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04/29/2010

Motherhood--on Adderall

When I was 26, I was dAdderall_2iagnosed with ADD. It came as no surprise to me--I had always known there was something "wrong" with me. I was incapable of focusing, especially if the subject matter bored me (Calculus, I am looking at you!). While having an official diagnosis game me a reason to be doing so badly, it was no excuse. At least, not one the College of Veterinary Medicine would give weight to.

Once on medication, I achieved a 4.0--a grade that had been elusive to me my entire college career. At that point, it was too late to save my GPA (and my self-esteem),  and my lifelong dream of being a vet died a slow, torturous death. (No worries--I am over it now!)

Fast forward *cough* ten years *cough*. I have not been on meds since I graduated college. After all, I was "only" a vet tech, "only" a lab assistant, "only" a mom. I had no reason to stay on the drugs. That is what I told myself, anyway. I wonder how different things might be, had I decided to stay on the medicine.

Throughout my entire life, I thought I was stupid, lazy, a failure. Adding "mommy brain" to the mix only made things worse. Now, I was completely incapable of doing anything right and I was dragging another little person along with me.Suffice to say, times were tough. I got through it thanks to a great husband and good friends. My husband didn't care if the house was a mess (why couldn't I keep it clean?) or if the laundry wasn't done (why did I *always* forget it in the washer?) and he cooked dinner (why was it so hard to start dinner on time?). My friends didn't complain that I constantly interrupted (why could I not wait my turn to talk?) or was always running late (how hard is it to get out of the house on time, anyway?). Basically, I really got lucky.

Once my daughter started school, I became "That Mom." "That Mom" that forgot to pack a snack. "That Mom" that forgot to sign the permission slip or send a tee-shirt for tie-dye day. "That Mom" that kept letting her daughter down.

I don't remember at what point I said enough. I think it was after I forgot to send something--again. I decided I was being unfair to my daughter (well, my sons, too, but she was the only one in school). By constantly forgetting things then beating myself up for it for hours--or even days--I was teaching her that mistakes are to be dreaded. I was teaching her that self-hate was okay, and even acceptable. I don't want her to grow up hating herself--her creative, adorable, ADHD self--like I did. I want her to see that, sometimes, it is okay to accept help, even in pill form. That sometimes knowing your limits can be a strength. That having ADHD is not a curse---just a difference.

So, I started back on meds and things have improved radically. I started back on meds not because I was "only" a mom, but because I AM a mom--and my kids deserve better.

Original post to Ohio Moms Blog.

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