First, let me thank everyone who sent comments after our first blog post. I'm hoping by the time you read this, I'll have actually responded to at least some of you! It has been a wild, wild week since that last posting, but then again, EVERY week is like that in one way or another!
In that post I promised to expand a bit more on those key values our family embraces - acceptance, forgiveness, honesty, support and humor.
Without living those values every day, I believe we would never have made it this far as a relatively intact, happy, healthy and ‘normal' family. Just remember... I did say relatively - I'm not sure that we'd qualify as ‘normal' in the eyes of most people. And I suspect, if you're reading this, it is probably true of your family as well! Living with ADHD means we develop coping skills and mechanisms that others might find a bit odd or wrong. But living our values works for us, just as I'm sure whatever you've come up with works for you.
If you're wondering how these values help us, let me try to explain. Firstly, no one particular value is more important than any other; in fact they all flow into one another. Living with my kids' ADHD means accepting their messy room, the impulsive outbursts, etc. etc. It also means I have to accept my own ADHD and all of the things about it that make me—and those around me—crazy.
Quite frankly, it ain't always easy... but being able to be honest about our challenges—and our strengths—makes it easier. Life got much better for me when I realized that those coping skills that I've used all my life weren't cutting it anymore, and decided that maybe it's time for me to concentrate on my own issues and treatment. And my sons and I get along a lot better when we can say to each other, "I really screwed that up - sorry".
And that of course is where the forgiveness comes in... once we DO mess up, we also forgive each other for the mean and hurtful things we may have spewed during an impulsive outburst. Actually, I think the hardest thing to do is learning to forgive myself... how many parents forget to pick up their kids from school, take them to the doctor's appointment or even feed them on occasion? (Well, ok - I bet a lot of you may know exactly what I'm talking about!)
Supporting each other when we have those experiences makes forgiving ourselves and each other easier... and so does relying on others. Both my sons and I have built our own ‘support networks' that exist to hear us vent, offer a shoulder to cry on, and give us advice when asked. Just knowing there is someone else who has, ‘been there, done that, bought the t-shirt', makes everything about living with ADHD easier.
And, I have to say that for us, the one thing making it easier is the ability to share our pain and triumphs through laughter. I'm fairly certain that most ‘normal' families wouldn't find much humor in Dad going to jail, Mom forgetting to pay the electric bill (resulting in, of course, no electricity in the house)! The ordinary trips to school or the grocery store that turn into adventures—or misadventures—would probably drive other families crazy... and result in hurt feelings, screaming matches and probably a divorce.
Well ok, to be honest, we got all of that, too... but once we've had a chance to step back, once the crying and screaming (and the divorce) are over, we almost always can find the humor in the most devastating of circumstances.
And that, more than anything, gives us the strength to face another day; the next set of ridiculous circumstances, misadventures or whatever life and ADHD throws our way. We accept and face it honestly, find a way to forgive each other or ourselves, get the support we need to get through it and then find a way to laugh about it.
Let's face it, living with ADHD can be frustrating, challenging, enraging and even sometimes devastating... but it can also be darn funny if we take the time to find the humor in each situation. And quite frankly with all that's happened in my life over the last few years if I didn't laugh so much, I'd be crying all the time!
Peace and Love,
Published On: March 11, 2008