Sad Over Diagnosis

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2003
Sad Over Diagnosis
Thu, 07-03-2003 - 2:48pm
I wondered if any other parents were dealing with the sadness of having their child diagnosed with ADHD - or any other mental illness. I am an educated person and on a thinking level I know that my son's being on medication is good for him. We have had him on Concerta for about 4 months and it has been amazing. Gone are the impulsive acts and inability to concentrate. He is much happier and so are we.

So why I am so darn sad? I boil it down to this - I feel sad because for my child to be normal, he has to take a pill (of course, we're also doing lots of other behavior stuff, too). I know that isn't healthy, but that is how I feel right now.

I feel that I'm being selfish because I think about how many other mothers out there wish their child could just take a pill to be normal. I know there are kids with much more serious problems than mine and mothers who have to deal with much more than me.

But, I also would like to address this issue and see if other people have worked through it.

Avatar for littleroses
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Fri, 07-04-2003 - 1:04am
I am extremely saddened for my daughter (9years old). While I try to stay hopeful...the things I have observed are troubling. I believe I have many family members with ADHD...undiagnosed. As adults, their lives are sad. Inability to hold jobs, blaming everything (but themselves) for their troubles, alcoholism, jail, depression. I see some of these traits in my daughter. I also am sad not knowing if what I'm doing or not doing can veer her away from this type of future...there's no way to know. How will she know when to change her meds? Will she take her meds when she's grown? Will she become an addict? Will she be able to take care of her kids because she gets so distracted and is so impulsive? She can hardly make it through school...since the first day of kindergarten. Her medicine did dramatically change this. I am so thankful for her medication so she, too, can be normal. But, I am really scared to wonder what will become of her when she has to regulate herself, knowing at this point she has shown no ability to do so even in small ways (without meds).

So, yes it's very sad. The saddest part of all being a disability no one can see. She will endure this with people judging her. It's a punch in the gut alright; hearing your child basically has an impaired brain structure. However, it is imperative to remain positive. Human beings are maleable. We aren't written in stone. Even the strange ones are beautiful. haha. And, she always will have me to look out for her as long as I can. I can give her that much!

Avatar for keke0116
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 07-04-2003 - 7:56am
I think that when we get the diagnosis (of ADD/ADHD, ODD, LD, or any number of 'labels') we go through all sorts of emotions ... from relief (whew! at least now I know what is going on ... or 'it's not my parenting') to anger (why MY kid?) to confusion (where did this come from?) to anxiety (now what the heck do we do?) to guilt (did I 'cause' this?) and everything in between.

There are a few things that helped me. First of all, ADHD is not terminal. (Our pediatrian says "at least its not cancer." For him, he thinks that cancer would be the absolute worst thing in the whole world, and anything less than that is something you can handle.) Second, the truth is that everyone is gifted and everyone has handicaps ... we all have things that we excel at, and we all have things that we're not good at. At some point in time, we all have obstacles to overcome, and those we do overcome will make us stronger. So, we will get through this ... and our kids will get through this ... and although it isn't going to be easy, when they're older, I think we are going to have much more loving and close relationships with our children than may have otherwise been the case. (Our pediatrician also has a son with ADHD who is now in college, and he's the first to tell me that as difficult as this was, it is with this child that he now has the closest relationship.)

Know that your feelings and emotions are normal. You want your child to be 'normal' but the truth is, what IS normal anyway? Yes, it's hard to know that he needs to take a pill, but would it bother you to give him meds if he has asthma? or diabetes (insulin)? or any number of other medical problems? I think the problem is that this isn't so 'medical' ... don't get me wrong, it is biological and it is a chemical imbalance and they aren't wired the same, and it is medical in the sense that meds help them overcome this obstacle ... but it's the 'mental' side of it that still has this stigma attached to it, and although somewhere deep down we KNOW that we didn't create this problem, somewhere between our hearts and our brains, we're thinking "if I just did _____, he's be better" or "if I had more patience, he wouldn't have this problem" or "if I didn't drink coffee during my pregnancy, I wonder if we'd still have this problem." I know, because I go through this all the time.

But, as you see him on meds and doing better, you'll get over some of these emotions ... they'll get replaced with others, of course. And, sometimes the cycle repeats itself. With me, for instance, Kevin did really well on Concerta for a long time, and life was 'normal' and good. Well, it stopped being effective, and we jumped back onto the med-roller coaster, and couldn't strike that balance ... and I went through all the emotions (sadness, anger, guilt) all over again.

But, I also think that these feelings come with the territory of being a mom ... heck, I feel sad and guilt over NOT spending as much time with my non-ADHD/ODD child as I do with the one with problems ... and guilt over being a working mom instead of a SAHM ... and sadness over the fact that my kids are in camp instead of home with me during the days of summer ... and stress over not having as much patience for their homework ... and guilt over not reading as much with them as I'd like ... and confusion over how much TV time is really 'too much' ... etc, etc, etc.

One thing that was very therapeutic for me was to make a list of all of Kevin's good qualities ... the things I like most about him and admire about him. There is so much more GOOD ... and so when I get the blues over the obstacles he has to overcome, I look at my list and remind myself of the other side ... and the joy and happiness that he brings to me and my family.



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Avatar for iheidi66
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 07-04-2003 - 10:39pm
It is normal to feel the way you are describing. In a way it's a relief to find out what's going on, but there is also a "grieving process" that often takes place when you find out your child has a disability. And that's what AD/HD is. . .it's a hidden disability. has some really good articles where they address this "grieving process." I found it informative and comforting to read, and to know that it is normal to go through that. You are grieving for the times you didn't understand what was going on and maybe reacted in frustration or anger, and grieving for the challenges that come along with this condition. People who don't understand what it is like to have this or have children who have it might not understand feeling this way. My mom thought I was being ridiculous and said, "You should be grateful that you have two beautiful, healthy children. There are so many other things that they could be dealing with." Of course she was right to an extent but it was also insensitive to my feelings. Part of my grieving was because my husband and I also have this, only detected in the last year, and I was so sad to see my kids deal with the same challenges I had. I remembered so many things that made me feel so isolated from other people, and I have always wanted my kids to have it better than I did.

Well, I got to the point where I realized that they DO have it better than I did, because my ADD was never recognized or treated, and my parents didn't understand me and gave me a lot of negative messages about myself. My kids have several things looking up for them: they have the benefit of medication, and having ADD parents means that we know what it's like and we are consciously making an effort to be more patient and positive, pointing out their strengths and talents, and are working for accomodations for them at school. We know how to help them get through school projects. We have taken our daughter for counseling to help with social issues. The fact that they have parents who understand and are learning everything they can to help them understand and manage this condition puts them ahead of where we were.

During frustrating times I still wonder "Why me" sometimes, but for the most part I've gotten to the point where this is just life. Everyone has challenges, AD/HD or not, and everyone has strengths. I find it helpful to read about famous/successful people who have AD/HD or other learning disabilities. And there are many gifts that come along with AD/HD.

Hope some of this helped, and I hope you start feeling better soon.




"That which we pers

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 11:15am
Grieving is definitely normal. My son was diagnosed nearly four years ago. I have had many times where I am sad inside that we have to go through this, that he has to take medication to be his very best at school. However, over time I have also seen such big improvements in him. For one thing, as he has aged, the hyperactivity part seems to be getting better. I think as kids mature, their nervous systems do as well. They learn to better channel some of that hyperactivity, although the inattention and impulsivity can still be there depending on the kid. My son is nearly 9, and we have him off meds all summer. It is nice to see that when he wakes up he is not bouncing off the walls as he was at age 5 and 6 for example. Things do improve in some instances. One thing that is helpful, is that I have my OWN therapist I go to occaisionally. She is there to listen when I need to vent, or worry over him. It has helped me become a better parent, having someone objective to kind of acknowledge the stress that goes along with raising this type of child. I also like to think that somehow, I'm this boy's mommy because I can handle it. I have had to be more patient than most parents, I have found i have even more patience than I ever knew existed!! lol. I like to think I'm doing a really good job with him, and that he is my child for a good reason. So yes, although you have every right to grieve.. Celebrate that fact that this child has you as their advocate. They need love them and understand them.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-23-2003
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 1:37pm

Yes, I have delt with the sadness and anger of knowing my DD has to deal with the pills and the trials that come with ADHD.I know that for a while it is very hard to deal with. But I have a found a lot of comfort in my younger sisters story.

I want to tell you about her because i think that she shows how much hope there is for children whith ADHD.

Val, was 6 when she was finally diagnosed with "hyperactivity." Untill then every one in our family had spent an lot of time wondering just what was wrong with this sweet faced little girl who couldn't seem to follow directions, had terrible temper fits over nothing, and couldn't seem to concetrate on anything (not even cartons0 for more than three or four minutes at a time.At that time the only choice as far as meds was ritalin.

I remember that Mama was very unhappy for a while because the meds caused wieght loss and Val didn't sleep much when she was first put on it.

When she was in the 6th grade,Val started to put a lot of that extra energy into creativity, and on her own found some anger managment tequnics(sp?) that worked for her. She went off the meds then and still does not take them.

I will not say that she allways has an easy time now, but she lives without meds and does very well. She holds a steady job that she is very good at and realy likes. She has two beautifull little girls that she takes wonderfull care of, and her life is generaly happy (as much so an any adult could expect).

IMHO, the big diffrence between her and those people who are not able to manage there lives as adults with ADHD is her own arwarness of her problems and her desire to live a normal life despite them.

Well that is all I wanted to say. I find hope for my daughter when i look at Val, I hope you will see a little bit for your child too.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2003
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 2:18pm
Thank you all so much. I am so encouraged by everything you all have said and so grateful that you all took the time to write about your experiences, too.

We have been seeing a family therapist, too. He is really helpful, but even as good as he is - he isn't a mom and I think that moms have a special perspective on this.

When we were last at counseling, I was trying to explain how I felt and he thought I was saying that I felt this was my fault - he said that mothers often feel this is their fault. I said no - I am grieving over this - I feel sad. My husband has had the opposite feeling - he feels glad to have a name to these problems and glad to have solutions. For a long time, he felt that our son was just being defiant and they had big battles. I was caught in the middle.

I was buying a card in Hallmark for a friend who had a baby yesterday. I was reading through the cards and I got a bit teary-eyed. I think maybe this is also in part to losing my child's innocence - it had to happen one day. Part of this is the loss of the Hallmark baby- here he is - warts and all.

Our son is a curious, creative seven year old. I love him so much and I am really proud of lots of things about him - he is really smart and he loves science and animals. He is a good boy and he really does like to please his parents and teachers.

I am trying to stay hopeful - and it really helps to be able to share my feelings and hear other people's feelings, too.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-26-2000
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 11:43pm
Nancy, You've got such an excellent way of putting things into words. Great post!



PJPIIadoration.jpg picture by Kimberly_sahm

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2003
Thu, 07-10-2003 - 4:02am

Mary, I know how you feel. My son has bipolar disorder and ADHD. I know he will need to take medication for his whole life and that makes me sad sometimes. What I try to remember is that I too suffer from bipolar disorder and there was no help for me until I became an adult. I suffered greatly throughout my childhood and I am grateful that I am able to spare my son the same pain. It isn't the best news in the world that your child has ADHD, but remember that you are making his life good by acccepting that he needs help and finding it for him. I wish my parents had been open minded enough to get me help.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2003
Thu, 07-10-2003 - 8:08pm
Yes - I hear you about your parents - you are right that it is good to be able to see there is a problem and get help for it - this is one of the hardest things. I have a sibling who probably needed medication as a child - my mom wanted to get help, but my dad didn't. He refused - probably because he didn't want to look bad himself, I think. Anyway, my sister suffered too, like you - and she didn't need to.