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ADHD & FEELING the DISCONNECT to THOSE YOU LOVE

Hello all,

I've wondered, and come to believe, that ADHD and depression and anxiety go hand-in-hand. Also though is that feeling of disconnect from those around you. I guess, I was hoping that someone out there had similar feelings, and/or solutions, or encouragement, or to tell me that it is just me if that's the case, but am hoping it's not.

Growing up knowing and feeling different than others, being told you're different, and not being able to connect with people about it because you don't know what's wrong with you. I know I would sometimes get very frustrated with people because I could look at something, a problem or situation or a person, and either have an out-of-the-box solution that nobody else could see, a different view of my surroundings, or a sense about someone that was usually right on that others couldn't see or understand and/or get angry.

My ADHD has been a blessing and a curse. I love viewing the world and all that's in it differently than others see it, although it's taken me a long time to understand that about myself. The downside is that I feel, inside, that I have so many things to offer but can never seem to get them to a finished product to show. Also,I feel I am really hard for people to love, and that's been shown to me most of my life. By parents, friends, teachers, co-workers, bosses, strangers, acquaintances, and so on. The last five years have been the best, yet hardest, of my life. I want to be the person I feel I could be, and yet, am not able to reach my potential or goals.

My incredibly smart, sweet, and energetic ADHD son is even brighter than I ever shined, but he's already feeling, at a mere 5 years old, just how different he is. He doesn't understand, I don't know how to tell him without it sounding like he has something wrong, when he so much wants to be normal. We both also have EFD, Executive Function Disorder, that literally blocks linear thinking. It's new to him and me alike.

I fear I'm not a good mother to my boys, have been told that I never would make a good mother by people that were closest to me my whole life. That's part of the reason I never planned on them, and then at 32 was VERY surprised, and scared to death, when I found out I was pregnant.

I have cried many, many times believing I have been, and will be, a horrible mother. I sometimes don't feel connected to them, or even like they're mine, and I know how horrid that sounds! Trust me, I'm crying as I write it...I don't want it to be there, but it is (or isn't, as the case goes).

Don't misunderstand, I love my babies, and would kill for them! I just don't know how to show it... I know that's just me, because I never had those connections with people, up until the last 5 years I had learned to live without it, but now with my boys and husband I want it more than anything, and don't have a clue of what to do or how to show it. I had hoped, though, that when it came to my 2 little men, that were actually a part of me at one point, there would be this bond or invisible umbilical cord of sorts (HA! & YUCK!) that would keep us tethered some how. I don't know what I'm saying exactly, or even if I make sense. LOL!

Please forgive my ramblings.

Thank you,

Jessica

Jessica, you know which mothers think they are horrible? The good ones. It is okay to feel disconnected from your kids sometimes, or even antipathetic to them occasionally. Kids take a lot out of us. Sometimes you may just be wanting a bit of space to yourself.

What kind of support system do you have? Can someone else take the kids occasionally? And how old are the boys?

I have read and reread your post, hoping that I would have the right words to say to make everything better. I don’t. What I can tell you is what I got out of your post. You are amazing, plain and simple. I hate that you felt misunderstood for being different. It isn’t fair, and no one has the right to make you feel that way. So, you look at the world differently? Thank God! There are too many people in this world who think that a+b=c, no matter what. Sometimes a+b=A table. Tomorrow it may equal zippers. Stop looking for a bond with your son. You have a bond with him that he can never have with anyone else in his life. Not because of the ADHD or the EFD, but because you are his mother. You are, and always will be, his biggest advocate. The fact that you are on this site proves it. But you guys have something else. Because of the ADHD/EFD, you can empathize, sympathize, and help him through his life. There is no one who can understand him the way you understand him. You have the opportunity to give him something that you never had…someone to tell him, "Yeah, I get it. It sucks. I can’t explain it. But, I get it."
I work with children with ASD. We have a saying in our classroom. “Today, I won’t be frustrated, I will be fascinated!” I am sure I owe the author a notation, but I’m not sure where it came from :slight_smile: When my child is making me bat sh*t crazy, and I think I am about to lose my mind, I try to remember this quote. Personally, I think you are amazing! You have overcome a lot in your life and you defied everyone, and proved that you are an amazing mom. If I haven’t made it clear before, I do think your kids are lucky to have you.
I have felt disconnected from my child on quite a few occasions. As dancer mom said, it is normal (I really HATE that word, btw).
I wish that I had magic words to make everything better, but i don’t. Just keep being your son’s hero, and he will become your hero :slight_smile:

Jessica, I am not a mom but I understand your insecurities. I belong to several Facebook ADHD groups where, for the first time in my 55 years, I felt like I belong…

It may sound funny, but I spend most of my time in a group called ADHD superhero shiney chicken lair…lots of good humor but also compassion, and support.

The other 2 are ADHD a place to share and ADHD welcome home!

If you spend some time in any of the groups, I think you will find others who are like you and appreciate the special qualities we do have. I thought I just read here if you were a bad mom, you wouldn’t be looking for help. I agree totally. I usually don’t write on people’s posts about kids, but I am pretty sure you will find a lot of help in these groups. By the way, they are closed so not everyone can just join or see your posts.

Hope I see you there.

Dancermom, I hope you read my posts and try out the groups too…there is ALWAYS someone on, unlike here.

No thank you, Ann, I greatly prefer the communities to Facebook groups.

Just to say you are not alone. I had always run and hide myself and npw i can not do it. I’ve just found i have atention deficit disorder. Now i understand myself, but it is so hard to came out of the box. On the past i just hided and cried and now i have a family and have to fight for them. We are strong people. If not how would we get here having this problem?! The biggest issue is the people who judge diference! (sorry my english…)

Jessica,

I've felt what you have keenly described as a 'disconnect' years before my adhd diagnosis (which was late). It's a perfect description that I am not convinced comes only from depression. Personally, I have found that feeling of emotional disconnect within adhd...even with my own children at times and other family and friends. The highlight of knowing that feeling beyond just feeling it and wondering in the past what it was about...was the first time I took adhd meds. It was odd and weird to feel a sudden 'connect' with family over dinner. Although that did not last in that extreme of awareness, it brought a verified relief that my own diagnosis and treatment was right for me. To me, adhd also feels like having dementia as well. I have two (adhd) kids, who like you, I love dearly and have felt horrible in the way I felt. But as someone said...I am their biggest advocate. That is a beautiful wealth and gift in itself. Sounds like you're a great mom.

Wow Jessica! Your post is exactly me to a T, and you said everything I feel, only have not been able to articulate.,,,at least no appropriately - ha! I always knew something was askew with me as a child. Always being called "different" and never quite getting it...whatever IT meant. Man, that EFD is a mutha! LOL I could be in control and cope with my emotions but as soon as marriage and children entered the picture, exasperation overruled. I am 48 years old now and was diagnosed with ADHD only 2 years ago. This came after my now 11 year old son was struggling with adapting to his newly diagnosed-little self, and treatment ruled our roost. I have a 12 year old daughter, too, and I thought I would never connect to her. In fact, it has only been a few months, after years of trial and error, mistakes and accusations, and the ultimate blow of her attempting suicide, that we are both trying to bond It feels real good, I know we deserve to be in this beautifully emotional and feeling place, but it is so hard still.

It is a process, dancermom...keep dancing with your boys and keep reminding them how much you love them!!

NettyGirl...aka, SELF...aka Annette

Jessica, you ARE a great mom--we are our own worst critics! I have often felt that disconnect, but with others in general. It's only natural that we feel it more with the people that are closest to us and those that live in our same house! Once I was diagnosed, my oldest kids/twins were sophomores in HS and I think I spent a LOT of time the rest of their HS years trying to get their "approval" that I was & had been a good mom. BIG mistake!! 1) They're not equipped to gauge that in a realistic manner--ALL kids think their parents suck! 2) I lost control of my household because I was putting them first in everything I did. 3) It sent me deeper into depression--I was already having a hard time learning to deal with the ADD that was totally out of control--and I internalized their words so much that I didn't feel like living any more, I felt like such a failure!!

I think back to the time when my twins were little--and this applies to ANY mom--that it's a GOOD day if the kids are fed, clothed and changed! It also helped to think of those precious little ones as gifts from God--that HE chose me to be their mother, and what an awesome (and kind of terrifying) responsibility to raise them up to be responsible, productive members of society (who also loved and served God).

Of course there are a few things I would love to have done differently! Spending time making memories is the BIGGEST one!! My house was always a mess, so there were always so many "things to do" on the weekends that we didn't do a lot of family activities once the kids were around middle school age. I used to read and 'chat' with them at bedtime when they were young--that kind of ended at age 6 1/2 when I had another child--and it didn't last but 3-4 years with her. She doesn't even remember it! :( I would have spent more time doing "family nights" around a theme or just playing board games with them. I didn't do board games because I HATED sitting still that long and it seemed so MINDLESS I couldn't stand it!! But it was something I should have done for THEM! They didn't understand why I didn't want to--but I didn't either for so long! I would have made sure we established traditions around birthdays & holidays. We started to have a few, but year by year they kind of faded away. There's been more than one year that I haven't given my kids a nice card for their birthday, telling them how much I love and appreciate them!

I also belong to some ADD groups on facebook. I'm in the shiny chicken lair group, as well as 'awesome women with adhd', and a few for parents of kids with adhd and ODD. I can't compare it to this group because I don't get on this site very often. They both help, though!

Remember to LOVE and TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST!! Nobody else is going to do it! And you KNOW you have to be on your top game to get through the day sometimes, much less adding in kids, hubby and household! Remember you are only human! There IS no perfect parent except God, and by giving us free will, even Adam & Eve disobeyed Him!

Since my diagnosis, I read CONSTANTLY about how to do/handle things better--possibly too much so at times, reading has kind of been my refuge, but the kids & spouse only see it as me spending "ALL DAY" on the computer! And admittedly, I'm in information junkie and need to spend more time putting some ideas into action! Other great references for me have been Additude.com, Dr. Ned Hallowell, Dr. Daniel Amen, Terry Matlen, Jennifer Koretsky, Dr. Billi Battan, impactadhd.com, sharpbrains.com, totallyadd.com, corepsych.com, Dr. Charles Parker, myattentioncoach.com, Tara McGillicuddy, and for self-assurance and sheer 'get off your butt' motivation--Brendon Burchard!!!

Sorry this is so long, once I started writing the flood gates kind of opened! :) Be kind and forgiving with yourself, live and love life to it's fullest--it's WAY too short and we've only got one shot at this! YOU ROCK!!!!

Lesa.

Lesa...

You're an Angel!!! THANK YOU!!! I needed that. :) I've gotten a few responses to my post, all very sweet and helpful! Maybe it's just the day I'm having, but I truly needed to read what you wrote... Don't worry about it being long, (LOL!) you read mine! HA! I could write for days, I think, if given the time.

We really make an effort to keep God in all that we do. I've been trying to teach my 5 yr old to not just recite prayers but to actually talk to God about things and to pray for other people and all. He's getting it, but usually revolves around something he wants, LOL! I think that's all of us most of the time. :)

Thank you again,

Jessica

Jessica and everybody, thanks for these words of encouragement and your personal stories. I hope all our moms out there read these.
I didn’t do lots with my kids but they do remember what we did do.
I feel a distance from nearly everyone, but now I can open my heart to others if I want to because I’ve had some practice doing that, finding that, within myself. Maybe my yoga teacher finally said “open your heart” enough times :). My heart has opened in tough times, too, and in my faith practice and meditation, so I know it’s there. Raising my kids I was usually too busy to notice, but we were bonding all along.

Jessica your awareness and willingness makes you a great mom!! From what I see from reading this discussion is that adults and children with ADD/ADHD are very unique and special people and I mean that in a good way. Sharing our experiences is the best therapy. Thank you all!! :slight_smile:

Hi Jessica, I don’t think there are many mothers who have not worried about this at one point or another.

I’m sure that you are a very caring, nurturing, loving mother. It’s evident that your husband and children mean the world to you.

As far as explaining the ADD or ADHD, perhaps talking to your doctor first would be helpful. They have a lot of experience and wisdom to share, but I also think you have some great responses here!

Cherish every moment, as the time just flies by!

Jessica,

I think the most frustrating part of ADHD, is not having someone to speak to that TRULY understands. I have had people say, "yeah I have focus issues sometimes too"...as if it is the same thing. Everything you wrote about is relatable to me and probably most of us. I have been in a field that I truly can't stand but after 20 years I am financially stuck in it. I always thought I would have my own business, but in a couple attempts it became overwhelming and I retreated back to the safe world I knew even though I get zero job satisfaction from it. I always feel like if I could find something to do that was interesting enough to keep my mind in the wonderful "hyper focus" zone all day, I would kick butt at it. That is like a super power we have, but the challenge is putting ourselves in a spot to capitalize on it. I haven't been able to. I would explain this to your 5 year old, that with the ADHD comes the benefit of really focusing on something we like. I never thought of it as an affect of ADHD until you mentioned it, but I also am VERY good at getting a read on people. Oh and let's all agree to never apologize for rambling as clearly it s out of our hands! LOL!

Hi Jessica,

Sorry you're having such a rotten time right now. My 3 kids have always been a bit different, but I put it down to the fact they were gifted. ADHD may very well be a part of it as well. They are all, to quote my 14 year old, "WAY outside the box!" I have always celebrated their differences - there is a big sign in our kitchen that says 'Colour outside the lines!" It is sad that you did not grow up with the same appreciation for your unique self. Although I am not ADHD, I have a good friend who is and has only come to appreciate what she has to offer the world as an adult. Thank goodness she did! You are a gift to the world. Make sure you come to acknowledge it. As for disconnect, that's what I feel when talking to parents of the 'perfect' children in the schoolyard who have absolutely no idea that poor parenting did not make my kids behave the way they do!

My two boys,ages 14 and 10 have ADHD. They say that they “like ADHD” because it makes them special and different. I tell them that God did make them different and special. They are not like everyone else. They stand out. That God will use their differences in a special way. It’s hard to convince a society that wants everyone to be a certain way that this condition can be a gift. That those who have ADHD have a way of looking at life like no one else.
But I see it in my boys every day. I hope you will see it,too

Hey again everyone! :)

First of all, THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR POSTS OF ADVICE, SUPPORT, LAUGHS, AND OVERALL "JUST GETTING IT"!!!

I didn't realize how much I needed to be connected to other people like me, it's been sooo...can't think of one word...heartfelt, inspiring, educating, freeing, ... like some of the weight of this is crumbling off every time I read everyone's posts. If I could reach you all you'd all be getting a HUGE SQUEEZE!!!

{{{ GROUP HUG, EVERYONE!!!! }}}

LOL! I needed that! We all do sometimes. :)


It's so hard to try and explain things to my husband or most of my friends, they just don't get it. Like you said Harry, how people play it down, "oh yeah, I get distracted sometimes too."

~~~ Really?!?!? ~~~ [Here's how I want to explain it to them, but usually sound too intense/frustrated/insulted/or they think I'm exaggerating ...HA!!] ~~Let me give you 10 things to do, each task is highly complex and (hypothetically) decides the life or death of a person you love, (for the sense of urgency) so get them done correctly! Oh, and you have to do them all at the same time, AFTER not sleeping for 72 hours (just for the discombobulated feeling), AND with deafening loud speakers playing 10 different radio stations, lectures, static, etc. BUT part of your tasks are trying to differentiate the stations, and pull the info required from them, so listen closely! While trying to close-out the stations you don't need, but wait... you don't know if you don't need them because you don't know what channel/time the instructions will play, or even what they'll sound like! Don't think I'm done! The items you need to complete your tasks are scattered all over a 10 story building, and get moved randomly, so while trying to listen to the instructions, you also have to search this building...BUT you can only carry 1 thing at a time back to your task space, so try to remember where things are. You'll also be timed on every part of the tasks, if you take too long, some of your found items will vanish from your space. Did I mention you'll be in either complete darkness or blinding light? Yes, with no warning and at random times the lights will be turned retina-burning bright to ink-black (for the sensitivity issues). The temperature is going to fluctuate from 30 degrees to 120 degrees too (also for the sensitivity thing). DON'T FORGET! The life of your 10 loved-ones depends on you getting everything done the right way, in the right amount of time... Ready? Set. Go! ..... OK! TIME'S UP!

I know that sounds a little extreme, (LOL!) but it's truly how it feels sometimes, and that's not even all of it! I seriously wish people could realize that it's not something you can just "will yourself through" sometimes.

I moved to a TINY town in MS from Las Vegas about 8 years ago (long story), and it feels like nobody here understands, or even cares to try! I'm probably sounding a little nutty in this post...HA! Like a big jar of extra chunky peanut butter. :)

Here's an example... I was the Chair of the Children's Committee at my Church (up until about a week ago). We have a Fall Festival [Hallow Him] every year, and it's the biggest event of the year. I was a committee member in 2013 and it was the best year to date with a showing of about 350 people (over 2x's the previous year). I built a huge Plinko Table (the size almost of the one on 'Price is Right'), a massive Blacklight maze, and about 8 other games - all from scratch. I loved it! Then 2014 they asked me to be the Chair since the previous Chair had to retire. I was SO THRILLED! So for our 2014 Hallow Him I wanted to really do something special. I built a 9' tall x 7' wide Goliath that the kids would shoot with some huge sling-shots that I made from PVC pipe, and a few other things new. We had an OUTSTANDING turnout!! OVER 770 FAMILIES!!! It was so amazing!! I did everything I could to make it something worth skipping Trick-or-Treating for! We had prizes, candy, toys, 200+ cakes, etc for the "Treat Trot" (Cake Walk), and free chili-dogs, and a bunch of other food. I transformed the gym into another world, and was so proud of the work that the other members and I did. I had a few frustrating times when people couldn't see my vision, or got lazy, or just lacked any drive to do anything, but overall it went great. I even did it all UNDER Budget!! Seriously! Everyone that night I spoke to was amazed and thrilled, they loved it and the turnout.

When I had my 1st meeting I gave handouts to the 8 members explaining ADHD somewhat and tried to explain that I sometimes miss social ques. For example, I might make a joke, or say something that might sound rude (to others), but to me it's not. Also, that if I do say or do anything that hurts someone's feelings, etc. to be blunt and tell me, straight out. 99% of the time, I don't realize I've said/done anything and certainly don't mean it to hurt anyone's feelings. I'll get the impression that they're upset, but never connect that it's something I did to make them upset, ESPECIALLY when I'm in a Hyper-Focus State! Everything else melts away, and I just say whatever comes to mind, with absolutely NO FILTER. Ha! I'm sure nobody reading this knows what I'm talking about... LOL! Just kidding! :)

Apparently, there were Church Members, not Committee Members, that thought I went overboard and that I was "Abrasive" and "Scary" (for real, someone said that to the preacher), and that they thought the way things had been done in the past (the minimal amount) was enough, and that we shouldn't strive to do more. To me, when trying to spread The Word (or anything else that's important to you), is there such a thing as "Too Much"? They didn't want to consider the people in the community that we touched, or the fact that we had the majority of the families in our town at the Fest that night, or any of the good that came out of it. They just didn't like that I was "Not the typical Committee Leader, or that I worked so hard, or my vision and goals for the Children's Committee" (which are, btw, to try to reach as many kids and families possible so they can have a great time hanging out with Christians that love them, no matter what, and just learn about God and make new friends with no pressure, just to show them that we don't care about anything except their hearts and souls; not their clothes, size of wallets, color, or anything. No judgment, just sincere friendship and a safe place to go and have a lot of fun!) They said that I was too energetic, and that my goals were too high, and (actually!) that I worked too hard!

When I couldn't understand what they were talking about, because it literally made no sense to me, they started implementing "NEW" Rules, that were frankly insulting and rediculous. Like meetings can only be 30 minutes long, and they have to have a preacher present (1 of 3), we have to schedule them a month in advance, and prior to the meetings I have to breakdown every idea in advance with the 3 preachers to get their approval before I could express the ideas to the Committee. It wasn't that they thought the content of my ideas were bad, or not congruent with the Church, it's that they didn't want anything big because "they were happy with the minimal". I truly tried to comply with their restrictions, and after 4 months and 4 events, I was crying myself to sleep at night. My husband (who NEVER gets mad or upset enough to be vocal, went down there and told the preachers off! I couldn't believe it, he's so non-confrontational, but he was so upset with the treatment of me!)

I'm probably not explaining it very well, I'm leaving a lot of things out (believe it or not). My husband and I came to the decision that I would step-down. It's been breaking my heart! And it's all because they think I'm crazy because of my ADHD symptoms, even being told that I should get help, and telling other people things. The members of my church are fantastic loving people and many of them have come to my defense, and the members of the committee were all disgusted with the way they spoke to me and about me. They've grown to know me some, and know that even though I may not have the best delivery, my heart and intentions are in the right place. But none of it matters, because I'm not what they think a woman should be in the church.

Here are some pics of my boys and the Goliath I made. :) Enjoy!

The older one, with the Mohawk, is my ADHD little man. :) He wanted a Mohawk for Valentine's Day, so we colored it red. HA! That was for the V-Day party at my church.

The Scary little man is my baby. He woke up with the worst bed-head, and foul mood, so of course I had to take pictures! LOL! Btw, his shirt says "Lock Up Your Daughters" on it... Don't think it'll be a problem with that hair! :)

And Goliath, is well, Goliath. Ha! You can see how big he is. I drew him by hand and painted him, then cut him up! :) Made panels that would swing and light up behind them when hit with the balls from the sling-shots. :) So Fun!

Thank you again for listening to my rantings! I'm not even going to read it over to edit... so sorry, in advance, for any typos, etc.

I LOVE YOU GUYS!!! I hope it makes some sense and I'm able to get across my frustrations... LOL!!

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I meant to add these too... HA!

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And more...

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