On January 6, 2020 after about 6 months of waiting for an opening, Jaime finally was able to see a psychiatrist. Before our scheduled appointment I received 19 pages of mostly assessment questions that needed to be answered by myself & Jaime. They also detailed that we needed to be prepared to be there at least 2hrs. Y’all I cannot express how important it is to get proper help. Jaime was first prescribed medication by our PCP who addressed her obvious symptoms and knew the importance of her seeing a psychiatrist, a doctor who’s specialty is mental health. On the day of our visit @7:30 am my awareness and need to “end the shame” and speak for those “suffering in silence” began to be more apparent.
After arriving the day of, the psychiatrist came out and explained how the visit would go and asked who would like to go first. Of course Jaime volunteered me. I went in and was asked all manner of questions about Jaime and the behaviors that I saw in her. I was asked about our family life and if she experienced any traumas. There was things he asked about her that i would’ve never thought mattered. I spent over an hour with the psychiatrist. Once we were done Jaime went in for over an hour. Then he brought us in together to go over what he observed based on both of our assessments and what we told him.
We learned aside from her depression & anxiety she showed symptoms of ADHD. I couldn’t believe that. I said she doesn’t have behavioral problems. Like many people I only saw ADHD looking one and that was busy overactive kids. Well, I found out that it looks like Jaime a procrastinator, easily distracted, misplaces everything, totally disorganized, talkative, very forgetful, impulsive kid.
For a minute sitting in that office I felt a feeling of embarrassment thinking the people at the front desk and waiting to be seen knows that my daughter has mental health issues. But I quickly realized that they were there for the same reason as us. I sat in that office with people that looked nothing like me (African american). I began to think why are we as African Americans not getting the help we need. But I quickly realized that some don’t have insurance, some can’t accept or identify that there is an issue, some can’t afford proper help, some are not aware of the resources available to them, and some just don’t even care til it’s too late.
Suddenly a sense of gratitude came over me to thank GOD that I was fortunate enough to have the means to get my daughter the proper help she needs. That i’m aware enough of how serious mental health is that I would dare step out in what some would call “SHAME” just to make sure my child is OK.
I’m learning that this mental health crisis is an forever learning process. That it’s complex & complicated and although I may not fully understand it I will fight against it. I may not be able to change everyone’s mind regarding mental health or end the stigma associated with it but I will leave my mark. When i’m gone my name and legacy will say that I spoke up for those suffering in silence. That I fought a battle that many are afraid too.
People with ADHD show an ongoing pattern of three different types of symptoms:
- Difficulty paying attention (inattention)
- Being overactive (hyperactivity)
- Acting without thinking (impulsivity)
These symptoms get in the way of functioning or development. People who have ADHD have combinations of these symptoms:
- Overlook or miss details, make careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or during other activities
- Have problems sustaining attention in tasks or play, including conversations, lectures, or lengthy reading
- Seem to not listen when spoken to directly
- Fail to not follow through on instructions, fail to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace, or start tasks but quickly lose focus and get easily sidetracked
- Have problems organizing tasks and activities, such as doing tasks in sequence, keeping materials and belongings in order, keeping work organized, managing time, and meeting deadlines
- Avoid or dislike tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as schoolwork or homework, or for teens and older adults, preparing reports, completing forms, or reviewing lengthy papers
- Lose things necessary for tasks or activities, such as school supplies, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, and cell phones
- Become easily distracted by unrelated thoughts or stimuli
- Forgetful in daily activities, such as chores, errands, returning calls, and keeping appointments