It’s only now, in the twelfth grade, that I can say meds are truly making a difference for my ADHD+er. For many, the very first try gives some wonderful relief and ability. For others, it takes some time. For us, it’s taken a lot more. We’re finally at a place where symptoms are managed so it’s easy to want instant progress for all the things at once. But I know better. So instead, I think about what progress would really look like – especially this late in the game.
It’s easy to want to make up for lost time in record time. To want to just erase my ADHD+er’s negative coping behaviors and low self esteem that have developed over the years. To want not just a new start – but a clean slate. Instead, a strong but quiet voice is reminding me to focus on what’s important. To zone in on the thing that really matters.
And what really does matter at this point? Its senior year, where achievements are being tallied and most kids are enjoying the fruits of their labor as they open acceptance letters. It feels like we’re excitedly showing up to a party that’s already over. Like maybe we’re in the right place at the wrong time. It’s easy to stay stuck here.
Instead, I remind myself that every person’s journey is different. That high school is not the pinnacle of life for everyone. I remember that nothing we go through is ever wasted. Every single thing has purpose in making us who we were created to be. So, instead of wanting to hit the ground running with my laminated catch up list now that my ADHD+er’s symptoms are mostly managed FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME – I’m actually not focusing on catching up.
I’m focusing on things looking up. For things to FEEL better. For a day at school to be enjoyable and not a total struggle. If my ADHD+er can go through the remainder of his school days and FEEL good about them – confidence will build. That newfound confidence can negate a lot of that old track record. With that freed up space in his mind and heart he can begin to set his sights on his future and I truly believe the sky is the limit for him. He’s persevered through so much more than most his age could imagine. He’s never stopped showing up. He has more grit than anyone I know. That doesn’t show up on a transcript but that sure does indicate ability to make it in this world.
There is no easy fix for nearly a decade of being unsuccessful at school. How do you erase being really smart but falling short every day for so long? New starts can breath life into what’s dead. It begins with believing. With getting a laser sharp focus on that one thing that looks like progress. Because that one thing is the gateway to achieving it all.