I last shared about the pivoting point that made a potential Ritalin believer for my son, Anakin. But first, I had to go to his pediatrician and get a diagnosis.
Confession: I wish this process wasn’t so … scary. There’s so much stigma attached to not having a perfectly wired brain!
… So many of these boys do poorly in High School. They are also more likely to struggle with depression and as a result, turn to drug addiction. Or they can be psychopaths, quite literally, with severe defiant disorders… Yikes! This is my ten year old Larry boy we’re talking about! The one who memorized and quizzed on the whole book of Acts, who got baptized at church camp!
Trust me when I say: Don’t google anything. But take notes of everything about your kid – everything he feels physically, emotionally, and every behavior issue and bring that to a professional. In my case, my Pediatrician has treated Anakin since he was 3 years old! He has a history of all of Anakin’s developmental assessments through out the years as well as his vaccines. He knows how smart Anakin is.
We talked about some physical symptoms that were concerning me; insomnia (I wonder who he gets THAT from?!), upset stomach, and a clumsy impulsivity that is above and beyond a preteen. We also talked about how Anakin has always been forgetful but it feels that this school year he can’t find the pocket on his own pants. Anakin himself shared that he’s frustrated because he stutters more often, isn’t getting along well with his friends like he used to, and that he feels worried or anxious all the time.
We didn’t need to talk about how Anakin has a difficult time with negative feelings. And there’s no mild discomfort; everything on his pain scale is a 12 over 10 or a 0. He’s been this way since he was two years old…
He sent us home with some questionaires – one for him to complete about himself, and one for parents to complete. We came in another day with questionnaires filled and Anakin sat through about 45 minutes of testing to assess various neurological responses.
It was after all this that the doctor sat us down and said my suspicions were correct; although Anakin is very smart and has undoubtedly developed some good coping mechanisms thus far, he has ADHD.
He proceeds to explain to Anakin, eye to eye, what Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder means, with a drawing of brain neurons, and leaves me with a prescription of Ritalin which is completely optional and the list of a few authors. He gives Anakin two books on how to slow down his mind to think.
We head over to the library and I leave Anakin happily playing a computer game on army tanks to brave section 616 in the adult floor.
Dementia… PTSD… Anorexia… Depression… Psychopathy… Autism…
Lord Jesus, what have I done to my son?!
Attention Deficit Disorder… Here it is… A quarter of the shelf. I’m hoping it’s more because so many books have been checked out and not necessarily because not enough books are written.
This is what makes asking for help so scary! To venture down a path of needing mental health walks you through all these terrifiying and very real potential problems, much like how I felt walking down aisle 616 at my local library (even the number sounds ominous!).
But none of these things are beyond Jesus’ ability to heal or work through. Autism, like ADHD, is an inherited different wiring of the brain – nothing more, nothing less. Nothing God can’t use. It’s not the nails on the coffin; it’s the nails on the Cross! They are souls Jesus died for who have a role to play in God’s Kingdom. While I would ask God to help someone heal from PTSD or Anorexia, I wouldn’t ask God to “heal” someone with autism or ADHD; they are some of the most wonderful geniuses I have ever met.
PS About the video of Anakin three years ago… we all laugh about it now. I’m sharing now confident that he isn’t as mortified about the incident as he was then. He is a good sport and has a good sense of humor.
Do you know and love someone who is “differently abled”? How has that changed your perspective on people with these different diagnosis? Share below!