The past few months have been a struggle for my son as well as for my wife and me. We have been working to address some challenges he faces with ADHD through medication for about six months. We have also been working with a therapist and attempting to work with his school during this time as well. Things have gone well with the therapy but the other fronts have been marginal at best.

I know from my own experience with antidepressants that finding the right medication and the right dose is a series of trials and errors. And we’ve had some real errors in this department with our son. We’ve watched as he’s tried various families of medications and witnessed rage, increased migraines, frustration, and stomach aches for six months. The boy has been through the ringer. There have been periods of relative success but we have not settled on a perfect solution.

We’ve struggled to find a great doctor. The first psychiatrist we worked with didn’t seem to have any ideas and frankly had the personality of snail snot. We bailed on her in January after we realized that she was about as confused as we were. We went to his pediatrician since we had no where else to turn and she attempted to help but When things didn’t improve she suggested another psychiatrist.

About a week ago we met with a new psychiatrist who seems to have better ideas and we believe we are on a path. I’ve dutifully kept the school up to date in all the changes, but to be honest, and without going into details, the response from the school has been less than stellar. We have a meeting with the principal today to discuss the situation and see if we can find a path forward.

My escape instinct has been strong too. I’ve had more than a few thoughts of escape. Thoughts of moving. Thoughts of taking a solo trip. Thoughts of obliterating my feelings. Thoughts turning in to the liquor store on the way home. Thoughts of that magical elixir and the sweet relief that it brings.

But I know that it won’t help. I know that escape is temporary and that my family needs me. And so, I keep doing the next right thing.

I keep going to meetings. I keep meditating. I keep talking to people who I trust. I keep tweeting with my #recoveryposse on Twitter. And I keep playing the tape forward and witnessing myself alone and depressed with a bottle. It’s not a pretty site and the pain is palpable when I take the initial thought to its final conclusion.

But I haven’t written here. That’s one thing that I have not been doing. It’s hard to write at this point. Partly because the pain is not mine alone. By not writing though, I have failed myself in a way. Writing has always been a way to work things out, to get to a better place.

And so, I’m writing. And I’m scared to publish. But I know that sharing my story (even if it’s not mine alone) is important. And I know that writing is how I share my story. But more importantly, writing is a part of my program for success. And if I’m not working my program, I’m not going to succeed in the long run.

13 thoughts on “It’s Been a Struggle

  1. As always I admire your willingness to share. You know you can reach out to me anytime. You and T are doing the best you can. And an interesting self-observation which you’ve illuminated: in my recent struggles of my own my meeting attendance is way down and I have withdrawn from the posse. Not wise so I also appreciate that nudge.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sorry to hear about this struggle. As a relatively new parent, I’m just at the beginning of these feelings of not being able to fix problems as they arise for my kids. It can be so painful. Thank you for sharing. Your clarity in seeing the thoughts arise and not acting on them is inspirational.


  3. Hey D. I could probably write a whole blog post of a reply to this!!! Our eldest was diagnosed with ADHD and we’ve been managing that in conjunction with the elem, middle & high schools. When tested he was in 98th percentile for attention deficit! Wayyyyy outside the bell curve. In any case, we were super lucky to have teachers who advocated for him and we established an IEP (individualized education program) in 5th grade so each school would have up front inowledge about what his accomodations were, what his benchmarks for success were, and tye plan was agreed upon by a working group of teachers, administrators and parents (you can bring doctors and advocates too). Sorry for typos, I can’t scroll up to edit! All that said, he’s 14 now, mostly getting As and Bs, occasional Cs, and now the work is ramping up to get them prepped for college I’m a little afraid he will find himself slipping 😬. Anyway, I definitely feel you on the adhd struggle. The fact that you are so passionate about your son’s wellness shows what a beautiful human being you are. And I really appreciate your courage to take the time and share what your struggles have been. That takes true vulnerability and very few are that courageous! I will say a couple more pieces… I disnt know the escae fantasy was a thing until you mentioned it. I get this and I honestly have no idea why? And it can be strong. Thanks for mentioning it, I will have to have a look at that in my own life. And finally… I’d like to recommend a Dr David B Burns for advice with what your son is going through now. Those medications are no joke! I don’t mean to say that DrBurns has answers for parents with kids that struggle with ADHD but more alomg the lines of: this guy really GETS empathy and compassion as a part of communication, and he tries to relay those skills to others. He does a podcast that is sort of dry and driven by content of general psychology but I’ve derived lots of nuggets from it on dealing with relationships within my family. HUGS to you and I wish i could lighten your load. Thinking of you lots…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Shetha, thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful reply. It is so good to know that we are not alone in this struggle and I appreciate the advice. I am constantly amazed at the support and kind words that come from my connections on Twitter.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Damien, thanks for this post. I needed it this morning. Though I can’t quite understand the challenges of being a parent, I know the desire to escape very well. My commitment to recovering is reaffirmed when I read about your commitment to staying plugged in and centered. Keep your head up, my friend, and keep writing!


    Liked by 1 person

  5. You love your son so much, and you are a wonderful advocate for him!
    It must be incredibility hard to see your child suffer, and not find a good solution to help him.
    I hope the meeting with the principal went well, and that you get better accommodations for him. My good friend’s son struggled with this, but he had help with note taking, organizing and so on.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hi Damien,
    Sucks to discover the path for mental health support services is often a trial and error adventure. Schools, psychiatrists, medications. . . we should all write books or blogs at least! It seems the common experience many of “us” have had in life is suffering, prolonged and intense. It certainly wears on a person/family over time. The suffering and struggles can draw your family together tighter and open your heart / life to others along the way. Thank you for sharing so openly here! WE are not alone ~ our shared stories bond us!
    No easy answers D. love the boy with everything you got! Keep after the professional support people and trust your own intuition regarding what’s best. Kids are always in flux changing developmentally psychologically etc. so whatever works will probably need adjustments along the way. The little man just needs to know he is loved no matter what!
    I always think about how important it is that WE are able to be present, participate and respond positively to life ~ sober today.
    Hugz for all of you! 12 a day is the minimum ~ seriously! OK
    Love you Damien!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I am so sorry to read about your struggles. I think it’s been a long winter for a lot of us and it’s making it harder to cope, even the “easy” things are difficult some days and hard things seem downright impossible to survive. Sending you strength.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am so sorry for the challenges that you are going through, but I am happy to see you writing about it – or at least even trying to. As hard as it might be sometimes, writing is so healing and I firmly believe it connects us with each other in some very powerful ways. I’m glad to have connected with you through Twitter and here – thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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