“I think your son might have a mental disorder. We believe he might be suffering from ADHD”, the school counselor looked into my eyes to convey the most dreadful news that a mom can expect on her birthday.
I felt numb and thought I didn’t hear it clearly. So, I asked her to repeat. And each word brought the same pain that it brought when I heard it for the first time. I was devastated. My legs were shivering, and my throat went dry. She offered me water. As I sipped some water and looked at her, she took a pause and said: “Don’t worry he will be fine, you just need to see the right doctor.”
I returned home with a heavy heart. I rang the bell and it was my mother who opened the door. She saw my face and asked what was wrong. I couldn’t control myself and broke down. I kept sobbing for over an hour without even uttering a word. But, my mom has this amazing power of finding answers in my tears. It is strange as she understands my tears as good as my words.
Finally, after an hour I asked her – Why Me? Why My Son? Why God did this to me and my son?
And, in that tough moment, she said “It is not God’s job to decide what happens to you. His job is to help you through it”. Her powerful words gave me immense strength. Though my tears had stopped, my negative thoughts still kept haunting me.
Over the next two-three weeks of sleepless nights, my husband and I researched on ADHD (Attention-deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder). We thought the more we know about it, the less fearful we would be. We tried our level best to keep our hopes up, but we were not able to cope very well with the situation.
The more we read, the more we got scared.
Questions that never let me be at peace were:
Will my kid be able to cope up with this?
Will people around her accept him?
Will I ever forgive myself and God for doing this to my kid?
Finally, we met the doctor. And, he was a savior. He explained everything that a new set of parents need to know to handle the news about their kid suffering from ADHD. Also, he suggested occupational therapies and few medicines to start with. He mentioned the challenges that parents face to accept the news. We didn’t pay much attention as we believed that we had come to terms with the situation.
We were so wrong. I was so wrong!
I started spending more time at home. My priorities changed. My schedule changed. And so did my life. People say nothing can break you if you don’t want it to break you, but these people have never had their only kid suffering from ADHD. I just couldn’t accept that my kid wasn’t like other kids.
Time passed by and we started making adjustments to our lifestyle. I wanted to do what would be best for my son. But, while dealing with him, I couldn’t help feeling helpless and depressed. His endless crying, slow learning, and little speech were making me go mad.
My behavior with everyone was getting rough and I started taking out my frustration on my son. The only person who understood what I was going through, was my husband. He was in this with me. He supported me and during my worst days tried to counsel me. You can say he is my ROCK. He is a very patient human being with a very strong mind.
But as they say, the most amazing things in life happen right at the moment you’re about to give up.
To cheer me up, one day my husband took me to Delhi Haat for dinner. And suddenly I had a smile. We were looking at beautiful Madhubani art paintings. Those art pieces were beautiful. When I turned around, I saw my husband smiling. I understood what he was trying to do. We came back that night and I promised him that I will start painting again.
While my son was getting therapies at the Occupational Therapy Center, I was painting at home to heal myself and bring goodness to our lives.
Life changed again and this time for good. And, suddenly, I started getting orders for my artwork and from a hobby artist, I became a professional. I uploaded my paintings on commercial sites, launched my facebook page – Madhu’s Madhubani.
With almost three years of therapy and constant prayers from family and friends my son is now doing well. He is a happy child and unique in his own special way. He is exploring the world at his own pace. Though he has loads and loads to learn, I’m sure he will learn in his own sweet time.
The poor soul is still unaware of the harsh world but, I know he will win the world with his unique charm. Life is beautiful. We paint together now, he does his scribbles and I do mine.
My 2 cents to parents who might find themselves in a denial state same as mine:
So much depends on how we look at things: Are we glass-half-empty people, or do we discover advantages where other people find only weaknesses? When it comes to raising healthy, happy kids, positive encouragement and support can work miracles; whereas attempts to change and control can lead to creating frustration and resentment among kids.
Adopting a positive strengths-affirming way to look at kids, who present behaviors associated with ADHD, can be helpful. Instead of struggling to “tame” your easily distracted child, please attempt to appreciate your child’s creativity, sensitivity, and passion for living. Identify simple and engaging activities you can use to develop your child’s unique strengths.
Most of all – Don’t lose hope! Things get better, they always do. You may ask how do I know? I have seen it with my own eyes!
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