Ok, I’m not a medically licensed professional. Everything I’m about to say is based purely on our personal experiences and should not me taken as medical advice, or used to diagnose or treat anyone, like, seriously.
Now that we got that out of the way, I want you to do something for me. Close your eyes. (Well, don’t because then you can’t read what I’m about to say. I guess figure this out on your own.) Imagine you’re a nine year old boy. You are full of an unfair amount of energy that is totally and completely wasted on the youth, but I digress.
As I was saying, you’re full of energy, but more energy than you know how to deal with. You have no idea how to harness and focus this energy. You’re asked to do all kinds of boring things all day long while trying to deal with the building energy inside.
On top of this, you are ANGRY. You are so angry and full of energy, and people keep asking you to do things, and it’s just making you more ANGRY, and you are not going to give a poop about what they say or do, and this is not your fault. They need to just leave you ALONE.
This is what Slugger’s day consists of. To the best of my knowledge, that is. I honestly don’t know what he must feel like. I wish that I did. I wish I could understand and he could explain it and tell me how to make things easier for him. But that’s not how mental illness works.
Slugger has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) with ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). I didn’t plan on discussing this in a blog one day. I didn’t plan on discussing this past the people who are in contact with us on a regular basis. But I realized that in order to have a blog and to be sincere, Slugger’s issue should be addressed and explained.
Most people are familiar to an extent with ADHD. But contrary to what most think, ADHD does not always mean that you are HYPER. At least not hyper in the sense that you are bouncing off the walls. There is a whole spectrum of ADHD and some kids don’t present the same way as others.
I’m not going to break down all the forms of ADHD and what they are; you have google for that. But I say this because we had no idea that Slugger had any issues until he started school.
I had him very young, so there weren’t a lot of other kids for me to compare him to. I just thought he was willful in the way all toddlers are willful. He was smart, funny, and could work a computer by the time he was three. I was so excited for him to start school because I just KNEW he would shine.
He did well academically. At first. But he didn’t act like the other kids. Things bothered him that someone else wouldn’t have noticed. He couldn’t walk and sit in circle time calmly like the other kids. His teacher blew our mind at the first (of many) parent teacher conference. We had no idea he was different. We had no idea all kids didn’t act and react like Slugger.
Every year has gotten a little harder. Grades have been progressively going down. We have bounced between different doctors. We’ve seen three therapists, three psychiatrists, and a neurologist. It took a lot of trial and error. But finally we have a diagnosis. ADHD with ODD.
Some of you are probably yelling at your screen right now. You’re screaming “WHAT THE **** IS ODD!”
Allow me to enlighten you.
The Mayo Clinic describes ODD as the following:
“DSM-5 criteria for diagnosis of ODD include both emotional and behavioral symptoms.
Angry and irritable mood:
Often loses temper
Is often touchy or easily annoyed by others
Is often angry and resentful
Argumentative and defiant behavior:
Often argues with adults or people in authority
Often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules
Often deliberately annoys people
Often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
Is often spiteful or vindictive
Has shown spiteful or vindictive behavior at least twice in the past six months”
So, in super laymen’s terms, what we see here is a lot of rule breaking and arguing. Slugger doesn’t care about consequences, because he just doesn’t understand how they pertain to his actions. Anything he does that is wrong is not his fault. It’s someone else’s.
I know some people are rolling their eyes and thinking “This sounds like EVERY kid!” And you aren’t wrong. Slugger is just like every kid, except magnified. The anger is bigger, the disrespect is more biting, the arguments don’t end. It’s exhausting for him and us.
We are still trying to find a regiment that works for us. It’s a lot of trial an error. I can’t say we’ve found a medication yet that produces the results we are looking for, but in the grand scheme of things, we only started medicating a year ago, so that’s all very new still. I have a roller bottle of Essential Oils that I give to Slugger when he feels like the “cogs just won’t turn”. It helps. But we still have a lot of work to do.
For more info on ODD, click the link above to visit the Mayo Center.
The awesome graphics I had above were nabbed from the CDC and their site on ADHD. You can find that site here: