The Blessing of ADHD From An Adult Living Happily With It

ADHD & Adulting

So, I may have mentioned in previous posts that I have returned to college to finish that psych degree that I started 30 years ago. I am loving the classes and subject matter just as much as I did all those years ago.

BUT, I am taking some huge issues with the diagnosis and prognosis for those with ADD or ADHD. I have no issue with diagnosing people with ADD or ADHD- it is REAL and I know what I am talking about because I have it. I was not diagnosed as a child because mine expressed itself as day dreaming mostly and I was labeled a ditz versus ADHD and I am so grateful for that mistake. But, I have huge issues with saying that the way these brains work is a flaw.

The reason I am grateful is that if I had been properly diagnosed I would have been “properly” labeled and fed a total load OF CRAP. Like that fact that I would always struggle with keeping a job or wouldn’t have friends. I do not argue with the fact that my brain operates differently than other brains. I do not argue the fact that interpersonal relations are difficult at times but theses differences are not necessarily bad, they are just different.

My brain is VERY active and I do have trouble sitting still for long periods of time.

So, what?

Yes, to the classroom setting or certain job settings this can be a problem- not for me but for the others who have set ideas about what makes for a good student or employee.

I produce a LOT, much more than the average person BECAUSE I have ADHD. In the course of writing this article, I will have gotten up from the desk no less than three times. BUT, in those moments when I had to get up and move- I washed and folded three loads of laundry, emptied the de-humidifier, watered my plants, and sent three texts. Let’s also not forget that while I was physically active, my brain was putting what I wanted to say in order. I was crafting my response to the information I am reading and thinking about what I wanted to say to those of you who share in the blessing of ADHD or are parenting a child with ADHD. Remember, my brain is NEVER still.

While I write, I wear earbuds so that the hyperactive side of my brain is busy so the other side can write.

Another falacy in the preception of hyperactivity is that we can’t focus. This is completely UNTRUE. I can focus but I have to really be into what I am doing. When I am writing fiction, reading, being creative, gardening or any other one of my passions, I can focus so intensely that I do not hear a thing that goes on around me.

Some see this as a flaw- why?

Because I am different from the average that makes me flawed? Nope, that makes me unique.

Stop framing these people that operate differently than the average as flawed. Just because a kid does not perform well in school is not a sign that they lack intelligence. More than likely they perform poorly because they are more intelligent than the average and are not interested in what you are teaching. Or, they need the material presented in a different form.

Saying that those with ADHD have memory deficits is also a lie when applied as a generality. I have an amazing memory. If I read it, I can remember it. If I write it, I can remember it. If it is interesting to me and I hear it, I can remember it. However, I can forget an appointment because I was engrossed in a project. This is not a memory problem. If I find you boring, I won’t remember you or what you said. Not because I have a memory problem but because you are uninteresting. Furthermore, just because I am doodling on my paper it does not mean that I am not paying attention. I won’t lie, I found it insanely satisfying when a teacher tried to put me on the spot by calling me out and asking me to repeat what she just said. Yes, I was doodling and “not paying attention” in your world, but in my world? I heard every word and could repeat it back to you. Which I did, much to their consternation.

How about instead of trying to force every human to learn a certain way, we attempt to teach in a way that engages the brightest of minds and encourages the celebration of differences.

If you believed what you were told as a child concerning your brain, reject it now. Lean how to yoke your strengths and compensate where you are struggling. For instance, wear earbuds and listen to music when you need to concentrate. Choose a job that allows you to be physically active if you need it. Set timers on your phone so you can remember important dates and times.

But, for the love of God, do not put your beautiful, active mind into a boring box that pleases society because you no longer challenge the “norms”.

I acknowledge that to be a friend or family member of mine comes with some challenges. I might forget your anniversary date, this DOES NOT mean that I am not stinking proud that you have built a beautiful marriage against all odds. I might forget your birthday, but this DOES NOT mean that I am not glad that you exist. Because my thought process are randomized, you may get unexpected notes in the middle of the year as a total surprise. But here is the thing, I have to accept you and all your flaws, as well if we are going to have a relationship.

I guess the thing that just irritates me to the point of desired violence is that the basis of a diagnosis of ADHD is based on that human performs based on society’s norms. How many times has society gotten it wrong? Really, do we even want every person able to sit quietly in a room for hours and never have moments of passion in which they can’t control themselves? How boring.

I would like to qualify my thoughts with the fact that I understand that there is a range of intensity in which the symptoms express themselves. I also understand that medication is needed at times. I am not judging on the choices that people are making, I am simply stating that if we framed it differently, we would see the gifts in these brains versus what is “wrong”.

Grace and Parenting

Today was an ordinary day. I made Tony breakfast and once he headed off to work I went to my balcony. On my balcony I watch the activity of my little block. I love watching the different flowers bloom across the street, the neighbors walking with their toddler, the mourning dove moving from tree to tree. I also love writing in my prayer journal, reading my Bible and praying over my island, I love Galveston. And I love this morning routine that grounds me and sets my intentions for the day. Yoga is a new addition and the benefits have been so great that it is a permanent addition.

On days with a relaxed agenda, I get to read on my balcony.

Reading on the balcony, Galveston Texas, Pretty legs and flowers on Galveston Island

I, then, sit down to my desk. What comes next is anybody’s guest. Sometimes I get straight to work answering emails and sending docs wherever they need to go. Other days, I create social media content or write. Some days a very vibrant three year-old greets me and climbs up into my lap. This morning she didn’t. She fell back asleep in her bed after being up since 5:30 am.

As I watch Cheyenne and Savannah in this season of motherhood, that season where you don’t really ever feel rested and you answer the same question 452 times, I am amazed. I am amazed at the patience and grace they operate with and extend to their children. They are far more relaxed than I was with them. I was convinced that if I didn’t jump on every little hint of rebellion or misbehavior, they would grow into lewd women who dealt drugs and ran around with strange men- or something of the like. It seems so ridiculous now, but when you are raised with religion as your master and grace is unheard of, these are the things you think. Now, I know that there is no need to fear.

I did learn to relax as the years went by and I spoke of it often. I am so utterly grateful that they listened and God’s grace was and/is abundant. I have watched my girls mother with excellence, not perfection but who even wants perfection? They find joy in their children. I am so stinking proud of them I can’t hardly stand it.

Because of the job they are doing, I can simply enjoy my grandchildren. Tony and I can pick them up and take them anywhere. They are funny and happy and spunky. We laugh at their antics even if it wears us out. I mean, I had forgotten just how much energy it takes to raise children! I can rest knowing that we did a good job and now my children are doing a good job.

God’s grace covers the weak spots and He promised me He would show me his salvation. He also promised me that my children would be taught by the Lord and great would be their peace. I have walked through enough to know that He is faithful, if he made me a promise, He will keep it. I can laugh at the days to come because my God is with me and them.

And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Isaiah 54:13

He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.

Psalm 91: 15-16

I love my ordinary days. They are filled with life- which could be boring or monotonous but I choose to see the beauty and blessing that surrounds me everyday. I pray prayers of gratitude daily, how could I not? I am fully aware of just how blessed I am.

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Kind words are like honey, marriage, romance, love, happily ever after

Happily Ever After

This guy- I don’t know what I would do without him.

Four babies have come and gone. They are building careers and families of their own.

We are back to the two of us. We loved the years of raising our chaotic zoo and it hurts to know that we are officially done with that season. But, we are excited to be a couple again.

We started young and it wasn’t the easy way (I don’t think an easy way exists when it come to raising a family) but I wouldn’t change a thing.

When we look at our crew, we are SO FREAKING PROUD!

Happily Ever After is a way of life for us.

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See You Later- What A Wonderful Thought

This past weekend, we traveled back to Canton, TX and celebrated Jonathan as he embarks on his new life.

He has chosen to serve and departs for boot camp in less than a week. It was time to say, “See You Later.” Watching him interact with his friends and family was such a gift. Knowing that there wouldn’t be another moment like this was sobering. All of his friends will be very different when Jonathan sees them again. As it stands, we won’t see him again before August. One set of newly married friends will have welcomed their first child, his sister will be in law school and who knows what that much time will bring to the rest of their lives.

So, we soaked it all up. Laughter was in abundance as were smiles. He won’t look the same when he gets back. He will not be the same when he gets back. But, that is a thing to be celebrated, not grieved. Nothing stays the same, he is choosing to become more.

See you later, Big Boy! We could not possibly be more proud of you!

My Mile Marker Zero

Many of you may recognize this as Mile Marker Zero in Key West, Florida. Which might make you think that this is a travel blog post and it could be. We traveled there this summer, yes in 2020. It was my son’s senior trip, the handsome fellow you see in this picture. All he wanted was to go somewhere where he could snorkel. The Keys it was. What I did not anticipate was this picture.

God like to surprise us with little things that make our hearts happy. When we planned the trip, I know He was like, “This is gonna be so cool. You are gonna love this picture I have planned.” The reason it is so cool is that Jonathan is my fourth and final kid. I am officially done- he is my mile marker zero. It didn’t even occur to me when I took it. It was just a cool picture on a family vacation. But later, when we got home and I was looking at pictures, it hit me. Wow, what a way to wrap it up.

You would think that hitting such a milestone would feel so great. And it does feel great but at the exact same moment, it feels like my heart is being ripped out of my chest. When the older two left home, I comforted myself with the fact that I had two more kids at home. Then the baby girl left home and that hurt like a mother. But, I still had J. Now, it’s mile marker zero.

So, here I sit. I can’t say I don’t have any regrets. I firmly believe that if you get to the end of your parenting run and don’t have any regrets, you didn’t take the job seriously enough. I may have some regrets, things I would do differently but I have no guilt or remorse. I know that I did the absolute best that I could with the tools that I had. Yes, 48 year-old me could do a few things better than 28 year-old me- I should hope so! But, I gave it my all and I am very proud of the humans I turned lose on the world.

Jonathan has joined the Marines and ships out January 19th. Talk about an abrupt ending. I am going from having full control (that is different from being controlling) to having NO control over anything in his life. I am not going to lie, this is a difficult curve to navigate. I mean, if anyone else talked to him they will talk to him, I would have gone OFF on them. You do NOT mess with my kids.

I realized that I had this narrative in my head that the Core was intentionally going to destroy all that I had built. While talking to my family at Christmas, this came out of my mouth. Thankfully, my dad is a former Marine. He said, “No Honey, its not like that.” On the long drive back to my island, I processed through all of this. I decided to change the narrative. I chose to look at it from a different perspective. I raised a young man who knows his mind, knows himself, above all knows Jesus, and is so strong that no matter was the Marines throw at him, they won’t break him.

It is amazing how a human heart can feel so many big emotions fully at the same time.

I am incredibly PROUD of him.

I am so SAD I won’t get to hear his voice everyday.

I am so HAPPY he is moving into adulthood and following his passion.

I am AFRAID of where that path will take him.

I am so EXCITED to see where that path will take him.

The list goes on. I am so grateful to have been given the gift of raising this boy. So, I will focus on the positive and celebrate my Mile Marker Zero.

My Three Amigos

These three beauties are my grandchildren. T- Born in December, R-born in the following December and G- born the following September. Yes, it was an intense time for our family. I adore these blessings.

We took a morning and had a little photoshoot on the beach. We had so much fun!

I bought the outfits at a local shop in Galveston on the historic Strand. I bought them with this one specific purpose.

I planned to not have a plan. I mean how can you plan for what 3 toddlers/preschoolers are going to do? What mood they may be in? So, I just turned them loose and took pictures. Out of 500 I will probably get 10 perfect shots. But that is just fine. All I need is one to remember the fun we had and it doesn’t even have to be perfect.

I have no idea if they will remember- these moments were for me. There are pictures of me with the kids and pictures of my husband with the kids. Sadly, the Hawaiian outfits didn’t come in our size. But the kids will be able to look back and have photos of themselves with two people who thought they hung the moon and all the stars.

How You Can Help Say “NO” to Exploiting Children

If you could do one small thing that would shut a child pornography ring down- would you do it?

I’ve compiled some facts and done a little math for you this week.

There’s two parts to this post:

  • The role of child pornography in the sexual abuse of children.
  • One thing we can do to stop the abuse.

You guessed it, this is a Serious Saturday Post.

There are four preconditions that must be met in order for a predator to act and abuse a child. The first two are internal. A person must overcome the internal inhibitors that would stop him or her from abusing a child sexually. There are two common components in overcoming these internal inhibitors: child pornography and the erotic portrayal of children in the media. (Victimology 5th addition, Harvey Wallace and Cliff Roberson)

Child Pornography and the Erotic Portrayal of Children in the MEDIA- enter Netflix.

Netflix has produced the show “Cuties” which is at best an erotic portrayal of children in the media and at worst child pornography.

Waiting on some government agency to investigate or arrest or pull the show from the air will take too long. We as moral individuals must take a stand.

How can we when we are up against a media giant?

That is where a free market and a capitalist economy come in. In our economic system, the dollars do the voting. If it will sell, it is made. If it won’t sell, it doesn’t get made anymore.

There are 29 million people living in Texas. Lets say that the average monthly charge for Netflix was $10. I know some pay more and some pay less, but let’s just use an easy number as the median price. If 10 million people in Texas (1/3 of the population) cancelled Netflix that would me a loss of 100 million dollars PER MONTH to Netflix- and that is just Texas.

$10.00 X 10,000,000 = 100 million dollars per month

So, let’s take another number. There are 205 million Christians in America. If half of those cancelled Netflix it would mean a $1,025,000.00 loss per month for Netflix- over 1 billion dollars per month!

102,500,000 X $10.00= $1,025,000,000.00/month

Thanks to the way our economy works, we do not have to wait on someone else to take a stand and shut the giant down for exploiting our children and creating a pathway for abusers to overcome their internal inhibitors.

Stopping child abuse and sex trafficking is an overwhelming task, but through one action we can stake a stand that will make a difference and send a message.

Will you take a stand and cancel Netflix?

If you continue to send Netflix your money, you are bankrolling child pornography and paving the way for the sexual abuse of children.

Thanks To My Dad, I Am Not A Racist

With Father’s Day coming up, I thought about a gift of a t-shirt or coffee mug- you know the usual. But then things erupted around us concerning the issue of racism. I decided that the best gift I could give my dad would be my words.

To be honest, my dad was a train wreck in many ways. He would never have one an award based on being a father. These words will not come as a surprise, he knows this. We have talked about it and he has apologized and most importantly, many of those bad behaviors do not occur any longer.

But the thing he got right, like really nailed it- was race and gender. We will save the gender issue for another day but it deserves a mention here. Never in all my days growing up, and I spent a lot of time with him in the shop tearing down engines and helping him rebuild those engines (yes, me a girl knew an engine inside and out by the time I was 12), did I ever hear my dad judge a person based on skin color, ethnicity, or gender.

My mom tells the story of when they were first married she made a racist comment, probably one she heard growing up, and my dad told here never to say that again. He said that wasn’t allowed in our house. And just like that, my mom stopped.

This is why I say that because of him, I am not a racist. If it hadn’t been for him, I would have grown up just like the generations before me. I heard the word “n” word plenty and it always turned my stomach because of the bitterness behind it. But that word was never used in my home. I was never tempted to use it and I knew early on that it was not okay- even if people who I loved said it. That wasn’t allowed in our house.

Perhaps, what is a child hears in the home carries far more weight than what is said in the culture around them.

Or, what a child doesn’t hear. My dad and I never had a discussion about this. I learned from his actions and words- both said and unsaid.

He came from East Texas. He may have carried thoughts and attitudes of racism but he didn’t give them a voice and they died without light and air and recognition. I do not carry that baggage that he never handed me.

As I watch with repulsion the acts of racism, I feel a bit helpless. There are big problems in the world. How can I impact such a huge thing? Me, as one person, can’t actually do a lot on a national or global scale.

BUT, what I can do is decide what is allowed in our house. I raised four humans who do not judge a person based on their color, gender, or ethnicity. They, in turn will raise the next generation that know a human’s worth is not based on skin color or heritage or gender. If we all would focus on our own home, society would be fixed. If we all focused on our own home, the world would get better. Matters of the heart cannot be fixed with legislature. Matters of the heart must be fixed at home with Jesus.

That is another thing we did in our home- faith was central. No where close to perfect, but it gave me the foundation to build my life on the Rock and not the shifting sands of culture or society,

My dad was key in that, as well.

I am living proof that one person can stop racism from infecting the next generation, and the next one, and the next one, and on and on.

Thanks to my dad, I am not a racist.

Thank you Dad! Happy Father’s Day!

Divorce & The Holidays

christmas

As the holidays approach, life can really get complicated.  Add in blended families and divorced parents and it can be a real mine field.

So I am going to offer something that, I hope will make your holiday what you hope for.  Sit quietly and think about what memories you would like to make with your children and what you want them to remember when they are grown and look back on the holidays that they shared with you.  Frankly, this applies to any facet of life- what do you want your kids to remember when they look back and make that happen.

In regards to the holidays, don’t let all the voices pulling at you influence your dreams.  Just take a few minutes to dream about what you would like and what would be best for your children.  Now go do that.

I am reminded of a conversation I once had with a friend.  Her children were all little and she was married to her original husband who was the father of all four kids.  The stress she was feeling was that both his and her parents were divorced and remarried- and all wanted them at their respective homes for the holidays.  She was exhausted and didn’t really want to make 5-6 stops in a 48 hour period with four small children in tow.  This was not what she thought was best for her kids or herself.  When asked what I thought I offered this:

“You did not create the problem.  It was not your decision or your husband’s for either of your parent’s to get a divorce.  The adults at the time made that decision.  Now, they have to live with the consequences.  Because they chose divorce, they now have to understand that they will not have all the children and grandchildren at every holiday.  And that is not your fault or your problem to fix.”

Now, will people get mad when you choose to stay home or only visit one or two homes?  Yes.

Will they get their feelings hurt?  Probably.

Will they be harmed? No.

The main thing is that you live and establish YOUR family in the way that is best for you and them.  Your  children are only little once, don’t let it pass by missing out on what you dream of by trying to make everyone else happy.

I hope this helps someone have a less stressful holiday.  The holidays should be a time of joy and celebration- but we have to be purposeful for that to happen.