I am not going to lie. I almost started to cry as we walked into the building.
I’m not sure the exact reason. We had waited weeks for this appointment and I had woken up feeling the relief that the day had finally come. But as we walked into the building that was labeled The Institute for Neurosciences and Human Behavior I felt my emotions starting to get the best of me.
Armed with my folder filled with teacher and parent evaluations (the Vanderbilt Assessment Scale to be exact), insurance information, and even some school work examples, we waited outside the doctor’s office. I tried not to stare at the eating disorder patients that solemnly walked in front of us and out the back door, most likely on their way out for a smoke break and not a lunch break. We tried hard not to stare at the girl who had written up and down her legs in what appeared to be a black Sharpie marker. Thousands of words squeezed in between the freckles of her ghostly white leg. I stared at the Golfer with eyes that silently cried, “Where the hell are we?”
When the doctor finally opened his door, we stood there awkwardly. Did we all go in? Just the Cheese? Just the parents? First the Cheese and then the parents?
Reading our minds the doctor said, “Why don’t you all come in?”
The appointment was short and sweet. First, he met with us as a family, then just with the Golfer and I, and then finally with the Cheese alone. During our time alone with the doctor we shared our concerns:
- He was a bright boy who we worried would start falling through the educational cracks due to his inability to concentrate.
- He would have hours of homework every night because he couldn’t get it completed in class.
- Simple tasks like remembering to brush teeth and tying his shoes were becoming huge issues.
- He couldn’t pass his multiplication facts because he couldn’t finish the timed-tests (i.e., the answers were right, but he couldn’t finish in the 5 minutes allotted.)
- He couldn’t follow simple, one-step instructions at home. All of this was causing lots of friction between the Cheese and us, and we were worried about our relationship with him.
- He seemed unhappy and constantly, continually out to lunch.
“Does your son show any signs of depression? Anxiety?” the doctor asked us.
You see, usually, there are secondary conditions that accompany the ADHD. Frustrations with peers and parents, social isolation, and rejection can cause these other issues to pop up. We had no idea.
Yes, we told the doctor. We see a lot of anxiety in our son. He worries unnecessarily. He cries easily and has trouble controlling his emotions. He is our sensitive boy and always has been.
“Is there any depression in the family? Any psychiatric disorders? Substance abuse?”
Uh…yeah. Uh, huh. Yep. Definitely. (But that’s another blog series entirely that I will share later.)
Turns out, as the doctor talked to our son one-on-one the anxiety was very apparent. So much so that the doctor seems just as worried about the anxiety as he was the ADHD and gave us a referral to a children’s anxiety clinic.
Not something that I had expected.
Before we knew it, we were given a two-week drug protocol to follow with instructions to call the doctor at the end of the two weeks. We walked away feeling that we had taken a step forward but feeling just as confused and worried and concerned about our son as when we walked in, if not more so. I guess you could say that we were feeling…anxious. Seems that anxiety might run in the family.