“I just want to be a normal kid, Mom! I don’t want to have ADHD! Why is God doing this to me?” This was not the first time my son had voiced similar frustrations since his diagnosis. I tried to comfort him, but deep down, I was struggling with the same questions, and at the same time, my daughter was also being evaluated for ADHD. I was prepared to help my children process their emotions about their diagnoses, but I told my husband privately that I wasn’t prepared for my own. I had a profound sense of guilt, knowing that they probably had gotten it from me, although I’ve never been evaluated. More than that, I was overwhelmed with a surprising dose of grief. Somehow, even though my kids hadn’t changed, their ADHD changed the way I perceived them and that was a huge loss.
We all worked through these intense emotions together and, with the help of medical professionals, medication, and lots of research, have developed skills to manage, and even thrive. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing some of these skills with you. The first is clinging to truth. ADHD is somewhat of a misleading name. It is not really a limited capacity to focus, as “attention deficit” implies. Rather, the ADHD brain is bombarded with so many options on which to focus, it has trouble determining what is most important. For instance, as I sit here writing, I’m thinking about the shadow of the tree outside my window, the paper I didn’t get off the printer, the gurgling of the fishtank in the background (did I feed him today), the fact that I need to leave to pick up my kids in a few minutes, and about fifteen other things. I am constantly having to redirect my brain, and it can be discouraging, but if I don’t remind myself of God’s truth, Satan’s lies can derail me. Here are three truths that have helped us:
1. I am not ADHD, I just have it. I often hear people saying I’m ADHD, or my child is ADHD. There is a very subtle lie in this statement, but it can lead to a very dangerous one - that ADHD defines who we are. As Christians, our identity is in Christ, not in our diagnosis.
Romans 8:16-17 “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
2. God made me and He doesn’t make mistakes. I might feel like allowing me to have ADHD is a bad thing, but if I take God’s Word to heart, I know He has a purpose for my life and ADHD is a part of that purpose. If I seek His purpose, He will use ADHD for my good and for the good of others.
Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
3. There is no such thing as a “normal” person. Every single person on this planet has struggles, hardships, and challenges to overcome. ADHD can be a very visible and disruptive struggle, but many people have internal struggles we know nothing about. My strength is in the Lord, not in being “normal”.
Isaiah 40:28-29 “Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.”