As October is ADHD Awareness Month I thought it would make sense to share with you my personal experience of ADHD. Be warned, I’m on a crusade, I’m not reiterating the ‘NOT NAUGHTY’ message nor trying to prove a point, I’m simply going to give you an up close and personal account of  my very own experiences with ADHD.

I have the most amazing son. He is kind and considerate, loving and funny and, as every mother believes, my son is gorgeous. This is how I always describe my son and how I open up a dialogue with him and any ‘professionals’ I need to speak to about him (and there have been many!).

You see, he IS all of those things but going through the process of ADHD assessment, diagnosis and treatment can make even the best of us mothers forget that.

It is important, vital sometimes, that we surround ourselves as a family, and especially my son, with positivity many many times throughout the day. The alternative is to allow ADHD to seep in and overshadow every facet of our family and our life together. It’s a destroyer and I will not allow it to do that to my family or my son!!.

When in the safety of his own home, the place he is least judged and feels most secure, is where the worst times strike. It’s getting worse as he gets older and he feels it just as much as we see it.

The behaviour he exhibits is ‘trying’ at best. It can be hard as parents and more so for siblings but I guess its worst for him. He can feel things aren’t right, he is constantly at odds with himself, but he has no power to stop it as hard as he may try. Imagine that fighting against yourself and failing, everyday. Self esteem, self confidence, self belief and self worth are things he struggles with. Things you can’t see but things he needs validating frequently. He needs constant praise for achieving the everyday mundane tasks his peers or younger siblings find effortless, but these are sometimes his greatest accomplishments. Often he is acutely aware that he is unable to do what his peers or younger siblings find effortless, and so comes the shame and embarrassment.

Then there is the anger! It is delivered by eruption and can be severe and physical as well as shocking and verbal. The anger splits the family. Any mothers instinct is to protect her children but which of my five need it the most? All of them, but my son the most. Because the anger, the meltdown is all consuming and exhausting. Its not a choice, its not even a real emotion it’s a state he enters and sees nothing else but that state. He is dangerous to himself and others. He is harmed and has harmed. He has to be left alone to emerge but always overseen. Its bad, really bad. And once its all over, then comes the remorse and the shame… again.

ADHD is constant and all consuming, its relentless and damaging. It is something my son has but not who he is. It neither defines him, nor us. We don’t complain. My son is just my son regardless of diagnosis or medication. We face challenges everyday but that’s how we grow, and he is growing up, and rather wonderfully, if I do say so myself.

My son is the reason I designed Happy Tokens, they were for him. They were dreamed up to help, to help him and to help us. I love that the upshot of my son and Happy Tokens is that I can genuinely help others too. For that I am thankful.