First of all, my credentials. Actually, only one really matters: I am McDiesel’s mother. Lots of parents have been dealing with ADHD for a lot longer than me. True. But I’ve been dealing with a lot of ADHD–in one little person–for the past four years. And I’ve learned a bunch so far that the developmental pediatricians and play therapists and child psychiatrists and chiropractic neurologists and web sites didn’t tell me. Such as: if you’re an anxious person by nature, not even Klonopin is going to make much of a dent if you’ve got a kid with ADHD. (Other mothers may laugh about their kids burning a place down, but not you. Too likely.) Also, there is a long, long list of euphemisms for “hyperactive” that people–teachers, doctors, inlaws, complete strangers in the grocery store parking lot–will avail themselves of in reference to your child. (Even the friendly ones–kindly meant!–can keep you up, fretting, at night.) And, you must never ever under any circumstances underestimate the power (and necessity!) of damage control. (Teacher gifts have to be extra generous, babysitters get paid above the going rate, carpool kids can be bribed with enough cookies.) And that’s only scratching the surface. It’s an exhausting education.
But Useless Anxieties isn’t about ADHD-friendly organic, gluten-free recipes or innovations in aromatherapy or strategies for getting your kid to stay with you using Smarties while you just run into the store to get milk and that’s it. I’ve read all that stuff and I appreciate it and I do try some of it, but the bottom line is that none of it makes it possible for me to just run into the store to get milk with my child and without his BEHAVIOR. Even when there’s a gumball-machine reward promised. Instead, I’m usually relieved there wasn’t a knock-down drag-out scene inside (unless there was) or a devastating catastrophe in the parking lot on the way back to the car. I have no idea what my blood pressure is after a three-minute trip to the neighborhood grocery store. Which I avoid like the plague.
So what’s the grand scheme then? I’m tempted to say Useless Anxieties is a place for crying in your soup. At least, that’s what I feel like doing about an hour after school most afternoons. Or compiling stories for a Chicken Soup for the ADHD Parent’s Soul. Or otherwise venting about how hard life is when you have a little kid with ADHD (did I mention it was diagnosed as “severe”?) and nobody understands what a failure you feel like as a parent and everybody is sick of hearing it anyway. There will most definitely be some of that. (I kinda thought free therapy was one of the main functions of having a blog anyway.)
Useless Anxieties are what I grew up praying that God would protect me from every Sunday during Mass. I mean, if you have faith, then you don’t have anxiety, right? Faith renders anxiety useless. I hope that will work for me one day soon. So far, I specialize in anxiety. (I think even my therapist is somewhat impressed with the profundity of my constantly spinning anxiety. She says I deserve an honorary doctorate in it.) And nothing gives me more anxiety than my McDiesel. And nothing makes me so desperate for more and deeper and truer faith.
One more thing—and it sounds simple and a little corny, but really it took me a long time to figure out. As heartsick as I get about my little guy, I learned that reframing the story—finding even the faintest glimmer of humor in the behavior (and sometimes making it up if I couldn’t)—was the only thing that was going to save me from that crushing anxiety. And that’s what Useless Anxieties is for.
Can’t hurt. Might help.