Depressed: I’m just venting here... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

CHADD's ADHD Parents Together

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I’m just venting here because I have no one to talk to about any of this and no one who understands. I recently discovered, with the help of my son’s therapist, that he often shuts down and doesn’t explain or defend himself even if he’s not in the wrong-all because of my reactions. I feel terrible about this. Even when I’m yelling at him and he’s not wrong- he doesn’t bother to talk, just gives up. Lately I feel like I’m yelling and nagging all the time. I’m supposed to be working on calming myself and on my reactions being better so my son will open up to me instead of shutting down. But it feels impossible. I’m supposed to be sympathetic towards his ADHD symptoms and how it makes life so much harder for him. Yet I feel like I’m crumbling under it. I’m so scared he’s begun to resent me. I thought writing this would make me feel better but I still feel shitty.

38 Replies

You’re not alone. I did the same thing and I beat myself up over it all of the time. It got to the point that I didn’t even want to be around him. I just knew I was screwing him up. I began to struggle with anxiety and definitely had anger management issues. I would have died if anyone had heard or seen how I was talking to my son but I felt powerless to make it stop. When we were at home I could send him to his room. It was always worse in the car when I couldn’t find and separation. I started exercising at night after I put the kids to bed. I have a punching bag and elliptical and I pushed myself on them until I couldn’t push myself anymore. That did help me but I know it’s not easy to make time to add anything else. I wish I had more suggestions. I’m so so sorry you are going through this. Big hugs!!!

Janice_H in reply to Mudpies

Hi Mudpies, this sounds very much like my situation. I am embarrassed to say that many mornings I have rushed out of the house in wrinkled clothing, uncombed hair and no make up just to get away from my son quicker.

jschwab39 in reply to Mudpies

Thanks so much for your advice.

You are not alone in how you feel. I have an 11 yo son with ADHD and am frequently yelling and so forth. I know it has damaged his self esteem and I usually feel very crappy afterwards.

All you can do is ask for your son's forgiveness and try to be better with patience and understanding. Try taking a time out when you feel like things are escalating. Leave the room, go outside or take a walk if there is someone else who can be with your son. You can also find lots of great resources online for advice on how to cope. There are many books available on the topic of parenting children with ADHD.

Everyday I have to pray for patience with my son. Some days are worse than others, but at least I know I have apologized and am striving to do better.

jschwab39 in reply to Janice_H

Thank u so much for your words. I will definitely apologize more to him and I need to walk away for a moment when I feel I’m about to explode.

I am sorry that you feel this way. It is easy for the actions of an ADHD child to stress the parent (happens all the time with us). Your story reminds me what another parent told me. She was very stressed and overreactive to the actions of her son. She discovered that she had depression and anxiety and sought treatment. She said that, after that time, she was able to more easily cope and choose her battles (and it was obvious to all of us that she was happier and calmer). Hope this helps

jschwab39 in reply to Elijah1

Thanks. This does help. I’ve dealt with depression in myself since I was a kid. I still deal with it. I just find that I’m too busy to go to therapy for myself and antidepressants have never worked. I think I may not have a chemical imbalance. Anyway, u made me feel better.

Thanks for your post! I have been worn down by years of handling my son and his difficulties. Now I am so quick to snap. Then I feel terrible afterwards. In the moment I don't think, only react. He is a happy kid and rebounds but reading your post makes me worried that he may change. Today I will be mindful before I speak. Habits are hard to change. You are strong, we are strong.

jschwab39 in reply to azgin

Thank u

I feel you! Believe me, i do! My son is 12, was diagnosed with ADHD at 5 and been medicated all these years. Now (possibly hormones??) The meds are not working. His physician is not even sure what to prescribe so we are trying to very quickly get him to a Specialist to get him on the right combination. In meantime, i am a total depressed, and stressed out single mom, with no help from his father. It is all on me and its exhausting. I want the best for him as i am sure you do too. But at times, it feels like no matter what we try, we hit a brick wall. Half the time im in tears. And regarding my son, there are times my heart just breaks for him and his struggles and at times i could just freak out!! Wish you the best!

spb1234 in reply to SadieBlue

SadieBlue, I just want you to know that I've gone through what your son has. I was medicated in fourth grade and since then I've gone through four different brands of medications before the one I'm currently taking now. As your son grows, he will start to metabolize his medication faster. He will also develop a tolerance to it, as most people on medication do. But don't worry! If your son isn't already taking it, ask his doctor about Adderal. I started taking Adderal back when I was around the same age and stopped taking it two summers ago, just before my senior year of high school, only because they couldn't give me a higher dose. Be open to increasing dosages and try to help your son communicate how he feels to his doctor at regular med checks, it will help a lot. Now that I am in college and on my own, for the most part, I am very thankful that I was medicated when I was, because I wouldn't notice the clear difference between how I feel when I'm medicated and when I'm not. As your son gets closer to adult hood I urge you to look into switching over to Vyvanse. It is more expensive but it's a time release where instead of having the amphetamine salts absorb into your system at varying rates, it has to be dissolved by an enzyme that your stomach produces when it digests food creating a more consistent dispersal of medication. So far it has worked the best for me and I have hopes that it will for your son. Anyway, godspeed with finding that specialist and I wish both you and your son the best of luck on this crazy journey.

jschwab39 in reply to SadieBlue

Thank u and I wish u the best as well. It’s terrible when the other parent doesn’t help. Though my husband is there, I feel 90% of the hardships are on me alone. We also have a 5 year old daughter who now has an IEP as well. She doesn’t have a diagnosis like my son but she’s delayed. So it’s hard. Feels like I have 4 kids. But writing on here makes me feel less alone

it's ok kids didnt come with instructions, so when you catch him looking sad or shutting down our catch your self yelling STOP immediately APOLOGIZE and say let mommy start over! Give him a hug, if you feel like crying cry dont be tough kids want to see real emotions! You got this! Good luck

jschwab39 in reply to Kiandra

I like that idea

I know the feeling of not having anyone to turn to. I recently read an article about mum's of children being more likely to experience anxiety or depression than other Mum's. I also know the feelings of guilt about my reactions, despite loving our kids. I also relate to feelings of despair and the reactions highlighted by others. Some days I can't wait for my son to go to school or dread his return home or am anxious when he is in the house, not feeling like I can cope.

All we can do is continue to try and work on ourselves. Finding a moment to do yoga, or meditation or physical exercise or whatever works for you to give you the endorphins or dopamine to put you in a better head space.

You are trying to work with the therapist to improve your reactions. We'll done. Focus on the moments when u do OK, not the ones you don't. It's hard. Focus on anything that can build your relationship with your son. That is all you can do.

jschwab39 in reply to Mich69

Thank u

I can totally relate! It sounds pathetic, but going to work every day as stressful as that is, feels like a break. It is much more difficult to handle my son. Especially as a single parent, i have no one at home with me to take over so i can just walk away a few minutes. And I too. Have freaked out, yelled and screamed and then feel totally horrible. Every little thing is a battle. I have tried so many things thinking it would help, but forget it. It is just one more thing to battle me about.

Im new to the group and look forward to reaching out and hearing back, even to not feel alone! Thanks

jschwab39 in reply to SadieBlue

Don’t give up. That’s why we’re all here. Bc we need to vent, seek advice, and just be welcomed by others who totally understand our lives. And I commend u for doing it all alone. I have a husband to help me so I can’t imagine doing this alone. You are so strong and if u can do it- I have to also.

First off, you’re human! Forgive yourself. Actually, sometimes I think we should all get medals for the battles we fight every day to raise these kids. Parenting our kind of kids is at least twice as hard, maybe four times if you are single or the other parent is disengaged. If you’re like my home, your day is filled with redirecting bad behavior, hyper craziness, refusal to do simple things, like putting his f’ing socks on! All with ZERO appreciation. It’s natural that constant frustration can turn to resentment when your life is no longer yours. Here’s what I do. Make sure you do something just for yourself every day, as a reward. It can be a nice bath, glass of wine, whatever. Find what makes you happy and just do it. I started playing hockey at night after he’s in bed. I’m so thankful my wife is cool with that! It helps my emotional state immensely. My life is still mine! Also, when the behaviors are at their worst, pretend you are not mom, you are his therapist. Distance yourself personally from the behaviors. This will help u stay calm. If you can’t be calm, go into your room without a word and shut the door. Give yourself a timeout. Finally, remember that your kid loves and needs you. This is why they treat us worse than others, because we’re safe. Try not to take behaviors personally.

Reeeba1 in reply to Mmagusin

This is great advice for any parent of an ADHD kid. Thanks so much.

jschwab39 in reply to Mmagusin

Thank u. U made me feel better. I’m glad you and your wife are partners in all this, supporting each other. I need to make my husband understand that sometimes I have to walk away. Currently he gets mad when I do that and accuses me of abandoning him, while he’s left with the problem.

Ugh, this hurts to read. Being someone with Attention Deficit, I can relate to your son, but I can also sympathize with you as my parents haven't always been terribly patient with me either. The reason why your son shuts down is because he is getting overwhelmed from the stimulation your yelling gives him. Yelling is one of the most common triggers for people with ADD/ADHD that makes them shut down. It happens to me all the time. By yelling, you are stimulating your son's brain with all this information, on top of all the information it's trying to process, which creates this bottle neck situation. Because your son is unable to process information at the same speed you do, it will take longer to get a response from him. To add to that, if you keep trying to get him to do or say something, you will keep adding more and more tasks that his brain is trying to complete, almost like trying to stream a bunch of videos on youtube all at the same time while you're trying to browse facebook. At some point everything is going to stop loading because you are trying to do more than what your internet can handle. That's what your son does. And by yelling you are creating the notion that what he's doing is in fact wrong, even when it's not, because yelling is a form of cognitive punishment, and you'll make him feel like he's not capable of doing the task he's trying to do so he will eventually quit.

However, it's not too late to try and make things right. One of the most important things you can do for your son is to show your support and to be more patient with him. It's not your fault that he does thing slower than other kids, nor is it his. That's just the way his brain works and you have to accept that. Embrace it even. I'm not a parent yet, I just started college, so I don't know what you're feelings are, but what I can do is help you to understand how your son feels and tell how you can not only help him, but how you can also get him the help he needs. The first thing I would do is get your son formally diagnosed, if he isn't already. Next I would consult his pediatrician/doctor/therapist/etc. about getting him medication. I know medication is probably the last thing you want to give your son, but trust me, it will help immensely. I went from being the kid who would hide under tables and blurt out answers without raising my hand, to being the kid who would sit, pay attention, and raise his hand when he wanted to speak. It made a difference that not only my teachers noticed, but one that my parents noticed too. I hope some of this helps you with your son and if you have any questions don't be afraid to reach out.

jschwab39 in reply to spb1234

Thanks so much. It’s refreshing to hear the other side of things. My son isn’t able to explain what his head is like and I thank you for giving me a glimpse. He is formally diagnosed and does take medication. It doesn’t kick in right away in the morning so our mornings are usually difficult. I’m thinking of having him take the adderall right when he wakes up from now on.

spb1234 in reply to jschwab39

That is an excellent plan, I got into the habit of taking it as soon as I woke up, or at least 30 minutes before I needed it to kick in, when I was just starting high school, at least on my own. It also helps, as time goes on, to have your son keep his bottle in his room, or someplace where he can manage it himself, and let him take his meds by himself without supervision, that way it will give him a sense of independence. However you should still ask if he remembered to take his meds when you first see him in the morning as a friendly reminder, but gradually stop as he gets older. And don't worry, things will get better. My dad has ADD as well so that has helped me find the words to describe what I feel, but even so, if your son can't find the right words just tell him you understand and that you are there to help him and that you love him no matter what. The best thing anyone can do for someone that has ADD/ADHD is to give them your support. Also, what will really help you is if you try to familiarize yourself with his behaviors when he is and isn't medicated. That way you will be able to tell if he forgot to take his meds and you can help remind him when you get to the point where you no longer have to remind him every day. Again I wish the best of luck to both you and your son, and like I said before, just send me a personal message if you have any questions for me.

jschwab39 in reply to spb1234

Thanks so much. U have no idea how helpful your advice is. Thank you.

I hear ya-trust me. Sometimes I think he fights just to fight-not even that he disagrees with the comment. I have a friend who deals with physical disabilities in her 6 year old daughter. The poor kid has to wear a catheter just to pee, among other things. I almost fainted when my friend said she feels bad for me. I said to her-are u serious? She said her life is hard but she doesn’t envy mental difficulties and hardships over physical ones.

Grateful17 in reply to jschwab39

Wow! That is profound. Thanks for sharing that. It’s all so personal too - like we can’t share the hard issues with friends or relatives bc they probably won’t believe us. They think we cause it, or are being dramatic and exaggerating! It’s also embarrassing so we keep it all to ourselves and stay isolated.

jschwab39 in reply to Grateful17

Thank u. So true that we keep a lot from our families. Sometimes relatives can be very judgmental though.

SadieBlue in reply to Grateful17

So true, agree. So many even those closest to us do not understand the day to day stress, struggle, and anxiety we feel trying so hard to help our kids! My son's father is not around, and has no understanding at ALL!! he wants to spend time with him and take him to see his family like its a dog and pony show! He has no remote clue what it is truly like, and honestly i don't think he wants to bc he doesn't want to do anything but the very bare minimum!

Thanks all! Best! We are all strong parents!!!

jschwab39 in reply to SadieBlue

You’re a strong person and I think you’re teaching your child how to be strong. When he gets older, he’ll realize whose really there for him and who isn’t. You’re also teaching him not to settle bc you’re not doing that with his father.

SadieBlue in reply to jschwab39

Thanks so much! Just your words of encouragement are helpful. Which is why i joined this vent and talk to others who truly "get it"

It’s hard for him I think because he’s around people who aren’t ADHD and the way they do things isn’t probably how he does things he may not even know what works for him because he doesn’t know. If he and you can slowly discover what works for him learning how his brain works I hope he will not shut down I hope he will blossom

jschwab39 in reply to Lovinit

Thank you. I think once he’s better at communicating I’ll be able to better understand him. That’s our main goal in therapy.

My grandson's therapist has him draw a picture of what his going on in his head. Then he explains his picture. Some of it has been very interesting

jschwab39 in reply to anirush

I like that idea. My son’s really not into art but I’ll definitely give it a try

Thank you for writing about this. It is hard to struggle with negative feelings about a child and discover whole new sides of yourself, that are often not nice ones. I have been through a depression period so I can imagine how tough you have it trying to keep afloat and deal with the negativity of ADHD. Even though your kid may be a good kid at heart, it is a negative experience to have to repeat yourself umpteen times, put up with lying and avoiding and procrastination and to try and keep yourself and other family members on their schedules. I am not feeling depressed but I am struggling with anger I never felt before. I love children yet I am struggling to have positive interactions with our son. I have been forced to admit that at this point our personalities are like oil and water, I have to love him and take care of him like he needs, but allow myself not to like him if that’s how I feel. I give myself the kind of pep talks I would if I had a quirky and annoying coworker I had to find a way to work with. He doesn’t have to be like me. I just have to try and see things the way he does and adapt. I can only control myself, and try to work around his difficult behavior. It’s hard. We are starting a token economy this week. For me I’m hoping it will be a tactic to force myself to see the good he does while giving me no opportunity to try to use the system in a negative, punishment way. You never take away the tokens, only reward. Day to day I want to try to stamp out the bad and unproductive behavior, but it hurts his self esteem, so I am hoping this will help us both.

jschwab39 in reply to Applecrisp

Thank u. And you’re welcome. I wish u lots of luck and I think your system will work.

Same here...

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