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Old 11-21-13, 08:17 AM
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Re: Dealing with grief and ADHD

My 10 year old daughter just got diagnosed a couple of days ago.

This was not a surprise to me. I've known for 6 years that something was up and pretty much had figured it out myself a long time ago.
I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult myself.

My daughter has struggled so much. 2nd grade was particularly difficult for her and her teacher was horrible- the school work and homework got unnecessarily difficult and full on, and she was failing second grade and feeling so bad about herself.
I fought to get help for her and worked with the school counsellors and her subsequent teachers and things have been getting better.

However even though I have known for a long time and have been treating it as ADHD anyway, I am feeling quite a lot of emotion with this diagnosis.

Some of it is relief because I have been going it alone for a lot of the time, and there is also the relief that I wasn't crazy or overprotective..... But there is also a lot of grief.
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