Lindsay knows she loses the stuff and doesn’t pass in the homework. She knows she does this stuff, and knows people are on her back about it – I’m on her back, her teachers are on her back. I’m sure that’s part of her having depression now, dealing with these issues of being different than other kids, and having to deal with not being able to do these types of things that other kids can keep up with.
Anxiety and ADHD
So this year, Stephanie’s a junior in high school, and that’s been a big leap as far as taking on a number of AP classes. And she’s trying to learn the tools to recognize the flags within herself that let her know that there is a medical situation that needs to be addressed as opposed to just the stress of being a teenager. So I wouldn’t say it’s a breakdown, but it’s more like a starting to come apart. And the whole organization of her life and her day and what’s she’s able to typically accomplish starts slipping from her grasp and she recognizes it and starts to internalize it, thinking she can cope with it. It gets really anxiety building until she starts saying some of the words or phrases that are flags that I’ve learned to recognize over the years and then we kind of put it back together again. I say “Oh yes, we need to go and check in and see if the meds are doing what they’re supposed to do.”
Epilepsy and ADHD
Emma was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 4 and prior to that she had been diagnosed with cognitive delays, so she was pretty much behind and at the age of 3. She was put into a substantially separate preschool classroom and received services through special education. So at that point I really didn’t think she was ADD or ADHD. She’s always been very curious. She really looks into things; when she goes into a new room, she wants to check everything out and she has no fear of walking into someone else’s house and checking it out. When we would go trick or treating she would just head in and walk up the stairs of other houses. But those were things I attributed to her just not getting it– that because she was behind cognitively, that she didn’t understand boundaries and what was socially acceptable. But it seemed every time I took her into a doctor’s office she would just lose control. She would be climbing all over the table. I would be trying to talk to the doctor and she would be ripping up those white sheets of paper that go on the examining table. She would be climbing up into the window sill. I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t setting enough boundaries for her and that I should be using more behavior modification on her. But I talked to my neurologist who had seen this behavior on several occasions and she asked me if I had ever thought about Emma having ADD.
The hardest part for Emma is taking all this medicine. We’ve been doing it for almost five years now and it doesn’t get any easier; some days she just doesn’t want to take it. In terms of the epilepsy part of it, she is seizure free with medication. We feel very lucky that we are not having to deal with her having seizures all the time and wondering how to make them stop. She has absent seizures, more head nodding and eye blinking episodes versus myoclonic seizures. We figured once the epilepsy was under control that she would make these great strides academically and with her learning and that just didn’t occur. I still think that the epilepsy and the ADHD are related because they are both sort of neurological and the way the brain works. But I think the hardest part for us is wondering why she is like this. And five years later, we aren’t any closer to knowing why she has epilepsy than when she was first diagnosed. So that’s kind of hard to deal with, and I’m sort of beyond really figuring it out. I tell myself I’m not going to worry about why she has it, and just deal with the fact that she does and what’s the best way to help her both with the epilepsy and the cognitive issues. And then when the ADD thing came up, I’m told there is some relationship there–neurological issues and epilepsy and cognition problems and having the ADD.