A Story of Hope Involving ADHD and Anxiety

Hi everyone!  I’m sorry it has been a bit quiet on the blog and Facebook the last couple of weeks.  My ADHD coach training and keeping up with my children’s summer activities and schedule has taken over my life.  But here I am, ready to share some encouragement with you! Today I dropped my 14 year old son off for his second camp (a week long day camp) of the summer.  You may be thinking,,,”Ok, that’s nice.”  But seriously people, this is a big deal!  If your child suffers from ADHD and anxiety – any form of anxiety, you will understand.  As little as one year ago, Carlton would have not even consider going to a camp or anything new for that matter.
ADHD-and-Anxiety

What Carlton & I both felt like during his anxiety attacks.

His anxiety and fears started in the 4th grade.  It began with his fear of heights which manifested in him not being able to climb to the top of the rope in gymnastics.  To keep the story short, this situation was handled very poorly by his coaches, despite everything Paul and I tried.  It eventually led to us allowing him to quit gymnastics (something I said I would never allow because he was good at it) and pursuing another sport.  He started taking private tennis lessons with a coach who was super understanding of his anxiety and extremely patient.  She knew the coaching situation he was coming from and was sensitive to that as well.  After a month or two of private lessons she recommended Carlton join a tennis class she coached.  I remember vividly standing outside the tennis bubble with Carlton and his coach as he cried at the thought of having to go inside with a new group of people.  Same place, same coach,  but new people.  I had read a little on social anxiety and ADHD.  I knew I had to be patient with him and had to make him see that I knew his fears were very real to him.  Even though I did not understand them and I would get so frustrated and angry with him on the inside and embarrassed on the outside that my child was crying and wouldn’t go into his tennis class, I HAD TO STAY CALM & KNOW HIS FEARS WERE VERY REAL TO HIM.  Did this mean I handled it perfectly every time?  No way!  There were times I let my anger and frustration show.  We are all human and we’re all going to have bad days.  But here I am 4 years later dropping him off at his second day camp of the summer! Here’s my advice for those of you parenting an ADHD/ADDer with anxiety.  Hang in there.  Be patient with your child.  Know his/her fears are real to him/her even if they seem ludicrous to you.  Be compassionate.  And when you don’t handle the situation well, apologize to your child.  Seek medical/pharmaceutical help.  (Medication made a huge difference for my son.) Here is my encouragement, what you’ve all been waiting for!  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Carlton’s anxiety started in the 4th grade.  I saw gradual improvements and slow progress.  But it was progress no matter how slow.  He just finished 7th grade and attended his first camp this summer.  That’s 4 years!  It took me being patient and working with him for 4 years.  But this year, he saw the flyer for summer camps lying on the counter and HE asked if he could go to some of them.  Did you hear that?  HE ASKED ME!  We signed him up for two camps, one of which he has already attended.  The first day of the first camp, a Nanotechnology camp at the University (this stuff was way over my head), he was a little nervous.  But he did it.  When I picked him up that day, I acknowledged his accomplishment.  He admitted that it was a little awkward at first but it got better.  He conquered his fear.  It took 4 years, but he did it! So today when I dropped him off for his second camp, a Comic book camp, and he didn’t seem the least bit nervous.  A new place, all new people, and he just walked right in.  Needless to say, this mama’s heart swelled with joy. So I leave you with this – There is a light at the end of the tunnel, my dear parents.  The child you see before you today is not the child you will see in a few years.  Hang in there and continue to be patient and work with your child.  Along the way, hold on tight to the positives, even the smallest ones, and celebrate with your child.  These small steps will lead to bigger steps, I promise!

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