Hello, ADHD World! It’s been a while…
As you may know, we here at The ADD Management Group took an all-too-short break in the last few months to welcome twins into our family! But things didn’t exactly go as planned…
Back in October, we experienced an emergency situation on the last day of the 2013 Virtual AD/HD Conference when Erin Korey (my 28-weeks-pregnant-with-twins wife and the Virtual AD/HD Conference Manager) began to feel strange and needed to go to the doctor. She was subsequently admitted to the hospital with preeclampsia—a very serious medical condition. And all this was happening during the last session of our big conference! Needless to say, it was a stressful day.
At that point, we were told that Erin would remain in the hospital until the babies were born, and we were being prepared for premature babies that would be in the NICU for several months. Additionally, Erin’s health was a concern, as preeclampsia can cause organ damage to the mother.
Fast forwarding to the good news for a moment, Erin was a true hero and managed to keep those babies in longer than anyone expected her to! We welcomed Ondine Ever (pronounced AHN-deen) and Ireland Ella into our family on December 5th. They were 2 weeks premature and weighed just 4lbs 12oz and 4lbs 9oz (all skin and bones), but they surprised us all by NOT needing any time in the NICU! What a relief!
I have to tell you, though, that the two months Erin spent in the hospital proved to be one of the most difficult times of this ADHDer’s life. In addition to constant worry about the health of my wife and unborn babies, I was suddenly thrust into the role of single parent to our 2 year old (now 3 year old) daughter. The kid, the two dogs, the house, the meals, the laundry, the shopping, the bills, and everything else became 100% my responsibility.
And all that might have been doable… if I wasn’t making daily 30-minute drives to the hospital. And trying to buy all the baby things we hadn’t yet purchased. And working to get the babies’ new room ready. And, um, oh yeah… I still had to tend to the Virtual AD/HD Conference and the rest of the business!
Now, I will tell you, Erin certainly had it rough being on hospital bed rest for 9 weeks. But, as we’ve often joked about, Erin, a bed, and a TV is not exactly a travesty. (Haha!) She was well cared for, and all her needs were being tended to. Meanwhile, my ADHD was in overdrive. Talk about overwhelm! No matter how much I accomplished, the list just grew longer and longer. I was barely holding it together.
I’ll be the first one to tell you that this “ADHD management expert” found herself truly struggling to manage her own ADHD. I was operating at full speed all day, every day. I told myself that it was more important to care for my loved ones than it was to care for myself. And while I was hyper-vigilant about organization and time management, the rigidity of my structure was stressful and unrealistic. I lived my life in fear that I could come undone at any minute, and not be able to put myself back together.
The one thing that I had going for me was that I KNEW I was succumbing to my ADHD. My inability to manage it was making a challenging situation nearly impossible. And as I’ve often said, managing your ADHD is NOT about being perfect. It IS about knowing when you’re falling off track, and knowing what you need to do to start getting back on track.
For me, that meant reconnecting with support professionals. I began talking to my psychiatrist more often. She helped me determine the best way to adjust my medication during that time of added stress, and she pointed out the specific ways in which my ADHD challenges were getting in the way, as well as offered advice for making my life easier.
I also made time for weekly appointments with a therapist who understands me and my ADHD. She helped me work through my feelings of stress and anxiety, and understand that I had placed unrealistic expectations on myself. She also insisted that I focus more on taking care of my own needs, which in turn helped me be more effective at caring for my family. (Note: A good ADHD coach can be a help in these ways, too!)
And lastly, I reached out to certain family members and friends whom I really wanted support from. I let them know that while it was understandable for everyone to be focused on Erin, I was also in need. After I spoke up, I found that my family and friends were happy to drop off meals for us, watch my daughter for a few hours, or just be a shoulder to lean on when I needed it.
I’ll continue to be honest with you (why stop now?) and tell you that while I was doing much better by the time the babies were born, the truth is that I’m still working my way back to being the ADHD management superstar that I once was. Having two new babies in the family has been a big adjustment for all of us, albeit it a joyful one! And getting back to work has been yet another major change. But all of this is normal. And I know that as long as I’m paying attention to my ADHD, things will continue to get better and run more smoothly.
The bottom line: ADHD management is always a work in progress. Even for us “experts”!
I’m happy to be back, and I’m eager to connect with the community again.
And in the meantime, please enjoy this most recent picture of our girls. (And do be sure to read each of the shirts to reveal our little family joke!) Happy St. Patrick’s Day!